HC Deb 23 March 1950 vol 472 cc2277-94

8.50 p.m.

Mr. Thornton - Kemsley (Angus, North)

I beg to move that Subhead H (Trading Services (Net)) be reduced by £100.

In asking the Committee to turn its attention from Civil Aviation to the Trading Supplementary Estimates of the Ministry of Food, it is my pleasant duty to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his assumption to office. He brings to his new office a recognised ability, a human approach and a charm of manner which have contributed to the regard in which he is held in all quarters of the House. We on these benches wish him well with his national house-keeping.

If the Minister has inherited some troubles from his late but not lamented predecessor which he would rather be without, an empty larder is not one of them. His problem is not so much to secure sufficient stocks to meet the rations, but to store the supplies to which he has fallen heir. The Chancellor of the Exchequer last week brushed aside an increase in the Estimates of the Ministry of Food on the grounds that stocks held had increased by something like £24 million more than was estimated. It would be very much easier to follow the arguments of the right hon. and learned Gentleman if the Committee could be told exactly what stocks were held and the value of those stocks. We on these benches have repeatedly pressed that stocks of food should be divulged. We have it on the authority of "The Economist" that stocks of wheat are something like twice as heavy as they were a year ago, that stocks of bacon, cheese and butter are more than three times as heavy, and that other stocks, with the exception only of sugar, have increased by something like 25–50 per cent.

I hope that the Minister is not going to follow his predecessor's practice of refusing to divulge food stocks to the House and the country. The Ministry of Supply and the Board of Trade publish stocks of the commodities for which they are responsible, and in which they trade, in the Monthly Digest of Statistics. The late' Minister of Food told us a year ago that publication of stocks of food would not be in the public interest. Why should this be the case? It is possible for traders to work out stocks that are held in the country. Meat stocks, for instance, must be known to a great many people. It is quite easy to work them out from ascertainable figures of imports, home slaughterings and consumption. There would be no difficulty whatsoever for, let us say, the commercial attaché at the Argentine Embassy to work out these sums for himself. I can see no reason whatsover for a refusal to divulge the stocks, and I ask the Minister of Food to let us know what they are.

What is the reason for the stockpiling of food which has gone on apace during the past year? In time of war when shipping is short it is a good thing that stocks should be built up, because it is not always the case that shipping is available. Stocks in this country today are much higher than was customary before the war. Because of the amount of these stocks we are using refrigerated ships as static stores, and in consequence we have not been able to lift all the meat available for us in the Argentine and in Uruguay. Denmark has been asked to withhold supplies of bacon and our cold stores are cluttered up with New Zealand and Australian frozen rabbits and hares and Polish geese, which are virtually unsaleable at the present time.

In the short time which I have available tonight I want to concentrate on the Supplementary Estimate on Trading Services in respect of the meat and livestock division, where the increase has been of the order of 55 per cent. above the estimated amount.

Before the war 95 per cent. of our supplies of beef from South America came in the form of that most nutritious and edible food, chilled beef. In that case it went straight—

Mr. Keenan (Liverpool, Kirkdale)

Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that 95 per cent. of the meat imported before the war was chilled?

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

If the hon. Gentleman had listened to me he would have heard that I said that before the war 95 per cent. of our imports of beef from South America came in the form of chilled beef. That is a fact; the hon. Member may shake his head but it makes no difference to that fact. That beef went straight into consumption. The balance of the stocks that were imported and were not held by the meat works overseas, were fairly evenly spread along the pipeline between producer and consumer.

Contrast that with the position today. Privately owned cold stores at the ports are filled to capacity, and the remote inland stores owned by the Government and strategically placed as an insurance against bombing during the war are filled too. Fifteen refrigerator ships have been pressed into service at a cost of no less than £250,000 in respect of storage charges over and above the cost of storing on land. That is saying nothing whatever of the high cost of the double handling and extra transportation involved. This seems to me to be a very expensive way of doing things.

