§ 3.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Holt (Bolton, West)
I beg to move, in page 19, line 7, to leave out from the beginning, to the second "the," in line 8, and to insert:Within six months from the passing of this Act.
§ The Chairman
It may be for the convenience of the Committee if this Amendment and the next three are discussed together—in page 19, line 7, leave out from the beginning to the second "the," in line 8; leave out "twelve months," and insert "two years"; and leave out "passing of this Act," and insert "appointed day."
§ Mr. Holt
The purpose of this Amendment and of several others in the names of myself and my hon. Friends is to speed up the re-organisation of the railways and to bring about the early attainment of some of the advantages which should thereby result. The re-organisation of the railways is a matter that has been widely discussed a long time before this House started to discuss this Bill, and I am advised that the railways themselves could very quickly now produce a workable scheme of de-centralisation. The Transport Commission themselves could produce such a de-centralisation scheme very quickly. I am told that within a matter of three months, even at this stage before the Bill goes through, if it were necessary such a scheme could be produced.
There are probably several reasons why that should not be done now and why we should wait until after this Measure has become law. One of the considerations is who are to be the members of the Commission when this Bill becomes an Act. The present Commission have given the impression that they oppose a great part of this Bill; they may feel that if and when this Bill becomes law they will have no confidence in the new structure to carry out the provisions of this Bill as it 972 affects them and they may decide to hand in their resignations to the Minister. The Minister may decide to accept them.
In that case, presumably the Minister will appoint people who, in fact, believe that the railways and their ancillary services will be better run by a de-centralised organisation. But that means that if the new Commission is appointed—if there is to be a new Commission—in the middle of next year after this Bill becomes law, it might be something like 12 months before a scheme would be produced to the Minister. That will probably take us up to the middle of 1954. In Clause 15 there is provision for this scheme to be examined by various interested bodies, and there may be a delay of several more months before the Minister gives his approval to that scheme. That would bring us to the end of 1954.
It may be the middle of 1954 before the scheme is submitted to the Minister, and it may be another three or four months, or even six months, before the Minister approves the scheme, which would take us to the end of 1954. Possibly we should be into 1955 before there was any chance of the railways putting the re-organised scheme into effect. Then another year would pass before the railways would feel any benefit from the reorganised scheme. The deadline in this matter is the end of 1954 when the 25-mile restriction is to be lifted. From the beginning of 1955 onwards the railways and everyone else involved in transport are going to be up against severe competition.
Whatever maybe our views on this Bill, we must assume that in some form or other it is going to become an Act, and it is absolutely vital that the railways should soon produce a scheme. I agree that there is nothing in this Bill to prevent them from producing the scheme early, but if Parliament allows them 12 months all kinds of pressures will be put upon them to delay and think again about this, that and the other before the scheme even gets to the Minister. It is essential that Parliament should make it quite clear that de-centralisation is going to take place and that the railways should get on with it as quickly as possible.
There is nothing sacrosanct about the period of six months given in this Amendment. The whole purpose is to stress the need, which I think is felt by 973 many hon. and right hon. Members who believe that the railways will get a considerable advantage out of a de-centralised organisation, that they should get the advantages of re-organisation as quickly as possible.
§ Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
I had proposed speaking a little later in this debate but I have no objection to dealing with the points I wish to raise at this moment.
The Amendment to which I propose to refer is, in page 19, line 7, leave out "passing of this Act," and insert "appointed day." This Amendment has more meaning than appears on the surface. The purpose of referring to the "appointed day" is to connect it with the Amendment to Clause 34 which asks that the Bill, so far as Scotland is concerned, should remain inoperative until such time as the Minister has been able to hold an inquiry as to the best form of co-ordinating transport in Scotland.
I congratulate the Minister on his mastery of the Bill. That has been made evident by the way in which he has been able to avoid every deadly point made by hon. Members on this side of the Committee. He could not possibly have avoided those points unless he had a great knowledge of the Bill, and so far he has been able to dodge most of the shafts which have come across to him from this side of the Committee—or at least he has not received them as directly as they were meant to arrive.
But the Minister did himself less than justice when he purported to reply to my speech referring to the inquiry. I still hold that no inquiry is required for Scotland. An objective inquiry has been made by the Scottish Council, and while nobody says that everything they say must be accepted, it is obvious that they gave sufficient indication of the lines to be followed if there was to be a re-organisation of transport in Scotland. But the Minister has not accepted the views of the Scottish Council and, so far as anyone knows, the matter is still unresolved.
I submit that it would be wise to accept my Amendment and to agree that the Bill should not come into effect in Scotland until he has had a report from those qualified to judge on practical grounds what is the best method of achieving a co-ordinated, efficient and economical transport system in Scotland.
974 3.45 p.m.
What is to happen in Scotland is still a mystery. Apparently the last place to receive any information is the House of Commons. The only authoritative statement which has so far been presented is that which was given in an address to the Stirling and Falkirk Unionist Association by the Minister of State for Scottish Affairs. That association got more time to discuss what is to happen to Scottish transport than is being allowed to the House of Commons in the whole course of this Bill. As the "Scotsman" said this morning, he did his best to put up a case for the Bill in Scotland, but after reading his remarks carefully, I must confess that I am no further forward as to where we are to stand. It is interesting to note that he tried to justify the Bill, which is a thing which no one else has ever attempted to do. He tells us that:…the whole agricultural community complained that the road haulage system was rigid, dilatory and expensiveand said that:…there was no evidence of enthusiasm for centralisation among the workers.That was his case for the Bill.
It is curious that he should pick out the one section of the community which is not bound entirely to the Road Haulage Executive. On the last occasion on which I spoke I gave evidence that the farming community prefer the British Road Services for the transport of their livestock, though they have perfect liberty to utilise private hauliers and are not bound to the British Road Services. The fact that the noble Lord brought in the wishes of the workers as an excuse shows that he was addressing a Unionist association, because any other audience would have laughed.
This so-called justification for the Bill is the third we have had. Two others were given by hon. Members opposite. One was given by the right hon. Gentleman when he referred to that famous parcel which took three or four days to get from Leith to Renfrew, and last week it was said that a parcel had taken four days to get from London to Birmingham. If anybody wanted to illustrate how efficient and acceptable are British Road Services, it would only be necessary for him to point out that only these piffling complaints have been brought forward in justification for the destruction of a nation-wide road transport system. 975 Lord Home's speech is equally illuminating when we read the parts in which he praises the Bill. He tells us that the Government's objective is… to find means by which the whole field of publicly-owned transport in Scotland …
§ Mr. David Renton (Huntingdon)
On a point of order. I have been listening carefully to what the right hon. Gentleman has been saying and I am wondering whether he heard you aright, Sir Charles, when you prescribed which Amendments were to be discussed. As I understand it we are discussing the first four Amendments on the Order Paper which relate to Clause 14, and which deal with the timing of the de-centralisation of the railways; but the right hon. Gentleman does not appear to be talking to that point.
§ The Chairman
It had struck me that the right hon. Gentleman was going rather wide of the Amendments.
§ Mr. Woodburn
I submit that Clause 14 does not refer only to the re-organisation of the railways. I think the hon. Gentleman has been misled. If he will turn to the next page on the Order Paper, he will find that this Clause covers the power to set up an authority not only to take in the railways but every other aspect of the Commission's work. I am dealing with the co-ordination of all these services and with what is proposed in this Clause, especially so in view of the fact that in this Clause it is proposed to have a special scheme for Scotland. I submit that I have not so far been out of order.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)
On a point of order. I submit that what the right hon. Gentleman has been saying is strictly out of order. Although it may be the case that the Clause as a whole lets in the whole question of road transport, it is quite clear that these Amendments do not, particularly the first Amendment, on which you called the hon. Member for Bolton. West (Mr. Holt).
§ Mr. Woodburn
This Amendment covers the whole of Clause 14 and any comprehensive scheme would have to be submitted. I took advice on this before 976 dealing with it. May I quote the speech of the noble Lord? He gives as the objective of the Governmentto find means by which the whole field of publicly-owned transport in Scotland would be kept under constant review and Scotland's interests fully safeguarded.For this purpose we are told that the Minister isprepared to set up a board composed of representatives of the bodies responsible to the British Transport Commission for the provision of goods and passenger services both by rail and road and of British European Airways and Messrs. MacBrayne.We are then told by the Minister of State thatThe Transport Commission will be responsible in Scotland for the whole of the railway system, including railway collection and delivery services, for the road passenger services provided by the Scottish omnibuses group and such road haulage services as continue in public ownership and are administered by companies set up for the purpose under Clause 4 of the Bill. The Commission will also continue to run the railway hotels, the former railway docks and the Caledonian and Crinan Canals.All this would be far more effectively achieved if there were no Bill at all. The whole purpose of the Act which the Bill sets out to destroy was to effect what the Minister of State holds out as the ideal arrangements for Scotland. What is not yet clear is what is to happen to the road transport which is not in public hands. Who is to co-ordinate that and to ensure that it will play its part in providing what the Minister states as the purpose of a Government:A complete coverage of every part of Scotland by the most appropriate form of transport"?We accept that as an objective and our criticism, and that of all authoritative people in Scotland, is that that is just what the Bill does not achieve. Indeed, in our view it destroys any chance of that being done because a great sector of transport, presumably, is to be left out of any control whatever. This is not only a Labour point of view but the "Scotsman" says:The proposals fall short of establishing effective Scottish control of transport services.In an earlier article, they said:The change in party fortunes has modified the attitude of Scottish Unionists; their zeal for the devolution of control of nationalised concerns has apparently weakened.We want some body established in Scotland familiar with Scottish conditions 977 to have the power to bring all providers of transport together and to ensure that overlapping, duplication and wasteful handling of goods are eliminated so that Scotland can have a nation-wide network of collection and delivery services with the minimum of handling. Can anyone say that that is not a sensible thing to desire?
This is not a matter to be settled by party prejudice either on one side or the other. It should be the outcome of the pooling of the experience of those concerned with the provision of transport services, on the one hand, and those who use transport, on the other, and with someone there to see that the public interest supervenes over both. If legislation is required, it should surely come after the best way has been ascertained and not while, to use the words of Lord Home,the Government's minds were open to consider any constructive suggestion.He went on to qualify this open-mindedness and to add:which did not conflict with the principles of the Bill.I put it to the Minister: Was there ever a more glaring case of prejudice prejudging an issue before the facts were known than to say that people's minds are open to consideration of the problem but that it must not conflict with what they have prejudiced in the Bill? I press the Government to accept the proposal I have made that they should allow the Scottish position to be explored and that in the meantime this Bill should not apply to Scotland. The "Scotsman" describes the last proposals of the Minister as,profoundly disappointing and thoroughly unsatisfactory.It goes on to say:The Minister of Transport must be sadly misinformed about the state of Scottish opinion if he thinks that the creation of another advisory body will be regarded as the solution of our transport problems.Our proposal for an inquiry has received an unexpected encouragement from a report of an inquiry which the Unionist Government of Northern Ireland set up and which examined this problem. There are many similarities between Northern Ireland and Scotland in the need for an integrated system of transport. They had the same complaints as we have now, vague allegations mostly from people who 978 know nothing about it. Their investigations have disclosed, to quote from their report:None of the complaints as to specific failures or grievances was satisfactorily proved and the evidence about them consisted either of opinions based on very inadequate evidence or on hearsay and even mere gossip.I think the Minister is bound to admit after the speeches we have had in this House about transport that one great fact has emerged; that is that no real complaint has been made against British Road Services. The Northern Ireland Parliament by this Committee were examining suggestions that road transport should be handed back to private hauliers and in their conclusions they agreed with our apprehensions as to what would happen in Scotland. They said:Private operators might take over the road services in the more populous and busier parts of the Province but the outlying areas would not be given so satisfactory a service or, in many cases, no service at all.The Committee also commented on the noted absence of criticism of the service by traders, manufacturers and private citizens. I have watched the Press very carefully and it has been quite remarkable that users of transport or those who know about transport have not sent complaints to the Press nor have any been quoted here. The Northern Ireland Committee reported that:A return to private enterprise would not result in better services … unless they were given the same monopoly as the authority.Their view about control by licensing is extremely interesting in view of the fact that the Minister depends so much on this idea. They said that the serviceswould undoubtedly fall into the hands of a host of small operators serving no interests but their own and whose activities it would be almost impossible to control.That is our case and the Minister and his, noble Friend ought to agree that in Scotland the desirable thing is to see that transport is co-ordinated in order to be efficient. We submit that by putting any sector out of public ownership—and this is in accordance with both the Scottish and Irish investigations—would make it impossible to control.
I have given sufficient evidence to justify the acceptance of the proposition I have put before the Minister that he should have an inquiry in Scotland. Lord Home takes credit for the Government's. 979 proposal to submit the scheme for the re-organisation of the railways to Parliament for discussion and approval. Why is it a virtue to have a scheme for the re-organisation of the railways in Scotland submitted to Parliament for discussion and approval and not also a virtue to have a scheme for the re-organisation of transport as a whole in Scotland submitted for discussion and approval? Why is it done in the case of roads cavalierly without discussion and why are the railways singled out for discussion?
What is to be lost by consulting Scottish opinion? I do not expect the Minister to consult the Labour Party in Scotland, but there are local authorities, commercial and industrial users of transport, agricultural interests and the economic interests of Scotland as a whole. What is the indecent haste for this change being forced on us without our knowledge of what is to happen? Are we to be faced with transport wars on the road and with coastal shipping?
We are told that it is to bring about great economies, but if there are more vehicles put on the road, that is not an economy. If there is competition by a multiplicity of services, that is not an economy; and if a trade war starts it will be a war on wages and cut-throat competition between the services. Are we to understand that transport will once more be cheapened at the expense of the people who work in the industry?
Mystery creates suspicion and there is no point in the Minister repeating what Lord Home has already said and which clearly is not enough. I hope that the Minister will accept the Amendment and the inquiry which it involves and will allow the reasoned voice of Scotland to be heard before final decisions are taken. He has nothing to lose and the country would have much to gain.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Henderson Stewart)
This debate, of course, is not concluded, and no doubt it will go on a little further, but it may help if at this stage I try to answer some of the Scottish points raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn). That is the only reason I am rising now.
The right hon. Gentleman, speaking on behalf of his hon. Friends, asked, as he 980 did before, that there should be an inquiry into the whole problem of Scottish transport—road, rail, and I suppose other things, too, before the Bill itself, and this Clause in particular, is passed or made to apply to Scotland. In other words, the right hon. Gentleman is asking for an indefinite hold-up of the application of the Bill to the northern part of the country.
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman does not imagine for a moment we could accept that proposition. We cannot accept any delay in the application of this Bill. We are ready, as my right hon. Friend has said again and again, to consult every reasonable body of opinion, including the Scottish Council. My right hon. Friend used specific words to pledge himself to consult the Scottish Council stage by stage on this Bill, and he intends to stand by that pledge. The truth is that we are now in consultation with the Scottish Council—close, continuous consultation.
§ Mr. John Wheatley (Edinburgh, East)
That is more than the Government are with the House of Commons.
§ Mr. Stewart
I was just coming to that. The right hon. Gentleman complained that so far there had not been, so he thought, adequate exposition of the Government's views on Scottish affairs. Whose fault is that? [HON. MEMBERS: "Guillotine."] No. I am not complaining; I am only trying to state the fact; but the fact is that the Opposition left me the other night, as the only opportunity I had, exactly four minutes—
§ Mr. Stewart
By mistake I did not use the full four minutes, but only three and a half. The right hon. Gentleman was cleverer at the game at that moment than I was and used the other half-minute. I shall not make the same mistake again. I am obliged to him.
§ Mr. Stewart
All right, but I do not want to go on until 10.30. The only reason the Scottish case has not been presented in more detail is that the Opposition have not given us time to do it. [HON. MEMBERS: "0h."] Time has, however, now 981 been offered. I do not mean to exploit it, for I think I can say what I have to say as quickly as the right hon. Gentleman said what he had to say, because I know that there is much more to talk about today.
Let us take what the right hon. Gentleman said step by step. I find it difficult, with great respect to the right hon. Gentleman, to understand what he wants. Today he said in specific words that he still held there was no need for an inquiry. However, the Amendment asks for an inquiry. He says he does not think there is any need for an inquiry.
§ Mr. Woodburn
The hon. Gentleman is putting up a dishonest point. The point is that neither Scotland nor I think there is any need for an inquiry, but before the Minister and the Government, quite misinformed according to the "Scotsman," take a blundering step like this, they ought to have an inquiry.
§ Mr. Stewart
Let us examine that statement. What the right hon. Gentleman says today is that neither he nor Scotland thinks there is any need for an inquiry. Then he follows that up by saying, nevertheless, that he thinks the Government ought to have an inquiry. Really, that is a completely muddled position. But I think I can understand something of the consideration behind it. What the right hon. Gentleman probably means to say is this: "If you accept the views of the Scottish Council, as they have so far been expressed, I do not ask for an inquiry, but," says he, "since you have not, apparently, accepted the views of the Scottish Council, in my opinion an inquiry is necessary." I think that that would be a fair way of putting the right hon. Gentleman's view. Therefore, it hinges, apparently, on whether we accept or do not accept the views of the Scottish Council.
Let me face that squarely. We have, as I have said, been in close and continuous consultation with the Scottish Council throughout. We are still in close, continuous consultation, and will be, I fancy, for quite a long time ahead. But it is not clear, I think the right hon. Gentleman would agree with me, what exactly the Scottish Council wants. I will say this. As a result of the consultations—the close, personal consultations—we have had with the Council, I am of the fixed opinion that the Government's 982 policy and that of the Council are not so far apart as would appear to be the use of the words chosen.
I have every belief that by the time we have got fully to understand each other's words and meanings and interpretations and objects, we shall be in virtual agreement. [Laughter.] The Opposition laugh, but I have, perhaps, better reason to know what I am talking about than the Opposition, with great respect; and I say that I do not believe that there is between the Scottish Council and the Government any real, substantial difference of opinion.
Let me explain to the Committee what in fact we are trying to do. First of all, let the Committee recognise the very remarkable changes for the better that this Bill brings about for Scotland. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh"] I will enumerate them. There is at the present time, under the present Act, no Scottish railway authority, no devolution, no method by which Scottish views and the Scottish Council's views can be pressed or expressed—none. The party opposite, in their Act, which is now the law, gave Scotland no rights, no railway administration at all.
§ Mr. Stewart
Let me go on. It is time the Government's view on this matter was put. That is the first thing. This Bill will create a Scottish railway authority with wide powers, an authority drawn up—[Interruption.] I hope the Committee will allow me to explain what is intended—an authority whose functions, powers and constitution will be established by a scheme, which scheme will be presented by the Commission to the Minister of Transport, who, in consultation with the Secretary of State for Scotland, and after all consideration of Scottish problems has been taken, will produce a scheme applicable to Scotland. Nothing comparable to that has ever been suggested by any Socialist Member of Parliament.
§ Mr. Manuel
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. In connection with the wide powers he has indicated are in this Bill, will he say whether there will be any authority in Scotland, under the Bill, which will have anything to do with fixing freight rates or fares policy for Scotland?
§ Mr. Stewart
I am glad the hon. Gentleman has mentioned that, because I am going to produce another knock-out on that. At the present time, as I said, under the Socialist Act of Parliament there is no freedom for Scotland; there is no elbow-room offered to any Scottish official on the railways until the main charges scheme has been put up, examined, and eventually promulgated. As I said in the debate on Transport in the summer, it will take at least two years—the "Manchester Guardian" suggested four years—before any charges scheme can be brought about. Under the present Act of Parliament, there is no elbow-room; no opportunity is given to the railway authorities in Scotland to make any concession to our needs, because of this stern, stiff, unbending scheme which the Opposition created in their own system. We propose a radical change.
§ Mr. Stewart
I am answering all these things, if the hon. Member will just give me time. He knows perfectly well that under this Bill it is proposed that what I have called in simple language elbow-room shall be given to the Scottish authority. What do I mean by elbow-room? We have had put to us from time to time proposals for easing transport problems in the Highlands. We have had the Cameron Committee urging an extension of the taper; hon. Members on both sides have asked for flat-rate schemes, and there have been other propositions. None of these things can be done under the present charges system.
None of these things can be done until the Scottish railway authority, the new authority created under this Bill, has this—I cannot find a better description—elbow-room, this opportunity to make a change in the charges, to make some concession here or there. That is what is conceived in this Bill. I put it to hon. Members opposite, who, I admit, have this matter very much at heart, that this is a radical and a greatly advantageous change for Scotland.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Does the hon. Gentleman not realise that Clause 14 provides that the Commission shall retaingeneral control of the charges to be made for the services and facilities provided"?
§ Mr. Stewart
The hon. Gentleman need not quibble. I quite understand that the 984 Commission retain general control; that is quite true. But the hon. Gentleman also knows that in the Bill it is proposed that there should be this freedom given to railway authorities within the charges scheme, a freedom which they do not have now.
§ Mr. Stewart
It is no use the hon. Gentleman asking what freedom. He does not know Scottish conditions, and therefore he should not interrupt.
§ Mr. Stewart
I have already said that the Bill contains a clear provision at present so that ultimately the Scottish railway authority, while the main responsibility for charges still rests with the Commission—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ah!"] There is no need to "Ah!" about it; it is quite clear from the Bill: while the main authority rests, as now, in London, it will have some authority within the scheme to make certain concessions.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
It says clearly in the Bill that powers are reserved to the Commission for general financial control and general control of the charges. The hon. Gentleman said just now that ultimately certain elbow-room would be given. How does he interpret that elbow-room within this one definite thing in the Bill, this limitation of the power in Scotland? Secondly, how long must we wait until this ultimate control is given?
§ The Minister of Transport (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
Perhaps I might say one word on this in amplification of what my hon. Friend has just said. Under the Bill, in Clause 14 (7), the hon. Gentleman is quite right in saying that the Commission havegeneral financial control and general control of the charges to be made for the services and facilities provided.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Not just now. It is a very complicated matter, and it is important for the record to have it right. 985 As the Committee knows, under the present situation there has been a rigid centralisation of all charges. This has been made largely necessary by undue preference, equality of treatment and various other statutory enactments. Obviously it would have been very complicated to take a region or area and involve the Commission in the consequences of undue preference or equality of treatment for each of the arrangements.
Under the new proposed charges proposal in Clauses 18, 19 and subsequent Clauses, there will be a wide measure of freedom for the railways as a whole. Quite obviously, while the Commission must retain the general financial control and general control of the charges, it will now be much safer for any scheme to allow for experiment in regional charges freedom, which would never have been possible before.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)
On a point of order. Is not the whole of this matter dealt with under the Amendment standing in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke), myself and others—in page 20, to leave out lines 35 and 36?
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Stewart
We may now proceed. My right hon. Friend has very kindly pointed to the precise Clause and subsection to confirm exactly what I was saying. The purport and intention of this Clause is to give to the new Scottish railway authority some room, as my right hon. Friend put it, to experiment—or, as I would put it some room to try different methods by which the special needs of places like the Highlands can be met.
That is a great advantage, and I now offer another sharp contrast. At present, under the present Act, the Consultative Committee is very limited in its scope, very limited in its action. Under our proposal its scope is broadened, and it will have direct access to the Minister. That will make a profound difference. [Laughter.] There is no need for English Members to laugh at this. It is a matter of great importance that the 986 Scottish Consultative Committee should now, under our proposals, have direct access to the Minister.
§ Mr. Stewart
The Minister of Transport; and the fact that the Minister of Transport is in close, intimate, daily contact with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland means, in effect, that the Consultative Committee will have direct access to both my right hon. Friends. Therefore, Scottish affairs will be dealt with at once. At present there is no contact at all between Ministers and the Consultative Committee. I hope the country realises what a meagre, feeble, un-Scottish Act we are now trying to amend, and what a striking improvement to the needs of Scotland is brought about by the present Bill.
The right hon. Gentleman raised the question of the co-ordinating body which my right hon. Friend suggested we might set up. My right hon. Friend referred to it in his statement on 3rd December, and it will be within the recollection of the Committee. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends opposite have paused in their headlong attack upon this Bill to consider the exact meaning and purport of my right hon. Friend's statement. I do not think they have yet understood what a remarkable advance it means in all Scottish transport affairs. There is nothing comparable to it now.
There was no co-ordination of our transport under Socialist administration—none. There was no way by which Scottish opinion could be formed, canalised and expressed—none. Socialism means nothing for Scotland. Our proposal means that there will be, by and large, Scottish authorities running the various branches of transport, and that in addition there will be a body representing those various authorities which, while it will not have executive authority, will take that co-ordinating action which itself will be of immense value.
It is said today by the right hon. Gentleman opposite that nothing can be done. What he means, apparently, is that nothing can be done unless the State owns every form of transport. We won the last Election on the clear pledge that we did not favour the State owning every form of transport. We have to stand by the 987 pledge we made that, in the case of road transport in particular, it was our clear policy and intention that that should be handed back to private enterprise.
Recent debates have made it abundantly plain that a proportion of the Commission's road transport will nevertheless remain with the Commission, and the intention is that part of it which happens to be in Scotland will still remain with the Commission. The right hon. Gentleman asked me what part. I cannot tell him now; it is impossible for me to do so at this stage, for reasons which he perfectly well understands. But such part of the Commission's road transport as remains under the Commission—and it might be a fairly substantial part—will be one of the sections of transport which would have executive authority in Scotland, and which itself would contribute to the co-ordinating body of which my right hon. Friend has spoken.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Before the hon. Gentleman leaves that, could he tell us who will co-ordinate the different parts not under that Scottish transport authority?
§ Mr. Stewart
I am coming to that. The right hon. Gentleman seems to admit that this might be a useful body, co-ordinating all the Scottish authorities concerned with nationalised transport, but he says, "What happens to that part of road transport which passes to private hands?" My right hon. Friend the Minister has already dealt with that point. I will read what he said on 3rd December:In regard to private transport undertakings, there are hopeful signs that it may well be possible in Scotland and elsewhere to get the leaders of this great industry who will be in a position to speak for the industry as a whole, and no one will be more pleased than I and my right hon. Friend will be if, in time, and through patience, it is possible to identify private transport as well with a body of this kind."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd December. 1952; Vol. 508, c. 1654.]What does that mean? It means that we have this co-ordinating body, or committee or board, or whatever we like to call it, representing those sections of nationalised transport to which I have referred, and it may well be that that body will invite, and will successfully invite, representatives of privately-owned road transport to sit with them in the process of co-ordinating Scottish transport arrangements.
988 One can understand where, for example, a railway is closed down and a bus service has to be provided. If the bus service does not present itself overnight, as it were, this co-ordinating body would take steps to see whether that need could not be met. That is the kind of action proposed. At present the buses operate, in practice, completely independently of the railways. We are seeking to get a much closer co-ordination.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacMillan (Western Isles)
Would the hon. Gentleman explain the economics of this part of the transport arrangement in relation to the Highlands, for example, to which he has referred several times? Does this mean that private undertakings, unco-ordinated and in many different hands, are to be brought together and average out the cost of the social and non-paying services as well as those of the profitable services, in the way in which a State or publicly-owned organisation can do? Is there any guarantee that these profitable, non-incorporated and non-co-operating sections—the paying sections of private transport undertakings—will come together and carry the uneconomic sections along with the rest in the way in which the public authorities are empowered to do?
§ Mr. Stewart
The hon. Gentleman asked if there is any guarantee that certain things will be done. There is no guarantee now under present arrangements. Is the hon. Gentleman going to say that every part of Scotland today has the transport which it wants? No such claim could possibly be made in Scotland. I cannot give any guarantee in these hard times. But we are completely satisfied—and we have reason to be satisfied from our contacts and the discussions which we have had—that there will, in fact, be transport made available where it is needed, and—more than that—that the transport scheme which will be provided as a result of this Bill will not be a dead loss to the State, as it is at the present time.
§ Mr. MacMillan
I must stress this point. The fact remains that provision is made under the existing arrangements for a non-profit-making service—if we like we can call it a social service—to be carried by the more profitable and remunerative sectors. That is provided for now. If it were not, the Highlands could hardly carry on. The hon. Gentleman's proposal 989 is that we should to a large extent break up the existing arrangement, and, at the same time, provide absolutely no guarantee that the non-profit-making sectors will be carried by the remunerative sectors. That is really what is happening.
§ Mr. Stewart
The hon. Member is talking as if no private enterprise concern in the past had ever had an uneconomic sector to operate. The hon. Member must know that that is nonsense. There is, I fancy, no private enterprise road transport system now or at any time in history, which has not had some sector that does not pay as well as others.
