HC Deb 21 March 1956 vol 550 cc1321-403

Bill read a Second time and committed.

7.0 p.m.

Mr. Geoffrey Hirst (Shipley)

I beg to move, That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to leave out Clause 256. The point here can be put quite briefly, as it is indicated in the Bill itself, which gives power to the Leeds Corporation to— provide…a cold-air store or refrigerator for the storage and preservation of meat and other articles of food and make charges for the use thereof, and, further— at any such cold-air store or refrigerator make ice and sell the same. It is my view that, although for the time being the corporation has made fairly clear in discussions that it has only a very limited object in mind, this could clearly be an attempt at municipal trading, which, quite frankly, neither I nor my hon. Friends can support.

Two considerations arise. First, as the House well knows, there are powers under Section 80 of the Food and Drugs Act, 1955, for a cold-air store in connection with an abattoir to be in operation, with the consent of certain Ministers, and I suggest that the powers set out in this Bill are unnecessary. Indeed, these provisions would be not only an undesirable feature, but, I suggest, might well be a gross abuse of the ratepayers' money. I say this most firmly as there is at present a large surplus in the City of Leeds of cold-storage accommodation.

There are, in fact, three firms concerned. There is the Yorkshire Pure Ice and Cold Storage Company, which has a low temperature capacity of 140,000 cubic feet; next, there is the Union Cold Storage Company, with a low temperature capacity of 164,000 cubic feet; and, thirdly, there is the Leeds Consumer Ice and Cold Storage Company, with 57,000 cubic feet capacity. If the need actually existed for any extensions of these facilities, they are available to be so extended to the extent of 25 per cent. in the case of the first firm, to the extent of 50 per cent. in the case of the second, and to the extent of 150 per cent. in the case of the third.

In addition, there is capacity for another 600,000 cubic feet in the Government store, which under an arrangement made is managed by the Yorkshire Pure Ice and Cold Storage Company. The House will know that, as far as Government stores are concerned, an undertaking was given, I think by the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Food at that time, which was supported by the previous Administration as well as by the present one, that it should not be used in direct competition with private enterprise. I think that that is a proper principle which both sides of this House in turn have supported, and I suggest that we should not give support to a move in this Bill which might well—and could at some future time—develop in such a manner as to create such direct competition.

I appreciate that, at the present moment, the corporation says that that is not its intention, and I accept its word. It is probably true that it is not its intention, but the point is that the Bill gives the corporation very wide powers far beyond what is necessary for the limited use which it has in mind.

At the present moment, without taking the Government store into consideration, the three firms I have mentioned have a capacity together of 360,000 cubic feet, and only about three-quarters of that, on the average, is actually used. I therefore submit that, at the very most, all that the corporation requires is a moderate sized cold-air store for cooling and chilling home-killed meat in connection with the new abattoir, powers for which it is applying. The corporation does not, therefore, require the powers provided in this Bill, for the simple reason that its limited objective can be attained, as I have indicated, under the Food and Drugs Act, 1955.

It is a very simple issue. I maintain most strongly that Leeds ratepayers should be protected from what might be an unnecessary and perhaps rather grandiose scheme, not necessary for the specific purpose which even the corporation itself admits is indeed the objective. It is possible for present needs to be met, and for future needs to be provided for, without actually incorporating in this Bill this very wide Clause, which some future generations of councillors, who might have different views about this matter from the present members of the corporation, might use to cause unnecessary expense to the ratepayers by providing something which is more adequately provided for at the moment, even allowing for future needs, within the framework of existing private enterprise firms.

7.6 p.m.

Mr. John C. Bidgood (Bury and Radcliffe)

I beg to second the Motion.

Nobody can deny that provision for the cooling and chilling of home-killed meat is desirable in any modern abattoir, and it would be quite foolish of us on this side of the House to suggest otherwise. As my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Hirst) has mentioned, Leeds Corporation already has such powers under Section 80 of the Food and Drugs Act, 1955. My main objection to this Clause is that in it Leeds Corporation is seeking to provide more cold air space than the City of Leeds needs, because the bulk of the low temperature storage space in the city at the present time is not being utilised for home-killed meat, but for a variety of other purposes; namely, the preservation of almost all kinds of foodstuffs, comprising imported meat, poultry, bacon, eggs, cheese and various others.

In view of the fact that it is acknowledged that in Leeds there is surplus low temperature capacity, it seems to me to be quite absurd that Leeds Corporation should take unto itself powers to provide additional facilities which are not now required. If, on the other hand, it was discovered at some future date that the existing private enterprise facilities were not sufficient for the needs of the city, then the corporation could have recourse to the 600,000 cubic feet of space, now virtually redundant, under the Government wartime emergency arrangements for providing cold storage space in the city.

On the second part of the Clause, it appears to me quite pointless that Leeds Corporation should seek powers to provide the means to make and sell ice, when the three private enterprise firms in the city have already cut down their own ice-making capacity because the need is no longer there. For these reasons, I support my hon. Friend who moved this Motion, and would point out that existing facilities are already provided under Section 80 of the Food and Drugs Act, 1955.

7.10 p.m.

Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)

This is the first of a series of objections taken to a very big Bill which contains 297 Clauses. I should not have thought this matter was worth objecting to, but it indicates the trend of thinking of hon. Gentlemen opposite. In their opinion, wherever private enterprise interests clash with public interests, the private interests must be paramount. I should have thought that people who had associations with Leeds—the hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. Bidgood) served many years on the City Council, and the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Hirst) has a nodding acquaintance with the city through the Chamber of Commerce—would have thought it a cause for pride that Leeds, which is the fifth city in size in the country, needed powers of its own under a Private Bill. A city such as Leeds should not have to depend on general powers which may be suitable for "Little Winking-on-the-Wold" or some other of the smaller places. The whole idea of local government is that it should be self-respecting, and a big city like Leeds should not have to rely on general powers.

