§ 10.9 p.m.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)
I beg to move.That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Bread (Amendment) Order, 1956 (S.I., 1956, No. 217), dated 20th February, 1956, a copy of which was laid before this House on 21st February, be annulled.The simple reason for our wanting to annul this Order is that the immediate effect of this reactionary and regressive Order will be to raise the price of bread in this country by £18 million a year, or £350,000 a week. A further reason is that there is every reason to believe that this will not be the end of this process. There is at present a remaining subsidy on the National loaf—which costs £22 million a year, after this Order comes into effect, but how long can we count on this subsidy continuing? The cut which is made in this Order is itself a part of a continuing process. The Government have already cut the subsidy on bread since 1951, and they have already, including the cut in the present Order, added 21d. to the cost of a 6d. loaf.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, when announcing this cut on 17th February, used very remarkable and sinister words, and I hope the hon. Gentleman will be able to explain exactly their meaning. When he talked about the cut in the subsidy, what he said—and this was in a written statement, with carefully chosen words—was this:As a first step, the Government have decided to reduce the subsidy on bread by 1d. on the 7½d. loaf."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th February, 1956; Vol. 548, c. 2680.]Does that phrase, "as a first step", mean what it appears to mean—that fairly soon, since it is already in the Government's mind, they are going on to introduce further cuts in the subsidy? What else can the carefully chosen words, "as a first step" possibly mean?
When one thinks that the Chancellor, in carrying out this policy, is obviously under the influence of powerful private interests, who themselves want the subsidy to be totally abolished, one is all the more suspicious of the meaning of the words "as a first step." The Scottish 2240 Master Bakers' Association and the Bakers' National Association have come out for a total abolition of the subsidy. They have criticised the present Lord Privy Seal for his action when he was Chancellor in not, as they state, scrapping the bread subsidy, which leads me to the first question that I want to ask.
Do these words, "as a first step" as used by him mean that it is the Government's intention to have second or third steps, and scrap the bread subsidy? In that case, of course, we are not really discussing an increase in the cost of living of £18 million a year, but a potential increase in the cost of living of £40 million a year, which would be the amount that would be involved if the entire bread subsidy were wiped out.
I should like to deal with some of the arguments that have been used by the Chancellor and other Conservatives in support of this very reactionary Order. Their general case for it is that it is necessary for economy, because demand has to be cut, but it is not realised on the other side of the House—and I do not know how they answer this—that the increase in the Bank Rate, announced one day before this cut in the bread subsidy was announced, will cost the Government £50 million a year, which is more than the total saving by the bread and milk cuts. How, therefore, can we justify this action as being necessary for cutting demand when the Government themselves will be spending £50 million a year more through the increase in the Bank Rate?
Another Conservative argument is that subsidies in general distort the economy, and that it is a good thing to get rid of all subsidies. Does not the Minister realise that this leads to a worse distortion of the economy than leaving the subsidy as it is now? Of course, it at once puts up wage demands. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because the cost of bread is to go up by £18 million a year. I do not know in what world hon. Gentlemen opposite are living. If they think that when, by a direct act of the Government, the price of bread is to go up by £18 million a year, that is not going to be taken into account by the trade unions when advancing wage claims, I do not know in what world they are living.
2241 The final inflationary effect will be much greater than would have resulted from leaving the subsidy where it is today. This argument of distortion of the economy is topsy turvy. It works the other way round. It is less distorting to leave a subsidy like this than it is to take it away, and so add to the inflationary pressure which is bound to come from wage increases.
§ Mr. Cyril Osborne (Louth)
Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that Sir Stafford Cripps cut down food subsidies which had risen to a height of £560 million a year and said that he could not afford more than £400 million a year?
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
Sir Stafford Cripps, of course, put on a ceiling on the food subsidies, but also fixed a floor for them; but the present Government's intention is to get rid of them altogether. The floor is to be the abolition of food subsidies. It is a totally different policy. Does the hon. Gentleman think that there should be a floor as well as a ceiling to subsidies?
§ Mr. Osborne
Yes. This is a very important point. I certainly agree that there should be a floor, but if a cut which is to cost £18 million is wrong, was Sir Stafford Cripps right to cut the subsidies by £160 million a year in 1948?
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
I do not want to pursue this argument too far, because it would take me beyond the rules of order, but there is a perfectly good answer in terms of the total costs of subsidies. I am very glad to hear that the hon. Gentleman believes that there should be a floor, in which case he will vote with us today, because the floor has practically disappeared. This is one of the last chances of keeping a floor, and I remind the hon. Gentleman that this is a last step towards the final abolition of the bread and milk subsidies.
A trick which the Conservatives always use is to take each particular cut in the standard of living—or increase in the cost of living—each little bit by itself, and to say how small that bit is and that it is worth only so many cigarettes a week. The people are getting tired of that trick. Anything can be made to appear small if it is broken up and each little piece examined one by one. The Chancellor 2242 used this argument in, I thought, the most arrogant and supercilious way in which it has yet been used when, on 20th February last, he said:Today, we are making a present of a few pennies on every loaf of bread, not only to Surtax payers, but to a great number of other people who enjoy a standard of life which is by no means dependent on this small weekly present from the Chancellor of the Exchequer."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th February, 1956; Vol. 549, c. 56.]That is gratuitously adding insult to injury, and I hope that the Chancellor will stop talking like a rich man, giving or withholding tips to the footman—because that is the tone of voice in which he talks of something which matters very much indeed to very many millions of our people, namely, the cost of bread—and he was referring also to milk.