§ Mr. Stewart
Yes, in the Highlands. I would not hold myself up to be an expert in transport, any more than the hon. Gentleman, but, as a matter of fact, I have been engaged in transport. My father's business in Crieff included a transport section, not very large, and during my university holidays I was a spare driver on those transport lorries. I have taken lorries to all parts of the country—to the South of England, Wales and the North of Scotland. I know from my own experience that there were profitable sections and unprofitable sections, and only by taking the two together as a whole could one make a profit. The hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) and his friends seem to be completely ignorant of the normal running of a transport system.
§ The Chairman
The hon. Member cannot address the Committee if the hon. Member who is speaking does not give way.
§ Mr. Stewart
I should be very glad to give that explanation, but I think that this is hardly the time to do so.
That being so, it is not clear to us why this Bill should be held up in order to have a further inquiry. As the right hon. Member for East Stirling has said, the Scottish Council have made very full inquiries. Does he think that the Government have not also made their inquiries? Does he imagine that at the Scottish Office we do not know our Scottish transport system, and that we are 990 not aware of its good points and its bad points?
I would agree at once with the right hon. Gentleman that a particular, well-chosen section of the road transport industry in the South of Scotland has a good record. It won a prize as being the best of the bunch. It is not the intention of the Government to destroy all that is good. On the contrary, I hope that we shall be assisted by all those interested in this matter and by private enterprise firms to maintain and improve the good transport system of Scotland. Therefore, having all the knowledge which we think we shall require, and believing that this Bill is a progressive and liberal Measure, which ought to be quickly put through for the benefit of Scotland, I am afraid that I cannot recommend acceptance of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Thomas Steele (Dunbartonshire, West)
One thing is quite certain, and that is that the Under-Secretary of State has made it clear to us that an inquiry is absolutely essential. Quite frankly, he has shown that, so far as the Scottish Office and those for whom he speaks are concerned, they do not know anything about transport. I do not know what he himself will think when he reads his speech tomorrow, but I am confident that the Scottish Press will not be convinced by the case which he has put up this afternoon.
I think that it was wrong of him to try to blame the Opposition because the Scottish case had not been put across. In any case, we have not been told yet what is to happen in Scotland regarding transport. The hon. Gentleman attempted to make us believe that this Bill and the provisions of this Clause will bring great benefits to Scotland.
First of all, in regard to the railway administration, what does he mean by an authority? Surely the word "authority" has some meaning. It can only have some meaning if this authority is to have authority. It cannot be a consultative committee. It cannot be a body to advise the Minister. So far as I can see, no authority is to be set up under this Clause.
The hon. Gentleman has not listened to other speeches during the Second Reading and the Committee stage or he would have heard my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West (Mr. P. Morris) explain exactly what the present 991 position is; and the Bill will not improve upon that. The hon. Gentleman tried to make us believe that Scotland would have some benefit because there would be elbow room in regard to rates. Does he not realise that the British Transport Commission is offering exceptional rates in Scotland and all over the country? He seems to have no knowledge at all of what is happening in the railway industry.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
That is true, but it has been strongly represented to me and the Government by the Commission that, although they do from time to time, and over a wide field, grant exceptional rates, they have been heavily handicapped by their corresponding obligations not to give undue preference in treatment. We hope that under the new freedoms in Clauses 18 and 19 there will be an opportunity to carry out experiments regionally without the automatic obligation to apply them everywhere.
§ Mr. Steele
We appreciate and understand that, but it does not alter my argument about the Under-Secretary. He tried to make us believe that the railways would have elbow room to alter charges, but that is the case at the moment; the railways offer exceptional rates, although when they do so those rates have to be made available to every trader. Nevertheless, that does not alter my argument that the hon. Gentleman was trying to say that Scotland would have something which she does not have now.
The hon. Gentleman tried to make us believe that these proposals would bring something new to the Highlands. The Scottish Trades Union Congress has been in correspondence with the Transport Commission about freight rates in the Highlands. Here is an excerpt from a letter sent by the Commission to the Scottish T.U.C.:The resolution of your Congress suggests that the rates for coal to places in the Highlands and rural areas of Scotland should be equalised. This could be achieved by means of a flat rate or agreed charge based on the traffic passing to the area, but in this connection there would require to be guarantees that all the traffic concerned would be forwarded by the Commission's services to the area specified and that one party would be responsible for paying the whole of the charges therefore at the agreed figure. Further, the arrangement would be subject to an 992 adjustment being made in the flat charge if there was any material change in the quantities forwarded or in the flows of the traffic.If there is any body or association which is prepared and has legal powers to enter into an agreement of this nature. we shall be pleased to arrange for discussions to take place.The Transport Commission, quite clearly, has powers and is prepared to enter into arrangements in that way.
What does the case boil down to? The fact is the Government have no knowledge yet about what will happen in Scotland. There has been an inquiry which has made it clear what ought to be done for Northern Ireland and, where circumstances in Scotland are similar, surely Scotland is entitled to an inquiry in order to enable the Government to be informed, as everybody else apparently is.
§ Mr. Niall Macpherson (Dumfries)
The purpose of the Amendment is to ask for an inquiry before the appointed day. It should be pointed out that, under the Clause as it stands, 12 months may elapse before the scheme comes into operation. What do hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite think will go on during the 12 months? Surely the exact nature of the authority to be set up will be determined during that time. Nobody would suggest that at the moment we know exactly what the authority is to be. This is a question which must be examined in detail.
A comparison has been made with Northern Ireland. I am told that Northern Ireland is very far from satisfied with its arrangements. Yet hon. Gentlemen opposite are anxious to impose upon Scotland a similar organisation.
§ Mr. Macpherson
I have not read that inquiry. The fact remains that many people in Scotland—I believe many hon. Gentlemen opposite are among them—want for Scotland the same kind of organisation, in principle, as exists in Northern Ireland. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."]
What is the form of the authority in general? Let us be clear about this. It has been suggested that it was wrong for my noble Friend the Minister of State for Scottish Affairs to speak of the kind of authority which is to be set up in a 993 speech which he made outside Parliament. What absolute nonsense! It is a matter of public interest. He said nothing very much more than has already been said here by my right hon. and hon. Friends. My noble Friend made an important speech of which due notice was taken, and it has been fully reported.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite really ought to read the Bill and understand it. They have failed to distinguish between the authority to be set up under the Clause and the co-ordinating body about which my right hon. Friend has spoken during the Committee stage. They persist in thinking that what we want to do is to establish a kind of dictatorship at second level for transport in Scotland. We do not intend to do anything of the kind.
I am sure that my right hon. Friend will set up what my noble Friend suggested would be done when he made his speech at Falkirk. He said that a railway authority will be established, and we hope it will be established. We do not want to see one dictator set up for all transport in Scotland. We want to see a number of responsible bodies, each with part-time members, and we want to see these bodies rationally and properly co-ordinated by a board or committee.
My hon. Friends and I advocate the establishment of a board, which would consist of the chairmen of the railway and omnibus authorities, representatives of any road transport left in the ownership of the Transport Commission, and also representatives of the hotels, the docks and harbours and the airways services, and of MacBrayne's as well.
We should like to see independent members added so that the public might have a say in what is to be done within the bodies and may take their share in the co-ordination of the services in Scotland. If we do not do that what happens? We merely set up what is, in effect, a subsidiary of the Transport Commission and the Commission could then give orders direct to this body in Scotland. But we have always claimed that what we wanted for transport in Scotland was for it to be run in Scotland by Scotsmen, and this is the only way in which we can get it.
§ Mr. Wheatley
The hon. Gentleman has been good enough to give us his party's idea of the composition of this body. Will he now proceed to give us his 994 party's idea of the powers which the body will have in respect of the non-publicly owned sectors of the industry which will be in competition with the publicly owned sectors?
§ Mr. Macpherson
Certainly. The right hon. and learned Gentleman and his colleagues on the other side are under a complete misapprehension in this matter. The powers that this body have cannot exceed the powers that are delegated severally to each authority by the Transport Commission under the scheme as outlined in this Clause.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman asked what powers will this body have over the privately owned transport of Scotland, and the answer is that, of course, it will have no powers. That is what we mean by independent transport. We believe that it is the consumer who will ultimately co-ordinate the whole scheme. The co-ordinating committee will come together and iron out any differences that exist in the day-to-day management of the body, and it may perform an extremely useful function. The independent members of that body will give it a definitely Scottish character, and that is our idea of how the thing should be run.
§ Mr. Wheatley
The hon. Gentleman has not followed the point. It was said by the Minister that he hoped they would attract into this body representatives of the private sectors of the transport industry in Scotland. If they hope to attract them into that body what executive power will they have over them?
§ Mr. Macpherson
The right hon. and learned Gentleman still has not understood the nature of such a body. Such members as there are from the Transport Commission would not be in a position to give orders to each other. The chairman of the railway authority could not give orders to the chairman of the omnibus company. This is a co-ordinating body. Nobody gives orders. They are there to iron out their differences. That is what co-ordination means. We believe if such an approach is made in this matter the members will achieve their objective. We also believe that privately owned transport and municipalities should be consulted and we hope will be attracted into this particular set up.
§ Mr. Macpherson
Here, again, we see the typical approach of hon. Members on the other side. They want to set up some kind of ideal dictatorship in transport in Scotland which will ossify transport in that country, whereas we accept this Bill as only the first stage or chapter in a developing state of affairs. We hope that we shall be able to move on with one improvement after another, and I believe that the suggestion that I have put forward today will enable us to work towards that objective.
That is the direction in which we hope it will be possible to work, and I believe that these Amendments as a whole are unnecessary, for an inquiry will go on between now and the establishment of the scheme. The Transport Commission will have time to think out a scheme in conjunction with my right hon. Friends the Minister of Transport and the Secretary of State for Scotland. I hope the Committee will reject these Amendments.
§ Mr. Percy Morris (Swansea, West)
The hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. N. Macpherson) has invited hon. Members on this side of the Committee to study and understand the Bill. If he had done so he would not have made the speech he made just now, and his only rival in ignorance in this matter is the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, who made the initial reply to this series of Amendments. I am bound to extend sympathy to my hon. and right hon. Friends from Scotland, because, obviously, there is no hope of getting any understanding from the Government side of the Committee on this important problem.
I should like to direct attention to an administrative matter with which the Amendments to page 19, line 7, in my name and that of my hon. Friends deal. The hon. Member for Dumfries pointed out that this was the first chapter, but if this Clause passes as it stands it will only be about one-third of the chapter. Hon. Members opposite want to complete a whole re-organisation within 12 months, and anybody with the slightest knowledge of railway administration knows that that is quite impossible. After the Railways Act, 1921, the L.M.S. took 15 years to implement it, the L.N.E.R. 10 years and the Great Western were able to do it in something in between those times.
996 4.45 p.m.
Have hon. Members any conception of the scheme that is to be revised, of the instructions to be issued, of the arrangements to be made for the diversification and alteration of traffic in all parts of the country? To expect the Commission to give the railways an entirely new construction and to get the whole thing to work within 12 months is absolutely absurd. There are other important Amendments to be considered, and I will, therefore, content myself with putting one straight question to the Parliamentary Secretary. Does he really believe that it is administratively possible to do all this within 12 months? He must know that it is impossible. For that reason I beg of him to accept these Amendments and to give those responsible for the scheme a reasonable opportunity of trying to do something intelligible even on the shocking basis on which this Bill proposes to proceed.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. Gurney Braithwaite)
Hon. Members on both sides of the Committee will at least agree that in the two groups of Amendments now under discussion we have a very considerable range of choice. The hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Holt), who moved the Amendment for the Liberal Party, was at pains to make it clear to us that he was anxious to pin-point the importance of speed in this matter and was not necessarily wedded to the period suggested. Nonetheless, the Amendment means that the Commission, in the formation of their decentralisation scheme, would be gripped and confined within a period of six months.
The hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. P. Morris) makes no provision for any time limit in the two Amendments on the Paper which we are considering with that moved by the hon. Member for Bolton, West. The scheme would appear in the sweet by and by, as the old hymn we used to sing in Sunday School years ago had it.
§ Mr. P. Morris
It is not the sweet by and by, but I assume, as the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary assume, that the people on the Commission are thoroughly competent people and want to do the job as quickly as possible.
But the hon. Member suggests no time limit. It is eternity—the sweet by and by. But I notice that the hon. Member safeguards the position. Fearing that the Committee might not take that view, he has another Amendment on the Paper which brings us plump down not to eternity but to realism. It is now for me to give the Government's reason why the Committee should reject these alternative proposals, and I propose to do so.
In the first place, it is, in our view, impossible to formulate a scheme of re-organisation with all its complications within six months. While appreciating that it is necessary that no time should be lost—I shall come to that aspect in a moment—we believe that six months is, in fact, too short a period for the Commission to perform this important task. When it comes to the first of the Amendments in the name of the hon. Member for Swansea, West, as I have said, it imposes no time limit and we say that that would remove the stimulus from the Commission to push ahead with this matter and also any sense of urgency.
When we come to the two-year proposal I would point out to the hon. Member for Swansea, West and to the Committee as a whole that this is already provided for in the terms of the Bill. The Clause does not lay down a rigid unbending period of 12 months for this purpose. If hon. Members will look at the Clause they will see that it reads:Within 12 months from the passing of this Act or such longer period as the Minister may allow.Those words are deliberately inserted, as we realise that unforeseen obstacles may arise and circumstances may occur which will not make it possible for the scheme to be brought forward within the 12 months period. We accept that period as a time target showing what is, in our view, the kind of period within which a scheme ought to be presented to the Minister.
I would add, for the benefit of hon. Gentlemen opposite, that a good deal of work on decentralisation has already been done—[An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"]—by the Commission before the Bill was presented. It is common knowledge that the machinery of the 1947 Act was creaking and was not working satisfactorily. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] 998 Oh, yes. The Commission had in view certain schemes of decentralisation. They do not have to start from scratch at the moment when the Bill receives the Royal Assent. Work is already going forward.
They will work it out themselves, but we are anxious to impress upon the Commission that there is an urgency in this matter, and that it might be pressed forward. We are putting 12 months into the Bill as our idea of what the time target should be, but there are safeguards for an extension of time should unforeseen circumstances arise.
As regards the alternative scheme put forward by the right hon. Member for East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn) for an appointed day as opposed to "the passing of the Act," he has in mind, as he told us—and I think it links up with the Amendments which will come before us on Clause 34—that there should be this co-ordinated scheme. We feel that a scheme for the re-organisation of the railways ought to come forward irrespective of that aspect of the matter and that a period of 12 months is reasonable and should stand part of the Bill.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Does that mean a scheme for the railways, which, in Scotland, may mean other services as well, and that the other services will not be interfered with until we know what the complete scheme will be?
§ Mr. Callaghan
I intervene with very great regret at this moment. We are on a series of very important Amendments. It so happens that there are 24 Amendments to this Clause. We have to discuss three Clauses today, and 11 of the 24 Amendments are put down by either Liberal or Conservative Members. I appeal to the Committee to make some progress, if we are to consider anything except the first series of Amendments.
We are on a very important matter. I sympathise very much with Scottish Members who desire to speak about something which is of very great concern. The breaking up of their transport system will concern all, no matter on what side of the Committee they sit. After the 999 longwinded and tedious speech we have had from the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, who told us nothing in longer time than anybody I have ever heard in this Committee—[An HON. MEMBER: "About Scotland."] I am sorry that I do not understand about Scottish conditions. That is a deficiency which I cannot very easily put right, but I know that my hon. and right hon. Friends who do understand about them, and various outside bodies that are not concerned with politics, are very dissatisfied with what the Government are intending to do.
The speech of the hon. Gentleman seems to be a sufficient reason to justify hon. Gentlemen behind him who are anxious to speak in trying to get into the debate. I can only appeal to them to save their spleen for another occasion when they can deal with their Under-Secretary more privately and effectively, so that we can get on to more important matters like the re-organisation of the railways, which is perhaps the most important issue of the Bill.
About the Liberal Amendment, I would only say that we think the Minister is right in rejecting it. It has rather got lost in the Scottish oratory we have had. The Liberals seem to be even greater wreckers in the Bill than the Tories. I do not know what has gone wrong with them. They must have been got at by somebody. They seemed determined, while the Minister wants chaos in transport, to get anarchy. Of the two, I prefer chaos to anarchy, and we are at one with the Minister in not accepting the Amendment moved by the Liberals.
I say to the Parliamentary Secretary that my hon. Friend the Member for Ayrshire, Central (Mr. Manuel) hit the nail on the head when he asked why we should put a time limit upon the work of the Transport Commission at all. The Parliamentary Secretary told us that it was common knowledge that the Commission were now proceeding with a scheme. He told us what the Commission intend to do, and that they had been working on it for some months before the Bill had been promoted. In that case, why does the Parliamentary Secretary now want to put a time limit upon a task that they have been undertaking, no doubt to the best of their ability, and that 1000 they will complete within a limited period of time?
Why does he insist that the period must be 12 months, and then give himself "elbow room," if I may use the descriptive phrase employed by the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, in order to make the period longer than 12 months if he wants to do so?
The Amendments of my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West (Mr. P. Morris) are absolutely right in leaving out any reference to the time and leaving the obligation on the Commission. The Clause would then read:The Commission shall prepare and submit to the Minister a scheme for the re-organisation of that part of their undertaking which consists in the operation of the railways.What is wrong with that?
§ Mr. Callaghan
My right hon. Friend says that at least they would be quicker than the proprietors of the Press have been in the setting up of a voluntary Press Council. Certainly, this obligation will be laid upon the Commission if the form of words moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea. West is accepted.
I really cannot see why the Parliamentary Secretary wishes to cling to the particular form of words in the Bill. He says, "I must fix a time, and I give myself elbow room so that I do not have to adhere to the time if I do not want to: but I can tell you that the Transport Commission intend to do this anyway." If ever there was an example of unnecessary verbiage in a Bill, this is it.
In three minutes I want to give five reasons why the Parliamentary Secretary should not insist upon the time limit and why the time should be longer if the Commission want it. First of all, the Commission are charged with the duty of selling off the Road Haulage Executive. They are to do that, if the Minister has his way, in 1953. They may not be able to do it by the end of 1953, but anyway, a major part of the energies of the Commission is to be consumed in 1953 in getting rid of this profitable road haulage undertaking.
Secondly, the Commission will have laid upon them the task of setting up 1001 companies and organising them for that part of, the Road Haulage Executive which they are to be permitted by the Bill to keep. That will engage some more of their energies in 1953. Thirdly, they are told that they must apply for licences for the British Road Services, and fix such bases as are desirable and necessary for them. We do not know what the exact time limit for that will be. We had an argument about it the other day. I understand that the Minister is making some concession, and that the time will be either three months or six months. At any rate, it will be a considerable period of the first 12 months after the passing of the Bill. The Commission are to be engaged upon this work, too.
Fourthly, the Commission will be engaged upon the task of preparing charges schemes to place before the Tribunal. They will want to get on with that task because, under later Clauses of the Bill, they cannot get concessions that they need until those charges schemes come into operation. They are bound to press ahead. This is another major task to engage their energies in 1953. They may well be fully occupied during the next 12 months.
Lastly, and perhaps as important as any, they will have to disengage the railway and road haulage services that have become intertwined during the last four years. They have built up a series of co-ordinated, integrated road and rail units which will now have to be split asunder before British Road Services finally disappears. It is a big administrative task to lay upon them. I do not comment upon the morality of it or the stupidity of it at the moment; I merely say that it will be a substantial task for the Transport Commission to undertake because they will want to undo these dovetailed services in order to deny every concession they can to the road hauliers and to secure every halfpenny piece of revenue they can for the railways during the first 12 months.
Let hon. Gentlemen opposite be prepared to face this fact once the Bill is through: from the moment this Bill becomes law, it is war to the knife. There will be no co-operation between road and rail. The services that are now together will be torn apart. They will be fighting each other for every piece of trade, for 1002 every piece of merchandise, for every job on the roads. We shall be back to the days that existed before, which hon. Gentlemen opposite have conveniently forgotten, when their own Government were forced to introduce measures to restrict the unrestricted war to the knife that had been raging on the roads and railways.
This is the task to which the railways have to return. They will have 12 months in which to do this job and they will have to do it quickly. Yet the Parliamentary Secretary says that at the same time as they are putting themselves in a proper state to meet the battle with the road hauliers which they will have to face, they must get ahead with re-organising themselves, get rid of the Railway Executive, get down to the big internal administrative job of overhauling the entire machine. This is typical of the Minister. It is exactly in line with everything he does; he holds all the balance on the side of the road hauliers and seizes every opportunity of doing down the Transport Commission. This is unseemly haste. The Commission has a capital value of £12 million and 600,000 employees. The Minister wants them to re-organise themselves in 12 months instead of allowing them to do it in the time they would like.
I have finished, except to say that normally I would advise my hon. Friends from Scotland to divide on this Amendment. It seems to me that the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland put up no case at all for showing that Scotland will get any advantage out of this that will not accrue to any other section of the Transport Commission. He has tried to camouflage the position by pretending that Scotland will get advantages which it will not get. The hon. Gentleman obviously does not understand it if he thinks they will, but I have no time to argue that point.
We have taken a very long time although everyone knows that we expressed our desire to get on to other Amendments as quickly as possible. I think we have registered our opposition in the strongest possible way and I hope, therefore, that my hon. Friends will see fit to bring this debate to a conclusion, while expressing our strongest opposition to the way in which the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland put his case. If the 1003 Government will not accept these Amendments I hope that we can now proceed to negative them and move on to the next series.
Before we reach a decision on this matter, it may interest hon. Members on both sides of the Committee, and possibly soothe the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) if I say that while my right hon. Friend has had correspondence with the Transport Commission on many matters arising out of this Bill, the time limit has not been one of them. There has been no complaint about it and, of course, the Commission realise that the period can be extended under this Clause should unforeseen circumstances arise.
§ Mr. Callaghan
If the Commission ask for an extension of time, will the Parliamentary Secretary undertake to give it to them?
Obviously, if unforeseen circumstances arise which make it impossible for the scheme to be submitted within 12 months, my right hon. Friend will give any such request most sympathetic consideration. I can only regret that the indignation of the hon. Gentleman does not match up to his pugnacity and that he has not the courage to take the matter to a Division.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
On a point of order. May I ask your guidance, Mr. Hopkin Morris, in a genuine desire to help both sides of the Committee? We are in danger of having a rather scrappy debate on this vitally important Clause to which there are a number of proposed Amendments. All more or less approach the same problem from different angles: at what point the Minister should come into the scheme, what are the general views of the Government and the Opposition on the form that re-organisation ought to take, whether there ought to be a Railway Executive or not, and the vital question of the central control of wages and conditions of labour. It might be for the convenience of the Committee, if you thought fit, to have a general discussion on these various points, and perhaps it would be possible for hon. Members who have Amendments down 1004 to catch your eye? I am entirely in your hands and in the hands of the Opposition.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I sympathise with that point of view and, normally, would like to accept the suggestion but there is difficulty. If only the first Amendment in the name of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh, West (Lieut.-Commander Hutchison) is moved, and that is still under discussion when the Guillotine falls, we shall not be able to divide upon some other important Amendments. I do not know whether we could get over that in some way since there are certain Amendments that are of great importance to us.
The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hopkin Morris)
Sufficient time will have to be left for those Amendments to be moved and for a debate to take place on them, because they cannot be divided on unless they are moved.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Would it be convenient if we were to take together the first two Amendments on the Order Paper to line 9 and then, as soon as the Committee is ready to come to a conclusion on that matter, move on to the Amendment to line 13, to leave out paragraph (a), which deals with the Railway Executive so that, if you thought it appropriate, we could have a wide debate on that one?
§ Mr. Woodburn
I understood, Mr. Hopkin Morris, that you would call the Amendment in my name to line 7, to leave out "passing of this Act," and insert "appointed day." We agreed to include it in the general discussion in order not to waste time on a Division, but I would not like right hon. Gentlemen opposite to accuse me of not wanting to divide on it.
I understood from the winding-up speech that it was not to be pressed to a Division. The Question I put was taken to cover the four Amendments.
§ Mr. Sparks
In connection with the Amendment to leave out paragraph (a), may I ask whether the Amendment in the name of the hon. Baronet the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) to line 22, leave out subsection (3), which is to some extent allied to that subject, will be taken?
The best thing we can do at the moment is to see how we get on. I will call the Amendment 1005 standing in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Edinburgh, West (Lieut.-Commander Hutchison).
§ Mr. Callaghan
On that understanding would it be possible to have a fairly wide discussion on leaving out paragraph (a)? That Amendment deals with the abolition of the Railway Executive.
If that be the wish of the Committee, we can do that. In the meantime, I suggest that we take together the two Amendments to line 9.
§ Mr. N. Macpherson
I am much obliged, Mr. Hopkin Morris.
I beg to move, in page 19, line 9, after "shall," to insert:in consultation with the Minister and in the case of subsection (9) of this section the Secretary of State.The purpose of this Amendment is to ensure that the Commission, in preparing its scheme under this Clause, shall consult the Minister and, in the case of subsection (9) which deals with Scotland, that it shall also consult the Secretary of State for Scotland.
It seems reasonable that when a scheme is being prepared the Minister should be brought in during the early stages. If the scheme were completed before my right hon. Friend was consulted, it might be on lines which would not be generally acceptable and which my right hon. Friend would then have to alter. It seems to me that the scheme that the Commission put up would be likely to hang together as a whole and that in altering parts of it my right hon. Friend might to some extent affect the balance of the whole conception.
One has to bear in mind in this connection that so far as the preparation of this scheme is concerned, there is no Disposal Board which is to give to the Commission the general lines on which they are to work. I do not know whether it is my right hon. Friend's intention to give to the Commission directions of a general character in this matter or whether it is his intention to leave the Commission to devise the scheme entirely by themselves. At any rate, it seems that great advantages would result from the Commission and my right hon. Friend working very closely together in the preparation of the scheme.
1006 The Clause as drafted implies already that the Commission will consult the Minister in preparing the scheme, because subsection (3) states that:The said scheme may provide—(a) for the setting up of other authorities and for the delegation to them of such functions … which appear to the Commission or to the Minister to be unsuitable for delegation to an authority set up for a particular area.If it is to appear to the Commission or to the Minister, the scheme which is being prepared must, presumably, already have been seen by the Minister in the course of preparation, otherwise the drafting does not work out satisfactorily. If the Minister does not accept the Amendment, it would appear that a minor alteration would be required to subsection (3, a).
The same applies—[interruption.] I do not know whether the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) and his hon. Friends would like to give some time to the debate or whether they would like to debate by themselves, but at the moment it is a little difficult to carry on a speech from this side of the Committee when so many speeches are being made on the other side of the Committee among themselves.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I apologise to the hon. Member. This is another consequence of the Guillotine. We are getting ready for the axe which is to fall very soon.
§ Mr. Macpherson
I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman, but it is possible sometimes to do that elsewhere if considerable discussion is involved.
I have stated the case for the Amendment. It seems to us who have put it down to be a reasonable proposal, and I hope that my right hon. Friend will be able to accept it.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
If my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Mr. N. Macpherson) looks at the next Clause, he will see in subsection (7) that there is a statutory obligation on the Minister to consult the Secretary of State for Scotland before he exercises his powers under that Clause; and the powers under that Clause are to give effect to the scheme. 1007 I do not think, therefore, that it is necessary also to write into the Bill a statutory obligation for the Minister to consult the Secretary of State and that both of them should consult in advance with the Commission.
There is a slight danger that if on every occasion when colleagues are supposed to consult together we write it into a Bill, on some occasion there might be colleagues—it will not happen, of course, in this Government—who are reluctant to consult a colleague because it was not so provided in the statute. I assure my hon. Friend that there will be the fullest consultation between myself and the Secretary of State at all proper stages, but I should be reluctant to see it woven into the texture of the Bill in the form of a rigid statutory obligation.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
I do not wish to pursue the point of the relations between my right hon. Friend and his colleague on the Front Bench, the Secretary of State for Scotland. I think, however, that my right hon. Friend has treated a little lightly the main part of the Amendment, which was clearly put by my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Mr. M. Macpherson).
It will take some time to devise the scheme, and we do not want to see a situation brought about wherein, after 12 months, the Commission's scheme has already taken so rigid a form that my right hon. Friend himself and his official advisers will find it extremely hard to alter it. I referred to this matter on Second Reading and the point which I then made, and which I will put again briefly now, was that the Commission consists of men who were appointed because they were known to favour and would serve a scheme of centralisation.