There is nothing new in this. The City of Leeds seeks general powers to act on the authority of the corporation. One of the powers sought is to remove as soon as practicable the abattoir from its present site between the Kirkgate Market and the Central Bus Station to a site further away from the city centre. For obvious reasons, it is undesirable that an abattoir should be sited in the centre of the city. It is objectionable to the public, and anyone who has had experience of slaughter-houses will know that it is more humane that animals should not be brought into the centre of a city, especially a city such as Leeds.

At present there are cold stores available near the abattoir, but if it is moved further from the city centre, cold-storage facilities will be needed. We are speaking about services ancillary to the cold stores, but hon. Gentlemen opposite somehow put the question of the cold stores and private interests before the moving of the abattoir. They usually get their logic upside down.

Mr. Bidgood

I made it clear in my opening remarks that no one denied that cold-storage facilities were desirable in a modern abattoir.

Mr. Pannell

if the hon. Gentleman agrees that such facilities are necessary in a modern abattoir and that Leeds should build a modern abattoir, what is his objection?

Mr. Bidgood

Because powers are available under existing legislation.

Mr. Pannell

I will come to that in a moment. I suggest that under existing legislation the corporation must seek the consent of the Minister. I should have thought that as Leeds will proceed to provide a modern abattoir the corporation should have the power in a general powers Bill.

It is true that the corporation is given power under Section 80 of the Food and Drugs Act, 1955, with the consent of the Minister, to provide a cold store and is given compulsory purchase powers for that purpose. But notice has to be given of the corporation's proposals. The provisions of the 1955 Act have widened the powers of the corporation, but it seems foolish that the corporation of a large city like Leeds should need to obtain the consent of the Minister if it desires to build a new abattoir. In other words, the consent of the Minister is not required to build the abattoir, but it is required if a cold store is to be added. It would seem reasonable to seek that power within this Bill.

Although the Minister—and I shall be interested in what the Joint Parliamentary Secretary has to say about this—recommends the desirability of the inclusion of a cold store, a refrigeration plant has been included because the corporation is advised that it is possible to connect to the refrigeration plant of a cold store a freezing plant to produce ice, which may enable the corporation to make the maximum use of the plant which it wishes to provide.

Hon. Members opposite have referred to competition with private enterprise. It is a curious thing that private enterprise always burks competition with public enterprise. I should have thought that, apart from anything else, public and private enterprise might stand up one to the other in this matter. This is quite a simple proposal to build a new abattoir. After all, the feelings of most people are outraged at the use of old-fashioned abattoirs, and hon. Gentlemen opposite have promoted legislation to increase the inspection of modern abattoirs and the methods of slaughtering beasts. The corporation desires to build a new and modern abattoir. Hon. Members opposite have argued that power to do so should not be included in this general powers Bill, but that the corporation should ask for consent under an Act containing general powers.

Mr. Hirst

And why not?

Mr. Pannell

If there be so little between us, I should have thought it reasonable to grant the power within this Bill.

7.15 p.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Harmar Nicholls)

The hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell), who is very able in presenting cases of this sort, seemed hard pressed on this occasion. However, it is not my purpose to attempt to defend my hon. Friends, except that it so happens that the points I wish to put coincide with what they said.

Mr. Pannell

The hon. Gentleman had better not start off like that so early in the proceedings. He is speaking from a brief prepared by civil servants; my brief was prepared by the town clerk.

Mr. Nicholls

If it is to be a battle of civil servants versus the town clerk, may the best man win.

When he was referring to unnecessary instructions, the hon. Gentleman should have borne in mind that there are 297 Clauses in this Bill and the number being objected to at this stage seems very small. The hon. Gentleman said it was not right that we should interfere with a request for general powers. I do not think it is a good thing to approve unnecessary powers. My hon. Friends were perfectly right in making the point that there is no need for these powers in this Bill, because the corporation already has the necessary power under Section 80 of the Food and Drugs Act, 1955. The corporation has its slaughter house and automatically it could, with the consent of the Minister, get what it wants through that Section.

The hon. Gentleman seemed to object to the fact that the consent of the Minister would have to be given. But even under this Clause the corporation would still have to get the consent of the Minister in the sense that it would have to apply for loan sanction which would call for the sponsorship of a Government Department; I have no doubt it would be my Department. The argument that there is no need for this would apply when consideration was given to whether such consent should be provided.

Apart from the administrative points which have been made and which I have underlined, I do not think the existing conditions in the city call for such powers. There are commercial cold-air stores with a capacity in excess of 300,000 cubic feet which is only half used at a time when such facilities are being used extensively throughout the country. Even though something might happen which would result in the pressure for cold-air storage becoming abnormal, and a greater cubic capacity was necessary in Leeds, we have the Government cold stores situated there which have capacity of more than 500,000 cubic feet. At present these stores are on a care and maintenance basis because of a promise given that the accommodation so provided would not be used in competition with commercial undertakings. That promise has been supported from both sides of the House, but should the demand for cold store facilities be such that that capacity was needed, we should be relieved from that promise. The promise holds good only so long as we do not interfere with the general commercial interests, under conditions of normal demand.

I should have thought that upon reflection hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite who are supporting the Clause might appreciate that there really is no necessity for these powers—they have all the powers they want under Section 80 of the Food and Drugs Act—and that there is no call for the Clause at this time. If any abnormal situation arose the Government cold stores which now exist would form a reserve. They cannot be used at the moment, but they could be used then.

