HC Deb 23 February 1953 vol 511 cc1732-57

Amendment proposed: In page 13, line 30, at end insert: and (b) in such cases and to such extent as the Treasury may determine, shall make provision for securing that persons who immediately before their appointment as members of the Agency had pension rights by virtue of a pension scheme applicable to their office or employment, continue to enjoy pension rights not exceeding in value those which they would have enjoyed if they had remained in the said office or employment during the period of their service as members of the Agency:"—[Mr. BoydCarpenter.]

Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

3.38 p.m.

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

I have meditated upon this matter and I am somewhat less puzzled than I was on Wednesday.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Mr. G. R. Strauss (Vauxhall)

We oppose this Clause, which is the kernel of the Bill, the purpose of which is to set up an Agency whose duty it will be to sell the publicly-owned steel industry to private shareholders.

I do not propose to argue the case against that de-nationalisation on this Clause because the principle has been contested already on Second Reading and we have to accept the fact that Parliament has agreed to sell the iron and steel industry, which is now under public ownership, to private owners. My purpose in rising to oppose this Clause is not so much to say that we object to it in principle, but to point out the clumsy way in which the Government are proposing to carry out their purpose. We maintain that if units of this industry, whether companies as a whole or assets now belonging to the Corporation, are to be sold to private owners it should not be by setting up an independent and separate body called the Holdings and Realisation Agency under another Minister, but by a body which is already existent, either the Board or, as we would have preferred it, the Corporation, allowing the Corporation to remain in existence until their duty had been done in this respect.

But here it is suggested that a new organisation should be set up under the control of a Minister who has no responsibility whatsoever for the welfare of this industry, and, consequently, we get a fantastic diffusion of authority and responsibility over the industry. It will be the duty of these people who form the Agency—chosen, no doubt, because of their knowledge of finance, city ways and the promotion of private companies —not only to regroup the companies where necessary and to bargain with individuals or groups or insurance companies or the old owners of the companies on financial matters, but also to promote the efficient direction of their subsidiaries —the companies under their control. We believe that those subsidiaries are likely to form the major part of the units in the iron and steel industry.

Here we get a body to be set up not only under the Minister of Supply, who has some knowledge of the iron and steel industry, but also under the Chancellor -—a body consisting of people with knowledge of finance, whose duty will be to promote the efficiency of a huge section of the iron and steel industry. We do not believe that it is possible that people chosen for the main purpose of selling these companies at the best possible price will be properly equipped, if equipped at all, to promote the efficiency of such a complicated industry as the iron and steel industry.

Be it noted that the duty given to the Agency to promote the efficient direction of their subsidiaries is almost the same instruction which is given to the Board in respect of the industry as a whole. There is, therefore, bound to be here, to put it at its lowest, a substantial overlapping of authority and responsibility, and we think that that is a most undesirable thing to happen.

The splitting of responsibility and authority goes very much further than that as a result of establishing the proposed Agency. It splits the responsibility in the industry not just into two—the Board and the Agency, as I have already mentioned—but, over a whole range of important matters, it splits the responsibility in the industry into six.

Under the Nationalisation Act the responsibility for the welfare of the industry was divided into two; I think that was reasonable, and it is common in ordinary industrial practice. It was divided between the Board of the companies concerned, who had responsibility for the welfare of their workers and the efficient running of the works, and the Corporation which was the holding company and which had a broad responsibility for the efficiency of the whole industry—for planning and things of that sort. That responsibility, as I say, was divided into two, with a reserve responsibility of authority in the Minister who might come in and give a general direction to the industry if he wanted to do so.

But consider what happens under this new set-up. Take one example, of which I could quote many. A certain company believes that a development scheme is desirable. It believes that it would be in the interests of the workers, the shareholders, potential shareholders and the company as a whole to undertake a substantial development scheme. First of all, the board of the company have to consider the matter and come to certain decisions. They decide that they ought to proceed with a development scheme. This will inevitably go for vetting and confirmation to the Iron and Steel Federation at Steel House, to see whether, under the authority of the planning body there, this proposal fits in or not.

I do not think that anybody will deny that under the new set-up envisaged by the Bill the authority and the powers of Steel House will be substantial and very much enhanced. Therefore, Steel House will not be able to avoid some responsibility in either approving or of disapproving the scheme. Those are two authorities who will have a say in the matter. Then it will go to the Board—that is the third authority— and they will have to consider the proposition. After considera- tion, the Board may say, "No." That is not the end of it, however.

The company can then appeal to the Minister of Supply who will have responsibility. Suppose he says, "Yes, I think this is a development scheme which I ought to endorse." That is No. 4. But then if this company is still a subsidiary of the Agency, as it very likely will be, and as we believe most of them will be for a long time, the Agency may say, "It does not fit in at all with our plans for selling and with our re-grouping proposals. We do not think that this development should be put into operation. It will interfere with our main duty of selling at the best price all the subsidiaries that we own, and it does not fit in with our co-ordination or regrouping arrangements." That is No. 5.

Finally, I suppose, the Chancellor will come into it, because he can give general directions to the Agency over which he has general authority; the authority of the Chancellor will be invoked. There are, therefore, six different bodies which will have substantial responsibility for deciding an important issue of this sort.

3.45 p.m.