It is not in the least derogatory to the abilities of Lord Hurcomb and his colleagues to say that there must be a psychological reluctance, to put it no higher, to press on further towards a scheme of decentralisation of the railways. Indeed, as I pointed out on Second Reading, we are seeing something that we have not seen in this country for half a century or more: the end of a period in which small businesses are built up into medium businesses and 1008 medium businesses into gigantic corporations, and the reverse process. There are not many people about this country today who understand the technological implications of this great movement, which, as I see it, was reflected in the vote at the last General Election in favour of decentralisation and decontrol and the creation of smaller units of commerce and industry.
It may sound a little naive, but the only people that I can see at this moment who have begun to think out these ideas are sitting now on these benches in the House of Commons. There are very few men of great skill and wisdom in industry who have yet had time to give the new scheme a thought, and I am very disturbed at the possibility that in 12 or 18 months' time an insufficient scheme, from the point of view of those of us on these benches who have thought about the possibilities, will have been prepared; and whatever scheme has been prepared will come before my right hon. Friend, who will then discover in association, as I hope, with us that it is quite unsatisfactory.
For these reasons and not to labour the point any further, we are wishing to write statutorily into the Bill at this stage the personality of my right hon. Friend himself, to ensure that week by week he works with the members of the Commission as they prepare the scheme and ensures that it takes on what I might call a conservative character.
I am quite prepared to admit that this may sound a little naive, but I should like to know in what other words it is possible to put it. When I said "week by week," I did not mean that my right hon. Friend's time should be taken up, for instance, by telephoning Lord Hurcomb every Tuesday morning at 11 o'clock and asking, "How is your precious scheme getting on?"
At any rate, there ought to be some drive and direction from the Ministry, given by my right hon. Friend, in the production of the scheme. It is a little strange to note the reluctance with which he views this proposal, bearing in mind that in subsections (3), (6) and (7) of this Clause he puts himself pari passu with the Commission in these various ideas for the setting up of other authorities and so on. There we have the Commission and the Minister placed in the position 1009 of being able to determine, one or the other, which way certain things shall go. But there is nothing in this Clause which says who is to decide on a point of substance, and that is a source of worry to a number of my hon. Friends and myself.
As the Minister has gone as far as to include himself with the Commission in various subsections, it does not seem to be asking too much to suggest that he should produce himself at the beginning to make clear that it is his intention to see that the development of this great scheme is consistent with the desire and aspirations of the people of this country who voted into power the Conservative Government in order that those aspirations should be carried out.
§ Mr. Renton
I feel that the Amendment is necessary for three reasons: first, to provide the clarification which the Clause at present lacks; secondly, to make sure that the scheme is sound in principle; and, thirdly, to avoid delay. It is strange that in subsection (3, a) and subsection (6, a) we find either the Commission or the Minister capable of taking a decision, although there may be disagreements between them. I should have thought that it was necessary that there should be consultation with the Minister not only about the particular matters to which the subsections refer but throughout the drawing up of the scheme.
If that amount of clarification is introduced into the Clause we shall be able to ensure the next point which we should try to ensure—namely, that the scheme is sound in principle from the point of view of the Election pledges to which the Minister is committed but to which the Commission are not committed. In connection with those pledges, may I remind my right hon. Friend, as I have reminded him previously, that we said we would form public road and rail transport into regional groups of workable size? The Commission cannot necessarily be expected to have the same sort of ideas about such regional groups as the Minister and Members of his party.
If I may say so in passing, there has always been a certain amount of exaggerated talk about the extent to which one can delegate these matters which must be matters of Parliamentary political responsibility. I do not think it is right 1010 that at this stage of the re-organisation of transport we should expect the Commission to accept alone the responsibility of drawing up the scheme. To get that straightened out, I hope the Minister will accept the Amendment.
Finally, there is the question of delay, and in this connection I do not think it will be out of order for me to remind the Committee of what was said by the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Holt), from the Liberal benches, about the date when the scheme would come into operation. He anticipated. and I think quite rightly, that there was virtually no chance, as the Bill stands, of the re-organisation scheme coming into force before 1955, and certainly the beginning of 1955 looks to be the earliest date. It might well be much later than 1955. All I can say is that if that is so, a vast number of the electorate of this country will be most disappointed, including, I venture to say, some of the railwaymen who voted against us.
§ Mr. Patrick Maitland (Lanark)
I should like to support the argument for providing adequate and sufficiently varied consultation between the Minister and the Commission and, in the case of Scotland, the Secretary of State for Scotland. The Minister has directed our attention to Clause 15 (7) but I suggest, with respect, that that provides for consultation with the Secretary of State for Scotland when the scheme is practically complete. It is before the Minister exercises his powers under that Clause.
To revert to another angle of Scottish affairs and to one of the anxieties which we have all felt about the management of transport in Scotland. Under the 1947 Act, we were presented with a system for consultation on Scottish transport by means of a consumers' consultative committee. Not long ago it was the experience that the committee was not adequate for its purpose. We have been charged over and over again by the Opposition with having no picture in our minds of what we want for Scottish transport. Indeed, we have such a picture, and if there is doubt about it, then it is all the more desirable that the picture should be made quite plain to both the Commission and the Minister. There should be these consultations, therefore, with the Secretary of State at an early stage in the preparation of these railway schemes. 1011 The kind of picture which we have in mind has already been described by my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Mr. N. Macpherson). We recognise that when the Bill becomes an Act there will be a certain amount of transport in Scotland still under the operation of the Transport Commission. There will be the railways, with their own Scottish authority, and there will be a certain amount of Transport Commission passenger transport, which will, of course, be S.M.T. and—
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
On a point of order. I submit that the hon. Gentleman is going rather wide of the Amendment, which is very narrow. We had a discussion about Scottish transport on the previous Amendment, and I do not think it is fair to the Committee for the hon. Gentleman to go out of order in this way.
§ Mr. Maitland
I do not wish in any way to trespass on the hospitality of the Committee or to exceed the bounds of order, but we were subject to violent criticism which we were not able to answer. In view of the doubts expressed and the charges made by hon. Members opposite we feel it is necessary that, early in the scheme making progress, there should be full consultation, about which we can be quite sure, between the Secretary of State, the Minister of Transport and the Commission.
§ Mr. James Harrison (Nottingham, East)
I suggest that the whole of this Amendment is far more pernicious than appears from its wording, and I get that impression from the explanation of it which has been given by hon. Gentlemen opposite. They make it quite clear that there is a desire for the Minister to interfere in the day-to-day management or re-organisation of British Railways.
§ Mr. Harrison
That is the opinion which I have formed from listening to the speeches. It seems to me that it would be well if I mentioned that they are talking about a business which requires a considerable amount of technical knowledge and is far larger than any of them comprehend. I would remind hon. Members opposite, particularly the 1012 noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) that there is about £1 million worth of business done by British Railways each day. Yet in this Amendment they have the audacity to suggest that the Minister should interfere so intimately in the business of re-organisation as to again bring about, in my opinion, the conditions which existed when the Prime Minister interfered so intimately with passenger fare charges.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
It would appear that the hon. Member for Nottingham, East (Mr. J. Harrison) is suggesting that technology should govern politics. Is he suggesting that?
§ Mr. Harrison
I am suggesting nothing of the sort. What I am suggesting is that in the re-organisation of British Railways it would be as well if the re-organisers had some technical knowledge.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) and my hon. Friend and neighbour, the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) will not accuse me of treating this matter lightly if I do not spend a great deal of time in arguing the case as I see it, for this reason; when we get to the next debate on the broad intentions of the Government in the field of decentralisation, and the general framework within which we confidently hope the Commission will make their plan, I hope I may have an opportunity of expressing our point of view quite clearly.
Of course, the Commission know the general policy of the Government in favour of decentralisation. Just as when they were first set up in 1947, and had the duty of amalgamating, among other things, the four main line railways, the Commission knew the intention of the Government and acted with due regard to that main directive, so in this field, where, while retaining national ownership we are encouraging decentralisation, the Commission will have no doubt at all of the view of the Government of the day.
But to put into the Bill a statutory obligation to consult with the Commission, at what could be interpreted as every stage in the advance of the preparation of the scheme, would have a number 1013 of consequences some of which might not be foreseen at first sight. The words, "after consultation with the Minister" would be interpreted in a rigid way, and there would then be an absolute statutory obligation. I am anxious that the scheme shall be a scheme of railwaymen within the broad intentions of Her Majesty's Government, and that it shall not become a Minister's scheme—though it will, of course, fall to the Minister of the day, after proper talks with the Commission, to present it to Parliament with his blessing.
There is another factor which is of importance. When the scheme has been published, various trading interests and others who have the right to object will be entitled to do so. If the Minister is to play his proper role and see that these objections are given due weight, the scheme must be the Commission's scheme and not a scheme to which, by prior consultation, the Minister, by statute, is also wedded. These are practical difficulties. Later on I shall have an opportunity to give the broad intentions of the Government on this scheme.
When we are dealing with the next Amendment, I have, of course, no intention of failing to make quite plain how we hope to see the decentralisation carried out. But the scheme itself must be the scheme of railwaymen. This being so, I hope my hon. Friends will see fit to withdraw the Amendment and wait until we reach the next Amendment to hear the statement I shall hope to make.
§ Mr. N. Macpherson
I understand from what my right hon. Friend has said that there will be some degree of consultation, but that to put it in the Bill would cause considerable difficulty—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
If I did not make it plain, perhaps I may be permitted to say that of course there will be considerable discussion between the Minister and the Commission. That is inevitable, and indeed desirable. It is often said that I 1014 have had little consultation with the Commission. But if hon. Gentlemen opposite became aware of the number of interviews with individual members of the Commission, and with the Commission as a whole, and of the vast volume of correspondence—by no means all unfriendly—they would agree that there has been a good deal of consultation. Of course there will be consultation, but a statutory obligation is another matter and must be considered in a different light.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I think it would be for the convenience of the Committee if with this proposed Amendment we discussed the next one on the Order Paper, in the same line, to leave out "abolition," and to insert "reconstitution"; the next proposed Amendment in the same line to leave out "not"; the proposed Amendment in line 37, to leave out "co-ordinating authorities," and to insert, "a co-ordinating authority" and the Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), in page 20, line 36, at the end to add:and direct responsibility as regards the terms and conditions of employment of persons employed on the railways, as regards the safety, health and welfare of such persons, and under sections ninety-five, ninety-six, and ninety-seven of the Transport Act, 1947 (which relate to conditions of employment and similar matters).
§ Mr. Morrison
I am obliged, Mr. Hopkin Morris, for the suggestion you have made, which is acceptable to us. I also understood that in answer to one of my hon. Friends earlier in the debate you indicated that it would be agreeable if this discussion went fairly wide. Clearly the leaving out or the retention of paragraph (a) raises the question of the existence, or the non-existence, of the Railway Executive. That in turn cannot be considered wholly apart from the proposed abolition of the Road Haulage Executive, because matters of co-ordination are bound to arise. If you are agreeable, and it is the wish of the Committee. I 1015 think it would be useful if we could have a wide discussion about it.
The existing structure of the British Transport Commission and its executives is that the Commission, which is appointed by the Minister, deals with the overall planning of the Transport industry, with financial matters and matters of general concern. Presumably it has the authority to stimulate, to consult with and to advise the executives. But the executives are responsible in the main for the day-to-day management of the undertaking. One of those executives is the Railway Executive. We do not think that the case for the abolition of the Railway Executive is made out. Its existence is in accordance with the development of the railways and of history as it has gone on. There was the amalgamation of about 100 railway companies in 1921, and the Act of 1947 imposed this further amalgamation of the four railway companies into one Railway Executive, as one of the associated organisations of the British Transport Commission.
The argument has been advanced in other connections that by this proposal decentralisation is effected. This proposal in the Bill is to destroy the Railway Executive and to substitute four groups who, as I understand it, may consist of members of the four boards—that is not quite certain, as I understand it, under the Bill, though it is probably the Minister's intention—and that thereby decentralisation into four groups will be effected.
Let me make it clear that we have no intolerable, wicked passion for centralisation or over-centralisation. We believe that there are certain things in which centralised control should obtain, and that one of them is the negotiations of conditions of service for the officers and work-people employed by the undertaking. We think it vital that should be so. Indeed it was understood and agreed by the Minister in earlier debates that, for example, the general control of capital expenditure must be national.
There must be a considerable control over financial matters. Clearly, if railway charges in general were to be settled independently by each of the four groups without any central consultation, I should think that they would get into a mess. I am sure that the Minister would agree.
1016 Therefore, certain activities have to be centralised. Also, there are probably some other activities which it is desirable to centralise because greater efficiency in management can be effected thereby. That is as far as I go; but, and I think this is generally true of my hon. Friends, we do not want to centralise everything for the sake of centralisation. Indeed, there is a great deal to be said, within proper limits and proper spheres, for decentralisation.
There is a lot to be said for the station master in charge of a station being, on the whole, able to run the station. He cannot fix the time-table, that is true, otherwise all the stations would get into trouble with each other and there would be collisions. The more one can delegate to the head of an undertaking, to make the man feel that he is really running the show, the better. The more the individual workman can feel that he is doing a responsible job, and that he has not to ask somebody what he has to do every time he proposes to do something, the better that is, also.
This story that floats about that the Socialists, the Labour people, are born centralisers and do not want to decentralise anything, is absolute nonsense. There may be argument about what it is right to centralise or decentralise. but there ought to be no clash of principle upon the matter. Is it necessary to abolish the Railway Executive to secure such a degree of decentralisation as is wanted? I should have thought that in consultation with the Commission and the executives—and between the Commission and the executives—under the legislation of 1947 there was a perfectly fair field for the discussion of administrative and managerial decentralisation. I should have thought that, within the limits agreed upon, it could have been done under the Act of 1947; but if here and there there are difficulties in that Act whereby it could not have been done then by all means let an amending Bill be considered for that purpose.
But it is far better that these matters should be settled as a result of experience and of discussion than that the Government should produce a doctrinaire dogmatic Bill under which they seek to recreate, at any rate in large measure, the conditions which obtained under the Railways Act of 1921. It might well 1017 have been that some Conservative Government after 1921 might have brought in a Bill for the abolition of the Southern Railway and the reintroduction of the London and South Western Railway, the South Eastern Railway. the London Chatham and Dover Railway, the South Eastern and Chatham Railway and the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, in the interests of decentralisation, just as they could have done with the L.M.S., the Great Western and the London and North Eastern.
But the Government of 1921 which was dominated by Conservatives—with Mr. Lloyd George as Prime Minister, it is true—centralised up to the point of the four main line companies. No doubt they assumed that the four main line companies when established would exercise their undoubted rights and powers to decentralise. I dare say that the hon. Baronet the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) could tell us something about the degree to which the company with which he was associated decentralised.
One does not normally need an Act of Parliament to decentralise on a matter of management and organisation. On the other hand, if the passion for decentralisation as a dogma goes so far that the Government frustrate economies that were being made by the railway undertaking, and if they endanger the collective settlement of questions of wages and conditions of labour on a national basis, that will be de-centralisation going too far.
It may be argued that this will make it easier for there to be co-ordinantion between road and rail. I do not know about that. The Minister made an interesting comment when he resisted the last Amendment, on which he was constitutionally correct. It seems an extraordinary doctrine, promulgated by the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) and some others, that the Minister should pronounce upon a scheme when it was submitted to him, but that before he pronounced upon it he should be thoroughly tied up with it by being associated with its production before it was submitted to him.
A more elaborate method of ensuring Ministerial bureaucracy has never before been suggested. It may be argued that road and rail co-ordination would be 1018 better secured, but the Minister said twice in resisting that Amendment that he preferred under Clause 14 to have the matter submitted to him by railwaymen. I do not know whether he meant that. I thought that it was to be submitted to him by the Commission. I should have thought that it would be better to talk in terms of transport rather than of railwaymen as such. It may be that other considerations than railways alone may arise in the scheme which will be submitted to him if the Clause is approved by the Committee. Therefore, I would not say that it should be a matter upon which we should exclude other people within the field of the Transport Commission.
If it is argued that the scheme gives a better chance of co-ordination between road and rail, I would say that I do not agree. First, the Government present themselves with a nice new problem of additional co-ordination—co-ordination between the four railway groups. That would be a new problem of co-ordination which somehow they would have to solve. What would happen to the various properties of the undertakings? Who would look after the manufacture of locomotives? Who would control the repair of mechanical vehicles whether road or rail? There would be a host of problems. Questions of design and the manufacture of locomotives, the settlement of the signalling system, automatic braking, and matters of that sort, would arise.
These matters are probably done better centrally, picking up the best experience to be found anywhere upon the railway system and, if necessary, imposing it on the whole of the system so that they have got the best of the lot. If there are these four groups, however much there may be pride in the old Great Western, the L.M.S. and the Southern—or the London and North Eastern—if it arises among technical people and the management to such an extent that they resist improvements, especially safety improvements, which have been tried out and found good somewhere else, then if they resist on the grounds of conservative pride in their undertaking, that would be unfortunate.
The process of co-ordination between road and rail was going on between the Railway Executive and the Road Haulage Executive. There was nothing to stop it in the Act of 1947. On the contrary, the co-ordination was making progress. It 1019 was developing. It is a pity that this Bill should come along and upset the progress which was being made in that respect. I should like to quote from an article which appeared in the "Daily Telegraph." It is much to the credit of that newspaper that it should have published it at all. The article appeared on 17th November, 1952, and it was written by Sir Eustace Missenden. He is not a politician. I have no idea what his political views are. I have no reason to think that they are ours, but one never knows; one might have a bit of luck sometimes even with a man in that position. He was formerly General Manager of the Southern Railway, and was Chairman of the Railway Executive from 1947 to 1951.
The remarkable thing about these gentlemen who came from private enterprise in transport is that their experience of the publicly-owned national transport system has caused them to possess views which they never possessed before when in a private undertaking. I have met, as have some of my hon. Friends, quite a number of road haulage operators who were keen chaps, whom I would have called anarchists in the old days, but who, now having had experience of this co-ordination, are as mad as anybody about what the Government are doing in smashing it up. It is a remarkable thing, and it should be a lesson for the Government and also for those in the Labour Party who think that we should never trust anybody but a Socialist to run a public undertaking. It is extraordinary how people get converted as they go along, within the limits of an organisation within which they are working, and even when they will vote against every other piece of Socialist legislation.
Sir Eustace Missenden—and I have no reason to believe that he is a Labour man or a Socialist—says this:I can speak with some knowledge on these matters and can say that millions of pounds have already been saved by unification of the railways and the elimination of costly duplication of services of one kind or another, so that traffic is being moved more quickly in greater quantities and over longer distances with fewer staff and less equipment—and therefore, at less cost.I believe that to be true, as a result of the merging of the four railway companies, accompanied by a fair degree of decentralisation, which decentralisation would undoubtedly have been increased 1020 as the years passed by, just as economies were effected when the four railway companies were created out of the 100 railway companies which existed before 1947. This was said by the former General Manager of the Southern Railway, which, by the way, was not an unprogressive railway, and has the credit for that electrification which was a very courageous job of work, although it was done before this gentleman's time. The late Sir Herbert Walker deserves most of the credit for that. Indeed, it certainly increased the population of South-East London, as I found out this morning in trying to catch a train; it was not a good morning.
Sir Eustace goes on—and it really is worth quoting, even if I quote it at some length, because he is a good witness and he is writing sound sense; on top of which, the article was printed in the "Daily Telegraph," which is advantageous—and says:It is not by any means easy to build up an efficient organisation for a large-scale industry such as British Railways. It requires much careful planning and patience. It started off with the organisations of the former companies, and these were put together to form one undertaking. The new spirit of a single entity with a common purpose was introduced and developed, and, as a result, in some respects, the organisation today is far more efficient than it was in the old days.But the fact is that, although it takes a long time and much effort to build up a large organisation of this kind, it can be destroyed or disabled very quickly indeed by unthinking action.He concludes his article by using these impressive words, and they come from a railwayman who has been there all the time:I have spent all my working life in the railways, and have seen them evolve from over 100 companies of varying efficiency into the four groups in 1923 and into British Railways in 1948. This is in accord with the trend of industry in this country and in the United States, I believe that if further decentralisation (which since 1948 has been a continuing process) is maintained on sound lines, and, what is of vital importance, there is in being a strong central management unit, which is the only way to ensure efficiency and retain and increase the economies, then the railways can face the future with confidence.That is the evidence and testimony of a man who was born and bred under private enterprise until the 1947 Act was passed, and who is essentially a railwayman. That is what he says; he thinks this process of the Government is a mistake, as we do. 1021 I want the Minister to tell us what is his picture of the future. I gather that it is his intention, and I am very glad that it is. I think these subsections in Clause 14 are amongst the most woolly-worded subsections I have ever seen. They really read like something from an amateurish political party which has never even held the responsibilities of power on a local authority.
§ Mr. Morrison
Well, that is one idea.
We might just as well say that the Railway Executive be abolished, and that, with the approval of the British Transport Commission, the Minister can produce something else. I do not know what a lot of this business means; it really is very vague. The Minister thinks of setting up other authorities, and of the application to them of certain functions. What other authorities and what functions has he in mind? There are various other vague terms, and honestly, I do not know what all these words mean. I can only say that if it is going to require as many words as these in the subsection, then they ought to be more specific about what is required and what is desired.
The other point, to which I have already made some reference, concerns negotiations about labour conditions. There were provisions in Sections 95 and 96 of the 1947 Act which guaranteed certain rights of labour negotiations to the trade unions in the railway industry. I agree that this Bill does not in terms propose to repeal Sections 95 and 96, but we should be glad to know what are the Government's intentions about them.
As I understand it, the trade union view is that they are very insistent and emphatic that the mechanism of national negotiations about conditions of service shall not be broken down as a result of this Bill; that is to say, organising the railways into four groups again will not cause wages and conditions to be negotiated by these four groups. They want them to be negotiated nationally, and, as I understand it, the trade union position is that they would much prefer the negotiations to be conducted by the British Transport Commission itself, and that is what they ask for.
1022 I hope the Minister will be able to tell us that that is all right by him, but, if it is not—and we have an Amendment down on the Order Paper on this point—I should be glad if the Minister will say exactly how he proposes that these negotiations should be conducted. I should also like to ask him if he can tell us whether he has any information on what is the position of the Trades Union Congress about the shape of the Bill in the light of such assurances as he can give us this evening.
There is one other point. There has been the constitutional argument earlier on—which I thought was nonsense—about the Minister tying himself up in regard to the Commission submitting a scheme for his approval or otherwise. I was not sure from what the noble Lord said whether he wanted the Minister to pool his powers with his own back benchers or whether the Minister was still to be responsible to Parliament as a whole, but I want to put this to the Minister. We have an Amendment on the Order Paper to the next Clause, which, if I may briefly anticipate it, affects this matter very considerably.
Here, the public interest is only affected by the powers he is taking in Clause 14 both for himself and the Commission, in so far as they are to be responsible for the preparation of the scheme. This does mean the breaking up of the railway system. In a way, it is as important as the Act of 1921 which, the other way round, created the four main railway companies. It took a whole Act to do that. This is the other way round; this is going back to the four main line companies, and, as far as I can see, Parliament is left out of this provision altogether.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Collick
I am sorry to interrupt my right hon. Friend, but he constantly refers to the four main line companies. Nothing in the Bill says that. I do not know whether that may be the position, but the Bill does not say that.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
May I reinforce the unexpected aid which I have received from the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Collick)? Parliament is very much brought into the matter in Clause 15 (6), as the right hon. Gentleman can see.
§ Mr. Morrison
I will come to that in a minute. My hon. Friend is quite right. As a matter of fact, there are six, I believe, one in Scotland and five in England and Wales, but it is perfectly true that they are not mentioned. I am anticipating the Minister's intentions, and in the light of further expositions made by the Minister I think the matter calls for an authoritative statement on the numbers.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
An article appeared in the "Manchester Guardian," I think it was, which purported to say that the Government intended to impose on the Commission the obligation to have six area authorities, or something of that kind. There is no justification for anything of the sort. This is essentially a matter in which the Commission must make its own recommendations.
§ Mr. Morrison
Clearly the Commission are not going to have a complete discretion—they cannot have one—nor, I suspect, could they have probably two, or even three. I am much obliged to my hon. Friend for his interjection because he was on a perfectly fair point in pulling me up. I am grateful to him. It may well work out in the direction I have said. But, at any rate, the interchange between my hon. Friend and myself will at least give the Minister an opportunity of putting before the Committee his picture of the thing.
As regards the later provision, about the rights of Parliament and all that, to which the Minister has referred, all that the right hon. Gentleman gives us is a power of negative Prayer to Parliament against the scheme. That is right, is it not?
§ Mr. Morrison
It is a mere negative power, whereas we think that special Parliamentary procedure should be involved. This is terribly important to the travelling public, and very important in many ways to organised labour. It is also important in many ways to trade and industry, and surely, therefore, this ought to go through the special Parliamentary procedure. However, the Minister has taken the least form of Parliamentary approval, and not really approval, but the negative Prayer of annulment. He has not even proposed an affirmative resolution, not that I think that would be 1024 satisfactory because this is going to be as important as some Acts of Parliament which have reorganised the railways. Therefore, we think that it should be subject to special Parliamentary procedure.
We are against this provision for the abolition of the Railway Executive for the reasons I have given, and for reasons which will be given by other hon. Members on this side of the Committee. We think that the Minister should at the earliest possible stage expound the provisions of the relevant parts of this Clause and tell us how he proposes that the Clause should work. As far as we are concerned regarding the principle of the matter, we believe that the Clause is bad, that the proposal to abolish the Railway Executive is bad, and that all the decentralisation desired could be obtained within the existing legislation. We are, therefore, opposed to the principle of this Clause.
§ Mr. Sparks
On a point of order. In view of the important statement made by my right hon. Friend, and in order that hon. Members may have some knowledge of the Government's policy, Sir Charles, would it be possible for the Minister to reply very soon?
§ The Chairman
That is not a point of order, but no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will bear in mind what the hon. Member says.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
May I say in reply that I have no sinister intention either in sitting still or in getting up at the wrong moment. I only wanted to hear a few more observations from hon. Members so that I could deal with their points in the content of my main statement. However, I can assure the Committee that I will get up at the earliest possible moment.
§ Mr. Morrison
I think that will be convenient. I see the right hon. Gentleman's point, but we are in the dark, and we want to be precise, because the situation is rather vague. Therefore, while I do not resist the Minister's point of principle, I hope he will get up shortly so that we may know what is in his mind and what is the intention of the Government.
§ Sir Ralph Glyn (Abingdon)
I am afraid I do not agree with the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) in regard to the retention of the Railway Executive, if we are to look 1025 upon this plan as one of transport and not so much as one of railway versus road and the old competition to which we certainly do not want to return.
I cannot conceive that the Minister believes that this scheme should start with cut-throat competition, in view of our economic position and at a time when we want trade to be healthy. Transport is a vital necessity for trade recovery and prosperity. Whatever scheme is put forward by the Commission, it will, I hope, eliminate all unnecessary forms of executives and maintain what is necessary for central control and efficient standardisation.
I believe it essential that the Commission should be left alone to submit its scheme, because, to my mind, any interference with it by Parliament before the scheme has been considered by the Minister would only delay matters. I am quite certain that if the Commission is left a free hand, it will put forward a scheme which will enable the Minister to agree that there can be standardisation with de-centralisation, and certain other fundamental points with which, I think, everybody would agree.
Up to now, the Commission has not functioned in a direct manner because it has had the various Executives through which to function. I see no reason why there should be a Railway Executive if the centralised functions of the Commission can adequately be carried out by whole-time members of the Commission appointed by the Minister, and whom, one assumes, the Minister will select for their knowledge of transport as a whole.
The first and most essential thing I wish to impress upon the Committee is that it is absolutely necessary that the Commission, and only the Commission, shall negotiate all matters of labour policy. Anything else would be fatal. Even in the old days of different companies, when we had a staff conference, of which I was a member, there was an attempt through the railway company associations and the staff conference to get centralised negotiations with all the wage earners, because one cannot really have anything else.
I do not think that under this new system more than 20 per cent. of the vehicles will be taken up by private enterprise, but nevertheless it is very important that in the case of the balance that is 1026 left the labour conditions of road workers should equally be considered with those of rail workers. I think that ought to be done by the same organisation, the Commission, and not by the Railway Executive. Therefore, it is important that the Commission should be the authority which would deal with all labour conditions for both road and rail workers.
The other point to which the Minister, I am sure, must have paid great attention is the enormous economies that have already been made since the establishment of the present system. I will not bore the Committee with the details, but even marshalling yards have been reduced by large numbers. There has been a centralised system for the construction of locomotives. Certain parts of locomotives are now made at certain works and assembled at others. In future all platforms will be of standard concrete and will be made at a central place, saving hundreds of thousands of pounds.