As my hon. Friends said, the commercial stores have already found that, in selling ice, there is nothing like the demand for their capacity, and to create even greater capacity in a market which is nothing like half used at the moment would be very bad business. It is with those considerations in mind that I support what has been said by my hon. Friends. We feel that practical as well as administrative circumstances really do not justify the acceptance of this Clause.

7.21 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Gaitskell (Leeds, South)

I am surprised that hon. Members opposite object to the Clause. I do not think that a question of principle is involved here; I will try to convince them of that. As has already been fully explained by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell), the corporation wishes to remove the existing abattoir from the centre of the city. I do not think that anybody would disagree with that intention. The corporation wants to move it further out for reasons which we all agree about. At the moment, cold stores are available near the existing abattoir, but when it is moved out other cold stores will have to be near it. It is not quite satisfactory to say that cold stores are available here and there all over the place; everything depends where the abattoir is sited. It may be possible to place it near other cold stores; no doubt the council will take that possibility into account, but clearly, if it is to move the abattoir out, cold stores must be sited near the new building. Surely nobody would challenge the desirability of that.

Mr. H. Nicholls

indicated assent.

Mr. Gaitskell

If that is agreed, it seems to me to dispose of the argument that the corporation will be able to make use of existing storage.

I now turn to the other argument which was used by the hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. Bidgood), namely, that powers already exist under Section 80 of the Food and Drugs Act, 1955. The view of the corporation is that those powers exist provided that the Minister gives consent, and it feels—not unreasonably, I think—that it is rather an absurd situation that it should have powers to build an abattoir without the Minister's consent, but not powers to build a cold store to serve that abattoir. That is an almost absurd situation.

It is all very well for the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to say, "After all, the Government have the ultimate power in any case, because of the loan sanction position," but I think he would agree that it is highly unusual, to say the least, for the Government to exercise their power of loan sanction in a matter of this kind in order to control or prevent a council from doing something which it would have power to do under a private Bill of this kind. I think that it is really absurd to ask a city as important as Leeds to have to run to the Minister on this account. We should be a little careful not always to give way to the demand from Whitehall that it must have this power. I thought that hon. Members opposite would have shown a little more enthusiasm for the independence of local government, and would not have wished to back up the Minister upon every possible occasion.

Mr. H. Nicholls

No doubt the right hon. Gentleman appreciates that if the Corporation has to apply for loan sanction it would not be my Department which would have to give it—but we should be asked to sponsor it. The right hon. Gentleman understands that if we felt that, under all the circumstances which existed in the city, we could not sponsor it with our hands on our hearts, we should be in duty bound to say that in our view, at the moment, loan sanction should not be given.

Mr. Gaitskell

I could turn that argument round the other way and ask the hon. Gentleman why, in that event, he objects to the Clause. It is difficult to understand why he does object, if he has this power anyway. I think it is most unlikely that if the Leeds Council had this power the hon. Gentleman's Department would refuse to sponsor such a project.

Mr. Hirst

The right hon. Gentleman is missing one of the points that I endeavoured to make, namely, that if the powers under Section 80 of the Food and Drugs Act were sought, consideration would be given to the nature of the cold store and the abattoir. That is probably all that Leeds needs at the moment, but under the general powers, whether they intend to or not, they could go into a much bigger way of business. That is one of the reasons why we object to the Clause.

Mr. Gaitskell

I think we must assume that the corporation of a large city like Leeds has some common sense in these matters. It is not likely to wish to build a cold store miles away from an abattoir, if it needs that cold store near the abattoir. I am authorised to say that if these powers are granted the cold store will be run upon an economic basis. There is no question of any charge to ratepayers.

That brings me to my last point—the power to be given, under subsection (2), to sell ice—which I regard as quite a reasonable proposition. It is possible to connect to the refrigeration plant of a cold store a freezing plant to produce ice which will help the council to make the whole project into a paying proposition. There is really no reason to object to that once we have conceded the principle—which I think should be conceded—that the corporation should be allowed to build its cold store.

If we accept the view that the abattoir should be moved—and we do—and if we accept the view that a cold store must be sited near the abattoir—as I think we do—it is surely reasonable to say to Leeds Corporation, "You may do this, and take powers to do so without having to run to the Minister. as is the case at the moment." I hope that hon. Members opposite will not press their objections to the Clause.

7.27 p.m.

Mr. David Jones (The Hartlepools)

The first thing I noticed about the debate on this Clause was that none of the three Members opposite who have opposed it represents a Leeds constituency. That is a little unusual.

Mr. Bidgood

I would point out that I have represented a ward of the City of Leeds for eight years, on the Leeds City Council.

Miss Alice Bacon (Leeds, South-East)

The hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. Bidgood) might also explain that he twice tried to represent a constituency in Leeds, without success.

Mr. Jones

I was merely seeking to call attention to the fact that neither the mover nor the seconder of this Instruction represents a Leeds constituency. Whether or not the hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. Bidgood) once represented a ward of Leeds makes no difference. The fact is that he does not represent the city which is seeking these powers. Leeds has at least one representative upon the benches opposite. [HON. MEMBERS: "Two."] Two, then.

Neither has seen fit to speak. That is strange. Neither has yet addressed the House, giving reasons why this Clause should be accepted or rejected. I also thought it unusual for the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to take two bites at the cherry. I should have thought it would have been good enough for the Government Department to rely upon the report which it will make to the Private Bill Committee upstairs.

When a Private Bill has had its Second Reading, the Ministry can make a report concerning the Clause to the Committee upstairs, which examines the Bill in detail. An opportunity is then afforded to Parliamentary counsel to put the case for and against the Clause. That is the general practice, as I understand it. When the House has given a Second Reading to a Bill it allows the details of that Bill—and the Joint Parliamentary Secretary has admitted that this is a matter of detail—to be examined upstairs.

