For subsection (1) of section twenty-one of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1940, there shall be substituted the following subsection:—
(1) The wholesale value of any goods in respect of which tax is chargeable shall be taken to be the price which in the opinion of the Commissioners the goods would fetch, on a sale made at the time when the tax in respect of the goods becomes due by a person selling by wholesale in the open market in the United Kingdom to a retail trader carrying on business in the United Kingdom only, if no tax were chargeable in respect of the sale and it were made in the circumstances specified in the Eighth Schedule to this Act:
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn, East)
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time." 1084 This Clause deals with the question of uplift—a matter which is less simple than it might appear at first sight. In fact, I am a little overwhelmed by the difficulty of dealing with this highly technical matter and explaining it to the House, and I am encouraged to do so only in the belief that the Financial Secretary probably knows a good deal less about the subject than I do.
Last year I drew the attention of the House to the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was getting more Purchase Tax than he was entitled to get, owing to the basis on which it is calculated. My revelations so shamed the Chancellor that he set up a special Committee—the Grant Committee—to inquire into the whole question of wholesale valuation for Purchase Tax purposes. The Committee have now reported, and they have made it quite clear that the practices to which I have referred do exist, are wrong, and should be dealt with. I am rather surprised and a little alarmed to find that the Chancellor of the Echequer has not put down a Clause to deal, either in whole or in part, with the recommendations of the Grant Committee.
I am wondering if there is not some significance in the fact that, whereas last year, when I was merely explaining and exposing the problem, the Chancellor took the trouble to be present and to answer me, this year, after a full investigation has taken place and the Committee have reported to the effect that many uplift practices are wrong and should be abolished, the Chancellor is not present. Much as we enjoy the company of the Financial Secretary, it is obviously a matter of political significance that the Chancellor is not here to tell us what he proposes to do about the Grant Report and why he proposes to do it.
This behaviour is in marked contrast to the Chancellor's interest in the Report of the Hutton Committee, when he rushed publicly to pronounce upon and adopt the recommendations of that Committee on the question of rebate. I would go so far as to say that the reason for this silence, and for the evasiveness of the Chancellor, is that he is getting considerable sums of revenue to which, on a fair interpretation of Purchase Tax law, he is not entitled and which he will lose if uplift is abolished and this injustice to the consumer rectified.
1085 I believe that consumers today are paying considerably more in Purchase Tax than they should be if fair practices of valuation were adopted. In their Report the Grant Committee make it quite clear that in considering this question they felt that the decision whether or not uplift was desirable should not be taken on revenue grounds. They said that such considerations were irrelevant. The Chancellor therefore owes us his presence here, and he also owes us a very full explanation of his attitude and actions. Until we get that explanation he must remain under the suspicion of having dodged this issue because he wants to retain revenue which he is at present unfairly obtaining.
I want the House to be patient while I explain the situation which the Grant Committee have revealed, and the way in which my new Clause proposes to deal with it. Under Section 21 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1940, Purchase Tax is to be calculated upon the open market wholesale value of chargeable goods, and it is to be levied on the retailers' purchases from manufacturers or wholesalers. The present difficulty has arisen from the fact that the Customs and Excise authorities, in administering the Act, are interpreting "wholesale value" in certain arbitrary ways, to the detriment of the consumer.
Where a retailer buys through a wholesaler no difficulty or argument can arise; the wholesale price in that case is obvious and clear. The whole difficulty has arisen in connection with those cases where the retailer buys direct from the manufacturer. In those cases, the Customs and Excise authorities have argued that the actual price paid by the retailer for his chargeable goods is not the wholesale price, and they have therefore uplifted the actual buying price of the retailer by certain quite arbitrary percentages, fixed in relation to a notional wholesale price.
In justification of this procedure, which obviously means that the ultimate consumer is paying more tax than he otherwise would, they say that if they were to take the actual retailer's buying price as the basis on which to calculate Purchase Tax, first, it would not reflect the cost of certain wholesaler functions which in some cases are carried out by the retailer—and my Clause deals with that, because it is a point of substance—and, second, it would give an unfair advantage to large 1086 buyers, who get a reduced price for buying in quantity, and, therefore, as their actual buying price is lower, would pay a reduced amount of tax.
With regard to the first point, only in a very small number of cases does the retailer who buys direct from the manufacturer perform wholesaler functions. Those cases are dealt with in my new Clause, and I shall come to them in a moment. Dealing with the question whether, if the actual buying price is taken, it adequately reflects the wholesale element, in my speech last year on another Clause dealing with uplift, I pointed out that over a whole range of goods, in particular furniture and clothing, the normal channel of sale for both large and small buyers is direct from the manufacturer to the retailer.
As the sale is direct in those cases, even to the small retailer, it is obvious that the manufacturer is doing his own wholesaling, and the cost of that wholesaling is reflected in his actual selling price to the retailer. The manufacturer is carrying considerable stocks to replenish the demands of the small retailer as those demands arise. He is employing travellers, he is paying delivery charges, and is acting as wholesaler as well as manufacturer. As, therefore, the cost of wholesaling is reflected in his selling price to the retailer, it is ridiculous that the Customs and Excise should say, "You have by-passed the wholesale stage and somehow or another have cut something out, so we will put it back again."
It is ridiculous for them to do what they have been doing—arbitrarily fixing a percentage by which to uplift his selling price. Last year I gave the normal percentages of uplift which they added in these cases—7½ per cent.; they add 7½ per cent. to the actual selling price in order to reach this notional wholesale value. On that figure, including the arbitrary 7½ per cent., they calculate the Purchase Tax which the poor old consumer has to pay. At a time when we are all anxious to relieve the burden of taxation, there is an additional element of tax as a result of uplift.
The Chancellor obviously had no answer to my case when I made it last year. He appointed the Grant Committee who, in their Report, have unanimously accepted the sense of this argument. I hope that at any rate we shall 1087 have this afternoon the Government's pronouncements on the unanimous recommendations of the Grant Committee. They unanimously recommend, in recomdation (1, a):the actual price should not be increased by the interposition of an imaginary wholesale merchant;Secondly, they recommend that,the actual price should not be increased by reference to wholesaling costs unless these are actually incurred or borne by the purchaser.The Committee also agreed unanimously, as does my new Clause, that in the small number of cases where the retailer does some of his own wholesaling, the retail buying price should be uplifted. I agree that that is the one case in which uplift is justified, because if it were not done in that case, then a wholesale element would be missing from the price on which the tax was charged. But this applies only to those cases where the manufacturer delivers to a central stockroom, perhaps to a firm with a number of shops or branches, and the retailer in that case pays the delivery charge to his various shops or branches. In such a case an element of delivery charge is missing from the price which the retailer pays, and uplift is clearly justified.