There are dozens of other instances which I could give where that centralisation has been successful. Presumably, although there will be de-centralisation down to the areas, as the Minister calls them in the Bill, though he really means regions, when the authorities for the regions are set up they will be responsible for maintenance but not for manufacture. Otherwise we shall not secure the economies that we want.
The other matter of great importance is the docks. The Docks Executive are functioning incredibly well. The man in charge is one of the finest characters in this country. I do not know how many hon. Members are acquainted with him or have knowledge of him. He is completely blind and he has the most wonderful memory.
§ Sir R. Glyn
Yes, but he is the functionary. He has brought cohesion to those old railway docks. He has a satisfactory condition of labour, and he carries about 40 per cent. of the trade of the country through the docks. The packet boats clause has been taken out of the docks system and is now, of course, a separate matter. In any scheme administered by the Commission, the docks must be directly connected with the Commission but must be separate entities.
It is provided in the Bill that the London Passenger Transport Board must 1027 remain separate, and the control exercised at the moment over both surface and underground traffic is to remain. As has been mentioned, there are also the five existing regions plus Scotland.
I hope that, when he replies, my right hon. Friend will emphasise the absolute necessity of the Commission being wholly responsible for financial control. We must have that. I see the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn) is present. I should like to remind him that I was a director of the old Caledonian Railway many years ago and that when that was amalgamated with the L.M.S. we set up in Scotland, instead of the Caledonian Board, the Scottish Committee of the L.M.S. Sir Josiah Stamp was my chief and he laid it down that he would control the finance and not the Scottish Committee, and he had very good reasons for saying that.
Once we allow the regions to have financial control, except of what is allocated to them by the central authority, the scheme cannot function. These regional authorities will have to be committees rather than boards, and they will have to have allocated to them, like a butler's float, whatever the Commission think necessary for the work they have to do. Then let it be clearly understood that the work they have to do is transport—road or rail, passengers and freight. What an enormous job it is. Let hon. Members think of each of these regions as responsible for road passenger services, road freight services—or as much of them as they are allowed to have—rail passenger and rail freight, the free running through the different regions, and also, of course, maintenance generally.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South and his hon. Friends will realise that in this scheme we do not want to have a fifth wheel to any coach in any transport problem. I believe that the Railway Executive could perfectly well cease to exist, provided that we have a sufficient number of whole-time practical men serving on the Commission. That is why I have ventured to put down an Amendment at a later stage to provide that the membership of the Commission should be increased.
1028 6.15 p.m.
There are these three things to which I attach importance. First, the Commission must be paramount in all railway negotiations. The trade unions concerned have already set up within all the existing regions the subsidiary organisations which are so necessary to secure day-to-day consultation and to prevent trouble starting. It will be very difficult to change all that, and I do not think that the trade unions would welcome an alteration of the boundaries of the regions. The present arrangement is working well.
The second important thing is financial control at the centre. That must be absolute. The third thing is the recognition that in the region one must try and forget whether one is going on a steel rail or a macadamised road and remember that they are one and the same thing. If we de-centralise to that extent, I am perfectly certain that out of this Bill good may come.
§ Mr. P. Morris
Only an hon. Member with practical experience of railway administration could deliver a speech such as the one just delivered by the hon. Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn). I am sure that we are grateful to the hon. Baronet for the help which he has given to us during this debate. The Committee will find it impossible to assess properly the merit or demerit of this Clause and the various Amendments to it without seeing the railway problem in true perspective.
With that end in view, I do not think that we need spend much time in discussing the war years, except to note, in passing, that during those six years there were very serious arrears of maintenance. It was impossible to build new coaching stock. The capital investment programme was limited to almost elementary needs, and the new B.T.C. and the Railway Executive were faced at the end of the war with many grave problems, even if one only includes those that arose out of the war.
But I am rather tired of hearing the denigration of the work of the Railway Executive. An analysis of their report and a review of their activities prove very much to their credit. During the four years under nationalisation, publicly-owned transport earned an operating surplus of £165 million and it was only after 1029 paying £176 million interest on compensation stock and capital redemption charges of £13,500,000 that the accounts showed a deficit.
Let us compare that with the position in 1938, the last year in which the railways were controlled by private enterprise. I was absolutely astonished to hear the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) say on Thursday that the Tory Party had saved transport in this country through this Bill. I tried to put a question to him, but the Guillotine fell, as to whether he had any knowledge of the history of transport in this country. I will remind him of it now in one or two sentences.
I ask him to compare the activities of the Railway Executive with what was happening in 1938 when there were £200 million of ordinary L.M.S., L.N.E.R. and Southern Railway stock which paid no dividend at all, and the Great Western Railway managed to pay half per cent. But for the war the railway system would have been in utter bankruptcy.
§ Mr. Renton
I would ask the hon. Gentleman not to take one sentence out of its context and, having done so, try to hang an argument upon it. All that I was trying to do in the course of that speech to which he referred was to compare the promises made, and indeed expressed, in the Transport Act with the performances which had followed from that Act.
§ Mr. Morris
I quite agree, but the hon. Member in that statement revealed a complete ignorance of what happened before and since. That is why I am submitting the evidence to him now. In 1935 the railways were in a state of financial chaos and were given a loan of £66 million at 2½ per cent. to put their house in order. By 1938 the independent Transport Tribunal reported once more that unless the Government of the day came to the aid of the railways, transport in this country would be in a very serious state indeed.
In promoting this Bill, hon. Members opposite have consistently tried to denigrate and impugn the achievements of the Railway Executive. British Railway passenger fares went up 77 per cent. between 1939 and the end of 1951, but the railways had to meet a 150 per cent. increase in costs. According to the last 1030 British Transport Commission Report, the volume of freight work performed was greater than it had ever been in time of peace; it was 37 per cent. greater than in 1938. Another surprising feature is that the average passenger train loadings in 1951 were greater than pre-war. The estimated load in 1938 was 70 passengers and in 1952 it was 92 passengers.
I think I may say without being immodest that hardly any hon. Member in this Committee has been in closer touch with the Railway Executive during the past four years than I have. The number of types of engines has been reduced from 400 to 12. The manufacture of certain furniture and equipment has been standardised in different sections. There have been improvements in arranging and co-ordinating services, and there has been a measure of integration which was absolutely impossible under private enterprise.
I have in my hand a summarised version of the British Transport Report for 1951. Atttention is drawn to these fundamental features. During the four years there were substantial staff and other economies, a general increase in efficiency and the withdrawal of unremunerative services. Between 1948 and 1951 authority was given for the closing of over 1,000 miles of rail for passenger and/or freight services and of several hundred stations, and not a single station was closed without providing the area concerned with adequate transport and freight services. Throughout those four years there was a consistently improved utilisation of apparatus and staff.
This may be a little boring to hon. Members, but those who criticise nationalised transport cannot escape this kind of data. Loaded wagon miles per wagon increased in 1951 compared with 1950 and the average capacity of the wagons employed improved from just over 12 tons to 13.16 tons. There were similar improvements among passenger trains. This is the highest level of efficiency yet reached. It has been achieved in spite of inadequate capital equipment.
Despite the reductions in staff, excluding the war years, the total traffic carried in 1951 exceeded that in any year since these statistics were first compiled in the 1920s. Whatever test may be applied to 1031 the administration of the Railway Executive, whether from the point of view of traffic or administration, they are entitled to the gratitude of this Committee and the appreciation of the country.
I should like to refer to the much greater effort which was put forward by the staff, indoor and outdoor, under the new management of nationalisation. I recall the conditions that prevailed when we were four, five and six different groups. When I reflect upon the progress that has been made during the past four years as compared with the previous 20, I am very concerned indeed that a Bill of this kind should be passed.
Reference has been made to the fact that Sir Eustace Missenden, the first chairman of the Railway Executive, asked the Government to hold their hand, and that he spoke as a transport expert. He is not the only transport expert who has expressed that view. The hon. Baronet the Member for Abingdon referred to the late Lord Stamp. He came to the same conclusion, not only that they should be unified services but that they should be unified between road and rail. Every transport expert in this country outside politics altogether has come to the conclusion that this Bill is really a serious mistake.
The right hon. Gentleman may claim that he is not going to de-nationalise the railways and that all he is going to do is to de-centralise. I hope he will clarify the position. If we are not to have a Railway Executive, what is going to take its place? Will the right hon. Gentleman yield to the plea of the hon. Baronet and place more whole-time members on the British Transport Commission? If he is not going to meet that demand, what kind of body is going to take the place of the Railway Executive? Does he imagine that the regions, however many they may be, will be able to function without some sort of co-ordinating authority? It is important, especially to the union representatives, that they should know with whom they have to contend in the days that are to come.
Again, if I may refer to the comments of the hon. Baronet, the railway unions have met a public need during the past four years by re-adapting their machinery in respect of the changed boundaries in order to assist the Government with 1032 efficient negotiating machinery, avoiding delay and confusion and catering for the many people employed in transport without causing industrial upset of any kind. Unless there are going to be very adequate safeguards in that respect, we shall have cause to complain.
Will the Minister please say what kind of body he has in mind to take the place of the Railway Executive? He will probably advance this argument: "I have the authority of the British Transport Commision for saying that they are in favour of abolishing the Railway Executive." I doubt if that is strictly true. He might say that the British Transport Commission have come to the conclusion that there could be a very considerable adjustment and a recasting of the functions of the Executive or, indeed, of its personnel.
As has been pointed out, we are not tied to the Executive as it is constituted at present, but we do want to make sure that if any other body is to take its place, it must have authority as well as responsibility, and it must be equally as good. It is true in the transport world as elsewhere that the devil you know is much better than the devil you do not know. On all these grounds this Bill is a mistake, and I beg the Minister to respond to some of the appeals that have been made.
May I turn to the other aspect of conditions of employment and so forth? For many years we were very seriously hindered because we had to go hither and thither in order to negotiate conditions of employment for our people. In my earlier days there were no fewer than five different railway companies in the town that I have the honour to represent. As a result of the Railways Act, 1921, and also of the experience of the past four years, we have been able to shape negotiating machinery that has brought benefit not only to the people employed but to the employers.
But there has been one difficulty. We have felt from time to time that the Railway Executive were no more than agents. They could listen to our plea and could promise to consider it, but they were never in a position to say, "We agree," or, "We disagree." It was obvious to us that they had to go back to the B.T.C. and, indeed, there were many occasions when we had abundant evidence that the 1033 B.T.C. had to go back to the Treasury. What we desire in this new set-up is that not only shall the conditions of employment be on a national basis, but that whoever engages in those negotiations shall have proper authority and be able to give us a reply without much delay.
In case I am misunderstood, I want to say that the Railway Executive Committee and its staff officer have effected tremendous improvements in the last two years in respect of negotiations. They have met us quickly; they have tried to consider our representations and give a reply as soon as possible. But there is room for improvement even in that respect, and I ask the Minister to give us an absolute assurance that these negotiations will be on a national basis and with people who have the authority as well as the responsibility.
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise the importance of maintaining the good will of the employees of the railways? Without that, any Commission he has will be bound to fail. But if he can demonstrate, even in respect of this Bill, that he has some genuine regard for the well-being of the men and women engaged in this difficult industry, and if he will make the machinery of negotiation flexible as well as rapid, he may get a response that will help him. But the Bill as it stands is a great disappointment. We should like to delete this Clause and to retain the Executive until or unless the Minister can offer us something very much better in its place.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I make some observations now. I must apologise in advance for their inevitable length, but I will do my best to confine them as briefly as the vastness of the subject allows; so I know that the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken will not expect me to follow all the various observations he has made about railways in private hands. On dividends I could give him much information. It comes from figures supplied to me by a high public servant who was once a servant of the private railway companies and who takes it very ill that his former employers are treated rather ungenerously in the House on some occasions.
1034 I can, however, say straight away that in regard to the hon. Gentleman's concluding observations I am deeply conscious of the prime importance of carrying with us in whatever we do the men and women who work on the railways, both on the line and in the offices. I believe that there is a far wider measure of agreement on this part of the Bill than outside controversy might suggest. There is far more agreement here than there is on that part of the Bill with which for the moment we have now finished.
No one suggests that public ownership of the railways should be disturbed and no one suggests that the main line railways should be restored to their 1947 position. Most of us agree—and here we have the Commission and the Railway Executive with us—that railway organisation now needs looking at in the light of experience, as was provided for in the 1947 Act. As one Member of the Committee obviously knows, the British Transport Commission have on a number of occasions, both formally and informally, asked me to bring the Railway Executive to an end. It is provided in the 1947 Act that the Minister can do so.
They have asked me to do that and when I asked Lord Hurcomb whether he minded me quoting that in the House he asked me to read—as I will do at the appropriate moment—the other paragraphs in the letter dealing with that particular issue, because in that aspect of what the Deputy-Chairman had to say there was not the same measure of agreement. The Commission have asked that the Railway Executive should be brought to an end in advance of the production of the scheme whereas, as the Committee knows, the Executive have to come to an end anyhow if they are not abolished by that time.
It is unfortunate that the word "abolished" should carry with it a rather ungenerous connotation. I wish there were a better word, but Acts of Parliament very often have to be couched in rather harsh language. I am sorry for that word because it might appear to pay less than the proper respect to the devotion of the people of the Railway Executive, first under Sir Eustace Missenden—whom the right hon. Gentleman quoted so freely and whose article I have by me now—and under the vigorous chairmanship of Mr. John Elliot. I 1035 should not like anything I say to be taken as expressing anything less than gratitude for the work they have done and the quite remarkable results they have achieved in certain fields.
Taking what I am told by railwaymen is the best criterion of efficiency—the net ton mile haul per total engine hour in service—the fact that in 1951 it was an all-time record is a matter of great gratification to us, on whatever side of the Committee we might sit.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I think that is so. I think most people are agreed on the need for greater de-centralisation. Indeed, the article written by Sir Eustace Missenden, from which the right hon. Gentleman quoted, reinforces that view and the Commission's own Report for 1951 spoke about the greater de-centralisation that had taken place in the current year as if it were quite rightly a matter for gratification. As the Report pointed out, with that de-centralisation went an increase in the stature and importance of the chief regional officer.
I think we are also agreed that the scheme should be made by experts. I am sorry if the word "railwaymen" should have struck the right hon. Gentleman as not wholly appropriate. It should be made by transport people, but as it would deal mainly with the re-organisation of railways it is obvious that people with great railway experience would play the predominant part in any such scheme. We believe—although I do not suppose I shall carry the Opposition with me here—that the Government must lay down the broad lines as a framework of what they want to see done.
That was done in 1947. "Better the devil you know," as was said a moment ago. They did not like the devil they knew in 1947 and we are claiming to exorcise him in this field and in road haulage. In our view, it is for the Government to lay down certain broad principles and then to ask the Commission to draw up a scheme.
§ Mr. Renton
The right hon. Gentleman,now expresses in better words what I was trying to imply when I was asking for consultation with the Minister.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for his very generous observation. I seem to have expressed rather clumsily the genuine thought that was in my mind.
As we all know, the real test will come when the scheme is produced. As the right hon. Gentleman has said, that scheme will have to have the scrutiny of Parliament, though he regards the way in which it is to come before the House as quite inadequate and there is, later on, an Amendment on that issue. I have taken a strong line in the past about negative and affirmative Resolutions and I shall listen with interest to what might be said on that Amendment, but I must point out that special Parliamentary procedure is an excessively elaborate affair and leads to certain delays. The strong case for an affirmative Government Resolution is that it puts a duty on the Government to deal with the matter at a more convenient hour than Prayers usually allow.
What was the situation of the railways in 1947? I do not think my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) would quarrel with this description. He defined railways which were in fact transport undertakings. Each of the four railway groups had developed its own system of organisation and had fitted each form of transport into a co-ordinated unit. It was not always perfect but the intention was there and much of the work had been done. Each of the railways had its own road goods services and there were substantial passenger interests. They were concerned with docks, ships, canals, harbours and catering and some even had air services.
Then came the Act of 1947. It completely changed and quite deliberately broke up the situation in which there were transport units in the various main line railways. It tried to merge the identity of each railway into larger units. If hon. Members opposite believe that many men on the line did not dislike that, they are flying in the face of facts and information open to all. It established separate executives, completely altered the structure of management and broke up the general transport nature of the railways; and when we are accused of having destroyed merely for the fun of it a system of integration, I hope it will be remembered what existed in 1947 and what the Act of 1947 did.
§ Mr. Popplewell
There is just one minor point I should like to make. Speaking of the build-up which took place under the 1947 Act, the Minister speaks of "destruction." He is not quite correct when he says that, because in the various regions which were set up at that time they retained many of the local affinities of the London and North-Eastern, the London, Midland and Scottish and the North-Eastern regions to a remarkable degree. That point has been rather underplayed by the Government side, but hon. Members should take note of it, because it is rather important.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am not altogether unconscious of that, but, as the hon. Gentleman knows from personal experience, there were reasons why they followed the lines of the old companies. That, as the hon. Gentleman and the Committee know, is not the whole story. As the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) has said, the Act did not establish these Executives as permanent—not as inevitably permanent; they could be changed. Their delegated powers were not permanent either. The Act said, speaking of the functions of the Executives, that they were to look after such functionsas are for the time being delegated to them.This Railway Executive was appointed not by the Commission but by the Minister. The Opposition, as we then were, challenged that and said that from this very fact all sorts of difficulties would flow. I think no one would deny that one of the causes for the friction that has existed—and despite good personal relations it is common knowledge that there has been friction and difficulty—has sprung from the fact that the Minister has appointed not only the Commission but all the members of all the Executives.
In addition, as hon. Members on both sides of the Committee know, all full-time members of the Railway Executive have a functional responsibility for one particular side of the activities of the railways, and together they share a corporate responsibility. I am not suggesting that when the Railway Executive was set up in 1947 it was not necessary, for it well may have been, in order to bring about unification, to have some form of strong initial central control. But what I want strongly to suggest is this: that strong initial central control, no doubt inevitable 1038 at the start—or perhaps not inevitable—on a functional basis, is not necessarily the right set-up for the long-term future.
I do not quarrel with what the right hon. Gentleman said about many of the remarkable results which have followed in the last few years. I would, however, object—although I will not develop this tediously—to the assumption that they have all sprung from the functional system, for of course they have not, but undoubtedly unification of command has brought some very good results. I have spent much time in the summer and since in talks and visits at many of the railway centres and of the railway headquarters. I can only give the House the benefit of my own thought and I am not attempting to lay down an absolute blueprint for the Commission.
As I see it—and many hon. Members know this as well as I do—in the old days each departmental officer was responsible to a general manager who was responsible to his board. There was no final authority to judge between the various companies, and this may have hindered complete standardisation. Indeed, we know that it did, but it has its advantages in the working of any large organisation, and each of the railway regions is a huge organisation on its own. The lines of authority were clearly known. Each officer knew for what he was responsible and to whom, and it was the duty of the general manager to see that the particular sectional interests of one officer were subordinated to the wider railway interests as a whole.
All these lessons were discarded in 1947. They were thrown away, and hon. Members opposite who did so must share some of the responsibility for the difficulties in which we find ourselves today. The functional line was substituted. Each member of the Executive became a departmental manager issuing his orders down the departmental line. At all the headquarters to which I have been—and I am sorry to say that in this field I have not been to Edinburgh, although I have been everywhere else—the dualism of control has been a thing on which the people talking to me have largely concentrated. It has depended on its irksomeness, and on the character of an individual Executive member. In some cases it has been more irksome than in others. 1039 But it has been universally pointed out to me that this dualism of control placed not only the departmental officer but the chief regional officer, the old general manager, in a very difficult position indeed. It was hard for him to know, when there was a dispute between two departmental chiefs, whether it was a matter which could be settled in his own office, or whether it had wide national implications.
We have drawn up this Clause, to which the right hon. Member made a number of rather ironical references, in order to deal with the situation as we find it today, and to give a wide measure of latitude to the Commission in drawing up their scheme. This Clause is attacked in some quarters as being too vague and in others as being littered with a whole series of obligations. In so far as it is attacked as being too vague, I would remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that in their Act of 1947, which established the Railway Executive, the only guidance was this—that it was to assist the British Transport Commission in the discharge of its functions. We have been a little less modest about that.
We come to the other criticism, that we are laying down too many different authorities—and I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon has this very much in mind. This is certainly the view of the Commission. I have tried throughout this debate, where it has seemed appropriate—and I did not want to bring it into every Clause—to give the case of the Commission; and where great issues of principle have been involved, I have tried to bring the Committee fully into my confidence as to the attitude of the Commission, because I know it is difficult for the Commission, indeed impossible, publicly to express their own point of view. The deputy-chairman wrote a letter to my Department. This has cropped up on a number of occasions, but it is one case in particular, and I have Lord Hurcomb's permission to read it—indeed, he requests that I should read it if I make any reference to the fact that he wants the Railway Executive to be abolished.
The deputy-chairman is well known as a man who has given a life-time of very long service to railways and to railway men. He wrote: 1040The Chairman of the Commission also pointed out in his letter to the Minister of 3rd July that whilst the Commission are in full sympathy with the general aim of re-organisation of the railway side of their undertaking in a way which will avoid the imposition of a separate statutory executive between themselves and the areas, it is essential that the Commission should have undivided and undisputed control over the personnel and the functioning of the various parts of their undertaking.They then pass on to their suggested new Clauses to take the place of Clauses 14 and 15. Their new Clauses, which I am not in a position to table, but which I am perfectly prepared to publish in any seemly way, would in our view have—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The date of the letter was 13th November. These new Clauses, to which I want to make hon. Members privy—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The date was 13th November. I wish hon. Members would please not interrupt me. This is a very important matter. These new Clauses, in our view, would have prevented any effective de-centralisation, and all the emphasis was continually on the retention of a strong central control to a degree that we were prepared to agree might have been desirable or inevitable at the start of unification but which is no longer tolerable, in our view, at a time like this. I must, as I promised, read the second paragraph of Mr. Benstead's letter:If, however, it is the Government's intention to retain in the Bill some provisions on the lines of Clauses 14 and 15, the Commission have prepared two Clauses which they feel more adequately cover their point of view. The purpose of these Clauses is to limit matters which may be the subject of a scheme, whilst retaining to the Minister reasonable powers of modification and alteration, to prevent the commission from having imposed upon them a scheme altogether different from that they submitted to the Minister. Their new Clause provides for consultation with interested parties before a scheme is submitted. A great many of the matters which may be dealt with by a scheme under Clause 14 of the present Bill"—the Government Bill—are already within the power of the Commission to carry out, and it is not necessary, in our view. that these should be referred to in the Bill.1041 As I said, I will see that those Clauses are made available to the Opposition. I think that that is only a fair thing to do.
§ Mr. Collick
I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but I should like to get this clear. I think that in the public interest it should be made quite clear. We have had a letter from the Deputy-Chairman of the British Transport Commission, and the date. Could we have the date of the letter of the communication which came, I understood the Minister to say, from Lord Hurcomb, in which he expresses the desire that the Railway Executive should be abolished?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Oh, yes. That was very much earlier. To the best of my recollection, it was within a few days of the House rising for the Summer Recess. I know that it came almost immediately after the House rose for the Summer Recess.
§ Mr. Collick
The point I want to get from the Minister is this. Will he tell the Committee whether it was after the publication of the Government's White Paper or before?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Oh, no, it was after the publication of the Government's White Paper—after publication of the Government's first Bill.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
No, the first Bill, and when the House rose. The second Bill, the present Bill which we are now passing into law, actually was ordered by the House of Commons to be printed on 5th November.
§ Mr. Morrison
I was only on the point—it is so difficult to keep these dates in mind—whether the Commission had a chance to make their suggestions when the Bill was in draft, before it was presented, or only after the Government had presented it to Parliament and, thereby, become committed to it. The second point is this. The right hon. Gentleman said he would be good enough to do something whereby the Opposition could see those Clauses. We are much obliged for that, but I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman meant us alone. I should have thought that they might have been made available to Parliament as a whole.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Certainly. I see no objection to that, although I must take a little advice about it, naturally. I think it is only the reasonabe thing to do, to allow hon. Members the opportunity, since I have referred to the Clauses.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The right hon. Gentleman did not answer my right hon. Friend's first question. At what stage did the Commission have an opportunity of commenting on these particular proposals?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
As has been the invariable practice, which was followed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Ham, South (Mr. Barnes), who made two declarations in the House about the difficulty of consulting the interested people, whoever they were, before publication of a Bill, the Bill as a whole was not submitted to the Commission until shortly before publication, but many Clauses in the Bill were, and there was much discussion. I could not say at the moment precisely the date those particular Clauses were handed to the Commission.
§ Mr. Popplewell
Would the right hon. Gentleman allow me to intervene? He has been very courteous. It is on the point of these two Clauses. We appreciate his offer to let us see them, but would he also at the same time make public the full circumstances in which the British Transport Commission suggested that the Railway Executive should be abolished? It is a rather important point, in view of the Minister's observations.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am afraid I could not undertake to do that. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] There is nothing sinister in this at all, but I could not do that, and no Government could. There is a tremendous amount of consultation and correspondence between any Government and the boards of the great nationalised industries, and it would be quite wrong for me to allow myself to be drawn into an undertaking to publish anything of that nature.
I wanted to mention the Commission's view about the Railway Executive, which had considerable effect on me and on my colleagues, when the Commission said, "If you mention that, please also mention our two Clauses," and I had no option but to mention those two Clauses; 1043 but I could not, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Ham, South and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South will understand, publish the whole range of correspondence, much of which is, of course, very confidential.
The Clause as we have drawn it, in distinction from the Clause as the Commission would have liked to have drawn it, is to ensure that there shall be a large measure of delegation to the areas, and this necessarily involved investing the Minister with the ultimate power of securing that effect is given to the Government's view. If the Committee will look at Clause 14 (2, c), they will see that it provides specifically for the delegation of functions of the Commission to area authorities, which is absolutely essential if there is to be any measure of real regional autonomy.
In our view, it would have been a wholly unacceptable compromise if the Commission's views on the measure of this devolution had been as circumscribed as their Clause had suggested. It might have happened anyway, without the passing of the Bill, it is said. It is certainly true, but it is idle to deny that there are large differences of opinion between the Executive and the Commission on a number of things, and if the Government were to have the initiative in drawing up their own schemes, devolution broadly along the lines of this Clause was essential, rather than to have the Commission on their own, when the Government would have had no rights in the matter and Parliament would have had no rights, either.
As I have said, the scheme they draft must be devised by transport experts, but there are, as I said on Second Reading, certain principles to which in the view of the Government it should broadly conform, unless there are overwhelming technical difficulties in the way. The first is that there should be a clear line of authority and responsibility from the Commission to the regions for the railways, as some may prefer to hear them called again—I believe my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon prefers that himself—in respect of matters that are reserved for central control. Here let me say that I am very anxious that in the field where there has been a good result 1044 from central control nothing should be done to dissipate that valuable achievement.
Second, there should be a clear division between such matters and those which will be the direct responsibility of the regions, and we believe that any practical railwayman knows that in the whole field of organisation and management there are many things that can with propriety be devolved to the regions. We believe there should be a clear chain of responsibility from the officer responsible to the general manager of that particular region.
There are also, of course, many issues which must be centrally controlled—investment policy, for instance, and the question of charges, but I will come to that in greater detail in a moment. But in general, apart from those sorts of particular issues, the field of central control should be reduced rather than increased.
Now, there will also be—and this is why the particular machinery of this Clause is inevitable—machinery of a highly technical professional status to take charge of many services where there should be co-ordination on a level lower than this level of the British Transport Commission, and to secure that in any devolution the economies that may have been achieved through central direction are not lost sight of; but it is our belief that the boards could derive more from the general managers—the general managers as a body—and in the future there should be functionally less of control from the Transport Commission down to departmental chiefs. We propose, as soon as the Bill is passed, to consult the Commission to evolve a framework—this is a proposition that, I hope, will be agree—which will enable a detailed scheme to be worked out, and I have no doubt that with it we can achieve harmonious results.
I have been asked two other very important points. I have been asked both by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South and by my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon about the question of the nationalised negotiating machinery covering wage conditions in the transport industry, or in the field of railways. Hon. Members will have before them Sections 95 and 96 of the 1947 Act. If they turn to the Third 1045 Schedule of this Bill they will see the Sections and Schedules which are being repealed by the Bill, and they will see that those Sections are not being repealed; they remain, then, the guiding factor in the matter.