This argument about Surtax payers is, of course, completely fallacious. If hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite are really worried because some pence a week should be given to Surtax payers they should really distribute that money to other people. It is no good stopping the Surtax payers getting it by making everyone else suffer. That is a most extraordinary argument. However trivial a few pence a week may appear to a haughty man like the Chancellor of the Exchequer, they are very important to those on small fixed incomes—old-age pensioners and many others. To these people a few pence a week is an important factor.
In the case of this Order the Surtax argument is totally false, because it presupposes that there is an even spread of the consumption of National bread. In fact, the consumption of National bread is concentrated on the lower income groups in the country and I doubt whether any Surtax payers eat the National loaf. I doubt whether any right hon. Gentlemen opposite eat the National loaf, and this Order refers only to the National loaf. It will, therefore, affect the type of bread which is not eaten by Surtax payers but which, on the whole, is eaten by the poorer people.
A bread subsidy is a highly valuable social instrument. There is great evidence that the poorer and larger the family, the greater the consumption of bread, and the richer and smaller the family the Less 2243 the consumption of bread. A bread subsidy is, therefore, of very high social importance, perhaps higher than any other food subsidy. There is considerable evidence that the poorer families eat much more bread than would be strictly their share if the bread consumption of the country were divided by the total population. This £18 million increase in the cost of living will thus fall on the lower income groups, and there is no case for suggesting that it will take even a few pence a week from Surtax payers. That was a false and misleading argument.
As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said in our earlier debate, this is a deliberate Government act and it is in its effect exactly like a tax on bread. A tax on bread of £18 million a year would have the same effect as cutting the subsidy by £18 million a year. This sort of tax is the most regressive of all, because it is a flat tax on something consumed in greater proportion by the poorer people. It is a deliberate, calculated and concentrated blow against the standard of living of the working class, with little effect on other classes in the country.
Another argument used by the Chancellor was that the effect of reducing this subsidy will fall elsewhere in the field of consumption. First, let me say that it will only be the less well-off who have to find this place elsewhere. This is a much bigger matter for them than for those who are well off. I also hope that his argument means the end of the Conservative propaganda that expenditure on food has risen and that the country is very prosperous. We have often been told, "Look how much the country is spending on food. Therefore, the country must be prosperous."
If that argument is used, then this Order directly increases the prosperity of the country. The effect of the cut in subsidies falling elsewhere is that the total subsidy cut will lead to an extra £18 million being spent on food. Expenditure on food will rise by £18 million and, according to the Conservatives, the people will be that amount more prosperous. The Conservatives' recipe for prosperity is to tax food. They say that the people must eat food and will stop spending an other things because the price of food has risen; therefore, 2244 according to their argument, the people will be prosperous.
Every Conservative who intends to vote for the Order should recollect that this is a direct charge on the people's food—a charge which will be imposed by that vote, for if the Order were annulled the charge on food would not be made. This charge is concentrated on those least able to bear the burden, because they consume relatively more bread than anyone else. This burden will be imposed upon them after all the great benefits which have been conferred by the same right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite upon the Surtax payers and higher Income Tax payers. Let hon. Members who want to vote for this Order square that with their consciences if they can. We will certainly make sure that all their constituents know what they are doing if they carry this Order tonight.
§ 10.26 p.m.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Harmar Nicholls)
The right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) has made a particularly vigorous, but quite irrelevant speech on the Order. He did not make any reference at all to the terms of the Order against which he is praying and I think that in fairness to the people who look at the records I should give some information and make some reference to the Order itself.
The price increases relate, as the right hon. Member said, to National bread, National brown bread and National milk bread and vary according to the weight of the loaf. The increases are 2d. on a 3½ lb. loaf, 1d. on a 1¾ lb. loaf and 1d. on a 1¾ oz. loaf. I think I ought to enlarge on one point about these increases. Hon. Members will note that the increase on the 14 oz. loaf is proportionately rather more than on the others. The reason is that the making of the 14 oz. loaf is more costly, and that this bears particularly harshly on the small baker. The extra tins, extra handling, extra replacements, all introduce a real difference in costs.
For that reason the differential for the 14 oz. loaf has been increased to ¾d., whereas if the increase for this loaf were in direct proportion to all the others it would be only ½d. Those are the only comments I will make on the Order, as 2245 I think that apart from that it is perfectly clear and that no other explanation is necessary.
I thought it right to make these comments upon the Order itself, but even before the speech of the right hon. Member we had no illusions at all about the reason for the Opposition praying against it.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes (Aberdeen, North)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Is it not entirely wrong for the Minister to intervene at this stage without hearing arguments which would have been adduced by hon. Members? One speech has been made from this side of the House, but no speech from any hon. Member opposite. Surely it is quite out of order for a Minister to intervene at this stage?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)
After I put the Question, the only hon. Member to rise was the Parliamentary Secretary, and I therefore called him.