What is the object? It cannot be to strenghten our bargaining power since the bargains were already struck before this storage fetish reached its height. The Committee should examine some of these bargains for a moment, because an understanding of our monetary commitments is essential if we are to see why the original Estimates have been so grossly miscalculated. We are concerned here with three Argentine Agreements which for the sake of brevity I will refer to by their trade names—Bulk Purchase Number 7, Bulk Purchase Number 8, which is the Andes Agreement, and Bulk Purchase Number 9, which is the 1949 Anglo-Argentine Agreement. The shipments under Bulk Purchase Number 8 were 70,000 tons short. In June of last year Bulk Purchase Number 9 was signed. Like its predecessors it suffered from the fact that it was negotiated not by experts but by diplomatic and permanent officials. The price under Bulk Purchase Number 9 was 33¼ per cent. in advance of the price under Bulk Purchase Number 8. Later, this price was made retrospective to 1st April, 1949. That is an appropriate date, since we have to pay an increased price for the 70,000 tons, due under Bulk Purchase Number 8, but actually delivered to us under Bulk Purchase Number 9 terms. That piece of folly cost us £1.3 million.

Other imported meat from the Dominions—Australia and New Zealand—has gone up in price, too, during the current financial year. I can give the figures, but I want, at this late hour, to keep my speech as brief as I possibly can. All these figures are at the pre-devaluation rate. What is to happen after that? That matter is under discussion at Buenos Aires at the present time—I am speaking now mainly of meat from Argentina—between the commercial Minister at the British Embassy, a gentleman who rejoices appropriately in the name of Mr. Joint, and the Argentine Government. Under the Anglo-Argentina Agreement, 1949, Bulk Purchase Number 9, the basic price of £97 5s. per long ton was agreed for the first year of the five-year contract. What has not been fixed is the rate of exchange at which this basic price is to be paid.

In respect of all shipments between 18th September last and 17th January this year we have had to credit Argentina through our joint clearings with sufficient sterling to offset the degree of devaluation of the £. It is very doubtful whether Mr. Joint will be able to do any better than that in his discussions, and I think we shall have, in future contracts, to deposit again sufficient sterling to make up for the degree of devaluation. The pre-devaluation rate of exchange was 13.53 pesos to the £. The post-devaluation rate of exchange is 9.40 to the £, a drop of very nearly 40 per cent. The prices that we pay for Argentine meat have already risen by 62¾ per cent. since the expiry of Bulk Purchase Number 7 in the first quarter of 1948. An addition of a further 40 per cent. in respect of devaluation will mean that the price of Argentine meat will have doubled in two years. I wonder whether the Committee realise the seriousness of the implication of a statement like that, the doubling in price of a large amount of our imported meat in two years.

Let me give one example. Before the war, Argentine chiller quality beef in chilled condition would sell at Smithfield Market at 5½d. 1b. Before devaluation, the same meat, but frozen and much less palatable, was costing 1s. 0½d. per 1b., whereas, at the post-devaluation rate it has cost 1s. 5d. Even so, the rise in meat prices is cushioned by a subsidy of £50 million which is included in the food subsidies, which are now running at the Chancellor's limit of £465 million a year. To reduce stocks by increasing rations, which I have no doubt is what the Minister would like to do, would mean either increasing the subsidy or allowing the price of food to rise.

I should like in rather lighter vein to call attention to a gross piece of bad administration which is responsible in some degree for the rise in these Supplementary Estimates. I want to talk about frozen imported rabbits, hares and geese, to which I have already made a brief reference. There are in store at present over 500,000 60-lb. crates of frozen Australian rabbits which have been brought into the country by the Ministry of Food and are a sufficient supply for 12 months. Because these rabbits are practically unsaleable, since last Chrismas the prices have been cut by 40 per cent. I am told by someone who has seen them recently that they are already mouldering and perishing.

This is a perfect example of the rigidity of the official mind. Someone in the Ministry made up his mind that a 10 weeks' stock was the proper reserve to hold in respect of these frozen rabbits. Distribution was therefore fixed at roundabout 30,000 crates a week. Last summer stocks rose to above the 500,000 level, yet the output was still fixed at around 30,000 crates a week. If the advice of the trade had been taken—it never was taken during the regime of the late Minister—stocks could have been cleared when the meat ration was down to 10d. and when bacon was in short supply, for I am told that at that time crates of these imported rabbits were selling on the black market at a premium of £2 a crate. Instead of listening to the advice of the experts, the Ministry of Food officials, worrying their bureaucratic heads about the question of replacement, lost a great chance of selling out at a moderate price. Now the loss on this item alone is unlikely to be less than £1 million.