I quoted a development scheme because I thought it was important, but I can envisage all sorts of other situations in which up to six people will have a say in the matter. In short, that responsibility for coming to major decisions will be diffused over a large number of bodies and individuals. If there is criticism at the time about delay in coming to a decision, or if there is criticism afterwards on the grounds that the decision was wrong, everybody will blame everybody else.

Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that under any system while a firm or unit is owned by the State, the Chancellor would have to be consulted if development were envisaged?

Mr. Strauss

I am not sure the Chancellor need he involved if development were envisaged. The Chancellor does not come in at the moment under the nationalisation set-up. It is a matter for the Corporation to settle and, therefore, the Chancellor does not come into it at all. I do not think there is anything in the hon. Gentleman's point.

We say that the Government, in introducing this Agency under the authority of the Chancellor, are responsible for an exceedingly messy set-up which will lead to bad consequences; organisationally it offends against every canon of good administrative practice. We object to it on those technical grounds, quite apart from the general reason that we do not want any organisation to be set up to sell this property at all. We say that this structure is bound to lead to confusion and to a large measure of irresponsibility amongst the various bodies concerned, because no one, with the possible exception of the Chancellor, would be finally responsible.

Another reason why we object to this Clause is that we think it is wholly wrong that decisions about selling these immense properties of very great value should be taken by the Agency—with or without Treasury approval—without any Parliamentary authority or public knowledge of what is happening until many months —we do not know how long—after the transaction has taken place. We say that the sale of these iron and steel units cannot be compared with the ordinary sale of property held by a Government Department. It cannot in any way be compared to the sale by the Ministry of Supply of the substantial war surplus material which they owned and which they have disposed of exceedingly well— if I may say so with all due diffidence— to a large number of buyers over the last five or six years.

There is a very real difference between these two types of sale. First, there is a difference in the size of the units. When the Ministry of Supply were selling war stock of various sorts they never had sales of any one particular item worth millions of pounds—certainly not worth tens of millions of pounds. Some of the big iron and steel units are worth tens of millions of pounds. The size of the unit itself creates a difference of principle when we are considering this problem. Whereas it is quite right for a Government Department to sell goods worth a comparatively small sum of money—such as £100,000—according to normal commercial practice, and it would be perfectly correct to trust them to do so, when it comes to selling public property in units of £5 million or £10 million we say that the difference is such that Parliament should be informed before the bargain is made, because the amount of public money involved is so substantial.

When a Government Department are selling surplus property they nearly always have a number of buyers bidding against each other, and the responsible civil servants exercise commercial intelligence and ask for tenders, or whatever is the system, and, finally, sell the property to the highest bidder. But that is not to happen when the large iron and steel units are sold off. Does anybody suggest that a large number of people will be bidding against each other for Margam or Stewarts & Lloyds, or any of those units which are worth millions and millions of pounds? It will not happen in that way.

A group of people will get together— possibly the former owners and insurance companies or other groups—and they will say to the Agency, "We are prepared to buy back this property on such and such terms." In most cases, certainly where very valuable property is concerned, there will be no rival bidding. I do not know whether anybody thinks there will be. In fact, it is likely that there will be only one buyer in the market and that buyer will probably be associated with the old owners.

For that reason the set-up will be a quite different one; the market will not be tested at all. When the Agency is selling these properties they will not be accepting the highest of a number of bids and saying, "This is what rival groups of people have offered." There will be only one buyer in the market, and the Agency will have to judge whether or not their bid is a good one. That makes it desirable for abnormal procedure to be brought into operation to protect these large public properties, and that procedure, we suggest, should be disclosure and report to Parliament of any proposal which the Agency consider it may be desirable to accept. Parliamentary consent should be obtained in one way or another.

Our third reason for objecting to this Clause is that sales of big steel works cannot be considered as ordinary commercial matters. They are substantially political matters. There is a danger that what will happen is that a bid will be made by one of the big groups I have just mentioned for a particular big steelworks; the Treasury and, no doubt, the people on the Agency whom they have appointed, being exceedingly able and conscientious people, will say, "We really do not think this offer is a fair and reasonable one "; but there will be only one buyer on the market, the former owners will want to buy back their property at as low a price as possible. They will be encouraged by the fact that they have no competition. They will put in a price which on many occasions the Treasury will think is well below the real value of the property. The situation may well arise where, after six months or a year have passed—if the Government are still in power—very few of the substantial assets held by the Agency will have been sold off.

What will happen then? The Prime Minister will say to the Minister of Supply or to the Chancellor, "What has happened to the resale of the steel industry to private owners?" The answer will be, "We have not been able to sell off much. We have still got most of it on our hands because in the view of the experts the prices offered have been too low." The Prime Minister's reply to that will probably be, "This is an impossible situation. The Government and our party have promised to sell back this industry to private owners and here we are, a year after the Act was passed, and nothing has been sold back. You must, therefore, go into the matter again and try to meet these people and accept any price they put forward which is tolerable or in any way defensible, so that we can not only claim that we have sold back substantial units of this industry to private owners but show that we have done so." Otherwise, how ridiculous it will appear if, a year after the passing of this Act, nothing has happened at all and perhaps 90 per cent. of the industry still remains public property under the aegis of the Agency.