Doubts have been raised in certain quarters as to whether the railway re-organisation scheme to be submitted to me by the British Transport Commission, with its contemplated abolition of the Railway Executive and the setting up of area railway authorities, will lead to the supersession or modification of the elaborate and successful machinery which has been established on a national scale between the Commission and the Trade Unions concerned for the negotiation of agreements covering terms and conditions of employment on a national basis.
These arrangements have been built up under the provisions of Sections 95 and 96 of the Transport Act, 1947, and I am glad to give an unqualified assurance that the British Transport Commission have informed me that they have no intent of proposing, and I have no intention whatever of permitting, anything to be done under the re-organisation scheme which will upset any arrangements made under Sections 95 and 96, and that the arrangements under these Sections for the negotiating of terms and conditions of employment on a national basis on the railways will continue.
As the Committee will be aware, a wide measure of discretion has been designedly left to the Commission in the framing of the re-organisation scheme which they are to submit, and it may well be that the Commission will recommend the establishing of a co-ordinating authority to deal with such matters. But such co-ordinating authority would operate on a national basis under the Commission.
There is one other point that has caused a little uncertainty in the minds of some trade union representatives. Clause 14 (6, c) provides that the railway re-organisation scheme maycontain such incidental, consequential and transitional provisions as may appear … to be necessary or expedient, including provisions amending or applying, with or without modifications, any statutory provision.It has been suggested that there might be something in this wording which 1046 would in some way curtail the strength of what I have said. So, to avoid any possibility of this misconception, I should like to say that there is no intention whatever of exercising these powers so as to amend Sections 95 and 96 of the 1947 Act. The main reason these powers are necessary is because of the very large number of old Railway Acts in existence, going back for over a century, and it is quite impossible to say, without tremendous research, that there is no provision in any one of these which might not require some minor amendment in the interests of the re-organisation scheme.
The purposes for which the powers will be exercised will be strictly limited to amendments which are necessary for this purpose, and will serve no wider or more general end. I hope that those words will reassure those, both in the Committee and outside, who may have any fears about this matter.
§ Mr. David Jones (The Hartlepools)
This is vitally important. Do I understand the Minister to say now that the British Transport Commission itself will in future, when this Bill becomes law, undertake all negotiations of a national character on wage rates, hours of labour and conditions of service between themselves and the trade unions set out in Section 96? Or do I understand him to say that they may appoint some other body? If they do, will that body be vested with power to reach quick and definite settlements? Otherwise there will be difficulties.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
In the scheme they may decide to depute to a co-ordinating authority under the Commission various functions of the Commission. The Trades Union Congress is just such a body which will, in fact, be entitled to make its observations upon the scheme before it goes forward. There is no question whatever of there being any alteration in existing practice, save that they might decide to devolve this responsibility on to a co-ordinating authority; but it will be on a national basis and directly under the Commission.
I have been asked some other questions with which I will deal, and then I will bring my rather lengthy observations to an end. These matters may arise again, and I do not want to intervene unnecessarily later on. Perhaps the Committee 1047 will forgive me if I take up two or three more minutes with these matters now.
I have been asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon—and the same thought is obviously in the mind of my noble Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) who has put down an Amendment about it—to say something about financial control. Later this week we shall have an opportunity of debating the changes in the railway charges structure. If there is to be greater freedom for railways to compete—and I myself am deeply concerned that this should be so—it must be an effective freedom; it must include freedom as to the extent to which and the way in which they decide to de-centralise the control of charges. They may think it desirable to do so in Scotland or elsewhere in certain fields, which obviously they, being prudent people, would be very limited fields at first.
But now that there are no longer to be the same statutory obligations on the railways, sometimes a century old, involving, as I said in an interruption earlier, equality of treatment and undue preference, with all the dangers that regionalised rate control would bring while they remain, there are strong reasons for thinking they might desire to experiment in a limited field with the de-centralisation of rate control.
The Bill provides for a re-organisation scheme which shall reserve to the Commission the general control of charges, but a scheme which may also provide for a substantial measure of elasticity in regard to detailed control, and I think it would be very unwise of me to attempt at this stage to tie the hands of the Commission in this field. But interesting possibilities, not without hope in some parts of the United Kingdom, may spring through this new freedom.
§ Mr. Callaghan
On the question of delegating control for charges, this is certainly a very interesting line of development, which has, of course, been followed in some ways in the past. I should like to ask the Minister whether the British Transport Commission have expressed any views to him about this in the course of the correspondence that has passed. Do they regard this as something they will be able to undertake?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Not to my knowledge, because most of our correspondence has been on things about which the British Transport Commission are not as happy as they are on the improved charges freedom now given to the railways.
I have been asked also about the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive. I want to join in the tribute paid, both to the Chairman and the Deputy-Chairman of the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive. Anxiety has been expressed by other docks and harbours not under the control of the Executive as to what might happen as a result of the new freedom in charges which the railways are being given, and whether there might be a temptation to give preferential rates to traffic travelling to their own docks and harbours.
My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary made some reassuring comments on this during Second Reading, but anxiety still remains and I should like, if I may, formally for the record to say that there is no intention to hand to the re-organised railways the docks now administered by the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive. Special considerations may arise in particular cases, but the general intention is that they should be administered separately, though, of course, under the British Transport Commission.
I must apologise for the length of my speech. I have tried to cover a wide field, and I hope the Committee will forgive me. If later on there are other points which arise, then either I or my hon. Friend will try to deal with them.
§ Mr. Collick
The Committee has listened certainly to an interesting and, to some extent, a revealing speech from the Minister. I suppose there has been no Bill before this House of Commons for a very long time which has had a worse reception than this one. Although the main objection has been on the road transport side, anybody experienced in transport who looks at this Bill solely from the railway transport side will be equally disappointed with its provisions. I would suggest to the Committee that it is a sad commentary of our legislative processes that here we are, with about three hours to go, discussing Clause 14, which affects directly over 600,000 employees of British Railways, to say 1049 nothing of the other people who are affected by these provisions. I myself am not satisfied that the case for the abolition of the Railway Executive Committee has been made out.
I was a little astonished—and I do not know what is the real explanation—to hear this afternoon, for the first time, that apparently some document has been transmitted, or that there has been some communication from Lord Hurcombe to the Minister, expressing the view that the Railway Executive Committee should go out of existence. I confess that I am astonished, as I think the country will be, that the Minister has not seen fit to admit that to the Committee until now.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will give way? There is a great deal of confidential information passed between the chairmen and boards of nationalised industries to the Ministers, and it would be impossible, at any one moment for confidential information to be disclosed. But this information seemed to me to be strictly relevant to our discussion today. We are doing in this Bill a great many things to which the British Transport Commission take strong exception, and it is only right that I should be allowed, where they do support our view, on a fundamental matter, to give expression to that view. I have done that. They asked me, at the same time, to give their approach to Clauses 14 and 15, which I have done, but it is not my duty to disclose from day to day the confidential information that passes.
§ Mr. Collick
I am sorry that I cannot agree with the right hon. Gentleman. On some point of detailed administration it may be right for the Minister to say that he is under no obligation to reveal it to the House. But does the Minister seriously suggest to the Committee, that when he gets a vital communication on a subject like this, which Parliament were discussing on the Second Reading of the Bill, and he has knowledge of this kind—that the British Transport Commission have themselves intimated a desire to put an end to the Railway Executive—that that is not information that ought properly to be made known to the House?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The hon. Gentleman wants to carry the argument further. We are starting on the day after tomorrow on discussion of the very elaborate changes in the railway charges structure. 1050 I have had voluminous correspondence with the Commission on this particular point, which involves the interest of traders in this country and other bodies. Does the hon. Gentleman seriously suggest that I should on every point announce to the Committee information which I have received?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
When the former Parliamentary Secretary, who knows the nature of the correspondence which passes and the volume of it, really nods his head so profoundly he is being more political than statesmanlike.
§ Mr. Callaghan
There is a lot of correspondence which passes between the Commission and the Minister on a great many subjects. My hon. Friend is saying, I think—and most certainly I would say—that where a Bill is before the Committee which vitally affects the future of the British Transport Commission, and the Commission has views upon that Bill, those views should be assimilated in some form and presented to the Committee; otherwise how can the views of a vitally interested party be made known? Every other interest makes its views known, but in this case the British Transport Commission have been muzzled and unable to present their views, except when the Minister feels that he ought to say something about them.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The Chairman has on a number of occasions told me—I think always with the utmost frankness—of his views, and wherever there has been a matter which I thought should be brought—and I must use my own discretion in the matter—to the notice of Parliament, I have always done so and made the position of the Commission abundantly plain.
§ Mr. Collick
I thought that I was in possession of the Committee. I can only repeat what I have said, that I am really astonished that so vital a matter as this has been withheld from the House until today, when we have only three hours at the most to discuss this tremendously important Clause, which affects the whole future administration of British Railways and some 600,000 men employed directly by British Railways, to say nothing of the much wider interests concerned.
1051 7.15 p.m.
At the moment, I must leave it at that. What does the essence of what the Minister has said this afternoon amount to in relation to railway administration? He has told us and it is revealed—and this may not have been within the knowledge of lots of hon. Members of this House until the Minister told us so—that there has seemingly been some friction—and I am using the Minister's own words—between the Railway Executive and the Transport Commission. If that be so, what I want to suggest to the Minister is this: I would ask him to recall the speeches made by the Tory spokesman from the Front Opposition Bench in the last Government on every occasion on which the House considered the Transport Commission's Annual Report.
I shall not weary the House this afternoon with quotations of the speeches made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the present Home Secretary, but again and again, on almost every occasion when we were discussing the British Transport Commission's Annual Report, the right hon. and learned Member demanded of the then Labour Government that they should have an inquiry into the organisation of British Railways.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman again. This has been commented upon on a number of occasions, and "The Times," only three days ago, said that the Commission hadlong been alive to the need for extensive changes; their relations with the Executive were not satisfactory. How do their views on what should be done compare with the Minister's?That is what they hoped to hear in the debate. Well, the Committee have heard them, and what more do they want?
§ Mr. Collick
I want a lot more. I tell the Minister, on behalf of the over-whelming body of locomotive men of this country, that they are wanting a lot more. If it was good enough for the right hon. and learned Gentleman to demand of the Labour Government every time they considered the Report of the Transport Commission that there should be an inquiry into the administrative 1052 set-up and the management of the railways, then, goodness knows, how much. stronger that case is in the light of what the right hon. Gentleman has just said.
If it is true that there has been friction between the Transport Commission and the Railway Executive, and if there are still these differences which the Minister today has revealed in extracts from letters which he has read to the Committee from the Vice-Chairman of the Transport Commission, how much more important it is now that, before the changes incorporated in this Bill affecting the railways are brought into operation, there should be this inquiry which the right hon. and learned Member was demanding. Instead of an inquiry, what do we get?
The Government produce a White Paper which is supposed to be a statement of transport policy—19 paragraphs supposed to be a statement of transport policy—and then follow that on with this Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: "Two Bills."] There have been five attempts to produce the White Paper. The Prime Minister told us that. There have been five attempts to produce 19 paragraphs of transport policy in the White Paper and numerous attempts in two Bills. In the light of that, they come to this House, and what do they propose? They propose the abolition of the Railway Executive, and, in subsequent Clauses of this Bill, the Minister is taking the power to provide that, even with the Transport Commission as now framed in the Bill, the only person who needs to be full-time in the Transport Commission is the Chairman.
When the Government have abolished the Railway Executive they will have a full-time chairman of the Transport Commission. The Minister has given the Committee no idea how many persons he thinks there ought to be as full-time members of the Transport Commission.
§ Mr. Collick
We are here dealing under Clause 14 with area bodies, with other bodies about which we have not yet heard a word and we do not know what they are to be, and co-ordinating authorities.
§ Mr. Collick
I appreciate that, Mr. Hopkin Morris, but we are taking many Amendments together and it is exceedingly difficult to know where to draw the line.
However, we know that the Railway Executive is to go out of being, and the only other thing we know is that the chairman of the Transport Commission will remain full-time and that there will be some other members. How we are to conduct a transport industry employing such a large number of men as this one does on that basis I do not know, and I am sure most people in the transport industry do not know. That is the gravamen of the charge against the Minister. He is abolishing the Railway Executive and giving himself power, if he so desires, to have a full-time chairman of the Transport Commission. He will then say to the Transport Commission, "I do not know what you have to do, but please prepare a scheme for me and tell me what I am to do in relation to this problem." If that is fair and proper, I just do not understand it.
The Minister was critical of the fact that the Railway Executive is at present working on a functional basis. It may well be that there is some case for adjustment—it is a matter of opinion—but if the position is as the Minister has for the first time revealed it to the Committee, the case for an inquiry before we pass the Bill is more than established.
I believe the Railway Executive has done an extraordinarily good job in exceedingly difficult circumstances. I will not deprive other hon. Members of the opportunity of speaking by reciting all that the Railway Executive has done, but what it has been able to do by standardisation and economy all along the line is very much to its credit. I believe that if there was a better understanding not only of what the Railway Executive has done but of the difficulties under which it has been working there would be a real demand that it should remain in being.
I do not know whether the Minister or the Government have stopped to consider the problem—I happen to know it, as do many of my hon. Friends—which the staff has had. It has been no easy matter for our railway staffs to accommodate themselves to the changes which have come about as a result of the reorganisation of the railways into one entity. There have 1054 been all sorts of changes of boundaries, some of which have necessitated men moving their homes. The men have now more or less settled down under the new system. Is this the time to propose new area authorities and new boundaries, with all the changes and shifts to which that will give rise? My opinion is that that would be about the worst possible thing which could happen.
Reference has already been made to the views of Sir Eustace Missenden, and I want to reinforce what I have said by quoting his opinion. My right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) said he did not know what Sir Eustace Missenden's politics were; nevertheless here is his opinion about this sort of proposal, and he is a man who has had responsibility as chairman of the Railway Executive for a long time. This is from a letter published in "The Times" on 23rd April. Sir Eustace Missenden said:Only four years have passed since our ralways underwent a considerable re-organisation, which has by no means reached finality. Great and lasting economies have been achieved through unification, and, in my opinion, it would be folly to throw these away by hasty action. The railways are one of the nation's biggest industries, and even senior officers with years of experience in their operation will be hard put to it to face another internal convulsion in so short a time. Moreover, the reaction on the railways' staffs themselves will hardly be less upsetting …My opinion is one of wholehearted agreement with Sir Eustace Missenden. It is utterly wrong to play about with major industries in the way the Bill proposes. When men have suffered, as railwaymen have suffered, changes brought about by the re-drawing of boundaries, it is utterly wrong now to have another attempt at altering the boundaries, to establish area authorities and to create divisional general managers or whatever may be in the Minister's mind, with all the other changes that will be entailed.
§ Mr. Renton
Does the hon. Gentleman agree with the view of Sir Eustace Missenden and with the views expressed in the last Report of the Commission that the time is ripe for some de-centralisation to take place?
§ Mr. Collick
I do not think I am revealing any secret when I say that the Transport Commission have from time to time considered whether there should be more local autonomy or de-centralisation 1055 or even more areas for the railways than is the case at present. Several years ago the opinion was reached that greater autonomy should be given to the regional officers, and that has been done.
A moment ago the Minister was telling us that matters of finance, including wages, and capital expenditure, are to be dealt with centrally. After he had said what he did, I wondered what on earth there was for the new areas to deal with. What will be dealt with by the new area authorities? What will the "other authorities" deal with? I can assure the Minister that many thousands of railwaymen are most anxious to know. I wish to express my keen disappointment, that we have had so little information today about matters vitally affecting a large part of our working population.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Ralph Assheton (Blackburn, West)
I have not said a word about the railways in the House of Commons since the passing of the Transport Act under which I and two or three other hon. Members were removed from our official connection with the railway companies. In spite of that, I need hardly say that ever since then I have followed the life and progress of the railways with as keen an interest as ever.
I should like to make one or two very short observations on the Clause. I am sure the Committee was very grateful to the Minister for the very clear way in which he put his case. There are still one or two questions I should like to put to him or to whomever may be replying for the Government later on.
A word in this Bill which has caused a lot of trouble and which I should have liked to avoid, as I think the Minister would, too, is this word "abolish." Clause 14 (2, a) says:The said scheme shall provide for the abolition (if it has not already been abolished)"—that is an extra dig in the ribs—of the Railway Executive.I am not in the Minister's confidence in these matters, but I should like to suggest to the Committee that it is more a question of merging and fusing the Transport Commission and the Railway Executive than of abolishing them. What the 1056 Minister wants to abolish is the functional direction which has been operating within the Railway Executive, and I notice that in a subsequent Clause, to which I suppose one must not refer at this juncture, there is a provision for adding to the numbers of the members of the Commission.
I should have hoped that the Railway Executive and the Commission would be fused into one body, which would be a board of directors of the whole railway concern, and that de-centralisation should be on the lines which in the old London and North Eastern Railway, of which I was a director, had successfully operated for many years. My hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) was a director of the L.M.S., which was more interested in centralisation. We believed that de-centralisation was a more effective method of managing our affairs, and I think that that was right, though I agree with what has been said on both sides of the Committee that there are certain things which cannot be de-centralised.
Finance beyond a certain degree cannot be de-centralised nor should the whole question of wages and wage negotiations. But the day-to-day de-centralised management that we had in the London and North Eastern Railway with three divisions under three divisional managers produced, I think, a very satisfactory working arrangement, and I hope very much that it is on those lines that the Minister is thinking.
This Bill does not tell us very much what he is thinking, and I do not altogether object to it for that. It is a very difficult thing to work this out, and it could not be put within the terms of a Bill. I hope very much that when this scheme has been worked out, it will be sufficiently flexible for changes to be made as we go along.
§ Mr. Collick
I think the right hon. Gentleman would be the first to agree, on reflection, that if it were the Minister's desire to amalgamate the existing Railway Executive with the Transport Commission, it would be perfectly easy to do it within the terms of the Bill.
§ Mr. Assheton
I am not a Parliamentary draftsman and I know it is an extraordinarily difficult thing to draft a Bill. I am only telling the Committee 1057 what I hope will be the way in which this scheme will eventually emerge, and if it emerges somewhat on those lines it will probably be the most satisfactory thing we can get. I want some flexibility because I do not want a continual series of orders for Ministerial approval debated in the House every time a change may be made in the organisation. Of course, certain important things would have to come before the House, but I want to give this body, which is really going to control the railways, a free hand to take a great many steps and I want to give it as much control as can reasonably be given to it and as Parliament can reasonably allow it.
One of the great weaknesses of the Transport Act, 1947, was the large number of authorities which it created. In this connection I want to ask the Minister a question about one of those authorities, the Hotels Executive. I hope that that Executive, whatever happens to it, will at any rate return to the railway the restaurant cars and the catering arrangements which are at present in their hands. As to the hotels, although some of them have been disposed of and others may be disposed of, a very strong case remains for the return of the remainder of these, too.
§ Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)
Would the right hon. Gentleman allow me to ask him one question? He is leaving the question of de-centralisation, and what puzzles me is this: What is there in this Bill, which adds, of course, to the number of authorities, by way of de-centralisation which could not have been done under the former Act?
§ Mr. Assheton
I know what was wrong in this respect with the former Act. The worst feature of it was that the Minister had power to appoint the Executives instead of the Transport Commission. If the whole thing had been under the Transport Commission from the start it would have had a much better chance of working properly, and I believe the scheme provided for here will be much more likely to work in a practical way. I do not want to add anything more at this point, and the only question I have put to the Minister on which I should like a definite reply is that which I have asked about the Hotels Executive.
§ Mr. Ralph Morley (Southampton, Itchen)
The Minister in his speech on 24th May said:The future of the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive and the Hotels Executive will be discussed with the British Transport Commission and it may be that some of their functions may go to the new railway areas."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st May, 1952; Vol. 501, c. 490.]I understood from the last sentence of the Minister's speech just now, replying to a question which had been put by the hon. Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) about the future of the docks, that it is not now his intention to do away with the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive, and that the docks will remain under their present management.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I do not think I said it was my intention that the scheme should provide for the abolition of the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive. What I did say was it was the Government's intention that they should be administered separately from the railways though under the Commission. The whole thing is to keep them under the Commission, and I have been conscious, during the many weeks when I have had discussions about this important question of the railway rates structure and charges, of the great anxiety there is among a lot of people for fear that the railways were going to be made responsible for the docks again. They will remain under the common umbrella of the Commission, but it is the Government's intention that they should not be handed to the decentralised railways.
§ Mr. Morley
I am very glad to hear the Minister say that and I hope he will make arrangements for them to remain under the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive, if possible. In Southampton we have one of the biggest and most important docks in the world, and these docks have been managed extremely well under the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive. Southampton Docks were purchased in 1892 by the old London and South Western Railway Company and remained their property for about 30 years until, with the 1923 amalgamations of the various railway lines in this country, they came into the possession of the Southern Railway. They remained under the Southern Railway until the 1947 Act when they became the property of the Railway Executive and in 1950 1059 they passed under the control of the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive.
Our experience during the time those docks have been under the management of this Executive is that they have been extremely successful from every point of view. The turn-round has been more rapid than before the war, and there have been very few labour troubles. What trouble there has been has been settled without any dispute. The trading community and the shipping companies are both completely satisfied with the management of these docks during the past five years.
The manager of the docks, Mr. Biddle, commands the loyalty and respect of all grades of workers in the docks. He also commands the unqualified approval of shipping companies and of various trading interests. It seems ridiculous, the docks having done so well under the management of the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive, and when they are doing so well, to change them to another form of ownership or of organisation. There is a pragmatic sanction for their continuing as they are at present.
In the day-to-day work of a great port like Southampton, we need continuity. We want to know what is likely to happen a year or two ahead if the organisation of the docks is to be properly carried out. I emphasise this point. I hope there will be no interference with the present ownership and management of the docks at Southampton. We are entirely satisfied—the general public, the trading concerns and the shipping companies—with what has been done under the present management during the past few years. The men working in the docks are satisfied. I suppose that in Southampton we have the only docks in the country which have had no labour dispute of any magnitude since 1945. That is partly due to good management by the present docks manager, Mr. Biddle, and by the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive.
I welcome the statement just made by the Minister that he does not contemplate handing the docks over, as was his original intention I believe, to the new railway areas that are to be formed, and that they will remain under separate management. I suggest that that separate 1060 management should be that under which they are present, management by the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive.
§ Mr. G. Wilson
Hon. Members opposite have expressed a good deal of indignation at the proposal to abolish the Railway Executive, and astonishment that the proposal should have been made by the British Transport Commission. This does not strike me with astonishment. I not only served the old Great Western Railway Company but the British Railways Western Region for one year after nationalisation, and I have had some experience of Railway Executive action. I want to tell the story of a trivial incident which indicates the serious difficulties which the Railway Executive find in their extraordinary functional organisation. I am sure that the difficulty arises in much more important matters than the one to which I am about to refer.
I, as a junior assistant solicitor at Paddington, used to go to the junior officers' mess, where a number of the principal assistants who did the day-to-day work in the departments at that station used to congregate for lunch. I remember turning up at this mess on one occasion when somebody came in and expressed astonishment at an extraordinary question which had been asked of him by somebody from the Railway Executive. He had been asked how many fire extinguishers there were on Paddington platforms. He did not know, and I do not think anybody else did, why he had been asked this curious question. Presumably it had something to do with insurance, in connection with which the number may have had some effect.
The extraordinary thing is that when he raised this point no fewer than six other people said that they had been asked the same question. The reason was to be found in the functional nature of the Railway Executive. Each particular functionary at the executive level had thought that this particular question applied to him and therefore to his corresponding number on the railways. I am sure that such a situation must have happened in other matters.
§ Mr. Sparks
I am very familiar with Paddington Station. All the hon. Gentleman needed to do was to ring up the fire brigade.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Wilson
No doubt one individual person would have known the answer, but nevertheless there were a number of people wandering about to find it. The point of interest is not in the triviality of the incident, but that a number of people could be asked the same question. Such a question must have been asked on many more occasions than that. The incident sticks in my memory.
I am drawing attention to this defect of the Railway Executive, from its being organised on a functional basis. It is made up of a number of officers chosen because of their function, and they are in correspondence with their opposite numbers in the Regions. It will be much more reasonable, as I understand is the general proposal, that such co-ordination as is necessary should be at the level of the British Transport Commission and to do away with the Executives altogether.
If it is necessary to have any intervening stage between the Regions and the British Transport Commission it might be possible to have something in the nature of a general managers' conference, as they did during the war, when the conference was in fact called the Railway Executive. It consisted in practice of the general managers of the companies, as they were then, and they used to meet to discuss matters of co-ordination between one and the other. If any intervening authority between the regions and the British Transport Commission is necessary, I should have thought that that would be sufficient.
Even on the question of standardisation there is a tendency to exaggerate the usefulness of the Railway Executive, although many advantages have flowed to the railways from it. Each railway has its own geographical features, and a form of equipment which may be suitable for the flat Eastern Region may not be suitable for the mountainous country in the West.
§ Mr. Walter Monslow (Barrow-in-Furness)
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that it might be reasonable, for economic reasons, to standardise 400 locomotives down to 12?
§ Mr. Wilson
I agree that standardisation is necessary, but I am not sure whether it has not gone too far and too few types have been produced, in view 1062 of the very great differences in the nature of the country in which the railways have to work.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Do I understand the hon. Member, who has a long experience of the old Great Western Railway, to wish to go back to the broad gauge which the Great Western Railway then had?
§ Mr. Wilson
I do not propose that we should go back to the broad gauge, but I say that many of our railway troubles today would not have taken place if the broad gauge had been adopted as standard many years ago. Some old broad gauge trains were running at a 100 miles an hour 100 years ago, which has never been achieved since.
§ Mr. Wilson
The broad gauge trains could go at a great pace. We need not argue about hypothetical cases, however. I feel that there may be a danger of over-standardisation. One of the difficulties is that if we standardise too much the young men will leave the drawing offices. Young people concerned with design will not spend all their time merely repeating a standard which somebody else has evolved. They like the opportunity to evolve an idea of their own. There may be a tendency to stifle ingenuity if we over-standardise. That is not saying that there are not many advantages in standardisation.
I am glad to have the Minister's particular attention to the preservation of Sections 95 and 96 of the 1947 Act. He did not specifically mention Section 97, dealing with railway police. It is not mentioned in this Bill, so I suppose that it continues. Perhaps he will confirm that this is so? I was also glad to hear several of my hon. and right hon. Friends mention that they hoped the restaurant cars would return to the control of the railways or the railways regions or whatever will be the appropriate term. After all, a railway dining car is an ancillary service on the train and should be under the same control. It is ridiculous that at the present moment the meals served on a train are the responsibility of a different executive from that running the train. There will be an opportunity for putting that right in the scheme which in due course will be brought to the attention of the House of Commons. 1063 I am in favour of supporting Clause 14 as it stands with the minor exception of the Amendment which some of my hon. Friends have put down later on, but I am not in favour of supporting these Amendments.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
It is with much reluctance that I rise at this stage of the debate, because I know that a number of my hon. Friend desire to speak. However, we are working under great difficulty this afternoon and considerable time was occupied by earlier Amendments, some of which we considered to be of far less importance than those we are now discussing. But if we are to get on to the next two Clauses which have yet to be discussed, and if Divisions are to take place before their discussion, it is necessary to try to bring this part of our debate nearly to a close.
Certain things emerge clearly from the speech of the Minister. The first is that the Clause is quite unnecessary. The second is that there has been inadequate consultation with those people who are most concerned with the re-organisation of the railways. The third is that the Commission itself is opposed to this Clause in the manner in which it is now drafted. Fourthly, in my view, the Minister has shown from his remarks this afternoon concerning the railway system that he does not know how the railways were operating pre-war, the disadvantages of that system, and their failures as a result. Fifthly, he does not know what is to take the place of the Railway Executive. Finally, his remarks left unanswered a large number of vital questions and we are therefore still deficient in details of how it is proposed to reorganise the railways.
Before I develop those aspects of his speech, I would add that we listened with the greatest attention to his remarks concerning the maintenance of a national system of wage negotiations and we take it that Sections 95 and 96 are not to be repealed. We understand that is quite definite and that the Minister made a categorical statement to that effect.
§ Mr. Davies
Further, he made it quite clear that a co-ordinating organisation is to be appointed by the Commission which will operate under its authority and that it will act on a national basis.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
That is not what I made quite clear. What I said was that if the Commission decided to have such a co-ordinating authority, it would be directly under them and on a national basis—it is for them to decide whether they will administer these obligations. directly or through a co-ordinating authority—and that probably it would be found that they might prefer a co-ordinating authority on a national basis.