The case which the Minister sought to make against the provision was very weak. He pointed out that under Section 80 of the Food and Drugs Act, Leeds Corporation already has power to build an abattoir. Of course, that is only part of the story, because subsection (2) provides that if the corporation gets this power it will be entitled to sell ice—a power which will not be given to it under the Food and Drugs Act. That is a substantial point which has been overlooked, apparently, even in the Joint Parliamentary's well-prepared brief. I should have thought that that aspect of the case would have appealed to the Government. The authority is not only seeking to build an abattoir with cold storage space, but is also seeking to provide additional services for the citizens of Leeds through the sale of ice.

It seems to me that this is a very desirable Clause for a city of this size, and even if it is opposed, and the private interests in Leeds take exception to it, I hope it will be sent to Committee upstairs. I may be right or wrong, but I have a suspicion that the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Hirst) and the hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe have an interest in private enterprise in Leeds. They have not declared it, but—

Mr. Hirst

The hon. Member must not make remarks of that nature. I have nothing at all to do with cold storage or ice or anything like it.

Hon. Members


Mr. Jones

I did not say that the hon. Members had an interest in this particular matter. What I am saying is that if they have the interest which it is suggested they have in Leeds, their interest as ratepayers in the City of Leeds, then the sale of ice in order to recoup some of the expenditure on the cold storage should appeal to them.

Mr. C. Pannell

May I put my hon. Friend right? The hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Hirst) has been a President of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce and he is interested in the Chamber of Commerce. The hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. Bidgood) has had business interests in Leeds. They have that collective feeling for unity on their side which the trade unions have on ours. The hon. Member for Shipley is speaking on behalf of the philosophy with which he is in sympathy.

Mr. Jones

We are aware that the hon. Member for Shipley has had an interest in the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, because he told us so more than once when the Transport Bill of 1953 was going through the House. We have no doubt about his interest in the commerce of Leeds. I should have thought, therefore, that even if the Clause were contentious it would be far better to examine it upstairs in Committee, with the provisions provided for the Committee to hear counsel for and against the Clause. I hope that the Motion will be rejected.

7.34 p.m.

Mr. Kenneth Thompson (Liverpool, Walton)

Now that we have heard hon. Members opposite from Hampstead, Kent, Normanton and West Hartlepools speaking—

Mr. C. Pannell

On a point of order. Mr. Speaker. I should be glad if you would put the hon. Member right. Hon. Members who are returned on the suffrage of a constituency are deemed to represent that constituency, and any suggestion that I represent Kent, or that one of my hon. Friends represents Hampstead, is the sort of impertinence with which I hope you will deal.

Mr. Speaker

I thought it was just an error of nomenclature.

Mr. Thompson

I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker. In fact, I chose my words very carefully. I said "Members from," and if that is offensive to the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell), there are many ways in which he can take advantage of the rules of the House to let his objections be known. If he is not from where I said he was, he can put a Motion on the Order Paper.

Having heard hon. Members from all parts of the country except Leeds, I see no reason why a Member from a Liverpool constituency should not have a word. At any rate, I have a fairly intimate knowledge of the City of Leeds, having spent quite a long time there and having enjoyed the time I was in the city. I think the House is agreed that the provision of a modern abattoir, properly sited, is a very desirable venture for the City of Leeds, and if it is provided it is quite reasonable that it should be accompanied by the appropriate facilities for cold storage.

I wonder whether it has ever occurred to right hon. and hon. Members opposite that these miracles happened in the past without the great city corporations of the country getting themselves into an ideological frenzy about how they were to be provided. Has any hon. Member opposite ever considered whether private enterprise might not be both able and willing to provide the cold storage facilities in Leeds in appropriate situations and at the appropriate time to suit the convenience of the abattoirs to be built by the corporation? That is precisely what happened in the past with unfailing regularity, and it operated with great economy and efficiency to the great advantage of all concerned.

Has any approach been made by the corporation to find out whether private enterprise is willing to undertake this work? Or is this simply a city steam roller, determined to force its will on the people who have carried this burden for so long, even to the point of driving them out of business, without regard for what are their legitimate, however objectionable, interests? Is that what the party opposite propose shall happen? Do they propose that the whole parliamentary machine shall be brought into operation to enable the corporation to conduct that kind of operation?

It seems to me that that is not what Parliament means by a virile, viable local government. A virile, viable local government does not mean putting in the hands of locally elected representatives the power to crush the life out of private business. It means that local representatives shall have the power to consider where lies the predominant public interest and to try to serve that predominant public interest, either by using local powers and setting up municipal operations of one kind or another or by enlisting the aid of private enterprise to see that those operations are efficiently carried out.

I think that the objections to the Clause which have been voiced by my hon. Friends have been legitimately directed towards seeing that that cannot happen in our society, where we have to balance and merge these two by no means conflicting aspects of our economy.

Similar thoughts arise over whether the corporation should be allowed to make and sell ice. I have no doubt that all the hon. Members from foreign parts, except Leeds, who have spoken are in a position to say—I am not—whether enough ice is being produced in Leeds at present. All I say is that until someone has established whether there is a need for ice which private enterprise is failing to satisfy, there is no valid reason that the corporation should use its great powers and public finance in order to fulfil a need which is already being met.

Mr. D. Jones


Mr. Thompson

I hope the hon. Member will contain himself, although I know he is full of fervour and of much knowledge which the House needs.

