HC Deb 09 February 1953 vol 511 cc109-39
Mr. D. Jones

I beg to move, in page 12, line 12, after "vehicles," to insert: (not being vehicles of local authorities used for the purposes of the exercise and performance of their powers and duties). This Amendment seeks to remove vehicles in the use of local authorities from the imposition of the Transport Levy. While I do not detract one iota from my objection to the levy as a principle because it is thoroughly bad, it is even worse that local authority vehicles should be subjected to this tax. After all, local authorities of whatever character are given a responsibility by Parliament and by statutes to carry out certain obligations. In order to do so, they have to employ road vehicles. Frequently the vehicles are of special construction and are used for specific purposes, but there are other statutory duties placed upon local authorities for which they use ordinary vehicles.

In no case do the local authorities undertake these services for profit. They are undertaking them on behalf of the ratepayers as a result of statutory obligations placed upon them by Parliament. I shudder to think what the condition of this country would be if a local authority in any part of it had not the necessary vehicles for collecting refuse or salvage. Earlier this afternoon I heard an hon. Member ask a Question about the amount of paper collected for salvage purposes over a period. Local authorities undertaking that work do a useful job, and why those vehicles should be still further penalised by having to bear the additional levy, I fail to understand.

Again, many local education authorities, exercising their responsibilities under the Education Act, 1944, and preceding Acts, have established central kitchens from which they supply cooked meals to a number of schools in their area. I had the privilege on one occasion of being a member of a local authority which undertook the provision of school meals in that way, believing that they could do a more efficient and cheaper job by producing food in bulk at one centre and distributing it in specially constructed vans to various schools in the area. They are now to be penalised to the extent of 13s. 6d. per quarter of a ton per annum. I can well imagine that after this has been in operation the right hon. Lady the Minister of Education will have to come to the House and say that she proposes to add a further copper or two to the provision of school meals because this additional penal tax has made their production more expensive.

7.15 p.m.

Perhaps the most serious anomaly of all is that in connection with tower wagons which are used by local authorities for the purpose of attending in the main to lighting arrangements on the highways of this country. As I understand it, transport undertakings which have tower wagons for the purpose of maintaining the overhead lines for their trolley buses are not to pay this penal tax. If, however, a lighting authority which is not a transport authority purchases a tower wagon in order to improve the efficiency of attention to street lights, that wagon is to be subjected to this penal tax.

I cannot understand why it should be necessary for any vehicles used by a local authority to be subjected to this tax. It is a mistake, and the Minister would be well advised to exempt them. I anticipate that the right hon. Gentleman or his Parliamentary Secretary will tell us later on that he proposes to increase the present free limit from one ton to 30 cwt. I see that his noble Friend and other of his hon. Friends have Amendments down to later Clauses. I do not know whether, by arrangement with the noble Lord, he will repeat tomorrow a gesture which he made this afternoon, of being impressed by his argument and of accepting his Amendment. I do know that in the Committee stage of this Bill the Minister said that he was impressed by the arguments advanced on the point of increasing the free limit from one ton to 30 cwt. and one would have expected that such an Amendment might have appeared on the Order Paper in the name of the right hon. Gentleman.

Even if the Minister tells us that, however, it will still place a fairly heavy burden on many local authorities. One local authority of which I know, in order to approve the amenities service to the rural parts of its area, has purchased a travelling library which goes round the various villages. It is over 30 cwt. unladen weight, so that even if the Minister decides to increase the free limit to that figure, they will still have to pay this tax. That is an added reason why all the vehicles of local authorities should be removed from its ambit.

Mr. G. Wilson

What is the distinction between a local authority vehicle which is carrying out what appears to be some commercial enterprise, and a private enterprise vehicle which is doing the same thing—for example, a private enterprise tower wagon, or something like that?

Mr, Jones

No local authority vehicle, as far as I know, carries out any service whatsoever for the private profit of a single individual within that local authority area. If, in fact, a local authority saves money by doing the job itself instead of putting profit into the hands of private haulage contractors, all the ratepayers within that local authority area benefit as a consequence.

Mr. C. W. Gibson (Clapham)

I beg to second the Amendment.

It seems to me to be eminently fair that vehicles owned by local authorities, which cannot be said normally to compete in any way with private enterprise transport or with the Transport Commission, should be exempt from this levy. As the Bill stands, the levy will cost local authorities a considerable sum. The London County Council, for instance, will have to find £2,100 a year in extra costs solely because of the levy which is to be imposed, assuming that it remains on the one-ton basis. If the hint that we had a little while ago means that the limit is to be raised to 30 cwt., my figures will, of course, be different.

A big authority like the London County Council can probably stand this expense, although there will be grumbles about it, but there are many local authorities in the country which simply could not afford the extra charge. On the ground that transport which is used by local authorities does not normally compete in any way with the transport which is owned by private enterprise—as it all will be, if the Bill succeeds—or by the Transport Commission, it ought to be excluded from the operation of the levy.

I should like to call the attention of the House to some rather absurd ways in which this levy would work. Many of the vehicles owned by local authorities are not by the wildest stretch of imagination used for purposes such as those for which private enterprise would use them. For instance, special vans are used for the carrying of weight-testing machines for coal inspection officers, who go around the streets making sure that people get the correct weight of coal in the bags.

Mr. D. Jones

We cannot trust private enterprise.

Mr. Gibson

As my hon. Friend says, that is because nobody completely trusts private enterprise. Those vehicles are for the benefit of the people generally and to ensure that they get what they pay for. They in no way compete for the normal trading services of the country, but they will have to bear the levy.

The lorries used in the heavy rescue service, which is being slowly built up all over the country, which are used for carrying equipment for training purposes, will also have to bear the levy if the Bill is not altered. Even from the point of view of those who think that this is a good Bill, it seems to me utterly ridiculous that such vans should be expected to bear a levy in order to cover a loss which could have been avoided had the problem been dealt with by the Government in some other way.

Then there are lorries which are fitted as workshops and which carry the apparatus, machinery and men for keeping clean London's sewers. That is an important job, and one which must be done. These vehicles are in no way competitive with the normal trading facilities for which lorries are used, yet they, too, must bear the levy; and if they carry an extra large amount of equipment, as is sometimes necessary, on a trailer, there will be an additional charge upon them.