Frozen Australian hares provide another example. Over 300,000 of them are in stock. Including storage, they cost about 7s. each. They could have been sold to Germany last year at 6s. a hare, but the late Minister, who had lost so much on his sale of Algerian wine that he was frightened of producing any further losses, refused to allow the sale. These hares are now unsaleable at 2s. 6d. each, so his unfortunate successor has been saddled with a loss in the region of £100,000 in respect of this item. There is very much the same story in the case of Polish geese. The Government could have bought high grade turkeys at rather less than the price at which they chose instead to go on a wild goose chase to Poland. They imported thousands of crates of frozen geese which they can now only sell at a loss which would be catastrophic to a private trader.

Such are the follies of the planners. What is the moral of all this? It is that if losses of this kind are to be avoided in future we should do what the Select Committee on Estimates, a body in the last Parliament of which 22 out of the 35 members were Socialists, recommended in its 13th Report. It said: There is in the present system"— That is, of the importation and distribution of meat— room for economy. The present machinery of procurement and distribution should be overhauled. We should make a start now with handing back the trade to the experts. Government trading in the procurement of food wastes the money of the taxpayer, it produces less and poorer meat, and the housewife has to take what she is offered or go without. It took many months to prepare for D Day; let us start preparing now for decontrol.

9.11 p.m.

The Minister of Food (Mr. Maurice Webb)

I must begin my first speech from the Box by thanking the hon. Member for Angus, North, and Mearns (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) for the kind words he said about my arrival in this rather hot seat at the Ministry of Food. I wish he could have found it in his heart to support his kind words by kind acts and let me have my Supplementary Estimate, but apparently his kindness must be confined to words. However, I am grateful for the sincere things he said, and I hope that at least he will refrain from dividing on this Vote and let me have my Estimate.

The hon. Member put his views in a moderate way and I have no complaint to make, except that I regret what he said about my predecessor. I want to make it quite clear to the Committee and to the public that if ever I am able in the next few months to relieve the burden of people in this country, it will be largely because of the excellent work done by my predecessor. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] I am not seeking the cheers of the other side, I am saying quite sincerely what I think and know, and in this post the Secretary of State for War did many excellent things. If I and the public can reap the benefit from them, I shall be grateful, but I want the credit to go to the right place.

To come straight to the issues of this matter we are discussing, I am afraid that many of the questions raised by the hon. Gentleman are not really relevant to the Supplementary Estimate, and we must keep to that. Before I consider the criticisms he made, however, I want to deal with one or two general considerations. The Committee must judge this Estimate against the scale of our operations. It is an Estimate for £13 million odd. After all we are a trading Department and the ordinary tests of probity and of efficiency and of management in Government Departments cannot be applied in quite the same way to the Ministry of Food. We are engaged, in association with private business, in buying and distributing food for 50 million people. Therefore, in judging the efficiency of our work and the effectiveness of our estimates, we must take into account some other standards.

So I want to remind the Committee that our turnover last year was no less a sum than £1,628 million and hon. Members must judge this figure of £13 million against that background in order to get it in the right proportion. Then, being a trading Department, it is obviously not possible for us to estimate ahead with the precision of other Departments, because we are dealing with all sorts of speculative matters—of harvests and of demands and changes in tastes and things of that kind—and it is not always possible to foresee trading possibilities. For example, a few days ago we effected an admirable arrangement in Washington that will bring to this country at a good price a large quantity of dried eggs.

Mr. Stanley

Are those the ones which the City of New York refused to take as a free gift?

Mr. Webb

No, these are the ones which the bakers and the confectioners of this country are very glad to have, and we got them at a very good price. Nobody could have foreseen, in preparing the estimates of our trading operations for this year that those dried eggs would have been available. That is the kind of problem which arises in a trading Department, and any business man on the other side of the Committee will recognise that we cannot estimate and assume that things of that kind are going to happen.

