HC Deb 11 November 1953 vol 520 cc1059-89

9.15 p.m.

Mr. Ernest Davies (Enfield, East)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Hire-Purchase and Credit Sale Agreements (Transport) Licence, 1953 (S.I., 1953, No. 1116), dated 20th July, 1953, a copy of which was laid before this House on 21st July, 1953, in the last Session of Parliament, be annulled. I move the Prayer because I and my hon. Friends regret the necessity which the Government have seen for the introduction of the Statutory Instrument and because we have grave suspicions about their reasons for doing so.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in January, 1952, included among the measures which he introduced in connection with the financial situation at that time restriction of credit facilities for hire-purchase agreements. The Statutory Instrument was introduced in March of that year. The Opposition then prayed against it and divided on it because we considered that it would not be effective in the objectives at which it aimed and that it was in the nature of class legislation in that it put restrictions on such articles of domestic consumption as sewing machines, bicycles, radios and television sets, and the sections of the community which would suffer most from that severe restriction of credit facilities would be those not in the highest income groups.

Included in the goods on which there was to be restriction of credit were motor vehicles and the purpose of the amending Order is to remove from hire-purchase credit restriction the motor vehicles which are to be sold off by the British Transport Commission. The Order enables purchasers of former Road Haulage Executive vehicles to be freed from credit restrictions on hire-purchase.

In the first place the original Order has not been effective in achieving the purposes set forth by the Chancellor, which included a check on productive capacity in the interests of defence and exports, thereby discouraging the home market and encouraging the export market. The Monthly Digest of Statistics shows that in the case of practically all the articles in the Schedule to the Order, production has declined and the percentage of production going into the export market has also declined. Therefore, if any action was required on the Order, it would be that it should be scrapped now rather than that it should be amended in this way simply to give assistance to one section of the community to enable it to fulfil the Government's desire to split up the road haulage business of the Transport Commission and hand it over to a large number of small men.

The Licence which we are considering has a most disreputable history. It is the culmination of a discreditable story of collusion between the Road Haulage Association, the United Dominions Trust, and the Minister himself. I do not want to go into all the details, as we have discussed these on previous occasions, particularly during consideration of the Lords Amendment. The fact remains that the history of this matter starts with the pressure which was exerted by the Road Haulage Association upon the Government to relax credit facilities in regard to road haulage vehicles. Of that there is no question whatsoever.

I have here the journal of the Road Haulage Association, "Roadway," for June. Here it is said: The principal difficulty has lain in the fact that Government Regulations at the present time restrict the period of hire-purchase agreements on such items as vehicles to a mere 18 months, which the Association considered to be too short to encourage any of its members to buy. Accordingly, the Association made strong representations to the Government on this issue. It goes on to point out that the Government had now recognised that special concessions would be necessary if buyers were to be found for the transport units.

This amendment to the Schedule of the Statutory Instrument is the result, there- fore, of direct pressure by the Road Haulage Association upon the Government in order to make it easier for their members to purchase the transport units when they come on the market. Further than that, it is also to enable the United Dominions Trust, in association with the Road Haulage Association, to establish the Transport Unit Finances for the purpose of financing the hire-purchase of these vehicles by members of the R.H.A. The decision to form this company was first announced on 5th February. It was not until some time in April, the 21st, that the House actually discussed the matter.

On 22nd April, the United Dominions Trust announced in a statement that it was on the authority of the Government that they had entered into these arrangements with the Road Haulage Association. It was therefore with the authority of the Government that it was arranged that the United Dominions Trust and the Road Haulage Association should establish a financial trust which would have the advantage of being exempt from the restrictions on credit facilities at this time.

There is no justification for making this exemption, and no useful purpose will be served in connection with defence or the economic situation, for which purposes the original Order was introduced. I contend that it will have a very adverse effect on the road haulage industry in the future. Although it may initially have the effect of fulfilling the Government's intentions of attracting small men into the road haulage industry—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—yes, initially—and breaking up British Road Services, it will in the long run have the result of these small men getting into financial difficulties and finding their vehicles mortgaged to the United Dominions Trust.

The Trust will ultimately foreclose on many of the vehicles, and will come into possession of them, if the small men are unable to meet the payments under their hire-purchase agreements. They may get into financial difficulty and be unable to meet the payments due because of the state in which the road haulage industry will find itself after the Act has been put into operation, and the industry, as far as the B.R.S. is concerned has been disposed of.

There will be a fleet of new entrants into the industry operating comparatively cheap vehicles, and they will be competing one with another. There will be cut-throat competition, and the weaker will go to the wall. What is more, the services now provided to industry will in many cases no longer be provided because these people, being subjected to such strong competition, will be compelled to operate only on the remunerative routes, and to carry only the traffic which they are forced to carry in order to make a profit.

There are a number of reasons, which we frequently discussed during the transport debates, which could be put forward on this point, but I do not wish to delay the House by going into them this evening. However, there is one further point I wish to make on this issue, which is that the small men who purchase vehicles on hire-purchase agreements will also find themselves up against considerable competition from the C licensees who themselves may bid for these vehicles and then be able to use them not only for carrying their own goods, but also for transporting other people's goods for hire or reward. In other words, an entirely new factor will enter into the industry.

There is a continuing increase in the issue of C licences despite the Government's policy and the fact that the Transport Act is now on the Statute Book. When the argument about C licences was raised in this House, hon. Members opposite stated time and time again that these licences had increased owing to nationalisation. I suppose they are now increasing due to denationalisation. They increased, apparently, because of the uncertainty as to the state in which the road haulage industry would be after nationalisation, but it is quite clear now that, owing to the uncertainty that exists in the industry, caused by the Government's transport policy, these licences have further increased.

In my view, the result of this will be that the one purpose of the Act which was particularly pursued by the noble Lord the Member for Dorset. South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke), the desire to prevent vehicles from passing into too few hands, will be defeated. That is because, although in the initial stage there may be an attraction to the small man to come in, he may find that, owing to the difficulties of operating in a competitive system, he is unable to carry on. If that happens, these vehicles will drift back into the possession of the Financial Trust.