I could enumerate a whole list of vehicles which large authorities, at any rate, must use in the ordinary course of their business, to show how ridiculous it is, on the basis of the principles which are said to underlie the Bill, to charge local authorities with this levy in order to cover a loss which ought never to have been allowed to grow.

I suggest, therefore, that on grounds of common sense and in fairness to local authorities, and because in these days of financial difficulties for all local authorities—difficulties which have been increased in severity by the raising of the interest rate by the Government—we ought not to impose upon them the further charge which they must bear if the Clause is passed in its present form. I hope that the Minister will be a little more forthcoming and understanding of the problems and difficulties of local authorities, as he was when the matter was previously discussed.

Squadron Leader A. E. Cooper (Ilford, South)

It is always interesting when matters of local government interest are discussed in the House because they always cut across party lines, if the byplay that went on between the hon. Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. D. Jones) and the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) is anything to go by. I should have hoped, however, that the hon. Member for The Hartlepools would have avoided the cheap party sneer with which he intervened and tended to spoil his case. This is a very important matter, which affects local authorities of all political shades, and we are here seeking to do something which is quite outside party politics.

Mr. D. Jones

The justification for that is that there are political friends of the Minister who are objecting to paying the levy, and he is not responding. In those circumstances, it is fair that we should point out that a Conservative Minister is compelling Conservative-controlled local authorities to increase their rates.

Squadron Leader Cooper

It is fair to point out that the Minister is also asking Socialist-controlled authorities to do the same thing, which, I suppose, is modern political fair shares.

I want to approach the problem from a rather different point of view, and that is on what, I hope, is the score of logic. On an earlier stage of the Bill, my right hon. Friend stated that the purposes of the levy were (i) for the payment for loss of goodwill that the sale of the road haulage fleet of the British Transport Commission might occasion; (ii) compensation to those displaced; and (iii) a fixed sum to the British Transport Commission for disturbance. I submit that none of these purposes relates to the vehicles of the local authorities.

I was always under the impression that the purpose of the levy was a small payment which the purchasers of these vehicles were to pay as compensation to the Transport Commission for loss sustained; in other words, people who would derive direct benefit from the operation of the Bill would have to pay the levy. As events have turned out, however, that is not to be so. People who receive no benefit whatever from the operations of this Bill are still forced to pay the levy. To me that has never seemed just; and it is for that reason, that I spoke on this point during the Committee stage and am again raising my voice tonight.

7.30 p.m.

It should be pointed out to the House that the types of local authority vehicles affected are, refuse collection vehicles, salvage collection vehicles, vehicles used for the removal of bedding, tower vehicles used by street lighting authorities and vehicles used by education authorities for the carriage of school meals. It will be seen that not one of these vehicles can be construed as being used "for business," which is one of the terms used by the Minister on a previous occasion. We have therefore been careful in drawing up the Amendment which stands in the name of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ilford, North (Sir G. Hutchinson) to line 19.

Mr. G. Wilson

How does my hon. Friend distinguish a vehicle used for school meals from one carrying produce for a grocer, or something like that?

Squadron Leader Cooper

I do not think it really necessary to answer that question. We have been careful in drafting our Amendment to include only those vehicles which are used quite strictly for local authority non-business purposes, and we hope that that will encourage the Minister to help us.

I want to draw the attention of the Minister to what is a very serious anachronism in this procedure. By what process of reasoning can one exempt a tower wagon belonging to an electric transport undertaking and at the same time compel payment of the levy for a tower wagon controlled by a lighting authority? It just does not make sense and is very similar to many of the Purchase Tax changes for which the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) was responsible in the last Government. It seems to me that it does not matter what party is in power the bureaucratic mind can always create some inconsistency which befogs and befuddles everyone. I hope that the Minister will tell us that this type of thing will be avoided in this Bill.

We must also look at the question of refuse vehicles, certain types of which are exempt while for others the levy will have to be paid. Where is the reasoning to support that point of view? The drafting of the Amendment to which I have put my name may not be entirely in accordance with the wishes of the Minister, but there are so many inconsistencies in the payment of this levy by local authorities that I hope my right hon. Friend will make some concessions to us on this matter.

Mr. H. Hynd (Accrington)

Somewhat to my surprise I find myself in support of the hon. and gallant Member for Ilford, South (Squadron Leader Cooper), and I hope that he will return the compliment by being in the same Lobby with me in a few minutes time. The Amendment to which the hon. and gallant Member directed his remarks is supported by the Association of Municipal Corporations, a body representing local authorities of all shades of opinion. That is an important fact to which the House must give special consideration.

As has already been pointed out, it is quite illogical that certain vehicles should be exempt and others not exempt. From the benches opposite the question has been asked, why should there be a distinction between local authority vehicles and vehicles owned by private contractors? There is a very obvious distinction. The most obvious point is that this is nothing more nor less than an additional tax on local authorities. This year local authorities are very worried about the possibility of having to increase their rates still further in the next few months. Most of them are almost making up their minds to the inevitability of that course. On top of their other difficulties, the Minister is imposing this special tax, for no reason which can be defended in this House. As most of the arguments in support of the Amendment have been used by hon. Members who have spoken already, and as I am anxious to hear what—if any—defence the Minister can make to the anomalies at present in the Bill, I content myself with what I have said in support of the Amendment.

Sir Ian Fraser (Morecambe and Lonsdale)

I do not like the levy anyway. but, if there is to be a levy, it seems to me that there is a principle upon which we can base it. That is the principle of providing for compensation, the principle of making up for the extreme difficulties in which the Government find themselves in selling so much so quickly—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Let me make quite clear that I support the main principle of the Bill. I therefore think it right, or at any rate admissible, that provision should occur in the Bill to make it possible to carry out the main principle on equitable lines.

But I see no reason why local authorities should by themselves be exempted on any principle whatever. A clear line could be drawn between those who are to benefit and those who are not to benefit. That would mean exempting all the local authorities as well as those who own their own transport. But I cannot see a reason to exempt one and not the other. I hope that in due course we shall have a satisfactory statement from the Minister. For the moment I reserve judgment on the matter, and I would certainly not vote for exemption of the local authorities to the exclusion of private persons who operate lorries. That is notwithstanding my main desire to support the Association of Municipal Corporations whenever I can, and also my own local authority.