There will be pressure, first of all, on the Chancellor and then, by the Chancellor, on the Agency, to induce them to sell back these units at prices well below what the Agency and the Treasury think are proper. I do not think that that picture of probable events will be challenged by anybody as being impossible or even improbable. That is the sort of development which I and my colleagues think is likely to arise. That is what we fear will happen, at any rate, and I think it is a very reasonable fear.

For that reason, as well as the other two which I have just mentioned. we say that it is wrong that the public sale of this property—worth anything up to £50 million in the case of Margam and the Steel Company of South Wales, or even £5 million or £10 million in the case of some of these big works—should be the sole responsibility of the Agency, without any public check on their actions and in such a way that the public and Parliament will know about it only afterwards, when the bargain has been sealed and it is too late to do anything about it.

We are opposed to the Clause, not only because of its fundamental purpose, but because the way that it proposes to achieve that purpose is, in our view, clumsy, politically dangerous, and, indeed, indefensible.

4.0 p.m.

Mr. I. Mikardo (Reading, South)

I should like very briefly to underline two of the points which have been made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss). The first is in connection with what will be the administrative structure of the industry under the Bill. Although this matter has been discussed before, it is particularly appropriate in respect of this Clause, which lays down the major powers of the Agency. I think that nobody who looks at the thing as an exercise in managerial organisation would dispute the contention of my right hon. Friend that all the diffusion of power and responsibility as between Ministers, Agency, Board, companies and the rest, represents something like an administrative nightmare.

I remind hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that one of the justifications which they urged for the Bill is that the industry as at present organised is, as they put it, divided into two parts: the part which falls within the aegis of the present Iron and Steel Corporation, and the part which falls outside. In urging this, hon. Members opposite have chosen to forget that these two parts are vastly different in size; but, nevertheless, they have said that the previous Government created an impossible situation in the steel industry by dividing it into a publicly-owned and a privately-owned sector.

Let us look at the effects on the industry of the provisions of the Clause. Clearly, we are to have for as far ahead as anyone can envisage, under the terms of the Act, a publicly-owned sector of the industry and a privately-owned sector. The only change which will be made in this regard by the Bill is to make these two parts more nearly equal to one another than they otherwise would have been; in other words, to emphasise rather than diminish any ill-effects which might flow from this division in two parts.

While I do not want at the beginning of the day's Committee stage to generate any heat, it is not an unfair point to make that the very provisions of the Clause exhibit as doctrinaire and, one might almost say, dishonest nonsense the main argument which was used by the Government and their supporters in defence of the Bill.

The second point to which I want to refer is the responsibility laid upon the Agency—as, indeed, it is also laid contradicatorily on other people as well— to look after the efficiency of that part of the industry which at any given moment lies in their hands. My right hon. Friend has pointed out, as has been pointed out at earlier stages of the Bill, that the members of the Agency will be chosen, quite rightly, in view of their duties, for their expertese in financial matters. Their principal responsibility is a financial responsibility. Their principal function will be as commercial travellers selling shares. They will be chosen for their competence in this matter. It would be extremely surprising—it would be an astonishing coincidence—if gentlemen chosen for their competence in that regard, no matter how competent in that field and how worthy they were in many other aspects, also happened to be people who knew the best way to run a steel industry.

There lies here a very great danger to that part of the industry which remains at any given moment in the hands of the Holding and Realisation Agency, that in respect of that part of the industry the responsibility for efficient organisation will be placed upon people with, perhaps, no knowledge of, and expertese in, the operation of the industry.

As we all know, on both sides of the Committee, very often in the running of any industrial organisation one finds short-term considerations and long-term considerations in conflict with one another and it is no small part of the art of industrial management to balance long-term and short-term claims when they conflict. We all know occasions when, for example, at annual general meetings, the chairman of a company and his board are often criticised by shareholders because they have refused to take action which appears to be beneficial to the company in the short-term, and have refused to take such steps because they have taken the long-term interests of the company into account.

The Holding and Realisation Agency is charged with duties which really are short-term. Their task is to get rid of their functions as quickly as possible. They will get their biggest medal from the Chancellor of the Exchequer if they work themselves out of a job in the shortest possible time—indeed, it is their task to work themselves out of a job. It is their job to get rid of their responsibilities as quickly as they can. Therefore, they are enjoined by the duty laid upon them to be short-term thinkers and short-term planners. They are enjoined to carry out their functions only with regard to the extent to which any action which they take will or will not help them to make a sale of their shares as quickly as possible.

How, in these circumstances, can they possibly hold a balance between the short-term needs and the long-term needs —above all, the long-term technical needs—of the companies which lie within their jurisdiction? They cannot do so if they are doing their duty. There lies within the Clause a very grave danger that technical damage will be done to the industry, because the responsibility, at least partially, for its efficient operation, or an operation of some part of it, is in the hands of people whose incentive is not to worry about technical damage and whose incentive is only to make a sale of shares. I should have thought that if on no other grounds, and leaving aside all political considerations, one would wish to oppose the Clause on that account alone.

Mr. Spencer Summers (Aylesbury)

One would have thought, listening to the speech of the hon. Member for Reading, South (Mr. Mikardo), that those companies which may remain for a time as part of the public sector would have no directors. His description of the position was that because the members of the Holding and Realisation Agency were selected primarily on financial grounds, and for that reason would be unlikely to have technical knowledge, it would follow that those companies would not be run efficiently.