Before the war, road hauliers frequently found themselves in pawn to the financiers and had to surrender their vehicles to them. In this way, the financiers got into the business simply because they were left with the vehicles. Hon. Members know full well that that was frequently the case with clearing houses. The clearing houses, the middle men as they were, who were also financing the road haulage industry, when the people they were financing were unable to continue operations had themselves to go into the industry with those vehicles.

If that happens, as I think it will happen, with the United Dominions Trust, it will mean that that Section of the Transport Act which provides that the Commission, in determining transport units, shall have regard to the desirability of avoiding any step which is likely to lead to the elimination, or undue restriction, of competition in the carriage of goods by road for hire and reward, which was the modified version of the noble Lord's Amendment concerning too few hands, will be defeated.

In my view, there is no justification for this amendment of the Schedule of this Statutory Instrument, because there lies behind it this sordid history of party politics, which has used this means of assisting that section of the road haulage industry which we in this House frequently have suggested assisted the Government party opposite in obtaining power, and this is one of the means by which those services are to be repaid. If that is so or not, the fact remains that it is through pressure on the part of the Road Haulage Association that this action is being taken.

I say there is no justification for this privilege. It will lead to deterioration in the industry, through splitting it up into far too many hands, creating far too much competition and thereby doing damage to the industry, including the export trade of this country, which the original Order was introduced to assist.

9.33 p.m.

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

I beg to second the Motion.

When the original Hire-Purchase and Credit Sale Agreements (Control) Order was about to be introduced, the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave the House the reasons for it. He gave them in the course of a long speech on the general economic situation and, cut short, they come to this: Many of these things make life easier and pleasanter—they are part of the higher standard of living. But we cannot have unlimited access to them if they or other things made in their place can be sold abroad to pay for the food and raw materials that we must have."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th January, 1952; Vol. 495, c. 59.] The right hon. Gentleman then went on to describe the particular steps that were to be taken to prevent us having unlimited access to those things which make life easier and pleasanter. One of those steps was the original Order, and the first instance he gave happened to be motor vehicles. He said, quite rightly, as regards hire-purchase, that it is essentially a form of living beyond one's means. I hope that no one will attribute that particular remark to me; it derives from the high authority of a Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Those were weighty reasons, the Order was introduced; it has remained in force ever since, and it is not proposed now to repeal or withdraw it. Consequently, we are entitled to say that the Government still wish, by means of this Licence, to restrict a form of living beyond one's means. Those being the reasons for the original Order, I regard this Licence which we are praying against—and I ask the House to regard it—as nothing short of scandalous.

This is a particular exception introduced into the Order that was put before us for reasons of high policy, for reasons which affect the welfare of the country as a whole, and perhaps not inappropriately introduced under a Defence of the Realm Regulation. Now the defence of the Realm is to be whittled down and, as I hope to show in a minute, for the better defence of Mr. Gibson Jarvie and his friends, we are, by that much, going to impair the national interest and the defence of the Realm. That is what this amounts to.

The original Order put two main restrictions on hire-purchase agreements. One was that there should be a deposit of 33⅓ per cent. of the price, and the other that the maximum period of credit should be 18 months. Which of them does not happen to suit the Government at the moment in this matter I do not know, but I suspect strongly that it is the one-third deposit, and the effect of this Licence, therefore, will be that for what seems to the Government to be good and sufficient reason, a number of men are to be allowed to buy lorries from someone who has purchased them from the Disposals Board, without any deposit at all and with the power of repayment over any period, however long. The Government are taking their hands completely off any power of restriction in this matter, in this one case.

Someone said just now that it was a good thing to have small men buying lorries—

Mr. Gerald Nabarro (Kidderminster)

Hear, hear.

Mr. Mitchison

The hon. Member applauds. I hope hon. Members will remember that a spider's web catches a considerable number of small flies, but it is what happens to the flies in the web that is the question in this case.

Let us just see exactly what the small man is being invited to do. He is being invited, in direct consequence of this Licence—that is to say, if the Prayer fails tonight—to buy lorries without any deposit at all, or with only such deposit as happens to suit that fine judge of the public interest, Mr. Gibson Jarvie, and his friends, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the small man who does not particularly want to pay a deposit. That is the position. Let us see how this has come about.

My hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) has referred to the United Dominions Trust, of which Mr. Gibson Jarvie is the Chairman and Managing Director. May I say that I know nothing whatever about Mr. Gibson Jarvie, except for the ebullitions which he delivers to me year by year to express his growing and overwhelming dissatisfaction with any Government at all. The first one was the Labour Government. The present one is the Tory Government. For all I know, he may have some particular affection for the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Transport, but I cannot say that he extends it to all aspects of the Government's financial policy.

This man, or his company, in association with the Road Haulage Association, formed what was called Transport Unit Finance Ltd., a private company, lest we should know too much about it, which was formed for the express purpose of assisting the Government to sell these public lorries to people who might not, without that company, be able to afford to pay for them, and who might, in fact, do exactly what the Chancellor said in January, 1952—indulge in a form of living beyond their means.

That is why the company was formed, and it is to assist the company in that purpose that this particular restriction—introduced in the public interest—is now to be taken off. Let us see what the effect will be. As I understand, we shall inevitably get men who are hard put to it, who would not have the money to buy the lorries in the ordinary way, if the proper deposits and the proper limitation on the repayment period remained in force, being able to buy them because of this Licence.

They will start in this notoriously difficult business—because it is a difficult business—without any adequate financial backing. I do not say that they will all be like that, but that is what this Licence encourages. The result will be that a number of them will find things very difficult from the financial point of view. They will have to go on paying the United Dominions Trust or its creature, the Transport Unit Finance Ltd., because otherwise, as in the case of any other hire-purchase agreement, there will be provisions for seizing the vehicles. Nothing in the legislation introduced by a recent Act will matter, because the price will be too much.

