§ 3.31 p.m.
§ Mr. James MacColl (Widnes)
I beg to move, in page 50, line 11, at the end, to add:(3) No notice or advertisement of securities to which this section applies shall he exhibited or distributed on or in the premises of any county or voluntary school.
§ The Chairman
I think that this Amendment goes with the Amendment in page 50, line 11, at the end, to add:
(3) No securities to which this section applies shall be sold by or to a person under sixteen years of age.
§ Mr. MacColl
As you have indicated, Sir Charles, it will be in the general interest of the Committee's discussion if I refer also to the third Amendment to the same line in the names of my right hon. and hon. Friends, to which you have just referred.
We are starting now to discuss what has become an extremely controversial question about Premium Bonds. We are starting to discuss it in a way which to some people may seem to be rather an anti-climax in the sense that we are looking at some of the detailed ways in which the full impact of the Premium Bonds scheme might be modified rather than at the general principle of the scheme itself. I do not think that that is a bad idea. It illustrates how our procedure, which requires Amendments to be taken before a Clause as a whole, leads to the clarifying of issues before a final decision has been taken.
The object of the Clause is to exempt Premium Bonds from the law relating to lotteries. The object of the Amendments is to point out two particular ways in which it seems altogether wrong that they should be exempted. I am not suggesting that those are the only qualifications that might be made, but I think that they are two of the most important. They are also two which ought to appeal to the large number of people whose views on the 1051 general principle of Premium Bonds are not as clear cut as, for example, are mine. Therefore, I think that it is a good thing that we should be able to discuss this issue without immediately getting involved in the rather difficult problems of morality and ethics which arise in a general discussion of gambling.
I am not one of those who get worried about the allegations made of people being hypocritical on this issue, or by the argument that it is easy to point out inconsistencies in one's attitude. In all democracy, which is based on toleration of other people's religious and moral views, there is bound to be a good deal of compromise between strongly held opinions and a good deal of rather fine drawing of lines. That is a condition of preserving toleration. Therefore, I do not think that it affects the reality and sincerity with which people hold their views either against or in favour of gambling that those views must be met somehow on common ground. The Amendments are two ways in which that can be done.
At the very root of what I have to say must come the quite categorical statement that Premium Bonds are a lottery. About that there should not be the slightest room for doubt or discussion, despite the Chancellor's remark in his Budget statement that this is not gambling, for the subscriber cannot lose. It is just the type of remark, made by people in responsible positions, which frightens many of us. If responsible Ministers can make that kind of remark which, I suggest, means, "You need not worry. You can gain a thousand quid. It will cost you nothing," it is a specious presentation of a serious piece of legislation which makes one suspicious.
If it were not that the Government realise that Premium Bonds are a gamble and a lottery, quite clearly it would not be necessary to exempt Premium Bonds by means of this Clause. Premium Bonds, of course, involve staking the rate of interest that one can obtain on one's money in a raffle or lottery in which the prize is a very much larger sum of money. If people went to the bank and drew out that interest and staked it in a draw, everybody would be quite clear that it would be a lottery, but because one deposits £1 as a condition of entering the 1052 lottery the fact is concealed that a gamble is being made with the interest on the money. The Government recognise that when they say that they will use 4 per cent. of the amount staked as prize money, which is about the amount of interest, if Government credit remains as it is, which one would earn if that sum of money were deposited with the Government.
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, in winding up the debate on the Budget, tried to reconcile what the Chancellor said with what was in the Clause. The Financial Secretary said:What we are doing is putting on record in the Statute Book that a Premium Bond is not a lottery."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th May, 1956: Vol. 552, c. 1250.]That, of course, is nonsense. The right hon. Gentleman used to tutor people in logic at Balliol and I am ashamed to think that he could be responsible for such an illogical statement. The Government are not showing that a Premium Bond is not a lottery, but that for the purpose of their profits Premium Bonds shall not be included in legislation into which all other lotteries are brought.
It is very much the kind of principle which would apply if, in the Carlisle State management scheme, the Government were to decide to exempt all State public houses from the licensing laws and were to include a provision in a Bill that whisky is not alcohol and the right hon. Gentleman were to say, "Whisky is not alcohol because I have put it in the Bill that it is not." Combining that statement with the Chancellor's original, very unhappy introduction of Premium Bonds ought to make people who are not cranks, as I suppose I may be regarded on this subject, think seriously whether this is the kind of support we want for what is intended to be a serious appeal to the public to increase savings.
However, I am not arguing the pros and cons of whether we should have Premium Bonds. I am arguing that they should be brought within the ordinary law which applies to other lotteries. Lotteries have always been regarded with suspicion as potentially dangerous and as requiring legislation. That is not the view of a lot of hypocritical old maids and spoil-sports. That is the view which was expressed again and again by witness after witness of varying types before the 1053 various Royal Commissions which have sat on this subject and by the various Select Committees of this House which have considered it.
Wherever the line is drawn, it has always been accepted by everyone responsible that we must have some regulation of lotteries because of their social dangers, although those may be assessed on different scales by people with different views. But it is generally accepted that a line must be drawn. Indeed, the House has only just completed the consideration at considerable length, with great conscientiousness and care, of a Bill to regulate lotteries which was introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield. East (Mr. Ernest Davies)—the Small Lotteries and Gaming Bill.
Why take all that time about it if this is just a needless "flap" about nothing, and if no one needs to worry? If, in fact, it is right to have no kind of restriction on Government lotteries, then it is spending an unnecessary amount of powder and shot in regulating tiny lotteries which are introduced by small athletic or social clubs. Why go to all the trouble to regulate and restrict those?
This is not some anomaly that has crept into the law going back to Queen Elizabeth or Henry VIII. This is something which the House of Commons, fully conscious of what it was doing, and after long deliberation, only last week decided to do. These two Amendments are attempts to associate the control of Government lotteries with the control which we exercise over the small lotteries introduced by private individuals on a much tinier scale and with much smaller prizes, and all carefully regulated and defined.
The real problem which the Committee has to face in considering these Amendments is not, "Do I think that people who dislike Premium Bonds are spoil-sports?" but, "Do I think it right that the Government should be exempt from the law which applies to private citizens?" That is an odd principle to find produced by a Conservative Government, which one has always associated with the strong belief that government, in its activity, should be associated with the same kind of controls and regulations as apply to private citizens.
That is all I am asking for in these Amendments. They are directed to two 1054 big problems. One is advertising and the other is the care of young children. They are closely linked because, if we control advertising in schools and the sale of tickets by or to young people, we shall go a long way to insulate the youth of the country from this kind of lottery in the same manner in which they are insulated by the law relating to small lotteries.
Now, the control of advertising in this sphere is not something which is confined to the views of those churches and other social bodies which are anti-gambling. It is often suggested that our friends in the Roman Catholic communion are rather indifferent to the social dangers of gambling. That is very unfair. Although, theologically, I do not accept their view on gambling, I recognise that they have emphasised the dangers of it. In their evidence before the Royal Commission on Betting, Lotteries and Gaming, this is what they said on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church:We consider that nothing to encourage gambling or betting, such as advertisements, should be allowed. By this we include postal circulars and similar methods to stimulate betting. News can be curtailed on certain subjects (e.g., divorce proceedings), advertisements of certain kinds are not permitted, and we feel the same principle could be used in the case of gambling.3.45 p.m.
That is the point of view of people who are not against gambling in principle, but recognise that we must control advertising because it acts as a stimulus to something which could, if stimulated, have considerable social dangers. In the case of the Premium Bonds the position is worse, because it is not just a question of tolerating advertisements. We do not allow bookies' circulars to go to young people. It is not a question of just tolerating that kind of advertisement; it is a question of the full weight of the State being put behind the propagation of gambling.
I suggest, Sir Charles, that the Committee ought to face this issue. We have a situation in which a great force of opinion in this country, certainly in the Church of England and in the Nonconformist Churches, is against gambling. In those circumstances, is it wise for the House of Commons to allow a situation where the weight of the State is thrown in the direction of stimulating something which is regarded with distrust and regret and dislike by the religious bodies? It 1055 is not a question of stopping people gambling because the Churches do not like it. It is a question of stopping the State putting its force behind something contrary to the feeling of a great body of citizens, which is a different thing altogether.
One knows the kind of advertisements which are likely to appear. Through the courtesy of my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley) have had the opportunity of looking at some of the advertisements which were produced in the old State lotteries at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was interesting to see the beginnings of the use of the strip cartoon for the purposes of advertising. There were pathetic pictures of a young swain in love with a girl, going to the prospective father-in-law and being turned down because he had no resources available to marry her. Then along came the benevolent figure, only very slightly different from the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, waving a lottery ticket and saying, "You win a prize in this lottery and you will be able to marry her and live happily ever afterwards." One can see what a temptation this would be—
§ Mr. Farey-Jones (Watford)
If I have heard the hon. Gentleman aright, he is saying that he is a little bit of a crank. Does he realise that the principle of gambling is that 100 per cent. of the stake is lost? The case which the hon. Gentleman is making therefore is rather like putting up ninepins for the pleasure of knocking them down.
§ Mr. MacColl
If the hon. Gentleman had paid me the courtesy of listening to what I said at the beginning of my speech, he would know that I went to inordinate length in trying to rub in, in anticipation of that kind of argument, the fact that there can be no doubt that this is a staking in the draw of the interest which otherwise would be earned on his money by the investor. The suggestion is that, somehow, the winner collects £1,000 and nothing is lost. There is not such a Santa Claus in this world. It does not happen that way. Somebody must lose, otherwise there would not be £1,000 to win. If the people who subscribe the money do not lose, who does?
The hon. Gentleman is illustrating the danger when people who are clever, like the Chancellor of the Exchequer, say, 1056 "Nobody loses." That is the kind of misleading propaganda which is really dangerous in the advertising of Premium Bonds. It is a temptation. Take the case of the Member of Parliament who is disgruntled because he has not got this increase in remuneration for which he was hoping, who is unable to see how he can balance his budget, receiving a Government circular saying, "All you have to do is put some money in the lottery; you will win, all your troubles will be at an end, you Will be able to pay your agent and live happily." That is the kind of dangerous propaganda which a State lottery is liable to create.
In the House of Commons, we have learned to trust the Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] The real trouble about advertising lotteries is that for the advertisement to be successful it must be dishonest, because an honest advertisement will never attract people to take part in a lottery. As far as I can calculate, although it is difficult to anticipate what is to happen, the chance of winning £1,000 in return for £1 is one in 25,000. If we are to stick up posters saying, "Buy a Premium Bond, and you have got one chance in 25,000 that you may win something," people will not do it.
Nobody will be attracted by that. What we shall emphasise is the advantage of winning the prize without any regard to what are the chances of winning. The whole emphasis the whole time will be on what, in fact, is not going to happen to 24,999 people who take part in the operation.
That is particularly dangerous in the case of schools, because one does really hope that our schools are places for honest thinking and sound mathematics. We cannot have a school teaching honest thinking and sound mathematics if it is to allow its organisation to be used for the purpose of persuading people to buy something at this kind of odds. I think that that point has not altogether been challenged by the Chancellor, because the right hon. Gentleman said, in the course of his reply to the Budget debate, that he did not think that the school organisation would, in fact, be used. What he said was:…it seems most unlikely to me that the National Savings movement will wish to use the bonds in their school savings campaign."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd April, 1956; Vol. 551, c. 1569.]1057 In that case, why not have an Amendment in which it is perfectly clear that the bonds are sold only on the understanding that no advertisement shall be placed in schools, because it really is loading the dice so much against the people who have a responsibility for the care of young people?
May I be forgiven if I give a personal illustration concerning my own church, which is only a small congregation? We have recently had to collect a very substantial sum of money for the redecoration of the church. We have had to work hard. The vicar had to say, "You have really got to put your hands deep in your pockets to collect this money; you have got to save and to have appeals." All the time, in the background was an undercurrent of feeling among some people suggesting that if we had one good football swindle, we should be on "Easy Street "and would not need to worry any more. The problem facing every parish priest is to get young people to resist that temptation, and to say, "No. We have got to get the money we want by suffering and by sacrifice and not by some kind of delusive way."
What will be the position of parish priests who hold that view? Although hon. Members may not agree with them, that is the view which they hold and which they are entitled to hold, and it is also the view of the Church of England, of which many hon. Members opposite are members. Surely it will be an intolerable position if children come to them and say that their teachers have said that it is patriotic to buy tickets in lotteries. It will load the dice against the people who accept the view that it is not only unpatriotic but, in fact, foolish to take part in lotteries of this kind.
The same point was put with considerable force by the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Black) in an earlier debate which we had in this House on the subject of gambling. This is not, after all, something theoretical and academic —the hon. Gentleman is very three-dimensional. What he says is clearly based on the practical experience of a man who is a prominent member of local authorities, a prominent justice of the peace, and a man whose views one would think ought to be listened to, at any rate by the party opposite.
1058 The hon. Gentleman then said that he he had a letter from the secretary of an organisation concerned with the welfare of youth, and he went on to quote it:' At a recent meeting of this organisation the enclosed programme of a school sports meeting was discussed.… As you will notice, the function was held in the school grounds, and the proceeds were for school funds. We were particularly concerned with the raffle, for which prizes were given. It appears that tickets were sold at the sports and that scholars of the school were among the sellers '.The hon. Gentleman went on to say:Whatever view one may take about betting and gambling as indulged in by adults, hon. Members will agree that in a local education authority school maintained out of public funds it is highly undesirable that these kind of activities should take place on school premises and that children in the school should be encouraged to take part in the sale of tickets."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th March, 1956; Vol. 549, c. 2546.]Because of the views he held on that matter, children are not allowed to take part in ordinary lotteries, but what will happen now?
In that kind of case he quoted, when the hon. Member for Wimbledon goes to school sports at Wimbledon, he will see, in a corner of a playing field, a furtive group of rather guilty-looking boys and girls and a rather nondescript and seedy individual in the middle, who only with difficulty will he recognise as the Postmaster-General. He will be whispering to the boys and girls, "Wotcher, chum; want to win 1,000 smackers?"
That will be the kind of atmosphere which will be induced by the uncontrolled and unregulated use of the school organisation and school premises in this direction, because it is not just my somewhat unstable imagination but the experience and belief of the hon. Member for Wimbledon.
Exactly the same can be said generally about the whole question of sale by young people. If the Chancellor is in any doubt about the seriousness of this point, let him consult his right hon. and gallant Friend the Home Secretary, because, in the debate on the Small Lotteries and Gaming Bill, the Joint Under-Secretary, quoting the results of an inquiry which he had undertaken to make from the organisers of young people's organisations. quoted an overwhelming number of the reputable youth 1059 organisations which were all agreed on the undesirability of children taking part in the sale of tickets.
Therefore, if that is true in the case of ordinary small lotteries, there is no reason at all why the Government should choose to exempt themselves from the restrictions which apply to everybody else. That is all the Amendments seek to do. We are not arguing the pros and cons of the Premium Bond, and certainly not arguing the ethics of gambling. What the Amendments will do is accept the fact that it is necessary to put a Clause in the Finance Bill to exempt the Government's Premium Bond from the ordinary law relating to lotteries, but say that, in this respect, which is common ground, as all responsible people agree, it is undesirable to have children taking part and it is undesirable for school premises to be used for the sale of tickets and in which advertisements are exhibited. Therefore, we suggest that these restrictions should apply to the Government, as they apply to everybody else who has to organise a lottery.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ Dr. Horace King (Southampton, Itchen)
I am sure that the whole Committee must have been impressed by the powerful case put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl). I shall detain the Committee for a very short time merely to reinforce his plea to the Chancellor.
It will be common ground on all sides that our schools are trying to build up intelligent and community-conscious citizens; that not least of the work going on in our schools is that which has to do with the character training of our young children. One of the most remarkable and practical examples of that is the schools National Savings movement which has been built up during the last 10 to 15 years—and which, I admit, is in temporary danger because of the action of the Government in another matter, into which I shall not enter now.
That movement is useful, not only because of the money that it raises for the National Savings movement—and I think that the Chancellor will agree that its gifts to National Savings have been by no means inconsiderable—but also because it is inculcating in our young children a 1060 habit of saving which we hope they may carry away with them as they leave school.
It is true that the cheap, commercial world outside is doing its best to seep away the fineness, the delicacy and the strength of purpose of education, and that when the child gets into the outside world of football pools, of T.V. and of the cheap cinema much of what he is learning in school is in danger of tapering away. Nevertheless, nobody would advocate bringing the football pools into school life. Nobody would advocate taking the cheaper sensationalism of the cinema into school life. Nor would anybody advocate that the school radio programmes—which, I think, are the finest radio programmes almost in the world—should be debased by being brought down to the level of the cheapest outside commercial radio.
I should have thought that it would be common ground between the Chancellor and every Member of the Committee that our attitude should be that whatever is good, whatever is the best, is the kind of thing for which the State should accept responsibility for bringing into our schools. I should have thought that It would be common ground that no school. except Narkover, would run a football pool or a Derby "sweep," and that any move towards making Narkover, not one of the finest school jokes of the century, but something like reality is something that the Committee would resist.
The least the Chancellor can do, therefore, before we debate the issue of Premium Bonds itself, is to accept an Amendment which will protect our young children from advertisements in or near our schools of the gambling appeal of Premium Bonds. We have magnificent advertisements for savings. The National Savings campaign advertisements are exceedingly well-planned. They aim at something which is fine, and it would be a pity if, for them, was substituted something of the kind suggested by my hon. Friend.
I would end by saying that even if grown-ups need this doubtful incentive to save, by all means let us preserve our children from being introduced in the earlier years of their lives to an incentive which many people think is a reprehensible one.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Henry Brooke)
The hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) has dug out of the remote past the fact that I once taught logic in the college at Oxford to which he and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor and I all owe a great deal. What I was sorry about this afternoon was that I had no opportunity of tutoring the hon. Member—otherwise, I might have guarded him against some of the errors he committed in his speech.
I trust that it will be right for me, Sir Charles, to confine myself to the actual subjects of these two Amendments which, I understand, we are discussing together—the second and the fourth Amendments—and to leave the broader issues which the hon. Member for Widnes managed to integrate with the rest of his speech to the later debate which will no doubt take place on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
My right hon. Friend the Chancellor understands, and sympathises with, the view that children should not be allowed to buy the Premium Bonds. After all, we do not allow children to do many things, a wide variety of things, which we regard as normal and unobjectionable for grown-up people. I think that that was one of the considerations which the hon. Member for Itchen (Dr. King) had in mind in the sincere speech which he has just delivered. On the other hand, my right hon. Friend has formed the very distinct impression that a good many people will wish to buy and give Premium Bonds as presents to their children and to the children of their friends and relatives. Indeed, I have heard right hon. and hon. Members already expressing the hope the bonds might be on sale by Christmas for that very purpose.
My right hon. Friend feels that this is a different matter. He does not want to see that desire frustrated and, indeed, it will be within the knowledge of the Committee when I say that hon. Members who have put their names to the Amendments apparently do not wish to frustrate it either, because the Amendments certainly are not directed against purchases of that kind. The way in which my right hon. Friend proposes to handle the matter, therefore, is this—and I hope that it will be accepted on both sides as the practical way of proceeding.
1062 He proposes to lay down in the regulations governing the issue of the bonds—which is, I may say in passing, the appropriate place, because that is where, with regard to all Government issues, we lay down the proper rules—that the sale of Premium Bonds will not be permitted to children under the age of 16. That, I think, meets the major part of the latter of the two Amendments. A parent or guardian, will, however, be able, if he so wishes, to buy the bond on the child's behalf.
What will happen will be that the child's name and age will appear on the application form and the bond will be the property of the child, but until he or she reaches the age of 16 only the parent or guardian who has signed the application form will normally be able to encash the bond or to draw any prize money which the bond may win. Once the child reaches the age of 16 a different situation arises as, —I think, is generally accepted —and the child will be able to encash the bond or to draw any prize money. This, as I say, deals with the question of sales to persons under the age of 16, which is the major part of the second of these two Amendments and which is the principal issue which has been under discussion in this debate.
Since, therefore, the bonds will not be sold in schools, it seems that the question of sales by persons under 16 will not arise. I think that what those hon. Members who have put their names to that Amendment had in mind was that if bonds were being sold in schools they might be sold by children as well as to children. My right hon. Friend, therefore, feels that in authorising me to make this statement to the Committee he has met the purpose of the second Amendment and I suggest that the first of the Amendments falls because, clearly, there would be no point in advertising these bonds in a school if the children were not permitted to buy them.
§ Mr. MacColl
With respect, I do not think that that is quite correct. There might be an advertisement which was a collective advertisement published as part of the general National Savings campaign. Unless there were a regulation against it, it might well be that Premium Bond advertisements appearing in the school would be reported back by the children 1063 to their parents, because the children. as potential markets for their parents, are as important as the other way round.
§ Mr. Brooke
That is a subtle point, but after all, the teachers have considerable control over what happens in schools and the National Savings movement will not be making any attempt to sell these bonds to children under the age of 16 because the regulations will not permit them to do so. Clearly, children under the age of 16 may, at post offices or elsewhere, see notices about these bonds, but it is hardly necessary to write an Amendment into the Clause on the point which the hon. Member has just raised.
The main fact—that the bonds will not be able to be bought by children under the age of 16—would be more appropriately covered in the regulations than in the text of the Bill, the previous regulations under the same powers being already used to control sales and holdings of savings certificates in the case of children under seven years of age, and so on.
I hope that I have given a perfectly clear answer to the hon. Member for Widnes. I hope I have put it on record that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has considered this matter very carefully. I trust that the hon. Member for Widnes will feel that we have met the substance of the point which he has wished to put before the Committee and, in those circumstances will feel disposed not to press the Amendment.
§ Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)
Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm what is at least my impression, and the impression, perhaps, of other hon. Members? He has referred to the regulations that the Chancellor intends to make. Is it the case that these regulations will not be subject to the control of the House?
§ Mr. Brooke
These regulations will be made under the National Loans Act, 1939, and the War Loan (Supplemental Provisions) Act, 1915—those are the statutory powers under which any such regulations are made—and they would he subject to the negative Resolution procedure.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall (Coln Valley)
Surely the actual regulations dealing with these bonds will be issued by the National 1064 Savings Committee. That Committee will issue the posters and other leaflets that go out?
§ Mr. John Edwards (Brighouse and Spenborough)
What about the children who are over the age of 16 and who are still at school? There is a gap here which the right hon. Gentleman has not covered.
§ Mr. Brooke
I was not seeking to cover the matter of children who are 16 years of age or over. I said that the regulations would forbid the sale of Premium Bonds to children under the age of 16.
§ Mr. Cyril W. Black (Wimbledon)
I shall not detain the Committee for more than a moment or two in view of the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary which, while it possibly does not completely satisfy me, goes a long way towards meeting the apprehensions which many hon. Members feel on this matter.
My purpose in rising is to make clear that the apprehensions which have been voiced on this matter by the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) and the hon. Member for Itchen (Dr. King), who moved and supported the Amendment, are by no means confined to Members opposite. There are Members on this side of the Committee, of whom I am one, who would be prepared, if need be, to go all the way with them on the principle which they are seeking to establish. I should like to express my satisfaction that this matter has been raised as a question of very great importance and that it has met with a not unsympathetic response on the part of the Financial Secretary.
§ Mr. Frank Bowles (Nuneaton)
May I ask the hon. Member whether the same method of reasoning applies to speculation in land?
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)
I am grateful to follow the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Black) because, on more than one occasion, I have found myself in sympathy with what he has said. Today, however, the hon. Member leaves me slightly bewildered, for if he can find satisfaction in the reply of his right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary 1065 he has moved a long way from his attitude on the Small Lotteries and Gaming Bill. I concede at once that the Financial Secretary has made an effort to meet the anxieties of parents and teachers on this question. He has conceded that there is something about this whole issue which is undesirable in the hands of young people. That is the important point which the right hon. Gentleman has conceded this afternoon.
The right hon. Gentleman has, however, thrown to the teaching profession the problem of deciding which of its pupils is to be entitled to buy the bonds and which not. Apparently, when children have had their 16th birthday in school, they will, by the statement just made by the Financial Secretary, be entitled to buy Premium Bonds. If it is undesirable to seek to influence the rising generation in the early years of their life, surely in the impressionable years of adolescence it is equally dangerous to seek to influence them in this matter.