In fact, the efficient running of those companies will be carried out, not by the Agency, but by the directors of those companies, following out the guidance and supervision of the Board which is set up to establish the efficiency of the industry.

Mr. Mikardo

The hon. Member is, of course, aware that the Holding and Realisation Agency are the shareholders and that, therefore, they have the last word. They can sack the directors as they wish, as can the shareholders of any other company, and, therefore, they can control the directors. Although, as the hon. Member well knows, in ordinary commercial practice shareholders do not often behave in that way vis-a-vis their directors, that is generally because they are a disparate body without any corporate voice. What we will have under the proposals of the Bill is shareholders with a corporate voice, and with a ready instrument for using in their power. There can be no question that they will have the final authority.

Mr. Summers

Of course, shareholders do have the final authority, and if they find that those who are in charge of the companies for which they are responsible are not doing their job properly, they will, no doubt, replace them by others. But the direct responsibility for making decisions along the lines of the efficiency of incoming companies will devolve upon directors and not upon the Agency.

I should like briefly to try to correct the impression given by the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss)—

Mr. Jack Jones (Rotherham)

We want to get down to the roots of this matter now that we are in Committee. The hon. Member has just made a very important statement. He has just said something diametrically opposite to what the Government said when they were in Opposition and we were in the Government— that it is possible for a publicly-owned company to be run successfully in the national interest.

Mr. Summers

It is only possible for directors to run companies under the nationalisation set-up satisfactorily if they are not prevented unreasonably from exercising their free judgment by those who own the shares. The complaint all along has been that under the set-up under nationalisation there has been interference with the day-to-day management by members of the Corporation— [HON. MEMBERS: "Where?"]. Because of the changes in the structure of the industry which, the hon. Gentleman, as well as I, knows, would have been the consequences of a further tenure of office of the Corporation.

Mr. Jones


Mr. Summers

No. I cannot give way again. The hon. Gentleman has made his point, and I think I have answered it. I do not want to be discourteous, but this has nothing to do with Clause 16, and, if I may be permitted, I will stick to Clause 16, from which I was diverted for a moment by the point that was raised. It is as well, I am sure you will agree, Sir Charles, that I should remain in order for the rest of my speech.

Mr. Jones

On a point of order. The hon. Gentleman is saying that there has been interference since nationalisation came into being. Is it in order for the hon. Gentleman to make this statement without giving proof of what he says?

The Chairman

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Summers

That is what I thought you would say, Sir Charles.

The point that the right hon. Gentleman has made is that the set-up inherent in Clause 16 is undesirable in that there are two instruments affecting the industry, one financial, in the Holding and Realisation Agency, and the other primarily technical, namely, the Board. I have always felt that the process by which this industry should be handed back could be carried out satisfactorily only if there were two distinct instruments charged with two distinct fields of policy, having all the time the Minister's powers in reserve to see that neither the one nor the other had unreasonable emphasis if they came in conflict, and that is why I think it will be demonstrated in the course of time that the decision to have two instruments for carrying out this process will be proved perfectly right.

The right hon. Gentleman sought to illustrate his criticisms of that policy of two instruments by citing the instance which he thought might arise. Six different bodies, he thought, would come into the picture. Of course, there are very few pieces of organisation concerning which it is not possible to conjure up as a figment of the imagination a series of events which are not in the least typical of what it is reasonable to expect. I do not think for one moment that this mythical company of which he has thought will remain for a long time in the hands of the public sector, the Holding and Realisation Agency. Notwithstanding its ambitions and ability to develop, I should think that a very unlikely state of affairs. It is those companies with such proposals to put forward—development plans—to the Board that are less likely to stay long in the hands of the Agency.

4.15 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman came back to the point which was raised earlier on an Amendment—the argument that it would be proper for the House of Commons to have a say before those major items of sale were made by the Agency. I heard nothing on that point to refute the self-evident fact that the House of Commons is not set up intelligently to comment upon a broad transaction of sales involving so many different aspects—counter offers, future prospects, present records, and so on.

I do not believe for one moment that a proper decision in the name of the public interest could be made with the limited information which it would be possible to put before the House of Commons. To complete that point, if it were thought proper for the House of Commons to go into such matters, the argument would be equally true when the Government bought property, and not necessarily only when they sold it. The suggestion that the House is the judge whether Departmental Ministers acting in the name of the Government should or should not spend £30 million or £50 million or £100 million in this way or that way is, to my way of thinking, a perfect travesty of common sense.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

I rise to make two points. The second is only a passing comment. The House laid down the principles, be it remembered, on which this property was to be bought. They were laid down by the House in the Act. It is not the same question, and it does not arise when the Government are selling property now, as when they bought it. But I really rose to ask a question on this point, that the hon. Gentleman says the House cannot judge whether a price is correct or not. I do not know why it should not be possible for me or my colleagues to ask the Government why, for instance, a concern which, it may be, cost £20 million has been sold for £10 million or £15 million, or some figure which appears to us to be wholly wrong and improper. Surely it is the function of the House to cross-examine Ministers when a sale has taken place which appears wholly wrong. If the House is satisfied, it is satisfied. If not, it can declare itself. Is that not the function of Parliament?