The result will be that in some cases, in order to preserve the lorries and to keep going in a venture that it was rash to undertake, they will be forced to take it out of someone. They will take it out of one of two sections of the community—those who use the lorries or those who run the lorries—and the history of this industry in the latter respect is certainly not one which should allow that kind of thing to be done again if it can possibly be prevented. It is certainly not the duty or the right of any responsible Government to make an additional opportunity for that kind of hardship to be inflicted again on the men working in the transport industry.

These matters of finance may seem at times to be a little dreary and technical, but they come back on the lives of ordinary men and women. In this particular case the lives they will come back on are the working lives of the men engaged in the transport industry. I do not wish to exaggerate in any way. I do not say that this will happen in every case. I simply say that it will happen in some cases. If there are no cases, there is no point in having this Licence. It is just because this sort of thing will happen in some cases that the Licence is necessary.

What is the Government's justification? I think I know. In the last resort it will be the upholding of the high Tory principle that we must at all costs encourage individual enterprise in road transport, and if we find a little difficulty in doing so in the ordinary way we must take the extraordinary step of making an exception for the purpose of a particular matter where the national interest formerly prevailed. It is a most remarkable thing that these exceptions continue one after another, and seem always to enure to the benefit not of the working men and women but to some selected, fairly powerful, rather prosperous class in the community. Brewers have had a good time on one of them earlier on, and I could go on giving a whole list, but I should quite obviously be out of order in doing so.

I simply ask hon. Members opposite to look at their own legislation to see if this is not in the very true spirit of it. Here, again, is an exception which, oddly enough happens to operate in favour of a number of finance houses in the City; which, oddly enough, puts at risk the lives of ordinary working class men; and which, oddly enough, infringes on a principle of our national economy which is better stated than I could hope to state it by the very Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer who is a colleague of the right hon. Gentleman now asking us to support this Licence.

I have only one more point to make, and it is very short. I feel anxious about the small flies. They are dealing with people who have had a lot of experience. I am not quite certain how they will fare. I am particularly troubled from another point of view. It always gives me a warm personal pleasure to see the Attorney-General sitting there. Perhaps he will tell us exactly what is going to happen as regards the special privileges given only to purchasers and their successors in title.

Clearly, the small man who buys from the Transport Unit Finances Ltd. will not be their successor in title. He will not, indeed, have, strictly speaking, bought from them: he will have hired from them; and at the end of it all, at the end of the period, when he is having to pay or not to pay instalments, what is to be his position as regards the rights which, under Section 3 (4) of the Transport Act, were to inure only to purchasers and successors in title?

I agree that this is a lawyers' point, and I am not going to dwell on it now, but I do say that to introduce a general regulation in the interests of the country, to justify it on the sort of grounds upon which the Chancellor of the Exchequer justified it, to keep it in force and not to repeal or withdraw it, and then, at the same time, to issue a general licence for no other general public purpose than to promote a particular piece of Tory policy with somewhat doubtful associates is, in my opinion, an absolutely scandalous proceeding.

9.48 p.m.

Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)

I am glad to have the opportunity to speak on this subject and to correct, perhaps, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) as regards a number of inaccuracies which he has perpetrated in this matter. To deal with the first and most obvious one that occurs to me, he has charged the Chancellor of the Exchequer with having, so far as motor cars are concerned, prevented hire-purchase facilities from being granted. I am sure the House will agree with me that the motor car is frequently a luxury, and, even though sometimes it is a business necessity, nevertheless it is something in regard to which there can properly be restriction of credit facilities for hire-purchase.

In this case, however, far from dealing with a question of Tory principle, we are dealing with the rights of ordinary working men in the country. [Interruption.] Yes, we are. We are dealing with the rights of small operators to have the opportunity to purchase the opportunity for a livelihood. That is what we are dealing with, and the whole of the purport of the opposition to this licence comes down to this short point. If we are not willing to grant this Licence, the effect will be that we shall ensure by the result that we create another monopoly—a monopoly of private interests instead of the monopoly we had when we had nationalisation. That is what will occur.

Perhaps I may explain this for a moment. The Licence gives an opportunity for the small road haulage operator to be in a position to purchase the vehicles by taking out hire-purchase and obtaining from the corporation the finance which he needs. If we prevent him from obtaining the finance for his hire-purchase, the result will be that the very large operators will be the only alternative buyers in the market, so that, far from reducing the monopoly, as we seek to reduce it, we shall merely have created another monopoly in its place.

By providing this system of finance, we can have diverse road transport throughout the country and ensure the services which we desire these men to operate. The justification for this extension is plain on that ground, and there can be no possible support for a suggestion that the luxury trade of motor vehicles can compare with the rights of the men to have this opportunity to enter into the business which was pinched from them when the industry was nationalised.

Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

Pinched from them?

Mr. Rees-Davies

Yes, pinched from them.

The hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) suggested that one danger was that in the future the finance corporation would foreclose. All I can say is that in my recollection of the previous days when these vehicles were operated freely, there was extremely little foreclosing. I challenge the hon. Gentleman to produce any figures which would support any general statement of the kind which he made in relation to the ordinary road haulage operators at the time when they were taking advantage of the assistance of that finance.

In my view, it was absolutely essential in this case that the Minister should grant an exception by giving the Licence to enable these men to come back into business. Unless we do that, we should have merely secured the transfer of the whole of this business to the large operators.

9.53 p.m.

Mr. A. Hargreaves (Carlisle)

I want to develop an argument which has not been used in the debate, and it is the danger which I see if the facilities provided in the Statutory Instrument are made available. I fear the extension of this heavy road haulage to the small man, which was commended in the speech of the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies). I fear it for a very good reason—because of the appalling toll of road accidents.

What relation has that to this question? [HON. MEMBERS: "None."] Let me explain, if I may. The present trend of road accidents is rising sharply. It fell during 1952, but in every month this year, without exception, right through to September, the number of those killed and severely injured in road accidents has sharply increased over the corresponding months in the previous year. The general tendency is for the number of road accidents to increase this year. I want to place before the House as shortly as I can figures which will prove to the satisfaction of anybody who uses them objectively—

Mr. Nabarro

On a point of order. May I seek your guidance, Mr Speaker? Are we in order in arguing the principles of the main Act, the Transport Act of 1953? Is it not a fact that the Act provided for the sale of certain road haulage assets to private enterprise operators? Surely what the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Hargreaves) is now doing is to endeavour to confute the principles of that Act and to argue against it, for road safety cannot stem from any consideration inherent in the Statutory Instrument before the House.