It would be wholly wrong of us, however, to miss the opportunity of getting things of that kind for the people of this country merely because of anxiety about having to introduce a Supplementary. Estimate. A trading Department, I should think any businessman would agree, must be flexible in order to succeed in its work. In the light of that situation, surely it is not unreasonable for us to come before the Committee and say that we want this money in order to accumulate more stocks in the light of favourable circumstances which have arisen, in order to help us to feed our people better than they were fed before.

This Supplementary Estimate represents no more than a process of stocking up, of stock-piling, of putting on one side the things that we have been able to find available. We want to get them here at a good price, and we have been able to do it. They are assets. The money has not been wasted. It is not a matter of bad management or of inefficiency in the Department. It is merely a matter of having paid bills for certain foods which we want and which we are glad to have. In the short time I have been in this Department, I am agreeably surprised to find such a high degree of accuracy in estimating our cash needs in these conditions. But whilst assuring the Committee and the taxpayer that this sum of money is not required to cover improvident spending, it is obviously an obligation for me to try to explain to the Committee why it has become necessary.

The hon. Member for Angus, North and Mearns called attention to our negotiations with the Argentine. He called it a "storage fetish." I was really surprised to hear him say things like that. I should have thought he would have wanted to support us in the efforts we are going to try to make to show the Argentine Government that we are not going to be blackmailed any longer. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] The whole purpose behind this business of building up stocks and of using the vessels to store the meat was to put our negotiator, Mr. Joint, in a stronger position than he would otherwise have been. I should have thought that was a matter of good business, that every step the Department took to enable us to negotiate from a position of strength, and not from a position of weakness, was a good thing. That is precisely what we have been doing.

We want now to say frankly to the Argentine Government that we are now in a position where we want to get from them such meat as they can supply and we want, at a fair price, and no more.

We want them to understand we are now in a position to protect our people by these stores that have been prudently built up by the very process about which the hon. Member complains, and that we are in a position to negotiate on that basis. I make no apology at all for that having happened. I should have thought the whole Committee would have rejoiced that we were now in that position.

A Department like the Ministry of Food must always be searching, not only for greater volume, but for greater variety, and if we are doing that, obviously it must involve a very high degree of speculative risk. I say frankly that in the light of the situation in which I am working, I shall go out as far as I can to take more risks in order to get more variety of food for the people of this country. That might mean on occasion that one will make what is called in the business world a "bad buy"; but that is not a strange thing, it is not confined to Government Departments. Every commercial undertaking, surely, has its chambers of horrors downstairs, with the things its buyers have bought thinking they were good, but which did not turn out to be good in the end. That is a normal commercial risk; it is part of business. If we are to be stopped from doing that kind of thing, then we shall be stopped from giving the ordinary people the variety of food which they ought to have.

So far as I am concerned, I am not prepared to go back on that policy, but to accelerate it. I warn the Committee that it means that on occasion we may have to come to Parliament to defend a mistake, and say, "In this case we bought this because we believed it was a good thing to underwrite the ration and guarantee to our people that they would have the food, but it turned out, in the light of market considerations and other things over which we have no control, to be a mistake." But consider the degree of the mistake against the degree of success in these operations; then we would get it in the right kind of proportion.

That is the essential obligation of the Department and the general answer to the hon. Gentleman. The Ministry of Food are under an obligation to maintain on behalf of this House the guarantee that we give to every citizen that his or her ration book will be honoured. That is a very big obligation for any Department to carry; and to make sure that we can honour the obligation that when people go to the shops to buy their butter, fats, margarine and the rest the goods will be there, we are compelled to carry rather higher stocks in reserve than otherwise might be the case.

That is part of the situation in which we are now living and working. The situation will inevitably get easier insofar as we can get rid of rationing. That will depend upon factors of supply, although I am bound to say that in the end there are certain elements of rationing policy in this country which I would always want to maintain as essential instruments of fair play and the proper and prudent management of our affairs. But obviously there are certain sides of rationing merely involved in shortages and things of that kind. Until we can get rid of those, the House must enable the Ministry of Food to have behind it adequate reserve stocks at all points so that if anything goes wrong with supplies the Ministry of Food are there with stocks to enable them to honour the rations.