Mr. Mellish

Could the hon. Member tell us the views of his own local authority?

Sir I. Fraser

I do not suppose that anyone likes paying, unless they have to do so.

Mrs. Freda Corbet (Camberwell, Peckham)

I hope that I shall be able to move the Amendment to line 19 which stands in my name?

Mr. Speaker

I have not selected that Amendment, but it is similar in sense and purpose to the Amendment which has been moved and I was calling the hon. Lady to discuss the matter.

Mrs. Corbet

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My Amendment is completely in sympathy with that moved by my hon. Friend the Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. D. Jones), but with the advantage, I think, that it does more clearly define the local authorities which would be exempt from the levy if the Minister finds it in his heart to grant this concession. It would appear that as the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend stands the local authority would be subject to the definition contained in the Transport Act, 1947, and would therefore be … the council of a county, the Common Council of the City of London, or the council of a county borough; The definition I suggest is a wider one and would include, for instance, Metropolitan borough councils and county district councils, which otherwise would not be covered.

On the general question, I hope that the Minister will be a little tenderhearted. He knows that on both sides of the House a great many people think that it is not just to include the local authorities. While I appreciate the difficulties of differentiating between one type of user and another, I should think that the definition given recently by one of my hon. Friends, namely, that the local authorities provide service to the people in their area and their aim is not to make a profit, provides the Minister with a line which marks the difference between them and other users.

The Minister need not fear that the local authorities will seek to swindle—I use that word for lack of a better one—in any way. They will register their vehicles as local authority vehicles, and no other vehicles will be so registered by them. While the Minister is considering this matter, I would point out, if he has it in his mind to agree to the raising of the weight of the vehicles, as is so strongly urged by so many of his hon. Friends, that it would not really meet the local authorities' point to any great extent. My own authority calculates that its 390 vehicles now affected would be reduced only to 312. So I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to bear that in mind and consider whether it is worth while placing any limit at all on local authority vehicles.

If the right hon. Gentleman intends to look kindly on the Amendment which the hon. and gallant Member for Ilford, South (Squadron Leader Cooper) has outlined, I suggest that he would be wiser to include the whole of the local authorities' vehicles rather than make any distinction between those listed in that Amendment and the few others that might be left outside the definition. If the Minister really wants to make sure that the local authority does not gain any benefit by including some vehicles that may be working for profit in a trading service, he could require the local authority to register the vehicles as such, and require the payment of levy on those vehicles. I do not think that that would hit local authorities very hard, and I suggest it would be a way out. With all my heat, I ask the Minister to consider favourably this plea of the local authorities.

Mr. Philip Bell (Bolton, East)

I am bound to say that a strong case can be made for excluding all local authority vehicles from this levy. It is for that reason that I put my name to the Amendment which stands in the name of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ilford, North (Sir G. Hutchinson). I ought to make it quite clear that I do not think this to be an exception to a good rule: I think it is a shocking rule. We can see whether it is a good rule or not by trying to find the principle of any exception. One of my hon. and learned Friends could not see why any transport should be excepted from this levy.

In discussing this kind of subject on Report stage, we have, for the purposes of the discussion, to make certain assumptions which we do not really mean. We have to assume that the sale of transport will involve a loss, though we are not quite sure what that loss will be. We have also to assume for the purposes of this discussion that it is worth incurring the loss. We do not know whether the figure will be £30 million or £40 million, but we say that this is an occasion for cutting the loss. We may be wrong, but for the purposes of this discussion we say that if we continue with nationalisation the bill will pile up, and that it is better to cut our losses and face a loss now. Those are the assumptions on which—

7.45 p.m.

Mr. H. Hynd

Road transport is making a profit.

Mr. Bell

The profit is not quite so clear as many people think. We have in this Bill to provide for this loss—

Mr. Hynd

What loss?

Mr. Bell

—on the sale of the assets. The ordinary way of doing that is to provide that the general taxpayer shall bear it. That is what the last Administration did in one or two unpleasant instances—nuts and eggs. We did not go to the grocer and say, "We think that you ought to contribute to this loss." In the case of Purchase Tax, we have a Committee trying to see how to avoid a loss falling on retailers when there is an alteration of tax. In the case of the de-nationalisation of the steel industry, there is no attempt being made to put the burden on particular users.

The presumption always is that when a mistake is made the taxpayer pays. That is the ordinary rule. Now we have a rather extraordinary position here because this is the first time, probably not the last, that we are having to de-nationalise transport or anything else.

Mr. Popplewell

The hon. and learned Member is making much of the losses of nationalised transport. Will he give one instance in which the taxpayer has yet had to put up a penny in consequence of the nationalisation of transport? Will he also say how often it was, when transport was in the hands of private enterprise, the taxpayer had to give some hefty subsidies, such as £70 million in two years, to private enterprise?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hopkin Morris)

The hon. and learned Member must not pursue that point on this Amendment.

Mr. Bell

I think we are at cross-purposes. I am dealing with the loss on the re-sale of the vehicles, which we have to cover. We can perhaps refer to the other matter on another occasion.

I am suggesting that the ordinary rule would be that the loss would be met by the taxpayer. The situation we are now considering is exceptional because we have never had experience of de-nationalising, of having to decide how a consequent loss has to be met. Therefore, what is being done is an experiment. There is to be a loss which could be put on the taxpayer, or we could invent some class of the community.—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I do not quite follow how this argument arises on the Amendment.

Mr. Bell

The point with which I am dealing is, what is the principle by which some people are selected to pay this levy?

Mr. M. Turner-Samuels (Gloucester)

Is the loss not due to de-nationalisation, and nothing else?

Mr. Bell

That is another point. If the hon. and learned Member will he good enough to listen and get his irritation off his chest, I will ask him to assume, for the purposes of discussion, that there is in fact to be a loss and that we are now deciding how it is to be borne.

Mr. Turner-Samuels

Is the hon. and learned Member assuming a loss for the sake of argument, or is he at a loss for an argument?

Mr. Bell

In view of what you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, have said, I had better not pursue that interruption.