By his statement, the Financial Secretary has conceded that gambling is inherent in the Premium Bond scheme —
§ Dame Florence Horsbrugh (Manchester, Moss Side)
May I ask the hon. Member to explain? The second of the two Amendments that we are discussing states thatNo securities to which this section applies shall be sold by or to a person under sixteen years of age.Have we not been discussing the question of the age of 16 the whole time?
§ Mr. Thomas
We are discussing two Amendments, one of which refers simply to schools. Surely, the noble Lady—
§ Mr. Thomas
She is noble in my eyes. The right hon. Lady, who has carried a great measure of responsibility for the schools of the land, surely would not seek to justify that what it is wrong for the State to do with children under the age of 16 on the question of gambling becomes right when they reach their sixteenth birthday. Let the Financial Secretary go the whole way and say that as long as pupils are at school, teachers should not be required in their voluntary duty to undertake the sale of bonds which are offensive to their standards.
§ Dame Florence Horsbrugh
I should like to get this clear. The first of the two Amendments deals with advertisements of these securities in the schools, and I think we can all agree that we do not want advertisements of these things in the schools. The purpose of the second Amendment is that the bonds should not be sold by or to children under the age of 16. Has not my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary agreed that there will be regulations to ensure that these securities cannot be bought by children under the age of 16? Why, then, are we bringing in the question of the schools?
§ Mr. Thomas
The right hon. Lady is splitting hairs: no one knows it better than she herself. The question behind these Amendments, as was accepted by the Financial Secretary, is the wellbeing of young people. I am not arguing about the merits of a 16th birthday. I am talking of our responsibility for the well-being of the youth of the nation. Does our responsibility cease when children reach their 16th birthday?
§ Mr. Thomas
The hon. Member can make his own contribution to the debate later if he wishes.
The teaching profession is anxious about this matter. The Committee will be aware that the National Savings movement has already been faced with a crisis in the schools, due to other troubles. At present, an effort is being made to get school teachers voluntarily to undertake the supervision of savings once more. As yet, the ban remains. Does the Chancellor or the Financial Secretary think that, by urging every teacher who is opposed to the introduction of gambling in schools to sell Premium Bonds to school children over 16 years of age, he is helping those in the teaching profession who are responsible for giving a lead upon this question to get the ban removed?
§ Mr. H. Brooke
The National Savings movement is not proposing to seek to sell Premium Bonds in schools at all. No responsibility will be placed upon teachers in regard to this matter. If the hon. Member says that a boy who is over 16 years of age should be free to buy these bonds if he has left school, but not if he is still at school, I cannot accept 1067 [MR. BROOKE.] that distinction. We are putting no obligation or responsibility upon the teachers. I hope that I have made that quite clear.
§ Mr. Thomas
The Financial Secretary has made a most important statement, and I appreciate the fact that he has cleared the air. I am glad that school teachers will at least not have this business thrust upon them.
I will, therefore, address myself to the other question. Our responsibility for these young children does not begin when they first go to school and end when they leave school; it continues whether or not they are at school. Should this issue of gambling be placed before our young people at a time when the Chancellor is complaining—quite rightly—that too many people want something for nothing? Too many people want something without doing any honest work or making any endeavour.
I regret that the Financial Secretary cannot take this one further step. We shall be debating the whole principle of the scheme later. I am glad that schools are exempt and I appreciate the step which had been taken, but I wish that all youths, not only those privileged to stay at school beyond the age of 16, were protected from the temptations of this scheme.
§ Mr. Mr H. Wilson
We are not now debating the main principle of the Clause, and I will deal only with the specific Amendments which we are discussing. With regard to the question of the sale of bonds to or by children under the age of 16, whether in or out of school, the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman will probably satisfy my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) who moved the Amendment with such great eloquence and pursuasiveness.
The Financial Secretary dealt with the sale of bonds to children under the age of 16, telling us all about hon. Members opposite who want to buy these things for their nephews as Christmas presents, but we have not had much out of him about the question of the sale of bonds by children under the age of 16, which might arise in connection with office saving groups. I had hoped that he would say a word about that matter.
The reason why the Amendment mentions the age of 16 rather than 18 is that 1068 it is following the terms of the Small Lotteries and Gaming Bill, which recently went through the House. The Committee will recall that when we debated that Bill on Report, on 13th April, an Amendment was put down providing an age limit of 18 in respect of participants in these lotteries. Some hon. Members thought that 18 was a reasonable age, but others thought that there should be no limitation. In the end, a compromise was proposed by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), that 16 be made the age limit, and that proposal was accepted. I am sure that a good case could be made out for proposing that the age limit should be 18 in this case, but since the age of 16 was accepted in the case of the Bill to which I have referred, we felt it right to follow that Bill's provisions.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will consider the question of the sale of these bonds by young persons, but, on the understanding that he has given us that the Chancellor will deal with this point by regulations, and also assuming that he is right in saying that we can proceed by Prayer against them if we find that they do not fulfil what we have in mind, I would not wish to suggest to my hon. Friends that we should vote upon the second of the two Amendments.
The right hon. Gentleman's answer is not fully satisfactory with regard to the other Amendment. We have his welcome assurance that the National Savings movement does not at present intend to attempt to sell these bonds in schools. I should have preferred that that choice did not rest merely upon an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman. I should have liked to see it written into the Bill.
Although the regulations will provide that no child under the age of 16 who is at school will be subject to the sale of these bonds, those regulations will not of themselves deal with the question of advertisements. As my hon. Friends have pointed out, a problem does arise in the case of children between the ages of 16 and 19. Hon. Members on this side of the Committee cannot see why the right hon. Gentleman could not give us a clear assurance that he would incorporate in the Bill a provision that there would be no advertisements of this kind in our schools. Unless he can give us a clear assurance that he will accept the Amendment we shall have to divide upon it.
§ Mr. H. Brooke
The only point at issue now seems to be in connection with advertisements in schools. It is agreed that no child under the age of 16 will be able to buy one of these Premium Bonds, and I have stated that the National Savings movement is not proposing to sell them to anybody in schools. Ipso facto, it will not be advertising the bonds in schools. Taking everything into consideration, it seems to me highly improbable that the authorities of any school will start importing advertisements of this kind.
§ Mr. MacColl
I am the chairman of governors of a grammar school in which a substantial number of the children are under the age of 16 and, therefore, presumably could not deal with these bonds in any case. But there is also an evening institute at the school, and it will be quite legitimate for savings groups to sell bonds to people in the evening institute. We do not want our grammar school children to see, upon the school notice boards, advertisements which have been put there to attract the attention of the members of the evening institute.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Brooke
I think that this is somewhat of a refinement. It shows the difficulty of writing words into the law to provide for every conceivable contingency. The hon. Member and I are both aware of various difficulties that arise when premises used as a school in the daytime are also used as an evening institute. This seems to me to be a very small matter compared with some of the major complications that arise in those circumstances. As I have said, it is the school authorities who have control over what is advertised in the schools, but we cannot pass legislation to prevent any child from seeing any advertisement for a Premium Bond anywhere, because then we should have to pass legislation forbidding a child under 16 to go into a post office.
For that reason, and because we want to write into the law what is really essential, though recognising, I think, on both sides of the Committee that on the Finance Bill it is quite unthinkable to cover every conceivable contingency in the law, I suggest to the Committee that it would be making rather heavy weather to press for this Amendment to be included in the Bill.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall (Colne Valley)
Is not the right hon. Gentleman himself making rather heavy weather of this? If what he says is correct, what objection can there possibly be to writing into the Bill or, if he will not do that, writing into the regulations, a provision that no advertisement of any kind dealing with Premium Bonds shall be shown in the school? If this is not done, I think it is quite possible, from what the right hon. Gentleman said in his speech, that such advertising might appear in schools, and that, perhaps, is the reason why he does not want to accept the Amendment. This is a matter about which many people feel very strongly. I am sure that the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) should have convinced the right hon. Gentleman that this is a matter which ought to be taken seriously. These Amendments are extremely mild, and I cannot see why the right hon. Gentleman should not accept them.
§ Mr. Somerville Hastings (Barking)
In spite of what the Financial Secretary has said, it does not seem to me that this is a matter which can satisfactorily be left in its present condition. What I think he said was that a parent of a child should be at liberty to purchase a bond for that child if he is under 16, and any winnings should go to the parent at first, while the child is under the age of 16, and only after the child has reached the age of 16 should the winnings be received by him.
We are supposed to encourage our children to save money. Supposing a boy of 14 saves £1 and gives it to his father to buy him a Premium Bond. The Premium Bond is bought, and the name of the boy is entered on the certificate as well as the name of the father. Next year, before the boy reaches the age of 16, a prize is won. If the right hon. Gentleman had any children and if such a thing happened to him and £5 was won on a bond, what would he do with it? Would he put it into his pocket, and, if he did, would his son give him any peace until that £5 was received by him? I am not at all happy about this. This is not a case which is impossible; it could happen every day. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider this matter, and to frame the legislation so that winnings can be received only by those who are over 16.
§ Question put, That those words be there added:—1072
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 176, Noes 232.1073
|Division No. 222.]||AYES||[4.36 p.m.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Paget, R. T.|
|Albu, A. H.||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hamilton, W. W.||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Hannan, W.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||Paton, John|
|Anderson, Frank||Hastings, S.||Pearson, A.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hayman, F. H.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Healey, Denis||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Probert, A. R.|
|Benson, G.||Hobson, C. R.||Pryde, D. J.|
|Blackburn, F.||Holman, P.||Rankin, John|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Holmes, Horace||Redhead, E. C.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Holt, A. F.||Reid, William|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Boyd, T. C.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hunter, A. E.||Ross, William|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Royle, C.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Irving, S. (Dartford)||Short, E. W.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Janner, B.||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney C.)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Jeger, Mrs.Lena(Holbn & st.pncs, S.)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Slater, J. (sedgefield)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Jones, J. ldwal (Wrexham)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Clunie, J.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Coldrick, W.||Kenyon, C.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Steele, T.|
|Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)||King, Dr. H. M.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lawson, G. M.||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Cronin, J. D.||Lewis, Arthur||Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Logan, D. G.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Davies,Rt Hon.Clement(Montgomery)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||MacColl, J. E.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||McGhee, H. G.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Deer, G.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||McLeavy, Frank||Timmons, J.|
|Delargy, H. J.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Dodds, N. N.||Mahon, Simon||Viant, S. P.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Dye, S.||Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||West, D. G.|
|Edelman, M.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Mason, Roy||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Edwards, Pt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mayhew, C. P.||Willey, Frederick|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Messer, Sir F.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mikardo, Ian||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mitchison, G. R.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Finch, H. J.||Monslow, W.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Forman, J. C.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Woof, R. E.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.)||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Moss, R.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Gooch, E. G.||Oliver, H. G.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Oram, A. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Oswald, T.||Mr. J. Taylor and Mr. J. T. Price.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Owen, W. J.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Burden, F. F. A.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Butcher, Sir Herbert|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Bishop, F. P.||Butler,Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Body, R. F.||Campbell, Sir David|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Bossom, Sir A. C.||Carr, Robert|
|Ashton, H.||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger|
|Atkins, H. E.||Boyle, Sir Edward||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert|
|Balniel, Lord||Braine, B. R.||Cooper-Key, E. M.|
|Barber, Anthony||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.|
|Barter, John||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Corfield, Capt. F. V.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Brooman-White, R. C.||Crouch, R. F.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Iremonger, T. L.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Osborne, C.|
|Cunningham, Knox||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Page, R. G.|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Partridge, E.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Joseph, Sir Keith||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot||Pitt Miss E. M.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Keegan, D.||Pott, H. P.|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Kerr, H. W.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Kershaw, J. A.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. 0. L.|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Kimball, M.||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Kirk, P. M.||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Lagden, G. W.||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Erroll, F. J.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Redmayne, M.|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Fell, A.||Leavey, J. A.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Finlay, Graeme||Leburn, W.G.||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Foster, John||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Freeth, D. K.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Longden, Gilbert||Sharples, R. C.|
|Godber, J. B.||Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.||Shepherd, William|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Cower, H. R.||Lucas, P.B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)|
|Grant, W. (Woodside)||McKibbin, A. J.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richards|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Green, A.||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Harrison, Col, J. H. (Eye)||Maddan, Martin||Teeling, W.|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd)||Maitland, Cdr. J.F.W. (Horncastle)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. C.||Marples, A. E.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Mathew, R.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Maude, Angus||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Mawby, R. L.||Vickers, Miss J. H.|
|Hope, Lord John||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Homby, R. P.||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Monokton, Rt. Hon. Sir Waite||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Horobin, Sir Ian||Moore, Sir Thomas||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Howard, Hon. Creville (St. Ives)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Whitelaw, W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)|
|Howard, John (Test)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Nairn, D. L. S.||Wills, G. (Bridgwater)|
|Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Neave, Airey||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Nicholls, Harmar||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'oh)|
|Hurd, A. R.||Nield, Basil (Chester)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh,W.)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Mr. Legh and Mr. E. Wakefield.|
|Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
§ The Temporary Chairman (Sir Austin Hudson)
Does the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) wish to move the Amendment, in page 50, line 11, at the end add:(3) No securities to which this section applies shall be sold by or to a person under sixteen years of age.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
As I indicated in the previous debate, in view of the assurance given by the right hon. Gentleman, we do not propose to move that Amendment.
1074 Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
We now come to what is the main debate and, so far as the Committee is concerned, the only debate we have had, on the general principle of Premium Bonds. We can only debate this proposition on this Question. I think the whole Committee will agree that the proposal which underlies the Clause is one of the most controversial in what is otherwise a very dull Bill.
1075 I think I should say that many of us rather regret that the controversy surrounding this matter of Premium Bonds has to some extent, over the last two months, diverted public attention from the more important aspects of Government economic policy, and to some extent the Chancellor may no doubt be relieved that there has been so much controversy about this proposition that there has not been the same concentration on the grave short-comings of his economic policy.
In the debate on the Budget I suggested to the Chancellor that he should not regard Premium Bonds as an integral part of his financial proposals, but that he should submit his idea to a free vote of the House of Commons. I further suggested that if he still wanted to go on with it after that, if it had to find a legislative home, he should put it into the legislation, foreshadowed by the Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department on 9th March, to clear up the law about betting and gambling.
The Government have, in fact, refused a free vote. They have put it into the Finance Bill, and as far as I know there are few precedents for allowing free votes on a Finance Bill. By so doing they have made it more of a party issue, and whereas we on this side would have welcomed a free vote—welcomed a free vote in all parts of the Committee—we very much regret the fact that the Chancellor has made the matter, in effect, an issue of confidence in the Government.
Nevertheless, although it appears—and this is regrettable—that we shall be dividing to some extent on party lines, very different personal approaches are possible and I think will be heard in the debate on the Clause. It is a fact, of course, that to very many hon. Gentlemen and to hundreds of thousands of people this is a matter of conscience.
It is because the proposal for a State lottery, because that is what it is, arouses strong feelings in the Committee, and indeed, in the country, that we shall probably hear this afternoon and this evening speeches from many different standpoints and, to a considerable extent, cutting across party lines. There are, for example, those who, with great sincerity, are opposed to all gambling, whether it is the 6d. flutter or the purchase of a 1076 raffle ticket at a church bazaar, or whether it is pools betting, betting on horse or dog racing, or a State lottery. That is the position of some hon. Gentlemen who are opposed to all betting of all kinds.
Some of those—and this is perfectly logical—take their opposition to gambling of all forms to the point where they are opposed to speculative dealings on the Stock Exchange and in the commodity markets, and their opposition to that is on moral as well as on economic grounds. Then there are others who are willing to condone a small private bet and who, indeed, approve, or at any rate do not condemn, minor private lotteries for the benefit of sporting, charitable, political or even religious bodies, but who, at the same time, are strongly opposed to the creation of a State lottery. I am bound to say that that is the particular group in which I find myself.
Again, there are those who have no moral or religious objection either to private gambling or to the State lottery but who oppose the proposal on purely economic grounds, believing that if there is any substantial investment—if that is the word—in Premium Bonds that will only be a diversion from other forms of saving and will not represent net new saving.
I have no doubt that all these views will be heard in the course of the debate. I think it right that I should make clear my own position, as, indeed, all of us will, because none of us can speak on behalf of a complete side of the Committee in this respect. I do not myself take my stand on any religious or moral repugnance to all forms of gambling, big and small, public and private. I have the very greatest respect for those who do take that point of view. I do not claim to share it and although I have been for over 20 years a member of a Nonconformist Church I confess to the Committee that I am not myself in a position to claim religious scruples for my opposition to the Clause.
In fact, I made my position clear on this point on the Third Reading of the Small Lotteries and Gaming Bill on 13th April—the Bill introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies). That, of course, was the Friday before the Budget, before any of us suspected that 1077 the Chancellor had the idea of a State lottery in his mind. During that debate there was a little argument between the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Sir R. Boothby) and my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Mr. Hastings), and I said:I see very little harm in small lotteries, but the bigger the lottery, the bigger the element of gambling, the more suspicious I become."—[OFFICIA REPORT,13th April, 1956; Vol. 551, c. 626.]I went on to say that my main reason for supporting my hon. Friend's Bill was that the law on small lotteries had become entirely unenforceable and the police were faced with an impossible situation and that was a state of affairs in which Parliament must intervene. So I made it clear then that, while respecting the views of my hon. Friends and certain hon. Gentlement opposite, who were opposed to all kinds of lotteries, I could not go all the way with them.
I should be out of order in referring to debates which have taken place in another place during this Session, though, for some reason or another, they do not have the same inhibitions about us: but play has been made—I will not say where —with the fact that a number of local Labour parties supplement their funds by recourse to small pools, draws, raffles and so on. No doubt members of the Conservative Party do, too; I do not know. [HON. MEMBERS: "They do not have to."] Perhaps they do not need to do so. But it is true that local Labour parties do so. I regret that. A certain report on party organisation with which I was connected spent some time on this question last year, and deplored the fact that so much time of certain local parties was spent onthis kind of thing. We are certainly doing our best to make this kind of thing unnecessary and to get rid of it.
But whatever the position of political parties, of football and cricket club supporters' associations, of charitable bodies and even certain church organizations—principally, though not exclusively, Roman Catholic ones—I think that many hon. Members will agree with me that there is all the difference in the world between small private affairs of that kind, wholly or mainly confined to members of the association concerned, on the one hand, and the incursion of the State, with all its majesty and power, into the lotteries field on the other. That is the 1078 distinction which, at any rate, I draw, and I know that a number of my hon. Friends do; and that is certainly the view of hundreds of thousands of people all over the country.
I do not deny that it happens abroad. I do not deny that it used to be a regular feature of our public finances in the eighteenth and early nineteenth, century. My hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) referred to one of the advertisements of that time and I understand that we owe the British Museum to one of these lotteries. But I still believe that the decision of the Chancellor to have recourse to such a proposal in this day and age is repugnant and degrading. As I said in the Budget debate, what a commentary it is on the four-anda-half years' stewardship of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite that they feel it necessary to have recourse to such a device to pull the country through.
That is my position. I must, however, repeat what I said in the Budget debate, that I think it wrong for the Government or this Committee to ride roughshod over the view of hundreds of thousands of people, including many in the National Savings movement. During that debate I never suggested, and I do not suggest today, that the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people who feel strongly on this matter are necessarily a majority in the country. I do not think that is the issue. I do not think it matters whether or not they are a majority.
I must admit to the Committee that when the Chancellor made this proposition in his Budget speech, I said that I expected the scheme would be popular. My private estimate was that a Gallup poll would show that about 25 per cent. of those who answered the question, and understood it, would be in favour, and about 25 per cent. against. That was my guess then. Nevertheless, I still took the view that it was wrong to override the views of that 25 per cent., among whom there are many who feel much more strongly than those who support, or acquiesce in, or tolerate the proposal.
When a Gallup poll was taken, I think it showed a much narrower figure. If I remember rightly, it was 54 per cent. in favour and 36 per cent. against, with the usual proportion of those who "Do not know." But as I have said, whatever the 1079 size or the power of the minority, it is a very substantial minority, and it is wrong for the Chancellor and this Committee to ignore its views. Time and again in the history of the House of Commons there have been cases where the House has been chary of riding roughshod over the views of a minority, except where very important State interests were involved. The House has ridden roughshod over the views of pacifists and conscientious objectors, but only because the House felt that there were big and important State interests concerned.
We have yet to learn from the Chancellor that here there is a very important State interest, sufficient to justify his taking this line against the very strong view of hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens. Since the Budget debate, I do not think that the Chancellor can have been left in any doubt about the feelings of the majority of churches on this question, and no doubt a number of my hon. Friends will be referring to some of the resolutions which have been passed.
I have just referred to the National Savings movement, and really this Committee ought to consider the position of collectors in street savings groups, in factory and office savings groups, and elsewhere. Some of these collectors are among the most faithful and devoted workers in the national interest. Every year the Chancellor of the Exchequer of whatever party never fails to pay tribute, and rightly so, to the voluntary workers in the National Savings movement.
Let us consider the position of many of them. For years they have been going round their districts—and it is a rather thankless job in many ways—and they have been stressing, because many of them feel passionately about this, that economic salvation, whether personal or national, can come only from abstinence and saving, and that there is no short cut.
Now the Chancellor comes along and offends these people, and denies what they have been saying for so many years by saying that there is a short cut to the acquisition of wealth; that it is not necessary to wait for the interest to accumulate, but that it can be done by this "draw" of his.
One thing, at any rate, Clause 35 does for us. It gets rid of the Chancellor's 1080 rather futile pretence that this is not a lottery. During the Budget debate the right hon. Gentleman went out of his way to suggest that it was not a lottery. But when he came to look at the law, he found that he had to put in subsection (2) of Clause 35, which says:Nothing in any enactment relating to lotteries shall be taken to apply in relation to securities issued under the National Loans Act, 1939, by reason of any use or proposed use of chance to select particular securities for special benefits, if the terms of the issue provide that the amount subscribed is to be repayable in full in the case of all the securities.That disposes, once and for all, of his argument. Of course it is a lottery. If this Clause had not been put in the Bill in this form, the Chancellor would have been precluded, by the lotteries legislation, from acting in the way he intended.
As the Committee will be aware, we sought to move an Amendment to delete subsection (2). I understand that was out of order on the ground that it would have wrecked the Clause. So it must be obvious that unless the Chancellor had subsection (2) in the Bill he could not proceed with this lottery. There has been some argument about the extent to which it is a lottery. I do not think that there is any room for argument. It is a lottery on the 9½d. of interest on every £1 bond.
It is clear that but for subsection (2) it would be so regarded under existing laws. The new Measure would limit the number of tickets to 15,000 and total takings to £750, and the other provisions which the House, after a great deal of thought and care, put into the Small Lotteries and Gaming Bill, would apply. The Chancellor evaded all the conditions and prohibitions by subsection (2)
Until this year, for well over a century the attitude of the State has been that it would have no truck with this kind of transaction. Indeed, it still is the position, so far as I understand, that Government Departments frown on any connection of State servants with the gambling profession. I should be very glad if the Chancellor, before this debate ends, would produce a copy of the Treasury Staff Handbook. I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) is not here to reinforce this point from his knowledge.
1081 Would the Chancellor tell us whether the words I am about to quote are included in the instructions given to every new entrant to the Treasury, including presumably, himself? Instructions given to every member of the Treasury give clear warning that if these instructions are transgressed they will lead to disciplinary action and almost certainly dismissal.
This is what the handbook says:No officer may engage in a money lending business or a betting business or act as an agent or tout of a money lender or bookmaker. Any use of official premises, the official address, telephone, etc., for the purpose of betting or gambling is forbidden.Those are still part of the conditions of employment of Treasury civil servants, but now the Chancellor is giving way and saying that many of them are from henceforth to act as agents or touts of the bookmakers who are now gracing the Treasury bench including, of course, the Postmaster-General.
I now turn to the economic aspects of Clause 35. The Chancellor may or may not get a substantial response to his appeal for Premium Bonds. I do not know how much he expects to get. I saw an authoritative article on this subject in the Daily Mail, on 19th April, which suggested that £50 million worth of bonds in the first year might be a very good target. Since that article was written with the help and advice of Her Majesty's Treasury, judging from certain internal evidence in the article—personal details, and so on—perhaps we can take it that £50 million is what the Chancellor is roughly aiming at for this year. Whatever it is, I submit to the Committee that to a very great extent it will not be new saving, but a diversion from other forms of saving.