I was as much worried about rabbits as the hon. Member. There they are; I wish they were not there. As a matter of fact, I think the hon. Member exaggerated their condition. [An HON. MEMBER: "Try to sell them."] I ask the Committee to remember what I said earlier, because it is a very serious point. We were bound to face that kind of circumstance now and again in order to make sure—and my Department must always make sure—that the food is there insofar as we can get it and that the people of this country are safeguarded against any anxiety or want. Sometimes we buy things which in the end, because of changes in taste and marketing, are not needed. Now and again that happens and we have to take the risk. I say on behalf of the Department that the total amount of the loss in that operation is almost negligible compared with the success of their general operations. The facts will prove that and in a later Debate, when we deal with the wider obligations and are not limited to this Supplementary Estimate, I hope to give fuller facts about the situation.

In the Ministry of Food we are trying to aim at an extension of freedom of choice. We want our people to be free to say they will not have things. That is a desirable situation. How can we get to that situation unless we are allowed some flexibility in buying? If the other side are too rigid and tight and critical in their tests of our buying policy, they cannot expect such successful results on this side. We believe, and I believe profoundly, that people are happier when they decide for themselves. I want people to be in an economic position to decide for themselves. As on this side of the Committee we advance in giving people the purchasing power to be able to decide what they want, I want in my job to be able to provide the things they can buy with that money. I hope that I shall have the full co-operation of all sides of the House in that responsibility.

9.25 p.m.

Captain Crookshank (Gainsborough)

I wish to make just one point. This general sort of argument between the two sides of the House will be continued later in the Session, but tonight we are concerned with a very small point, that of having to find £.15½ million more this year as a result of a net excess of payments over receipts. My hon. Friend pointed out in his speech where he had seen errors made, as he thought, in the purchase and procurement of meat. Had we had the time, other hon. Friends of mine had intended to amplify the point by giving examples in other directions. That we cannot do tonight. The main point to which our attention and the attention of the Committee ought to be directed when dealing with a Supplementary Estimate of this kind, of an excess of payments over receipts in trading services, is: What are the stocks held. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a Debate a few days ago, in which we first raised this matter, pointed out that the stocks had increased and that was the explanation. We do not know that except for his ipse dixit.

What we ask the Government to do is, in the case of the trading services of the Ministry of Food, to be good enough to do what they do in the case of the trading services of the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Supply, namely, to give full information as to the stocks held. The right hon. Gentleman implies that because we are dealing with the food of the people, there is some risk in disclosing those facts. What is the difference between disclosing them when it is a matter of the food of the people and in disclosing stocks which are necessary for the employment or the housing of the people? In the case of copper, zinc, tin and other metals information is given, as it is in the case of timber—softwood, hardwood, plywood, etc.—which are required for housing. Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to let us have this information about food? That is the question I want to put to him, and I have left him two minutes in which to reply.

9.28 p.m.

Mr. Webb

I am sorry that I did not deal with that very important point which the hon. Gentleman raised. There are difficulties about this matter, as hon. Members opposite will recognise. Obviously the negotiators in the Argentine would give a lot at this moment to know exactly what our meat stocks are. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] They cannot estimate so accurately. It would be very imprudent rashly to give information of that kind. My general undertaking is that one of the things I want to do is to give the people of this country much

more factual information about how the food supply is going. If that does on some occasions provide the opportunity of giving more information about stocks without any danger to our interests, that information will be given. That is as far as I can go. I must recognise the limitation imposed by the trading requirements of this country. It would be entirely improper to put our negotiators in a weak position by giving away information which other people ought not to have.

9.29 p.m.

Captain Crookshank

I am not asking for specific figures to be given at this moment. I am asking that as a matter of practice these stocks should he published year after year as is the case of stocks of other trading Departments. I understand from the right hon. Gentleman's reply that he does not intend to do this, that he cannot give a firm guarantee that it will be done. As he cannot do so, I shall ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to support the Amendment.

Question put, "That Sub-head H be reduced by £100."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 240; Noes, 288.