§ Mr. Nicholls
I am sorry that the hon. and learned Member is so reluctant to hear me. On our long journeys across Canada together I listened to him for quite a long time and never made any protest at all.
The reason why the Opposition are praying against this Order we knew even before the speech of the right hon. Member. It is because they wanted to have a knock at the Government. The Opposition wanted, on the pretext of this Order, to try to recapture some of that easy, careless rapture they used to have in their pioneering days. They wanted to say, in 1956, what hon. Members opposite used to say in the 1920s and to indulge in talk about Conservative Governments as hard-faced Tories who are not interested in ordinary folk.
They, the Socialist Party, want to set themselves up as the only champions of the people. When they said this in the old days it was always a myth, and now it is an exploded myth, because today—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] We on this side of the House listened with care to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, whose speech had nothing to do with the details of the Order. He dealt with the effects of it. I think it is perfectly proper that I should now reply to him, and deal 2246 with the same points. We on this side listened to the right hon. Gentleman without interrupting him continuously, and I think we are entitled to be heard by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite.
§ Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Would you not have called my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) to order if he had been irrelevant? If the hon. Gentleman is right in saying my right hon. Friend did not speak to the Order, is that not an indictment of you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker?
§ Mr. Nicholls
Without urging from the benches opposite, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I would withdraw any suggestion that you did not maintain the always high standard which you set when you occupy the Chair.
It is only fair to everybody, in view of what the right hon. Gentleman said, that I should make this speech. The right hon. Gentleman tried to revive the myth of those past years. It is an exploded myth. In view of the fact that the Labour Party had six years of Government, with an overwhelming majority, and in view of its record then, I am surprised that right hon. and hon. Members opposite want to try to revive that old, hoary story. For them, bread is a particularly vulnerable subject.
§ Mr. Nicholls
The Opposition Whips do not seem to enforce the rule of silence as they used to in the old days.
§ Mr. Price
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for giving way, because I would much prefer to say standing what I wanted to say, than to saying it while sitting down, for that is a disorderly way to say it. He is talking of days gone by. I would remind him how his colleagues, in 1951, kept this House sitting night after night and all night while they argued trivialities such as putting a 1d. on the price of a piece of cheese, when the country's economic situation was worse than it is now.
§ Mr. Nicholls
A note will be taken of the hon. Gentleman's point.
He and his hon. and right hon. Friends are on a particularly vulnerable wicket, and I am surprised that they should give us this opportunity tonight of recalling their previous shortcomings. I should have thought that it was very much on their consciences that the only time in The history of this country that bread was rationed was in 1946 when—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I was about to deal with it. I was about to say that that matter does not arise on this Order.
§ Mr. Nicholls
I made the point, because the right hon. Gentleman said that the effect on the nation of bread—
§ Mr. Wilson
On a point of order. When you have ruled, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that something an hon. Member is saying is out of order, is it in order for the hon. Member to try to say why he made an illegitimate point? If the hon. Member is in order in saying what he is saying, we shall be delighted to answer him, if we shall be in order in doing so.
§ Mr. Nicholls
I would put this question to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I should like to know why they did not debate the price of bread in 1949, when they had a majority of 186 in this House. In 1949, the price of bread went up by 1d., just as now. I want to know why they did not debate that then. In those days the price of bread was increased at a time when wages were not in any way keeping pace with rising costs generally, whereas the increase in earnings since their day has been infinitely greater than the rise in prices.
§ Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)
Surely the hon. Gentleman knows that these Orders are subject to Prayer procedure, and that the only way in which debates can arise on them is by means of Prayers. Will he ask his hon. Friends why they did not put down a Prayer against the Order in 1949?
§ Mr. Nicholls
If I have made the point that in 1949 the price of bread rose by 1d. per loaf and that the rise was accepted without a murmur by the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends, I am quite satisfied.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
Since the hon. Gentleman thinks that he has made a point, it is about time it was unmade. He should recognise that in 1949 world wheat prices were still rising. Thus, it was inevitable that our internal prices should to some extent rise.
§ Mr. Wilson
The increase in the price of bread occurred on about 6th April, 1949; devaluation took place on 18th September, 1949. How the hon. Gentleman can say that the second was the cause of the first I do not know. Will he recognise that world prices have been falling while his Government have been in power and yet internal prices have been rising?
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Might I ask how far and how wide the debate is to range? Are we entitled to go back to the inter-war years and compare the price of bread then with the price of bread today?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I suppose such a comparison might be used in argument, but I would remind the House that the Order raises a very simple point and I hope that it will be dealt with as such.
§ Mr. Nicholls
I think I ought to be allowed to deal with the point which the right hon. Member for Huyton has just made. The increase in the price of bread by 1d. in 1949 took place on 25th September, not when he said it did, and it was the result of devaluation. In April, 1951, the price rose by another ½d as a result of the bulk buying of wheat about which the right hon. Gentleman talks. Therefore, the price of bread rose twice in two years when the Labour Government were in power, by ld. as a result of devaluation and ½d. as a result of bulk purchase.
I want to underline the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne). Following the stabilisation of subsidies by Sir Stafford Cripps, 2249 we saw the price of food rise, representing an increase in the cost of living of 4d. per head per week or two points on the index. The present Order represents an increase of 2d. per head per week, or 0.6 of a point on the index.