Mr. Summers

The right hon. Gentleman says those assets were acquired by the State by prescribed methods of purchase, but I am not referring only to the acquisition of shares. I am referring to the acquisition of all sorts of property on behalf of the State. I should have thought it would have been quite impracticable to ask the House of Commons to judge whether too much or too little had been paid for it. Just because the House devised a formula, that is, the Stock Exchange values, as being the price at which those shares should be purchased, that has no bearing on the question of sale.

As to the other point, what this Agency ought, in my opinion, to be charged with is to do its level best to see that this is handed back without loss to the taxpayer. If that process is accomplished, and some units of sale fetch more than it was thought likely that they would, and some fetch less than it was thought likely that they would, and the taxpayer knows that no loss accrues to him by the process of handing back, I should think that the Agency will have carried out its job to the satisfaction of this Committee and the country.

If that is so, to come along and ask that each single transaction should be judged on its merits, irrespective of the larger picture, seems to me to lose sight of the essential factors of the situation on quite false premises. I hope, therefore, that the reality of this will be taken into account, having regard, all the time, to the importance of trying to realise these assets without loss to the taxpayer. That should be the guiding feature of the policy of the Holding and Realisation Agency.

Mr. Mitchison

Behind the mask of the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Summers) there appeared for a brief moment the features of the man of common sense, for he thought it should be the duty of the Agency to sell these securities at an appropriate price. If he will turn to their duty—their only duty, for they are a one-duty body—he will find that doctrine takes the place of wisdom, and that what they have to do is to restore to private ownership the undertakings—

Mr. Mikardo

At any price.

Mr. Mitchison

—which, on the appointed day, were owned by their subsidiaries.

Mr. Summers

The hon. Member has ignored, in his reference to what the Clause says, the time factor, and that it is their duty not to sell in any limited time but to obtain the best price they can secure, and that they are to discharge their duty as trustees for the public in the terms they accept.

Mr. Mitchison

All I can say to the hon. Gentleman is that in that case it is not in the Bill. It is much too sensible to be in the Bill. What appears in the Bill is the one duty of the Agency, as I read it out—with the provision, to which he quite rightly called attention, about timing, and so on. Those are matters of method. This Agency, conceived in political prejudice out of parents into whose identity we had better not inquire, has only one duty. I am disturbed by the position into which it is being put. It seems to me like filling the shareholders' annual meeting with a collection of bull stockbrokers or stock jobbers. That, I think, is exactly the position. They are all concerned to boost up the shares as high as they can without any regard whatever to what may happen to the companies afterwards. That is the primary concern.

Meanwhile, there is tacked on to it, under the very same subsection, the in- congruous duty of promoting the efficient direction of their subsidiaries. I thought it was a well-established principle, in some courts of law at any rate, that responsible people—public servants in this instance—ought not to be put in a position in which their two duties may well conflict—indeed, in a position in which their duties may conflict at all— and I should have thought that this was exactly that position.

The essential weakness of the position previously was that for some uncertain time and to some uncertain extent they would, on behalf of the public shareholders, promote efficiency in the companies, so far as shareholders can do these things; and, at the same time, they were told that their primary duty was to get rid of the shares, and—as the hon. Member for Aylesbury rightly and sensibly added that must mean to get a proper price for them. I cannot see how those two duties can be reconciled.

I should have thought that, in so far as the Agency were called upon to pro- mote the efficient direction of their subsidaries, they were called upon to do something which, so far as it was not done by the Board already—and I agree with some of what was said about that— it could be much better done, and ought to be done by the Board, which has some degree of technical competence and a general duty to review and report upon the industry, to take action in certain circumstances, and so on. I do not understand why the Agency has been given these two somewhat inconsistent jobs.

If I may go on with my zoological metaphors, the last one will not take long. I remember that at one time there were wolves in the Saverne in France, and a worthy, distinguished and elderly member of the French nobility, a lady, was given the task of exterminating the wolves, as the Agency is given the task of exterminating what no doubt the Tory Party regard as wolves—the publicly-owned companies. She was in a difficulty, because, obviously, the number of wolves was limited and if she killed them off too quickly she would soon lose all the honour and distinction that went with the task. If, on the other hand, she did not kill them off at all, the inhabitants—in this case the Tory Party—might complain.

I believe that the Agency is rather in that difficulty here. It fosters its little wolves, it keeps them going, these companies; it handles them along nicely, but all the time there are these murderous instincts in its heart. It is going to kill them as quickly as it can in the interests of political prejudice. It is really rather silly to put a body of public servants in that position.

I hope that the Financial Secretary will excuse me if I say that it is just the kind of silliness to which the Treasury are occasionally rather inclined. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Treasury are extraordinarily wise about some matters; on most matters they are very learned; but there are some things about which they are just silly. This, I believe, is one, and the attempt on the Workers' Educational Association is another.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)

I imagine that I shall keep within the rules of order if I reply to one of the two charges the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) was good enough to level in his concluding observations.

Perhaps I may begin by saying that I wholly agree with the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss) when he says that this Clause constitutes a crucial part of the Bill. As I understood, the criticisms the right hon. Gentleman himself levelled, which were supported by his hon. Friends, were really two. First of all, the right hon. Gentleman, in particular, disliked as a matter of organisation the administrative set-up of Agency and Board. As he himself said, given the purposes which we seek to achieve, in his opinion this was a bad administrative set-up. I think I have understood his argument aright. His second and quite different argument was to express doubts and apprehensions about what would be done with it, given this set-up. I will attempt, if I may, to deal mainly with those two arguments.