Let me remind the Chancellor of what was said in the May issue of The Banker. That journal supports a great part of the Chancellor's Budget. The Banker said:Only a small proportion of the expected additional net flow into National 'savings' media is likely to be provided by a genuine net addition to real saving, and the bigger the flow the smaller the proportion will be. Most of the demand, and almost the whole of the initial demand, will come from switches, direct or indirect, from existing cash balances—balances in the banks, the building societies, and even the hire-purchase finance companies.In other words, The Banker does not expect anything in the way of new 1082 savings. It may be that people have money in the municipal banks, Post Office Savings Bank, or co-operative societies and, despite all the incentives given by the Post Office Savings Bank, they might decide to take out a £ or two in Premium Bonds.
Because the Financial Secretary has failed entirely to answer any of the questions he has had on this subject, I must ask the Chancellor what estimate he has made of the cost and of the staff involved. Is this going to mean a horde of officials? If so, we ought to know before we vote. I am sure that a number of hon. Members below the Gangway who have very strong doctrinal views on the point might not wish to vote for the Clause if we find that a horde of officials will be required.
I have referred to an article in the Daily Mail. I understand from that article—if it is at all authoritative, as it seems to be—that it has been calculated that expenses will absorb 4d. in the — on each bond. The Committee will have already made the calculation for itself. When we have interest on each bond at 4 per cent.—which is what the market rate would be—that gives 9½d. in the —. Nearly half that—4d. of the 9½d.—will have gone right away on administrative expenses.
I hope that the Chancellor will answer this question. Is that 4d., if that is the right figure, to come out of the 9½d., leaving only 5½d. for prizes, or is the State to shoulder the whole cost of the administrative burden, adding to Government expenditure to the tune of perhaps £800,000 a year so that the whole of the 91½d. can rank for prizes? I hope the Chancellor will give us a very clear answer. Perhaps I might make the point a little clearer with one or two examples. Let us suppose that in the first year £50 million worth of bonds are sold. On the proportion I have used, that would give an administrative cost of about £800,000 and would leave £1,200,000 for prizes if the administrative cost is borne out of the interest. If the administrative cost is borne separately by the State, of course there would be £2 million for prizes. On this basis, there would then be in the course of a year 1,200 prizes of £1,000 each. I do not need to tell the Committee what heavy odds are involved in that. One needs to have £50 million in 1083 premium bonds for a possibility of 1,200 prizes a year.
What about the staff? It has been estimated—I hope that the Chancellor will confirm it—that at least 1,700 additional staff will be needed for the purpose of operating the scheme. I think that 1,700 is a reasonable estimate, but I hope that the Chancellor will tell us whether it is so because probably the Committee has already done this calculation for itself. Seventeen hundred staff, working an average of 49 weeks a year at 35 hours per week—which is tough going—would amount to 174,930,000 minutes of staff time for the purpose of handling 50 million bonds, and that would mean 3½ minutes work on each bond.
That is not very much time to see that all is properly checked and that there is no possibility of a mistake. I do not need to tell the Chancellor of the consequences of any serious mistakes or the suspicion of jiggery-pokery in this matter. I am sure that every care will be taken by the Treasury, by the National Savings Office and by the Postmaster-General to see that no mistake can possibly be made in this respect, although whether the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford (Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport) will have as much confidence as I have in the Postmaster-General not to make a mistake I do not know.
Of course, the Chancellor may tell us that he does not need 1,700 staff and that this is one of the provinces which is to be newly invaded by automation. If that is to be the case, perhaps he will give us some estimate of the capital cost.
I hope that the Chancellor will give us the authoritative estimates. The estimates I have just given are based on a single year's operation of the scheme. It will be obvious that if these bonds are kept after the end of a year in order to rank for prizes on the second year, the administrative costs and complications will go up at a very sharp rate indeed. There is no question here of issuing and collecting tickets, as it were, for a raffle, having a draw and then chucking them away; these bonds must be kept, marked, and docketed so that they have the same chance in the second year as the tickets which are sold in the second year. The 1084 cost of administration will be very much increased.
This scheme is not an easy job, like one of these raffles, where half cloakroom tickets are sold, as is the case, we are told, at Conservative bazaars. There will have to be a most meticulous checking of the lists. Some idea of the problem can be gained from the fact that in the current National Savings index there are no fewer than 371,000 Smiths. That will suggest to the Committee that the possibility of confusion, drawing the wrong name, or giving the prize to the wrong person, is very considerable. When I tell the Committee that, of those 371,000 Smiths, 3,500 are plain William Smith, that again shows the difficulties which the Chancellor will have in operating this scheme, when he has perhaps 50 million, and in succeeding years, 100 million, 150 million or 200 million of these Premium Bonds to look after.
We shall want to know how much staff will be required and what checking there is to be. In particular, we shall want to know what storage space will be required for recording all these holders of Premium Bonds.
§ Mr. Cledwyn Hughes (Anglesey)
In the light of what my right hon. Friend has said, would it not be right that Wales should be excluded, because the confusion there will be terrible?
§ Mr. Wilson
When we recall the difficulties in Anglesey at the last General Election, with "Hughes the school," "Hughes the law", and "Hughes twice". it seems almost impossible for the Chancellor to run this scheme at all in Wales, though I have more confidence in the constituents of my hon. Friends than he has to think it likely that many Welshmen would buy the bonds.
I hope, therefore, that the Chancellor will give us fuller information than has been given so far about the number of staff, the estimated cost, and how this cost is to be met, whether out of the 9½d. or as an addition. I hope he will tell us also what amendments he will make to the Treasury Staff Handbook to ensure that these 1,700 or more people cannot be regarded as "agents or touts of bookmakers" or that "official premises and official addresses, telephone, etc.", are not "used for the purpose of betting or gambling".
1085 I felt that those somewhat technical matters ought to be put before the Committee so that it might come to a view about them, even though my hon. Friends and I oppose the Clause on more general grounds. Now, after that technical digression, I should like to put this general point to the Chancellor. Hon. Members will approach this Clause from different religious and moral standpoints, which the Chancellor may not himself share. But there is one consideration which ought to appeal to him. Recently, in the very expensive speech he made at Newcastle, he drew attention to the dangers facing the country, and the Prime Minister, too, in a speech he made to the Conservative Women's "jamboree," I think it was—I do not know the exact name of the gathering—
§ Mr. Osborne
It was not a meeting of one of the penny-farthing organisations to which the right hon. Gentleman himself belongs.
§ Mr. Wilson
If the hon. Member is interested in penny-farthings, he will remember that that was last year. We have had Tonbridge since then, and we shall be having Louth next. I think I should probably be out of order were I to respond further to the interesting observation the hon. Gentleman has made.
I was referring to the speeches of the Chancellor and the Prime Minister, which, in what I think were very carefully considered words, very seriously drew attention to the economzic dangers which the country faces. I have on more than one occasion drawn the attention of the Committee to the contrast between the moral appeal made by the late Sir Stafford Cripps at times of economic crisis and the somewhat cynical opportunism of the Chancellor's appeals. I was sorry to see that that argument did not commend itself to the Economic Secretary during the debate on the Budget. It seems that he thought it was all old stuff, and that only self-interest now, not the national interest or moral appeal, carried any weight with the people.
Whatever one may think of that, there is one thing, as the Chancellor will agree, which needs to be emphasised and reemphasised—to his credit, the hon. Mem- 1086 ber for Louth (Mr. Osborne) has emphasised it for many years—that this national economic crisis which has been with us now for 11 years can be solved only by hard work, by restraint, by sacrifice, and, above all, by the sacrifice of self-interest to the national interest. The theme of all the Chancellor's speeches so far is, and must be, that there is no short cut to national economic solvency, except by the practice of those very serious virtues to which I have referred. Now, of course, the Chancellor has cut the ground from under his own feet by suggesting that, through this lottery, there is a quick, easy way, if not to great fortune, at any rate to useful windfalls.
Before I sit down, I should like to draw to the attention of the Committee an article in the May issue of the National Provincial Bank Review. This article contains a general review of the Budget and the economic situation by Mr. S. P. Chambers, a very high functionary of Imperial Chemical Industries and formerly a very high official of the Board of Inland Revenue, an extremely knowledgeable individual. After spending a long time dealing with the general economic position and the competitiveness of British industry, he comes to the question of Premium Bonds. He does not approach it from any moral or religious standpoint, but he looks at it from the economic point of view. He says:This question of the immediate appeal of the scheme is relatively unimportant.He has been dealing with the size of the prizes.What matters is the long-term effect upon the general attitude of people of all classes to the whole problem of saving and capital formation. It is a very difficult task to explain to people whose cars are receptive to propaganda of various kinds, how important it is that the country as a whole (which means the individuals who make up the country acting either separately or collectively) should save a substantial part of the national income and invest it in capital equipment so that our competitive power in overseas markets can be maintained, and the general standard of living can steadily rise over the years.He goes on—and I commend these words to the Chancellor:This task is made far more difficult if the whole subject of saving and investment is muddled up with schemes which amount to pure gambling. To mix up gambling which depends upon the toss of a coin, or the drawing 1087 of a slip of paper, with economic risk undertaken in the ordinary course of manufacture and commerce just adds to the confusion and misunderstanding.He has no moral or religious opposition to the scheme. He continues:It would have been far better if a straight State lottery had been introduced and the subject kept clear from the far more important issue of savings and capital investment. The revival of the habit of saving is of paramount importance to this country's future, and the Premium Bond scheme, though unimportant in itself, is likely to do damage to the cultivation of this old-fashioned, discredited, but absolutely essential virtue.It may be that the Chancellor feels that this little flutter of his, this little gamble, fits in with the new economics of the "Windfall State" in which we are living.
We are seeing now, especially over the last two years, a very big change in the financial and economic situation. There are signs of it in many directions. For example, the large cash prizes given on I.T.A. are unrelated in any way to the worth of services performed. We see the even larger gains in recent takeover bids on the Stock Exchange. The financial newspapers are full of them. One cannot read what is the position of British industry or commerce. What one has to find out is who is outbidding whom in a particular takeover bid.
We are seeing the City more and more putting a premium on capital gains and setting work and saving at a discount. That is why it is serious that the Chancellor should have allied himself with those who are putting a premium on windfall gains, however small they may be under the Clause, and setting the more important virtues of work and saving at a discount. That is why, in our view, the Clause represents not so much a personal as a national demoralisation, and my right hon. and hon. Friends intend to vote against it.
§ Mr. Osborne
I agreed with the last part of the speech of the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) a great deal more than with the earlier part. When he recalls the appeals by Sir Stafford Cripps for work and sacrifice, I entirely agree with him—there is no other way out for this country. We do a disservice to our fellow citizens if we attempt to suggest to them that there is an easy way out of the immense difficulties with which we are surrounded. On 1088 that matter I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman.
On the smaller point of administration made by the right hon. Gentleman concerning the 371,000 Smiths and the difficulty that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have in sorting out one Smith from another, all I would say is that recruiting sergeants have been doing that fairly efficiently for a long time, and if a recruiting sergeant can do it I am sure that the Treasury can do it also. That, I suppose, applies to Wales with its Joneses and its whatnots.
§ Mr. Osborne
I ask the Committee to look at this matter from a production point of view and from an economic point of view, although, first, I should like to say that whilst I do not regard it exclusively from the moral point of view, I do not minimise the importance of the moral issue.
To certain of my very dear friends this is a matter of very high principle, on which they feel deeply. Hon. Members, however, on both sides of the Committee, would be fooling themselves if they imagined that the whole country felt the same way. The bulk of the people no longer regard gambling in the moral sense that their grandfathers did. If, for instance, a man who plays a game of golf plays for who is to pay for tea, he thinks nothing of it, whether he goes to church or chapel. The strength of the moral issue is not nearly as great as it was fifty years ago. Hon, Members opposite would be doing their cause a great deal of harm if they over-exaggerated that point of view. I do not, however, deny that it exists and is sincerely and strongly held in certain quarters.
§ Sir Beverley Baxter (Southgate)
Does my hon. Friend seriously suggest that at his golf club the members play only for a cup of tea? They do not at my golf club.
§ Mr. Osborne
All I would say is that on Saturday I played in a three-ball game, I managed to win and I did not pay for tea. That is what we played for.
The aspect that worries me is this. In the Budget debate, I said that I rather regretted this proposal, and that it seemed to me to be rather a little off-white it 1089 was not quite the thing that I thought a British Government should do. I still think the same about it, and I must say so. What I deeply regret are the economic facts that have driven the Chancellor to take this unusual course. It is not so much the course itself: it is what lies behind it that worries me.
Why has the Chancellor had to do this? The simple reason is that the nation is neither earning enough nor saving enough to keep solvent the Welfare State, in which both sides of the Committee take pride. That is the economic and social background behind these proposals.
If the spirit of Sir Stafford Cripps drove hon. Members opposite as hard as I should like to think it did, production would be much greater today, our saving would be much greater, and my right hon. Friend would not have had to have recourse to what I dislike in these Premium Bonds. The real problem behind all this is that the Welfare State, which many years ago I, as a poor man's child, saw coming into existence and regarded as a noble ideal that would cause the strong to help the weak, that would banish poverty and ignorance and would do all the things that the poor people wanted and felt ought to be done for them, is breaking down because those of us—all of us—who ought to be working to maintain it are not doing sufficient in that way to maintain it. That is the problem which faces us.
If our economic machine were working as it should be working, and if, as the right hon. Gentleman for Huyton said, we all sought a little more the national interest and a little less our self-interest—and that applies to both sides of the Committee; it applies to certain sections of the trade union world as well as to the Stock Exchange—the Welfare State, for which the right hon. Gentleman coined the phrase the "Windfall State" but which I would rather call the "spiv State"—both sides must take responsibility for this—would be kept solvent.
As the right hon. Gentleman says, too many people are trying to live without working. People are all trying to get something for nothing. [Interruption.] It is not only this side of the Committee; it is the other side just as much, and let us face it. It is because of that 1090 feeling, which has grown out of the Welfare State, that we find ourselves in this financial difficulty. This Premium Bond proposal seems to me to be a kind of last regrettable prop to keep standing a Welfare State that is not—[Interruption.] It is no use Welsh Members taking exception to this, because it is some of the Welsh miners who will not work as they should work.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Thomas
On a point of order, Sir Rhys. I am sorry to worry you with this, but, out of harmony with the rest of his speech, the hon. Member has been particularly insulting about Welsh miners, and would it not be at least in accordance with the customary courtesies of the Committee if, on second thoughts, he withdrew the insult, or allowed somebody to reply to him?
§ Mr. Osborne
My retort was to an interjection made by an hon. Member sitting close to the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas), and I was calling the attention of the Committee to the fact that at two coal mines in Wales a fair share of the work has not been done, and that if the rest of the country followed their example we should be utterly bankrupt. [HON. MEMBERS:" How does the hon. Member know?"] I was saying something which is true. No one on either side of the Committee will deny it.
§ Mr. Horace E. Holmes (Hemsworth)
On a point of order. The hon. Member is condemning two pits in South Wales, and he knows nothing about them whatever. Is it right for the hon. Member to condemn something he knows nothing about?
§ Mr. Osborne
Before you came into the Chair, Sir Rhys, I was saying that our economic difficulties are partly the cause of these Premium Bonds, that these Premium Bonds are due to the fact that both sides of industry are not pulling their weight to make the economic situation satisfactory. There was an interjection on the other side of the Committee to the effect that the fault lay on this side—
§ Mr. H. Wilson
Sir Rhys, I have studied the Clause very carefully and cannot find anything in it about Welsh miners or the attitude of miners to the economic problem. Is it in order to debate the coal mining industry now?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I have not had an opportunity of hearing what the hon. Member was talking about. Certainly it would not be in order to debate the coal mines now.
§ Mr. Thomas
I should not pursue this matter, Sir Rhys, if I did not feel strongly about it, but as I do, may I ask your guidance? As the son of a Welsh miner and the brother of a Welsh miner, am I expected to sit here to listen to an hon. Member, who ought to know better, insulting a whole category of people in South Wales?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I have only just taken the Chair, and I have not had an opportunity of hearing what the hon. Member was saying, but the hon. Member is responsible for what opinions he expresses. That is not a matter for the Chair, and it is not a point of order.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
Further to the point of order, and on the question of the relevance of the argument to the proposal. May not the 1092 hon. Gentleman's argument be held to be in order in that the Chancellor is, of course, offering the Welsh miners and a great many other people a very, very good inducement to believe that it is a good thing to live without working?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
As I have not had an opportunity of hearing what is the hon. Member's argument, I cannot tell whether it is relevant or not.
§ Mr. Osborne
In view of what has been said, I shall not say any more on that. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."'] I shall certainly not withdraw.
I should like to put two points to my right hon. Friend about the bonds. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] Hon. Members opposite are like a lot of parrots.
§ Mr. Osborne
I beg your pardon, Sir Rhys, and I withdraw that remark.
There are two points that I think my right hon. Friend should bear in mind about the Premium Bonds. I doubt whether these bonds will draw much money from the football pools, and for this reason. The men and women who have a gamble on the football pools have a prize offered to them every week, and the prize is much bigger than anything which my right hon. Friend can offer. Having discussed football pools with many men who are stupid enough to go in for them, I have yet to find many who are prepared to switch from their present gamble into Premium Bonds.
With this idea of the Premium Bonds, what we are really saying to the country —and it is typical of our age—is, "Come and have a gamble. You cannot lose. You may win. You may get something for nothing, but you cannot lose." What a policy to put before the nation, a nation to whom fifteen years ago we were saying, "You have to work and sacrifice for your salvation". I would rather see a demand for greater sacrifices all the way round to rescue us from our economic difficulties.
This is a proposal to say to our nation, "Here is the best form of gamble you 1093 can have in the world". Yet it is really not a gamble. It offers the punter outsider's stakes for the favourite's chances, and then if he looses he can go to the bookie and get his money back. It seems to me to be an extraordinary thing to do. I doubt if this proposal will attract the great amount of money that the Chancellor thinks it will. If it will help our economic situation, I shall be delighted, but I doubt if it will.
Some hon. Members, especially some of those from South Wales—
§ Mr. Osborne
—are going to take a high-falutin' standpoint on this issue. Ten years ago here I raised the same moral issue on the football pools question. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite were then in power. The right hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) was Chancellor. I raised the question on 12th February, 1947. I did not receive from them one squeak of sympathy in support of the case which I was then making. [HON. MEMBERS: "Because the hon. Member was making it."] The moral issue of gambling did not interest hon. Members opposite one bit. I suggest that to many of them the issue today is one of importance only because they think they will get votes out of it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Oh, yes. Not to all of them.
§ Mr. Thomas
On a point of order. Is it not an infringement of our rules to impute unworthy motives?
§ Mr. Osborne
I think I am entitled to make this point. All I am saying to hon. Members opposite is that when on that occasion I raised the question of the folly of teaching people that they can get something for nothing from the football pools, they gave me no support. The Socialist Government refused even an inquiry into the matter. They were not worried about moral issues, which did not matter to them because they thought that they would get votes out of the proposal.
I said at the time:I believe that this so-called industry"—that is, the football pools, which are on the same basis as the suggestion made today— 1094constitutes one of the greatest menaces of the present time and it represents an evil that is social, financial, economic and moral."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th February, 1947; Vol. 433, c. 485.]I asked then for support from hon. Members opposite and asked that their Government should institute an inquiry and give us the facts.
Not one hon. Member opposite, except Mr. Nally, who is no longer a Member but who was then the Member for Bilston, supported me. All the rest opposed me, and said that what I proposed was an interference with the rights of the individual. On the moral issue, therefore, the case of hon. Members opposite is phoney and fictitious, and would not bear any investigation, and for that reason I would. not support them.
§ Mr. Arthur Henderson (Rowley Regis and Tipton)
The reference made by the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) to the miners can be tested very simply. I do not think that my hon. Friends will have any difficulty in assessing the contribution made to the welfare of the community by the miners to whom the hon. Member referred, and the contribution of the individual who, as a result of paying in £1 may enjoy the chance of receiving £1,000 in return.
We seek to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that for the first time for 150 years the State is returning to a system of lotteries under the auspices of the Government. I share the views of those who object to gambling, both on religious and moral grounds, but I also realise that the function of Parliament is to deal with the problems that confront the nation in so far as they may be regarded as anti-social. Therefore, speaking for myself, I do not oppose the Chancellor's Premium Bonds proposal merely on religious and moral grounds.
I am also well aware that perhaps the great bulk of the population of the country indulge in gambling in one form. or another at one time or another. We are told that at least 8 million people fill up football coupons week by week, and throughout the length and breadth of the country the local political parties, including local Labour parties, and organisers of church bazaars hold raffles. I say, realising that I make myself vulnerable, that I have often bought raffle tickets. Perhaps I have had little 1095 opportunity of avoiding doing so at the many bazaars which I have attended during thirty years of public life. Therefore, we realise that a great proportion of the population like to have a flutter, whether in a raffle at a bazaar or on the racecourse or at the dog-racing track.
The State and Parliament have never looked with favour upon gambling activities. The first Act of Parliament to restrict gambling was passed nearly 300 years ago, and from time to time legislation has been passed which has made gaming and wagering and even lotteries unlawful. Between 1701 and 1823, State lotteries or lotteries organised under the auspices of the State were permitted in this country. It was not until public opinion became aroused in the early part of the last century that Parliament was constrained to pass an Act in 1823, since when lotteries have been unlawful. Now, for the first time since then, the Government seek to go back to the days before 1823. We regard it as a retrograde step, because it is the beginning of reversing legislation which public opinion demanded more than 130 years ago.
The Chancellor seeks to suggest that the Premium Bonds scheme, to which he attaches such great importance, does not constitute a lottery. I looked up the proceedings of the Joint Select Committee on Lotteries and Advertisements, which sat in 1908. I found that attempts were made in that Committee to differentiate between what is called the premium bond and what is called the lottery bond, the premium bond being similar to what the Chancellor is now proposing and the lottery bond being one in respect of which people risked the loss of their security.
The Joint Select Committee declined, by a majority vote, to recognise any difference whatsoever between a premium bond and a lottery bond. It is quite clear from the evidence put before that Committee that there was general acceptance of the view that lotteries, whether on a small scale in the form of bonds, or as State lotteries, rest upon the gambling propensities of the individual.
We on this side of the Committee feel that the Chancellor is proposing something that is not only necessarily anti-religious or anti-moral, but that he is pro- 1096 posing something which is a sad commentary on the present state of the country when, in 1956, he seeks to put the resources of the State behind a scheme which is based on chance or lot and is therefore seeking to encourage the nation's gambling spirit.
Many of us believe that the duty of the State, of the Government and of Parliament is to protect the community from the social effects of the gambling spirit. If it is suggested that my attitude is illogical, because we have never objected to the State receiving revenue from football pools and other forms of gambling, and because Parliament has not seen fit to refuse permission for the passing of a Bill to legalise or to increase the amount of a small lottery, which was passed a few weeks ago. I would point to what I consider to be the central point of this controversy. It is that in all those cases, whether a football pool, a small lottery run by a football club or a church bazaar, the State is not promoting, encouraging or organising any of those gambling activities.
All that the State is doing is to say to the mass of individuals, If you do this you must hand over part of the proceeds to the State". But in this case, it is not a question of going to people who are organising private lotteries, and saying "We shall increase taxation in order to strengthen the economic basis of our country". The State itself is entering the gambling business. Instead of saying, as they said at the last Election, "Invest in security", the Government are now saying, "Invest in gambling. Invest in these Premium Bonds".
Therefore I say that our opposition to the proposal of the Chancellor is because we think that it is retrograde, that it is highly undesirable and, as I said a moment ago, because it is a sad commentary upon the situation existing in this country, and which has nothing to do with what the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) suggested about the Welfare State. This is a straight issue, and it is because we object to the State entering the gambling business that we oppose this proposal.
§ Mr. C. E. Mott-Radclyffe (Windsor)
This is a debate in which views differ widely and are sincerely held both in favour of and against Premium Bonds.
1097 We each speak for ourselves and our views cut across party lines.
I do not think that anybody can disagree about the purpose which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had in mind when he proposed Premium Bonds. There may be a difference about the method, but not about the purpose. The purpose is clear. It is to encourage savings. As my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) said, unless as a nation we save a great deal more than we are saving now, I do not think that in the long run we can re-equip our industries as plant becomes outworn and outdated. Clearly, on economic and other grounds, we must save a great deal more than we are now saving because, otherwise, we shall cease to compete in world markets and we shall cease to be able to support the Welfare State. So I do not think there can be any disagreement on any side of the Committee about the purpose, though there is genuine disagreement about the method. Many hon. Members on both sides of the Committee do not like the method involved in the Premium Bonds. They think it is gambling, ad they think that gambling is wrong.