How are the people who are to pay the levy to be selected? I understood the Home Secretary to say that it should be borne by the users of transport, but that does not mean anything because everybody uses transport directly or indirectly: one drives a wagon, or has goods carried in the wagon or consumes the goods which are carried in the wagon. The other suggestion which my right hon. Friend has put forward is that certain persons who have transport will reap a benefit out of this Measure. What and how?

It is suggested that A and B licence holders are now to get an opportunity of making more money by the removal of their radius restriction. Every time the law is aItered someone gets some benefit out of it. We do not tax part of the community. I fail to find it a convincing argument that we should suddenly say that these people have the opportunity of making more profit and therefore they must be taxed, and it applies to the C licence. When we depart from the strict rule that the community must bear the loss we have arguments about exemptions—whether sewage wagons or some other vehicle should come in—and everybody says they are not profit making. But is not that nonsense, because the community gets a little benefit if it carries its own goods and therefore saves expense, and someone gets a benefit somewhere? If we try to argue that certain vehicle owners should pay the tax, I believe we shall get into a great jungle of confusion; which is shown by the very Amendments themselves.

I am doubtful whether the whole levy system is not the real secret of the difficulty. There was only one reason ever given why the levy system should come in at all, and it was a particularly unconvincing one. It was suggested that it would draw the teeth of hon. Members opposite if we said it was not in fact to be put on the taxpayers. I am not convinced of the power of those teeth. I think that power has been greatly exaggerated. I only approve of this with regard to municipal vehicles because I feel it shows the failure of the whole idea of the Transport Levy. That is my view.

But it is nonsense to think that we should get any understanding or sympathy from hon. Gentlemen opposite because we did not put the levy on the taxpayer. There would be just the same venomous speeches from hon. Members opposite. They would use the word like "chaotic," and so on, whatever we put in the Bill. It is not a crime, it is a blunder to start putting the loss on any other person than the taxpayers. The sooner the taxpayers learn that nationalisation costs money and that there is a need for de-nationalisation the better.

Mr. Hylton-Foster (York)

I want mildly to join the merry band of variegated optimists who hope that the Minister will have another look at this matter. But, much as I hate to disappoint the hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd), if the Minister does not like my optimism I shall not go into the Lobbies against him. [HON. MEMBERS: "Coward."] I do not mind accusations of cowardice across the Floor of the House, I know my position will be well understood.

I suggest that lurking beneath this there is another matter of principle. I will not discuss the merits of the levy, because I suspect that were I to do so it might be noticed that I was out of order. I would suggest for the consideration of the Minister that, to adopt a phrase of the Economic Secretary in the Committee stage, the idea that the position of local authorities is in any way commensurate with that of the hauliers is a rabbit which, in the field of logic, will not run at all.

For the most part, the real position of these local authorities in this matter is that they have statutory duties imposed upon them. Whereas the haulier can decide, aye or no, "Shall I be a haulier or not," and can therefore decide whether he wishes to receive the benefits offered by this Bill, the local authorities have not that choice; because for the most part they have to discharge duties imposed upon them by statute. I think that there is a point of principle worthy of consideration.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Viscount Hinchingbrooke.

Mr. Callaghan

Three in a row?

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) is quite capable of rising to his feet, in which case it is likely he would have been called.

Mr. Callaghan

The noble Lord has referred to me. Let me remind him that there are a great many other Amendments on the Order Paper, including one on the whole principle of the levy. We thought that the House would like the opportunity to discuss them. It is my view—and I will now resume my seat—that, as we have had an almost unanimity of view in this matter, we might have heard from the Minister before now.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

The hon. Gentleman is quite well aware of the geniality of the debate by this time, and no doubt had he risen and made a short speech my right hon. Friend would have replied. But as I was the only Member to rise, the Chair had no choice but to call me.

I am not quite in view with the desires of most hon. Members to get a point made today for the local authorities. It may be because I have not had the association with local authorities which other hon. Members have. No doubt when from time to time local authorities feel strongly on a particular point they canvass those hon. Members and we get representations of a view which is ad hoc, and not weighted fully against long-term considerations.

I have listened to the debate with great care, and there is no doubt that the balance of argument is in favour of some concession to these local authorities. But it seems to me that the tests of why that should be done are many and varied and, taken singly, do not hold water at all. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Squadron Leader Cooper) said he could not see that local authorities got anything out of this de-nationalisation process and therefore were not called on to pay the levy. But local authorities are great trading communities. They do not make a profit—I will refer to the profit motive in a moment—but they are great trading communities.

If, as a result of de-nationalisation of transport, there is a more rapid conveyance of goods; if, as a result of alterations in the transport service of the country, houses go up faster than before and hospitals are built—[HON. MEMBERS: "And schools?"] and the other services and interests for which local authorities are responsible thrive and prosper, I think local authorities should be called upon to bear their fair share.

As for the profit test, this is not a tax on profitability. Surely by implication, if we leave out local authori- ties, which do not earn a profit, we are saying that it is, and therefore to that extent the remainder are taxed on profitability. There is a political motive, and the reason why hon. Gentlemen opposite are so excited about it is that they like to see profitable private enterprise stand the levy, and, by the implication of this Amendment, a higher proportion of the levy than before. They do not like to see non-profit making organisations exempted from the levy, but in that they are not consistent, either. They do not come forward with the suggestion that charitable trusts, and other non-profit making organisations who have vehicles, should be exempted from the levy. We might quote Government Departments—

Mr. Popplewell

We say the levy is wrong altogether.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

—which are non-profit making organisations.

I reject on grounds of principle, and because of the full and detailed explanation that we have had in the successive speeches on this Bill about the purpose of this levy—and the decision of the House upon it, not once, not twice, but three times—this idea that we should make an invasion of the principle at this stage. I hope my right hon. Friend will reject the series of Amendments designed to do this with regard to local authorities.

8.0 p.m.