Personally, I hold no ideological views which say that municipal trading is always and inevitably wrong and undesirable. Far from it. I like to see local authorities deciding these things for themselves. But if whatever need exists for ice in Leeds, or in any other city, or the need for any other commodity or service, is being satisfied, then there is no justification whatever for the House giving to a public authority the right to step in and overwhelm the resources of the private operator. I very much hope that the House will not give to Leeds powers which will enable it to conduct operations which apparently are not needed—powers

which may easily be abused and which it would require more than we have heard this evening to justify.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 136, Noes 132.

Division No. 125.] AYES [7.40 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. C. Green A. O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Aitken, W. T. Gresham Cooke, R. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Alport, C. J. M. Grimond, J. Page, R. G.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Armstrong, C. W. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Partridge, E.
Ashton, H. Gurden, Harold Peyton, J. W. W.
Baldwin, A. E. Harris, Reader (Heston) Pott, H. P.
Balniel Lord Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Powell, J. Enoch
Banks, Col. C. Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Barber, Anthony Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Raikes, Sir Victor
Barlow, Sir John Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Ramsden, J. E.
Barter, John Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Redmayne, M.
Bidgood, J. C. Holland-Martin, C. J. Remnant, Hon. P.
Bishop, F. P. Holt, A. F. Roper, Sir Harold
Body, R. F. Horobin, Sir Ian Russell, R. S.
Bossom, Sir A. C. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
Bryan, P. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. C. T. Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Burden, F. F. A. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Storey, S.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Cary, Sir Robert Joseph, Sir Keith Studholme, H. G.
Channon, H. Kaberry, D. Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Chichester-Clark, R. Kerby, Capt. H. B. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Cooper-Key, E. M. Kirk, P. M. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Lagden, G. W. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Lambert, Hon. G. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Leavey, J. A. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Crouch, R. F. Leburn, W. G. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Cunningham, Knox Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Vane, W. M. F.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Linstead, Sir H. N. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Doughty, C. J. A. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vosper, D. F.
du Cann, E. D. L. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Duthie, W. S. Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Farey-Jones, F. W. Markham, Major Sir Frank Whitelaw, W. S. I. (Penrith & Border)
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Mathew, R. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Mawby, R. L. Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
George, J. C. (Pollok) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Woollam, John Victor
Gibson-Watt, D. Nairn, D. L. S. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Godber, J. B. Nicholls, Harmar
Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Gower, H. R. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch) Wing Commander Bullus and
Graham, Sir Fergus Nugent, G. R. H. Mr. Hirst.
Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Oakshott, H. D.
Ainsley, J. W. Cullen, Mrs. A. Griffiths, David (Bother Valley)
Albu, A. H. Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Darling, George (Hillsborough) Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
Awbery, S. S. Davies, Harold (Leek) Hannan, W.
Bartley, P. Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Deer, G. Hastings, S.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Delargy, H. J. Hayman, F. H.
Blyton, W. R. Dodds, N. N. Herbison, Miss M.
Boardman, H. Edelman, M. Hobson, C. R.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Howell, Denis (All Saints)
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Hoy, J. H.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Fernyhough, E. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Brockway, A. F. Finch, H. J. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Forman, J. C. Hunter, A. E.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Burke, W. A. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Callaghan, L, J. Gibson, C. W. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.
Clunie, J. Greenwood, Anthony Janner, B.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Jeger, George (Goole)
Cronin, J. D. Grey, C. F. Johnson, James (Rugby)
Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Deane Valley) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Parker, J. Sylvester, G. O.
Lawson, C. M. Parkin, B. T. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Pearson, A. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Peart, T. F. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Popplewell, E. Timmons, J.
Lindgren, G. S. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Viant, S. P.
Logan, D. G. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Warbey, W. N.
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Probert, A. R. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
McGhee, H. G. Randall, H. E. West, D. G.
McInnes, J. Rhodes, H. Wheeldon, W. E.
McKay, John (Wallsend) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Mahon, S. Ross, William Wilkins, W. A.
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Short, E. W. Willey, Frederick
Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Silverman, Julius (Aston) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Mason, Roy Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Mellish, R. J. Skeffington, A. M. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Mitchison, G. R. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Winter-bottom, Richard
Mort, D. L. Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Moyle, A. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Woof, R. E.
Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Snow, J. W. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Oliver, G. H. Sparks, J. A. Zilliacus, K.
Oram, A. E. Steele, T.
Oswald, T. Stewart, Michael (Fulham) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Paget, R. T. Stones, W. (Consett) Mr. Charles Pannell and
Miss Alice Bacon.

7.49 p.m.

Mr. Donald Kaberry (Leeds, North-West)

I beg to move, That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to leave out Clause 269. Clause 269 deals with the question of concessionary fares. By virtue of an Act passed last year, the Public Service Vehicles (Travel Concessions) Act, power was granted to local authorities to retain the powers on concessions which they were in fact giving before 30th November, 1954. Having regard to the provisions of that Act, one is entitled to look to see what were the concessions which were being granted by Leeds Corporation at that date and especially to examine them in relation to the Clause now before us.

Many concessions were being granted by the Leeds Corporation transport undertaking, some of which are repeated in the Clause. There was, for example—I refer to instructions issued by the Leeds City transport department in June, 1951—free transport for blind persons, and that extended to blind persons' dogs. Consequently, it would seem that subsection (2, d) is not only unnecessary, but more restrictive because it does not specifically refer to blind persons' dogs. There was free return travel for scholars. There is no definition in relation to age for a scholar. Having regard to that, it would seem that subsection (2, b) and subsection (2. c) are also unnecessary.

There is in Leeds, and has been for some time, authority to provide free transport on the city's undertaking for uniformed disabled war wounded. This is a very necessary provision when one recalls that in my native city of Leeds, which I am proud to represent here and upon whose city council I served for some little time before becoming a Member of Parliament, authority has been given for those in hospital blue to have free transport. Consequently, it would appear that the majority of the provisions in subsection (2, e) may well be unnecessary.