Division No. 4.] AYES [9.30 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Clarke, Col. R. S. (East Grinstead) Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)
Alport, C. J. M. Clarke, Brig. T H. (Portsmouth, W.) Garner-Evans, E. H. (Denbigh)
Amery, J. (Preston, N.) Clyde, J. L. Grimston, Hon. J. (St. Albans)
Amory, D. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Colegate, A. Grimston, R. V. (Westbury)
Arbuthnot, J. S. Cooper, A. E. (Ilford, S.) Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Cooper-Key, E. M Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow) Harris, R. R. (Heston)
Astor, Hon. M. Craddock, G. B. (Spelthorne) Harvey, Air-Codre. A. V. (Macclesfield)
Baker, P. Cranborne, Viscount Harvey, I. (Harrow, E.)
Baldock, J. M. Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Hay, John
Baldwin, A. E. Cross, Rt. Hon. Sir R Head, Brig. A. H.
Banks, Col. C. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Heald, L. F.
Baxter, A. B. Crowder, F. P. (Northwood) Heath, Colonel E. G. R.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H. Crowder, Capt. John F. E. (F'chley) Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.
Bell, R. M. (S. Buckinghamshire) Cuthbert, W. N. Higgs, J. M. C.
Bennett, Sir P. (Edgbaston) Davidson, Viscountess Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)
Bennett, R. F. B. (Gosport) Davies, Nigel (Epping) Hill, Dr. C. (Luton)
Bennett, W. G. (Woodside) de Chair, S. Hogg, Hon. Q.
Bevins, J. R. (Liverpool, Toxteth) De la Bère, R. Hollis, M. C.
Bishop, F. P. Deedes, W. F. Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)
Black, C. W. Digby, S. Wingfield Hope, Lord J.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Dodds-Parker, A. D. Hopkinson, H.
Boothby, R. Douglas-Hamilton, Lord M. Howard, G. R (St. Ives)
Bosom, A. C. Drayson, G. B. Howard, S G. (Cambridgeshire)
Bowen, R. Drewe, C. Hudson, Sir A. U. M. (Lewisham, N.)
Bower, N. Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond) Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Dunglass, Lord Hurd, A. R.
Braine, B. Duthie, W. S. Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E.'b'rgh, W.)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Walter Hyde, H. M.
Brooke, H. (Hampstead) Erroll, F. J. Hylton-Foster, H. B.
Browne, J. N. (Govan) Fisher, N. T. L. Jeffreys, General Sir G.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Fletcher, W. (Bury) Johnson, H. S. (Kemptown)
Bullus, Wing-Commander E. E. Fort, R. Jones, A (Hall Green)
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n) Fraser, Hon. H. C. P. (Stone) Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.
Carr, L. R. (Mitcham) Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale) Kaberry, D.
Carson, Hon. E. Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M. Keeling, E. H.
Channon, H. Gage, C. H. Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S. Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok) Lambert, Hon. G.
Langford-Holt, J. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Stevens, G. P
Law, Rt. Hon. R. K. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Lennox-Boyd, A. T Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Lindsay, Martin Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare) Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Linstead, H. N. Osborne, C. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J (Moray)
Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral) Peake, Rt. Hon. O Summers, G. S
Longden. G. J. M (Harts S.W.) Perkins, W. R. D. Sutcliffe, H.
Low, A. R. W. Pato, Brig. C H. M. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Lucas, Major Sir J. (Portsmouth S.) Pickthorn, K Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Lucas, P. B. (Brantford) Pitman, I J Teeling, William
Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Powell, J. Enoch Thomas, J. P L (Hereford)
McAdden, S. J. Prescott, Stanley Thompson, K. P. (Walton)
McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.) Thompson, R. H. M. (Croydon, W.)
Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Mackason, Brig. H. R. Profumo, J. D. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N
McKibbin, A. Rayner, Brig. R. Thorp, Brigadier R. A[...]
McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Redmayne, M. Tilney, J. D.
Maclay, Hon. J. S. Remnant, Hon. P. Touche, G. C.
Maclean, F. H. R. Renton, D. L. M. Turton, R. H.
MacLeod, I. (Enfield, W.) Roberts, H. (Handsworth) Tweedsmuir, Lady
MacLeod, J. (Ross and Cromarty) Roberts, P. G. (Heeley) Vane, W. M. F
Macpherson, N. (Dumfries) Robertson, Sir D. (Caithness) Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Robson-Brown, W. Vosper, D. F.