In the Amendment in the name of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ilford, North (Sir G. Hutchinson) there are four categories of vehicles which he and his hon. Friends think should be exempt from the levy. We see at once the falsity of this proposal when we consider three of those categories. It is only in respect of one that there is a sound argument. The first category is: vehicles used by local authorities for the collection of refuse or the collection of salvage. A very large number of people collect refuse and salvage and serve the interests of a community under private enterprise. Are they not to be exempt if local authorities are to be exempt? The second category is: vehicles used by education authorities for the carriage of school meals. One of my hon. Friends made a case for the carriage of goods to a grocer's shop. That is one step remote from school meals, but it comes very near to it. Not all school meals are served in schools run by local authorities. The third category is: vehicles used by local authorities for removal of bedding. I do not understand that. It seems to me that a large array of private enterprise transport interests convey goods of that kind. The only category where there seems to he a case is the last one. Whether we can legislate upon it without ensuing anomalies under the Vehicles (Excise) Act I do not know. The old Latin tag de minimis non curat lex comes to mind, but there seems to be a case for: tower wagons used by highway authorities and street lighting authorities. If my right hon. Friend says that it is possible to legislate upon the last provision, I think that we should all go with him on that; but, for the rest, I hope that he will reject many of the arguments.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

We have had a most interesting discussion. I recognise that the majority view is not in favour of the present proposals of the Government but, for the reasons advanced by my noble Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) that perhaps is not altogether surprising in the circumstances. To single out one speech, I should like to say how much I personally enjoyed the speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell). He seemed to go to the root of the problem. This is not a bad exception to a good rule, but it is a bad rule itself.

I am not in a position to develop the argument whether losses consequent on de-nationalisation should be borne by the taxpayer or spread over the users of transport, because it has been ruled that that would be out of order. But my hon. and learned Friend was right in saying that there is a rule in this matter. Some hon. Members may think that it is a good rule; some may think that it is a bad one. The rule is that, for reasons which presumably are good—for every Government have continued it—Parliament decided that certain vehicles should pay Excise Duty at special rates. This applied to some local authority vehicles but not to the majority of them.

We have proceeded from the start in drawing up this Bill on the assumption that where a specially reduced rate of tax has been conceded for excise purposes, by putting the vehicles into an easily identifiable category, they should be exempt from the levy; but where Parliament has decided that certain vehicles should pay the full Excise Duty then they should also pay the levy, whether they belong to a local authority or not. I agree that there is a rule running through this. Members of Parliament may have their own views about that rule. There are times and opportunities under the Finance Bill when the rule on which this procedure is based can fairly come up for examination.

Mr. H. Hynd

Does that mean that if exemptions are carried through during the financial discussions or otherwise, bringing further vehicles within that rule, they will become exempt from the levy?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Of course it does. We have based ourselves on this clear-cut definition that vehicles that pay the excise shall pay the levy. It also means that if a vehicle, having paid both the excise and the levy, is laid up for a period and recovery of the excise is possible, then recovery of the levy for the same period is also possible.

We have many interesting speeches and a number of Amendments have been discussed, all designed to achieve the same objective but taking differing forms. I was specially interested in the Amendment in the name of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ilford, North (Sir G. Hutchinson). We are all sorry to hear of the family bereavement which has caused his absence today. His hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Squadron Leader Cooper) made a very strong case.

There is differing emphasis in these various proposals. If I say that the Amendment in the name of the hon. Lady the Member for Peckham (Mrs. Corbet) is the worst of all, I hope she will not think me ungallant. She made an extremely agreeable speech which was well argued. I should hate to say any-thing that might appear to be discourteous to her. She included in her Amendment a definition of the words "local authority" from the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947. The definition in that Act is very wide, as she said, but the Act itself does not apply to Scotland.

If I accepted her Amendment local authorities in England would be exempt from the levy but town councils and small burghs in Scotland would have to pay. I shudder to think of the trouble I should have from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn). My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ilford, South did not make that mistake. Had his colleague the hon. and learned Member for Ilford, North been here, I would have told him that I should have liked to accept his new Clause during our proceedings a few days ago, had it been called. That new Clause referred to a wider right to local authorities to appeal to the Transport Tribunal. I will deal with that question on Third Reading. It is out of order to develop the matter further now. There will be an Amendment in another place and I will deal with the point on Third Reading.

The effect of all these proposals is to exempt all, or some, local authority vehicles from the levy. No doubt this flood of communications from local authorities to all Members would have taken place in any case, but I believe that I might have a little personal responsibility for it, apart from prime responsibility for the Bill. On an earlier occasion, on 11th December at column 509 of the OFFICIAL REPORT, I appeared to link my view that we could well raise the total exemption to 30 cwt. from one ton with some relief for local authorities. I may inadvertently have given the impression that I thought that by raising the limit to 30 cwt. all the local authority difficulties would be swept away.

Incidentally, I received two telegrams a day or two after that in my different capacities. One was addressed to the Minister of Civil Aviation from a town clerk. It thanked me warmly for an action I had taken in connection with a local aerodrome. The other was addressed to the Minister of Transport—perhaps he did know it was the same person—expressing unqualified indignation "at this unmerited attack on local authorities."

The speeches we have heard tonight, from the hon. Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. D. Jones), the hon. Member for Clapham (Mr. Gibson) and many others, were inclined to be a little out of perspective. After all, this is only a temporary charge. All the arguments about principle went when the second part of the levy was abandoned among, I think, universal good wishes from hon. Members on both sides of the House, and not least from those who had been hoping to make some political capital out of it. It certainly cannot possibly be called penal.

The hon. Member for The Hartlepools knows that much of the work in connection with school meals is done under contract. If this Amendment was carried the charge would still be on the conveyance of school meals. The hon. Gentleman whipped himself up into a modern version of the Areopagitica on the fact that travelling libraries would be affected. That is carrying the matter a little bit too far.

The Amendment in the name of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ilford, North is an attempt to meet the real difficulty of the Government in regard to these local activities which, in the words of the Road and Rail Traffic Act, are deemed to be: the carrying on of a business" for the purposes of the Act. My hon. Friend did try to meet our difficulty. He linked this solely with certain types of local authority vehicles, but there are great difficulties in this matter, one of which was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Truro (Mr. G. Wilson) in an interruption.

Vehicles are used for different purposes by many similar local authorities. Many of these specified purposes which would be exempted have not got special vehicles to discharge them. Indeed, hon. Members will realise that if a local authority, having got exemption for a vehicle on the ground that they were using it for one purpose, then wanted to use it for another, they would be committing an offence under the Act passed by the late Administration—the Vehicles (Excise) Act, 1949, if they did any such thing. Therefore, for reasons which I think are overwhelming, I could not accept that Amendment as it stands.