But there is also the opposite type of case, where the Committee unanimously agree, as does my new Clause in its second proviso, that where the price which the retailer pays usually includes a carriage charge, but on some occasion he is charged extra carriage for a special order—perhaps because it is a special delivery or small in size—then the extra carriage charge should be disregarded for tax purposes. The Grant Committee were unanimous in that recommendation, and I include it in my Clause.
So far, so good. It is at this point that the minority of the Grant Committee parts company with the majority and it is at this point that I part company with the majority Report. What the majority say is this: that uplift should not be abolished where the retailer's actual buying price is lower because he has bought a larger quantity than usual or where he enjoys any other buying advantage. The Grant Committee are extremely vague about what can be included in the term "any other buying advantage." 1088 They just think there may be something somewhere; they do not define or specify it, they merely stick that in. They make this recommendation, although in their Report they agree that logically there is a good deal to be said for the tax being charged in all cases on the actual retailer's buying price, whether or not this reflects a quantity discount.
I am delighted to see that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has joined us, and I hope that we shall have some precise announcement of Government policy as a result of his presence here today. The Grant Committee, therefore, accept the logic of the argument, which is certainly more just to the consumer, that Purchase Tax should be levied on the actual retailer's buying price and not uplifted because the wholesaler has been by-passed, or because there has been a quantity discount or because in some other respect a smaller price has been paid by a certain type of retailer. Although they admit the logic of this argument and agree that there is very little justification for playing about with any "notional" element in the calculation of wholesale value—which can only be a purely arbitrary figure—they none the less recommend that uplift should not be abolished in cases where the price is reduced as a result of a larger quantity being bought.
When we examine their reasons I think we shall find that they ought not to be acceptable to the House. The first and major ground on which they reject the logical argument is that it would cause some difficulty in the case of price-maintained goods. The problem, they say, is this: where a retail buying price is reduced for any reason, that reduction ought to be passed on to the consumer if we are to take that lower price as the basis for the calculation of tax. But in the case of price-maintained goods, by the very nature of the contract between the manufacture and the retailer, any reduction which the retailer gets for buying in quantity cannot be passed on to his consumer because the goods are price maintained. The manufacturer has fixed the price at which the retailer must sell. Consequently, if the manufacturer gives a discount because the retailer has bought in quantity, the retailer 1089 will not be able to pass it on to the consumer, so that if tax were calculated taking the quantity discount into consideration, then in that case the retailer would get a windfall.
This little problem has, therefore, become the major ground on which the Committee have not recommended the abolition of uplift in this case. I suggest to the House and to the Chancellor that this is a supreme example of the tail wagging the dog. Whereas it is true that quite a large proportion of the goods sold in this country may be price maintained, it is also true that only a very small proportion of those price-maintained goods are sold through channels which bring a quantity discount. In fact what the Report is saying is that as the abolition of uplift in these cases would make a present to the retailer in what would be 10 per cent. of the cases the consumer is to be deprived of his possible advantage in 90 per cent. of the cases, because in 90 per cent. of the cases where the retailer is buying cheaper because he is buying in larger quantities he is not buying price-maintained goods and he is passing the advantage on to the consumer.
Therefore, what the Grant Committee have said is that because there is this problem of price-maintained goods justice is not to be done to the consumer. I suggest it is quite wrong that the Report should in this way bolster up the price structure of price-maintained goods. There is a good deal of division of opinion in this House on the desirability of price maintenance at all, and the Grant Committee recognise that this is a highly controversial question by going out of their way to say it is not part of their job to come down on either side of the argument or to frame their recommendations in such a way that they might seem to be either for or against the principle of price maintenance; but in fact, by distorting the logic of their own argument to avoid creating difficulties for manufacturers of price-maintained goods, the Committee are just doing that: they are coming down on the side of price maintenance, and we on this side of the House certainly cannot accept that as an argument.
I agree, therefore, with the minority Report when they say quite emphatically that the difficulties outlined in the majority 1090 Report and the dangers which will arise by abolishing uplift are outweighed by "the more certain benefits to the community of adopting a basis of tax valuation which more easily accommodates more competitive trading techniques." The minority Report comes down emphatically in favour of the total abolition of uplift except in the one case I have mentioned, namely, the case in which the actual retail buying price does not reflect a certain transport element.
Why do they do that? They do that primarily on the argument that any reductions in price down the chain of distribution ought to be passed on in their totality to the consumer, and surely it is monstrous that the consumers in these difficult times should, by administrative devices of Customs and Excise, be compelled to pay more tax than they otherwise would. The Chancellor may argue that uplift makes a very small difference in most cases, that the element of uplift in the final price which the consumer pays is a very small one, but I think that that is an argument which the Chancellor, who claims to be a champion of the consumer, ought not to adopt in this House.
Let me give a couple of examples which I have tried to calculate. If I pay 1s. 6d. for a comb the chances are I am buying it from a channel of distribution which is affected by uplift. In that 1s. 6d. there is an element of 2½d. in respect of Purchase Tax, and of that 2½d. a halfpenny will be attributable to uplift. The Chancellor may say, "What is ½d. in 1s. 6d.?" Every housewife in this country knows that halfpennies here and halfpennies there add up to a pretty oppressive total by the end of a week. In any case, if this element of tax is being levied quite arbitrarily it is intolerable that it should be paid.
Let me give another example to bring out more clearly, more dramatically, how the housewife is being charged extra tax. If I go into a big store and buy a fibre suitcase for 45s. the tax element will be about 12s., and of that 12s. I shall pay 2s. in respect of uplift. It takes a good deal of justifying to continue levying that additional tax at this difficult time.
One of the arguments which has always been used in favour of uplift is that it protects the small retailer from the unfair advantages which the large buyer enjoys. The Grant Committee make the point 1091 that unless the actual buying price of the retailer is uplifted to offset any discount he gets for quantity then the poor small shopkeeper will be driven out of business. We really must look at this argument a little more carefully. I know it is a good sentimental wicket on which the Chancellor will no doubt some time later attempt to bat, but the Report itself, with its evidence of the representations which were made to the Committee, does not really bear out that point of view, because if we examine who are the small retailers who are making an outcry against the abolition of uplift we find that they are a very special small group.
There are two types of small retailer. First there is the small retailer who specialises in a particular line of goods—the draper, for instance. He is not protesting against the minority Report. In fact the Drapers' Chamber of Trade made representations to the Grant Committee that uplift ought to be abolished altogether, including uplift in respect of quantity discount. They know perfectly well that uplift is unjustifiable, and they have said so, including the small shopkeepers. Again, the National Chamber of Trade made representations in favour of the total abolition of uplift.
Who is the small retailer who protests? He is the village shop type of retailer, the all-in man. It is interesting that the Grocers' Federation have protested against the abolition of uplift for quantity discount. Why? There is no Purchase Tax on groceries. The small grocer is not thinking of his main line of sales when he protests. What he is thinking of are the bits of stationery that he carries as a sideline, or the bits of haberdashery he carries as a sideline. The only situation in which he carries stationery and sewing thread as a sideline is the situation in which he is the one general purposes store for the whole of a local community.