Mr. Frank McLeavy (Bradford, East)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker, is it not true that my hon. Friend has pointed out that the danger of the proposed Statutory Instrument is that it would encourage people to enter the industry who might endanger road safety because of their inexperience and because of their financial difficulties?

Mr. Speaker

All the considerations advanced by both hon. Members were present to my mind as I listened to the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Hargreaves). I was waiting until he could relate the question of road safety to the question of hire-purchase, which is the matter with which we are really concerned. I was not ignoring any differences between the two points. I was waiting patiently for the hon. Member to connect his argument with the Motion before the House.

Mr. Hargreaves

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the way in which you have helped me. I wanted to develop my argument as plainly and as carefully as I could. The principle of the main Act is accepted by the House and by the Government. We are not debating that. I am not attempting to get round the rules of order in any way. I say that here we have a Statutory Instrument which encourages small undertakers to come into this industry and to own and run vehicles on our roads, who through lack of capital and of maintenance depots—

Mr. Speaker

It seems to me that the hon. Member's argument would apply to all small owners of vehicles whether they obtained those vehicles by hire-purchase or not. What he has to do is to show that this Licence should be annulled because the extension of hire-purchase in some way would conduce to the result about which he is warning the House.

Mr. Hargreaves

I am basing my speech upon the attitude of the Minister of Transport in advising the House, earlier in our debates, that the purpose of making these facilities available was to encourage the small man, who otherwise had no financial resources to come into this industry. I want to ask the Minister and the House to recognise that, in providing these hire-purchase facilities for people who have no other financial resources, he is exposing the industry and the country to a danger which could be avoided if the field were limited to people who did not need these facilities and who came into the industry with adequate financial resources. That is my point. If these people had adequate financial resources, then this Statutory Instrument would not be necessary.

Mr. Speaker

If the hon. Member can show that an extension of hire-purchase facilities would increase the number of road accidents, he can pursue that argument. I think that he understands my point, and I am perfectly certain that the hon. Member has no desire to get out of order on this matter. I am sure that he will, with the warning which I have given him, confine his argument to what is strictly in order according to the rules of the House.

Mr. Hargreaves

Evidently, I am as yet unable to make myself clear. I feel very strongly that the people who need this Licence ought not to be coming into the industry at this time and taking over small units of road transport. Those who do not need the Licence I am prepared to trust within the orbit of the Act to accept financial responsibility for maintenance, the payment of proper wages, and all that.

I have spoken of the general road accident figures and I want to prove the point by quoting as an example a large organisation with ample financial resources which does not need the Licence, the kind of large road organisation which has maintenance depots, runs regular traffic on the roads, and does not need the facilities. Anybody who needs these facilities cannot give the same service to the public or maintain the vehicles as they ought to be maintained. If the Minister denies this, I remind him of the startling results of the 48 hours' work on the roads by his own inspectors, who proved conclusively that a great number of vehicles which are working regularly on the roads are in no condition to do so.

Mr. Nabarro

British Road Services.

Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)

Nothing of the kind.

Mr. Jack Jones (Rotherham)

Their vehicles are better today than ever.

Mr. Hargreaves

The vehicles of the firms which have ample resources are used with confidence, in the knowledge that the large undertakings take meticulous care over maintenance. When a public service vehicle comes to the end of its working day—

Mr. Rees-Davies

Will the hon. Member agree with my experience that the regulations of the Ministry regarding the maintenance and use of vehicles are extremely severe? Would he also agree that the police carry out their duties in that respect very properly? If so, would he agree that his argument cannot be valid, as excellent repairs are being carried out on the vehicles in accordance with statutory obligations?

Mr. Hargreaves

I answered that point in anticipation by referring to the inspections by the Ministry officials, which proved that in two respects—steering and brakes—70 per cent. of vehicles were not up to the prescribed standards. That is a complete answer to the point.

I was describing the experience of mast of us with road passenger vehicles. The concerns with adequate financial resources maintain their vehicles to a very high standard, and their public service vehicles are used by the public with the utmost confidence. I come now to the comparable figures for goods haulage vehicles. I have spoken of the exceptional way in which the road passenger services are maintained, and I spoke earlier of the dreadful increase in—

Mr. Nabarro

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. This Licence against which the Opposition are praying, cannot possibly refer to any road passenger vehicle. It can only concern road haulage freight vehicles to be disposed of under the 1953 Act. In those circumstances are not the whole of the comments of the hon. Member out of order?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)

It seems to me that that is a very narrow point. We are simply dealing with the acquiring and disposing of these vehicles. Their condition does not arise on the Licence at all. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] No, I think it is quite simple: they acquire vehicles and dispose of them with certain restrictions.

Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)

With respect, this matter was raised with Mr. Speaker and the point was put to him that the people requiring these credit facilities were people who did not have sufficient capital to maintain their vehicles in good order; and that if this Licence were persisted in, it would bring people into the industry who would be liable to put vehicles on the road which were not road-worthy and not properly maintained. Mr. Speaker said that so long as the remarks were confined to dealing with that point, my hon. Friend would be quite in order.

Mr. Nabarro

I am not sure, Sir Charles, whether you have taken my point correctly. The point is this: the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Hargreaves) is addressing his remarks to the subject of the disposal of road passenger vehicles.

Mr. Hargreaves


Mr. Nabarro

There are no such vehicles to be disposed of under the main Act, and therefore the whole of these remarks are out of order because what we are discussing this evening flows from that Act.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I thought I was supporting what the hon. Gentleman said when I remarked that it was rather a narrow subject for debate.

Mr. Hargreaves

I think that is the seventh point of order that has been unsuccessfully raised by hon. Members on the other side of the House this evening.