There was also introduced, particularly by the hon. Member for Reading, South (Mir. Mikardo), the issue as to the price at which the Agency would dispose of the companies. I hope that the Committee will forgive me if I do not deal with that issue at any length, if only for the reason that certain proposed Amendments to the next Clause appear to me to raise that issue in a precise and definite form, and I never believe in inflicting my arguments on the Committee more than once if I can possibly avoid it. I am sure that the Committee will agree with me in at any rate that practice.

Perhaps I might deal first with the organisational arrangements. It is a technique of administration which, I think hon. Members will agree, forms an interesting arrangement. On the one hand there is the Board with its supervision in technical matters, and the like, over the whole of the industry, publicly owned and privately owned companies alike, and responsible to my right hon. Friend.

Then there is the Agency, equally with two functions the function of the disposal of publicly owned companies and the function of ownership of those companies pending disposal. That seems to me a clear-cut division of function which is wisely and properly put into the hands of two separate bodies. I thought that my hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Summers) put the matter extremely well when he pointed out how different those functions are, calling for rather different qualities, and also calling for a separation of responsibility. That is the scheme as we put it to the Committee.

It is, of course, not as neat an antithesis in practice as it no doubt sounds at the Dispatch Box, for the very practical reason that there will be discussions and consultations at all levels of this organisation. just as there will be between my right hon. Friends over the practical matters in which they are both concerned. Nevertheless, it is valuable that responsibility itself should not be blurred for these different functions, and that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor should be responsible to this Committee and to the House for the disposal, whereas my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply, with all the technical advice that he has available, should be responsible for certain activities of the Board, and for the technical side of the industry as a whole, publicly or privately owned.

4.30 p.m.

The advantage, as it seems to me, of this administrative arrangement—what the right hon. Gentleman called this fantastic diffusion of responsibility—is that there is clear responsibility by my right hon. Friends for their particular sides of the matter specifically and, finally, to the House. That seems an advantage when one contemplates, as contemplate one must, the quite different nature of the functions involved.

Now let me come to certain of the practical points which arose in the course of the discussion. In the first place, the right hon. Member for Vauxhall thought that there should be required the approval of Parliament for individual sales; at any rate, for individual sales above a certain magnitude. That is a matter which, as the right hon. Gentleman will recall, we discussed on a previous Amendment to some extent.

The right hon. Gentleman, I thought, mobilised some new arguments this afternoon. His first point was that the size of the unit altered the principle. I can well understand his taking that line because, as he himself rather coyly told us, he has probably been responsible for the sale of more public property than any other right hon. Member of the Committee. But if one proceeds to that argument, it is rather difficult to apply it successfully to this subject-matter. After all, what will be disposed of are shares, in a very large degree.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

And assets.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I agree that there are other matters, but the big item —and it was the right hon. Gentleman himself who wanted to concentrate attention on the big items, so I am sure he will allow me to take the same point— is shares. It may be that in certain cases there will be large purchases. It may equally be that in the case, possibly, of the property of big concerns there will be plenty of small, individual purchases. If the criterion of size is to be adopted, it is very difficult for the right hon. Gentleman to apply that criterion when disposing of blocks of shares, some of which may be disposed of en bloc and some of which may be disposed of in quite small, individual packages.

It therefore seems that the right hon. Gentleman was seeking to create a quite artificial special case in order to deal with the manifest fact that Ministers of the Crown have in the past been allowed by the House either to dispose of or to acquire enormous blocks of property without the prior approval of the House. I stress the prior approval, because to listen to the right hon. Gentleman one would have thought that Ministers would not be responsible to the House for these transactions. That is not the case, because for the disposals the Agency must have the approval of my right hon. Friend. That clearly shows that my right hon. Friend is responsible to this House for the approval which he gives.

If any of the suggestions that have been made were, in fact, to come about, and if, as the right hon. Gentleman himself suggested, property were to be disposed of at quite unreasonably low prices, my right hon. Friend would have to stand at this Box and justify that to the House. Therefore, it seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman has been a little less realistic than he sometimes is, if he suggests that the responsibility of Ministers, in the normal way for transactions they have approved was being diminished by the proposals in the Bill.

The right hon. Gentleman also founded his argument on the assumption that there would be no bidding. When we are talking of the sale of shares, that seems rather a rash assumption to make. Again and again, speakers in this debate have pointed out the valuable nature of these properties. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones) did this with his accustomed vigour the other night, and I agree with him. These are attractive and valuable properties, and I do not think that it should be assumed, as the right hon. Member for Vauxhall assumes, that they are so unattractive that there would be no bidding for them.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

I think the hon. Gentleman has got my argument wrong. I did not suggest that the properties were so unattractive that there would be no bidding for them. I said that they were so vast that there would be no competitive bidding for them. Does he suggest that there will be competitive bidding for the Margam works?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The right hon. Gentleman is not facing up to the difficulties which I put to him. What we are disposing of in a very large degree are shares, and there would be competitive bidding for particular shares or blocks of shares in the perfectly normal way. I appreciate the right hon. Gentleman's experience, but I do not think that he had fully applied his mind to this difficulty in his criticism.