The indignation which is being expressed tonight is synthetic. If it came from true conviction, we should have found the same feelings being expressed by hon. Gentlemen opposite when the policies of the Labour Government resulted in something infinitely worse. The great difference is that the increase which occurred during the term of office of the Labour Government came as a result of the continued failure of their economic policy, but our action is being taken to preserve our position so that we can return to the situation of continuing prosperity that we have enjoyed, prosperity which has been shared by the whole country.
The right hon. Gentleman said that this action represented an increase of £18 million in the expenses of the ordinary people. At a time when we are spending £250 million on sweets and chocolates, it is foolish to say that £18 million spent on bread is oppressive. The fact that we are spending £1,700 million on drink and tobacco puts the figure of £18 million into proper perspective.
This increase is one of a number of measures intended to re-establish the sound base of our economy at a time when we have real prosperity, and it is a prosperity which is being shared. The increase is being made at a time when wage levels and general earnings of the people have gone up more rapidly than increases in costs. It is being made in a twelve-month period when old-age pensioners have had a 25 per cent. increase, and at a time when there is power, under National Assistance, to more than make up for it.
§ Mr. Tom Brown (Ince)
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that the 4½ million old-age pensioners are living in prosperity? Is he suggesting that a large proportion of the £250 million which he claims is being spent on sweets is being spent by old-age pensioners, on a miserable basic pension of £2? If so, he had better think again.
§ Mr. Nicholls
I will tell the hon. Gentleman what I am suggesting, if his hon. Friends will allow me.
I am suggesting that the nation as a whole will have to meet this £18 million, and that a big proportion of our population are workers whose earnings have gone up considerably more than the cost of living. I recognise at once that the old-age pensioners and people living on fixed incomes are the one small section who should claim our thoughts. But I am saying that it would be a bad business, if, to help that one small section, we used the taxpayers' money so that people who do not need it may have this 2d. a week subsidy on the loaf. The small section of old-age pensioners claim the sympathy of hon. Members on this side of the House as well as those on the other side, and it is possible, if this increase becomes a hardship, for them to meat it through other agencies.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
The hon. Gentleman used the expression "the nation as a whole." Does not he agree that the nation as a whole includes the "10s. widows"? If so, what does he say about that?
§ Mr. Brown
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that the old-age pensioners constitute only a small section of the population? They represent over one-ninth of the total population. By supporting this Order he is adding to the cost of living of old folk who have no chance of securing any increase in their pension, except through hon. Members on this side of the House—
§ Mr. Gerald Nabarro (Kidderminster)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Is it in order that this debate should devolve into a detailed discussion on the level and value of old-age pensions?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I thought that the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. T. Brown) was making a point, and the Minister gave way.
§ Mr. Brown
The Parliamentary Secretary gave way, Sir, and I am much obliged to him for doing so.
I am suggesting that the Parliamentary Secretary is not advancing a sincere and honest argument in relation to the effect which this Order will have on old-age pensioners. I am rather surprised, if I know him right, at the manner in which 2251 he is dealing with it. The old-age pensioners do not constitute a small section of the community. They are a very important section and should be protected through the medium of this House of Commons.
§ Mr. Nicholls
If I may, I should like to make this appeal to the House. I shall not give way again, because this question is not being treated as seriously as it should. For hon. Members opposite to turn this into a semi-puppet show is not good enough. I will deal with the points made by the right hon. Member for Smethwick, whose point of view I always respect, then I will conclude my speech, and until 11.30 we can carry on the debate.
As far as old-age pensioners are concerned—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I do not think it is for the view of the House. It is a matter for the Chair. We are not going to have a debate on old-age pensioners.
§ Mr. Nicholls
I was only going to make the point that the £l8 million will have its effect on the whole of the nation to the extent of ld. on the loaf, and that the average consumption is two loaves a week, or 2d. a person.
As the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. T. Brown) has just said, the old-age pensioners are a vulnerable section of the community and we have to decide whether o: not the contribution to be made by that section will represent a real hardship. The hon. Member has said that the old-age pensioners constitute a ninth of the population. I am arguing that the other eight-ninths are people whose salary and wage increases will bear this extra burden in the interests of the nation. I am arguing that it is a contribution they can well afford, that the old-age pensioners will not be able to afford it so easily as the eight-ninths, but that they have other agencies to assist them if the increase constitutes a real hardship to them.
My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made it perfectly clear that he recognised the adverse balance of payments to be one that has to be dealt with effectively. He said that it can only be dealt with if the whole country co-operates. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the increase in the 2252 Bank Rate. That increase was intended to see that industry and business generally made their contribution to getting back on an even keel. An extra burden has been put on local authorities, so that they can make their contribution—
§ Mr. Speaker
I do not think that this Order is wide enough to support an argument on the whole economic situation. The Order is concerned with bread, and nothing else.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)
If a point has been made by an hon. Member on one side of the House, and has not been objected to, is it not in order to answer it from the other side, Sir?