My own criticism of it, in one sense, is precisely the other way round. I do not think that the Premium Bonds are attractive enough. I do not think that they offer sufficient prizes or sufficient sums to siphon off any substantial proportion of the large amount of money which goes weekly and monthly into football pools, horse-racing, dog-racing and in other directions. If the prizes were larger and the scheme thereby made more attractive, the result might be more fruitful.
I come now to the moral aspect. Naturally, one respects the view of those who dislike Premium Bonds upon genuine grounds of conscience. Opposition has been expressed to the scheme by a number of distinguished clergymen and others, both in pulpits and outside. I would be the last person to question the sincerity of those who hold such views. I wonder, however, whether we are not in danger of getting out of all proportion the moral issue on Premium Bonds.
I am not certain whether there is such a large moral issue involved. Certainly 1098 I do not think that the moral issue ought to be voiced too loudly by clergy of the Church of England. I say that because a large part of the investments of the Church Commissioners, from which all the clergy derive their stipends, is inevitably a form of gambling. It must be so because where the Church Commissioners have money invested in urban properties, the site values change; where there is investment in agricultural property, the tenants change, and with those changes the output of the land varies. Where their investments have been switched from gilt-edged to ordinary shares, that, too, is a gamble.
It was reported in a newspaper the other day that the Church Commissioners owned 44,000 shares in Trinidad Oil and that if the Trinidad Oil deal went through they would make a profit of £88,000. I do not know whether that is true or not, but if it is true, that investment is a gamble on political events in the Caribbean. In precisely the same way, if the Church Commissioners have money invested in rubber shares, that would be a gamble on the political events in the Far East.
I do not know whether the Church Commissioners will take up any Premium Bonds, but I do not think that there is a great moral case to be made out by clergy and others against the principle of Premium Bonds when, by the very nature of the investments of the Church Commissioners, uncertain factors in world markets must be involved.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)
Is the hon. Gentleman now maintaining that the capitalist system in which he believes is nothing but a gamble?
The right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), who himself held high office in the Socialist Cabinet, knows perfectly well that anybody who invests money in ordinary shares, whether he or I or the Church Commissioners, is bound to take a certain risk, that the stake may be lost. I am trying to take what I believe to be a slightly more realistic view of what I think are the moral issues involved in the Premium Bonds. If it is morally reprehensible to buy a Premium Bond—I do not think that it is—then it is much worse to go in for football pools. Yet I have heard no one condemn football 1099 pools anywhere in the country—neither right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite nor the occupants of pulpits in churches. If the Opposition intend to take their stand on great moral issues they ought to condemn football pools.
I say sincerely that if we are going to start moralising there are many malpractices which all of us could well condemn on both sides of the Committee, including the victimisation of those who do not take part in unofficial strikes, before we come down to the small issue of Premium Bonds. I say to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite concerning their attitude to Clause 35, let us moralise about the things that really matter before we inflate the things that do not. Those who go into the Division Lobby tonight against Clause 35 on purely moral grounds, ought, therefore, to ask themselves whether they are not making a mountain out of a molehill.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. John Edwards (Brighouse and Spenborough)
Two questions have already been posed. The first is, is this morally right? The second is, would it work? I say to the two hon. Gentlemen opposite who have spoken that they are confused when they discuss the moral issue. Moral issues may be personal, individual issues, they may be public issues, or they may be about things which concern voluntary bodies or the State. Anyone who thinks that because moral issues in politics are not absolutes, or that moral issues are never matters of absolute right or wrong and that, therefore, morality can be pitchforked out of politics, makes a great mistake.
I believe that here today we have to concern ourselves with our business as Members of Parliament. There are many things which are permitted within the law, but which, nevertheless, the State does not actively encourage. Indeed, there are some things which are permitted within the law which the State discourages. I believe we have to ask ourselves whether we should be right actively to promote a system of Premium Bonds.
I would ask the Chancellor to consider what he will get out of this scheme in the end. He obviously hopes that he will increase savings. Presumably, he hopes that he will increase savings in total, and not just divert savings from other sources 1100 into Premium Bonds. I think that if he would take a long view he would come to the conclusion that there was a very great risk that he would not succeed in his object, and I will try to show why.
Over the years, both before I was in Parliament and since I have been in this House, both in Government and out of it, I have done everything I could to support the National Savings movement in every possible way, and there are very many others here who have done so. To whom have we been appealing? Hardly ever have we been appealing to the public direct. Nearly always we have been appealing to the workers in the savings movement, because we knew that the total amount of savings that people undertook was not just merely what the individual thought. It was quite often the result of hard work by people in the savings movement. We knew that if we could set people on fire, as it were, with the idea of promoting savings, they would go out into the street, the factory, the office, or wherever it might be, in wartime and since, and get the people to save.
I ask the Chancellor to consider whether the way he is going about this, even though he gets some extra savings somewhere, will not take the heart out of many of the people who have been doing this job. Certainly, in my constituency—and let me say that I am not talking about chapel or church opinion, but about the rank and file workers in the savings movement—these people do not know how they are going to go on doing this job in the way in which they used to do it.
I ask the Chancellor seriously—and I hope he will answer the question—what do we do when we go out next time and appeal for savings? What I have always said on this platform is that it is in the interests of the individual and in the interests of the nation that he or she should save. I have defended National Savings Certificates, even though I knew very well that their value had declined, on the grounds that to buy them was helping the State. What do I do next time when I go on a savings movement platform? Let me say here that I shall continue to do what I have been doing in the past, whatever happens to the Premium Bond scheme. Do I say, "Take your chance, chaps"? Do I say, "Go on saving; put your money into National 1101 Savings Certificates"? Do I say, "Here is the Premium Bond; it is up to you to decide, and it is no part of my business to tell you what to do, because either will do"?
I am incapable of doing anything of the kind. I do not know how any man, at one and the same time, can appeal to these basic instincts or motives of saving in the sense in which we have always done, and make a case on entirely different grounds and say, "Pay a quid and you may get £1,000." I do not know how to do it, and all the Savings movement people to whom I have spoken do not know how to do it either. If the Chancellor is now to discourage the people on whom he must depend to do this work, he will not get the result which, I am sure quite sincerely, he wants and hopes to get.
My case rests on those grounds; it is as simple as that. I do not know how I and people like me can make this case in future. We cannot mix our motives in this fashion. I should have thought that we could have done better than this, and that the Chancellor could have done better than this. I think the Chancellor is short-sighted and that he has been driven to adopt a paltry device because of the mediocrity of the circumstances in which he finds himself. I do not think that this way forward is the best that the Government can do. I believe that, if the Government had gone the right way about it, they could have increased savings without discouraging the people in the Savings movement.
It is on these grounds, and not because of personal morality or because I am not concerned with lotteries or anything of that kind, that I believe that the Chancellor does a disservice to the nation by making his appeal to the least worthy motives and by discouraging those people with the best motives. It is for those reasons, whether I get votes on this or not—and I say that to the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne)—that I shall go into the Division Lobby tonight against this Clause.
§ Sir B. Baxter
I wish to speak very briefly on this matter, and you, Sir Rhys, will be relieved to know that, while this is a matter of conscience to some hon. Members, it is to me a matter of no such thing at all. To my mind, the Chancellor's Premium Bond Clause came like 1102 a breath of fresh air into our politics. It has a robust British quality about it. When I listened to the speeches of some hon. Gentlemen opposite, I thought that there had been nothing like it, for sheer self-righteousness, since Pecksniff cast out Tom Pinch into utter darkness. I agree that many of those who have spoken are sincere in their views, but I cannot see for a single moment what is evil or vulgar about the Premium Bond.
What is the transaction in itself? I give the Chancellor a £, and I not only encourage my family to do so but also encourage my constituents to do it. The Chancellor keeps it for a year or perhaps for two years. In the meantime, he has the use of it, he pays no interest on it, and, therefore, I am better off because my £ is serving my country by having been given to him. If it chanced that a General Election came, and, in a moment of misjudgment, the country returned a Socialist Government to power, then I should say to the Chancellor "I want my money back."
§ Mr. R. W. Sorensen (Leyton)
Will the hon. Gentleman say whether he con siders that self-righteousness or patriotism?
§ Sir B. Baxter
It would be a bit of a mixture. At all events, my original act would have been prompted by patriotism —not at a price, but with safety. It would be a case of patriotism with safety. Therefore, I hope the Chancellor realises how much the country likes this jovial, hearty British idea, and I can only hope that hon. Members opposite will not be ashamed to participate. During the hours of darkness, they can post a letter to someone else, and my advice is "Spend a £ and take a chance".
§ Mr. S. Silverman
It gives me the very greatest distress to follow the hon. Member for Southgate (Sir B. Baxter) on the other side of this argument, because he and I have spent some weeks together trying to abolish another gay, robust, old-fashioned British custom of which we both heartily disapprove. I think the hon. Gentleman would say, as I certainly would, that neither of us would agree that there was any lack of patriotism in seeking to abolish a custom, even though it is British, if it is a wrong one, and his whole argument seems to me to be based on a fundamental misconception.
1103 He said that he and his family would give the Chancellor £1 and that the Chancellor would pay no interest on it. That is not the Chancellor's proposal. The Chancellor is to pay full interest. The only difference is that he will not pay it to the hon. Gentleman. He will pay interest on every penny he borrows, but not pro rata to the people who lend him the money. He will pay it into a pool, and then he will have a little lottery which will decide who shall get the hon. Gentleman's money. The hon. Member will have no right to it himself. If he thinks that is a good, robust, British custom, he will not find many in his constituency to agree with him.
§ Mr. Silverman
But the hon. Member must bear in mind that anyone who lends money to the Government in the ordinary way, subject to the fluctuations in the value of the £, is always entitled to call upon the Government, some day or other, to pay him back. In that respect there is no difference between the Premium Bond proposal and ordinary savings.
It is perfectly true that the hon. Gentleman's £1 will still be held by the Chancellor and that if he asks the Chancellor to give it him back the Chancellor will give it him back. There is no difference in the right of the lender to have his loan back whether he lends it under this scheme or under the old, normal fashion by which the Government have borrowed money and encouraged the savings movement. The difference is not in the capital sum which is left, but in the interest which is earned.
If the hon. Gentleman were saying that it was a great patriotic thing, that people should lend the Government money without receiving any interest in return, and if he described that as patriotism, I would go with him, but it really seems to be an abuse of language to use the word "patriotic" in order to describe the difference between getting the interest oneself on the money one has lent, on the one hand, and on the other taking the chance of putting that interest into a common fund in the hope of getting it, with someone else's as well, as a result of a lottery. It may be good 1104 or bad, practical or impractical, moral or immoral, but surely words like "patriotic" and "unpatriotic" are quite out of place in such a context.
Any lending will help the Chancellor. We do not have to make it a gamble in order to make saving helpful to the Chancellor. But what we are dealing with here is not the saving, not the loan of money to the Chancellor, but the introduction into savings of this principle of gambling. I thought that my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. J. Edwards) put his finger very neatly on the point when he said that it was really an impossible endeavour to try to combine in one operation an appeal of saving and an appeal to the principle of something for nothing. It cannot be done at the same time. It cannot be made to stick. One cannot make it sound real.
I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman would consider it in any way an impertinence on my part were I to suggest to him, in all earnestness, that he might very well consider whether, even now, it would not be a good thing for him to withdraw his proposal. The objection to it recorded in the Division Lobbies at the end of this debate will be largely, I have no doubt, a party division. I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of my right hon. and hon. Friends will vote against the proposal. I have no doubt that the great majority—there may be some exceptions. and I hope that there will be—of right hon. and hon. Members opposite will vote for it. So far as this Committee is concerned, the division will be a party division—Government against Opposition.
On the other hand, the Chancellor knows as well as every one of us knows, that the division of opinion in this country on this matter does not follow party lines. In that sense it is not a party matter or a party discussion at all. The right hon. Gentleman, I am sure, does not believe that he will get a lot of new saving money out of this proposal. He does not really believe that he is offering anything that will enter into serious competition with the football pools, the bookmakers or, for that matter, with the Stock Exchange.
1105 The people who are likely to be amenable to this incentive, this appeal of "chance your arm; see if you cannot get something for nothing, risk a little to gain a lot"—the people who are going to accept that kind of appeal will not come to the right hon. Gentleman. There are others who have very much more to offer than he is offering. If that is the kind of appeal that is to be made, it seems quite clear that the right hon. Gentleman will not get much new saving out of this.
As against the little new saving he is likely to get out of it, what does he give away? It may be said that this is only a small matter in itself, but it forms what one may call the moral currency of the country, and if the right hon. Gentleman introduces some false debased coin into the moral currency of the country it will drive out the better coin. That is an old economic law that applies as much to politics as to economics. There is a Gresham's law in politics, just as there is in economics, which says that bad money drives out good.
A little while ago we discussed an Amendment as to how this proposal was to affect school children. On a Division, the Committee rejected the proposal that there should be in the Act a prohibition on advertisement of the bonds in schools. Why did it do that? Because there was a plea from the Government "Please accept our assurance that the National Savings movement has no intention at all of offering these bonds to school children." Why not? If it is a good thing, why not offer them to school children? If it is a bad thing, why offer them to anybody?
Is it really to be thought that there will be any saving of the moral integrity of young people merely by not offering these bonds in schools? When they go home and see the advertisements in the newspapers, addressed not to them but to their parents, they will say to themselves, "We cannot do that now, but wait until we are 16; wait until we are of age and earning wages; wait until we go out and earn the first few shillings or the first few pounds and bring them home, we shall then be able to do what our fathers do. We shall be able to do it with good conscience because the Government of our country are telling 1106 our parents that this is a good thing to do."
It is a simple enough point. What will the Chancellor gain out of this that will weigh down the scales against considerations of that kind? We talk about dealing with a temporary financial difficulty, and about having a scheme of this kind to tide us over the next few years. The economic problem of this country will go on longer than a few years, and no one knows that better than the right hon. Gentleman. This is a matter of generations, one or two at least, and possibly more.
There are no easy pickings for this country in international economics and there never will be again. In the 19th century, when we were at the head of the queue, we could go all over the world and pick up things for little or nothing which we shall never be able to pick up again. We shall gain and keep our living in the future in this country only on the merits of our work, our constructive ability and our giving of a fair return.
What good shall we do ultimately to the permanent economic foundations of this country if, in order to win a few paltry £s this year and next, we undermine the confidence of young people in the principle that what one gets for nothing one is not really entitled to? I understand the argument that with so much gambling in our society, what does this one little addition matter? One hon. Member implied that there was some humbug or a little hypocrisy in objecting to this when the whole national and economic life was riddled, according to him, with gambling of one kind or another. I would not go as far as he went, but, even if he were right, I would regard that as an extra reason for not giving legislative sanction in the British Parliament to the notion that it was right to get out of the immediate financial difficulties by mortgaging the future.
I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, not as a matter of party politics in Committee, but through the fact that he represents the financial trusteeship of the nation as a whole and recognising that the opposition to this proposal cuts across all normal party lines and that he has little if anything to gain from it, very seriously to consider, even at this late stage, whether it is worth while to continue with this proposal.
§ Mr. Black
It is a somewhat unusual experience for me to find myself in agreement with the arguments advanced by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), but on this occasion I think that I find myself in agreement with every argument that he has addressed to the Committee. Even at the risk of being accused of insincerity by my hon. Friend the Member for Southgate (Sir B. Baxter), I should be failing in my duty were I not to make clear to the Committee the objections which I see to this proposal.
I cannot completely agree with those hon. Members who argue that Premium Bonds are a lottery or come within the category of betting and gambling, using those words in the way to which we have become accustomed in the past. It is possible, I think, to draw perhaps a rather fine and rather technical line. It is at any rate possible to advance an argument that in the ordinary sense of the term Premium Bonds are not a lottery.
Whether that be so or not, I am thoroughly persuaded that Premium Bonds cannot possibly be regarded as a normal method by which people should be encouraged to save their money. Indeed, as the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne pointed out, the Government have conceded that point by accepting the limitation with respect to children and young people under 16 years of age. That is a recognition of the fact that, while it is a good thing for children to be encouraged to save by the ordinary, orthodox and legitimate methods, this kind of saving, if saving it be, is something from which children and young people ought to be protected. In my opinion that puts Premium Bonds, even according to the Government's argument. in a position apart and in a special category.
While I would perhaps be prepared to argue that technically Premium Bonds are not a lottery, that is not the standpoint from which I approach the issue. I agree with what the Archbishop of Canterbury said at the meeting of the British Council of Churches when he described Premium Bonds as a rather second-rate expedient. That is the description which I should apply to them. The Archbishop went on to say:The question is whether the Government's proposal is socially expedient. Is it a good, healthy and happy thing to introduce?1108 My answer to that question is an emphatic negative. It is emphatic for reasons which I shall briefly bring before the Committee.
First, in spite of the rather narrow line which I think can be drawn between Premium Bonds on the one hand, and a conventional lottery on the other hand, unthinking members of the public will not be able to see this fine ethical distinction, and will inevitably regard the scheme as putting the Government's seal of approval upon betting and gambling in general. It is inevitable that that should be so, because associated with these Premium Bonds will be all the paraphernalia of a national lottery—the sale of what are the equivalent of tickets, quarterly drawings, the publication of winning numbers and the recurrent excitement to see whether one has a winning ticket. In the eyes of the ordinary member of the public, any fine ethical distinction which there may be in the matter will not be apprehended and, whether he be right or whether he be wrong, he will regard this scheme as a lottery in the ordinary sense of the term.
Secondly, I believe that the scheme is deeply damaging to the dignity of the Government which introduced it. I have been impressed with the fact that in City circles, even among people who have no moral and religious scruples about this proposal—and there are in the City, as elsewhere, both those who have those scruples and those who have not—there is a widespread feeling that this is something beneath the dignity of a Government of one of the leading Powers.
If a scheme of this kind had been introduced by the Bank of England or the joint stock banks, for instance, people would have held up their hands in horror at respectable and responsible financial institutions holding out such inducements. Suppose, for example, that the Bank of England had said, "For every person who conducts a current account with us and leaves his money with us, we will put his name into a draw every three months and give him the possibility of winning a prize, in consideration of his keeping his money with us in a current account on which he receives no interest". Such a proposal by the Bank of England would have been received with the utmost surprise by every banking centre in the world. People would have wondered what had happened to the management of the Bank of England and to those in charge of its fortunes, and the same atti- 1109 tude would have been adopted if any of the joint stock banks had introduced a similar scheme. Is a scheme which would have been undignified if carried out by the Bank of England or the joint stock banks the kind of scheme in which the British Government ought to indulge?
The third point which I make has already been touched on by previous speakers—that the scheme is irrelevant to the present economic position and needs of the country. If it proceeds, there is a very real danger that the nation may be led to believe that economic salvation can be secured by an issue of Premium Bonds, whereas the Government, the Committee and all thinking people know that economic salvation can come only from harder and more intelligent work by every one of us. The Government know that we can regain stability and strength only by the exercise—by all of us—of the old-fashioned virtues of integrity, honest work honestly rewarded, thrift and a sturdy spirit of independence. There is always a risk that the advocacy of these virtues will fall largely upon barren soil, and that risk is materially increased by the introduction of this irrelevant proposal.
Lastly, the appeal of the scheme is necessarily to the baser and less worthy motives. I have given a great deal of service to the National Savings movement. This afternoon. I am wearing the fifteen-year medal of that movement. I must be very near to the time—if I have not already reached it—when I shall receive the movement's twenty-year medal. Over a long period of time I have addressed meetings in my own area and in other parts of the country on behalf of the movement, and the appeal that I have always made to those listening to me has been a moral one—an appeal to people to save because saving is a duty and a moral virtue, and because, by saving, people are fulfilling a patriotic purpose by helping the country as well as themselves.
I agree entirely with the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne that we cannot unite, on the one hand, the appeal to save on moral grounds by the ordinary accepted methods and, on the other, the appeal to have what is nothing more nor less than a flutter by subscribing to Premium Bonds. The two things do not mix, and if the scheme proceeds it is 1110 bound to involve very great difficulties for those of us who are workers in, and friends of, the National Savings movement, and are anxious to see its work not only maintained but extended.
The scheme is bad psychology on the part of the Government. They underrate the willingness of the people to respond to an enlightened lead. This nation has always been at its best when challenged by an appeal to the highest motives. My right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) rendered his greatest service to the nation when, in the war years, he appealed, in that matchless prose of his, to the devotion, courage, spirit of sacrifice and high moral purpose of our people. That was leadership at its noblest and best.
Now and again, in the affairs of men, there comes a moment when courage is safer than prudence; when some great act of faith, touching the hearts and stirring the emotions of men, achieves a miracle that no mere act of statesmanship can compass. If, in this matter, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will follow the highway of principle and renounce the by-paths of expediency by making an appeal to the nation for savings and sacrifice, for the highest motives of national good, he will enhance the stature of the Government, and the people will not disappoint him in their response.
§ Mr. J. ldwal Jones (Wrexham)
I have followed the argument of the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Black) with considerable interest, and I agree with most of what he said. We have heard, however, some peculiar arguments by other speakers, especially about morals. I have never understood morality to be something elastic, which could be accommodated to a certain situation. If morality means anything, it means a standard of judgment and conduct, and I cannot see how morality can be adjusted to the economic situation.
I shall not seek to argue whether this proposal is or is not a lottery. I want to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that the Clause specifically states that the selection of certain securities for special benefits will be a matter of chance. The word "chance" goes against the tradition in which I have been brought up. Not only is it contrary to the tradition of my own community, but to the conscience and convictions of a certain section of the Church 1111 to which I belong, namely, the Nonconformists. The convictions of Non-conflormity upon this question deserve to be expressed and listened to. I was reared in a Nonconformist tradition, and I understand the Nonconformist outlook and know the movement's history. I believe I am correct in saying that Nonconformity has resisted the doctrine of chance through the centuries of its existence. It has always resisted the idea that people should organise their lives upon the principle of chance.
It has been argued that the majority of people will welcome Premium Bonds, and it has also been said that the proposal is like a breath of fresh air. When I read the newspapers on the morning following the Budget statement this proposal appeared to be dealing with something more in the nature of "Premium Bombs" than Premium Bonds. The moral section of the community was shocked by the proposal. It may well be that the majority of people will welcome the proposal, but it is a passive majority, which will accept it if it passes into law and will not object if it does not. The minority opinion, the Nonconformist conscience, is an active one, however, which believes in its faith and regards chance as a very risky thing upon which to build a nation. Democracy must always have regard to the minority opinion and conscience. In a true democracy, the many have no right to ride roughshod over the convictions of the few.
It may be said that this is a trivial matter. I do not want to make heavy weather of the argument, but here a very important principle is at stake. What is the principle? Why do we oppose chance? I can put it very simply in this way—money received must be money earned. I think that is a very strong principle. People are entitled to receive only what they have earned. There must be a relationship between earnings and services rendered. Money received must be money earned. There is something wrong when people can reap where they have not sown and garner where they have not planted. That whole principle is wrong.
§ Mr. Eric Johnson (Manchester, Blackley)
The hon. Gentleman says that money received must be money 1112 earned. How is money more earned by receiving interest on other forms of savings than in receiving prizes for Premium Bonds?
§ Mr. Jones
The essential difference is that, in this issue, it is a matter of chance pure and simple. It is not in the same category as that mentioned by the hon. Member. Even the principle of interest can be wrong, especially when it comes into the field of usury, which has been condemned in the past. I think that it is perfectly correct to say that earnings and reaping where there is any element of chance are wrong in principle. Consequently, the most unfortunate thing that may happen as a result of the last Budget is that the State may become something rather more than a sleeping partner in the whole business of gambling. It has decided to appoint the Treasury to be one of the directors on the board of governors in the game of chance. That is the very unfortunate state at which we have arrived.
It is argued that the game of chance is a social instinct. I do not think we can call anything a social instinct. We are playing very lightly with words when we talk about instincts. It may be a social habit; it may be a social spirit, but it certainly is not a social instinct, and, even if it were, I would suggest that no State has the right to exploit that instinct. The only thing that the State can do with any instinct is to inhibit it. When there has been an evolution of morals in any country, the State has always made an advance when it has inhibited instincts rather than exploited them. If there is a national instinct of gambling, the State is doing wrong if it ventures to exploit that gambling instinct. It has only the right to inhibit that instinct and to direct it into good channels.