Manningham-Buller, R. E Rodgers, J. (Sevenoaks) Wakefield, E. B. (Derbyshire, W.)
Morales, A. E. Roper, Sir H. Wakefield, Sir W. W. (St. Marylebone)
Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Ropner, Col. L. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Marshall, S. H. (Sutton) Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry) Ward, Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
Maude. A. E. U. (Ealing, S.) Russell, R. S. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Maude, J. C. (Exeter) Ryder, Capt. R. E. D. Watkinson, H.
Maudling, R. Sandys, RI. Hon. D. Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie
Medlicott, Brigadier F Savory, Prof. D L. Webbe, Sir H. (London)
Mellor, Sir J. Scott, Donald Wheatley, Major M. J. (Poole)
Morris, R. Napkin (Carmarthen) Shepherd, W. S. (Cheadle) White, J. Baker (Canterbury)
Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W. Williams, C. (Torquay)
Mott-Radclyfle, C. E. Smith, E. M. (Grantham) Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, E.)
Nabarro, G. Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Wills, G.
Nicholls, H. Smithers, Sir W. (Orpington) Wilson, G. (Truro)
Nicholson, G. Smyth, Brig. G. (Norwood) Wood, Hon. R.
Nield, B. (Chester) Soames, Capt. C. York, C.
Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Spearman, A. C. M Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Nugent, G. R. H. Spens, Sir P. (Kensington, S.)
Nutting, Anthony Stanley, Rt. Hon. O. (Bristol, W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Oakshott, H. D. Stanley, Capt. Hon. R. (N. Fylde) Mr. Studholme and Major Conant.
Acland, Sir Richard Chetwynd, G. R. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)
Adams, Richard Clunie, J. Evans, E. (Lowestoft)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Cobb, F. A. Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Cocks, F. S. Ewart, R.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Coldrick, W. Fernyhough, E.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R Collick, P. Field, Capt. W. J.
Awbery, S. S. Collindridge, F. Finch, H. J.
Ayles, W. H. Cook, T. F. Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)
Bacon, Miss A Cooper, G. (Middlesbrough, W.) Follick, M.
Baird, J. Cooper, J. (Deptford) Foot, M. M.
Balfour, A. Corbet, Mrs. F K. (Peckham) Forman, J. C.
Barnes, Rt. Hon A. J. Cove, W. G. Fraser, T. (Hamilton)
Bartley, T. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Freeman, J. (Watford)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon F. J. Crosland, C. A. R. Freeman, Peter (Newport)
Benson, C. Grossman, R. H. S. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H T N
Beswick, F. Cullen, Mrs. A. Ganley, Mrs. C. S
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Dagger, G. Gibson, C. W.
Bing, G. H. C. Daines, P. Gilzean, A.
Blackburn, A. R. Darling, G. (Hillsboro') Glanville, J. E. (Consett)
Blenkinsop, A. Davies, Edward (Stoke, N.) Gooch, E. G.
Blyton, W. R. Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon P C
Booth, A. Davies, Harold (Leek) Greenwood, A W J (Rossendale)
Bottomley, A. G. Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Greenwood, Rt. Hon A (Wakefield)
Bowden, W. Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Grey, C. F.
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) de Freitas, Geoffrey Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Deer, G. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J (Llanelly)
Brockway, A. Fenner Delargy, H. J. Griffiths, W. D. (Exchange)
Brook, D. (Halifax) Diamond, J. Gunter, R. J.
Brooks, T. J. (Normanton) Dodds, N. N. Haire, John E. (Wycombe)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Donnelly, D. Hale, J (Rochdale)
Brown, George (Belper) Donovan, T. N. Hale Leslie (Oldham, W.)
Burke, W. A Driberg, T. E. N. Hall, J. (Gateshead, W.)
Burton, Miss E. Dugdale, Rt. Hon. J. (W. Bromwich) Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
Butler, H. W. (Hackney. S.) Dye, S. Hamilton, W. W.
Callaghan, James Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Hannan, W
Carmichael, James Edelman, M. Hardman, D. R
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Caerphilly) Hardy, E. A.
Champion, A. J. Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Hargreaves, A
Harrison, J. Manuel, A. C. Simmons, C J
Hastings, Dr. Somerville Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Slater, J.
Hayman, F. H. Mathers, Rt. Hon. George Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Tipton) Mellish, R. J. Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Herbison, Miss M. Messer, F. Snow, J. W.
Hewitson, Capt. M. Middleton, Mrs. L Sorensen, R. W.