§ Mr. Speaker
Yes, but not at great length. I would not like the debate to stray into general economic considerations. The point of the debate is the price of bread. It is the staff of life, and it is very important.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Before you returned to the Chair, Mr. Speaker, we had a lengthy dissertation from the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. T. Brown) upon the subject of old-age pensions. Would it be in order for me to make a speech later, if I catch your eye, upon the value of the old-age pension today?
§ Mr. H. Wilson
Since the Parliamentary Secretary himself attempted to deal with the question of old-age pensions, and was ruled out of order by your predecessor in the Chair, Mr. Speaker, might I respectfully suggest that the intervention of the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) is totally beside the point?
§ Mr. Speaker
I am concerned only with trying to keep the debate within proper limits. There are occasions for economic debates, but this is not one of them. This is an Order about bread. I do not know what happened when I was out of the Chair, but I can imagine it being argued that the increased price of bread might increase the hardships of old-age pensioners. That is by the way. But we cannot go into the whole question of old-age pensioners now.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
Is it not obvious that, having regard to the present rate of old-age pension, the old-age pensioners are not able to buy bread, and that the price of bread is, therefore, in order in this debate?
§ Mr. Speaker
Yes, but this is not a debate on old-age pensions. They may be mentioned, but the subject cannot be pursued.
§ Mr. Nicholls
The whole nation is expected to—and must—make its contribution to meet the problem of the adverse balance, and this Order is part of the contribution that we are asking consumers to make. I am certain that they will recognise that it is right that they should and that, considering this contribution of 2d. per week in the context of all the spending that is going on, and of general level of earnings, they will not shirk their responsibility in this sense.
I am sure, too, that the actual effect of this Order upon the population as a whole—wage earners, old-age pensioners, and everybody else—will not be beyond their means. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced this increase among his general proposals for keeping our trade balance upon an even keel he made it clear that his measures were distributed in a way which was fair to the whole nation. Every section or group of people is expected to make its contribution, and under this Order the ordinary consumer will make his.
It is with confidence that I ask the House to accept the Order with the same restraint and common sense that the nation has accepted it. Its effect is being grossly exaggerated tonight. The right hon. Gentleman referred only to £18 million. He did not once refer to the fact that it worked out at only 2d. per week per person. I am certain that within the context of the great effort which the nation is being called upon to make this Order will be considered in its proper proportion.
§ 10.54 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)
I protest, first, that we have had no intervention on behalf of the Treasury in this debate. If the Economic Secretary intervenes later on we shall welcome him.
§ The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Edward Boyle)
§ Mr. Willey
I am not surprised that he will not have the courage to do so. After all, this is a perfect illustration of Boyle's 2254 Law. That was the purpose of this operation.
I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the House would have wished that somebody else had replied for the Government. As the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) knows, the Parliamentary Secretary's reply was the most ineffective reply we have had for a very long time, and that is saying a lot in these days. The only relevant remark of the hon. Member, as I was able to follow his speech, was, "If you cannot afford bread, buy cake."
If the hon. Member had wished to test public opinion upon this matter, the announcement could have been made before the Taunton by-election. The Parliamentary Secretary will remember that no one was more conscientious than he in raising matters in this House on behalf of the bakers. I want to repair an omission in his speech. The bakers, in their official journal The Baker and Confectioner, have expressed their point of view about this Order. Under the heading, "Untimely," this is what they say:It is bewildering that one or two of the major steps taken, if one includes milk, should have the immediate effect of raising the cost of living when surely it should be the primary effort of the Government to reduce it. We can well imagine these two subsidy decisions defeating the whole programme of the Government, because they are certain to raise the ire of trade unionists, whose good will on wage restraint must be enlisted if the financial measures are to succeed. We doubt very much whether the £38 million, which is to be saved on the bread and milk subsidies, is really worth while when viewed against this threatening background of massive wage claims.That is the opinion of the trade which, we all know, has been campaigning for the abolition of the bread subsidy.
We have heard arguments about the bread subsidy. The Parliamentary Secretary has intervened in them. When the Postmaster-General defended similar action taken by the Government on another occasion, he said that the Government were taking this action in crisis. Presumably, we are again in crisis. The hon. Gentleman puts a burden on everyone; as my right hon. Friend said, this increase is, in effect, a tax.
When the Parliamentary Secretary intervened in the debate last time he pointed out that, of course, he conceded that the burden of the attack upon the 2255 bread subsidy fell upon the people with large families; "but", he said, "we are providing increased family allowances." What a callous thing; now there is no provision of family allowances. The hon. Gentleman knows and the Government know, because they said so last time, that this increase falls unfairly upon the large family unless some compensation is made.
Large families proportionately eat more bread than small families, so they will contribute more. [Laughter.] It is all very well for hon. Gentlemen on the Government benches to laugh. If they are against the family man, let them say so. This is directed against the family man. That was conceded when we last debated the subject. In reply on that occasion we said that only a portion of that taken away was given back by way of family allowances. On this occasion, nothing is given back.
This increase is iniquitous, because it puts the heaviest burden on the family man. The Chancellor conceded that this Order would not save in the consumption of bread, which is inelastic. Those with large families eat more bread per head than other people. The poorer a man is the more bread he eats. If he is made poorer by this increase in the price of bread he will eat more bread. [Laughter.] It is all very well for the Economic Secretary to the Treasury to laugh. What about the old-age pensioners? Why are they not to get compensation? They are on fixed incomes. [Laughter.] It is all very well to laugh about poor people with fixed incomes. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] Hon. Members are not laughing now, because I have called attention to it. The Economic Secretary was laughing before. The largest burden falls on those with large families.