In other words, he is the village shop sort of man, and the whole raison d'etre of that type of shop is its convenience to the consumer. I agree completely with the minority Report that the village shop which sells the bits of stationery and haberdashery is going to get its customers anyhow, even if a large store in a town several miles away is able to sell a little bit more cheaply as a result of abolishing 1092 uplift, for the raison d'etre of the small retailer in a village is that he serves a neighbourhood which depends on him for convenience.
I suggest to the House, therefore, that the principle which we ought to adopt today, and which is reflected in my new Clause, is that Purchase Tax ought to be levied only on the actual retailer's buying price. If we had in this country, as some hon. Members opposite have often argued we ought to have, instead of Purchase Tax a retail sales tax—and when introducing the Purchase Tax Bill in 1940 the Government spokesman of the time said that Purchase Tax was intended to be a kind of sales tax—then obviously that tax would be levied on the actual retail price.
We should not make Woolworth's accept an uplift on their actual selling price for the purpose of calculating a sales tax. We should have the actual selling price taken as the criterion. If we move the point of levying purchase tax back along the chain of distribution in order to suit the convenience of the Treasury, it is quite intolerable that the consumer should have to bear an additional element of tax as a result.
There is a final point that I want to make in connection with the reasons why the House should accept the minority Report of the Grant Committee, abolish uplift entirely and accept my Clause. The majority believed that the uplift levied in the cases I referred to last year was wrong and ought to be abolished. It is very interesting that since the debate which we had in the House at this time last year, administrative action has been taken, and Customs and Excise have considerably altered the amount of uplift paid on the types of cases to which I referred.
If the House will turn to Appendix C of the Grant Committee Report they will find that in July of last year revised tax values were brought into operation as a result of negotiations and bargaining between the Customs and Excise and certain trade associations. Quite arbitrarily, behind the scenes, there was bargaining about what level of uplift should operate and in what cases. This resulted in the reduction of uplift in a certain number of cases. That, in fact, was an admission 1093 that the anomalies and injustices to which I referred last year did exist and ought to be dealt with.
So long as uplift remains at all, however, it is outside the control of this House to stop Customs and Excise putting the whole situation back where it was before. If we are going to say, "We will abolish uplift in these cases where it is the normal trade practice to by-pass the wholesaler, but we will not abolish uplift where the retailer gets a lower price for bying in quantity," then we give a wonderful administrative handle to Customs and Excise to reverse the reforms which they have introduced in the last 12 months. They can say, in a number of these cases, "There is a quantity element here." If the retailer buys two instead of one of a thing it can be said that there is a quantity element involved. We can argue about it indefinitely and no one can prove how much of the price reflects a quantity reduction.
As the minority Report rightly says, it is a notional figure, and so long as we have Purchase Tax fixed purely on notional figures, there is no protection for the consumer against the abuses of the administrative machine. There are too many arbitrary administrative decisions already taken in the operation of our finances outside the control of this House. I want the control of this matter and the protection of the consumer brought back within the confines of the decisions of this House. The only way to do that is by deciding, in accordance with the minority Report, this afternoon, that we will abolish uplift altogether and that we will get rid of this notional calculation and base Purchase Tax on the actual retailers' buying price in every case, except in the small one to which I have referred.
In that way, we shall save the consumer millions of pennies here and sixpences there. We owe this to the consumers of this country. It is no good the Chancellor of the Exchequer saying at one moment that he wants to reduce the cost of living by cutting Purchase Tax and, at another time, for purely revenue considerations, refusing to operate a logical and fair administrative principle. It is because my new Clause would introduce that logical and fair administrative principle that I ask the House to accept it this afternoon.
§ Mr. Anthony Greenwood (Rossendale)
I beg to second the Motion.
1094 I think that the House will agree that my hon. Friend has moved it so clearly and well that I am in a position to discharge my responsibility with comparative brevity. Like my hon. Friend, I am a little amazed at the coyness which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has shown in respect of the Grant Committee's Report. On a previous occasion, he welcomed the Report of the Hutton Committee with some alacrity, but in the case of the Grant Committee's Report he has dillied and dallied in a way more appropriate to Marie Lloyd but a little unbecoming, I think, in the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Perhaps now that the Chancellor is with us this afternoon, he may explain why he has shown this remarkable coyness in respect of the Grant Committee's Report.
We can understand that the Chancellor is reluctant to join issue with Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Jay who come from that remarkable generation at Oxford which produced both the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn, East (Mrs. Castle), but I cannot understand the Chancellor's reluctance to accept the unanimous recommendations of a Committee which he himself appointed. The hon. Member for Blackburn, East referred to the Chancellor as being the champion of the consumer. I think that a flicker of incredulity ran through the House at the Chancellor of the Exchequer even claiming that he was that. We regard the party opposite as being charged with the Government responsibility of protecting the traders of this country.
When discussing Purchase Tax we find the remarkable situation that no representative of the Board of Trade is present on the Treasury Bench. We do not expect the spokesmen of the Board of Trade in this House to make very many contributions to our discussions, but we feel that their presence here would be an act of courtesy to the House. I should like to say briefly, for the benefit of hon. Members who have come into the Chamber since this debate began, what I consider this Clause to do.
It seems to me that in this new Clause we are doing three things. We repeat the present statutory definition of the wholesale value but in addition make it subject to two provisos.
1095 The first, as my hon. Friend said, is in subsection (1, a) and abolishes the uplift on retailers' purchases from manufacturers, except where the retailer himself incurs wholesaling cost. My hon. Friend has spoken at some length on that point and I do not propose to develop it. The second proviso, which is contained in subsection (1, b), and which is the unanimous recommendation of the Grant Committee, is that Purchase Tax should not be levied on extra delivery charges paid by retailers on small orders for special delivery.
I am glad to see the hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Wills) sitting in some obscurity on the fourth bench back, because he made a remarkable speech on this subject when we were discussing it a year ago. On that occasion he said:… there is an anomaly which arises out of the provision which states that, for the purpose of computing the wholesale price of goods on which Purchase Tax is charged, the cost of such things as postage, insurance, packaging and other things is to be brought in before the percentage is charged. That is another form of uplift and extra charge which is really anomalous, and which should be done away with. It means, in fact, that the tax is not based on the true price of the goods, but on a price to which is added the cost of carriage between wholesaler and retailer, and I think this is a false basis. It places the small shopkeeper who is at some distance from his wholesaler at a disadvantage against one living close to his wholesaler."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th May, 1952; Vol. 501, c. 1301–2.]That was a very sound exposition by the hon. Member, and I hope we may find him in the Lobby with us when we continue to show our loyalty to the principles which he expounded a year ago. I have never understood why it was that the hon. Gentleman was made an acting Whip, unpaid, shortly after that speech. Whether it was as a reward for services rendered, a punishment for what he had done or an act of appeasement I have never been able to understand.