Referring to instructions which have been received from Leeds Corporation by hon. Members representing the city, there are two main points only at issue in relation to the Clause. First of all, subsection (2, a) is a very wide provision. It gives the corporation power to make regulations to provide for concessionary fares for men over sixty-five and women over sixty. It is unlimited as to character or type. I believe that the sponsors in Leeds Corporation intend that the provision shall finally refer to persons who have retired and are in receipt of retirement pensions. However, the provision as it stands is far more extensive than that and would extend the concession to every person in Leeds over those ages whether or not there was any need for it.

Last year on the Bill promoted by the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) we discussed at some length whether or not municipal transport undertakings should be used to supplement any provisions which may be made by the Welfare State. It is submitted on behalf of those who oppose this provision that the affairs of the Leeds City transport department are not in a condition to support a concession of this kind. Indeed, provision is made in the Clause for a grant in aid, presumably out of the general rate fund, to the transport department in order to recoup losses which may be sustained.

I understand it is also suggested that such concessionary travel may be limited to certain hours of the day when some of the transport may be running only half full. That is a very dangerous argument to advance. One can visualise an unfortunate extension of such an argument when any bus or tram in Leeds was running half full.

We feel that if a concession of this kind is really needed—there is no real evidence in Leeds of any need for it—the problem should be met by some other method than by having recourse to the city's general rate fund when many of us who live in the city feel that the rate burden is already far too excessive.

I now pass to the last matter, upon which there is unquestionably a clash of policy and principle. Indeed, I almost come to the rescue of the Socialist hon. Members who represent Leeds and save them from themselves. It is intended by means of subsection (2, f) that members of the Leeds City Council or a constituent authority of the corporation may have concessionary fares. I said that I nearly save the Leeds Socialist Members of Parliament from themselves. They may not know why. I will explain why. The last occasion when the matter was discussed by the Leeds electorate was in 1930, the year when I was first returned to the city council. We then had a municipal general election, electing a new council. The previous year the Socialist-controlled city council had 'voted to provide a similar concession—free tram rides for city councillors, as it was called. At the election the Socialist councillors on the Leeds City Council were overwhelmingly defeated on this very issue, and the Conservatives were returned with a substantial majority.

I recognise that there is a cleavage of opinion between hon. Members on this side of the House and our colleagues opposite.

Mr. Arthur Moyle (Oldbury and Halesowen)

The hon. Member has referred to a difference of opinion—just now he referred to a difference of principles—between the two sides of the House. Perhaps he will explain that in view of the fact that hon. Members on both sides of the House enjoy free travel to enable them to attend to the business of the House.

Mr. Kaberry

I agree. If I had been allowed to continue, I should have developed that point. There is a difference of principle with regard to the services of people serving upon local authorities. City councillors are elected in an honorary capacity. They know when they go to serve on the council that they have certain honorary and honourable tasks to perform. It is not felt that there is any hardship among Leeds city councillors. Indeed, there is no evidence of any hardship suffered by anyone now sitting on Leeds City Council that renders him unable adequately to discharge his duties because he has not concessionary fares.

There is a clash of principle. The hon. Member for Oldbury and Halesowen (Mr. Moyle) talked about the two sides of the Chamber. I hope that my colleagues from Leeds, including hon. Members opposite who are Socialists, will have received, as I have, a memorandum from the Leeds Liberal Federation which is moved strongly to oppose the proposition that there should be free bus rides for city councillors. Such is the clash of principle that I could go on talking about it for a long time, and I have no doubt that hon. Members opposite could argue about it a long time, too. There is a clear clash about the duties and obligations of the persons elected to serve on Leeds City Council. A councillor goes to the council knowing his obligations, and I say that he should not arrogate unto himself privileges that his fellow citizens have not.

The transport undertaking of the City of Leeds is not in a happy financial position. We frequently hear suggestions about increases in the fares. Many of us think they are far too high as it is. I should not like to see Leeds City councillors immune from the burden of increased bus fares in the City of Leeds. They should share that burden with their fellow citizens. Therefore, I hope the House will agree to this Motion and will reject the Clause.

8.2 p.m.

Mr. Hirst

I beg to second the Motion.

I am very pleased to support my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-West (Mr. Kaberry) for two reasons, first, because he is my Member of Parliament and represents me excellently here, and, secondly, because I think there are substantial merits in the case he has made against the Clause. I was a little puzzled about the proposal to give concessionary fares to people on retirement pensions, men over sixty-five and women over sixty, for there would seem to be certain difficulties involved in it. Would the pensioner have to take his birth certificate with him to the tram depot? The concession in the Clause is in line with other forms of subsidies favoured by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, such as those on milk and bread. They say that everybody should receive the benefit of the subsidies, whereas we on this side do not hold that view, but think that those who can afford to pay their whack should not be subsidised by other taxpayers or ratepayers.

It is suggested that Leeds Corporation would give the concessionary fares to people in receipt of retirement pensions. That is not necessarily a fair classification. There are many people who have been left small sums or who have annuities and who are not of the age to qualify for the State pension, and they have to pay their rates, and are struggling very hard to keep up appearances, and to do their best, and are very far from being well off. I do not think it is fair that they should have to subsidise people perhaps better off than they are. Least of all is it fair that they should do so because of some arbitrary classification. One can get into the most painful jam in deciding what is and is not fair.

However, there is very strong feeling indeed about giving the concessionary fares to city councillors. I support my hon. Friend in his protest against that proposition. I, personally, have not had the honour to sit on the council, and I have often regretted it, because I think local government service is a good thing to give, but I did a good deal of public work of other sorts before becoming a Member of this House. I have been engaged in many forms of public work. One does it on a voluntary basis. Local public work is a very different thing from Parliamentary work. The local situation is different from the situation in Westminster, whither we are pulled hundreds of miles from our normal centre of gravity, and where we have to adopt a new centre of gravity—and, by Jove, what a great pull it exerts.