Among people with different incomes, the largest burden falls on those with the least income. The Government's case before was that compensation was being given; none is given this time. Why not? What the Government are doing in crisis is what a Tory Government has always done. As, in 1931, they cut unemployment benefit—
§ Mr. H. Nicholls
On a point of order. When I attempted to meet this point, which had been put by another hon. Member, I was ruled out of order. I feel that we ought to have some justice.
§ Mr. Speaker
I think that the hon. Gentleman was properly ruled out of order. I ask the hon. Member who is addressing the House to try to keep to bread, which is an important subject.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
Before you resumed the Chair, Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary referred to the interwar years. That included the period during which Lord Woolton referred to red meat, and promised more red meat for the people. Is it not therefore in order to refer to red meat in conjunction with bread?
§ Mr. Speaker
I do not think that there was a reference to red meat in the years between the wars. Anyhow, two blacks do not make a white. I ask the hon. Member to keep to bread, if he can.
§ Mr. Willey
If I said anything about red meat, it was an aberration for which I apologise, Sir. But I am not aware that I did so.
As in 1952, so today the first step taken by a Tory Government in a crisis is to put up the price of bread, and, incidentally, by an unprecedented amount. To reply to the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne), at a time when grain prices have fallen we would be expecting, as most other countries have been able to enjoy, a fall in price.
I will turn to the serious nature of what the Government have done. The trade has realised that this will have its effect upon trade union negotiations. It has already had that effect. Increased prices of bread have been called in aid. The price of white bread, which is unsubsidised, is going up. In some areas it has gone up. Other prices are related. If the price of bread goes up it tends to bring up the whole range of confectionery prices.
What is going to happen is that when the nation as a whole would willingly have co-operated to obtain restraint the Government, driven by their doctrinaire Toryism, have sorted out the poorest of the poor, and those with large families, 2257 to suffer more than others merely to provide for a redistribution of wealth—because this has nothing to do with Government spending. If the subsidy had been abolished we could have saved the cost of the administration of it; but the subsidy remains. It is halved. The cost of the administration proportionately has doubled.
All the Government are doing is redistributing income unfairly against people trying their hardest in difficult circumstances. That is why the Government have brought disaster upon the country. They are doing what they can not to hold the cost of living but to increase it, and to make it impossible for trade unionists to maintain stability in times which we recognise are difficult. For these reasons, I shall advise my hon. Friends to vote against the Order.
§ 11.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Archer Baldwin (Leominster)
Things being as they are, I suppose it is only natural that the Opposition should take the opportunity of making this demonstration, but I wonder whether I might be allowed to give a little of my experience. I would say that 20 per cent. of the bread baked today is being fed to cats and dogs, or put into the dustbin.
§ Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on-Trent, North)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for an hon. Member to cast a slur on thousands of working class housewives?
§ Mr. Baldwin
I am casting a slur on nobody. I am speaking from my experience.
This summer, when I employed casual labour in my fields, picking peas and plums, instead of having to feed my dog I took him to the fields where he ate the food left lying about there. I went into my plum orchard one morning and asked one of the plum pickers, who begged me to give him a pair of gum boots, how much he spent on smoking. He said he spent 3s. 6d. a day. I said, "Give up smoking for two days and buy a pair of gum boots."
2258 That orchard was littered with waste food. If any hardship is caused to those on the lower ranges of income, let us give them some help from this £18 million saved from the bread subsidy. I wish the Chancellor had taken the subsidy away altogether and saved not only £18 million, but the administrative costs as well. It would be much better to get away from the fantastic idea of taking money from one pocket and putting it into another.
The right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) said that bread ought to come down in price because wheat was cheaper than it had been, but wheat is dearer today. Bread-making wheat from the North American Continent is £30 a ton and English wheat is £3 or £4 dearer than it has been for the last three or four years. Not only did you raise the price of bread twice during your term of office, but on one occasion when you did not want to show what you were doing you reduced the 16 oz. loaf—
§ Mr. Baldwin
This is not the first time that bread has been increased in cost. The 16 oz. loaf was reduced to 14 oz. by the Labour Government, which was a way of increasing the cost of bread to the old-age pensioner. I am glad that the Conservative Government are being more honest in this matter.
§ 11.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Tom Brown (Ince)
I was surprised that the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) should suggest that 20 per cent. of the country's bread was wasted by the people. My experience is that 50 per cent. of the old-age pensioners are scraping bread together. I could take him tonight to many homes where pensioners have difficulty in getting bread.
The Chinese have a saying, "If you have two loaves, sell one and buy a lily." I suggest that the Government ought to sell one of their loaves and buy the lily of justice and fair play. The hon. Member said that we were making a demonstration. It is not a demonstration, though it is true to say that there has been some hilarity and some joking, and that we appear to have left on one side the 2259 serious aspect of the situation. It is a serious situation, as the Parliamentary Secretary realises in his heart of hearts.