Hobson, C. R. Mikardo, Ian Stewart, Michael (Fulham. E.)
Holman, P. Mitchison, G. R. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.
Holmes, H E. (Hemsworth) Moeran, E. W Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Houghton, Douglas Monslow, W. Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Vauxhar)
Hoy, J. Moody, A. S. Stross, Dr. B
Hubbard, T. Morgan, Dr. H B Summerskill, Rt. Hon. Edith
Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, N.) Morley, R. Sylvester, G. O.
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr) Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Hughes, R. M. (Islington, N.) Mort, D. L. Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Moyle, A. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Mulley, F. W. Thomas, I. R. (Rhondda, W)
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Murray, J. D Thomas, T. George (Cardiff)
Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Nally, W. Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A Neal, H. Thurtle, Ernest
Janner, B. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. Timmons, J.
Jay, D. P. T O'Brien, T. Tomlinson, Rt. Hon G
Jeger, G. (Goole) Oldfield, W. H. Tomney, F.
Jager, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.) Oliver, G. H. Usborne, Henry
Jenkins, R. H. Orbach, M. Vernon, Maj. W F
Johnson, J. (Rugby) Padley, W. E. Viant, S. P.
Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Paling, Rt. Hn. Wilfred (Deane V'lly) Wallace, H. W.
Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool) Paling, Will T (Dewsbury) Watkins, T. E.
Jones, Elwyn (West Ham S.) Pannell, T. C. Webb, Rt. Hon. M (Bradford. C.)
Jones, W. E. (Conway) Pargiter, G. A. Weitzman, D.
Keenan, W. Parker, J. Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W Paton, J. Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
King, H. M. Peart, T. F. West, D. G.
Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E Poole, Cecil Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb'gh. E.)
Kinley, J. Popplewell, E White, Mrs. E. (E. Flint)
Lang, Rev. G. Porter, G. White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Lee, Miss J. (Cannock) Price, M. Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Proctor, W. T. Wigg, George
Lewis, A. W. J. (West Ham, N.) Pryde, D. J. Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.
Lewis, J. (Bolton, W.) Pursey, Comdr H. Wilkes, L.
Lindgren, G. S. Rankin, J. Wilkins, W. A.
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M Rees, Mrs. D. Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Logan, D. G. Reeves, J. Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Longden, F. (Small Heath) Reid, T. (Swindon) Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
McAllister, G. Rhodes, H. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
MacColl, J. E. Robens, A. Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
McGhee, H. G. Roberts, Goronwy (Caertsarvonshire) Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Huyton)
McGovern, J. Robertson, J. J. (Berwick) Winterbottom, I. (Nottingham, C.)
Mack, J. D. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Winterbottom, R. E. (Brightside)
McKay, J. (Wallsend) Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.) Wise, Major F. J.
Mackay, R. W. G. (Reading, N.) Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
McLeavy, F. Royle, C. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Shackleton, E. A. A. Woods, Rev. G. S.
MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir H Wyatt, W. L.
Mainwaring, W. H. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E Yates, V. F.
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Shurmer, P. L. E. Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Mann, Mrs. J. Silverman, S. S. (Nelson) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Pearson and Mr. Sparks.

Question put, and agreed to.

It being after Half-past Nine o'Clock The CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Standing Order No. 16 (Business of Supply) to put the Question necessary to dispose of the Vote then under discussion.

Resolved: That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £13,880,400, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1950, for the salaries and expenses of the Ministry of Food; the cost of trading services, including certain subsidies; and sundry other services.

The CHAIRMAN then proceeded forthwith to put the Question with respect to all such Army Votes for the coming financial year which had been put down on at least one previous day for consideration in the Committee of Supply on an Allotted Day:

"That the total amounts of all such Votes outstanding be granted for that Service."