§ Mr. Davies
I thank the Minister for making that clear. That is why I repeated the way I interpreted his remarks. Now we have it clearly on record. My colleagues and those most concerned in the trade unions on these matters will want to study carefully the remarks which the Minister has made this afternoon.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I thank the hon. Gentleman for his courtesy in giving way again. I have repeated almost word for word the words suggested to me after my talks with the trade unions, not specifically, because I have amplified them, but in substance.
§ Mr. Davies
I appreciate that. In those circumstances we wish to have time to consult with those most concerned. If, as it seems most unlikely, anything should arise out of this, the matter could be raised on the Report stage. In those circumstances, we do not propose to move the Amendment which stands on the Order Paper concerning wage negotiations.
I said that the Minister had made it quite clear in his remarks this afternoon that this Clause is unnecessary. It is unnecessary because, as he himself admitted, the Executive can be abolished without new legislation. I am sure that when the British Transport Commission stated to him, both formally and informally, that they favoured the abolition of the Railway Executive, at no stage did they suggest that it was necessary to have legislation in order that the Railway Executive should be abolished.
It may well be that the Commission takes the point of view that there should be a re-organisation of the structure of the Commission and of the Executive. Here is a case where the Minister is accepting the advice of the Commission. If he is doing that, why does he not accept the advice of the Commission 1065 against the abolition of the Road Haulage Executive and the disposal of their undertakings? It is clear that the Minister accepts the advice of the Commission when it suits his book and rejects it when he finds it is against the views which his Government hold.
One can go further and point out that the Minister has accepted the advice of the Commission inasmuch as he proposes to abolish the Railway Executive, but is not accepting the advice of the Commission as to the drafting of the Clause we are now discussing. I wonder to what extent he consulted the members of the Railway Executive who are very much concerned in this and are close to the actual operation of British Railways? Equally important, I wonder to what extent he consulted the unions before he decided to abolish the Railway Executive. It is certain that no consultations took place with the trade unions and there are 600,000 workers employed on British Railways today.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
As the hon. Gentleman has put a direct question to me, I have repeatedly made it plain in the House that although I was appointed only on 8th May, on 18th May I wrote to the Trades Union Congress asking them to come and consult with me on the terms of the Bill which had not then been produced. Only the White Paper had been produced. I have kept that invitation open all the time and I have had lately three most fruitful meetings with them. They were all after the publication of the Bill, when the phrases in regard to the Railway Executive were in print, but that is not my fault because I wanted them sooner.
§ Mr. Davies
This matter has been raised on several occasions in the House. The case we have made out from the outset on consultation is that before the Government determined their policy they did not ask the trade unions for their views as to whether they considered a reorganisation of the transport system of this country was necessary, whether the re-organisation of the railways was essential or whether the abolition of the Railway Executive would meet with their approval.
The Minister bases his case for the abolition of the Railway Executive on the necessity for greater decentralisation 1066 of the functional organisation of the Executive. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) quoted this afternoon from an article by Sir Eustace Missenden in the "Daily Telegraph," it is clear that decentralisation has been going on within the Railway Executive during recent years; that after the initial stages of centralisation which were necessary for the unification of the railway system, a steady increase in de-centralisation has been the policy.
If the Railway Executive is organised on a functional basis and the functional basis is not desirable today or is not serving the best interests of good management of the railways, that is no justification for abolishing the Railway Executive as such. Surely it would be possible to reorganise it without abolishing it simply because it is organised on a functional basis.
It seems that the Minister does not have a clear concept of the pre-war organisation, because from what he said this afternoon it would appear that he wishes to return to the system of general managers, and as far as possible to independent railway regions with the chief officer a general manager. The pre-war system of operation certainly did not lead to a unified system, and it resulted in a very great deal of wasteful operation. Competition had long come to an end since 70 per cent. of the takings of the four main line railway companies was pooled. It was extremely difficult—in fact, it proved impossible—to get any unification or standardisation to any extent among the railway companies.
The general managers when they met as a body, and the railway companies when they met as a railways association, failed time and time again to reach any agreement on unification or on standardisation. The case has been quoted frequently of the impossibility of arriving at agreement on a brake van common to all the railways operating in the United Kingdom, and not until a very short time after British Railways were created was it possible to reach agreement and for a standardised brake van to be introduced. That is but one instance of the change which came about.
What advantages does the Minister think will be gained by returning to the 1067 general manager system? If he envisages this general manager system, does he envisage a return to separate Boards for the regions? Does he envisage a chairman for each of those boards, with these chairmen serving on the Commission? That is something we would like to know from the Minister.
If he is to retain and maintain the great advantages which, it has been proved, unification brings, there has to be interposed between the Commission and the general managers of the regions some form of management. That is to say, the Commission was never envisaged as anything but a policy-making body. It was not envisaged as an executive authority in the sense of management. If, as I thought from listening to the Minister this afternoon, he has in mind that the Commission—perhaps the Commission itself has this in mind, but it is not necessarily right—is itself to operate as the managing body of the railways—
§ Mr. Davies
The Minister indicates dissent with which I am very glad. If he says that the Commission does not envisage itself being the management, and if there are to be general managers, what is to be the centralised, co-ordinating management body? That is an important fact which the Minister has not disclosed this afternoon. There must be some board of management which canalises the policy of the Commission and passes it on to the regions.
If the general managers, themselves regionally responsible, meet as a conference, each one will be concerned about his own region and agreement between them will be well nigh impossible. It always proved impossible in the past, and there is no reason to believe that agreement will be possible in future. If the Commission itself is to act as an executive body, it would fail as regards policy and planning.
If I had time I should quote extracts from the Report of the Transport Tribunal of Northern Ireland, which makes it quite clear that the executive officers should not be members of the boards. The Northern Ireland Transport Tribunal rejected that suggestion and rejected also that the chairman should perform the executive duties appropriate to 1068 the general manager. In other ways they point out that the policy planning body and the management body must be separate.
I stress this point because I am satisfied that if we are to retain the advantages of the unified transport system which was created under the 1947 Act, there has to be a clearly defined co-ordinating body which is responsible for carrying out the functions of management. That body must be responsible to the Commission,. which is the policy making body, and must be in a position to pass on their policy directions to the regions to ensure that the policy-making of the Commission is carried out in the regions.
I think that the Minister himself and the hon. Baronet the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) and others have accepted the fact that there are great gains from unification. If these gains are apparent, as they are and as the Minister admits—gains which have resulted in a saving of over £15 million a year to the British Railways, gains which have brought about such economies and so much greater efficiency that it has been possible for costs to go up far higher than fares and charges—why must unification be endangered?
In my view, there is no doubt whatso-ever but that the unification which has been achieved, and the standardisation which has resulted and the economies and efficiency which have flowed from it, will all be in danger if the Clause goes through in its present form. The Government cannot maintain the standardisation and the gains that come therefrom if they split up the railways into regions and do not maintain a clear responsible body to see that standardisation continues.
The Minister has this afternoon attacked the 1947 Act, as he has done on several other occasions, for not achieving integration or co-ordination. He put forward a most extraordinary argument when he suggested that the pre-war railway companies were integrated, co-ordinated transport bodies. I am sure the hon. Baronet cannot possibly agree with that.
§ Mr. Davies
In that case, I beg the Minister's pardon, but it certainly appeared as though that was what he was saying.
§ Mr. Davies
The right hon. Gentleman said they were co-ordinated transport undertakings, each one a separate co-ordinated undertaking. If they were co-ordinated undertakings, how was it that there was this very great competition between road and rail, and why was it that Square Deal proposals had to be put forward? The railways were in great difficulty.
§ Mr. G. Wilson
At the beginning, the Square Deal proposals were that the railways should be freed similar to the roads, but they were changed half way through as a piece of railway propaganda to restrict the roads.
§ Mr. Davies
The hon. Member has a somewhat muddled view of what the Square Deal was. But, in any case, the Square Deal proposals were, in fact, abandoned by the railway companies during the war. They themselves—and this was the point I was going to make later—came round to the view that unification was necessary. It was only the introduction of the 1947 Act which prevented the railways from proceeding with their own proposals for unification. They had realised during the war that a solvent national railway system was impossible after the war without unification.
I would ask the Minister, in considering the Amendments we have put forward, to satisfy himself that this Clause is necessary when all the powers already exist within the 1947 Act to carry out precisely what is proposed in this Clause. I would also ask all hon. Members opposite to consider that question. Secondly, are they satisfied that they are justified in breaking up the unified British Railway system today simply because they favour a greater amount of de-centralisation—which we all favour, and which is accepted on all sides—and because a functional system is not to their liking?
Such a system certainly has its faults, but if the Government require more de-centralisation and desire to abolish the functional system of the Railway Executive, cannot these things be achieved with a less drastic reorganisation, because such a reorganisation will upset the railway system of this country for a while and will do a disservice to trade and industry.
1070 We must continue to think in terms of British Railways and not in terms of separate regions. As the hon. Baronet has told us so often, we must be transport-minded. Therefore, if the Minister cannot give us any satisfaction over these Amendments, we shall be forced to divide on our main Amendment and against the Clause. I urge him to give the Committee a clear indication of what he envisages will take the place of the Railway Executive, how he thinks we can maintain the gains we have achieved, and what benefits he thinks will accrue to the nation through the operation of this Clause.
We are quite unconvinced by the arguments put forward by him this afternoon. They show that the advice given to him has not come from those railwaymen most concerned with the welfare of the railway system of the country, but from those who are opposed to it, and many of us have a suspicion as to the quarter from which such advice has come. We wish to preserve the best in the British Railway system today, as, I believe, does the Minister, but we do not think he is going the right way about it.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South-West)
One realises that the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) was under the embarrassment that after a very cool debate he had to warm up in the course of his remarks to the point where he could announce the intention of the Opposition to divide against this Clause. Even so, he ought not to have let himself tell the Committee that it was the standardisation achieved by British Railways which had made it possible for fares to increase less than costs.
The British Transport Commission have told us the four reasons for that in paragraph 53 of their Report, which says:The loadings on the services are much better; there has been an increase in travel; the renewal of the undertaking is not being provided for on the same basis as pre-war; the remuneration of capital has been greatly diminished.Really, we ought not to have these repeated misrepresentations of the reasons for this phenomenon.
§ Mr. A. J. Champion (Derbyshire, South-East)
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that a saving of £15 million per annum as a result of unification was also a factor?
§ Mr. Powell
Then it is curious that the Commission omitted to say so in their Annual Report when they were commenting on the fact.
When an Opposition find themselves in the position of being broadly in agreement with what the Government propose, but not wishing to say so, their natural course is to ask for more information and to suggest that there should be an inquiry. That is exactly what the Opposition have done in the course of this debate.
I am not surprised that until the concluding sentences of the speech of the hon. Member for Enfield, East, the Opposition went no further, because, of course, the necessity for far-reaching de-centralisation in the management of the railways has for some time past been almost common ground. I would refer the Committee to a most valuable study of British Railways published by the Fabian Society about two years ago. I think their statements are well expressed. Referring to the pre-nationalisation organisation, they say:The L.M.S. was undoubtedly an over-centralised organisation of a bureaucratic kind, unrelieved by the pressure of Parliament and public opinion … A serious attempt was made … to correct this over-centralisation … This, however, did not alter the main pattern.That is what they say of it before 1947. They then say:The Railway Executive … bears a remarkable resemblance to this L.M.S. organisation,and their comment is as follows:The paramount fact of centralisation …is the remoteness of those responsible for taking important decisions from those whom they affect. … The term 'management' indicates, not an organisation of human beings, but an amorphous mass of anonymous individuals with 'no soul to save and no backside to kick'.In the course of this debate—and I have listened to every word of it—no reference has been made to the user of British Railways. We have been told about the organisation of the railways, but there has been no reference whatsoever to the customers, to the persons who use the railway.
§ Mr. Powell
My right hon. Friend is concerned not with criticising the proposals, but with expounding them; but those who have taken it upon themselves to criticise them have not ventured to refer to the impact of railway organisation on the user.
I notice that there has been criticism of the fact that in the course of this Committee stage I have ventured to refer to individual cases. But all experience is made up of individual instances. The opinions we express in this Chamber and our function of representing our constituents is built up on the individual instances brought to our attention. Therefore, I make no apology for communicating to the Committee what I think is a very enlightening example of the impact of bureaucracy upon the user of British Railways. It comes from a firm in my constituency, who tell me this:On the 20th November enquiries were made to British Railways with regard to the transport of 1,000 tons of material for shipment to the Continent, payment to be made in United States dollars. We have now reached the 2nd December and are still without any quotation from the British Railways. Initial inquiry was made"—I will omit the names of the individuals concerned because obviously the criticism is not directed against individuals—from Mr. X of the Wolverhampton depot of British Railways. He then passed it on to Mr. X at Birmingham who has forwarded it to a Mr. X at Shrewsbury, the material coming from a Shropshire area, and yesterday some man from Shrewsbury rang up and informed us that, before they could give a price, it would be necessary for a sample to be sent to the Great Western Railway laboratories at Swindon for analysis. They also want to know precisely from where we are obtaining the material, and it does seem to me that we might just as well give them the customer's name, the price we are paying, the price we are obtaining and allow the officials of the British Railways to handle the matter themselves.This material has to be shipped by 10th December and in all the circumstances I have written to the United States and advised them of inability to complete the contract.The appalling feature of this is that the amount involved is …27,000 which represents a considerable number of dollars. In addition to which, there would have been a continuance of this contract for some years at amounts varying between 500 and 1,000 tons a month.There is the impact of the bureaucracy and over-centralisation of the railways on the user.
§ Mr. J. Harrison
In order to explain that case thoroughly and so that we might appreciate his point, would the hon. Member tell us what was the material? Secondly, and this is very important, did this company, whom he is quoting, report the matter to the British Transport Commission or the Railway Executive headquarters?
§ Mr. Powell
As to the hon. Member's first question, it is remarkable how true railwaymen run to form. As regards the second point, the matter has gone to the British Transport Commission via me. Several times in the course of this debate it has been pointed out—
§ Mr. Callaghan
What we complain about, with regard to the individual instances which the hon. Member brings before us, is not that he brings them to the House of Commons or to this Committee—he is entitled to do that—but that never once within my experience, and I have heard him bring many instances, has he told us what the result of investigations of the complaints has been and what is the other side of the story.
§ Mr. Powell
What we are concerned with here is the result of the endeavour of a firm, from 20th November onwards, to get a quotation. One does not expect that within two or three days of attempting to obtain a quotation for a consignment the firm should have to get in touch with the British Transport Commission. That suggestion in itself is evidence of bureaucracy and over-centralisation.
It has been argued in the course of this debate that most of what will happen under this Clause could have been achieved either administratively by the British Transport Commission or by order made by the Minister. I believe, however, that it was right that the details of such a scheme should be written into this Bill. What is proposed to be done in this Clause in regard to the railways is broadly in line with what the rest of the Bill is doing for transport as a whole, and it was necessary for the consistency of the Bill that this scheme-making provision should be in it.
§ Mr. Harrison
I am grateful to the hon. Member for allowing me to intervene again. Will he please tell us what type of material was involved in the case which he quoted? Will he also tell us why this firm were so incompetent as to 1074 leave the matter until they reported it to him before they themselves acted directly with the railway authority to get the job done?
§ Mr. Powell
I am sorry to have to hark back to this, but from the correspondence which I read out it was evident that they had made every endeavour to obtain a quotation in time. I admit freely that it had not occurred to them that they ought to have gone straight away to the British Transport Commission in the first instance. [HON. MEMBERS: "What was the material?"] In the framework of this Bill as a whole—
§ The Chairman
Order. I can hardly hear what the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) is saying.
§ Mr. Powell
The major objectives which de-centralisation on the lines of this Clause are intended to achieve are, as I understand them, the following. In the first place, it is intended to achieve greater efficiency and immediacy of management. British Railways at present are an organisation employing over 600,000 men and the responsibility for decisions in the whole of the system is substantially centralised. No commercial undertaking of so embracing a character as British Railways would endeavour to conduct that undertaking in the top-heavy fashion of British Railways as organised at present, so that of the advantages which will accrue efficiency of management is the first which should emerge from the scheme.
§ Mr. Ronald Williams (Wigan)
I am sure that the hon. Member does not wish to be unfair. Certain questions have been put to him. Without disclosing the nature of the commodity or the identity of the firm, would he please indicate, so as not to deceive the Committee as to the position of the Commission, whether the Commission admitted these charges or denied them?
§ Mr. Powell
All that I have done is to describe the experiences of a firm in my constituency when they attempted to obtain a quotation for a consignment.
The second objective which I believe this Clause will attain is that, for the first time, it will make possible a comparison 1075 of working results within the railway system. At present it is impossible for a comparative analysis of working results to be made within the system. It is true that experiments can be conducted and tests can be made, but one cannot compare the experiences of working of major elements of the railway system. That is only possible if considerable administration and managerial responsibility is devolved to large units. We shall learn, as a matter of experience and knowledge from this devolution, facts about the working results of the railways, facts which we cannot obtain under the present organisation.
That is closely akin to another point made in this debate—that this de-centralisation will result, if I may use the expression, in a multiplication of initiative. I notice that references were made several times in the course of today's debate to the general application by the Executive of the advantages which previously had been peculiar to one of the railway systems. One example was the safety devices elaborated largely by the Great Western Railway which may, with or without modification, be shortly applied to British Railways as a whole. But supposing that we had had the centralised system of British Railways from the beginning, would these improvements have been worked out in their own circumstances by individual systems? It is only because we have had diversity of initiative and experience that there is a best method and standard to apply generally.
Finally, I can see emerging from this re-organisation the utilisation of the large reserves of loyalty to an old system which exists among the railwaymen. No one who has had anything to do with railwaymen doubts their attachment and loyalty to the system with which they worked. Indeed, we have experienced today, in the exchange which took place between the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Popplewell) and my hon. Friend the Member for Truro (Mr. G. Wilson), an example of that spirit. I am sure that my right hon. Friend was right when he said that the provisions of this Clause are welcomed by the railwaymen far beyond the ranks of those who voted Conservative.
1076 As typical of the feelings of many of these men, I am going to quote again an individual case, and this is an engine driver who happens to live in Wolverhampton. [An HON. MEMBER: "One of 600,000."] Yes, and they are all individuals. This letter says:Railway employees prior to 1948 were, unfortunately, for the most part adamantly Socialistic. They have now received an effective dose of Socialism in practice, and verily, it has proved a penetrating lesson. They see with scorn an ever-growing superfluity of officials and inspectors, a daily deterioration in efficiency and a relentless intensification of muddle. This Transport Bill is a salving rescue. …That is what a constituent, who is a railway engine driver, wrote to me about this Bill.
Against that background I would recommend to the Committee the conclusion to which the Fabian Group came on this matter:… some form of de-centralisation of management into smaller regions, each under a manager having overall responsibility for all departments, is preferable to the present centralised administration.The effect of the Clause which we are now discussing could not have been better put or more eloquently argued.
§ Mr. A. Hargreaves (Carlisle)
I support the Amendment for the deletion of paragraph (a). The Clause might have been better framed. It is ungracious, ungenerous and insulting. There are members of the Railway Executive, present and past, who have given over 40 years of their lives to railway work and to associated undertakings—people who have put into this job all they have and all they know.
I am not going over the ground, which has already been adequately covered, of the value of the work of the Railway Executive. I would only say that if the members are sacked, as the Minister proposes, he must replace them in one way or another. I gathered, possibly from a slip of his tongue, that he had in mind the appointment of general managers who might conceivably in future serve the purpose that the Railway Executive serves now.
If any hon. Members opposite imagine that railway managers can serve the same purpose as the present Railway Executive, let them cast their minds back to what happened when railway managers were 1077 in control of their own particular areas and sections. Let them ask themselves whether any authority of any kind rested in the national body of railway managers and whether they were able to do any effective work on a national basis. The question only needs asking; it answers itself. Their national view never became effective. It needed an authoritative body like the Railway Executive to bring about the changes which were impossible for the separate railway managers and which will be impossible if the Minister's ideas are brought to fruition.
The hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) suggested that there is a great deal of common ground in the approach to this Clause by hon. Members on this side of the Committee because there is an acceptance of the need for some degree of de-centralisation. I say that the Minister is wholly wrong in putting any form of de-centralisation within the Bill. Does not he recognise that to alter that form in the future will need another Bill?
Is not he laying down a rigid form of organisation for the future and completely overlooking the fact that the growing and developing need for changes in any form of transport requires that the form of organisation should be left out of the Bill? In other words, it should be left to the people who advise the Minister and who could very well have brought forward a scheme of re-organisation on this occasion, as he has admitted. The Minister has completely overlooked the fact that the British Transport Commission have powers of direction and the Railway Executive have powers of management.
Let not the Minister imagine that tnese are matters of no concern to the trading public; they are. The trading public want to know where the managing authority lies, and neither the Minister nor anybody else knows under this Bill. The managing authority is being withdrawn and, as far as we can see, nothing is going to take its place, unless the Minister's slip of the tongue this afternoon meant something.
What does the proposal for the setting up of areas mean? Is it proposed that more areas or regions should be established than are in operation at the present time? I warn the Minister that the present regions are not large enough for 1078 promotional purposes. Let the Minister keep that firmly in his mind. There are too many regions now from the point of view of making the staff sufficiently mobile to get the best use of their services over all the regions, and if the Minister adds to those regions and promotional opportunity is confined within each region, he is going to come up against trouble right away.
This is not a small matter. He must know that nothing of this kind is any good unless he carries the whole of the staff with him.
§ Mr. Hargreaves
I do wish these interruptions had cognisance of what is going on. There is an approach from a great many Members of this Committee—and I say it with the greatest respect—which shows complete ignorance of the present situation.
This is not a new idea. Regions have been in operation for a great many years. The Committee apparently does not recognise that there were a great many more than four operating units before the 1947 Act; there were a great number of companies, every one of which was a law unto itself in many respects. In setting up regions of this kind and attempting to give them some kind of autonomy, does the Minister recognise that within the industry there is previous experience of the same kind of set-up?
Attention has already been called to the difficulty of obtaining quotations for certain commodities. I should like to describe a common experience of areas, regions or companies in competition with one another. Those hon. Members opposite who argue, and have been arguing for years, for competing regions ought to have some regard for this sort of experience. Let me cite the case of a firm asking for a quotation for the conveyance of goods from a port, through either Liverpool, Glasgow or Fishguard to Ireland from, 1079 say, Hull, Grimsby or London. If there are competing regions, as there were before the 1947 Act—
The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hopkin Morris)
This is a wide debate, but at the moment I do not see the connection between the hon. Gentleman's argument and the proposal to abolish the Railway Executive.
§ Mr. Hargreaves
I was attempting to deal with the Minister's proposal for the various areas or regions which he proposes to set up under this Clause, and which he explained to us earlier on. I am attempting to deal only with the point made by the Minister, and to describe to him the way in which those areas operated prior to the 1947 Act. With your permission, Mr. Hopkin Morris, I should like to carry the argument a little further.
Let me describe what will happen in autonomous regions under the proposals outlined by the Minister today. Take an area where regions converge, say Glasgow, Liverpool or South Wales, where with cross-Channel services three regions may have to be considered in settling a rate for freight conveyance. The same might apply to passenger traffic. This experience is one which could be multiplied a thousand times. The firm offers goods traffic to an area or region for conveyance to Ireland. They must obtain a rate from the originating point through that region to the region of the port, and then to the edge of that region where it converges with two other regions; they must obtain a rate for delivery of the goods to the ship, for the dock and harbour dues, Customs clearance charges, and, in the case of the Mersey, for hiring floating cranes to lift the goods.
All these are separate services with separate charges; they are not through charges but charges which have to be applied by different regions, which, in the view of the Minister, will be competing with one another. We might just as well go back to the situation I saw so often in the past. I remind the Government of the overhead railway in Liverpool. At the head of the goods locomotive a man with a red flag walked between the metals. I really do believe that that is 1080 the sort of viewpoint behind these proposals. They ignore all the experience of all the people who have been engaged in all forms of transport for so long.
I should like to devote a moment or two to the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn). He gave support to the general principle of this Clause, and suggested that the Railway Executive was the fifth wheel of the coach. He went on to say that he believed that if the regions proposed by the Minister functioned as transport areas—took into account every form of transport—there would be no need for a Railway Executive at all. That, I think, ignores the fact that the purpose of the Bill is to see to it that such areas are not transport areas at all, but merely railway areas. The purpose of the Bill is to truncate such areas—to take from them the road services they possess. Therefore, support for the Bill in the belief that these will be transport areas rather than railway areas is support, quite obviously, given under a misapprehension.
There is another consideration which ought, I think, to be put to the Committee. It makes it all the more necessary that some form of management authority ought to continue between the Commission and the railway organisation itself. I call in aid here the hon. Baronet the Member for Abingdon again. I want to remind the Committee that lift vans—"containers," as we call them now—were in operation on British Railways before the 1914 war, and during the whole of the time when railway management was in separate hands throughout the country, when those managements had an opportunity of developing lift vans, they did nothing about it. They did nothing at all, because railway managers were no good at looking at transport problems.
Railway managers were concerned with managing a railway, to the exclusion of other railways, and it needed a Railway Executive—some form of national authority—with authority to do the job to say, "We want containers on the railways." Now we have got 25,000 of them, and one can get transport on them from one end of the country to the other. One could not get that under the railway managers. It was not their job. It was their job to stop that kind of development. 1081 If the hon. Baronet thinks I am being a bit too hard on them, let me remind him of what happened in the case of the chocolate manufacturers in this country. The chocolate manufacturers used railway goods vans for the conveyance of their traffic, and they needed loading done in a particular way—on trays within goods vans; and at enormous expense they built separate trays to contain little parcels of chocolate within the goods vans. They spent very much money in doing so and the vans which were dispatched from Bourneville or York were loaded one way and went back empty, containing the valuable panels inside them which were worth so much money. This business went on for many years because the railway managers could never get down to the job of seeing transport as an all-over development. We cannot possibly go back to that kind of thing.
§ Mr. Hargreaves
I will give another instance which is well worth while. The Mersey Tunnel was built at a cost of …8 million. A mile away from the Mersey Tunnel, and on either side of the river Mersey, there were competing companies—the C.L.C., the L.M.S., the Great Western. The Mersey Tunnel was built not as a road tunnel but in order that the upper segment of the circle should carry road traffic and that on the lower segment there should be a railway tunnel. Why is there not now a railway tunnel from Liverpool to Birkenhead? It would have opened up to the Western region or the Great Western Railway the whole of the South Lancashire area and Merseyside, whereas now they have to barge their traffic across a distance of a mile and a quarter between Liverpool, Love Lane, and Birkenhead, Morpeth Dock.
Whenever any proposal was made by the Great Western Company that the tunnel should be used for railway traffic, every one of the companies on the Liverpool side of the tunnel said, "No; that could not possibly be allowed." The Midland and the Great Northern and the Great Central, who were organised through the C.L.C., made their objections. The North Western and the L. and Y. did precisely the same. There is no railway through the Mersey Tunnel and there never could be under separate managements. But can it be denied that, just 1082 as a national body did other jobs in connection with the railways and said, "This must be done whether this region or this company likes it or not"; just as with the elimination of those awkward vehicles which were the property of separate companies and which were a nuisance on the railroads; could they not, as a national management authority, have taken advantage of the tunnel so that we would have had a through service with South Lancashire which would have been quicker and shorter than any service at present in existence?
Those are the arguments about the maintenance of a national managerial body and why we must retain it in one form or another. I object to the whole principle of the Bill. I think it is wrong to dislocate and damage the transport system of the country as this Bill does, and I suggest that we cannot possibly save sufficient from the wreck to make the system effective in any proper way. But I sincerely ask the Minister to examine the points to which I have directed his attention and especially the undoubted fears which exist among the people employed on the railway; and to make clear to the Committee that there must be a managerial body interposed on a national scale between the British Transport Commission and the undertaking itself.
I understand that hon. Members opposite are anxious to divide the Committee. I rise for the purpose of replying to some of the points which have been made since my right hon. Friend addressed us earlier. If my remarks appear to be disjointed, that will be owing to my desire not to detain the Committee longer than is necessary.
I think that we can say that today's discussion on this group of Amendments has been of the highest possible value in bringing out views held by hon. Members on both sides of the Committee on the re-organisation or de-centralisation of the railways. It has been said from the benches opposite during the course of the day that some degree of de-centralisation might be desirable, but there have, of course, been differences of opinion as to the method which should be adopted.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn, West (Mr. Assheton) raised the question of the future of the restaurant cars and the Hotels Executive under 1083 the re-organisation scheme. That is a topic on which a great deal has been said and written. All that I can say tonight is that this is one of the matters for the Commission to consider, and upon which they will doubtless make recommendations to my right hon. Friend. I have no doubt that this is a field which will be very carefully examined.