In the desperate situation in which we are at the present time, the appeal today, as the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Black) said, should be to duty. That appeal was made during wartime, and the people of this country responded magnificently to it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), who made that appeal during the war, would not have dreamed, when this country was in great difficulties, of appealing to personal gain. He appealed to tears, to sweat and to blood. But here, in a desperate economic situation, the 1113 appeal is to personal gain. That appeal is wrong. We should appeal to duty and be prepared to sacrifice in these days of difficulty.
The Clause is an adulteration of public duty and public gain, and both those elements, as it is true in any other form of adulteration, are ill-defined. The position is not clear with regard to duty or with regard to gain. It is a very strange equation indeed, an equation of undefined factors. The only distinct factor in this Clause is the elusive variable of chance.
I appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to withdraw this Clause and to burn that page out of the Budget speech, because what he will gain on the financial roundabouts he will more than lose in the repercussions of the swings on public morality.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. F. P. Crowder (Ruislip-Northwood)
I am afraid I disagree with practically every word uttered by the hon. Member for Wrexham (Mr. Idwal Jones). I believe that the majority of my constituents are entirely in favour of these proposals. I have never been one to say that there is anything wrong in gambling, provided that the person who was gambling did not gamble with more than he could afford, which is not going to happen in the case of these Premium Bonds.
It will not be the case of a man collecting his wages at the end of the week, putting them all on a horse at Ascot at 10 to 1 and finding he has lost his money. It may very well be that, in his enthusiasm and eagerness to take part in this scheme, a person may put rather more into it out of the family budget than he can at that time afford, but we know only too well that, if he makes any mistake, all he has to do is to withdraw his money, in which case nobody except the State will be any worse off. It is for that reason that I cannot honestly agree with hon. Members opposite, however conscientiously or strongly they feel, that there would be anything immoral or anything to do with the gambling spirit in taking up these Premium Bonds.
The hon. Member for Wrexham told us that it is wrong that anyone should receive money for work that he has not done. Surely an argument of that kind strikes at the whole savings movement. Is it 1114 wrong to invest money and to receive interest on it, be it in the Post Office, on the Stock Exchange or in "Dalton" Defence Bonds, or whatever they were called? Is there anything wrong in that? Is the hon. Gentleman really saying that there is? If he does, it means that every penny which is saved should be stored and we should have no prospect of receiving interest at all.
§ Mr. Idwal Jones
Surely the hon. Member will agree with me that it is wrong to receive where one has not earned. I was trying to say that those of us who believe in Nonconformity build on the principle that it is wrong for people to receive what they have not earned. It is a simple proposition.
§ Mr. Crowder
The hon. Gentleman is dodging the question. What I put to him was this: if he means that, does he mean that it is wrong to invest money and receive interest on it? Will he answer the question?
§ Mr. Crowder
Does the hon. Gentleman think it wrong to save money and invest it in National Savings and receive interest thereon which has not been earned?
§ Mr. Crowder
There was a certain element of chance in the "Dalton" Bonds in which the Labour Government at the time encouraged people to invest, and quite a number of investors lost their money as a result of the inflationary policy. I do not want to take up much time, but I think that I have managed at any rate to get the hon. Gentleman to understand his own speech.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
So that we can understand the hon. Gentleman's speech, would he tell us iby how much "Daltons" have fallen under the stewardship of the present Chancellor and his predecessor?
§ Mr. Crowder
I thought that was a question the right hon. Gentleman would 1115 be able to answer for himself. [Hoist. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I assure the right hon. Gentleman that nobody thought it right that they should fall as they did under his Government. It was one of the most disgraceful frauds in the country there has ever been. Perhaps we had better leave the moral point of view.
Looking at the matter from another point of view which has not been considered yet, I suggest that there is a problem which is worth consideration. Today very large numbers of people earn far more money than they ever earned before the war, and they receive it at the end of the week in the form of a wage packet. They receive it in £1 notes. I suggest that psychologically that is bad for savings. There is a great deal of difference between receiving money in the form of an order or a cheque and paying it or posting it to a bank. Some of these people could well be paid by cheque.
Some of them receive £25 or £30 a week, not a large income. Certain dockers I know, because I am not unconnected with that industry, take home as much as £30 in a week, with overtime, and it is a very good thing; but I suggest that it is bad from a psychological point of view that people receive money in cash in that way. Very often they have not a banking account and they are receiving much more money than they have been accustomed to receiving.
If one receives a large handful of £1 notes, there is a tremendous temptation to spend the money. It is a great deal more difficult to take a few £s a week in cash and solemnly pay it into a banking account than it is if the whole matter is dealt with by cheque. I say this because I am certain that psychologically the Chancellor has been extremely shrewd in this instance, because a man receiving this money will quite readily buy Premium Bonds and thus literally find himself saving. If he finds that he has saved more than his family can afford to be saved, he has not gambled it away on a horse. He can collect the money from the Post Office.
I am certain that the whole of my constituency greets this project with acclamation. I have received only two letters opposing it, and they were in the same illogical terms as have been the speeches 1116 of some hon. Gentlemen opposite. I welcome the proposition, and I am sure that my constituents do.
§ Mr. R. W. Sorensen (Leyton)
I hope that the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. F. P. Crowder) will forgive me if I do not follow his comments very far. I found it rather difficult to follow him at all, especially when he took up the point made previously by my hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham (Mr. Idwal Janes). Surely he appreciates that there is all the difference in the world between what the economists call reward for abstention and, on the other hand, a perfectly fortuitous or irrelevant reward. That is precisely where there is disagreement between us today.
There is no necessary objection to interest, which is, I repeat, reward for abstaining from immediate spending, but there can be, and is, a very strong objection, not only on Nonconformist but on other grounds, to the payment of a reward which has no connection at all with the risk taken or the money invested. I fully appreciate why it is that a good many hon. Members, especially hon. Members opposite, and, perhaps, some on this side of the Committee, cannot appreciate the moral fervour of many who have spoken today. It is true, as my hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham reminded us, that Nonconformity has laid particular emphasis on the alleged immorality of gambling, of chance, of lotteries and all other speculations within that sphere. I would nevertheless point out, to be quite honest, that there is no Biblical indication of the iniquity of gambling. Before the rise of the Puritans, there was hardly anything said about any moral danger of speculations, though there was on usury. The immorality of gambling has grown up largely with Puritanism and its successor, Nonconformity, which is nowadays described as the Free Church.
There can surely be no doubt that the proposal of the Chancellor is a lottery, so far as we can discover. I have looked up the description and definition of a lottery in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and have found this definition in that authoritative volume:The mechanics of a lottery is essentially as follows: Tickets bearing different numbers are placed on sale and a date set for a drawing. On that date is set up a device which contains numbered duplicates of all the tickets sold, and one or more numbers are drawn 1117 at random. From the money realised by the sale of tickets the proprietors of the lottery take some amount arbitrarily determined for expenses and profits; the remainder is paid to the holders of tickets corresponding to those drawn.Within that definition, I think it must be admitted that the proposal of the Chancellor is in fact a lottery. I am not saying that therefore it is to be condemned; I merely say that there is no doubt that within the definition I have read from an authentic source this is a lottery. That being so, we must ask ourselves two questions. The first is whether this proposal is moral or not. On that there is a difference of opinion.
Christianity historically has not condemned gambling, except for that part of the Church which is known as Nonconformist. In Judaism, which preceded Christianity, there is some reference to gambling and games of chance, and in the Talmud there is a clear statement that any receipt of money from gambling sources is tantamount to thieving. In the Koran. there is a very definite condemnation of gambling, and I understand that no games of any kind are allowed in Islam, except the game of chess.
Therefore, I appreciate the protests from some quarters that we should not assume too complacently that there is clarity on the issue of morality in this respect. But I do demur from the claim of the hon. Member for Southgate (Sir 13. Baxter) that this represents a breath of fresh air. I was inclined to add, Certainly, but largely from Epsom Downs".
§ Mr. Sorensen
Although my right hon. Friend lives in that locality, I am sure that he understands the significance of my allusion, for certainly when we talk about a robust breath of fresh air we must ask ourselves precisely what is meant by that—what is the criterion? There are those who believe that no one is robust unless he corresponds, more or less, to the sporting type of person who has little scope within his life for what some of us calculate to be real values.
I remember some years ago the late Lord Birkenhead declaring that life still held glittering prizes for those with stout hearts and sharp swords.
§ Mr. Sorensen
There are of course many, apart from the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne), who would utilise that as an illustration of the robustness to which my hon. Friend referred. But that is itself a question of opinion. I would say it was not an indication of robustness but of decadence, in that it was altogether putting the emphasis in the wrong place in suggesting that the mainspring of life was the pursuit of glittering prizes. Although I fully admit that glittering prizes have their attraction and that cupidity and avarice play an important part in our lives, nevertheless surely in this House of Commons we are trying to get away from that, and surely again that is where we should perceive the possible danger in the proposal made by the Chancellor.
In other words, although there is a great deal of chance in life, a great deal which is fortuitous and accidental, and we are all involved more or less, what we are or should be trying to do is to introduce more prudence, planning and forethought, both individually and socially. Therefore, when the State itself, in spite of all efforts being made by sociologists, politicians and moralists to introduce this new principle of responsibility in place of chance, deals those efforts a sweeping blow by encouraging again the primitive and natural principle or element of chance, then we must oppose that to the best of our ability. I do not know whether the Chancellor follows me in this respect; if not, would he please pay attention to the argument for a moment, because I believe it may be able to bridge the gulf, not between the two sides of the Committee, but between different categories of opinion.
I put it this way. I admit that chance is undoubtedly an element in our lives. Even our sexes are determined chromosomically almost by chance. We are involved in chance, of course we are—nature itself is a chancey thing—but the whole significance of human life is that it tries to replace apparently instinctive chance by deliberation, forethought and a sense of personal responsibility. That is precisely the quality the Chancellor is not encouraging—an evolving sense of personal responsibility in place of chance. Hence my hon. Friends and I must condemn his proposal as a retrograde step.
1119 Where will it end? It is true that at present it may not go very far. It is also true, as it has been argued, that there is no loss to the individual in this particular thin end of a wedge. But the process may go on. There is no reason why next year, if the Chancellor is still in office, he should not suggest that there should be more speculation, some loss and larger prizes. In fact, there is no reason why, ultimately, we should not adopt what I quite admit prevails m many Continental countries, a wholesale national lottery. We might go on still further, until in the end we base a great deal of our revenue on income derived from sources which I am sure even the Chancellor himself would condemn as highly undesirable in this country.
It is precisely there that I part company with the right hon. Gentleman. In this House of Commons and in the country we are trying our best to introduce what I have already suggested is a principle of personal responsibility, and anything which seems to discourage that, anything that brings in an ulterior or lower motive and incentive, draws us back to the past and retards us from going forward to a saner future.
Because I know that there are a large number of hon. Members who wish to speak I shall abbreviate my remarks, but I beg the Chancellor, when those of us who are Free Churchmen speak in this way, to realise that we do not do so from some narrow-minded bigotted standpoint. We are not oblivious of other arguments or unaware of other approaches. Thus I appreciate that many religious people, Christian and otherwise, see no objection to gambling. Yet I say again that it is precisely because we must try to get away from the fortuitous and replace it with a sense of personal and social moral responsibility that we criticise the proposal of the Chancellor and beg him to reconsider the matter.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Harold Macmillan)
I think that it would be convenient were I at this moment to try to state to the Committee the views of the Government regarding the Premium Bond both as to practice and as to principle. We have had several hours of very good debate, in which many interesting speeches have been 1120 made by hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the Committee. I think it would help the Committee were I now to give some further account of precisely what is involved in our proposals, and to give the reasons why as a Government, we believe our proposals to be sound.
First, I should like to give some further details of the scheme beyond the outline which I gave in my Budget speech. I was then only able to tell the House, and through the House the country, of the essential features of the scheme. The Committee will remember that it was to be a £1 bond registered in the name of the holder in the same way as other National Savings issues. There was to be a limit on individual holdings, and the holder was to get back his £1 on giving due notice—I say that for the comfort of my hon. Friend the Member for Southgate (Sir B. Baxter) who is not at present in the Chamber. There were to be periodical drawings out of an annual prize fund equal in amount to 4 per cent. of the bonds drawn, and these were to be divided into prizes ranging from a few top prizes of £1,000 each to a larger number a smaller amount.
That was all I was then able to say. Since my first announcement the Treasury and the Post Office have been hard at work on the terms, the more precise details, and the organisation. I am particularly grateful to my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General for the great help which he has given me and I should also like to pay my tribute to the help I have received from Lord Mackintosh and his colleagues in the National Savings movement. I am, therefore, now able to go a little further in announcing our plans. At a later stage, perhaps a few weeks from now—if the Committee approves the Clause—more details will be given to the public by the Postmaster-General.
First, here is the name. It will be called the Premium Savings Bond. This, I know, will be agreeable to the National Savings movement, and it is under this name that the security will be offered to the public.
Secondly, there is the question of the limit of individual holdings. At the time of the Budget I said this:The limit might be 250 to start with, or a little more; I am not quite certain,"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th April, 1956; Vol. 551, c. 878.]1121 After further thought we have decided to put the figure up a bit. We shall therefore start with a limit of £500.
Next, the opening date. Sales will begin —if the Committee agree to the Clause—on 1st November this year. The details of the selling organisation will be announced shortly, but I can now say that the public will be able to buy both from the post offices and from banks.
Now I come to the question of the draw. At the time of the Budget I had thought that the draw would have to be quarterly, for organisational reasons. But I now find—and I am grateful to the Postmaster-General and the Post Office for their help in this matter—that we can make the draw monthly. I think that is a great advantage. The qualifying period will be six months. That means that in order to qualify for his first draw the holder must leave in his bond for six months after the month in which he bought it. Thereafter his bond will remain in each monthly draw so long as he leaves it in. So the Commitee will see that the first draw will take place in early June, 1957.
§ Mr. Sidney Dye (Norfolk, South-West)
The Chancellor says six months. Does that represent 4 per cent. on six months or 4 per cent. on a year?
§ Mr. Macmillan
I was coming to that point.
The bond must be left in for six months before it qualifies for the draw—both from the start and for all future draws. So that if the schemes starts on 1st November, and the draw is six months after the month in which the holder bought his bond, the first draw will be in June next year.
Now, I come to the question of prizes. The Committee will understand that I am talking about the initial arrangements. We shall reserve the right, after giving due notice, to vary the scheme in the light of experience; but this is how we shall start. In order to calculate what shall be the total of the prize fund, we shall assume that all the bonds in the draw have earned interest for the fund since the end of the month in which they were purchased. The rate of interest will be 4 per cent. per annum. The prize fund will be made up in this way on that assumption. Each £10,000 of prize fund 1122 which is composed of the interest earned in the way that I have described will be allocated in tax-free prizes of the following numbers and amounts: one of £1,000, two of £500, four of £250, ten of £100, twenty of £50 and two hundred of £25.
Further details will be announced before the end of the summer, and the National Savings movement will begin to sell this bond with all the other great range of securities which I have given to it to sell—it is a very wide range of which this bond is only one—in the early autumn. I thought that the Committee would like to have those further details of what we have been able to work out in the last few weeks.
Before I come to the question of principle, which is what the debate has been mainly about—very rightly—I should like to say something about certain safeguards to which reference has already been made in our discussion on the first two Amendments. Quite apart from the moral arguments for or against this security, to which I shall come in a moment, there is a legitimate feeling on the part of some sections of the public—and, I say frankly it is shared by the Savings movement—that the bond ought not to be available to children. For that reason we propose, as was stated by my right hon. Friend in the discussion on the earlier Amendment, to provide certain restrictions on children's holdings. All that was explained in the discussion on the earlier Amendment, and I can only repeat that I feel quite sure that the right way to secure that is by regulations, which is the normal procedure for laying down conditions of that kind.
One other question has reached me, although curiously it has not been mentioned so far in this debate, and I should like to mention it now. It is, should the Premium Savings Bond be an investment for trustees? Naturally, as a Government security, it will rank as a trustee security under Section 1 of the Trustee Act, 1925. That is the principle, but in practice I do not think there will be much scope for trustees to invest in this particular bond. The reason is very simple. Trustees have to take into account whatever is their obligation to beneficiaries under the trust fund. They will also have to take into account all the arrangements for registration which will be made under the regulations.
1123 As to the first point, I think it would almost certainly be a breach of trust to invest in this bond if the trust fund is so drawn, as is nearly always the case, that the beneficiary is entitled to enjoy the income of the trust fund. Secondly, because we want to make our administration as simple as possible, we shall only allow bonds to be registered in the name of one holder. We shall not allow joint holdings. If we take both those restrictions into account—that is to say, the obligations under the trust fund and the fact that we shall allow only single holdings—I do not think there would be much likelihood of trustees purchasing these bonds. Indeed it could only be so in the case where a purchase were made by a single trustee and no beneficiary was entitled to enjoy the income of the trust fund. I thought it right to mention that important point because it has been brought to my notice. I have read about the question, and that is the simple answer.
The right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson), who opened this debate, asked some questions about the cost of the organisation and where that would fall. The cost will not be a charge on the prize fund, that is to say, the full 4 per cent. to which I have referred will go to the prize fund. What the cost will be I cannot tell in detail, or what proportion, percentage, it will be. The cost of the overhead, as in every enterprise, will depend on the turnover. We shall, of course, have to take the chance of incurring considerable expenses in making the necessary technical and physical arrangements, but the actual, final percentage cost will depend on the total turnover.
I could, of course, have made it less than it would be if we were really planning—I am not going to haggle about words—a lottery, in the ordinary sense of the word. It would be much cheaper if it were not necessary to register each bond and keep the money safe like all other savings securities. That is what makes the cost higher in proportion than in what is normally called a lottery. The bond would cost less, perhaps, if I allowed a higher total figure than £500, but had I done either of those things the bond would not be what I want it to be and—whatever one's views about the 1124 rightness or wrongness of the plan—it would not then be a genuine savings security, which is what this is.
I must turn now to the moral argument. As I have said, I have a deep respect for those who feel strongly on this issue. It has been very well stated from both sides of the Committee. My hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Black) made a speech in which at least some of the reasons which he gave against the proposal were based on the moral issue; and the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Sorensen) has, as always, spoken from deep sincerity. I respect their views, but I think they are mistaken. In return they might have some respect for the sincerity of other people's views. That is why I so much liked the speech of the hon. Member for Leyton. That has not always been expressed in this controversy. There are those of us who take a different view.
I am sure we should deplore any tendency to exploit these views for political ends. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I am not trying to exploit them, but I am trying to put forward a plan which I believe to be good, and it is hon. Members opposite who are trying to exploit them.
I am not making a strong point of this because I understand that it was a very reluctant and rather a shy decision which was taken by the party opposite. I read in one of the newspapers—therefore I suppose it must be true—that there was a meeting to decide the party line on this immense issue, on which we have heard there is tremendous feeling, that 55 members attended, of whom 29 were in favour of voting against the Clause and 26 took an opposite view.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
The Chancellor of the Exchequer should at any rate get his facts right. Not only are his figures wrong, but his statement is utterly wrong, because there was no vote for the opposite point of view at all.
§ Mr. Macmillan
I said that I read this in a newspaper. If the right hon. Member tells me that a large, well-attended, buoyant meeting of his party was held when 200 or more attended and voted unanimously against this proposal with all the enthusiasm the party commands, of course 1125 I shall accept the statement. Certainly, the tone in which the right hon. Gentleman opened the debate showed that he felt himself to be batting on rather a sticky wicket, arid that his arguments were very thin.
The country as a whole will welcome this new idea—and this is what I want to emphasise—as part of a large new package of savings securities which I am proposing in order to stimulate savings at this time. I am sure we all agree that savings at this time is an essential need of the country. The nation needs more personal saving. The Exchequer needs more to be lent to the State; and the National Savings movement made it clear to me that it needed new securities to offer.
I believe that those in charge of the National Savings movement feel that, with this particular security which we are discussing today, they will be able to tap a new field of savings. There will not be just a switch from one form of saving to another. I believe that they will be able to reach a whole group of people who are not ordinary savers, and who are not easily approached by the ordinary organisation of the National Savings movement. This bond will help the movement to succeed in being able to appeal to a large section of the public who, rightly or wrongly, under present-day conditions, are not attracted by interest, but are attracted by the prospect of a prize.
It is the prize—that really is what the moral argument is about. As I say, I have a deep respect for those who believe a prize to be wrong. Among those, I specially include, of course, the leaders of my own Church, some of whom expressed that view. However, I am fortified by very strong opinion of leading theologians on the other side. The Bishop of Exeter, for example, came out very strongly the other way only a few days ago.
As a matter of pure theory, I wonder why a prize is thought to be disreputable, when interest has become respectable. Of course, there was a long period in the history of the Church when exactly the opposite view was widely held. During the early years of the Christian era, interest was regarded as something wrong, being identified with usury; rent from real estate was all right, but not interest upon money. I seem to rememher, though it is many years ago now, 1126 reading a very interesting book by Mr. Tawney on this very question.
However, times have changed and, with them, interest has become, as it were, sanctified. Under cross-examination, and so far as it was possible to follow him, that appeared to be the view of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wrexham (Mr. Idwal Jones). I do not know of any authoritative opposition to a prize based upon Scripture or upon later theological authority. Indeed, there are countries which have inherited a different tradition, where exactly the reverse is true, interest still being regarded as wrong but a prize being regarded as right. In any event, I regard it as an arguable point, and, if I may say so, I was encouraged by the tolerant approach of the hon. Member for Leyton to this doubtful problem.
§ Mr. Sorensen
I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. Does he appreciate that a great many infamies have been condoned in the past, for which there is no Scriptural condemnation, but are now condemned because of the development of moral consciousness? Does he not appreciate that there is such a thing as a developing moral conscience?
§ Mr. Macmillan
Yes, of course; but I do not believe that the moral conscience of the early Fathers was not just as developed as that of anybody today. All I was saying was that I think it is an arguable point, and I will not accept the accusation of heresy for putting forward the view that a prize is not in itself something which it is wrong to receive. Nor do I believe that any Member of this Committee really thinks so very deeply. Those who have spoken have frankly admitted that they take part daily in organisations and occupations where a prize is given. I really think that the argument in relation to the moral objection is very thin.
The real question—and this is a much more important part of the argument—is whether a reward or a type of prize is likely to be demoralising. It is not an argument against the prize in itself, but a feeling that it may be demoralising for a man to get a large sum purely by luck. In this sense, surely, the argument against gambling is rather similar to the argument against the use of alcohol, that, used to 1127 excess, it may lead to disaster. I really cannot see how these Premium Savings Bonds can lead to the dreadful results which sometimes follow the downward plunge of the reckless gambler. I am not playing with words here; we all know it.
The real difference between this and any other form of gambling in which a man may indulge is that here he is gambling not with the capital but with the interest which he might otherwise have got. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton said, he is risking not a pound for every pound put in, but 9½d. I cannot see families broken up, children in rags, wives deserted, or the horrors of the "Rake's Progress" falling upon a man's family for the sole reason that he has invested too deeply in Premium Savings Bonds. There will be no modern Hogarth who will draw a frightening series of cartoons called "The Downfall of the Saver in Premium Bonds."
§ Mr. H. Wilson
While I hesitate to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, who is so obviously enjoying himself, may I ask him if he would tell the Committee which of my hon. Friends, or of hon. Gentlemen opposite, advanced this argument which he has just been knocking down?
§ Mr. Macmillan
It was put up for two and a half hours from every quarter; it was advanced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton himself.
§ Mr. Macmillan
Hon. Members put up arguments for two and a half hours, and apparently they do not like a reply; they particularly dislike a reply when it is a devastating reply. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) appealed to my moral sense, suggesting that this was a terrible thing, and that tragedy would be brought upon us.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
I am sorry that my speech was so unclear as to lead the right hon. Gentleman to suppose that I was claiming that the results of this scheme could fairly be described in the way he has described them. On the contrary, I said it was a very small thing, and that he would get very little out of it. What I questioned was whether it was worth 1128 while to introduce that kind of principle into the Inland Revenue and savings.
§ Mr. Macmillan
The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne made his speech—which we shall all be able to read—based purely upon the moral argument.