Mr. Ivor Owen Thomas (The Wrekin)

Would the Minister make clear what he means by the disposal of blocks of shares in relation to the ownership of particular sections of the Corporation's assets? Does he mean that the transfer of these blocks of shares, having no relation to any particular section of the Corporation's assets, will not reach, at some stage, actual control of the industry, or part of the industry, as well as the ownership of particular blocks of the shares? If so, does that mean that ownership and control of any particular part of the industry will not be reached by the disposal of any blocks of shares?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am sorry, but I do not follow the hon. Gentleman's argument. What I was intending to say—and if I did not make myself clear I apologise —was that in the case of a great many of these companies which, under the particular type of nationalisation for which the right hon. Gentleman was responsible, still exist, what we would dispose of would be the shares in the companies. The question of control arises when a sufficient quantity of the appropriate category of shares has passed into ownership of one sort or another. I hope that I have succeeded in making myself clear.

Mr. Thomas

The hon. Gentleman is begging the question.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I have tried to explain the matter to the hon. Gentleman twice. I think, Sir Charles, that I should be flattering my powers of exposition by trying to do it a third time.

Mr. Thomas

Will the Minister give way?

The Chairman

If the Minister does not give way, the hon. Gentleman must resume his seat.

Mr. Thomas

I think that the Minister has a good deal to explain about the real meaning of the disposal of what he calls these blocks of shares. I take it that they relate to assets now in the control and ownership of the Iron and Steel Corporation. They must, therefore, if blocks of shares are disposed of, have some relationship to a particular part of those assets. Therefore, I ask him to say by way of illustration, if nothing more, at what point in the disposal of these shares will any great block of these shares, such as those of the Margam works, pass into the hands of private bidders for these shares, and how does the argument of the arrangements made for the restriction of offers of these blocks of shares relate to an attempt to secure any particular block of these shares, such as those of the Margam works, by a particular part of the private interests involved.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I think the hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension that we are talking of disposing of blocks of shares in the iron and steel industry as a whole. What is being disposed of are shares in the individual companies which, as I pointed out, the right hon. Gentleman, in his 1949 Act, preserved. I hope that the hon. Gentleman apprehends that, because the point I would put to him is that what is being disposed of are shares in the X steel company, and the question of control arises in the perfectly normal way when the shares of any company are dealt with. I hope that I have succeeded in explaining that to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Thomas


Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I have been very patient, but I must now return to the main points with which the right hon. Gentleman dealt. The function of the Agency will be, of course, the function of ownership. It will not be intended normally to interfere with the daily management of the companies. It will be responsible for securing the appointment of competent people to the boards and, in the unhappy event of that confidence not being proved justified by events, of replacing them by others. While the companies remain in its ownership that will be the main job and then its main task will be to dispose of them in the way we have been discussing. No doubt we shall have an opportunity of discussing the question of prices on the next Clause.

I pay full attention to the considerations which the right hon. Gentleman was good enough to include in his speech. I appreciate that he has some experience of this industry as, indeed, have many of my hon. Friends, but I do think he will find that his apprehensions as to the organisational system are ill-founded. My right hon. Friend the Minister and all my right hon. Friends have been giving very close attention to the proper organisation of denationalisation, which gives rise to certain perhaps novel and interesting problems. It is so essential from our point of view that this system—this assay in denationalisation—should function efficiently and smoothly, that I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will take it from me that very careful thought has been given to the administrative problems involved.

We have no more reason than he— indeed, less than he—to wish to subject this great industry to anything less than the best from the organisational point of view. We are at least as concerned as he is that it shall continue to make a great contribution to the economic wellbeing of this country. We have the incentive, which of course he has not, of desiring to see that the process of denationalisation can be effected smoothly and efficiently.

I say to him with respect that although we have weighed and considered carefully the arguments that he and his hon. Friends have put forward on organisation, we are convinced as a result of very careful thought on this matter that this is in fact the most efficient way to do it. As he has said, this is crucial to the Bill. Therefore, I must ask him to accept from me that we honestly and sincerely believe that this is the best way to do it. I hope I can carry him with me in the hope that it will turn out that his apprehensions about it will prove, as I believe them to be, ill-founded.

Question put.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 250; Noes, 205.