As my hon. Friend has confessed, there will still be anomalies even if the new Clause is accepted, but, at any rate, in spite of anomalies, we shall be doing something to protect the consumer. We admit that some concessions and relaxations have been made during the past year, and, I think, made in the light of criticisms expressed from both sides of the House a year ago, but nevertheless the imposition of uplift still tends to 1096 militate against any rationalisation of distribution and, in effect, the Treasury are saying to retailers, "If you make any saving, we will see that we get part of it in the Treasury."
That is not a healthy attitude. It is bad for trade. It tends to increase the rate of tax which is chargeable on cheaper goods and, as the Chancellor admitted a year ago, in some cases it has the effect of making comparatively cheap goods sufficiently expensive to come above the D level and be liable for tax which would otherwise not be payable. For those reasons, I have pleasure in seconding the Motion.
§ Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)
I and my right hon. and hon. Friends have lost no opportunity in stating our objections to Purchase Tax in principle, and I have spoken about uplift on several occasions since I have been in the House. While I do not wish to follow at any great length what has been said by the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn, East (Mrs. Castle), in putting her case so forcefully and persuasively to the House, I want to join issue with her on one point She is not alone in her opposition to uplift. Many of my hon. Friends are equally opposed to it.
My right hon. Friend took a very big step forward when he set up the Grant Committee to report on that aspect of Purchase Tax. I have no doubt that he did so because he had serious misgivings about the equity of the tax. Equally, in the past two years my right hon. Friend has done more to ease the burden of Purchase Tax than any other Chancellor of the Exchequer has done in the eight years since the end of the war. That should be borne in mind, for it is very creditable.
I hope that my right hon. Friend will today announce that uplift will be abolished. It has been, and is, a source of considerable annoyance to the trade. It has imposed, above the normal Purchase Tax, an added tax upon goods which, if it went, could be sold more cheaply than they are at present. The most glaring example of the inequity of the tax—which was supposed to raise the cost only of goods sold directly by the manufacturer to the retailer, and only in cases where there was no question of the 1097 person selling to the retailer carrying the normal costs of distribution—is that of cosmetics, which exposes completely the fallacy of the argument.
Only last year, as the result of advice which I gave it, one firm in the cosmetics trade obtained relief from uplift. In the cosmetics trade, each large manufacturer almost invariably carries his own selling staff, advertises his own goods and has to carry large stocks, and in this trade, above all trades, the manufacturer carries the normal costs of the wholesaler, although he sells to the retailer. I believe that to this day many manufacturers of cosmetics—I have no interest in the trade—are charged uplift, and one moment's thought should convince the Chancellor that that is completely inequitable in this trade.
The same thing has occurred in many other trades. When I came back from the war I found that some firms in the trade in which I was interested were charged uplift of 7½ per cent., but if the firm agitated very strongly with Customs and Excise for remission of the tax, and fought hard enough, almost invariably the tax was removed or considerably reduced. In the case of the unfortunate firms who, because of lack of knowledge or failure to press their case sufficiently hard, still paid the Purchase Tax, either their sales suffered or the public had to pay more for their goods.
One of the strongest arguments which can be made against uplift is illustrated by a certain retailer who manufactured goods to sell in his own store. He went to court on the issue. Judgment was given against him, but the judge said that he could not understand how uplift was arrived at and asked whether a Customs and Excise official tossed a coin, saying that if it came down heads the firm would be charged Purchase Tax and if it came down tails it would not. The judge said that it was a queer way of arriving at whether uplift should be charged, and he made it clear that, in principle, he was opposed to it.
I believe that my right hon. Friend is anxious to take every possible step to reduce the cost of living. Abolishing uplift might not slash the cost of living to any great degree, but it would be a step in the right direction. Under the present 1098 system of uplift there are glaring anomalies which, on examination, cannot be justified. The Grant Report has made that clear. The Committee were set up by my right hon. Friend to advise him, and I am sure that, on examination of the Report, he will agree with it in principle. I hope that he will take action which will please not only the hon. Lady and some of her hon. Friends but also those of us on this side of the House who have campaigned for the abolition of uplift.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Uplift, as a word, has a faintly theological ring, but, if hon. Members had not previously appreciated it, I think this debate would have made it clear to them that it is a subject of quite horrible complexity. I agreed with the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn, East (Mrs. Castle) when she said that it was a topic which was a little less simple than it might first appear to be, an observation which perhaps might also be, not inappropriately, applied to herself. The hon. Lady was good enough to preface her observations with the comment that I knew less about the subject than she did. It was only as her speech progressed that I began fully to appreciate the brutality of that comment.
May I say at once how grateful my right hon. Friend and I are, as I am sure the whole House is too, to the Grant Committee, both to those who composed the majority and the minority Reports, for their devoted labours into the complexities of this enormous and difficult subject. Whether or not one accepts any of the particular conclusions to which they came, one ought to express the gratitude of the whole House, as I hope I am doing, for their labours on this subject. It is perhaps not without a certain interest that the two extremely able ladies who signed the minority Report have a matrimonial connection with Her Majesty's Treasury.
For reasons which I shall make clear in a moment, I do not want to enter into any very prolonged arguments on the theoretical basis of uplift. I am bound to remind the House that uplift, whatever the hon. Lady may think of it, is a system 1099 which has been in operation in connection with Purchase Tax virtually from the beginning of the operation of the tax in 1940, and has been operated under a variety of Governments.
I hope, therefore, that we may be able to discuss these complexities without generating too much indignation. In substance, as the hon. Lady herself made clear, a part of the case for uplift—and I am not at this moment expressing any opinion as to its validity—is perhaps founded upon the desirability of seeing that fairness and equity are done to the different kinds of traders with whom we deal, the large and the small. I think the hon. Lady rather brushed this off so far as it affected the small trader. Her attitude this year is different from the line she took last year, when she went out of her way, in moving a new Clause, to describe it as an attempt to avoid discrimination between the big buyer and the small buyer. But it is quite clear that the proposals contained in paragraph (a) of this new Clause would, of course, militate greatly in favour of the large trader, who is able to buy, by reason of the large scale of his purchases, at a lower price per article than is possible for the small trader.
The House will be aware, for example, that a large departmental store, either because it is purchasing large quantities of a particular kind of article or because it is purchasing a large number of many articles, is able, perfectly properly, to obtain supplies of these articles at lower prices per article than the small trader who buys only a few at a time. The problem to which I think hon. Members should address their minds is that there is, broadly speaking, but with some qualification, an objection to assessing the tax on the actual price paid by the retailer because, of course, that would cause the small trader to pay more tax than the large departmental store buying on a large scale. It would, therefore, accentuate through taxation the buying advantage of the large store.