There is, as I say, a very great difference here. The right hon. Gentleman reproved me because I said that this was not a lottery in the ordinary sense of the word. Nor -is it. In a lottery, a man loses the money which he puts in. His ticket is not registered. It is not necessary to register it. In a raffle or a lottery, the gambler—if you call him a gambler—loses the money he puts in. In the Premium Savings Bond he keeps his investment and loses only the possibility of his interest.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. Mott-Radclyffe) pointed out, there are elements of chance in many things in life. He did point out—I do not know whether it is true—that the Church Commissioners, for whom, I suppose, the Archbishop takes some responsibility, were among the holders of Trinidad Oil shares; as a result of what has happened in the last few days, their capital has more than doubled in value. I am very glad to hear it; I am happy that they should do well; they are very good people. But I really do not see any great difference between the prize which they have drawn unexpectedly and the prize of a man who might draw a Premium Savings Bond prize. [Hort. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Certainly. And where do hon. and right hon. Members opposite invest their funds and the funds of their trade unions? They invest for a rise, like everybody else.
He is a very skilful casuist who draws these distinctions. I was surprised at the point made by the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson)—it was a very casuistical argument—when he said there was all the difference between organising a lottery and being a sleeping partner in its proceeds.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Henderson
The Chancellor did not understand me correctly. If he looks at HANSARD tomorrow, he will find that what I said was that there was a great difference between Parliament being invited to approve a Government scheme for the distribution of prizes based on 1129 lottery or chance and the taxing of profits made by individuals or individual concerns which were carrying on gambling activities.
§ Mr. Macmillan
That, put another way, is exactly what I was trying to say. The right hon. and learned Member said that there was all the difference—[HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] I do not withdraw a word. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that he sees a great difference, but I do not. He said that he sees a great difference between organising a lottery and drawing £20 to £30 million a year out of the football pools. That is what we do today. I regard the distinction which he has drawn as a very thin line.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
This is a very dangerous argument for the Chancellor to use. One understands from the Press that the Board of Inland Revenue is now finding a means under Schedule D—profits from furnished lettings—of taxing immoral earnings. On the right hon. Gentleman's argument, where will he stop?
§ Mr. Macmillan
I know of no basis for that distinction. I think it is absolutely wrong and vile. The right hon. Gentleman says that I should take the profits of a bawdy house. Never when I am Chancellor of the Exchequer—no. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide."] The right hon. Gentleman must have had a very bad party meeting to get so excited now.
There is an argument, and it is one which impressed me and has impressed the leaders of the National Savings movement. It is one that has very much influenced me in deciding the details of the scheme. It is felt that an excessive reward, a sum quite out of keeping with anything he could ever have dreamed of, is not good for a man, and it is argued that the chance recipience of the immense sums such as we read about occasionally in the distribution of football pool prizes has a bad moral effect. It is even alleged that the recipients are dragged down by this excessive wealth. It is a point which we ought to bear in mind, and there is an argument that these immense sums, out of all proportion, may have these bad effects. That is a fair point. It is for that reason that we have borne it in mind.
Quite apart from the financial reason, our scheme has gone in for modest prizes. The highest prize we plan for is £1.000, 1130 but most of the prizes will be much smaller than that. For every prize of £1,000, there will be two hundred of £25. I do not think, therefore, that the winners will be morally injured by the receipt of these prizes. Anyway, I look to the splendid workers in the National Savings movement to track them down and to make quite sure that they reinvest their prizes.
For all these reasons, I commend the scheme to the Committee. I recognise the strength of the argument of principle, although I believe it to be unsound and not backed up by any sound or historic doctrine. I believe that the scheme will succeed. I am fortified by the knowledge that it has been enthusiastically adopted by the National Savings movement—[Interruption.]—enthusiastically adopted with only one dissentient at the meeting on 16th May. There was one dissentient out of several hundred.
When I went afterwards to the meeting, there was the most enthusiastic response to this as well as the other suggested savings methods which we were putting before the movement. It is one of a package of new securities which we are asking the movement to sell. Since the proposal was made in the Budget, the National Savings movement has scrutinised the terms most rigorously. As I say, on 16th May it was given an enthusiastic response by the leading delegates from all over the country.
I therefore ask the Committee to give the scheme a chance, not to press too hard these arguments of principle, even if hon. Members may feel them, to recognise that we also have our principles, which we firmly follow, and to say that this is something in which no one is compelled to enter—everyone has a wide choice—and to regard it as our duty to concentrate on getting sold as many as possible of this and all the other savings securities which are now before the country, so as to continue and support the great work of national savings.
§ Mr. Horace E. Holmes (Hemsworth)
Many hundreds of thousands of people tomorrow will read the Chancellor's speech with deep dismay and regret. He has not touched on moral issues at all.
In March and April this year, I spoke against the Small Lotteries and Gaming Bill. At that time I had not had a 1131 single letter from an individual, from a minister or from a church, but as soon as I spoke against that Bill I was inundated with letters; and when the Chancellor had made his statement on Budget day, I received still more letters and have been inundated with them from all over the country, representing hundreds of thousands of people who have been shocked at the Government's policy.
I shall not tie myself simply to Church thought, but I am speaking tonight on behalf of hundreds of thousands of churchmen belonging to every Church except the Roman Catholics. From national, divisional and county level, they have all communicated with me and are utterly opposed to this policy of Premium Bonds.
I remember that when we were discussing the Small Lotteries and Gaming Bill, one Member who was of the Church of England said he was speaking for the Church. I am speaking tonight for the Church of England. I have received letters from bishops, vicars, curates and organisations. Throughout the length and breadth of the country there is strong feeling, not merely from the Church point of view or from the moral or religious viewpoint.
One letter which I have received is from the Society of Friends, from every one of the staff of a famous school, the Ackworth Quaker School, a school that stands high in our educational world. It is a school that has and has had brilliant students. One of them was John Bright. I have had a letter from that school. It is backed by every one of the staff. It is against the Premium Bonds, not only from the narrow religious standpoint, but because, it says, this nation throughout the ages, and with Governments of various parties, has always had high standards, and because the policies and conduct of those Governments have been of a high standard. The letter says that by entering into this lottery the nation will debase those high standards and policies.
Much has been said about the savings movement. I have given many years to the savings movement. The Chancellor has left now, and I am sorry, because I wanted to tell him that Lord Mackintosh was not speaking for the savings move- 1132 ment. There are many thousands of people who have been active in the savings movement and who look upon this policy of Premium Bonds with some concern. They have worked hard year after year making street collections, and so on. I think it was the hon. Member for Ruislip—Northwood (Mr. F. P. Crowder) who suggested that people should be paid not only in £1 notes but in savings certificates or stamps. As it is, scores of thousands of industrial workers, miners and engineers, for example, have already agreed to have some of their pay stopped from their pay packets and subscribed to National Savings.
Apart from the Church point of view, apart from the moral and religious point of view, I am of the opinion that the Government are debasing the national life, and its political life and political finance, and I am of the opinion that they have started on a scheme now which will have its repercussions upon the nation's moral standards and conduct. The country generally, as I said before, will be shocked when tomorrow it reads the Chancellor's speech.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
I am very sorry that, having delivered himself of his statement, the Chancellor should have left the Chamber. He has not waited to hear how his statement may be received by the Committee. Perhaps he was assured that no one on his own side is at all concerned about the matter.
§ Mr. Ross
That may be. I do not know what he is after. My main concern is that he is not here to listen to the opinion of part of the country which is worth listening to, the Northern Kingdom, one of the outstanding qualities of which is recognised to be a love of thrift.
The Scottish attitude to thrift is that it cannot be divorced from independence. It is the spirit of independence which gives rise to this virtue of thrift. This Chancellor is the first Chancellor to put chance into his name, and what he has presented is a double standard: an appeal, based on the old-fashioned ideas of thrift, to save; and an appeal through a prize.
He said there was nothing wrong with a prize. Many of us agree up to a point. In Scotland, we are coming to the time 1133 of year when school children get prizes, and many Members of Parliament will be at the prizegivings. Those are prizes for work. Those are prizes which have been earned. No matter how much hon. Members opposite confuse matters, the prizes the Chancellor offers are prizes which are to be taken from interest that could accrue to other people's money.
§ Mr. Ross
It is a gamble, and it is a gamble which runs counter to the ethical and religious feelings of a great section of the people of this country. I hope that the Financial Secretary will agree with me when I say that. A great section of the people of this country, Scottish, Welsh, and English, believe that and believe it fervently.
The Church has taught and worked for generations against this serious social evil —not to eradicate it, for it has not been able to do that, but to mitigate the worst effects of it. What help will it get from the Government? The Chancellor pretty well sneered at the Church today because it had complained about the proposal. What a light, frivolous speech the Chancellor's was today.
It seems desperately wrong that in the conduct of such a national enterprise we should do something offensive—rightly or wrongly offensive—to the consciences of a considerable section of our fellow citizens. I do not care, for this purpose, whether that section is a majority or a minority. It is an appreciable section entitled to have its conscientious and religious views respected by national authorities. … "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th November. 1950; Vol. 481, c. 1039.]That was said here not by anyone on this side of the Committee but by the present Minister of Pensions and National Insurance. He said it when we were discussing another moral issue. I wish the hon. Member for Southgate (Sir B. Baxter) were here, for I have one or two quotations to read to him. He talked about self-righteousness. Here is a social evil which will rot the very national purpose for which the Chancellor is appealing. The statement I have just quoted was made when we were debating the opening of Battersea Gardens on Sundays.
I wonder where the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Sir S. Summers) is?
§ Mr. Ross
He had something to say on that occasion, too. He said:Let me quote the analogy of betting.This is very relevant:I doubt if there is any hon. Member in the House who has not, at some time or another, taken a ticket in a sweepstake, and, in so doing, has never questioned the moral right of what he did. I think there will be few such hon. Members who would go so far as to say that they would support a State lottery to promote betting. Surely, therefore, it is one thing to refuse to try to suppress betting, and quite another deliberately to promote it…He said it was quite wrong… to mobilise the resources of the State to promote a certain enterprise, and in so doing to amend the law in order to escape the penalties which will fall on others."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd November, 1950; Vol. 481, c. 623–4.]Exactly what we are doing today. I wonder if the hon. Member for Aylesbury stands by that statement he made nearly six years ago. He was apparently speaking for a considerable number of his hon. Friends at that time, and he said he would never support a State lottery, that he would certainly not support mobilising the resources of the State to promote a certain enterprise to escape the penalties which fall on others, The Chancellor has said that this is not a lottery, but he seeks to amend the law to ensure that the penalties for lotteries shall not fall upon this. This is exactly the situation the hon. Member for Aylesbury spoke about in 1950. I want to know whether he and his hon. Friends who agreed with him then will go into the Lobby with us tonight.
Somebody asked why it was the Chancellor did this. Why, out of all the things that he could have done, the Chancellor suddenly decided to introduce this State lottery I do not know, but the right hon. Gentleman told us in his Budget speech that he had been reading "Bleak House "and he gave us some introduction to a character called Mrs. Pardiggle. It is no coincidence that prior to making his Budget speech he was reading "Bleak House." It was quite appropriate. I have more than a feeling that before he read that particular chapter some of his Treasury advisers had put this question of Premium Bonds to him.
I, too, am fond of Dickens and have read "Bleak House". I recall that Mrs. Pardiggle was one of those noisy do-goods who always want subscriptions for 1135 some obscure kind of charity and made all her children enrol and put their pocket money into subscriptions. The youngest child was called Edgar, and he, at the age of five, had enrolled in the "bonds of joy". It was not exactly the "Premium Bonds of Joy".
This was almost a call from above to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that to start Premium Bonds was the thing to do. It is interesting to recall that Edgar also, at the age of five, had decided never again to use tobacco. It was after reading that chapter that we had from the Chancellor Premium Bonds and the extra duty on tobacco. Therefore, this really has been a "Bleak House" Budget.
We have already had complaints from hon. Members opposite that the prizes are not good enough and that the scheme is not sufficiently attractive. The Government will need to advertise the scheme pretty widely. It is worthy of a Government that introduced I.T.V. to fall for this kind of thing. Apart from taking space in the national Press, we must have television programmes. We must have "Mac and Charlie, the bond bombshells" on the programme. I am perfectly sure that the Postmaster-General will be able to write a pretty good script. We should have to have the draw monthly, and I suggest that it must be done on television. I do not know whether the Chancellor himself will preside over these monthly events. [HON. MEMBERS: "Sabrina.") Or it may be the hon. Lady the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward). The best way would be for hon. and noble Ladies opposite to have another draw to determine who shall preside over the first historic occasion.
The ex-Chancellor, the right hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler), is right. He also had something to say on the occasion from which I have already quoted. He spoke of that matter as not being a question merely of who participated in it. He mentioned the fact that people, if they liked, need not participate, and he said,It is not enough to say that those who do not like these things can stop away. In matters such as these, the need to maintain a certain distinctive, social and ethical climate depends on the community acting as a whole.In this scheme the Government have destroyed the whole principle of the work done by the churches against gambling.
1136 If anyone tries to tell people about the evils of gambling, those people can say, "What harm is there in it? It is now being permitted by the State and we have a declaration from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that there is no harm in it." It is not a question of the harm done by participation in this scheme, it is of the harm done to those who are fighting the evil of gambling—by undermining the whole basis of their struggle against it. That is the great harm which the Chancellor of the Exchequer does, and one which he consistently refuses to see.
We might again consider the things that have been said by hon. Gentlemen who now grace the Front Bench opposite about the great evil of opening Battersea Park on Sundays. Where is the Solicitor-General? [An HON. MEMBER: "At Ascot."] He said:… if we allowed the amusement part of the Festival Gardens to be opened on Sundays, real, grave, lasting injury to the convictions of what I believe to be a substantial majority of the people, for whose care we are responsible, would result. If that is right … it does not matter whether that means profit or loss. …" —[OFFICIAL REPORT. 23rd November, 1950; Vol. 481, c. 550 and 565.]It was the question of principle that mattered. Is the hon. and learned Member concerned today about the religious principles and convictions of great sections of the people of this country? It does not matter whether those people are in the majority or in the minority.
The hon. and learned Gentleman may have talked to the Archbishop of York about this, and he may have talked to him before he made the speech from which I have quoted. I certainly do not get the impression from the Chancellor's speech today that the right hon. Gentleman is at all concerned. The right hon. Gentleman's speech was flippant and frivolous. When we consider that in Great Britain we are told by the Chancellor in one speech that we are up against it and that there is no way out but by hard work, thrift and self-denial and putting the interests of the nation first, how can the right hon. Gentleman then tell us that every month there will be a draw and we shall have something for nothing if we invest not in success but in the bait and lure of this petty scheme?
One of my right hon. Friends has said that there is something seedy and shabby in this Premium Bond scheme. I think 1137 that there is something disgraceful in the fact that a Chancellor and a Government who have been talking about lowering moral values should today say that the salvation of Britain and the reaching of the Chancellor's plateau must depend first of all upon our descending into the morass of the promotion of a gambling scheme.
§ Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)
I was disappointed with the Chancellor's reply and with the fact that he did not stay to hear the Committee's reactions, but all that is in harmony with his attitude these days. The right hon. Gentleman received considerable praise from the Conservative Press when he introduced this Premium Bond scheme in his Budget speech. It was said to be one of the acts of a wizard. [An HON. MEMBER: "The Wizard of Oz."] I believe that the Chancellor is one of the great disasters that has come upon us in recent days. He is having a sorry record in his office, and he will be remembered for introducing a scheme which was opposed by the almost united church movement of the country.
It is open to the House to disregard, if it will, the opinion of organised Churches in the country and to sneer at "highfalutin' moral principles", as the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) did before he departed from our presence, and, possibly, as the hon. Member for Southgate (Sir B. Baxter) did, to sneer at the sincerity of people who stand up for their religious principles. I am standing up on religious grounds on this qeustion of Premium Bonds. People can say "hypocrite", "humbug" and what they like, but I know that the Churches of the country are deeply incensed by the policy which the Government are pursuing.
In his reply tonight, far from going out of his way to hold out his hands towards the Churches, the Chancellor went out of his way to throw mud at them, when he referred to the investment policy of the Church of England in Trinidad Oil. I did not know about it. I suppose also that millions in the country did not know about it, but it is a little more mud thrown at the Churches of this country by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Does the right hon. Gentleman think that he has strengthened the Church of England by the speech he made tonight? I happen to be a Methodist, 1138 but I believe that the right hon. Gentleman has damaged the institution to which he gives a certain allegiance, I gathered from his speech, and even if he wished to advocate his cause, one would have thought that the right hon. Gentleman would have chosen more acceptable arguments to advance. I am sorry to attack the Chancellor in his absence, but I have had no chance to attack him in his presence.
§ Mr. H. Brooke
I am sure the hon. Gentleman realises that the Chancellor, having sat here for four hours at a stretch—[Horn. MEMBERS: "He has not."] —has gone to get a little food. My right hon. Friend intends to return to this debate as soon as possible.
§ Mr. Thomas
It is inaccurate to say that the Chancellor has sat here for four hours. I happen to have been here since the debate began, and I know how long the Chancellor sat here. He was here a little while before he spoke and then he left us. That is a nice way to treat a Committee of the House of Commons.
It has been made patently clear tonight in the speech of the Chancellor that he does not care a twopenny toss what the Churches of the country believe and, say. I want to put on record the resolution passed by the British Council of Churches which was forwarded to the Chancellor soon after his Budget speech. No one can say that the Chancellor has not had every opportunity for second thoughts on this question. The right hon. Gentleman would not have lost any caste; indeed. he might have grown in stature had he said that on second thoughts he realised that this proposal might damage the fibre of our national way of life.
This is the resolution which was passed by the British Council of Churches, which includes all the bodies of organised religion in this country, with the exception, I believe, of the Roman Catholic community:The British Council of Churches welcomes the emphasis by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech on the great importance of National Savings as being essential to economic recovery and of real value to all individuals participating. It greatly regrets, however, the proposal to introduce ' Premium Bonds ' which constitute a national lottery on the interest accruing to certain savings bonds. The Council is firmly pursuaded that the well-being of the country must be based on labour and sacrifice, on 1139 thrift and a sense of personal responsibility, and therefore deplores a departure from established practice in national finance, which it regards as unworthy in itself and, in the long run socially and morally harmful. It therefore urges Her Majesty's Government to reconsider this part of the Budget proposals.The hon. Member for Louth referred to the fact that the Welfare State is in danger. The Welfare State has had its foundations undermined for the past five years. It has been attacked, it has been hit at from all quarters. But we all realise that the basis of a Welfare State is not only the moral principle that the strong shall help the weak and the rich shall help the poor, but that every man jack shall have a sense of personal responsibility for the well-being of the communal interest; that we shall have on the part of our people a spirit which asks, What can I give?; not, What can I get? How can I help?; not, How can I score at somebody else's expense? I believe that one of the most serious aspects of the policy of the Treasury is that it is undermining the sense of personal responsibility on the part of our people.
It is a policy of despair which believes that we can get our folk to respond to national appeals only if we appeal to the greed which is within them. I have been reminded by one of my hon. Friends that Horatio Bottomley appealed to patriotism and to national greed in the same way. He had seven years for it. The Postmaster-General, whose colour has gone a little, will realise that he is placing himself in a dangerous position. [An HON. MEMBER: "Indemnity."] Yes, he is more fortunate than Bottomley was, in that he is able to help himself to get a measure of indemnity for himself and his policy.
To return to the question of the Churches, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Black), in a most able and moving speech, gave the point of view which we expect from him, but the reaction in the Churches of the land is not a political reaction. Devout Christian people, who vote for the party opposite normally, are distressed and disturbed that this scheme should be introduced. I know that every Methodist synod in Britain—
§ Mr. Thomas
And the Church of Scotland similarly—has gone on record on this question. These people are not lightweights. They are people who help to fashion the opinion that counts in these islands. We must remember that it is the minority who preserve the things of value, not the majority. It is the minority who fight for the precious principles handed down to us from our fathers. We are taking a major step in altering the British way of life, to which so much reference has been made, if we sanction this proposal.
We are the custodians of all that is best in the British way of life. I say to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that nobody, merely on the grounds of party loyalty, has a right to throw away what our fathers protected, and what has been a valuable asset in the national character, the sense of personal responsibility, of getting on by hard work rather than by hoping to get something without effort at the expense of somebody else.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer referred to a valued friend of mine, Lord Mackintosh, Chairman of the National Savings movement. He is a very distinguished Methodist, a man who has rendered great service to the Methodist movement in this country and whose service has been highly esteemed and valued. I think that the Chancellor has been ungenerous, at the least, to put Lord Mackintosh in this difficult position. I am sorry for the position in which he finds himself and I want to say publicly that I cannot understand his conclusions. It is sometimes said that hon. Members of this House will put party before principle. That is the cheap jibe of people who do not like politics or politicians. It is not true on this occasion here. I wish in my heart that Lord Mackintosh had found it possible to take another line on this question.
There is much made of the fact that a certain amount of gambling through football pools is going on in the Labour Party. I believe it is the same with the party opposite by various forms of gambling. So it is true that in the political institutions of both sides of the House of Commons certain gambling policies are being pursued. I deplore it, because I believe that the greater the dependence upon gambling systems, the less earnest and sincere voluntary 1141 work we are likely to get. If we get our money easily we shall not get other people working hard to raise funds for the movement, and thus serving the movement and the cause at the same time.
We cannot expect the Chancellor to deal with our problem in every speech, but one would not have thought from his statement on the Premium Bond scheme tonight that we had our backs to the wall economically, and that he is looking to everyone to mark time on wage demands and to go slow on dividends. Our problem is clearly not merely one of inflation, not merely one of spending less, of modifying wage demands or restraining national dividends.
Our problem is one of national integrity. We need an acceptance of self-sacrifice for the common good. I believe that we are at the level of expediency when we ought to be at the level of principle and that we want to stimulate on the part of our people what is worthy, not what is unworthy. We need the encouragement of work and the discouragement of those things that distract from it. As so many hon. Members on this side of the Committee and some on the other side have said, the sense of thrift is not likely to be encouraged by this measure now being advanced.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer took pride in quoting the Bishop of Exeter as being one who speaks in his support. The bishops as a whole, of course, stand overwhelmingly with those people who are opposed to the introduction of the Premium Bond, but I think that the attitude of people who take moral exception to this scheme has never been put more neatly than in this quotation, and I will give the name of the author afterwards:As a way of raising money for charity. they "—that is to say, lotterie—are wasteful and pernicious; pernicious because of the unholy alliance between ultruism and self-seeking. For this attempt to bribe people to subscribe to charities"—in this case, National Savings—by an appeal to self-interest, there is nothing to be said. It is an insult to charity and a source of offence because it tends to blunt men's consciences.1142 That statement was made by the present Bishop of Exeter before he had his present appointment. [An HON. MEMBER: "Was he a vicar then?"] He was on the road of progress at that time.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is not one whom I often find it necessary to quote, but who is there in this country who can lightly disregard the words of the Primate when he speaks on this issue? It was the Archbishop who said:My last word must take us back to our Christian duty … I should say that there are more important things to exercise one's moral judgment than the niceties of white and black gambling, and that the simplest rule a christian can have for his gambling regulating is not to gamble at all.We have heard much tonight about the need for leadership in this nation. One of the charges that we level at the Government is that they are not giving leadership to this country. The Government created a climate of grab for yourself as much as you can at anybody else's expense. They threw away controls, and did not care a twopenny toss for the national well-being. They have created a greater measure of inflation than even they thought was possible in our economic circumstances, and I say that in this measure they are once again showing how bankrupt of leadership the Treasury Bench is.
What sort of a Britain is it that we want? Is it a Britain with gambling at its centre and as its mainspring? Is it a people who will only respond to a national effort if we bribe them to make that effort? I think this is unworthy of our people. It is a caricature of the British character. Our people will respond to the challenge and will sacrifice in the common interest if the right leadership is given, and I believe the Government will rue this day as the nation will rue it, because it will take many years to undo the effect of this increase in the gambling interest in the nation.
I ask the Financial Secretary, though I confess I ask him with not very much confidence, having heard the Chancellor, to ask his right hon. Friend to think yet again, for we have no right lightly to slam the door in the face of the entire Church movement of this country. We may laugh here and say that this is a small thing. We may feel that we are the experts on this sort of question. We are 1143 not the experts in this realm of moral principle. We may feel that we have an equal right with everyone else to our opinion, but we shall be taking a dangerous path if we disregard the considered judgment and opinion of all that body of men and women in the Churches of our country who advise the Government against this step tonight.