The Parliamentary Secretary started off on the wrong foot. He aggravated one or two hon. Members on this side of the House, myself included, because when anyone seeks to make conditions harder for the old-age pensioners he meets with my condemnation. We have a duty to protect from the effect of the Order the one-ninth of the population who cannot afford to pay more. I grant that the remaining eight-ninths may be in a position to meet the increase but there is no justification, no righteousness, no honesty of purpose, in inflicting a penalty on the one-ninth just because the other eight-ninths may be able to meet the extra cost.
I was surprised when the hon. Gentleman said that if these people had difficulty in meeting the extra cost they had recourse to the National Assistance Board. Have we reached the stage that we have to solve the country's economic problems by forcing old and sick people to go to the Assistance Board? If we have, then I suggest that we are bankrupt of ideas.
I beg the hon. Gentleman to take back this Order and to submit something which contains more justice and righteousness and which is more in keeping with the Christian outlook upon life. Great play has been made about what I said about the initiation of increases for old-age pensioners. If hon. Members opposite are serious in the accusation against me, then let them go into the Division Lobby tonight and vote against this Order, because that is what they should do.
§ 11.15 p.m.
§ Mr. W. R. A. Hudson (Hull, North)
I had not intended to intervene in this debate, but, since the baking industry has been mentioned, and as I have some connection with that industry, I think that I might make a useful comment. The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) stated that the baking industry had been campaigning for the abolition of the bread subsidy. It is true that some sections of the industry favour its abolition, but others do not. As for campaigning, if there has been any, I have not heard of it.
It is true that inquiries have been made on this topic just as inquiries were made 2260 on other topics when the Labour Government were in power. As I have said, the industry is divided on the subject, but those who favour abolition of the subsidy do so because of the highly complicated machinery that it involves and because of the cost to the nation in time and effort. I am one of those who believe it is high time that the bread subsidy was abolished.
I would agree with the hon. Member for Sunderland, North and, perhaps, to this extent disagree with my hon. Friend, and say that I should have preferred to see the subsidy abolished altogether. It is rather a pity to take two bites at the cherry.
§ Mr. Willey
On a point of order. The hon. Gentleman has quoted something which I did not say. I only said that the burden of the administrative expenses remained. I did not express an opinion that the subsidy should go. The tenor of my speech was quite to the contrary.
§ Mr. Hudson
I understood the hon. Gentleman to say that it would have been better to do away with the subsidy altogether.
My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary appealed for a sense of proportion in this matter. I am rather sorry that this debate tonight is taking place in the excitement and aftermath of our debate on the Middle East, because, quite frankly, I think that some hon. Members opposite are treating the matter with a levity which really it does not deserve.
I will quote some figures in order to try to restore that sense of proportion which we all need to have. Between January and December, 1955, the cost of living rose by 6 per cent., wage rates by 7 per cent., and earnings by considerably more. About 1,820,000 workers were working overtime. Therefore, if it is suggested that the cost of the reduction of the bread subsidy justifies a demand for increased wages, that is just arrant nonsense.
In November, 23,100,000 people were in civilian employment, and the cost to them of the reduction in the subsidy will be about £18 million, which is rather more than 15s. per year and a little more than 34d. per worker per week. To suggest that the burden of such a charge 2261 is so great as to involve a demand for increased wages is utterly ridiculous.
During 1955, 11,889,500 workers received increases in wages to the extent of £5,138,700—
§ Mr. Hudson
—a wage increase of nearly 10s. per week per worker. If those workers have received, during 1955, an average increase of nearly 10s. a week for a cost of 3½d. per week, then to suggest that this Order justifies a wage increase is arrant nonsense.
§ 11.20 p.m.
§ Mr. George Chetwynd (Stockton-on-Tees)
I think that the Parliamentary Secretary treated us with levity. His speech was a disgraceful performance for a Minister trying to justify such an Order as this. The issue before us is simple, that the poorest of the poor and those with the largest families, will be paying much more than the 2½d. or 2d. a week which has been mentioned so often.
The Government's attitude to the Order shows they are completely out of touch with normal life in this country and that they have no conception whatever of how this increase in the cost of living will make life increasingly intolerable in the months to come for many of the people. The only thing to do is to condemn the Government by voting now against the Order.
§ 11.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Cyril Osborne (Louth)
The Order increases the maximum retail price of bread by £18 million a year. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) said that was a direct charge on the people's food. In 1949, when, owing to the economic situation, the then Chancellor cut food subsidies by £160 million a year, hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite made no protest at all. Now that the subsidy is to be cut by £18 million a year they become self-righteous about it.
I have looked at the Order carefully, but I cannot find any reference to 1949 in it, Mr. Speaker.
§ Mr. Osborne
This Order puts up the price of bread by £18 million a year. 2262 Against that hon. Members opposite are praying. I am trying to show, I think quite fairly, that in 1949, when they had a majority of 200 in this House, when they could do as they liked, they put up the price by exactly the same amount, and they also increased the price of other foods by no less than £142 million a year. They made no protest whatever about that.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
On a point of order. Shall we be in order, Mr. Speaker, in discussing now the milk Order that is to come later, as the hon. Member talks about the price of other foods.