Further, I see no moral reason why local authorities should be exempted. They pay Excise Duty, they pay Purchase Tax on vehicles used for the very purposes that we are now discussing. The real answer is to get the level of all taxation down, and we are very anxious to do that, but there is no moral justification for exempting the local authorities. Government Departments are going to pay this levy, and there is no reason why local authorities should be exempt and Government Departments should pay. There is the further reason that a great deal of the work of local authorities—indeed, some of their most important social and hygienic activities—are carried on under contract by other people, and it would be very unfair if, in deciding whether to continue the contract or not, the balance was tilted in favour of direct work by the council if, in fact, their vehicles would be exempt and those doing the work otherwise would have to pay the levy.

Then, there is the very strong argument, which I must repeat to the House, concerning the need to have a simple method of machinery, and a cheap and effective one. We base the levy squarely on the Vehicles (Excise) Act, and it will apply precisely to the same vehicles that are liable for the normal excise duty. The Excise Act sets out vehicles which are not subject to the Excise Duty, and they will not pay the levy. There are 11 categories of vehicles which are subject to reduced or exceptional Excise Duty, and they will not pay the levy either, but we are anxious that, where vehicles do pay the Excise Duty and pay the levy, we should not depart from the existing machinery which all local authorities know very well.

Apart from this, I think it will he some considerable comfort to the local authorities to realise the following items. In addition to those vehicles which pay no levy because they pay no Excise Duty, or which pay no levy because they pay the exceptional rate, a large number of local authority vehicles, being below the minimum category, will escape altogether, the minimum category being designed to exclude virtually all the small delivery vehicles. In addition, by the exemptions which I have already mentioned, a whole range of other activities are completely exempted, such as fire engines, and ambulances and road rollers. There is also a whole list of vehicles which do not pay the ordinary Excise Duty and do not pay the levy in the second category, such as cleansing vehicles, vehicles for watering the roads or vehicles paying a special rate which do not pay the levy.

I come finally to the one difficulty that is really the absurdity of the situation, and that is the question of tower wagons. For some extraordinary reason, into the wisdom of which I have not been able successfully to enter, tower wagons used by highway authorities have to pay Excise Duty. This has gone right through the Excise Act of the late Administration and through the whole series of the Finance Acts of both the late Administration and previous ones. It is a fact, and we have to accept the fact as it is. The tower wagons used by electricity, gas or electric transport undertakings come within the definition of tower wagons in the Act of 1949. They are in a separate category for the Duty and are wholly exempt from the levy.

It is not for me to ponder the wisdom of this old Act of 1949, nor can I really claim that, had I been a Member of that Government, I would have noticed this point, but it shows how the evil that we do may live on even under a better Administration which has succeeded to office. I wish I could have met these points raised with genuine sincerity, but I am afraid that, for all these reasons, I must decline to accept all these Amendments.

8.15 p.m.

Mr. Callaghan

I would not wish to take up the time of the House at this stage, but I think the Minister might have given us an indication whether he intends to include in the Finance Bill any exemption of vehicles, as indeed he will be able to do, if he is so minded. This particular anomaly of the 1949 Act can be easily remedied by the insertion of a small Clause in the next Finance Bill. Has the Minister the intention of doing that? I will give way if he will tell us.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

It was only recently that I discovered this incongruity, and although naturally I shall give it full consideration in consultation with my colleagues, I am unable to indicate what line the Finance Bill will take.

Mr. Callaghan

That is not in accordance with the usual practice. Although nobody ever gives any indication of what may appear in the Budget, it is quite frequent for a Minister to give an indication of what will appear in the Finance Bill, which does not necessarily affect the Budget.

I do not know whether the local authorities will be satisfied by what the Minister has said, but I have very grave doubts. Certainly the ratepayers of those cities whose rates under this Administration seem to he going up year by year, and who will find that they will have to pay yet another small additional rate because the Government insist upon throwing away the British Road Services enterprise at a loss, will know that they can charge the responsibility for that to the Minister.

In normal times, when not working to a Guillotine which falls at 8.30 p.m., I should have been inclined to ask my hon. Friends to test the feelings of the House, but I suggest to them that they may be content to allow the Government to negative our Amendment, and in these circumstances we might spend the last 12 minutes in a discussion on the general principle of the levy, since a number of these anomalies arise out of the principle of the levy, and ask the Government what they intend to do about it.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. Pannell

I beg to move, in page 12, line 15, to leave out "fifty-four," and insert "fifty-five."

I am sorry that the hon. and gallant Member for Ilford, South (Squadron Leader Cooper) is going out, because I wanted to deal with something that he had to say. It seems to me that in the discussion on a previous Amendment the hon. Gentleman set forth to make a case in suggesting that, somehow or other, local authorities stood in a different relationship from other users of vehicles. He deployed a completely different case on 11th December, when he tried to make the case that I am trying to make now—that the whole levy is evil, and that, as far as C licences are concerned, they had better be left outside the levy. The hon. Gentleman has suffered a lapse of memory because, partly through the intervention of his hon. Friend the Member for Truro (Mr. G. Wilson), he was again deploying the point that he himself made on a previous occasion. However, we do not expect very good memories on the other side of the House, so I will pass on.

When we discussed the levy on a previous stage of the Bill, it had a very dusty reception from the other side. It was the fact that the hon. Member for Esher (Mr. Robson Brown) made a case against it and said that it was iniquitous that further taxation should fall on food distributing vehicles. Of course, in addition to that, it so happens that the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) said that it not only referred to food vehicles, and mentioned the question of the weight being raised by 10 cwt. He seems to me to have fallen into the error of thinking that all local authority problems are solved if we increase the weight to 30 cwt.

Mr. Powell

On a point of order. Is the hon. Member moving the Amendment to leave out "fifty-four" and to insert "fifty-five"?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

That is what I called him to move.

Mr. Pannell

And I was addressing myself to that. I now say that the whole thing ought to be put on one side, and I am drawing attention to the irrelevancies of hon. Gentlemen opposite on previous stages of the Bill.