I am not at this stage saying that that is necessarily an insuperable objection, but it is a serious factor, and I think that hon. Members on both sides of the House might well bear in mind, in considering this matter, that it is desirable to operate the tax as fairly as possible 1100 as between two categories of traders. It is very largely with that consideration in mind that a variety of Governments from 1940 have operated some kind of system of uplift.
§ Mrs. Castle
How does the hon. Gentleman explain the strong representations made by the chambers of trade such as the Drapery Chamber of Trade and the National Chamber of Trade, many of whose members are small retailers?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The hon. Lady is deluding herself if she thinks that I am not coming in due course to the representations I have received, but perhaps it would be more convenient if I took them in a coherent order because otherwise I might detain the House unduly.
There is a clear fact which I do not want to repeat but which should be clearly in the minds of hon. Members, that a tax assessed solely on the actual price of the particular transaction must increase the relative and competitive buying advantage of the person, shop, institution or business that has already a buying advantage over its competitor. That is one aspect of the matter to which the Grant Committee paid a very great deal of attention, and it is one that we should bear in mind.
The Committee will recall that after the Grant Report was published my right hon. Friend answered a Question put to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle) on 12th May, when he said:I am at present considering this Report, which is not unanimous. The subject, as the House knows, is a complicated one and the views of traders may well differ. I shall, therefore, be ready to consider any representations that those concerned may wish to make to me in the near future."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 12th May, 1953; Vol. 515, c. 1048.]Since then a number of trade representations have been received, but by no means all the trade organisations have responded to my right hon. Friend's invitation. That is no doubt owing to the fact that the period of the annual conferences of these organisations is upon us, and I understand that some of them will be awaiting the meeting of these conferences before making their representations.
A certain number have been received, and I can tell the House that there is a 1101 great variety of testimony and of view. I have a number of them here, but I do not want to inflict on the House either a selective—which would be unfair—or a comprehensive—which would be exhausting—resumé of what they have said. What I am bound to tell the House is that the general effect is that some of them favour the present position, some favour the majority Report, some favour the minority Report and some do not care very much for any of those alternatives. It is clear, first of all, that there is no unanimity of opinion in any direction in the trades concerning this issue. And it is still a fact that quite a number of organisations which may well be concerned have not yet responded to my right hon. Friend's invitation.
In those circumstances my right hon. Friend has not come to a firm and final decision on the major issue, as between the majority and the minority opinion and the status quo. He is still paying attention to the recommendations which are being made from outside, and he will also pay attention to the observations which have been made by hon. Members in the House.
The hon. Lady tried to suggest that there was something rather curious in the fact that my right hon. Friend had not come to a firm decision on this matter in view of the fact that it was possible to announce a firm decision on the recommendation of the Committee set up last year under Sir Maurice Hutton. Apart altogether from the fact that the Hutton Committee made a unanimous recommendation, the recommendation of that Committee did not involve complicated legislation, which either this majority Report or minority Report would involve. Therefore, I should have thought it was fairly natural, and indeed essential, that a somewhat longer period must necessarily elapse before a decision could be made.
Equally I thought that the hon. Lady tried to obscure the issue a little by her reference to the revenue point of view. In view of the fact that my right hon. Friend is proposing in this very Bill reductions of Purchase Tax which will cost £45 million this year and £60 million in a full year, I do not think we need attach much weight to the suggestion of the hon. Lady that uplift was being retained from 1102 a revenue point of view. If there is any force in that criticism, it could fall against all her right hon. Friends in the former Government and the wartime National Government, but it does not make sense to try to suggest that revenue considerations are dominant when much larger amounts of revenue than are involved in the whole of uplift have been conceded by my right hon. Friend as part of his policy of relaxation of the Purchase Tax.
On the major point, therefore, my right hon. Friend has not come to a firm and final decision; that is to say, he has neither accepted nor rejected either the majority Report or the minority Report. He is considering, in the light of the representations made to him, the right course to be taken. It is for that reason undesirable that I should seek to argue the case either for or against the majority or the minority view, since that might indicate some prejudicing of the ultimate decision. It is for the hon. Lady to decide, in the light of what I have said, whether she thinks that a useful purpose will be served by making this issue a matter of Parliamentary and party controversy.
I would refer to the second part of the new Clause, paragraph (b), which relates to the postal and special delivery charges. Unlike the other matter which we have been discussing, that was a unanimous recommendation of the Grant Committee, and my right hon. Friend authorises me to say that he accepts that recommendation in principle. The provision in the proposed new Clause goes a little further than the terms of the Grant Committee recommendation, and what my right hon. Friend is accepting in principle is the Grant Committee recommendation on this point.
My right hon. Friend is at present advised that the implementation of that recommendation under this heading does not require legislation but can be effected administratively. He is looking into that aspect of the matter, however, and should any technical or legal difficulty arise he would not hesitate, in the Finance Bill next year, to ask for the necessary Clause, if necessary retrospectively. I am in a position to say that this Grant Committee recommendation will, it is hoped, be in operation by the end of the summer. The matter is one that has caused a great deal 1103 of irritation, an irritation perhaps disproportionate either to the strictly equitable considerations or to the revenue considerations involved.
As regards the larger issue of uplift generally, my right hon. Friend does not want to be compelled to take a firm and final attitude on this question. He is anxiously and seriously considering it in the light of the observations which have fallen from hon. Members during this debate. For that reason my right hon. Friend cannot accept the proposed new Clause. It is equally a matter for the hon. Lady to decide whether she wishes, any more than is strictly necessary, to embroil this issue as a matter of party controversy, involving perhaps the adoption of positions from which it may be difficult to recede.
That, however, is not a matter for me, and I will conclude by saying that Her Majesty's Government are much concerned about this matter. They realise its importance, from the angle of both the consumer and the trader, and they are anxious that their final decision, when arrived at, shall be one which, while combining fairness between trader and trader, gives the maximum possible benefit to the consumer.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
Once again, I am happy to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn, East (Mrs. Castle) on a speech on this subject. When, at the beginning of her remarks, she said that she knew more about uplift than the Financial Secretary, I thought she might have been using the word in another sense, in the theological sense, but as she went on with her speech and displayed such a masterly knowledge of the subject. I realised she had meant it in the sense of the Grant Committee Report. What the Financial Secretary has just told us does not lead me in any way to differ from her in her estimate of their relative knowledge of the subject.
I am sure that this should not be treated as a revenue question and I believe that the Chancellor will agree that it would be quite wrong to decide the highly complicated and difficult issue of whether or not uplift should be charged simply on the basis of whether we are to get revenue in from it or not. Secondly, I hope we would agree that there is something unsatisfactory 1104 in any tax if it involves the officials concerned in arbitrary individual decisions.