Division No. 101.] AYES [4.43 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Beach, Maj. Hicks
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Astor, Hon. J. J. Beamish, Maj. Tulton
Alport, C. J. M Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Baldwin, A. E. Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Banks, Col. C. Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)
Arbuthnot, John Barber, Anthony Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Baxter, A. B. Bishop, F. P
Bossom, A. C. Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)
Boyle, Sir Edward Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Osborne, C.
Braine, B. R. Hirst, Geoffrey Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.) Holland-Martin, C. J. Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Hollis, M. C. Peyton, J. W. W.
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Holt, A. F. Pickthorn, K. W. M,
Brooman-White, R. C. Hopkinson, Rt. Han. Henry Pilkington, Capt. R. A
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Pitman, I. J.
Bullard, D. G. Horobin, I. M. Powell, J. Enoch
Bullock, Capt. M. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Burden, F. F. A. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Profumo, J. D.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Raikes, Sir Victor
Campbell, Sir David Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J. Rayner, Brig. R.
Carr, Robert Hurd, A. R. Redmayne, M.
Cary, Sir Robert Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.) Remnant, Hon. P.
Channon, H. Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Renton, D. L. M.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S. Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Roberts, Peter (Henley)
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M. Robertson, Sir David
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Cole, Norman Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Robson-Brown, W.
Colegate, W. A. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Conant, Maj. R J. E. Jones, A. (Hall Green) Roper, Sir Harold
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Kaberry, D. Russell, R. S.
Cranborne, Viscount Keeling, Sir Edward Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C Kerr, H. W. Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Lambert, Hon. G. Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Crouch, R. F. Lambton, Viscount Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas
Cuthbert, W. N. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Langford-Holt, J. A. Scott, R. Donald
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Law, Rt. Han. R. K. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Deedes, W. F. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Digby, S. Wingfield Legh, Hon. Peter (Peters[...]eld) Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Linstead, H. N. Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Donner, P. W. Llewellyn, D. T. Soames, Capt. C.
Doughty, C. J. A. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Spearman, A. C. M
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Lloyd, Rt. Han. Selwyn (Wirral) Speir, R. M.
Drayson, G. B. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond) Longden, Gilbert Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Low, A. R. W. Stevens, G. P.
Duthie, W. S. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Stoddart-Soott, Col. M.
Eden, Rt. Hon. A. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E McAdden, S. J. Studholme, H. G.
Erroll, F. J. Macdonald, Sir Peter Summers, G. S.
Fell, A. McKibbin, A. J. Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
Finlay, Graeme McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Fisher, Nigel Maclean, Fitzroy Teeling, W.
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Fort, R. MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Foster, John Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Thornton-Kemsley, Cot. C. N.
Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Tilney, John
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Turner, H. F. L.
Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok) Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E Turton, R. H.
Gammans, L. D. Marples, A. E Tweedsmuir, Lady
Godber, J. B. Maude, Angus Vesper, D. F.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A Maudling, R. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Gough, C. F. H. Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)
Gower, H. R. Medlicott, Brig. F. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Graham, Sir Fergus Mellor, Sir John Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Gridley, Sir Arnold Molson, A. H. E. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Grimond, J. Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Nabarro, G. D. N. Watkinson, H. A
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Nicholls, Harmar Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Hare, Hon. J. H. Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P. Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Nugent, G. R. H. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Nutting, Anthony Wills, G.
Hay, John Oakshott, H. D. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Heald, Sir Lionel Odey, G. W. Wood, Hon. R.
Heath, Edward O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Higgs, J. M. C. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Drewe and Mr. Galbraith.
Acland, Sir Richard Bacon, Miss Alice Beswick, F.
Albu, A. H. Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Blackburn, F.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Bence, C. R. Btenkinsop, A.
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Benn, Hon. Wedgwood Blyton, W. R.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Benson. G. Boardman, H.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth) Porter, G.
Bowden, H. W. Houghton, Douglas Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)
Bowles, F. G. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Proctor, W. T.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Brockway, A. F. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Reeves, J.
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Reid, Thomas (Swindon)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Reid, William (Camlachie)
Burton, Miss F. E. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Rhodes, H.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Callaghan, L. J. Janner, B Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Castle, Mrs. B. A Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Champion, A. J. Jeger, George (Goole) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Chapman, W. D. Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.) Ross, William
Chetwynd, G. R. Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Shackleton, E. A. A.
Collick, P. H. Johnson, James (Rugby) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Short, E, W.
Crosland, C. A. R. Jones, David (Hartlepool) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Daines, P. Keenan, W. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Snow, J. W.
Darling, George (Hillsborough) King, Dr. H. M. Sparks, J. A.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Kinley, J. Steele, T.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
de Freitag, Geoffrey Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Deer, G. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Delargy, H. J. Lewis, Arthur Stross. Dr. Barnett
Dodds, N. N. Lindgren, G. S. Summerskill, RI. Hon. E.
Donnelly, D. L. Lipton, Lieut.-Col. M. Swingler, S. T.
Driberg, T. E. N. MaoColl, J. E. Sylvester, G. O.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich) McLeavy, F. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Ede, Rt. Hon J. C MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Edelman, M. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
Edwards, John (Brighouse) Mainwaring, W. H. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Mallalieu, [...]-. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Tharneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Mann, Mrs. Jean Thurtle, Ernest
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Manuel, A. C. Tomney, F.
Fernyhough, E. Mayhew, C. P. Turner-Samuels, M.
Fienburgh, W. Mellish, R. J. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Mikardo, Ian Viant, S. P.
Follick, M. Mitehison, G. R. Wallace, H. W.
Foot, M. M. Monslow W. Watkins, T. E.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Moody, A. S. Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. Weitzman, D.
Gibson, C. W. Morley, R. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Glanville, James Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Wells, William (Walsall)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) West, D. G.
Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) Mort, D. L. Wheeldon, W. E.
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield) Moyle, A. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mulley, F. W. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Murray, J. D. Willey, F. T.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Hale, Leslie Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Oliver, G. H. Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) Orbach, M. Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Hamilton, W. W. Oswald, T. Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
Hannan, W. Padley, W. E. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Hardy, E. A. Paget, R. T. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hargreaves, A. Palmer, A. M. F. Wyatt, W. L.
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.) Pannell, Charles Yates, V. F.
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Paton, J. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Hewitson, Capt. M. Peart, T. F
Hobson, C. R. Plummer, Sir Leslie TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Holman, P. Popplewell, E. Mr. Pearson and Mr. Wilkins.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.