No one likes the levy. Indeed, what the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Holt) said about it seemed to appeal to the Minister. I can only think that the levy has been left in, not because the Minister likes it, but because of the obduracy of the civil servants who proposed it in the first place. The Minister has not developed a decent argument in favour of it. Normally when politicians bring things forward they can at least provide some original thought regarding them. When all has been said and done, this levy has been altered so many times—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. Member must limit his arguments to the benches opposite.

Mr. Pannell

I have made it clear that every time the Minister has come before the House on the subject he has altered the basis of the levy. First, it was for certain matters; then there was a revision, and on the last occasion the right hon. Gentleman told us that the levy would rank for Excess Profits Tax. Income Tax, and other taxes. I was just wondering where we had got to.

There is one thing about which the right hon. Gentleman has not told us, and that is where he stands on the promise he made that on the Report stage he was going to look sympathetically at the proposal to increase the tonnage from one ton to 30 cwt. I do not know whether he is going to deal with it here, in another place, or where, but it was on that sop that he seemed to satisfy his dissentient back benchers. We have heard nothing about that up to now.

I mentioned on a previous occasion that I object to all forms of discriminatory taxation that bedevil industrial design. The hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) smiles; I should have thought that as an engineer he would have understood that.

Mr. Anthony Fell (Yarmouth)


Mr. Pannell

I am not going to give way to the hon. Gentleman at this stage. As a matter of fact, he has only recently come into the Chamber.

Mr. Fell

On a point of order. Is it in order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for the hon. Gentleman opposite to say that I have only just come into the Chamber when, in fact, I have been here a very considerable time?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Pannell

As I was saying, I made the point on a previous occasion that I object to discriminatory taxation which bedevils industrial design.

Mr. Fell


Mr. Pannell

I am not asking the hon. Gentleman, I am telling him.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I hope the hon. Member will direct his remarks to the Amendment.

Mr. Pannell

With great respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I am adducing arguments as to why this levy should be put off. I should have thought it was quite appropriate to put forward arguments showing that this is a discriminatory tax. Once an arbitrary tax based on weight is imposed, there is a tendency towards overloading below that weight. In the same way, an arbitrary 20-mile an hour speed limit leads to overloading below that weight, and I should have thought that an engineer would have understood that. There is no doubt that it has happened before.

Something like £340 million is raised by taxation of the vehicles that ply upon our roads, 85 per cent. of which is paid by commercial transport. That amounts to five times more than the money spent from the Road Fund for the benefit of these vehicles. I think that road transport has been penalised in the past. I know that some of my hon. Friends with railway interests will object to that, but my mind does not move on a permanent way. I hope we shall throw out this levy.

Mr. Thomas Steele (Dunbartonshire, West)

I beg to second the Amendment.

Mr. Braithwaite

The House may not entirely have gathered from the speech of the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Pannell) that the effect of this Amendment would be to postpone the payment of the levy for one year. I think the hon. Gentleman, very reasonably, seized the opportunity for a rather more general dissertation, including some remarks about the Civil Service. So far as my right hon. Friend and I are concerned, we hope that the staffs which we now have at the Ministry of Transport will be there in 1954, and, indeed, in 1955.

The hon. Gentleman did not advance an argument which I should have thought might have been relevant to the rather narrow point of the Amendment itself. He might well have said that the collection of the levy should not begin until the removal of the 25-mile radius at the end of next year as provided in Clause 7. We do not take that view. It is the opinion of the Government that the collection of the levy should begin as quickly as is reasonably practicable, if I may return to some words which we were discussing earlier today. After all, the sooner the levy commences, the sooner it will end. In our view, the matter should go ahead without delay. On the narrow point of the Amendment itself, I must ask the House to reject it.

Mr. Callaghan

I am extremely sorry that the Parliamentary Secretary has not used his time in order to deploy the arguments, if indeed there are any, in favour of the levy as the levy, because, as he clearly understood, the purpose of this Amendment was to get a general discussion on the nature of the levy. I can only assume that the reason he has not deployed those arguments is that they do not exist or that he does not believe in them.

Mr. Braithwaite

The hon. Gentleman had them in the Committee stage.

Mr. Callaghan

We may have had them in the Committee stage, but the purpose of a Report stage is that the play of public opinion shall affect the mind of the Minister. It has certainly affected him in some directions, and we had hoped that there might be some effect upon his mind in the matter of the levy, because from my correspondence—and, I gather, from that of hon. Members opposite—there has been no diminution of the volume of criticism directed against the levy. Contrariwise, it has increased, and I should have thought that if the Minister had been impressed by the

criticism which he has partially met in some other matters, then he most certainly ought to have been impressed by the criticism that has been directed against the levy.

I must say that in his amusing speech, the hon. and learned Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell) was absolutely right in following the doctrine laid down in the Committee stage by my right hon. Friend the Member for East Ham, South (Mr. Barnes), that losses which are incurred by the direct action of the Government should be borne by the taxpayer. It seems to me that the Government have no right to shuffle off the losses that the public will incur through the selling of British Road Services at a loss which may range between £30 million and £50 million—

It being Half-past Eight o'Clock,Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKERproceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question put, "That fifty-four ' stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 235; Noes, 221.