Mr. Nabarro


Mr. Hargreaves

I was endeavouring to place before the House certain figures in connection with road haulage vehicles and my argument was addressed to the point that the need for this Statutory Instrument is to enable people to go into the industry who have not adequate financial resources to maintain their vehicles in the condition in which they ought to be maintained. I think it is perfectly fair and reasonable for me to contrast the experience of road hauliers with adequate financial resources to maintain their vehicles properly within the law and not to break the law—as has so often happened in recent months, sometimes with the encouragement of Tory Members of this House—with the position of people without the financial resources to maintain their vehicles in proper condition.

I also referred to the fact that the figures of road accidents have increased every month this year, but the British Road Services figures have for some months run in exactly the opposite direction to the general experience of road haulage vehicles. I can quote the figures if hon. Members desire them, but they are available in the Library. They are figures submitted by the Ministry of Transport.

Mr. Charles Doughty (Surrey, East)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I have listened without interruption to a whole lot of stuff which bears no relation at all to the Licence before this House. The figures for road accidents have nothing whatsoever to do with the Licence we are now considering, and I would ask that hon. Members be confined to this Licence.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I am doing my best to try to keep the debate in order. If I fall short, I apologise, but I am doing my best.

Mr. Hargreaves

That is the eighth point of Order raised by hon. Gentlemen opposite. If the House will permit me to place these figures before them, we shall get on with this debate much more quickly. I referred to the fact that road accidents have increased every month this year and I want to give the figures for the same period, January to June, in 1952.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I do not see how that can possibly be in order, because this Licence came into operation only on 23rd July this year.

Mr. Hargreaves

I suggest that this Licence will bring into goods road transport people without adequate resources, and will therefore add to the road accident figures. I wanted to prove that point by quoting figures showing the number of people with adequate financial resources to run road vehicles.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I understood that, but the figures which the hon. Gentleman wishes to quote must necessarily relate to a time before this Licence came into operation, so they have no relation to it.

Mr. Nabarro


Mr. Hargreaves

The score of the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) up to the present is only seven points of order. I thought he was rising to make another.

Anybody who views the matter objectively will agree with our experience that the running of road haulage vehicles with adequate financial resources for their maintenance contributes to additional safety upon the roads, and that the dreadful accident figures to which I have referred will be increased if, by the operation of this Statutory Instrument, people are enabled to come into the industry without the means of obeying the law in regard to the proper maintenance and condition of the vehicles that they use.

10.13 p.m.

Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)

I have listened to the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite with considerable interest but with growing amazement, because it seemed to me that they were making a lot out of a very little. In fact, they have been attempting to create a mountain out of a very small molehill.

The facts that lead up to this Statutory Instrument are extraordinarily simple, and it is the logical conclusion of a string of facts which we ought not to be debating at all. As the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) pointed out, the question of the sale of lorries was decided by this House on the Transport Bill some months ago. Hon. Gentlemen opposite did not like it, but they were in the minority, and the principle of the sale of certain lorries belonging to the British Transport Commission has been settled. Surely it is logical and natural that in those circumstances those lorries should be sold as soon as possible, and what is more natural than that the ordinary way of selling lorries should be encouraged?

Before the coming into force of the Hire-Purchase and Credit Sale Agreements (Control) Order, 1952, it was quite an ordinary thing for transport lorries to be bought by hire-purchase. The ordinary consequence was not bankruptcy and foreclosure, or finance companies running lorries, and all the fantastic stories we have been hearing from hon. Gentlemen opposite. That was the ordinary way in which lorries passed, especially among small men coming new to the business.

That form of transaction was limited for the purpose of steadying the finances of the country at a time when hon. Gentlemen opposite left office and my right hon. Friends had to deal with a considerable mess. That was the only reason why those financial provisions were brought into operation. My right hon. Friends have done something about clearing up the mess since then.

Mr. James Simmons (Brierley Hill)

On a point of order. Is it in order to discuss the general financial position of the country in this debate?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

No, certainly not.

Mr. Wilson

I am referring to the Hire-Purchase and Credit Sale Agreements (Control) Order, 1952, under which this Licence is issued. I have pointed out that it was brought into being for a special purpose and that the conditions are a good deal better now. It is only natural that there should be some relaxation of that Order. It is all the more proper that relaxation should take place first in the place where it is most needed. This relaxation is needed to enable these lorries which this House has decided shall be sold to be sold in the way they normally are sold. What could be more natural than that?

All these fantastic red herrings about the United Dominions Trust and Mr. Gibson Jarvie have nothing to do with the Licence. The Licence is not restricted to any one company. It is true that the Road Haulage Association has an arrangement with the United Dominions Trust which will enable the members of the Association, if they so wish, to take advantage of those facilities. They are under no obligation to do so. They can go to any finance house they like. They can go to their bank or to any other hire-purchase company which, under this Licence, will give exactly the same facilities.

I have no financial interest in the United Dominions Trust. I wish I had. As far as I know, it is a prosperous and well-run company. I have never had any contact with Mr. Gibson Jarvie, except that once at a dinner I heard him make a political speech when he criticised hon. Gentlemen opposite. But those are issues which have nothing whatever to do with the Licence. I submit that it is time that we pulled ourselves together—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am talking about the House as a whole. Hon. Members should confine their remarks to the purpose of this Licence. It is a most appropriate and logical Licence to issue in the circumstances, and I do not think that we should waste much time in debating the matter.

10.18 p.m.

The Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)

We have had a most interesting and quite spritely debate, reminiscent of the days early in the year. It has brought forth one or two unexpected comments. I always listen with the greatest interest to what is said by the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Hargreaves), but I could not follow the whole of his argument. I know how important it is that there should be proper maintenance. I also know that the man whose whole livelihood depends on the proper condition of his handful of lorries devotes a lot of attention, if he is wise, to looking after those lorries properly.