§ Mr. Osborne
I trust that the House will agree that I am in order. I am trying to show that the serious speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick was based on this consideration: that the bread subsidy was a highly valuable part of social policy—we agree—and that, therefore, to take it away was to destroy part of social policy. That is a reasonable argument. He said taking this £18 million away would destroy the social well-being of the poorest of the poor. On that ground, he and his hon. Friends would vote against the Order.
Therefore, I remind the Leader of the Opposition and his future Chancellor—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—that is, if the right hon. Gentleman is not too old when the opportunity occurs—that they were in office together and were responsible for a policy in 1949 which cut into the social security and well-being of our people ten times more than this Order is supposed to, and yet they made no protest at all.
We were asked why we did not pray against the 1949 Order. The answer is that the then Chancellor justified what he was doing by reason of the economic situation. The Prayer tonight has no real substance in it and no logic behind it. If the present Order represents a sin against the old-age pensioners, hon. Members opposite were sinners ten times over in 1949. I hope that hon. Gentlemen opposite will withdraw their Prayer.
§ Mrs. Alice Cullen (Glasgow, Gorbals)
Has the hon. Gentleman opposite any idea of the amount of bread eaten per day by large families? The amount in an 2263 ordinary working-class home may be eight or ten loaves per day. That being so, does not the Order represent a rise in the cost of living for ordinary working people?
§ Mrs. Cullen
My question was addressed to the Joint Parliamentary Secretary. Perhaps he will answer it. Does it not represent a rise in the cost of living for the ordinary worker?
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 159, Noes 223.2265
|Division No. 118.]||AYES||[11.27 p.m.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Herbison, Miss M.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford E.)||Hobson, C. R.||Parker, J.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Holman, P.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Holmes, Horace||Pearson, A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Houghton, Douglas||Peart, T. F.|
|Baird, J.||Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Bartley, P.||Hoy, J. H.||Popplewell, E.|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Probert, A. R.|
|Benson, G.||Hunter, A. E.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Beswick, F.||Irving, S. (Dartford)||Randall, H. E.|
|Blackburn, F.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Redhead, E. C.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Boardman, H.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs, S.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Ross, William|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Short, E. W.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Kenyon, C.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||King, Dr. H. M.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Lawson, G. M.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Burke, W. A.||Ledger, R. J.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Champion, A. J.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Lindgren, G. S.||Steele, T.|
|Coldrick, W.||Logan, D. G.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||MacColl, J. E.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||McGhee, H. G.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Cronin, J. D.||McInnes, J.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thornton, E.|
|Deer, G.||Mahon, S.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Marquand, Rt Hon. H. A.||West, D. G.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Mason, Roy||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mellish, R. J.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mitchison, G. R.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Fienburgh, W.||Monslow, W.||Willey, Frederick|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Moody, A. S.||Williams, Rev. Llwelyn (Ab'tilery)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Moss, R.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mulley, F. W.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Grey, C. F.||O'Brien, Sir Thomas||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Oliver, G. H.||Woof, R. E.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Oram, A. E.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Hale, Leslie||Orbach, M.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Oswald, T.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Hannan, W.||Paget, R. T.|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hayman, F. H.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Mr. Wilkins and Mr. J. T. Price.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Banks, Col. C.||Bishop, F. P.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Barber, Anthony||Black, C. W.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Barlow, Sir John||Body, R. F.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Barter, John||Boothby, Sir Robert|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Baxter, Sir Beverley||Bossom, Sir A. C.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)|
|Ashton, H.||Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Bidgood, J. C.||Boyle, Sir Edward|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Page, R. G.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Bryan, P.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J,||Partridge, E.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Hurd, A. R.||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)||Pott, H. P.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Channon, H.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Cole, Norman||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Joseph, Sir Keith||Redmayne, M.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Kaberry, D.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Keegan, D.||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Kerr, H. W.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Cunningham, Knox||Kershaw, J. A.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Kimball, M.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Kirk, P. M.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Lagden, G. W.||Sharples, R. C.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Shepherd, William|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Leather, E. H. C.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Leavey, J. A.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Leburn, W. G.||Spier, R. M.|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Fell, A.||Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Llewellyn, D. T.||Storey, S.|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Studholme, H. G.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)||Lloyd-George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G.||Summers, G. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Freeth, D. K.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Teeling, W.|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||McKibbin, A. J.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Glover, D.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Godber, J. B.||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Gower, H. R.||Maddan, Martin||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Grant, W. (Woodside)||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Green, A,||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Grimond, J.||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Vane, W. M. F,|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Marples, A. E.||Vickers, Miss J. H.|
|Gurden, Harold||Mathew, R.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Mawby, R. L.||Wade, D. W.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Madlicott, Sir Frank||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Molson, A. H. E.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Nairn, D. L. S.||Whitelaw, W. S. I. (Penrith & Border)|
|Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Neave, Airey||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nicholls, Harmar||Wills, G. (Bridgwater)|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Woollam, John Victor|
|Holt, A. F.||Nugent, G. R. H.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Hope, Lord John||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Horobin, Sir Ian||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Lieut.-Commander Richard Thompson|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)||and Mr. Edward Wakefield.|
|Howard, John (Test)||Osborne, C.|