My hon. Friend was quite right to draw attention to the fact that the people of Leeds expressed themselves very forcibly upon this question many years ago. An hon. Member a little while ago talked about people having a nodding acquaintance with Leeds. I should like to deal with that. My father, my grandfather and my great-grandfather always lived in the City of Leeds. That amounts to more than a nodding acquaintance. It is my home town, and I am very proud of it. I do not always share the views of the people on the city council, but I am still very proud of Leeds. I live there, I go there regularly at weekends and I have served on a large number of bodies of one sort and another—not only the Chamber of Commerce, I would add—in the City of Leeds. For instance, I have worked for education there.

I agree with my hon. Friend that the support of this Clause by Socialists may be worth many votes to Conservatives in the next General Election. However, I do not take such a partisan view of the matter. I prefer to think of the broader issue. This is a proposition of which the ratepayers in general disapprove, and I do not think it should be pressed in this Bill, some of the provisions of which are good, and I support them.

In these matters we ought not to judge too much by protest meetings, any more than at General Elections we should judge public opinion only by the opinions of those who attend our meetings. They are false barometers of the situation. I do not wish to detain the House by arguing the case against the Clause at length. My hon. Friend has argued the case admirably, and it is my purpose only to dot the i's and cross the t's, so to speak, of his argument why the Clause should not be retained.

8.8 p.m.

Mr. C. Pannell

I think the nub of the question is the concessionary fares for councillors. All that has been said about the old-age pensioners was just airy persiflage. If they had the wit to do so, hon. Gentlemen opposite could have put down an Amendment to the Clause, but, not having had the wit to do that, they have now got themselves into the difficulty that they are attempting to remove the whole Clause and to penalise old-age pensioners simply because they object to free fares for councillors.

Mr. Kaberry

I wonder if the hon. Member would refer to the Clause which refers to the old-age pensioners?

Mr. Pannell

I will deal with that, but I want first to deal with the main objection against the Leeds councillors. The hon. Member for Leeds, North-West (Mr. Kaberry) alluded to a verdict of the public twenty-five years ago to prove his case.

Mr. Kaberry

And current popular opinion in the city, with which I am in very close touch.

Mr. Pannell

Current popular opinion in the city was tested at a town meeting about this Clause when public-spirited citizens, public-spirited enough to attend the meeting, overwhelmingly approved it.

Mr. Gerald Nabarro (Kidderminster)

By what percentage?

Mr. Pannell

I would ask the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) to keep out of this argument for a moment, because I am addressing my remarks to the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West. If the hon. Member for Kidderminster is asking me to define the percentages of a town's meeting in a city of 500,000 people, I must tell him that I am not that kind of mathematical calculating boy. The hon. Member and the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West must admit that Members of Parliament are entitled to concessionary fares. They get them in addition to the expense allowance on their £1,000 a year and the £2 a day Sessional allowance, and they have concessionary fares not only between London and Leeds, but between London and their homes in the environs of London.

There was a time when hon. Members opposite used just the same arguments against that sort of thing, but undoubtedly it can be proved that the overwhelming majority of hon. Members opposite take the £2 a day Sessional allowance which they opposed and take the concessionary fares. What is the answer, therefore, in regard to concessionary fares being given to city councillors? It is, of course, that if the Leeds County Borough Council were a county council its members would have the right to have their fares paid. Members of county councils have their expenses defrayed.

When I was a member of Kent County Council I found at that time that people of the persuasion of hon. Members opposite were not backward in claiming expense allowances and car allowances which were given by that council. It is reasonable, therefore, that this concession should be made in this case—not that people should make any money out of a council. I am sure that the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West will not assert that a single member of Leeds City Council is financially advantaged by being a member. If anything, a member of the council is likely to be disadvantaged.

Mr. Kaberry

indicated assent.

Mr. Pannell

Before I became a Member of the House of Commons, I had a lower assessment for Income Tax than did my colleagues in the workshop because I spent my own money on public work. All we are concerned with is to make it possible for people with low incomes to serve upon public bodies. We are asking that men and women should not be disadvantaged because they are serving on Leeds City Council. No sum of money is at stake. It is merely a matter of issuing a pass—a practice which is common throughout the country. Employees of London Transport Executive receive passes, and even the old London General Omnibus Company gave passes to its employees.

The City of Glasgow still gives passes to its employees for travel on the underground, in trams and on buses, and the officers of the City of Leeds receive travel passes. No doubt many of those officers receive bigger remuneration than do Members of Parliament, but I do not make a point of that. They are given seven-day passes, and all we ask is that members of the city council who want to use these passes should be given them when they are engaged on public business.

The hon. Member for Leeds, North-West mentioned the Liberal Party. It is rather fantastic to mention that party in this connection. I was the only hon. Member for Leeds who was opposed by a Liberal, and he lost his deposit. Therefore, we might as well keep the Liberals out of the argument as significant of the trend of opinion in Leeds. The hon. Member also referred to the affairs of Leeds City transport department. Is he going to suggest, against the whole background of the financial affairs of that department, that these concessionary fares are a significant item? It strikes me as one of the meanest things that the hon. Member, at the behest of his party, should put forward this proposal.