§ Mr. John Cronin (Loughborough)
This is almost a unique occasion in English history. We have seen the holder of an ancient and dignified office standing at the Dispatch Box and laying the odds. We have heard an exquisite dissertation on how much one invests, how much one gets back and the various chances and calculations. I suggest that the Treasury Bench is becoming a branch of Tattersall's Enclosure. There is the same discreet air, the pencils and the books and the atmosphere of big money. There is the Chancellor and the Financial Secretary, who seem very much at home in these conditions, though perhaps the Postmaster-General would feel himself more at home in the silver ring. I should not care to venture further than that.
The Chancellor has told us that he feels a great respect for those who have severe and distinct moral views about gambling, yet, having made that statement, two minutes later he was deriding them, ridiculing them, pouring scorn upon them and doing everything to laugh at and to cause people to laugh at what are sincere, and strongly-held moral objections.
I do not pretend to any authority on the moral aspect of gambling. That seems to belong to that twilight world in which one is not clear as to what is right and what is wrong, but what I do know and what I think everybody on this side of the Committee realises is that there are at least a million and more people in this country who are fiercely opposed to gambling as a moral evil, and their views should be respected. Yet they are getting nothing but the most superficial lip service.
I should like to suggest that this proposal in Clause 35 is unsound economically, and disastrous psychologically. I will deal with the economic aspects first, as these are the rather mundane aspects of the question, as compared with the moral aspect, but they are still worth investigating.
1144 First, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) pointed out, a large staff will have to be employed to administer the scheme. We know that the National Savings movement has to deal with some 13 million holders' cards, and in view of that I believe that the suggestion made by my right hon. Friend that a staff of 1,700 will be required is probably an underestimate; it will probably need considerably more. All those people will be completely unproductive. They will not be winning coal or making engineering parts, but simply sitting at desks administering, and dealing with the clerical work of this rather pernicious scheme.
Again, these bonds will surely be too expensive for the ordinary small saver. Not many people can pay £1 each week for a bond, and the Chancellor should be getting all the small savers he can. These are the very people he should be trying to get to save. Again, a large number of Premium Bonds will be purchased by withdrawals from present savings. There are outstanding at present in small savings about £6,000 million. Anyone who can afford to buy Premium Bonds on a large scale will almost certainly withdraw from savings of a more desirable character. The scheme, therefore, will not be anti-inflationary at all.
Another economic point is that most of the prize money will be spent extravagantly and in an inflationary way. I think that all hon. Members will agree that the man who receives interest on his money is not likely to squander the interest, which is a comparatively small sum, and which he recognises as being earnings on his capital. He uses it for the purposes of his daily expenditure or, as with Savings Certificates, very often leaves the interest to accumulate. By this scheme we are to have large windfalls of £1,000 and £500. Those will clearly be dealt with in the same way as football pool prizes are dealt with. They will be spent extravagantly, they will set an example of extravagance, and will get people into the habit of extravagance, the habit of prodigal spending, which is just what the Chancellor wants to avoid.
From the psychological point of view it is almost a truism to say what certain aspects of this scheme are. It surely must be the very opposite of thrift to gamble. To introduce a scheme of 1145 gambling in order to encourage thrift seams to be a contradiction in terms. One of the most important things that has to be really inculcated into everyone in this country is that money is an equivalent of service performed. There is no real way of combating inflation until we get that spirit.
One of the most important links in the chain of inflation is that incomes are increased without an equivalent amount of production or service. Here we have a Chancellor introducing a scheme the primary object of which is to give away large windfalls for which no service, no productive effort, nothing useful to the community is given at all. It is an inflationary process which is being induced by the Chancellor himself.
Another psychological point of the greatest importance is the effect of Premium Bonds on this country's prestige in the eyes of the rest of the world. That is of prime importance. Why are people speculating against the £? Why is our balance of payments going down? Simply because there is an increasing element of doubt in all the financial cities of the world about our financial stability. What are they to think when they hear that such a scheme as this is to be adopted? What is to be the effect in the financial centres of New York, Amsterdam, Zurich, when they hear that the Chancellor has stood up in this House and proposed a lottery as his answer to inflation? I suggest that the effect on our prestige will be completely ruinous.
I will quote the words of the late Lord Kindersley, a former President of the National Savings Committee, and a financier of considerable knowledge. Giving evidence before the Royal Commission on Betting, Lotteries and Gaming, Lord Kindersley said:It would do the international reputation of this country great harm if we were to adopt this method.He referred to State lotteries, which, of course, are the same thing as these bonds. That is the view of a very experienced businessman.
The Royal Commission itself came down really severely against any form of State lotteries. Paragraph 208 of its Report states, in these rather moderate terms:… the provision of gambling facilities is in no sense an essential service, and is in our 1146 view inappropriate for inclusion within the sphere of the State's activities.Nothing more definite could be said than that.
I suggest that Clause 35 is one of the most unsavoury features in an otherwise rather featureless Budget. The Clause makes it a gambling Budget. We know that the Chancellor is engaged on a personal gamble himself; he is gambling to some extent on the succession to a very high position. He is also, by this Premium Bond scheme, causing international financiers all over the world to gamble against the £, and all that he can offer to this country to combat this devouring inflation is a gambling scheme which will give no help in dealing with our financial problems.
§ Mr. Ede
I intend to utter only a very few sentences in this debate. I will not enter into what is called the moral aspect of it, because quite frankly that seems to me to be so difficult a subject with which to deal that I prefer not to dogmatise. I heard from the pulpit of the parish church in my own constituency a very strong pronouncement against this proposal from the vicar on the occasion of the Civic Sunday a few weeks back, and I come down on his side in this matter, but I want to say no more than that.
Throughout the Session I have endeavoured to approach these matters dealing with gambling from a commonsense point of view. That was why I moved an Amendment to the Small Lotteries and Gaming Bill making the age 16 rather than 18, because it did not seem to me to be common sense to expect that one could keep out of the small lotteries lads and girls of 17 or 18 who were in the factories and offices where sweepstakes were being organised and where similar enterprises were taking place.
I approach this matter, too, from a common sense point of view. We were told by the Chancellor that this was to be a savings Budget. This is a Budget in which he wants to bring home to the people of this country the necessity to save. After dealing with other alterations in the small savings movement, he brought forward this proposal. I am bound to say that I have never discovered in an atmosphere where prizes are being given away—and I take the point which the Chancellor made—that the feeling of saving ever becomes operative.
1147 Indeed, I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Mr. Cronin) that when a person gets one of these £1,000 prizes out of the scheme, it is very unlikely that that will be other than an occasion for a spending spree in which he and his pals will meet and dispose of the greater part of the £1,000 and perhaps a little more. My hon. Friend the Member for Leyton (Mr. Sorensen) referred to Epsom Downs, and I have known people who have been lucky on Epsom Downs find that when they had a big win they were expected to be very generous to everybody else in the way. In fact, whether it is now or never, those people for whom gambling had proved to be "never" expected to be recompensed by those for whom it had proved to be "now."
I therefore think that this Measure will fail if its purpose is to stimulate savings. I cannot see that it will get much money which will be permanently invested in Premium Bonds, and to my mind the frequency of the draw will add to the spending sprees which I have just described. What has happened to one will be expected to be followed by the others when their time comes.
I share the view of those of my right hon. and hon. Friends who have expressed the opinion that this proposal will not get the country into the frame of mind in which I should have thought the right hon. Gentleman would desire to see it. If we read speeches which he makes in the country we see that he paints the plight of the country in more doleful colours than I myself would use. Fortunately, I am not reported when I speak, because I never give a hand-out, and therefore I can use the same speech more than once; but if I had made the kind of speech which the right hon. Gentleman has made recently, and had been reported, and he had read it, I might have expected to receive some reproofs from him for trying to paint the plight of the country in too dismal colours.
Nevertheless, accepting the right hon. Gentleman's view of the situation, I should have thought that anything which attempted to show that it is possible to get a prize other than by hard work and the recognition of the country's plight, as shown in an effort to put matters right, 1148 would be regarded as the last thing which he wanted. I do not intend to be drawn into the moral arguments.
§ Mr. Ede
That all depends on the play they see. That can be as bad a gamble as any English horse this summer.
I do not wish to dwell upon the moral issue. That is a matter for each man's conscience, and if he derives entertainment and excitement from gambling on the racecourse, at the dog track, or elsewhere, and does not go beyond his means, I am not going to condemn him. There are many things that, conscientiously, I cannot do but which I know others do with a good conscience, and I have never attempted to measure their consciences by mine.
The country is in a desperate position. We need hard work and a spirit of self-sacrifice if we are to get through. During the weekend my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) was appealing to people to make a sacrifice so that we could help our fellow subjects under the British Crown. All these considerations are against the spirit of the Clause, and for that reason they are more worthy than the Clause. Therefore. upon no moral scruple but as a matter of common sense and a belief in the right hon. Gentleman's words about the country's plight, I shall vote against the Clause.
§ Mr. M. Philips Price (Gloucestershire, West)
This debate has shown that there are three streams of thought among those who have been considering this question. First, there are those who are not opposed to gambling, are in favour of it and are prepared to see it used for the purpose of improving our national finances. Secondly, there are those who are wholly against gambling in principle, and upon all occasions. Thirdly, there are those who are not against gambling in principle, 1149 but think that it is wrong to use it for the purpose which the Chancellor proposes.
I belong to the last category. I am not opposed to betting, or having a flutter every now and then. I sometimes put 10s. on a horse in one of our hunt point-to-points in Gloucestershire, thinking of the time when I used to ride in races myself. I do not mind, in my constituency or elsewhere in the county, taking a ticket in a lottery for some charitable or sporting purpose. I do not think that it is possible to stop the fondness of a large section of our people for having a flutter. There is a psychological reason for it, which we cannot overcome.
Like my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), I am not concerned here with the religious or purely moral side of the question, because I believe that it is one which has to be decided by the conscience of each of us. My objection is that it is wrong to introduce the element of gambling into the consideration of our national economy and finances. For those reasons—and for others, which I do not share—hon. Members on this side of the Committee will oppose the Clause.
Gambling is not the same as drawing interest upon money invested. Gambling involves the possibility of getting something for nothing. Some hon. Members opposite have tried to confuse the issue, but there is no similarity between drawing interest on investments and gambling. In one case a person invests money saved or inherited, and if he does so in a sound way and shows judgment he is entitled to a return. But the possibility of getting money for nothing is an entirely different matter. Our national finances should not depend upon it in any way.
The state of the nation's finances should be of solemn and serious concern to us all. The public should be impressed with the need to produce goods and food at home; to produce them cheaply, and to save money. That object can be achieved only by educating people. It cannot be achieved by appealing to their gambling instincts. If the Chancellor is trying to create the impression that saving can be achieved by investing in Premium Bonds, he is side-tracking the issue.
It may be argued that gambling is an institution from which the State has a perfect right to take a profit, in addition to those who engage in it and make a 1150 business of it. I fear that there is no evidence to show that the State will take away money which now goes to the football pools and so reduce gambling of that kind. I am rather afraid that this Clause may result in increasing the volume of gambling in the country, and this at a time when we need to impress on our people the need for a serious attitude towards the trends of our national economy. I think that the example suggested in this Clause is most unfortunate. It tends to create the impression that our national position is not serious and can be dealt with, in part at least, by a little gambling. Therefore, I think that we on this side of the Committee have every right to oppose the Clause to the utmost of our endeavour.
§ Mr. W. T. Williams (Barons Court)
I have sat in the Chamber throughout the whole of the debate, and I have wondered if the Chancellor has been impressed, as I have been, by the fact that, with two exceptions, all the speeches made from both sides of the Committee, excluding his own, have been for one reason or another in opposition to the proposal that the Chancellor makes in this Clause. Even in the case of the two speeches made in favour of it, one was an attack upon the Chancellor for not going the whole hog because the prizes were insufficient and would make no appeal. Of the other speech, I can only comment in the words of one of my hon. Friends, who said to me, as we listened to it, "There is nothing so silly that at some time or another it will not be heard spoken in the House of Commons".
Over and over again, as I have listened to this debate, I have asked myself, as I have about so much which this Government has done: why has the Chancellor done this thing? Whom does he hope to attract; what does he hope to achieve? Clearly, the Chancellor is not hoping by these Premium Bonds to get very much money from the very small saver, because the bonds are too expensive. Obviously, the Chancellor has cut out from his reckoning some millions of people who are loyal and faithful churchgoers in the Nonconformist, Free Churches and the Church of England, because all these Churches have declared irrevocably their opposition and hostility to the proposals which the Chancellor is making.
1151 I would submit that it is true to say that, by and large, the self-respecting people of this country are the savers. It cannot be that the Chancellor hopes to appeal to the gambling instinct of those to whom gambling is the be all and end all of life. I remember that it has been said, either in the House of Commons or elsewhere, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he wants to sell these bonds, should go to Prince Monolulu and suggest to him that he should cry around the streets of London, "I gotta bond". I read in one newspaper that when this suggestion was put to that distinguished gentleman, he replied, "Not me; it would not be worth my while. I could not get a gambler to take a bite". To whom, then, is the Chancellor seeking to appeal?
Obviously the greatest expectation which the Chancellor can have in making this proposition is that, somehow or other, there will be some political kudos in this, in that there will be a moving of money to his new bonds largely from savings that are already in existence. Although that may collect some political kudos for him, it seems extremely unlikely that it will in any way affect the real economic and financial problems with which the Government and he are faced.
I had hoped that in his speech the Chancellor would have given an answer to some of the questions that thoughtful people must be asking as a result of his insistence in going on with this scheme in the face of the bitter opposition, of which he is aware, that comes from the organised Churches of the country. I am bound to say that as I listened to the right hon. Gentleman I wondered whether his intellectual or his moral bankruptcy was the greater.
Speaking of the intellectual effort of the Chancellor—although it is true that he got some applause from the gaggle of back benchers who surrounded him, but who departed immediately he had spoken—it is lamentable, I think, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Great Britain should stand at the Dispatch Box and defend what is, after all, a considerable constitutional departure by making the kind of slapdash, buffoon's speech which he made. The 1152 right hon. Gentleman devoted much of his speech to putting up Aunt Sallies in order to knock them down again and to answering arguments which nobody had advanced. The right hon. Gentleman has so long played the buffoon of the Conservative Party that even in his present responsible position he finds it difficult to cease playing that character.
Nobody in the course of the debate—I glad that the Chancellor is hereto which the right hon. Gentleman listened only spasmodically—
§ Mr. Williams
I take leave to doubt that because I was here the whole time and the right hon. Gentleman was not.
§ Mr. Macmillan
What the hon. Gentleman says is not true. I sat here from 3.30 until I spoke. After that I went out to get a little food, and I shall be here till the end of the debate. I believe that is the very common custom of a Minister in charge of a Bill.
§ Mr. Williams
I have sat here—[Horn. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] I shall not withdraw. I have sat here throughout the whole of this debate and, although it is perfectly true that the Chancellor moved in and out during the course of the debate, he did move in and out and did not remain during the whole of the debate. I make my statement and stand by it.
I equally make the statement that it was most lamentable that the Chancellor, in making a departure from a constitutional practice of this country, did not make the slightest attempt to answer the arguments advanced, but, instead, put up a series of Aunt Sally arguments merely to knock them down again—arguments which not a single hon. Member had raised in the course of the debate.
If the Chancellor did not understand the arguments that had been offered he ought not to continue in the office which he now holds, because what he has said and what he continued to say in the course of his speech was that the main argument that had been advanced was that those of us who are opposed to these bonds saw in the prospect of a prize a "Rake's Progress" that would ultimately ruin those who took part in buying the bonds. That was the only 1153 contribution which the right hon. Gentleman had to make to any arguments which had been advanced, and to which he said he had listened with such care.
If, on the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman knew that he was not meeting the arguments advanced and yet was satisfied, holding the high and dignified office that he does, to make that kind of reply, then his moral bankruptcy is greater than his intellectual bankruptcy, because, of course, the arguments advanced from this side of the Committee, whether moral or economic, were worthy of and deserving of serious consideration if only because they represent the considered opinion of many responsible leaders throughout the country—not only in this House—who are perhaps better qualified to speak on moral and spiritual issues than are hon. Members. Those arguments were worthy of more deserving consideration than the Chancellor chose to give when he spoke today.
I should like to repeat some of the things that seem to us to be of the very heart and essence of the conflict that is going on, not only in the Committee, but in the country as a whole. I shall not weary the Committee by repeating the criticisms that have been made on the economic aspect—that our economic problem is long-term and will last for many years, and that the Chancellor's attempt to solve it is a specious and trivial expedient. I would, however, say that it would be more honourable and less humbug if the Chancellor and the Government of which he is spokesman were to take over the football pools instead of going in for this scheme, which has neither moral nor economic merit.
By mixing up saving and gambling in the way in which the Chancellor has done, and by offering to the Committee the stale and pointless argument that this thing is not a gamble, the Chancellor underlines the allegation that those of us who are opposed to him make, that he is not only cheapening himself and his Government but that he is cheapening Britain. I recognise that it would be wrong for me to try to make people do things for my reasons. I, like others who have spoken, am a Nonconformist. I am hostile to gambling, and I hold the point of view that I do because of my religious persuasion, but I recognise that because I am 1154 hostile to gambling in any form it would be wrong for me, for my reasons, to try to make people who do not accept my religious presuppositions do the things I want done.
But that is not the issue here. It is not enough for those who have responsibility for the government of the country merely to say, "Because there are people in Britain who see nothing wrong about gambling, we are, therefore, as the Government of Britain, responsible for the protection of the people, taking it upon ourselves to give legal sanction, legislative approval, to this spivvery, to this attempt to solve basic economic problems by appealing, not to the people's capacity for sacrifice, citizenship and patriotism, but only to their greed." I have always believed that it is a prerequisite of a democracy that it should have an adult electorate. I have long been persuaded that the only way by which a Welfare State could be maintained—a State which pledges itself to look after the people and to see that their best interests are served —was by facing the people with the responsibilities on which the privileges depend.
The hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) made a thoughtful and well-considered speech. I have great respect for his integrity, and I found it a matter of regret that he should have been driven, by interruptions, to make an attack upon a whole section of the community on a matter about which quite clearly he knew far too little. He failed to recognise that the very thing about which he was complaining, when he made an attack upon the resistance within the Welsh mines to present circumstances, was born out of a sense that is deeply rooted in people who have known a great deal of suffering, privation and neglect. That kind of attitude, the failure on the part of one section of the community to care about another section, breeds within itself the things which, from the long-term point of view, result in tragedy, misery and frustration.
I believe—and this is the gravaman of the opposition that I, and I believe many millions of people in Britain, feel to these Premium Bonds—that the appeal of the Government is not for the true welfare of Britain. It is not an appeal to the people of Britain to save in order to get Britain out of her economic difficulties; but an 1155 appeal to their basest motives; to their greed, to their selfishness. It will bring into the arena of State exercise, State concern, the miserable, squalid business that turns people into spivs, and worse.
I am persuaded that many millions of people will not only regret that the Government have done this thing, will not only oppose it in the years which are to come, but will also regret the cheapjack way in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer defended these things, and refused to meet, and brushed aside, the opposition and criticism levelled against his proposal by people for whom he ought to have had far greater respect.
§ Mr. E. Fernyhough (Jarrow)
Like my hon. Friend the Member for Barons Court (Mr. W. T. Williams), I was very disappointed with the Chancellor's speech. It was obvious that the speech had been prepared last night and was in anticipation of what the right hon. Gentleman thought would be the objections of many of my hon. Friends. But my hon. Friends did not live up to his expectations. Nevertheless, the Chancellor was compelled to force down the throats of hon. Members a speech which he had prepared during his burning of the midnight oil.
One of the reasons why I object very strongly to Premium Bonds is because I believe they are a completely wrong method of tackling the economic sickness from which our nation is suffering. No one would attempt to underestimate the difficulties facing the Government, and no one would desire to underestimate our need to break even economically. But I cannot understand the Chancellor quoting the Prime Minister's speech at Bradford during his own Budget speech, and talking about reducing the number of civil servants from 10,000 or 15,000 when, at the same time, he introduces a proposal of this kind. Whatever else may be said about it, this Premium Bond scheme is bound to result in an increase in the number of civil servants on the payroll.
We have been given no indication about how many, because the Chancellor is at the moment working completely in the dark. But we can make an assumption. The scheme is to start in November and the Chancellor says that the first lot of prizes will be drawn for six months after the start. Provision is being made 1156 for £10,000 in prizes. On a six months basis, at 2 per cent. that represents £500,000 invested. In drawing up this scheme the Chancellor is assuming that, with all the advertisement and gusto with which it will be launched, during the first month £500,000 will be invested. If the scheme continues at that rate, it will result in a contribution of £6 million in twelve months towards solving our economic difficulties. In other words, on the first calculation of the Chancellor, we shall have saved £6 million in Premium Bonds in the first twelve months—
§ Mr. H. Macmillan
I do not wish to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but perhaps it would be right from the point of view of clarity for me to do so. What I said was that the interest would be calculated at 4 per cent., and then I described how each £10,000 worth of prize money would be divided. I made no estimate of how many £10,000 worth of prize money there would be, either in six months or a year. I think it only right to say that, because there may be some misconception as to what I did say about the plan.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Fernyhough
Does that mean that the Chancellor has not himself formed any estimate of what it is likely to bring in?
§ Mr. Macmillan
Of course I can form no precise estimate. I was simply describing the method of calculating the prize money. Whether one agrees with it or not, I think the hon. Member would wish to be correct. In each £10,000 the division of the prizes would be in this way and the prize money so created would be by charging 4 per cent. interest. That was how it would be obtained.
§ Mr. Fernyhough
I readily accept that correction, but I do think it rather remarkable that the Chancellor should have embarked on this scheme without having any real idea of how successful it is going to be.
§ Mr. Macmillan
In any new scheme it is impossible to do anything except make an estimate. If I publish a book I cannot tell how many copies will be sold; I just have to take a Chance.
§ Mr. Fernyhough
I should like the Committee to understand that we are setting up an elaborate organisation and are 1157 to take over a building for a specific purpose, but although this money is to be expended, the Chancellor—who is responsible for the scheme—has no idea at all whether the expenses will ever be justified. This is at a time when an appeal is being made to people to save. If the right hon. Gentleman wanted people to save he could have done something which would have saved far more money than he hopes will be saved by this method. He could step in, for instance, on the Independent Television Authority. It seems utter nonsense to allow the Independent Television Authority to continue every night trying to get people to spend at a time when the Chancellor is trying to get them to save.
The hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) said that the difficulties which beset this nation arose from the fact that our people were not working hard enough and were not producing enough. The truth is that never in the history of this country have we produced as much as we are producing today. We are producing the wrong kind of things. We are producing too many tanks, too many guns the 'planes, and not enough of the things which other countries want to buy. As the Chancellor himself said recently, if only we could reduce the arms programme by £700 million, what a lot he could do with that money. I suggest to the Chancellor that if he wants to put our economy on an even keel, instead of hoping to do it by Premium Bonds he should begin to think a little more about reducing the terrific arms burden which the nation is bearing, an arms burden such as no other nation is bearing to a similar extent.
The hon. Member for Louth also said that the economic difficulties confronting the nation today were due to the fact that we had introduced the Welfare State. The truth is that the Welfare State had been introduced before 1950 and in 1950, before we started upon the arms programme to which the Chancellor referred, we had done so well that the Chancellor of the Exchequer of that day, Sir Stafford Cripps, was able to say to the Americans, "We need no more Marshall Aid. We can stand on our own feet and look the whole world in the face." In 1950 we were able to tell the Americans that we wanted no more Marshall Aid. In 1950 we were standing on our own feet, we were paying our way and were looking the rest of the world in the face. The 1158 Chancellor himself recently referred to the wonderful change which would be brought about in our financial and economic problems by a reduction of the arms burden. I say to him quite frankly that only when he begins to take some action in that direction will he be doing something real and substantial for our economy.
If he is anxious that ordinary people should save, then there is one thing above all others which he should guarantee. Either he, as Chancellor, or his successor, irrespective of the political complexion of the Government, must guarantee to the small saver that the £ put in today will buy a £'s worth when drawn out in one, two, or three years' time. There can be no hope that ordinary people of limited means will invest their savings in National Savings, Premium Bonds, or anything else, unless they can be given some guarantee that as and when they come to draw their money in the years ahead its purchasing value will be as great as it was when put in.