When I heard from the hon. Gentleman what really amounted to this line of argument I was a little surprised. The suggestion was that the more money one has the safer one is on the roads—rationing by the purse; anyone who needs hire-purchase facilities is not as safe on the roads as anyone who does not. That is a very curious philosophy, but perhaps it is not so curious when it comes from a party who are now showing a concentrated desire to prevent small men getting into the business at all.

Running through the whole debate there has been this other inconsistency; that if the effect of the introduction of hire-purchase into the business is to postpone over a period of years the repayment which would otherwise have to be made over 18 months, presumably people would be less likely to go bankrupt over that period than they would if they had to pay it all back in 18 months. Again, I have been a little puzzled as to the logic of the argument.

The debate began by both the hon. Member for Enfield, East and the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) quoting from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They talked about credit policy and credit restrictions and hire-purchase agreements as a whole. I do not propose tonight to make a statement—it is not my province to do so—on hire-purchase as a whole, which must, of course, be seen within the general framework of the Government's economic policy, but Parliament has come to certain conclusions and we have to ensure that those conclusions are carried out.

I was particularly interested when the hon. Gentlemen quoted the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but they did not quote what he also said on 20th April, when talking about loans for the purchase of these lorries: It is, of course, in the national interest that road transport, by being returned to private enterprise, should be able to give increased help to industry in general whether at home or in efforts to increase our exports."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th April, 1953; Vol. 514, c. 642.] This Licence, as no hon. Gentleman has denied, has come as no surprise. I made it quite plain in the House on 27th April that this would be so. I was particularly keen to make it plain before we finally said goodbye to the Transport Bill. On that date we were considering the Lords Amendments. I did not want it to be said afterwards that I had been guilty in this case, as had been said in another, of a lack of candour. I said: There is one point which will eventually come to the House in the form of a Statutory Instrument, which can be prayed against. It will be in the name of the President of the Board of Trade. I have consulted my right hon. Friend the President who has authorised me to say that it is his intention in the event of the Transport Bill becoming law to make an order amending the Hire-Purchase and Credit Sale Agreement (Control) Order, 1952, to exempt from the requirements of that Order hire-purchase agreements relating to the disposal of Road Haulage Executive vehicles."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th April, 1953; Vol. 514, c. 1833.] The purpose of the exemption is, as the House knows, to enable people with limited means to acquire these transport units. Constantly, in that debate, I stressed the Government's view that this is essentially an industry in which, while the whole field should not be covered by small operators, there was a great room for a large number of operators.

Under the existing regulation—the hon. and learned Member for Kettering called it the "proper regulation" or the "proper formula"; the Opposition prayed against it when it was introduced a year or so ago—a minimum of one-third of the cash price must be deposited, and repayment periods must not exceed 18 months. The hon. and learned Gentleman ventured to guess that the more distasteful of those two regulations was the immediate deposit. He is wrong, and I am sure he will agree that he has been wrong once or twice in the passage of the Transport Bill. The more difficult restriction from the point of view of the small operator is the obligation to pay the money back within 18 months.

It is quite clear that it would be absurd if the declared intention, not only of the Government but of Parliament, as shown in the Transport Act, 1953, was frustrated by a regulation of the Government itself, for then all the weary months spent by hon. Members on both sides of the House in discussing the Transport Bill would not reap their full and proper reward.

The hon. Member for Enfield, East and other hon. Members appeared to see something very sinister in the operation of finance houses and of hire-purchase in general. I have watched with interest the steady growth in hire-purchase of the great Co-operative movement. No doubt hon. Members opposite will be hearing from the Co-operative Party in the next few days. We had a very fierce debate on the formation of Transport Unit Finance, Limited. I made it absolutely plain that no privilege whatever would be given to this very reputable body which would not be given to anybody else and that no facilities would be made available to the United Dominions Trust, one of the parents of that body, or their customers, which would not be available equally to others.

I think hon. Gentlemen will agree that if it is the intention of Parliament that a disposal should be carried out in this form, that a large number of small people should have the chance to come back, and that they will be prevented or handicapped from doing so by the absence of hire-purchase facilities, then those hire-purchase facilities ought to be provided.

I have been exceedingly surprised by the constant suggestion that what is likely to happen is that hire-purchase companies will make such a bad choice of their potential customers that they will be forced to foreclose. I thought it might be suggested that they would deliberately choose bad people in order in that way to become operators in road haulage. I am glad that that particularly stupid suggestion has not been made, for they are finance houses and not operators of road haulage businesses. If they were as stupid in their choice of clients as some hon. Gentlemen seem to think, I cannot see why the Labour Party are so frightened or anxious about their activities.

There is one final point. The hon. and learned Member for Kettering spoke about the legal owner. There is no doubt that the finance house will be the legal owner of the lorry until the payments have been made by the customer. Possession will pass straight away to the operator, and the legal ownership when the last payment on the instalments, usually a nominal sum, has been paid. The Government are satisfied that in this way they are giving expression to the declared intention of Parliament, and I hope that, on reflection, hon. Gentlemen opposite will decide to withdraw their Prayer.

10.27 p.m.

Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)

The Minister has been commend-ably brief and customarily lucid. I shall do my best to follow him on both counts. I am glad he answered his hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) in his concluding sentences, because the hon. Member was obviously under the impression that the small men who are coming into this business, and who avail themselves of this Statutory Instrument, will own their lorries. They will, of course, do nothing of the sort, as the Minister made clear.

What we are doing, if this Instrument goes through, is to sell to Transport Unit Finance and to other finance houses in the City of London a large number of lorries, which they will then hire out to a number of small men in the country. Those small men, provided that they maintain their instalments over an unstated period of years, will eventually become owners of the lorries. I see the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet shaking his head at what I am saying, but nothing that I have said so far is out of line with the facts. It is merely a repetition in a slightly longer way of what the Minister has said.