The hon. Member for the Itchen (Mr. Morley) spoke about the importance of the dock organisation remaining as it is at present. I refer him to the statement which I made on the Second Reading regarding this phase of the Commission's activities, and reminding him that my right hon. Friend, this afternoon, in reply to a question, reiterated that the docks would be separate from the railways under the new organisation. As the hon. Gentleman has now resumed his place, may I say how greatly I enjoyed the visit which I recently made to Southampton, and how very much I was impressed by everything I saw at the docks, particularly the Atlantic terminal for which, I think, the highest credit is due to all concerned with it.
My hon. Friend the Member for Truro (Mr. G. Wilson) asked about the railway police. [An HON. MEMBER: "He is not here."] That is no reason for my not dealing with the point he made. I will deal with it because I think that it may have interest for some who are outside the Committee. I know that hon. Members want to get on with the debate, but I am trying to deal with this point, which, I think, is of value. My hon. Friend asked about the railway police, their wages, conditions and the like. I can only say that no change is contemplated. Section 97 of the 1947 Act deals with that matter, which is one for the British Transport Commission, and this Bill makes no change in that respect.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) spoke of the difficulty which would arise through the abolition of the Railway Executive, and asked how central control could be exercised under a system of general managers, and through what medium. I can only refer him to subsection (3, b) of the Clause under discussion, which gives the widest possible range to the Commission to deal with this matter; but it does occur to me that it would 1084 not be impossible for the general managers to meet under the chairmanship of a member of the Commission. I should have thought that meetings of that kind might be of the greatest value, but it is, of course, for them to decide. Such meetings would be permissive and not in any way mandatory, as are all the co-ordinating bodies provided for under the Clause. That occurs to me as a piece of machinery which might be used if there is a desire to get the general managers together. The Clause lays down in the broadest possible manner that the Commission are empowered to evolve machinery for this purpose.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
I do not think the Parliamentary Secretary quite understood the point I made. It was that if the general managers met as a conference that would not be the same thing as having a board of management subject to the Commission and responsible for passing on the policy of the Commission to the general managers. General managers meeting in conference, as they did before the war, are concerned about their own regions, and that is not the most satisfactory way to obtain co-ordination.
One of the authorities provided for by the Clause might be a conference of general managers. The Clause is very widely drawn and all possibilities will be considered. We are anxious that the Commission shall have the widest possible discretion in drawing up a scheme.
To turn now to the main cleavage of opinion today, it was very well put by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Enfield, East when he said that, if the Commission's view is not accepted when we are disposing of the Road Haulage Executive, why should its view be accepted when it is quoted in support of the abolition of the Railway Executive. The answer is perfectly clear. The policy of the Government, stated over and over again, for better or worse, with or without the agreement of hon. Gentlemen opposite, is that it has always been our intention to dispose of road haulage to private enterprise and to de-centralise the railways. Thus, the views of the British Transport Commission as to the best machinery to be employed for that purpose are, naturally, taken into account by my right hon Friend. 1085 Knowing how anxious the Committee is to proceed to other Amendments, might I just say that I have no doubt at all that the debate will be studied by the British Transport Commission with the greatest interest and that the Commission may find it of great value in the future.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
I shall not detain the Committee a second longer than I can possibly help, but I must place on record some observations and facts on behalf of thousands of men and women who cannot express themselves in the House of Commons, and also on behalf of men engaged in management who are greatly concerned about the proposed reorganisation of the railways.
We have heard a lot about de-centralisation today, and I think there is need for some de-centralisation in this Committee. Hon. Members may put what construction they like upon that remark. I have learnt from experience that, once we have parted with a Bill after the Committee stage, we cannot do much about it. Therefore, before the end of the Committee stage we must say what we want to say on behalf of the people whom we represent, and for that reason I desire to place on record certain facts.
The largest industrial estate in this country is Trafford Park, where 80,000 people are employed and where railway traffic takes precedence over everything else. One industrial establishment in Trafford Park employs 20,000 men and women, and several other establishments there employ between 2,000 and 7,000. All these people are very concerned about the effects which the re-organisation of British Railways will have upon their everyday lives.
Before I proceed I would urge the Minister to consider these facts. This country is now living upon a very narrow margin. We are in a serious economic position and the cost of production will be more important in the future than it has ever been in the past. About the materials going into industry—
The hon. Member should keep somewhere near the Amendment, which deals with the abolition of the Railway Executive.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
If you would be good enough to read the Amendment, Mr. Hopkin Morris, you will find that all I 1086 am saying is quite in order and in accordance with it. We do not know the kind of organisation that is going to be set up. We know the kind of organisation in existence now. Therefore, we should put the facts on record against the Government's proposals, and even if this Bill becomes an Act of Parliament, then, when the British Railways Authority are making their new schemes within the framework and have submitted them to the Minister, the right hon. Gentleman will bear in mind the facts which are now being put upon record.
I was saying that the cost of production is going to be more important in the future than ever it has been in the past. The weight of materials going into the average industrial concern can be fixed at three, and when it comes out in manufactured form, it can be fixed at one. In Trafford Park they are making a greater contribution to Britain's economic needs than any other similar area in the country.
If the Minister does not have regard to these facts then he will be responsible for the worsening of Britain's economic position. I am not speaking on my own behalf, but as a representative of industrial people, of areas where there are between 10,000 and 25,000 people employed. They are bound to have serious regard to the proposed re-organisation of British Railways for it will have a direct bearing on their employment.
When the Minister was speaking he used a few phrases like this, "No one suggests that the public ownership of the railways should be disturbed." We are very pleased at that as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough, but under these proposals a re-organisation of British Railways is going to be undertaken. The Minister went on to say that when the Bill becomes an Act he proposed to discuss the framework with the Commission. It will be too late for this Committee to do anything. The power will be taken out of our hands to a great extent anyhow, and, therefore, now is the time to speak about the dangers of this and not when it is a fait accompli.
I was very pleased to hear the Minister make use of this phrase, "The unification has brought about some good 1087 results." I think that is a fair interpretation of what he said. Then he went on to say, "When there have been good results nothing should be done to dissipate the results." That was all right as far as it went, but he said nothing about the effects of these proposals when it comes to dealing with other matters. It is on that point that I just want to make some observations.
For the people for whom I am speaking, there is one railway station which does not serve the needs of the area. No less than 60,000 people have got to travel by road, and there is a danger that under these new proposals, as the Minister has constantly said—I am not speaking critically of him now but only objectively—he wants to introduce competition within limits. Is that fair?
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
Therefore, when this Bill becomes an Act there will be a battle between the various organisations for the traffic that is available. That is the Conservative interpretation of "serving the national interest." Really, it is now vested interests—but I do not want to make a political speech.
There will be a big battle for the traffic in the area for which I am speaking. We
§ hear a great deal in this Committee about London. It is time we heard more about the area where the work is done and from which in the main Labour gets its political representation. Now I must pull myself together or Mr. Hopkin Morris will be—
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
I am speaking of 60,000 people who will have to travel within a 25-mile radius. The buses have to connect up with different railway stations in that radius. Managements in the area are very concerned that under the re-organisation of British Railways this great traffic battle can start and have its effect within the facilities now available for travelling. We cannot prevent the Minister from doing what he wants, seeing that he has a majority, but I do ask that before the Bill becomes an Act he should consider the facts I have now placed on record.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 275; Noes, 252.1091
|Division No. 48.]||AYES||[9.14 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Burden, F. F. A.||Fell, A.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Butcher, H. W.||Fisher, Nigel|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Campbell, Sir David||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Fletcher-Cooke, C.|
|Amstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Carson, Hon. E.||Fort, R.|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Cary, Sir Robert||Foster, John|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Channon, H.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell|
|Banks, Col. C.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)|
|Barber, Anthony||Cole, Norman||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Gammans, L. D.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Garner-Evans, E. H.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Cooper-Key, E. M.||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Glyn, Sir Ralph|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Cranborne, Viscount||Godber, J. B.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.|
|Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Crouch, R. F.||Gower, H. R.|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Gridley, Sir Arnold|
|Birch, Nigel||Deedes, W F.||Grimond, J.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Digby, S. Wingfield||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Donner, P. W.||Harden, J. R. E.|
|Braine, B. R.||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hare, Hon. J. H|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Drayson, G. B.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas (Richmond||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Duthie, W. S.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Hay, John|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Erroll, F. J.||Heald, Sir Lionel|
|Heath, Edward||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr, R.|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Shepherd, William|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Markham, Major S. F||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Holland-Martin, C J||Maude, Angus||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Hollis, M. C.||Maudling, R.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Holt, A. F.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Speir, R. M.|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Mellor, Sir John||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Horobin, I. M.||Molson, A. H. E.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Stevens, G. P.|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Howard, Greville (St. Ives)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Nicholls, Harmar||Storey, S.|
|Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Studholme, H. G|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Summers, G. S|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Nutting, Anthony||Teeling, W.|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Oakshott, H. D.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Odey, G. W.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Keeling, Sir Edward||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Tilney, John|
|Lambton, Viscount||Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare)||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Osborne, C.||Turner, H.F. L|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Partridge, E.||Turton, R. H|
|Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Vane, W. M. F|
|Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Vosper, D. F|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Wade, D. W.|
|Lindsay, Martin||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Linstead, H. N.||Pitman, I. J.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Powell, J. Enoch||Walker-Smith, D C.|
|Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Low, A. R. W.||Profumo, J. D.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Raikes, H. V.||Watkinson, H A.|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Rayner, Brig. R.||Webbe, Sir H.(London & Westminster)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Redmayne, M.||White, Baker (Canterbury)|
|Lyttelton, RI. Han. O.||Remnant, Hon. P.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|McAdden, S. J.||Renton, D. L. M.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|McCallum, Major D.||Robertson, Sir David||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Williams. R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Wills, G.|
|McKibbin, A. J.||Roper, Sir Harold||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||York, C.|
|Maolean, Fitzroy||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)||Mr. Drewe and Mr. Kaberry.|
|Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)||Scott, R. Donald|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Bowden, H. W.||Crossman, R. H S|
|Adams, Richard||Bowles, F. G.||Cullen, Mrs. A.|
|Albu, A. H.||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Daines, P.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Brockway, A. F.||Darling, George(Hillsborough)|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Burke, W. A.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Burton, Miss F. E.||Deer, G.|
|Baird, J.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Delargy, H. J.|
|Balfour, A.||Cal aghan, L. J.||Dodds, N. N.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Carmichael, J.||Donnelly, D. L.|
|Bartley, P.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Bromwich)|
|Ballenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Champion, A. J.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Bence, C. R.||Chapman, W. D.||Edwards, John (Brighouse)|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Chetwynd, G. R.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)|
|Beswiok, F.||Clunie, J.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Coldrick, W.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Collick, P. H.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Cove, W. G.||Fernyhough, E.|
|Boardman. H.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Field, W. J.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Crosland, C. A. R.||Fienburgh, W.|
|Finch, H. J.||MacColl, J. E.||Schofield, S. (Barnsley)|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||McInnes, J.||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Follick, M.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Foot, M. M.||McLeavy, F.||Short, E. W.|
|Forman, J. C.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Slater, J.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Glanville, James||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Snow, J. W.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Manuel, A. C.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Mayhew, C. P.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Franks|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||Mellish, R. J.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Messer, F.||Steele, T.|
|Grey, C. F.||Mikardo, Ian||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mitchison, G. R.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Monslow, W.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Moody, A. S.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Morley, R.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Hannan, W.||Mort, D. L.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Hardy, E. A.||Moyle, A.||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Hargreaves, A.||Mulley, F. W.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Murray, J. D.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Hastings, S.||Nally, W.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Thornton, E. (Farnworth)|
|Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||O'Brien, T.||Timmons, J.|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Oldfield, W. H.||Tomney, F.|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Oliver, G. H.||Turner-Samuels, M|
|Holman, P.||Orbach, M.||Viant, S. P.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Oswald, T.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Padley, W. E.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Paget, R. T.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Weitzman, D.|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Pannell, Charles||West, D. G.|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Pargiter, G. A.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Parker, J.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Paton, J.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Peart, T. F.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Jenkins, F. H. (Stechford)||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Popplewell, E.||Wigg, George|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Porter, G.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Willey, F. T.|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Proctor, W. T.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Keenan, W.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Kenyon, C.||Rankin, John||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Reeves, J.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Kinley, J.||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Rhodes, H.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Yates, V. F.|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Ross, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Logan, D. G.||Royle, C.||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Holmes.|
Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and agreed to.
I think it would be for the convenience of the Committee to discuss at the same time the next Amendment in the name of the hon. Baronet, in page 19, line 38, to leave out subsection (4).
§ Sir R. Glyn
I know that hon. Members want to get on to the other Clauses and I shall explain the Amendments very briefly. Subsections (3) and (4) seem to me to be redundant and rather complicated and I do not know whether their 1092 provisions are to be statutory or permissive. If I could be informed that they had any effect at all in helping the Commission to bring together road and rail, I should not press them, but if they are redundant and unnecessary, I do not see why they should be in the Bill.
If, on the other hand, it should be necessary in the form of the Bill for these two subsections to remain so as to enable the regions to operate road and rail services together, and I could be persuaded that they are necessary forms of words, I should not press the Amendments. It is because these subsections 1093 seem redundant, unnecessarily complicated and rather obscure that I propose their exclusion from the Bill.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I can say straight away to my hon. Friend that the purpose of these subsections is enabling and not mandatory. It is our view that without them it might be more difficult to retain some of the advantages of centralised control, and I feel sure that my hon. Friend would be very sorry if that were in fact the result. I hope that with that assurance he will be prepared not to press the matter to a Division.
§ Mr. Hargreaves
I do not think that the Minister's assurance is sufficient. He suggested that these are merely enabling subsections, but I think it ought to be pointed out that they lay down for the guidance of the Transport Commission the lines on which the Minister is prepared to approve a scheme submitted by them. I suggest to the Committee—and I am reinforced in this by the suggestion made by the Minister that these subsections are enabling and not mandatory—that the present legislation, under which the British Transport Commission and the Executives are constituted, is sufficiently wide to meet the point made by the Minister, and that these two subsections are redundant.
But they are also bad, because they lay down a form of re-organisation which, in my view, does not sufficiently take into account the fact that, whatever may be the Minister's attitude towards regions, functions and authorities at this moment, that may not be his view in 12 months' time with the change of transport development that is bound to come about through the operation of this Measure, and with the dislocation which will follow from the break-up of the present organisation.
In view of such developments, it seems to me that the case for laying down this policy within the Bill is less strong. Indeed, the undoubted need that exists for the Commission to proceed upon lines for meeting in a flexible way the development of transport services makes it essential for the subsections to be deleted from the Bill.
As I indicated earlier, when the transport system develops along certain lines which we all know it must, there will be 1094 a need for a second submission to this House in the form of legislation. Therefore, I submit that the scheme set out in subsections (3) and (4) is restrictive in its operation and that in the interest of transport the rigid form of ideas which is in the mind of the present Minister of Transport should not be laid down. The individual may change within the next year or two. The whole set-up will certainly change within the next 18 months. Therefore, any future proposals for organisation or re-organisation would have to be framed in the form of legislation.
I suggest that this is a job that can very well be done outside the provisions of this Bill. It can be done under the provisions of the 1947 Act. That is why I support this Amendment which seeks to exclude subsection (3) and also the Amendment to leave out subsection (4).
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Popplewell
I am rather disappointed that the hon. Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) was so brief in moving the Amendment. Equally, I cannot help feeling very disappointed at the Minister being so very brief in his reply. One would have hoped that on this subject one would have obtained from the Minister some enlightenment as to exactly what this Clause means. Does it really refer to co-ordination of road and rail traffic? In dealing with these subsections of the Clause, it would be a good thing if we knew exactly what is in the Minister's mind.
Many questions have been asked by the hon. Member for Abingdon on these matters. Exactly what are the responsibilities with which these co-ordinating committees are to be charged? Are they to be charged with the true co-ordination of road and rail traffic? What are the responsibilities of the other committees that are to be set up? In view of the fact that there was no reply from the Minister to previous points put forward, one cannot help drawing certain conclusions. The Minister's reply to an earlier Amendment brought very forcibly home to us what a tremendous amount of woolly thinking there has been on Clause 14.
There has been talk of the benefits of competition in the proposed set-up and then talk about various committees which 1095 must be established to secure some form of co-ordination, which just does not make sense. We asked the Minister what are to be the responsibilities of these committees and area authorities and we received no explanation at all except, as the right hon. Gentleman said previously, that it was up to the Transport Commission to tell him what they were going to do. That is not good enough, and that is not treating the House of Commons and this Committee with the respect and courtesy to which they are entitled. If we are to pass a Bill of this description, which will alter the present structure of transport so fundamentally, surely we are entitled to know what is the type of structure that is to replace the present one.
The Minister went out of his way a little while ago to pay a compliment to the Transport Commission. If I may digress for a moment, it is very interesting indeed to hear compliments now from the opposite side of the Committee to the British Transport Commission, particularly in view of what was said during the years when hon. Members opposite criticised the Commission from the Opposition benches.
I suggest that it is those people to whom the Minister paid a compliment who are responsible for the present structure. No Minister inserted the original organisation within the framework of the Transport Commission. It was the experts in transport who, giving of their best, prepared this set-up. The Minister now says that those very men to whom he paid a compliment would not be capable of drafting a scheme and, to use the Minister's own words, he will give them broad directions as to how they should work. In other words, he is not giving the Commission freedom of action. He is putting forward broad generalisations within which these committees will have to work.
Those of us who are interested in transport and not just railways—transport-minded men as a whole—should surely know what is intended by these broad generalisations. It is natural that the Commission, when attempting to observe the Minister's dictum, should require some guidance from the Minister as to what he means by this sort of 1096 thing. The Committee should be told exactly what is in the Minister's mind.
One can visualise various set-ups. What does the Minister mean when he says that these authorities will be charged withfunctions which appear to the Commission or to the Minister to be unsuitable for delegation to an authority set up for a particular area"?It is very ambiguous wording. Does it include the broad structure of road and rail, canals and docks? Is it intended that it should include a general managers' conference under the old railway set-up? What does it mean? Far too often in this Bill do we see responsibility left to the Minister for some undefined project. This matter is too important to be left in this way, and I hope the Minister will give us the courtesy of some further explanation about these subsections.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am ready to keep the Committee as long as they like on these Amendments. It was because I thought it was more to the convenience of hon. Members opposite that I gave a somewhat short answer to what was a short speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn), but I am prepared to settle down on this and go through every action, reaction and counter-action, within modest limits, arising from this provision.
My hon. Friend asked me whether this was the operative part of the Clause which would enable some form of road-rail co-ordination to take place. It would have been tempting to say that this highly desirable consummation could have been achieved by these subsections, but honesty came to my aid, and I did not claim it because that is not the purpose of these subsections. Of course, it will be possible in Clause 14 for such provision to be made, but that would come under subsection (6) which I would not be in order in discussing at any length.
I am prepared, however, to read subsection (6, a), which deals with the point that the hon. Member has in mind:The scheme may entrust to any authority set up under the scheme, or otherwise deal with, functions of the Commission not concerned or directly concerned with the operation of the railways if it appears to the Commission or to the Minister to be necessary or expedient that those matters should be entrusted to those authorities or so dealt with by the scheme;1097 Then follow other portions of that subsection with which I will not weary the Committee.
The purpose of these subsections I have described. If we accepted both my hon. Friend's Amendments and omitted subsections (3) and (4), we should then be left only with the mandatory provisions of subsection (2) under which the re-organisation scheme must—not may—provide for the abolition, if it has not already been abolished, of the Railway Executive; must provide for the setting up of area authorities and for the delegation of functions to those authorities. All that would be left would be the mandatory provisions, and the permissive provisions would be taken away. We do not want to put the Commission into a position whereby they would appear to be prevented from doing something which they would like to do. It therefore seems to us desirable to put in these permissive subsections (3) and (4).
When I first saw this Amendment on the Order Paper I rather wondered what my hon. Friend had in mind. I thought that what he wanted to do, perhaps, was to establish the maximum degree of local autonomy, subject only to the Commission's control over such matters as general finance and charges; but a little further examination revealed the fact that if this was his intention it was unlikely to be achieved by deleting subsections (3) and (4) as the mandatory provisions of subsection (2) which would remain would not, of themselves, preclude the Commission from making proposals for co-ordinating authorities on the lines of subsection (3).
Then I thought that there might be something else in my hon. Friend's mind, but I honestly could not think what it was, although I know his views on a great many other things. If we left only the mandatory provisions, whereby the Executive must be abolished and areas authorities must be set up, it seemed to us that we should be open to the obvious charge that we were delegating to them all the functions of the Commission except those reserved under subsection (7), to which we have not yet come.
Experience has shown that there are some functions where co-ordination and central control have yielded good results. It would be a great pity, and wholly contrary to my hon. Friend's intention, if 1098 the scheme did not provide for special authorities being set up under the Commission which were permissive and not obligatory—authorities which could preserve the undoubted value—which I was at pains to stress in an earlier speech—of certain aspects of co-ordination. That is the reason for subsection (3). If we have such authorities mainly to preserve the advantages that have come from co-ordination we ought also to provide for those authorities being able to be co-ordinated with each other.
I am not a Parliamentary draftsman. I have a great admiration for those who discharge this difficult task. They know what is the intention of the Government and they have used the words which give expression to that intention. I have tried to explain it in language which is comprehensible, and it may be that my hon. Friend will now decide not to press this Amendment to a Division.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
It is now nearly the end of 1952, and we are witnessing a new development in the procedure of Committees in the House of Commons. The main debate takes place between the two Front Benches, and the Minister's new standard of courtesy is to reply before other Members of the Committee who desire to speak have had an opportunity to do so.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The hon. Gentleman is always very courteous to me, personally, and I know that he will not mind giving way. I was only anxious to accommodate the convenience of the Opposition. I recognise that the Opposition have greater rights than the Government under the Guillotine, though it is perfectly true that the Labour Party, under their Guillotine time-table, gave 35 minutes per page and we have given 56 minutes per page. Nevertheless, I have done my best to help the Opposition, and that was my sole reason for intervening straight away.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
I am not a railway OT a transport man, but I claim the right to speak in the Committee on behalf of those amongst whom I live. A number of my hon. Friends have been here during the whole of the Committee stage. Several have never left their places even for refreshment, but they have not bad an opportunity to speak owing to what has been taking place.
1099 I am not blaming the right hon. Gentleman too much for this; other people should also think about it. This is a democratic institution and the place where, up till now, we have been allowed to ventilate people's needs and ideas. Although I should be in order if I did so, I am not going to repeat what I said previously; but these two Amendments again raise the principle on which I was speaking.
I would ask the Minister if he is going to consider the facts which I have placed upon record and if he can give an undertaking that the special needs of the area which I have mentioned are going to be watched when this Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Sir R. Glyn
In view of the statement made by the Minister, the late hour and the fact that there are two more Clauses to be considered, I shall seek permission to withdraw the Amendment on the understanding that both these Amendments will be looked at again in case the reference to the Minister in Clause 3 is not in accordance with everything which I understood from the explanation given. I believe in giving latitude to the British Transport Commission to do everything they can for the benefit of transport, but I am not quite sure what the reference to the Minister means in Clause 3. With that proviso, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Robert Allan (Paddington, South)
I beg to move, in page 20, line 16, at the end, to insert:Provided that any functions of the Commission relating to the provision of port facilities at the places specified in the Schedule (Places where Control of Port Facilities is not to be Re-organised) to this Act shall not be so entrusted or dealt with.I shall be brief in moving this Amendment. I understand that I shall be in order if I refer to an Amendment in Clause 17 which is also in the name of my hon. Friend and myself, in page 25, line 7, at the end to add:(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (4) of section three of the Transport Act, 1947 (which section relates to the general duty of the Commission), the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive or other person or authority responsible from time to time for exercising as agents for the Commission the func- 1100 tions of the Commission relating to the provisions of port facilities at the places specified in the Schedule (Places where Control of Port Facilities is not to be Re-organised) to this Act shall so conduct that part of the undertaking of the Commission for the time being entrusted to it or him as a separate undertaking and, subject to the provisions of the Transport Act, 1947, and this Act, shall levy such fares, rates, tolls, dues and other charges as to secure that the revenue of that part of the undertaking is not less than sufficient for making provisions for the meeting of charges properly chargeable to revenue, taking one year with another.I understand that my hon. Friend for Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson) will also be in order in referring to his Amendment, which is the next in Clause 14, page 20, line 16, at the end to insert:provided that any functions of the Commission relating to the provision of transport services and facilities for traffic on inland waterways vested in them shall not be so entrusted or dealt with.My right hon. Friend said the intention was that the docks and harbours at present under the Commission should remain in their ownership but should be administered separately from any new railway undertaking set up under the Bill. Under Subsection (6), it is possible that those docks may be taken over by one of the new railway undertakings, and the point was to exclude that possibility. The Minister's statement has gone a very long way to meet that point and I am extremely grateful for what he said.
I understand, however, that at the moment he is not inclined to accept this Amendment, and I will briefly put forward three points which I should be grateful if he would consider. As the Committee are aware, the docks of this country are at the moment divided into two categories—those operated by independent authorities and those operated and owned by the British Transport Commission. The docks operated by the independent authorities handle 70 per cent. of the port traffic of this country, and with one or two exceptions are under public or statutory authorities of one sort or another. They are entirely self-contained, have no outside interests and are not permitted to run at a loss.
Those owned by the British Transport Commission are by and large those taken over under the 1947 Act but, again, they can be sub-divided into two—the purely commercial ports and the packet ports such as Newhaven, Harwich and Folkestone. The packet ports, as the hon. 1101 Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) said earlier, are nothing more than an extension of the passenger services of the railways. They are an integral part of the railways and have been omitted from the Schedule referred to in the Amendment. As they have been omitted, I think my right hon. Friend need not fear that in accepting the Amendment he would go any further than he appears to intend to go.
The second point I want to make is that even if the docks and harbour at present owned by the British Transport Commission remain in their general ownership, but are administered separately, it is still important that they should not be in a position to offer inducements to their users which the independent ports are unable to offer.
§ Mr. Allan
It is not fair competition. It is unfair competition because, as happened in the old days before the 1947 Act, the railways were able to offer lower freight charges and railway charges to users of their docks in order to induce people to use them. The loss incurred was absorbed by the whole undertaking. Dock authorities, because of their constitution, because they do not own their own railways, are quite unable to offer such inducements. Therefore, it is unfair.
§ Mr. Keenan
I thank the hon. Member for giving way. It is kind of him. Is it not correct to say that the competition has been going on many, many years between those undertakings, and that the railways had nothing at all to do with it? We have always had the facilities at one port competing against those of another. It is the case that my own port of Liverpool, with the most costly docks, offered dues much less. That competition has always been regarded as fair and square up to now, and now the hon. Gentleman is objecting to it.
§ Mr. Allan
I am not objecting at all. It is the case of the independent docks that I am trying to put now, and I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman, coming from Liverpool, would have been only too glad to support it.
It is in this connection that my proposed Amendment to Clause 17 comes in, 1102 because the present position is that under Section 3 (4) of the Act of 1947 the whole business carried on by the Commission is considered as forming one complete undertaking, and the charges can be made accordingly, and this again makes it possible for the docks and harbours to charge lower rates than the independent docks can do, and there are cases today, even now, where the railway freight charges are less to transport Commission docks than they are for similarly placed docks owned by independent authorities. The point of that Amendment to Clause 17 is simply to require that any body managing docks and harbours shall do so on equal terms with the independent docks; in other words, that they shall be required to make such charges as would enable them to stand on their own feet financially.
§ Mr. Allan
Not a bit. Southampton can have all its present trade and more. The only thing that we say is that a port like Southampton must not be able to lower charges because of connection with the railways. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about competition?"] This is a perfectly straightforward point. It should not be allowed to offer lower charges because of a connection with railways, because independent docks have not that facility. I think that this a very simple Amendment. If my right hon. Friend says he must put the docks under what he calls the same "umbrella" as the railways, the only thing I say is that I hope he can make it clear that the protection afforded by the umbrella will not be to the disadvantage of the independent docks.