§ Mr. Sidney Dye (Norfolk, South-West)
When I listened to the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer this afternoon, I was reminded of a poster I have seen in my constituency during the past few weeks which advertised a big Conservative Party fête. On the poster was the name of the Postmaster-General. Immediately underneath, in large print, were the words, "All the Fun of the Fair." When I opened my local paper to read the report of his speech, I found that it was headed by the words, "Give the Government time." That was the theme of the Postmaster-General's speech on Saturday—in the rain; it was somewhat damp.
The speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was too frivolous and too flippant, offending the serious attitude of many people in the country. When in the past has a Chancellor, standing at the Dispatch Box, appealed to the House, as he did today, not to set so much store on principle? He and his party have sunk somewhat low not only in the estimation of the electors of Tonbridge but also in the estimation of everyone. After all, what is it we are discussing?—not merely Premium Bonds. We are talking about the savings of the people. We are considering how the nation can finance 1159 not only national expenditure, not only a big armaments programme, but the development of our country so as to modernise its transport, its factories, its mines and its agriculture, in such a way as to avoid inflation. Surely, the great enemy of the Government and of the people is inflation.
Here we are merely talking about a little flutter in Premium Bonds as a means of upholding the savings movement, which is failing the country at the present time. The total of National Savings, through the savings movement, has not been rising in the way the nation needs. Because of that, the Chancellor has abandoned the old proved methods of encouraging saving. He has introduced a scheme which obviously will compete with the old forms of saving. He may encourage a number of people to take up the Premium Bonds at the expense of investing in other securities or in the Post Office Savings Bank.
In terms of taxation, the Chancellor will be taking money by taxation from the football pools, but to finance the Premium Bond scheme he is taking money out of taxation to run the scheme. The mass of those who put their money into Premium Bonds will have a higher rate of interest, although there will be a gamble in the form of the prize, than the Chancellor pays to people who put their money into the Post Office Savings Bank. The weakness of the scheme is that the Chancellor cannot allow it to compete with the other forms of National Savings at the same rate of interest but must give money from the Exchequer for the running of the scheme and also for a higher rate of interest.
For these reasons, the scheme is one that we on this side cannot support, not simply on religious grounds which have been so amply put by my hon. and right hon. Friends, with whom I agree. How many of us have reached our present position except by saving, by giving up the pleasures of the moment, to devote our time to studying matters of national concern and fitting ourselves to represent constituencies in the House of Commons?
When the National Savings movement began in 1916, I was one of the earliest supporters who put a contribution from his meagre earnings into the movement. 1160 I have always been a supporter of the principle of saving today for tomorrow, not merely for my own good, but for the benefit of the nation. We must individually try to get the nation to see that what we do by way of saving is not merely for the purpose of enriching ourselves but of supporting and sustaining the nation in its effort to expand industry and to build up trade. The new bond scheme undermines the very principles on which Britain has been made great and on which alone it can continue great in the future.
We have become accustomed to the National Debt. One of the most surprising things is that in peacetime, during the last five years of Tory Government, it has grown bigger and faster than at any other time in history. Today, it represents £528 per head of the population and it is increasing so rapidly that the stability of the State is undermined financially. That is the great problem and it has been caused by this Government.
The fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his predecessor have run the nation into debt and have encouraged frivolous spending by the people is the very cause of our present financial instability. Because we have departed from the old principles of hard work and saving, and of relating effort to income, we are in difficulties now as a nation.
We have to face the question why it is that the Chancellor has introduced these Premium Bonds. It is simply because the effort at saving has proved a failure because it has been undermined by inflationary tendencies. With the £ losing its value there is no encouragement to people to put their money into National Savings and to gain that small rate of interest. Had the Chancellor asked the National Savings movement the cause of the relative decline in National Savings and how it should be put right, he would not, I think, have got the answer "Premium Bonds." Perhaps he would have been advised to provide for a higher rate of interest for all national savers, not just the few privileged ones who will be encouraged, as he thinks, by his Premium Bonds.
Will the right hon. Gentleman find these Premium Bonds a success? What do they have to compete against? Surely, 1161 the people who will be inclined to put their money into Premium Bonds will not be the ones whose fancy will have been tickled by the events of the past week. Rather than consider Premium Bonds at a £1 a time, they will look around to see what other part of the British Empire, or what other asset of the British Empire, is to be put up for sale to America; look for those firms whose shares are now low in price but will double in a week. Those people, whom he is trying to attract, will far rather have their money in Trinidad leaseholds than in Premium Bonds, because the return is so much greater. The sale of Empire assets having been stimulated, with profits for those who happen to hold shares in them, it seems to me that the Premium Bonds will appear very small fish in relation to Trinidad leasehold shares, for instance, or any others likely to go their way.
In the debate tonight, we have seen the Government at their worst. We have seen them fail to face the real challenge of our times. They have failed to induce the nation to produce and to save in the interest of the country as a whole and for our future. I think the Premium Bonds will misfire and act on the Conservative Party in a way which it will not like.
§ Mr. R. Moss (Meriden)
Although find myself opposed to the scheme to be introduced by the right hon. Gentleman, I think exaggeration is no condemnation and that there are certain arguments in support of what the right hon. Gentleman proposed today. In so far as his purpose is the encouragement of National Savings, I hope he succeeds.
The first of the arguments which, I think, support the right hon. Gentleman's scheme is that there are undoubtedly millions of people who regard gambling as an innocent amusement, to use the words of Lord Kindersley; an innocent amusement in which they participate from time to time. I take it the right hon. Gentleman wants to exploit this propensity in the interest of National Savings.
It seems to be the fact that millions of people like to gamble. I am reminded of the story of Peter Simple who found himself at sea on board ship. He stuck his head through a hole in the side of the ship which had been made by a cannon ball because he calculated that the 1162 chances were 32,647 to one against another cannon ball hitting the same hole. I understand that it is very difficult to explain why this propensity exists in people, but it undoubtedly does.
The Select Committee which reported in 1918 on a Premium Bond sheme, which was then taken as a type, admitted in these words:There is also clear proof that the weekly wage-earners, especially the men, demand an Investment which would appeal to them primarily in that there would be a chance of a substantial increase of their capital, and that the ordinary rate of interest, amounting, as it must to the small investor only to a few shillings a year, even at the rate of 5 per cent. is of secondary importance to them.The Select Committee, therefore, recognised that there might be some success in appealing to this desire to have a larger gain than is afforded by the ordinary rate of interest. The Royal Commission on Betting, Lotteries and Gaming, which reported in 1951, also supported this point of view.
The Commission thought that four out of five adults in all walks of life have taken part at some time in their lives in some form of gambling. The figures given by the Commission showed that one in three of the adult population filled in football coupons, that dog racing had apparently half-a-million regulars and horse racing 2½ million, that 4 million placed bets on horses off the course and one adult in two was betting on the Derby and the Grand National. That seems to me to be one of the arguments which support the right hon. Gentleman if he is seeking to exploit this propensity in the interest of increasing National Savings.
The second argument in favour of the Premium Bonds scheme is that increased savings are needed both to provide money for investment and to combat inflation. By savings, current consumption is sacrificed in favour of future well-being. Savings have an opposite effect to hire-purchase, for in hire-purchase schemes current consumption is encouraged at the sacrifice of future income. In so far as the right hon. Gentleman seeks to encourage savings, I can but hope that he succeeds, and I think that this probably explains his present proposal.
The third thing to be said in the right hon. Gentleman's favour is that I do not think that it can be argued that the moral responsibility of the individual—and I 1163 stand in the Nonconformist tradition—is impaired by this Premium Bonds scheme. After all, people can decide for themselves, on their own responsibility, whether they will take part or not. It is not like a compulsory savings scheme. It is not like the post-war credits scheme. The moral responsibility is still left with the individual to decide whether he will take part.
These, it seems to me, are the main arguments in favour of Premium Bonds. The right hon. Gentleman wants to exploit a gambling propensity which is ancient and widespread. I understand that in Tacitus it is said that the Teutons, even when not in liquor, gambled away their wives and children—there may have been some excuse for that—and ultimately their liberty. Secondly, the right hon. Gentleman wants to encourage savings. Thirdly, he would argue, I think, that people are still free to take part or not to take part as they decide.
All that I concede, and if the position with regard to the Premium Bonds scheme depended upon those arguments alone, my position would be clear. However, the argument against all schemes of this kind was stated by Sir Robert Kindersley in 1917, when he submitted evidence to the Select Committee on Premium Bonds. He said:The Premium Bond, on the other hand, is essentially an appeal to the get-rich-quickwithout-effort idea '.He went on to say:It is generally admitted that the atmosphere created by a general spirit of gambling leads to extravagance, a general lessening of self-control, and a reduction of individual effort to save and work.Just as I am prepared to concede to the right hon. Gentleman the arguments which are in favour of his scheme, I hope he will also recognise the danger which exists of promoting such a scheme. The Royal Commission on Betting, Lotteries and Gaming which reported in 1951 came to the conclusion that gambling was not harmful either to the character of those who took part in it, or their family circle, or the community generally, providing that it is kept within reasonable bounds. That, of course, is the essence of the case. What the -right hon. Gentleman has to decide upon is whether by State participation in a gambling enterprise he is 1164 encouraging this propensity beyond reasonable bounds. The Royal Commission went on to say:It is in immoderate gambling that the dangers lie; an individual or a community in whose life gambling plays too prominent a part betrays a false sense of values which cannot but impair the full development of the personality or the society.On that ground, I must oppose the Premium Bonds scheme if that argument appeared to me to outweigh the others.
I do not suppose that I have to apologise in this Committee for the fact that I, as a Socialist, believe in a vision of society in which income is the return for work and service, a society in which there are no "caterpillars of the Commonwealth," as Shakespeare called them. The essence of the Premium Bonds scheme is that an exchange of money takes place without any equivalent value, material or personal, and the possession of money is determined by luck. If I believe that wealth should return to those who create it, and not be consumed by those who have contributed nothing to its production, then I must oppose a scheme which contains this element of gambling.
I believe that the State should allow reasonable freedom to the people to indulge their propensity to gamble, because I have never believed that it is possible to legislate out of existence a propensity of this kind. It is the duty of the State to control it, but I do not think the State should enter into the business itself and make chance a principle of public finance. This is the conclusion to which the Royal Commission of 1951 came when it said that it was undesirable for the State to make itself responsible for the provision of gambling facilities.
I should also like to raise with the right hon. Gentleman the question of the actual effect on savings. The Select Committee which reported in 1918 said then that estimates varied from £10 million to £250 million, and it took the view that savings would be diverted from normal channels by a Premium Bond scheme. I think it is Professor R. C. Tress who has written recently that if the scheme results merely in a change in the form of savings, it will not have achieved its purpose, and will not have been worth while.
What the right hon. Gentleman wants to achieve is new savings, in addition to 1165 those which pass into the normal channels, but in this matter I think he will admit that he is taking a leap in the dark. It is extremely improbable, it seems to me, that he will achieve net new savings by the introduction of this scheme. I am convinced that it is the failure to maintain the value of the £1 that is responsible for our troubles in this respect and it may be true that the right hon. Gentleman has been forced to introduce this scheme because of the Government's own failure to control the decline in the value of the pound. The Royal Commission of 1933 declared that—in the history of public finance, lotteries take their place among the expedients which are resorted to when other and more reputable methods of finance have failed.Clause 35 is really an enabling Clause. I think it is too late to ask the right hon. Gentleman to take the Clause but postpone the scheme, after his announcements this afternoon. The Government are in trouble from the economic point of view and are trying to get out of this trouble by using a scheme of this kind, in addition to all other methods which have been employed. It may, of course, make confusion worse confounded in the end. A stable economy is an end devoutly to be wished, but I believe that it can be achieved in the long run only on the basis of the skill and devotion of our people, stripped for action and convinced that the British society bestows security in employment and an advancing standard of living on all its members.
I conclude by reminding the hon. Gentleman that he has established his own link with the first Elizabethan age. I understand that the first recorded example of a public lottery was projected in 1566 and drawn in 1569, under State auspices and with Queen Elizabeth as patron. It was a miserable failure. Finally, I give the right hon. Gentleman another reference to the great Elizabethan age, and commend to him a quotation from Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice":But fish not with this melancholy bait, For this fool gudgeon.
§ Mr. Clifford Kenyon (Chorley)
Lord Kindersley has been quoted by one or two speakers as having spoken against lotteries and against gambling. I want to bring the quotations a little nearer the present time. One of the greatest surprises I have had in this controversy has 1166 been the statement made by Lord Mackintosh in support of these bonds. Only a little over twelve months ago, Lord Mackintosh held a small meeting in a room in the House of Lords and asked a number of hon. Members to discuss the savings movement with him. He stated then that he was against gambling in all its forms because it was detrimental to that movement. I find his attitude today quite inconsistent with the statement which he made to many hon. Members on that occasion.
I do not believe that ours is a gambling nation. Many figures have been put forward of the number of gamblers in pools, on horses, on dogs and so forth, but what is overlooked is that many of these gamblers are the same people taking part in every one of those gambling activities. Those who gamble on pools also gamble on dogs and horses, but there are very many people who are against gambling altogether and who take no part in it. To those people this Premium Bond scheme is definitely objectionable.
It is said that we are not increasing the number of gamblers by this Premium Bond scheme. That may be so, but we are increasing the temptation to gamble when the weight of the Government is placed behind such a scheme, and many people will feel they have authority to gamble because the Government are introducing this scheme. I therefore feel that there is a tremendous objection to the Government's action on the ground that it is increasing temptation to a lot of people.
I can see where the Chancellor is looking for support in this matter. A great many business people, small tradespeople and the like, hold a fair amount of money in the banks as a small reserve against difficult times that may arise. To them it is just a safeguard. They receive no interest on a current account, and if the Chancellor could obtain this money for his Premium Bonds those people would have an opportunity of investing their money and perhaps of gaining a prize thereby. If they buy these bonds the bank will always take them as security if they run into difficult times. The bonds will not be limited to £250, for there are always several members of a family and, whatever the individual limit, each member of the family can have that number of bonds.
1167 I am bitterly opposed to the scheme, as I am opposed to so many of the Conservative methods of working. The scheme strikes at the heart of the Socialist principles for which we on this side of the Committee stand. Through the years we have fought for the principle of sharing the wealth of the nation as widely as possible among the people of the nation. We believe that those who earn the wealth should share it, and in sharing the wealth of the nation as widely as possible we know that we are building the foundations of prosperity. People spend their money, and the more they have the greater will be the prosperity of the nation.
No financial transaction in the world removes money from the pockets of the many to the pockets of the few more effectively and more quickly than gambling. Look at the football pools. They take from the pockets of the many every week, and look at the millionaires they have built up in a very short time. Here is another scheme which takes money from those who will invest and transfers it to the prize winners—takes the interest from the £s of the people who buy the bonds and puts it into the pockets of the prize winners.
The scheme is also thoroughly unfair. It works, again, on the Conservative principle. Those with money and those who can obtain money will buy the full allotment of Premium Bonds, but those on the lower income scale, the workers and the pensioners, will have to buy one bond or three or four bonds. When the draw is made the chances will be 250 to 1 in favour of those with the larger holding; those with the money will always have the greater chance of winning. That is diametrically opposed to everything for which we or: this side of the Committee stand.
On the moral issue, as in all moral issues, every man must judge for himself. The Churches are bitterly opposed to the scheme. I speak from one pulpit or another, from one end of the country to the other, every Sunday in the year, and I have found that the Churches of this country are almost 100 per cent. opposed to the scheme.
I feel sure that the Conservative Party will suffer a great deal as a result of the scheme, and that we shall see opposition 1168 from quarters never before expected if the scheme is brought into operation. If the Clause is passed tonight, as it will be passed on political lines, I hope that the Chancellor will think again before the scheme is put into operation, and that he will take into consideration the serious opposition which has been aroused from people who have the welfare of the country at heart. I hope that he will postpone the scheme and make savings in Government expenditure which will cover what he thinks he would have gained from Premium Bonds. I am confident that if he calls his colleagues together and examines Government expenditure, they can cut out of that expenditure far more than they will ever gain from Premium Bonds.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
I do not intend to address the Committee for a second time. [Interruption.] If there is any inducement to do so, of course, I shall be very glad to continue. Since the Chancellor did not answer any of the arguments deployed up to the time when he spoke, but only some imaginary ones that he thought had been deployed, or were going to be deployed, would he indicate whether he is now prepared at least to answer arguments which have been adduced since he spoke? Before we decide this matter it would be good to hear his comments upon the new points which have been raised since he spoke.
§ Mr. H. Macmillan
I do not wish to delay the Committee. I believe that I have answered all the arguments to the best of my ability. There was the practical argument, that this scheme would not succeed. Time will show. I may be wrong. There is a risk, but if one does not take risks one does not achieve anything. There was the argument that it would be economically unsound, because it would attract savings which were already being made in other very favourable ways. I tried to deal with that point by saying that it was the view of the National Savings movement that this proposal would tap a new source. I said that this proposal would perhaps appeal to a different kind of person, who was not attracted into the savings movement because he did not care so much about interest, but was of a quite different character, and whom we may get into the movement for the first time. I said that I 1169 thought he might then take up other forms of saving.
I have a great respect for those who have used the moral argument. The hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Sorensen) put the matter in the most Christian way—I hope that I shall not be misunderstood in saying that—because he had full regard for those who held a different view. He did not take the line that everybody who disagreed with him was morally wrong. He frankly admitted that it was a view which—in his own words—had no basis in the Scriptures or the mediaeval Church, and had no form of theological support. That comforted me, because I am as keen a churchgoer as he, and I go to church as regularly as he does. I feel that we should try to see each other's point of view. I respect the moral argument, but I do not think that it is decisive.
The Committee has heard all these different points of view upon the practical, the economic and the moral issues. I still say that the majority of our fellow countrymen—and this is something for which we should have some regard—will avail themselves of the scheme. If this is gambling, it is a form of gambling which is concerned not with the principal but with the interest. It cannot lead a man into the dangerous overspending of his money which is the real objection to gambling. In that case a man may waste so much money that he gets into debt and has nothing to show for it, and is tempted into a wicked course. In this case he always has the capital which he has saved, and the temptation which comes so often with gambling does not apply. For all those reasons I hope that the Committee will now feel disposed to reach a decision on the matter.
§ Mr. G. A. Pargiter (Southall)
The Chancellor has not dealt with the question. Either the Government believe in gambling or they do not. If they do, they may as well go in for it wholeheartedly. The football pools are ready-made to their hands. They can run them as a national concern. If the Government do not believe in gambling, then they will not want to have anything to do with Premium Bonds.
Gambling is either right or wrong. If gambling is right, then let us go in for it wholeheartedly where the money is. 1170 The money is in the football pools and devices of that kind in which people invest their modest 2s. or 5s. or whatever it may be. If they believe in that sort of thing, there is no particular reason why the State should not benefit from it as a whole, as against this modified form, which they say is not a gamble. It is a gamble, and if we accept the principle of gambling the State may as well go in for it and make the greatest profit it can make from it.
I have heard it suggested that people who have money on which they have to pay Surtax may be interested in putting savings into Premium Bonds. Whereas, as Surtax payers, they have nothing to gain from interest, they might, by investing in Premium Bonds, be able to make a tax-free income. It may be that the Chancellor is playing up to that sort of people—I do not know. I suggest that the issue is very simple. We either favour gambling or we do not. If we favour it, then let us go in for it wholeheartedly and full-bloodedly and not play about with it in the way in which the Chancellor is now doing.
§ Mr. William Yates (The Wrekin)
When the hon. Gentleman talks about gambling in a wholehearted way, perhaps he would like to know the details of this draw; "The Wrekin Division Labour Party holiday draw, 1956. First prize £30—"
§ Mr. H. Wilson
On a point of order. Quite apart from the fact that this argument was dealt with this afternoon, when I frankly admitted that these things were going on—and I said that they were quite different from a State draw—is it in order for the hon. Gentleman to appear in this House in apparent possession of something which it is quite illegal for him to possess, unless he is a member of the organisation concerned.
§ Question put, That the Clause stand part of the Bill:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 252, Noes 199.1173
|Division No. 223.]||AYES||[9.45 p.m.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Grimiston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Marshall, Douglas|
|Aitken, W. T.||Gurden, Harold||Mathew, R.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Hall, John (Wyoombe)||Maude, Angus|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Mawby, R. L.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Harvey, Air Cdre A. V. (Macclesfd)||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Ashton, H.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Atkins, H. E.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Baldook, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Balniel, Lord||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Nairn, D. L. S.|
|Barber, Anthony||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Barter, John||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'oh)|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Hope, Lord John||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Hornby, R. P.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Horobin, Sir Ian||Page, R. G.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Howard, John (Test)||Partridge, E.|
|Body, R. F.||Hughes Hallett, Vies-Admiral J.||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hurd, A. R.||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Braine, B. R.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)||Pott, H. P.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hutchison, Sir James (Sootstoun)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.Col. W. H.||Hyde, Montgomery||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.||Prior-Palmer, Brig, O. L.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Iremonger, T. L.||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Burden, F. F. A,||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden)||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Redmayne, M.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Carr, Robert||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Joseph, Sir Keith||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Kaberry, D.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Keegan, D.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Kerr, H. W.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Crouch, R. F.||Kershaw, J. A.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Kimball, M.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Kirk, P. M.||Sharples, R. C.|
|Cunningham, Knox||Lagden, G. W.||Shepherd, William|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Lambton, Viscount||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Leavey, J. A.||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Leburn, W. G.||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Steward Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Stewart Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Eden, Rt.Hn.SirA.(Warwisk & L'm'tn)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Longden, Gilbert||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, s.)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Fell, A.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Fisher, Nigel||McAdden, S. J.||Teeling, W.|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||McKibbin, A. J.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr.R.(Croydon, S.)|
|Foster, John||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Freeth, D. K.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Glover, D.||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold(Bromley)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Gower, H. R.||Maddan, Martin||Vickers, Miss J. H.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Vosper, D. F.|
|Grant, W. (Woodside)||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Green, A.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Marples, A. E.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Whitelaw, W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)||Wood, Hon. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S)||Woollam, John Victor||Mr. Wills and Mr. Godber|
|Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Hastings, s.||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hayman, F. H.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Allen, scholefield (Crewe)||Healey, Denis||Parker, J.|
|Anderson, Frank||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Paton, John|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hobson, C. R.||Peart, T.F.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Holman, P.||Price, J.T.(Westhoughton)|
|Baird, J.||Holmes, Horace||Price, Phillips (Gloucestershire)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Holt, A. F.||Probert, A.R.|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Prostor, W.T.|
|Benson, G.||Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Pryde, D.J.|
|Berwick, F.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Randall, H.E.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hughes, Emrye (S. Ayrshire)||Rankin, John|
|Blackburn, F.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hunter, A. E.||Reid, William|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Irving, 8. (Dartford)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Janner, B.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Boyd, T. C.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St.Pnes, S.)||Ross, William|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Royle, C.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creesh(Wakefield)||Short, E. W.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Champion, A. J.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Kenyon, C.||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Clunie, J.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Coldrick, W.||King, Dr. H. M.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Lawson, G. M.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Steele, T.|
|Corbel, Mrs. Freda||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Stewart Michael (Fulham)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. (Ipswich)|
|Cronin, J. D.||Lindgren, G. S.||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Logan, D. G.||Stross, Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Davies, Rt. Hon. Ciement(Montgomery)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||MaoColl, J. E.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||McGhee, H. G.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Deer, G.||Mclnnes, J.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||McKay, John (WallSend)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Delargy, H. J.||McLeavy, Frank||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Dodds, N. N.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomson, George (Dundee)|
|Dye, S.||Mahon, Simon||Thornton, E.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brlgg)||Timmons, J.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Turner Samuels, M.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Ungoed-Thomas, Slr Lynn|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mason, Roy||Wade, D. W.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Mayhew, C. P.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Finch, H. J.||Messer, Sir F.||Weitzman, D.|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mitchison, C. R.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Forman, J. C.||Monslow, W.||West, D. G.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Moody, A. S.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Galtskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert(Lewls'm, S.)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mort, D. L.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Moss, R.||Willey, Frederick|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||O'Brien, Sir Thomas||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Oliver, G. H.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Oram, A. E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hale, Leslie||Oswald, T.||Woof, R. E.|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Coins Valley)||Owen, W. J.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Paget, R. T.|
|Hannan, W.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||TELLERS FOR THENOES:|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Simmons.|
Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.