I do not for the Life of me see why, in an industry in which there is going to be much more competition during the next few years and many more bankruptcies, it should be thought that it is a good principle to induce men of straw to come in. That is what we are doing. The Minister says that his purpose is to encourage small men; I say to the Minister that at any time prior to the passage of this Act it was open to anyone to buy a lorry. Anyone could apply for an A licence to operate within a radius of 25 miles, or for a B licence to carry both his own goods and other people's goods. He could get a C licence if he wanted to operate a lorry to carry his own goods. Up to this moment, such a man has had to prove that he is not a man of straw by depositing one-third of the purchase price and repaying the balance over a period of 18 months. If it is really the Minister's intention to encourage small men in the haulage business of one sort or another, either by carrying their own goods or somebody else's, why has he waited this long time to introduce this Licence? Why did he not do it a year ago? Why did the Government put a restriction on at all?

The Minister is not interested in the small man at all. That is quite demonstrable. He is interested in selling off these lorries helter-skelter, pell-mell, as fast as he can, irrespective of the consequences to the country. That is the whole of this operation—speed and haste. Those are the watchwords, says the editorial in one of the motor transport papers which has backed the Minister all through—" Speed and haste. Let us get rid of them, let us shovel away these lorries and break up British Road Services as soon as we can, irrespective of the loss to the country." That is what hon. Gentlemen opposite are putting their seal to tonight, and that is the reason we oppose this Licence.

It seems to me that three things follow quite naturally from this. If men of straw are introduced into this business—as the Minister will do when he demands no deposit for a lorry and when he allows repayments to be spread over as long a period as possible—when they are forced to raise money to pay their instalments, they will go in for cut-throat competition as they did before.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

What possible reason has the hon. Gentleman for thinking that finance houses will not demand substantial deposits?

Mr. Callaghan

During the course of our earlier debates, I asked the Minister whether he had asked Transport Unit Finance these questions, but I never had a reply from him. Has he asked them? I will gladly give way if he cares to tell us whether or not they will in fact ask for a deposit.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The hon. Gentleman had better buy a lorry himself and find out.

Mr. Callaghan

I am bound to say that I would not dream of venturing my money in such a chancy business, and any small man who does so will be asking for trouble. It is quite clear the Minister does not know whether deposits are to be asked for. Indeed, it is fairly obvious that they will not be asked for, otherwise there would be no point in introducing this Licence. There is no point in introducing this Licence to give this relief and then hinting or insinuating that deposits will be demanded. The two things are contradictory.

The Minister knows from the previous history of the industry that if men are hard put to it against fierce competition, have little reserve and have to pay their instalments and their wages, they first have recourse to cutting rates. If the Minister reads the transport papers he knows, as I know, that rate-cutting is already starting, even among the existing operators. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may cheer that; and, of course, within limits it is a good thing; but the history of the industry shows that in the long run rate-cutting gets to the point where it is bad for the industry, and bad for trade and commerce generally. That has been the history of transport during the last 30 years, so for heaven's sake do not let us argue that again.

When driven to that and having cut their rates, the next thing that happens—as is clearly shown from the Minister's own officers—is that inadequate maintenance is given to the vehicles; maintenance is the next thing to suffer. I concede to the Minister straight away that this is the reason large firms are much better in this field than small men; they have got proper facilities, financial reserves and backing to keep their vehicles in good repair. It is well known that large companies have a higher standard of maintenance and safer vehicles on the roads than the small man, and my hon. Friend for Carlisle (Mr. Hargreaves) was quite right in relating this very closely to the question of road accidents.

Having cut rates and ignored maintenance, the third thing that happens with men of straw is that they start to cut wages, which gets us back to a sweated industry once more, and, as we know very well from our experience when we took over this industry, there follow rat-traps and sweat-shops instead of proper accommodation for the staff.

These things flow from having in the industry men who have not got the financial backing that they should have if they are to run it on sound, commercial lines. We say that the Minister is encouraging into this industry men of straw who have not got financial reserves, and he is not even giving them the protection given under the Hire-Purchase Act of the late Ellen Wilkinson. Under this Licence the system known as the "snatch back" will operate. As hon. Members may know, if under the Hire-Purchase Acts one buys a commodity the price of which is below a certain maximum, one can keep the article, and the firm selling it cannot get it back under certain conditions. But that will not apply here. These people are entirely in the hands of the financiers who will own the vehicles.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Henry Strauss)

Will the hon. Gentleman state on what grounds he says that hire-purchase will be free from the ordinary permanent statutes? This is an exemption from the provisions of a previous Order. It does not say a word about the Hire-Purchase Acts.

Mr. Callaghan

The hon. Gentleman should really look up his Acts before he comes here. I did not say it would be free from the permanent statutes. I said it would not come under the Wilkinson Act. Perhaps I maybe allowed to explain it to the hon. and learned Gentleman, because he as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade will have to administer it. The Wilkinson Act, as it is termed, provides that if an article costs less than £100, then it cannot be recovered by the man who has sold it, except in specific conditions. As these lorries will be valued at more than £100, that Act will not apply.

The Attorney-General (Sir Lionel Heald)

Quite ridiculous.

Mr. Callaghan

The Attorney-General says "Quite ridiculous." Does he want to give us his interpretation, because, if he does, I will willingly give way? Evidently he does not. The House will know how to treat an Attorney-General who says from his seat that something is quite ridiculous, but has not the courage to get to his feet and say so.

I want to say one more thing to the Minister in this connection. The sale of vehicles under this special dispensation only applies to vehicles which are sold by the British Transport Commission to the finance houses. The finance houses then hire the vehicles to the small men, and the small men put them on the road.

I want to envisage what is perhaps not a very likely but a possible contingency. Supposing that within six months of buying the vehicle for, say, £500 or £600—which is a reasonable price for a secondhand vehicle—the man smashes it up. Presumably he will be covered by the insurance company who will pay him the value of the vehicle; but then he has to buy a new vehicle with which to replace the smashed vehicle. But this provision will not apply to the new vehicle. It applies only to vehicles purchased from the Commission, and if the man buys a new vehicle as the result of having had an accident with the first one, he will then have to put down one-third of the purchase price and repay the balance by instalments over a period of 18 months.