We all realise that to some extent such decisions have to be made in view of our immensely complicated tax system. For the most part, however, they are made according to rules which are clearly understood. I do not think that the Financial Secretary will disagree when I say that uplift falls into one of those categories where the decisions made often appear to be extremely arbitrary, and where there does not appear to be any particular rule which justifies the decision of the Customs official.
I think, too, that we could agree that if Purchase Tax is levied on the wholesale value of the article there are bound to be cases where what one might describe as an adjustment has to be made in the apparent retail buying price in order to arrive at the correct value for tax purposes; where, for example, the retailer is, in effect, acting as a wholesaler and, although he as retailer is buying at a certain price, it is one which a wholesaler would have paid. That is a point on which the Grant Committee were unanimous. They recognised that in such cases there must be adjustment or uplift.
Then there is the even simpler case where there is no actual sale between a manufacturer or wholesaler or retailer and, therefore, an estimate has to be made. That we can also agree about. The disagreements begin after that point and, as the Financial Secretary has said, there are really three possibilities. One can take the view that the system which has existed in recent years, certainly up to last year, should be continued; a system in which it was the habit of the Customs officials always to introduce a notional stage where there was not an actual wholesale stage and accordingly to add uplift in order to ascertain the value for tax purposes.
On that I think the circumstances have changed substantially since uplift was introduced in 1940 or 1941. I can recall, from the time I spent in the Board of Trade then, that there was great concern for the position of the small retailer. It was felt that it would be unfair to him if he were made to pay a larger absolute tax than the large retailer who bought direct and not 1105 through a wholesaler. In those circumstances, when, owing to the war, the channels of trade were very restricted and when it was by no means easy, and, indeed, sometimes impossible for a retailer to change his supplier and when, in other words, the normal competitive conditions really did not exist at all, I think it was reasonable to give the small retailer that degree of protection.
However, I think we can agree that the circumstances today are different. We certainly do not have the same rigid controls over distribution as we had during the war, and we have, as the Government are constantly reminding us, something much more like a buyers' market than a sellers' market. Competitive conditions have returned and the opportunities for all retailers, whether large or small, to alter their supply arrangements are very much greater. That, I think, is the justification for taking a new look at this problem and seeing whether in present circumstances the system that we have had up to now ought to be continued.
We are then faced with the Grant Report with its majority and minority proposals. I do not propose to argue the case in great detail, because my hon. Friend did that with her usual ability. I only want to draw out one particular and, as it seems to me, quite vital argument. The Financial Secretary said that the real question was whether the small retailer suffered a disadvantage by reason of the fact that the large retailer was able to buy more cheaply, implying that it would be unfair to the small retailer if that were to happen. If I misunderstood the hon. Gentleman, I hope he will forgive me.
But the essential point which should be realised is that the large retailer buys more cheaply because his methods of distribution, the size of his orders and other considerations enable the manufacturer to produce more cheaply. Therefore, the large retailer is contributing to a higher degree of efficiency. There can equally be no doubt that the uplift, right or wrong, as administered up to last year involved a penalty on the more efficient distributor.
That, I think, is really the most vital point, and it comes out very clearly in the Report, because the majority, in fact, propose some modification. As I understand, they propose that where a manufacturer has a wholesale side to his business 1106 and succeeds through greater efficiency in reducing his selling price to the retailer, the advantage of that is, as it were, to be passed on. No uplift is to apply in that case. The retailer, large or small, is to get the advantage of it without the Customs coming along and taking their share.
But the majority continue to deny the benefits—if I may put it that way—of efficiency to the retailer, and I must confess that I find that an extremely difficult point of view to sustain. If we take the view that we want to encourage efficiency at the manufacturing stage, when the wholesaling is done at that stage, then, surely, it is logical to conclude that we ought to encourage efficiency when the wholesaling is done at the distributing stage. The basis for a distinction there is far from clear.
For example, the majority proposals would. I think, come up against very serious administrative difficulties. If, for instance, a retailer places a large order which enables the manufacturer to produce and perform the wholesaling function more efficiently, under which heading, so to speak, is the situation to be classified? Is it a case where uplift is to be applied or not? There is really no way of seeing from the majority Report.
Nor is there any clear indication as to what is meant by advantages from quantity buying. One can see clearly, in the case of quantity discounts, that the uplift is to continue to apply, but, of course, that may not always appear. The price may be a special price arranged for a large quantity which, as I say, enables the manufacturer to produce more cheaply. Therefore, I feel that it is extremely difficult to see the logic of the majority point of view.
In the main, although I think we all recognise that this is a difficult problem, there seems a great deal to be said for the minority proposal. I say this, let me hasten to add, not because of the relationship which exists between one of the members of the minority and my right hon. Friend; nor, let me also add, is it on that account that he is not speaking in this debate. As far as I know, there is no disagreement in the family on this point. It is not because he does not want to disclose disagreement that he is remaining silent this evening.
1107 I think that the minority view is a more logical one, and it seems to me that if in present circumstances we are really serious about trying to increase productivity and efficiency, then the case for abolishing uplift, subject to the few special cases where it has to be introduced to prevent evasion, is a very strong one. Can we afford to give a subsidy to inefficiency? Should we not do everything we can to encourage a greater degree of competition in the distributive trades?
One of the arguments used by the majority in favour of their point of view and against that of the minority is that of resale price maintenance. I must confess that I have very little sympathy with their argument, because I am extremely doubtful whether resale price maintenance as a system ought to be allowed to continue at all. There is the Lloyd Jacob Report, which proposed very considerable changes in the law relating to resale price maintenance.
At the same time, perhaps we could have an explanation from the Government of their point of view on that issue. I certainly would not take it as an adequate reason for maintaining the system of uplift that if it were abolished we should get into difficulties about resale price maintenance, and that there would either have to be a different price at the retail level or that it would simply mean increasing the profits of the larger retailers. I do not think that that is a convincing argument when weighed against everything else.
Finally, I come to the point of view of the Government, and I must confess that I find it extremely disappointing. After all, this is not a new problem. My hon. Friend raised it a year ago, and she then put forward some very cogent arguments for a review of the situation. The Chancellor, I think very wisely, appointed this Committee. The Committee reported 2½ months ago, but since then we have had no indication of the Government's attitude. Even today, the only thing about which the Government have been able to make up their minds is this very small and relatively uncontroversial change to which the Financial Secretary referred.
The only excuse we get for the delay in his matter is that the Chancellor is anxious to hear the views of the trade. Has the Chancellor read the Report? He 1108 will find the views of the trade set out in it. As the Financial Secretary says, he will find every point of view in the Report. It is perfectly clear that the Chancellor's answer and that of the Financial Secretary are simply stalling replies. They are unwilling and unable, too timid and too evasive to make up their minds on this issue.