I would end by referring to the Royal Commission of 1938. The independent docks and harbour authorities gave evidence to that Commission, and they were supported in their evidence by the Transport and General Workers' Union, whose spokesman was the late Mr. Bevin, and by the F.B.I., and in its final Report the Commission said this:We have very carefully considered this evidence"—that is, the evidence of the three parties I have mentioned—and we are definitely of the opinion that in principle it is undesirable that one form of transport should own docks and harbours to which access is essential by other means of 1103 transport. We are further of the opinion that the best kind of authority to own docks and harbours is a public trust such as exists in London, Liverpool, on the Clyde and elsewhere.It seems to me that this is a very appropriate moment to put into effect that recommendation, and that this Amendment is a very easy and effective way of giving effect to that recommendation, and I very much hope that my right hon. Friend, who has already gone so far to meet it, will be good enough to consider those three points, and say if it is possible for him to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I did try earlier on to reassure my hon. Friend, and I am glad he recognises that we have gone some considerable way in doing that. I brought into my rather long speech—I nearly said my Second Reading speech—on this Clause reference to this proposal, because my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) had raised it and that made it possible for me to give an interim answer. I am afraid it is not possible for me to go further than what I have said this afternoon. I have made it quite plain, and perhaps I had better repeat what I said. There is no intention to hand to the regionalised, re-organised railways the ports now administered by the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive. Special considerations may arise in particular cases, but the general intention is that they should be administered separately, though, of course, under the Commission.
The purpose of my statement was this. I recognise that there is anxiety that the railways with considerable powers under the new freedom in charges, which I am so glad we are going to be able to give them on Wednesday, might be in a position, if they were so minded, to do a very serious harm to some of the other independent ports. I do not, myself, feel that this would happen, and I believe that the statement I have made will reassure the independent port authorities. It is, of course, a fact that the administration will be under the same "umbrella," but if it is administered separately from the railways there will be an urge for it to be a competitive business making its own proper way in the world.
My hon. Friend asked me to say that these activities would stand financially on their own feet. As hon. Members on 1104 both sides know, it has always been extraordinarily difficult—and no one can blame the Commission for this—to be able to break up the gross operating costs of several activities and the net results of each activity after charging the due and proper proportion of central charges. Annually the Commission have said how almost impossible this task is. Once or twice, at the urgent request of the Transport Tribunal, they have tried to do it in the case of proper railway contributions to central charges, but it would be quite unreasonable to deprive the Commission of their general right to spread their charges as seems to them prudent. I am sure that if these ports are not, as I have said they will not be, administered under regionalised railways there will be every incentive for them to be administered as commercial concerns. In the light of this reassurance, I hope that my hon. Frilid will feel disposed to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)
We on this side welcome the Minister's statement that the docks and harbours will be retained by the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive. That is something that we are, in the main, glad to have. The proposition of the hon. Member for Paddington, South (Mr. R. Allan) is an extraordinary example of the Tory philosophy, which resents the possibility that some of these ports may introduce no charges as a consequence of their association with the railways. I take it, it does not very much matter what the customer gets out of it.
§ Mr. R. Allan
The hon. Gentleman has not seized the point, which is simply this. There are certain docks which own railways and there are other docks which do not. It is unfair to the docks which do not own railways if losses are incurred on the railways in order to support uneconomic docks.
§ Mr. Mellish
Our philosophy is based on co-ordination, as a result of which there will eventually be cheaper charges. We believe that if the railways own docks they could give a cheaper service, which is a good thing for the customer. I am under the impression that the hon. Gentleman has an interest in this matter in that I believe he is the secretary of the Parliamentary Committee of the Docks and Harbours Association. I think that he ought to declare that.
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Mellish
That, of course, puts the right slant on the argument. We now know why the Docks and Harbours Association do not want this so-called unfair competition. It means that these people are going to operate at a cheaper rate than the Docks and Harbours Association.
I am glad that the Minister said what he did about this matter, because this is the only time that I have been able to agree with him on almost anything in this Bill. The use of the Guillotine has been grossly unfair, and I want to add my protest against it. We shall not have time to discuss one of the most important Clauses—Clause 17—which is a disgraceful state of affairs, because it is one of the most important parts of the Bill. We shall hardly have a chance to discuss Clause 15. I can only say that I am grateful to the hon. Member for Paddington, South, as Parliamentary Chairman of the Docks and Harbours Association, that he has given us an opportunity to mention the docks.
§ Mr. Eric Johnson (Manchester, Blackley)
I do not want to detain the Committee for more than a few minutes. If it is in order, I should like to refer to the question of inland waterways, about which there is an Amendment standing in my name.
The purpose of that Amendment is to clarify the position of the inland waterways, which appears to be a little ambiguous under the provisions of the Bill. My right hon. Friend the Minister has already pointed out that under subsection (6, a) of this Clause it would be possible to entrust to any authority set up under the scheme those functions of the British Transport Commission which are not directly concerned with the operation of the railways. It is this Clause which has caused a certain amount of alarm to the inland waterways carriers. The Committee will no doubt recall that before nationalisation about one-third of the canals of this country were owned by the railway companies, and I do not think that it would be unfair to say that, generally speaking, at vesting day, those 1106 canals were not in such good condition as those which were independently owned.
Since nationalisation, the waterways had been co-ordinated under the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive, but Clause 24 of the Bill provides that in future there need be no Executive. One does not know what the intention may be in regard to the future of this particular Executive. The waterways fear that they may possibly be linked with or subordinated to the railways in any future regional scheme. It is to provide a safeguard against this, which would be possible, I think, under subsection (6, as) that I have put down this Amendment.
My right hon. Friend, when he was speaking earlier, said, if I understood him correctly, that the inland waterways, as well as the docks, would be administered separately. We want to be certain that the inland waterways and the canals will be administered separately and not brought under the railways. I should be grateful if my right hon. Friend would give that assurance, and, if possible, incorporate something to that effect in the Bill.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I wish to declare a constituency interest. We have a number of railway ports in South Wales, and I am very proud to be a part representative of one. While I support the general proposition of the hon. Member for Paddington, South (Mr. R. Allan), I wish to point out that he got his facts upside down.
The railway ports have suffered very severely through their past connection with the railway companies. They were not sufficiently developed during the time when they were under the control of the private railway companies, and it is only since the emergence of an independent Docks and Harbours Executive that they have had a voice with which they could claim their proper share of capital investment.
The reason why the hon. Gentleman's facts have been topsy-turvy is that he said the railways had given preference to their own ports. The truth is the converse; the railways have not given preference to their own ports. The real complaint is that at a time when London and Liverpool were busy negotiating rates for general merchandise, the railway companies were concerned only with using 1107 their own ports for the shipment of coal, and in consequence they did not care what the general merchandise rates were. The result was that London and Liverpool got favourable general merchandise rates which were never negotiated for Cardiff, Newport and Swansea and railway ports elsewhere, including Middlesbrough.
We want a separation here so that they do not again become an appendix to the railways. We want "fair do's," and we want a better general merchandise rate in comparison with the docks, whom the hon. Member for Paddington, South represents in the House as their Parliamentary Chairman. We want soon to see emerging from the British Transport Commission a charges scheme for the railways which will give the same rates for general merchandise shipment to the former railway ports as are now given to the other general ports.
I see the hon. Member for Paddington, South nodding his head in assent. I hope that will mean that the committee of which he is the Parliamentary Chairman will not oppose this when the hearing takes place before the Railway Tribunal. If the ports formerly attached to the railways know that they will not be opposed by the independent dock and harbour authorities when they try to get a fair rate in comparison with them, their task in securing a competitive rate will be much easier. I support the hon. Gentleman, point out that his facts were wrong, and congratulate him on putting forward something which we can support.
§ Mr. R. Allan
I do not agree that my facts were wrong, but, as my right hon. Friend has gone a long way with me, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Hylton-Foster (York)
I beg to move, in page 20, line 24, after "expedient," to insert:for the purposes of the scheme.I hope to have the support of the whole Committee for the Amendment, because I know the Committee is constantly vigilant about the way in which the House of Commons disposes of its legislative powers in the direction of delegated legislation. I hope also to have the support of my right hon. Friend, because less than a 1108 month ago my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said with reference to this subject:The vigilance of Parliament should be directed to this important aspect of our polity especially when examining Bills brought before this House."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th November, 1952; Vol. 507, c. 1584.]As we are now engaged in examining a Bill brought before the House, I hope to have the Minister's support.
What happens unless the Committee amends the subsection somewhat in the manner suggested is that the House of Commons is asked to confer power on the Minister by his own Order to alter the statute almost ad lib. He can include in the scheme:… provisions amending or applying, with or without modifications, any statutory provision …provided that they come within the term "incidental, consequential and transitional," and provided also that:… it appears to the Commission or the Minister to be necessary or expedient. …The fact is that it is very often inconvenient for administrators to have to come back to the House and ask authority to alter a statute. It is not in my belief awkward for administrators to discover that it is expedient to amend a statute if we give them the power. Unless this subsection is amended, it is not only a question of the first scheme, but, by virtue of the reference to Clause 15, it may extend also to any scheme so substituted for the first scheme by way of revocation.
The submission I would make to the Committee is that it is profoundly dangerous for the Committee to give power to make delegated legislation by amending the statute as unqualified as that of the proposal in the Bill, and I submit to the Committee that the power should be restricted to the terms of this Amendment in order that the administrators should know that they cannot put something like this past the House without its being within the limitations of a statutory Amendment solely for the purpose of this scheme.
That may seem a milk-and-water way of dealing with the matter, but I would ask the Committee to remember what the Minister was saying just now, namely, that it is obvious that in examining this matter the Commission may come across all kinds of bits, pieces and fragments of special Acts and old railway statutes. In 1109 those circumstances, I submit that the Committee would not want to allow their constitutional desires to become a fetish to the extent of preventing a satisfactory scheme being made.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for York (Mr. Hylton-Foster) has here a simple point of very considerable importance. Subsection (6, c) lays down that the railway reorganisation scheme may contain provisions amending or applying any statutory provision with or without modifications. The hon. and learned Member and his friends have called our attention to the fact that objection could here quite properly be made to the extent of the power given to the Minister to amend statutory provisions of one kind by the procedure of making an order.
Power is necessary in this connection on the lines of this subsection to make modifications in existing statutory provisions, including a great many which, as my hon. and learned Friend has reminded us, are probably very deep in a large number of private Acts and are very antiquated. We agree with him that this power should be limited strictly to an amendment of the statutory provisions which are necessary for the purpose of this scheme. That indeed is the intention of this subsection, and therefore we are pleased to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Mitchison
This is a scandalous business. Here was a Clause containing a most sweeping provision concerning the future of the railways, those who work on them, those whom they serve and the whole economic life of this country. We are now under the provisions of the Guillotine, which is a disgrace to the Party who brought it in and to our methods of legislation, compelled to accept Clause 14 and this part of it to which I am referring without any opportunity whatever of examining the safeguards such as they are, and they are exceedingly limited and completely inadequate.
On the particular point which the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for York (Mr. Hylton-Foster) has moved and which the Government have accepted, I think both of them are entirely wrong. I see no reason whatever to suppose that any of the consequences foreseen by the hon. and learned Gentleman and accepted apparently by 1110 the Government would flow from this very limited power which only exists incidental, consequential and transitional to the provision. Assuming for one moment that is the case, it merely illustrates the character of the scheme which is being brought forward now.
We are told that under this scheme a number of authorities will be set up, some of them area authorities, some of them co-ordinating authorities. We are not told how many or what they are to co-ordinate. We are told that in the process of this scheme certain statutory provisions may be set aside and that is the matter we are discussing now. Nothing could illustrate better the extraordinary width and vagueness of what is put before us and the scheme, such as it is, will be brought forward by the Commission. It will be brought to the Minister and certain representations may be made about it by an unspecified body of persons.
There is not a word about what the effect of those representations will be and we shall not have time under this Guillotine procedure to discuss that matter. All the traditions of decent constitutional Government in this country are being violated by a party which crawls with constitutional clubs set up all over the country, which prates in the House and in the country at large about its regard for the liberty of the subject, and which now tramples on the leading industry of this country, on those who work in it, on those who use it, on the whole economic life of the country, and sets up a Guillotine to prevent the proper and adequate discussion of this iniquitous kind of tyranny.
After all we have heard over the past six years from right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, what do they suppose they are doing now? Are they really promoting the interests of their country? [An HON. MEMBER: "What are you doing?"] Are they promoting the so-called traditions of their party? Are they avoiding that dictatorship of which we hear so often from their own lips? Are they helping the cause of democracy against the Communism which they are only too ready to find lurking under every bed and in every mousehole? Is this kind of procedure, this kind of abuse, the sort of thing that will make anybody 1111 but themselves proud of what they are doing?
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Powell
I beg to move, in page 20, to leave out lines 35 and 36.
I shall not emulate the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) by filibustering during a guillotined debate. I shall endeavour to put before the Committee—
§ Mr. Powell
Subsection (7) of this Clause provides that whatever scheme is drawn up under the Clause must reserve to the Commission general financial control. Up to that point there could be no possible objection. Under the provisions of the 1947 Act, which will remain in force, the British Transport Commission continues to have an overriding financial responsibility. Consequently, it must of necessity retain a general financial control over the whole of the undertaking which remains to it. Then there follow special words of application which this Amendment proposes to leave out. Those words are:and general control of the charges to be made for the services and facilities provided.By the very fact of specifying this one matter, the Clause as drawn places particular emphasis upon it. There was no need for those further words to be added, because in the scheme which they put before the Minister the Commission can reserve to themselves any matter whatsoever. There was no reason, therefore, for that additional safeguard to be inserted unless it was intended that a quite special degree of control over charges was to be retained by the Commission.
It is that prospect which causes some anxiety to my hon. Friends and myself. To our relief, we heard from the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland during the debate today that the Government envisage the possibility of a charges scheme for Scotland. We have heard my right hon. Friend the Minister refer to regional experiments in the matter of charges. But it is doubtful whether such experiments, such local charges schemes, would in fact be possible if the Com- 1112 mission write restrictive provisions into the scheme. If their financial control over the charges to be made by the regions is at all tight, it may well strangle the possibility of fruitful experiment and of reasonable variety in charges.
We are anxious lest these words should be the means of partly frustrating the beneficent effects of what the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) called the "revolution" in railway charges which the Bill brings about. It may prevent the individual regions from studying for themselves how costs and charges can in their own circumstances be brought into relationship, and it may largely strait-jacket the freedom which the Bill seeks to give to the railways in the matter of charges.
If these words are left out, it will still be possible for the Commission to make such a specification in their scheme, but then the onus will be upon them of proving that the limitation is necessary. They will not be able to refer to a statutory provision and claim that by maintaining such control they are carrying out the intentions of the Government and of Parliament. I feel that nothing whatever can be lost by leaving out these words but that by retaining them in the Clause we risk frustrating much that the Bill in other ways seeks to provide.
We could not accept the Amendment in its present form. If the Commission are to be in a position to meet road competition through this method of freedom in charging, that freedom must be effective if it is to operate. It must include freedom as to the extent to which, and the way in which, they decentralise control of charges. There are strong reasons for their retaining general control of charges, and they may well have to experiment as to the extent to which it will be wise to decentralise detailed control.
The Bill provides that the reorganisation scheme shall reserve to the Commission the general control of charges.
Mr. Percy Dames (East Ham, North)
On a point of order. Surely it is an extraordinary procedure. We have had two Amendments moved from the back benches, and on each occasion the Parliamentary Secretary has read a speech in reply to a debate, to which we have 1113 listened, in which the Amendments were presented.
§ The Chairman
I do not think that is a point of order. I called two Amendments which I selected, and if Members of either Front Bench get up, I always call them.
The hon. Gentleman will no doubt appreciate that when an Amendment of this importance appears on the Order Paper it is only proper to make some preparation for it. In this Government, even junior Ministers, however obscure, are supposed to inform themselves before they speak. In those circumstances I thought it would be wise not to attempt at this stage to forecast what the scheme is likely to contain in regard to charges.
Control of charges has been highly centralised in the past. One reason has been the danger of local action creating undue preferences, which are to go. Under Clause 20 something analogous, though more limited, will be created. There is, therefore, still the possibility in this connection of difficulties being created by local action. Moreover, control of charges cannot be divorced from financial control. There must always be the danger of local enthusiasm leading to charge reductions which do not have sufficient regard to revenue considerations.
It is not a simple matter to say whether a railway charge does or does not cover costs, which is not in itself a definite term. There are great differences between net additional costs, variable costs and total costs. It will be a major task for the Commission, on which their whole financial future will depend to work out with expert and far-seeing advice the principles on which they will seek to base their charges and the organisation by which they will be able, in face of competition, to maximise their traffic and their revenue.
We take the view that their hands cannot be tied at this stage. [Interruption.] This is a matter of very considerable complexity, and it was for that reason that I thought it proper to arm myself with unusually copious notes. I can only say to my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) that we hope that this will not have the consequences which he fears and which he outlined to the Committee. 1114 We will consider the matter again between now and the Report stage.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
I did not hear the full purport of the remarks delivered by the Parliamentary Secretary because there was a great deal of noise. I hope that he will study the very cogent speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell).
§ Mr. Mellish
On a point of order. Is this kind of filibustering to be allowed to go on, almost at the end of the debate?
§ Mr. Mitchison
I thought it was customary to call hon. Members from each side of the Committee, instead of which there have been three successive Members from the same side.
§ The Chairman
I beg the hon. and learned Member's pardon. I thought the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) was going to withdraw his Amendment, and the noble Lord rose before I saw any hon. Members rise from the opposite side.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Is this done out of respect for the tradition that the most noble heads should be guillotined first?
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will study the speech of my hon. Friend because, to some extent, he and my hon. Friend were at cross-purposes. The Parliamentary Secretary is absolutely right when he says that the Commission will at all times have the power to extract from the region sufficient money to maintain the financial stability of the Commission and should never, and nobody has ever suggested that they could ever, get into the position where local action—
§ It being half-past Ten o'Clock, The CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.
§ The CHAIRMAN then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at half-past Ten o'clock.1115
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."1116
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 282; Noes, 258.1119
|Division No. 49.)||AYES||[10.30 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||McAdden, S. J.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||McCallum, Major D.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Gammans, L. D.||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon, R. (Blackburn, W.)||Garner-Evans, E. H.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Comdr. J. M.||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Glyn, Sir Ralph||Maclean, Fitzroy|
|Banks, Col. C.||Godber, J. B.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Barber, Anthony||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Gough, C. F. H.||Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Gower, H. R.||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Graham, Sir Fergus||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Gridley, Sir Arnold||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Grimond, J.||Markham, Major S. F|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Harden, J. R. E.||Maude, Angus|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Maudling, R.|
|Birch, Nigel||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Medlicott, Brig. F.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Mellor, Sir John|
|Bowen, E. R.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Braine, B. R.||Hay, John||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Heald, Sir Lionel||Nicholls, Harmer|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Heath, Edward||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Higgs, J. M. C.||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Nutting, Anthony|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Oakshott, H D.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Odey, G. W.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Hollis,M C.||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Holt, A. F.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Carson, Hon. E.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Horobin, I. M.||Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Channon, H.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Osborne, C.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Partridge, E.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Howard, Greville(St. Ives)||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham,N.)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Cole, Norman.||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Colegate, W. A.||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)||Pitman, I. J|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Johnson, Erie (Blackley)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Raikes, H. V.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W||Rayner, Brig. R|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Kaberry, D.||Redmayne, M.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Keeling, Sir Edward||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Lambert, Hon. G||Robertson, Sir David|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Lambton, Viscount||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Donner, P. W.||Lancaster, Col. C. G||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Drayson, G. B.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H||Russell, R. S.|
|Drewe, C.||Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas (Richmond)||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Lindsay, Martin||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Linstead, H. N.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Llewellyn, D. T.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Scott, R. Donald|
|Erroll, F. J.||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Fell, A.||Longden, Gilbert||Shepherd, William|
|Fisher, Nigel||Low, A. R. W.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Fort, R.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Foster, John||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Teeling, W.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Snadden, W. McN.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Soames, Capt. C.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Spearman, A. C. M.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Speir, R. M.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.||White, Baker (Canterbury)|
|Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Tilney, John||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Stevens, G. P.||Touche, Sir Gordon||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)||Turner, H. F. L||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Turton, R. H.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Tweedsmuir, Lady||Wills, G.|
|Storey, S.||Vane, W. M. F||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)||Vosper, D. F.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)||Wade, D. W.||York, C.|
|Summers, G. S.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Sutcliffe, H.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)||Walker-Smith, D. C.||Mr. Studholme and Major Conant.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Adams, Richard||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Albu, A. H.||Fernyhough, E.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Field, W. J.||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Fienburgh, W.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Anderson. Frank (Whitehaven)||Finch, H. J.||Logan, D. G.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||MacColl, J. E.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Follick, M.||McGhee, H. G.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Foot, M. M.||McInnes, J.|
|Baird, J.||Forman, J. C.||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Balfour, A.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||McLeavy, F.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Freeman, John (Watford)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Bartley, P.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Gibson, C. W.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Bence, C. R.||Glanville, James||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Gooch, E. G.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Beswick, F.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Manuel, A. C.|
|Blackburn, F.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Grentell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Grey, C. F.||Messer, F.|
|Boardman, H.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mitchison, G. R|
|Bowles, F. G.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Monslow, W.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Moody, A. S.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Morley, R.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hamilton, W. W.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hannan, W.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hardy, E. A.||Mort, D. L.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hargreaves, A.||Moyle, A.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham. E.)||Mulley, F. W.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Hastings, S.||Murray, J. D.|
|Callaghan, L J.||Hayman, F. H.||Nally, W|
|Carmichael, J.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J|
|Champion, A. J.||Herbison, Miss M.||O'Brien, T.|
|Chapman, W. D||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Chetwynd, G. R||Hobson, C. R.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Clunie, J.||Holman, P.||Orbach, M.|
|Coldrick, W.||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Oswald, T.|
|Collick, P. H.||Houghton, Douglas||Padley, W. E.|
|Corbel, Mrs. Freda||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Paget, R. T.|
|Cove, W. G.||Hughes, Emrys (S Ayrshire)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Pannell, Charles|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Daines, P.||Irving, W J. (Wood Green)||Parker, J.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Paton, J.|
|Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Pearson, A.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Peart, T. F.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Popplewell, E.|
|Deer, G.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Porter, G.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Dodds, N. N.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Keenan, W.||Pursey, Cmdr. H|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J C.||Kenyon, C.||Rankin, John|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Reeves, J.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||King, Dr. H. M.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Kinley, J.||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Rhodes, H.|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||West, D. G.|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Stross, Dr. Barnett||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Swingler, S. T.||Wheeldon, W. E|
|Ross, William||Sylvester, G. O.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Royle, C.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Schofield, S. (Barnsley)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W|
|Shackleton, E. A. A.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)||Wigg, George|
|Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Short, E. W.||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Willey, F. T.|
|Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Slater, J.||Thornton, E. (Farnworth)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Thurtle, Ernest||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Timmons, J.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Snow, J. W.||Tomney, F.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Sorensen, R. W.||Turner-Samuels, M.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Viant, S. P.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Sparks, J. A.||Wallace, H. W.||Yates, V. F.|
|Steele, T.||Watkins, T. E.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Webb, Rt Hon, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Weitzman, D.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Wells, William (Walsall)||Mr. Bowden and|
|Mr. Kenneth Robinson.|
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 15.—(APPROVAL AND AMENDMENT OF RE-ORGANISATION SCHEMES.)
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 279; Noes, 254.1123
|Division No. 50.]||AYES||[10.40 p.m|
|Aitken, W. T.||Colegate, W. A.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Harden, J. R. E.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hare, Hon. J. H.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Cranborne, Viscount||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Crouch, R. F.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)|
|Baldwin, A, E.||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Banks, Col. C.||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Barber, Anthony||Deedes, W. F.||Hay, John|
|Barlow, Sir John||Digby, S. Wingfield||Heald, Sir Lionel|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Heath, Edward|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Donner, P. W.||Higgs, J. M. C.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)|
|Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Drayson. G. B.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas (Richmond)||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Duthie, W. S.||Hollis, M. C.|
|Birch, Nigel||Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Holt, A. F.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Bossom, A. C.||Erroll, F. J.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P|
|Bowen, E. R.||Fell, A.||Horobin, I. M.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Fisher, Nigel||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)|
|Braine, B. R.||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Howard, Greville (St. Ives)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Fort, R.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Foster, John||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Gammans, L. D.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)|
|Butcher, H. W.||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Joynson-Hicks, Hon L. W.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Glyn, Sir Ralph||Kaberry, D.|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Godber, J. B.||Keeling, Sir Edward|
|Carson, Hon. E.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A||Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Gough, C. F. H.||Lambert, Hon. G.|
|Channon, H.||Gower, H. R.||Lambton, Viscount|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Graham, Sir Fergus||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Gridley, Sir Arnold||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Grimond, J.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.|
|Cole, Norman||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.|
|Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)||Odey, G. W.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Stevens, G. P.|
|Lindsay, Martin||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Linstead, H. N.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare)||Storey, S.|
|Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Osborne, C.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Partridge, E.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Low, A. R. W.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M||Summers, G. S.|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brenttord)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Teeling, W.|
|McCallum, Major D.||Pitman, I. J.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Powell, J. Enoch||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|McKibbin, A. J.||Profumo, J. D.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Raikes, H. V.||Tilney, John|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Rayner, Brig. R.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Maclean, Fitzroy||Redmayne, M.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Remnant, Hon P.||Turton, R. H.|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Renton, D. L. M.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)||Robertson, Sir David||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Vosper, D. F.|
|Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Wade, D. W.|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Roper, Sir Harold||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Markham, Major S. F.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)|
|Marlowe, A. A. H.||Russell, R. S.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Maude, Angus||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Maudling, R.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C||Schofield, Lt-Col. W. (Rochdale)||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Medlicott, Brig. F.||Scott, R. Donald||White, Baker (Canterbury)|
|Mellor, Sir John||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Molson, A. H. E.||Shepherd, William||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough. W)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Nabarro, G. D. N.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Wills, G.|
|Nicholls, Harmar||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Snadden, W. McN||York, C.|
|Nield, Basil (Chester)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Spearman, A. C. M||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Nugent, G. R. H.||Speir, R. M.||Mr. Drewe and Major Conant.|
|Nutting, Anthony||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Oakshott, H. D.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Carmichael, J.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)|
|Adams, Richard||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Fallick, M.|
|Albu, A. H.||Champion, A. J.||Foot, M. M.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Chapman, W. D.||Forman, J. C.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Chetwynd, G. R.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Clunie, J.||Freeman, John (Watford)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Coldrick, W.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Collick, P. H.||Gibson, C. W.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Glanville, James|
|Baird, J.||Cove, W. G.||Gooch, E. G.|
|Balfour, A.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Crosland, C. A. R.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)|
|Bartley, P.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Cullen, Mrs. A||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.|
|Bence, C. R.||Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||Grey, C. F.|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Beswick, F.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Griffiths, William (Exchange)|
|Blackburn, F.||Deer, G.||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Delargy, H. J.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Dodds, N. N.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)|
|Boardman, H.||Donnelly, D. L.||Hamilton, W. W.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Hannan, W.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hardy, E. A.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Hargreaves, A.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Hastings, S.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Hayman, F. H.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon, George (Belper)||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)|
|Brown, Thomas (Inca)||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)|
|Burke, W. A.||Fernyhough, E.||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Field, W. J.||Hewitson, Capt. M.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Fienburgh, W.||Hobson, C. R.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Finch, H. J.||Holman, P.|
|Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Moyle, A.||Steele, T.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Mulley, F. W.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Murray, J. D.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Nally, W.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||O'Brien, T.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Oldfield, W. H.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Oliver, G. H.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Orbach, M.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Oswald, T.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Padley, W. E.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Paget, R. T.||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Pannell, Charles||Thornton, E. (Farnworth)|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Pargiter, G. A.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Keenan, W.||Parker, J.||Timmons, J.|
|Kenyon, C.||Paton, J.||Tomney, F.|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Pearson, A.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Peart, T. F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Kinley, J.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Wallace, H. W.|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Popplewell, E.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Porter, G.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Weitzman, D.|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Proctor, W. T.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||West, D. G.|
|Logan, D. G.||Rankin, John||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|MacColl, J. E.||Reeves, J.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|McGhee, H. G.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|McInnes, J.||Reid, William (Camlachie)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Rhodes, H.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|McLeavy, F.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Wigg, George|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Willey, F. T.|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Ross, William||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Royle, C.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Schofield, S. (Barnsley)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Manuel, A. C.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Mayhew, C. P.||Short, E. W.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Mellish, R. J.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Messer, F.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Mikardo, Ian||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Slater, J.||Yates, V. F.|
|Monslow, W.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Moody, A. S.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Snow, J. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Morley, R.||Sorensen, R. W.||Mr. Bowden and|
|Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Mr. Kenneth Robinson.|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Mort, D. L.|
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.