Division No. 79.] AYES [8.30 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Cary, Sir Robert Garner-Evans, E. H.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Channon, H. George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd
Alport, C. J. M. Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Godher, J. B.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Gomme-Duncan, Col. A
Arbuthnot, John Cole, Norman Gower, H. R.
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Colegate, W. A. Graham, Sir Fergus
Asshetcn, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Gridley, Sir Arnold
Astor, Hon. J. J. Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)
Baker, P. A. D Craddock, Berestord (Spelthorne) Hall, John (Wycombe)
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr, J. M. Cranborne, Viscount Hare, Hon. J. H.
Baldwin, A. E. Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)
Banks, Col. C. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Harris, Reader (Heston)
Barber, Anthony Crouch, R. F. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Barlow, Sir John Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)
Beach, Maj. Hicks Cuthbert, W. N. Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Harvie-Watt, Sir George
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Davidson, Viscountess Hay, John
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Deedes, W. F. Heald, Sir Lionel
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Digby, S. Wingfield Heath, Edward
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Dodds-Parker, A. D. Higgs, J. M. C.
Birch, Nigel Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)
Bishop, F. P. Donner, P. W. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)
Bossom, A. C. Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A Drayson, G. B Hirst, Geoffrey
Boyle, Sir Edward Drewe, C. Holland-Martin, C. J.
Braine, B. R. Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Hollis, M. C.
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Duthie, W. S. Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.) Elliot, Rt. Hon W. E. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Fell, A. Horobin, I. M.
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Finlay, Graeme Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence
Browne, Jack (Govan) Fisher, Nigel Howard, Greville (St. Ives)
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
Bullard, D. G. Fletcher-Cooke, C. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Bullock, Capt. M. Fort, R. Hurd, A. R.
Bullus, Wine Commander E. E. Foster, John Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)
Burden, F. F. A. Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)
Campbell, Sir David Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.
Carr, Robert Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok) Hylton-Foster, H. B. H
Carom, Hon. E. Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Nabarro, G. D. N. Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Nicholls, Harmar Soames, Capt. C.
Jones, A. (Hall Green) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Spearman, A. C. M
Kaberry, D. Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.) Speir, R. M.
Keeling, Sir Edward Nield, Basil (Chester) Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)
Kerr, H. W. Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Lambert, Hon G. Nugent, G. R. H. Stevens, G. P.
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Nutting, Anthony Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Langford-Holt, J. A. Odey, G. W. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Law, Rt. Hon. R. K. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D Storey, S.
Leather, E. H. C. Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, North) Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Legh, P. R. (Petersfield) Osborne, C. Summers, G. S.
Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Peto, Brig. C. H. M Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Linstead, H. N. Peyton, J. W W. Teeling, W.
Llewellyn, D. T. Pickthorn, K. W. M Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Pilkingtan, Capt. R. A Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Pitman, I. J. Thompson, Lt. Cdr. R. (Croydon, W)
Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C Powell, J. Enoch Tilney, John
Low, A. R. W. Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Touche, Sir Gordon
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L Turner, H. F. L
Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Profumo, J. D. Turton, R. H
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Raikes, Sir Victor Vosper, D. F.
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O. Redmayne, M. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
McAdden, S. J. Remnant, Hon. P. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Macdonald, Sir Peter Renton, D. L. M. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Roberts, Peter (Heeley) Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Robertson, Sir David Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C
Maclean, Fitzroy Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.) Watkinson, H. A.
MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Roper, Sir Harold Wellwood, W.
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Russell, R. S. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D. Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Markham, Major S. F. Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Marlowe, A. A. H. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Marples, A. E. Scott, R. Donald Wood, Hon. R
Maude, Angus Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. York, C.
Medlicott, Brig. F. Shepherd, William
Mellor, Sir John Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas Smithers Sir Waldron (Orpington) Sir H. Butcher and Mr. Wills.
Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.
Acland, Sir Richard Cullen, Mrs A. Hannan, W.
Albu, A. H. Dairies, P. Hardy, E. A.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Hargreaves, A.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Darling, George (Hillsborough) Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Hastings, S.
Awbery, S. S. Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Hayman, F. H.
Bacon, Miss Alive Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Healey, Denis (Leeds. S.E.)
Baird, J. Deer, G. Herbison, Miss M.
Balfour, A. Delargy, H. J. Hobson, C. R
Bartley, P. Dodds, N. N. Holman, P.
Bence, C. R. Donnelly, D. L. Holt, A F.
Bann, Wedgwood Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich) Houghton, Douglas
Benson, G. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)
Beswick, F. Edelman, M. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Blackburn, F. Edwards, John (Brighouse) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Blenkinsop, A. Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Blyton, W. R. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Boardman, H. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Bowen, E. R. Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)
Bowles, F. G. Fernyhough, E. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Fienburgh, W. Janner, B.
Brockway, A. F. Finch, H. J. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Fletcher, Erie (Islington, E.) Jager, George (Goole)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Follick, M. Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Foot, M. M. Johnson, James (Rugby)
Burton, Miss F. E. Forman, J. C. Jones, David (Hartlepool)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Callaghan, L. J. Freeman, John (Watford) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Carmichael, J. Galtskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N Keenan, W.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Gibson, C. W. Kenyon, C.
Champion, A. J. Glanville, James Key, Rt. Hon. C. W
Chapman, W. D Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. King, Dr. H. M.
Chetwynd, G. R. Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) Kinley, J.
Clunie, J. Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield) Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Coldrick, W. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
Collick, P. H. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Lindgren, G. S.
Corbel, Mrs. Freda Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanoliy) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Cove, W. G. Griffiths, William (Exchange) MaoColl, J. E.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hale, Leslie McGovern, J
Crosland, C. A. R. Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (CoIn[...] Valley) McInnes, J.
Crossman, R. H. S. Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) McLeavY, F.
MacMillam, M. K. (Western Isles) Porter, G. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Price, Joseph T. (West Houghton) Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
Mainwaring, W. H. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Thomas, David (Aberdare)
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Proctor, W. T. Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Manuel, A. C. Pursey, Cmdr. H. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Mayhew, C. P Reeves, J. Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Mellish, R. J Reid, Thomas (Swindon) Thurtle, Ernest
Messer, F. Reid, William (Camlachie) Tomney, F.
Mikardo, Ian Rhodes, H. Turner-Samuels, M.
Mitchison, G. R. Richards, R. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Monslow, W. Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Viant, S. P.
Moody, A. S Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wade, D. W.
Morley, R. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Wallace, H. W
Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Ross, William Weitzman, D.
Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Shackleton, E. A. A. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Moyle, A. Short, E. W. Wells, Williams (Walsall)
Mulley, F. W. Shurmer, P. L. E. West, D. G.
Nally, W. Silverman, Julius (Erdington) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John
Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Wheeldon, W. E.
Oldfield, W. H. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Oliver, G. H. Slater, J. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Orbach, M. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Wigg. George
Oswald, T. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.) Wilkins, W. A.
Padley, W. E. Snow, J. W. Williams, David (Neath)
Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Sorensen, R. W. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Pannell, Charles Sparks, J. A. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Pargiter, G. A. Steele, T. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Parker, J. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Paton, J. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Yates, V. F.
Pearson, A. Swingler, S. T. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Plummer, Sir Leslie Sylvester, G. O.
Popplewell, E. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Bowden and Mr. Holmes.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER then proceeded to put forthwith the Question on an Amendment, moved by a member of the Government, of which notice had been given, to that part of the Bill to be concluded at Half-past Eight o'Clock.