That really is not very creditable to the Chancellor. We all know that he is extremely busy at the moment and we sympathise with him. He must be very overworked. Nevertheless, I feel that this is a matter to which he should have given attention a little earlier. It may be a difficult decision to make, but that is no reason for not coming to a decision on it. We have made our point of view on this very important matter quite clear, and I give the Financial Secretary warning that we are prepared to press the matter further.
It really is not good enough to say, "Do not divide the House; you are making a party issue of it." As a matter of fact it is not a party issue. All the speaking has been on one side today, but we invite the hon. Member for Gillingham (Mr. Burden) and any of his hon. Friends to come into the Division Lobby with us when we vote on the new Clause.
§ Mr. Burden
It is curious that the right hon. Member should adopt this line now, because he did nothing at all about abolishing uplift during the whole period when he was Chancellor, whereas my right hon. Friend has made concessions.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
I dealt with that very fully and explained that there was a case for uplift when the tax was introduced during the war and in the immediate post-war period. So far as I can recollect there was no particular pressure for any change, while I was at the Treasury at any rate. But I think it has increased substantially as competitive conditions have returned. We have had a Report and the Report lays bare the situation. There really is no case for further delay and I suggest to the Committee that we should register our views in the Division Lobby.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
I would not have taken part in the debate had it not been for the observations of the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn, East (Mrs. Castle), when opening the debate, about my absence and also the observations of 1109 the right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell). The hon. Lady complained about my not being here and used language which has been reported to me. I do not propose to waste the time of the House in traversing what she said, but I did ask to be informed when her Clause was called.
I was engaged on rather important duties and, unfortunately, was delayed on my way here. But I did get here for at least 22 minutes of her speech, which, on a Report or Committee stage, is a fair share and I was able to gain an idea of what the hon. Lady had in mind. To those who read our debates I would point out that in missing the first 12 minutes of her speech I did not mean any injustice or underestimate the importance of the issues before us.
The right hon. Member for Leeds, South said that the Government were timid, evasive and extremely disappointing, and that they should have come to a decision already. It is to that aspect of his remarks that I wish to address myself. The position is not at all as he attempted to make out. We understood there was a problem connected with uplift during the debates on the last Finance Bill. I pointed this out to the Grant Committee. I wish to endorse what the Financial Secretary said in paying tribute to the excellent work that has been done by the members who signed both the majority and the minority Reports.
In this connection, I think it a great pity that the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) has not taken part in the debate. For once the right hon. Member had an opportunity of being properly briefed on a subject when taking part in our discussions. I know that many of the briefs have been provided by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), his hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Crosland) and other hon. Friends, but never has there been an opportunity to hear a really good speech from him. We are sorry that he did not take part in this debate owing to his usual modesty.
§ Mr. Butler
I trust that he may. In his remarks about the attitude of the Government, the right hon. Member for 1110 Leeds, South asked if I had read the Report. The answer is, yes; I have read the Report. I have studied it very carefully and no extent of public duty would persuade me in any way to go back on the detailed work which must be done in connection with the Finance Bill. Nor will it have any effect on the work I do at the Exchequer.
The right hon. Member said that the trade made representations which may be read in the pages of the Report. To an extent that is correct and one can gain an idea of the attitude of some of the trade to it. But what the right hon. Member did not say was that the trades had not had an opportunity to give their opinion on the majority or the minority Reports.
That is precisely the position in which the Government are today. Not only have the trades not been able to give a final decision on the majority or minority Reports, but we have not yet received sufficient evidence from the trades themselves. In fact, there has been a lack of evidence from the trade as to what their view is since we asked their opinion on the majority Report and the minority Report.
§ Mr. Butler
We very carefully took into account the view of the trade before we came down in favour of the recommendation of the Hutton Report. We took great care to ascertain the position. In this case, we have an extremely complicated situation. I have had a digest made of the evidence from the trade on the majority and minority Reports to date. In my view, that does not represent an adequate sample on which the Government should make a decision.
There is no doubt that a very substantial element in the trade is in favour of the status quo. That is the first section; there is a section in favour of the majority recommendations and a very large section representing retail distributors and multiple shops—big stores and chain stores—who are represented by the view expressed in the minority Report 1111 which is supported in this proposed new Clause. I am not satisfied that we should be right today to come to a conclusion to give up £15 million of public money and accept views as put forward essentially from the point of view of the big stores, the multiple and chain stores. That would be a mistake——
§ Mr. Butler
The right hon. Member says, "the consumers." We understand the motives from which the Clause has been moved and appreciate the importance of the consumer, but we do not think that the evidence given in the speeches of the hon. Lady or the right hon. Member is sufficient to justify us in accepting the loss of £15 million of public money and accepting the Clause as put forward.
We come to the question of whether we could have legislated on the majority Report. In my opinion, the evidence in favour of that is not adequate at present to justify us doing so. The evidence in favour of the status quo is just as strong as the evidence we have received in the last few weeks in favour of the majority Report. Under the circumstances, I do not feel I can take a decision on the evidence before me. That does not mean that we think the matter should be indefinitely or permanently put off. I hope we shall now come to a decision on this Clause and that meanwhile, before next year, we shall be able, on the evidence put before us on the basis of the minority and majority Reports, to come to a decision which is agreeable to the House as a whole.
§ Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)
Before we come to a decision on this Clause—and I hope my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn, East (Mrs. Castle) will press it to a Division—I wish to refer to what my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) said about retailers buying in quantity. We shall probably not get an opportunity of
§ discussing this matter again before the next Finance Bill and it is very important that the Government should take fully into account this important effect.
§ It is not only a question of costs of distribution, but the present method of the tax on uplift does, of course, penalise the placing of long-run orders, which is one of the major ways in which we can keep the costs of consumer goods down. In my view, this is by far the most important effect of the present system. I hope the Government will consider this particular aspect very carefully when they are about to make up their minds on the Report.
§ One could argue from the point of view of the small retailer, and so on, but anybody who regards what has been taking place in retail distribution, particularly in the clothing trade and with women's clothing in recent years, can see what has been the effect of large-scale purchases by retailers direct of goods for which very long-run contracts are placed. This is one of the most effective ways of getting down the cost of consumer goods and, therefore, the cost of living. I do not think we can allow the interests of a group of small shopkeepers to prevent the development of this type of trading, which has been one of the most successful ways of bringing down the cost of living.
§ Mrs. Castle
With permission, I would make another brief intervention. I appreciate the courtesy of the Chancellor in meeting my request that he should intervene. But, having listened to him, I find that he is in effect doing the work of the Grant Committee all over again, and collecting evidence again, which is an insult to the Committee after all the work which has been done. I am left with the impression that he is trying to collect evidence in favour of doing nothing, and in view of that I propose to press the Clause to a Division.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 224; Noes. 251.1115
|Division No. 214.]
|Acland, Sir Richard
|Albu, A. H.