I put it to the Minister that he has really got himself into a jam on this, because he is going to make it more difficult for the small man who has run into trouble to sustain himself than for the large people who have no need to have recourse to hire-purchase. The plain truth is that the right hon. Gentleman is putting through this Licence not out of concern for the small man, not because he wants the best price for the lorries, not because he wants a stable industry, but because he is determined, by hook or by crook, to get rid of these lorries as quickly as possible. It is a shame that any Government should descend to these sort of tactics in order to carry out their General Election pledges.

I suppose we all want to get home, and I shall now draw to a conclusion; but I say to the Minister that we cannot assent

to this Statutory Instrument, and I ask my hon. Friends to carry their decision into the Division Lobby.

Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 152; Noes, 194.

Division No. 4.] AYES [10.40 p.m.
Allen, Scholefield (Crews) Hamilton, W. W. Pearson, A.
Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell) Hannan, W. Peart, T. F.
Awbery, S. S. Hargreaves, A. Plummer, Sir Leslie
Bacon, Miss Alice Hastings, S. Porter, G.
Balfour, A. Hayman, F. H. Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)
Bartley, P. Healey, Denis (Leeds, S. E.) Proctor, W. T.
Bonn, Hon. Wedgwood Herbison, Miss M. Pryde, D. J.
Benson, G. Hobson, C. R. Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Beswick, F. Holman, P. Reeves, J.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth) Rhodes, H.
Bing, G. H. C. Houghton, Douglas Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Blackburn, F Hoy, J. H. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Blenkinsop, A Hubbard, T. F. Ross, William
Blyton, W. R. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Royle, C.
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Shackleton, E. A. A.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Short, E. W.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Burke, W. A. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Skeffington, A. M.
Callaghan, L. J. Johnson, James (Rugby) Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Carmichael, J. Jones, David (Hartlepool) Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)
Champion, A. J Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Chetwynd, G. R. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Clunie, J. Keenan, W.
Coldrick, W. King, Dr. H. M. Sparks, J. A.
Colliok, P. H. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Steele, T.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Lewis, Arthur Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Crosland, C. A. R. Lindgren, G. S. Sylvester, G. O.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Logan, D. G. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. MacColl, J. E. Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) McGhee, H. G. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
de Freitas, Geoffrey McGovern, J. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Deer, G. McInnes, J. Thornton, E.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. McLeavy, F. Timmons, J.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Wallace, H. W.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Wells, William (Walsall)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.) Mann, Mrs. Jean Watt, D. G.
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A Wheeldon, W. E.
Fienburgh, W. Mason, Roy Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Mellish, R. J. Wigg, George
Follick, M. Mitchison, G. R. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Frater, Thomas (Hamilton) Moody, A. S. Wilkins, W. A.
Freeman, John (Watford) Morley, R. Willey, F. T.
Gibson, C. W. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Glanville, James Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Gooch, E. G. Moyle, A. Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mulley, F. W. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Grey, C. F. Murray, J. D. Woodbum, Rt. Hon. A.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Oswald, T. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hale, Leslie Paget, R. T. Mr. Popplewell and
Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Mr. Arthur Allen.
Aitken, W. T. Birch, Nigel Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)
Alport, C. J. M. Bishop, F. P. Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J Black, C. W. Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.
Arbuthnot, John Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Cole, Norman
Athlon, H. (Chelmsford) Boyle, Sir Edward Colegate, W. A.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Brains, B. R. Cooper-Key, E. M.
Baldwin, A. E. Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Craddook, Beresford (Spelthorne)
Banks, Col. C. Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.
Barber, Anthony Brooman-Wnite, R. C. Crouch, R. F.
Barlow, Sir John Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)
Baxter, A. B. Bullard, D. G. Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)
Beach, Maj. Hicks Burden, F. F. A. Doughty, C. J. A.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Butcher, Sir Herbert Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Campbell, Sir David Drayson, G. B.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Carr, Robert Drewe, Sir C.
Bennett, William (Woodtide) Cary, Sir Robert Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.
Bevins, J. R (Toxteth) Channon, H. Duthie, W. S.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Redmayne, M.
Fell, A. Legh, Hon. Peter (Peterfield) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Fisher, Nigel Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Renton, D. L. M.
Fleetwood-Hesketh, Ft. F. Lindsay, Martin Roberts, Peter (Heeley)
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Linstead, Sir H. N. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Ford, Mrs. Patricia Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Rodgers, John (Seveneaks)
Fort, R. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Roper, Sir Harold
Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Longden, Gilbert Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Scott, R. Donald
Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok) McCallum, Major D. Scott-Milter, Cmdr. R.
Galbrailh, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Macdonald, Sir Peter Shepherd, William
Godber, J. B. Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Gough, C. F. H. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Spearman, A. C. M.
Gower, H. R. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Speir, R. M.
Graham, Sir Fergus Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.) Stevens, G. P.
Gridley, Sir Arnold MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Grimond, J. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Grintston, Sir Robert (Westfeury) Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Storey, S.
Hall, John (Wyoombe) Manningham-Builer, Sir R. E. Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Hare, Hon. J. H. Markham, Major Sir Frank Studholme, H. G.
Harris, Reader (Heston) Marlowe, A. A. H. Summers, G. S.
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Marples, A. E. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield) Maude, Angus Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Hay, John Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Heald, Sir Lionel Medlicott, Brig. F. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Heath, Edward Mellor, Sir John Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
Higgs, J. M. C. Molson, A. H. E. Tilney, John
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Morrison, John (Salisbury) Turton, R. H.
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.
Hirst, Geoffrey Nabarro, G. D. N. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Holland-Martin, C. J. Neave, Airey Vane, W. M. F.
Hollis, M. C. Nicholls, Harmar Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.) Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Horobin, I. M. Nield, Basil (Chester) Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Oakshott, H. D. Wellwood, W.
Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Hurd, A. R. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.) Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh, W.) Peake, Rt. Hon. O. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Perkins, W. R. D. Wills, G.
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Pickthorn, K. W. M. Wilton, Geoffrey (Truro)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Wood, Hon. R.
Kaberry, D. Pitman, I. J. York, C.
Kerr, H. W. Powell, J. Enoch
Lambert, Hon. G. Profumo, J. D. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Raikes, Sir Victor Major Conant and Mr. Vosper.
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