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J
|Blyton, W. R.
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)
|Bence, C. R.
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood
|Bowden, H. W.
|Awbery, S. S.
|Bowies, F. G.
|Bacon, Miss Alice
|Bing, G. H. C.
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth
|Brockway, A. F.
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
|Pryde, D. J.
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)
|Pursey, Cmdr. H
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)
|Burke, W. A.
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.
|Reid, Thomas (Swindon)
|Burton, Miss F. E.
|Reid, William (Camlachie)
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.
|Callaghan, L. J.
|Jeger, George (Goole)
|Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)
|Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)
|Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
|Collick, P. H.
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
|Shackleton, E. A. A
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda
|Short, E. W.
|Cove, W. G.
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
|Shurmer, P. L. E.
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)
|King, Dr. H. M.
|Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
|Crosland, C. A. R.
|Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
|Crossman, R. H. S
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)
|Skeffington, A. M.
|Cullen, Mrs. A.
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
|Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
|Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
|Davies, Harold (Leek)
|Lindgren, G. S.
|Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)
|Logan, D. G.
|Sorensen, R. W.
|de Freitas, Geoffrey
|MacColl, J. E.
|Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
|McGhee, H. G.
|Sparks, J. A.
|Delargy, H. J.
|Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
|Dodds, N. N.
|Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.
|Driberg, T. E. N
|McKay, John (Wallsend)
|Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)
|Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
|McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.
|Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
|Swingler, S. T.
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)
|Mainwaring, W. H.
|Sylvester, G. O.
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
|Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)
|Mann, Mrs. Jean
|Taylor, John (West Lothian)
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)
|Manuel, A. C.
|Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
|Evans, Slanley (Wednesbury)
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A
|Thomas, David (Aberdare)
|Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
|Forman, J. C.
|Mayhew, C. P.
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)
|Mellish, R. J.
|Freeman, John (Watford)
|Messer, Sir F.
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.
|Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
|Gibson, C. W.
|Mitchison, G. R
|Viant, S. P
|Wallace, H. W.
|Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.
|Moody, A. S.
|Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C)
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)
|Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.
|Wells, Percy (Faversham)
|Grey, C. F.
|Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
|Wells, William (Walsall)
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)
|West, D. G.
|Mort, D. L.
|Wheeldon, W. E.
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
|White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)
|White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)
|Hamilton, W. W.
|Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
|Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J
|Oldfield, W. H.
|Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)
|Oliver, G. H.
|Wilkins, W. A.
|Willey, F. T.
|Hayman, F. H.
|Williams, David (Neath)
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)
|Padley, W. E.
|Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
|Herbison, Miss M.
|Paget, R. T.
|Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
|Hewitson, Capt. M.
|Palmer, A. M. F.
|Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
|Hobson, C. R.
|Pargiter, G. A.
|Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
|Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
|Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)
|Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
|Peart, T. F.
|Yates, V. F.
|Hoy, J. H.
|Plummer, Sir Leslie
|Hubbard, T. F.
|TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)
|Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)
|Mr. Royle and Mr. K. Robinson.
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
|Proctor, W. T.
|Aitken, W. T.
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)
|Brooman-White, R. C.
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)
|Browne, Jack (Govan)
|Alport, C. J. M.
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)
|Bennett, William (Woodside)
|Bullard, D. G.
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.
|Burden, F. F. A.
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)
|Bishop, F. P.
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)
|Black, C. W.
|Campbell, Sir David
|Astor, Hon. J. J.
|Boothby, Sir R. J. G.
|Cary, Sir Robert
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.
|Bowen, E. R.
|Baldwin, A. E.
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)
|Banks, Col. C.
|Boyle, Sir Edward
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.
|Braine, B. R.
|Baxter, A. B.
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N. W.)
|Colegate, W. A.
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert
|Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rg, W.)
|Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L
|Cooper-Key, E. M.
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.
|Profumo, J. D.
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.
|Raikes, Sir Victor
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
|Rayner, Brig. R.
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col, O. E.
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)
|Crouch, R. F.
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.
|Rees-Davies, W. R.
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)
|Remnant, Hon. P.
|Crowdor, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)
|Kerr, H. W.
|Renton, D. L. M.
|Roberts, Peter (Heeley)
|Deeds, W. F.
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.
|Robertson, Sir David
|Digby, S, Wingfield
|Langford-Holt, J. A.
|Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.
|Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.
|Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
|Donner, Sir P. W.
|Leather, E. H. C.
|Roper, Sir Harold
|Doughty, C. J. A.
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
|Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
|Russell, R. S.
|Drayson, G. B.
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.
|Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
|Drewe, Sir C.
|Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.
|Linstead, Sir H. N.
|Scott, R. Donald
|Duthie, W. S.
|Llewellyn, D. T.
|Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
|Eocles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
|Erroll, F. J.
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. G.
|Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)
|Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
|Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
|McCallum, Major D.
|Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.
|McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.
|Snadden, W. McN.
|Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)
|Spearman, A. C. M.
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia
|Mackeson, Brig. H. R.
|Speir, R. M.
|McKibbin, A. J.
|Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)
|Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
|Stevens, G. P.
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)
|Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell
|Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)
|Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)
|MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)
|Macphereson, Niall (Dumfries)
|Gammans, L. D.
|Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)
|Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd
|Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.
|Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
|Godber, J. B.
|Markham, Major Sir Frank
|Summers, G. S.
|Gough, C. F. H.
|Marlowe, A. A. H.
|Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
|Gower, H. R.
|Marples, A. E.
|Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
|Graham, Sir Fergus
|Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)
|Gridley, Sir Arnold
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
|Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)
|Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.
|Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)
|Medlicott, Brig. F.
|Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
|Hall, John (Wycombe)
|Mellor, Sir John
|Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
|Harden, J. R. E.
|Molson, A. H. E.
|Hare, Hon. J. H.
|Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter
|Touche, Sir Gordon
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)
|Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas
|Turner, H. F. L.
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
|Nabarro, G. D. N.
|Turton, R. H.
|Harvey, Air Cdre, A. V. (Macclesfield)
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)
|Vane, W. M. F.
|Harvie-Watt, Sir George
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
|Vaughan-Morgan, J. K
|Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)
|Wade, D. W.
|Heald, Sir Lionel
|Nield, Basil (Chester)
|Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)
|Walker-Smith, D. C
|Higgs, J. M. C.
|Odey, G. W.
|Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)
|O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
|Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
|Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
|Watkinson, H. A.
|Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)
|Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
|Holland-Martin, C. J.
|Hollis, M. C.
|Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
|Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)
|Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
|Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
|Holt, A. F.
|Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
|Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
|Peyton, J. W. W.
|Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
|Horobin, I. M.
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence
|Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
|Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)
|Pitman, I. J.
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
|Pitt, Miss E. M.
|TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
|Powell, J. Enoch
|Mr. Oakshott and Mr. Vosper.
|Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)
|Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)