I have had a letter from a well-respected member of Leeds City Council. Naturally I shall not reveal the identity of the writer, but this is what she says: As I am entirely dependent on my husband, who is an ordinary working man, I found transport a heavy item in addition to all the other expenses during the time I was a member of the City Council. In fact, we did not have a holiday for six years. We live nearly five miles from the city centre and pay 23s. rent. My daughter has just completed her education at the age of 20. The fare to the bus station is 6d. each way. Each time I visited the Ward I represented, it cost me Is. 2d. In addition, of course, I had postages and telephone to pay. The wear and tear of my clothing was the same as if I were working. Usually I had committees on three or four afternoons each week; special school visits, one or two each month in the mornings; speech days, meetings of boards of governors, special exhibitions; visits to warehouses to buy clothing for Central Purchasing Department. I had to keep contact with the Civic Theatre and the rehearsal rooms to sign overtime sheets etc. at least once each week. I should say 6s. was the minimum each week which I spent on fares for council work only. I consider that I am £1 a week better off now that I am off the council, Here is a working woman, dependent on her husband's salary, making her contribution to the civic life of the city. It is a far more altruistic contribution than that of the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West, or myself. She is personally disadvantaged and this is the kind of member the hon. Member is trying to keep off the council. I should have thought that the Conservative Party in Leeds would have been bigger-minded than to try to inflict this kind of penalty.

There was an Alderman Rafferty who expressed this view at a town's meeting. He is reported as having said at that meeting: The Council members opposing this facility to councillors rolled up to Council and Committee meetings in cars that are in many cases bought and maintained out of the expenses accounts of the firms with which the councillors are connected, whereas Labour councillors had to find travel fares to attend numerous Council and Committee meetings and also attend meetings of other bodies on which they represented the Council—at the expense of their weekly budget; on wages that are often less than the normal levels due to attendance on Council business, and absence from work that the meagre broken-time allowance, where it can be claimed, does not cover or compensate. Members can claim reimbursement of fares outside the city but not within the city. In the case of a place as big as Leeds, the fifth city in the country, those expenses are considerable. I hope that hon. Members opposite will have second thoughts on this subject. I believe that it was not their intention to disadvantage people over sixty-five years of age, but in the context of the speeches of the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West and the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Hirst), one would have thought that that was so. One would have thought that what was being proposed was free passage on municipal transport for those over sixty-five. That is not the case.

Clause 269 states: Notwithstanding anything in any other enactment or in any rule of law to the contrary it shall be lawful for the Corporation to make arrangements for the granting of travel concessions to qualified persons travelling on the public service vehicles operated by the Corporation … The Clause, therefore, refers to concessions. It does not refer to free passes. I believe that I am perfectly right in saying that. My understanding from conversations with Corporation officials is that what they have in mind is to make special concessions in off-peak hours to people over this age and that they are to be expressly excluded at peak hours.

Mr. Kaberry

But does not that include males over sixty-five and females over sixty years of age?

Mr. Pannell

Obviously, I would not attempt to deceive the hon. Gentleman, any my understanding of this is that what is intended here is that concessions shall be granted. If the Transport Committee evolves a scheme whereby these people over sixty-five can travel at child's fares in off-peak hours, that may be a financial advantage to the undertaking and not a financial loss. It is intended that these old people shall not get in the way during peak hours.

If the hon. Gentleman looks at the words in the Bill he will see that the operative words are "travel concessions." There is nothing in this Bill which takes away from the flexibility of the corporation in bringing into operation anything it wishes to do towards that end. The hon. Gentleman has served the City of Leeds for some time and he knows that councils do not fly in the face of public opinion. Bearing in mind the difficulties of Leeds transport department, and the fact that the city is changing over from trams to omnibuses, which is an expensive process, it is obvious that these things must be brought about naturally.

Mr. Hirst

The definition in subsection (7) reads: 'travel concession' means the reduction or waiver of a fare or charge either absolutely or subject to terms, limitations or conditions.

Mr. Pannell

The hon. Gentleman has given me my point that the Clause is flexible. It does say "reduction."

Mr. Hirst

It also says "waiver."

Mr. Pannell

I hope the hon. Gentleman will take it in good faith from me that I am saying quite calmly to him, with the full authority of the corporation, that in this context the corporation is considering a reduction of fares in off-peak hours. Obviously, every byelaw and regulation cannot be put into a Bill of this size. As I understand that phrase, it is a statement of fact that there is to be a reduction in off-peak hours. I believe I am right. In any case, it is a matter within the discretion of the corporation.

Mr. Hirst

Of course I accept the good faith of the hon. Gentleman. There was no suggestion that I did not do so. That may be the idea of the present corporation, but the powers taken in a Bill are not for its present members or for whoever has briefed the hon. Gentleman. They are permanent until altered by Parliament.

Mr. Pannell

The hon. Gentleman may not have much experience of Private Bills—

Mr. Hirst

I have not a lot of faith in corporations.

Mr. Pannell

If the hon. Gentleman approaches this matter in that way, that he has little or no faith in the Leeds Corporation, I suggest that his opposition to the Bill appears to be capricious and malicious. Obviously the corporation must insert in the Bill words which ensure a degree of flexibility. In the case of the councillors, I admit that the concession is wider. In the other case it is a reduction. Therefore, bearing those things in mind and knowing the large number of people over the age of sixty-five who go to work, the council will presumably bring in regulations and bye-laws or will lay a scheme which will prevent abuse. Of course, it will not make the sky the limit. But a city as large as Leeds must act in a large and honourable way and not as meanly as the hon. Gentleman seems to think it should act.

This is a concession which is given by public undertakings to their employees and officials. This is common in many other corporations, so there seems little sense in denying it to Leeds. It should go out clearly from this House that what the members of Leeds Corporation are asking for is not any financial advantage from public service, but that they shall not be disadvantaged by public service.

I ask the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West to search his mind, because he knows the members of the city council better than I do. If he does so, he will remember many men and women who have served the corporation with great dignity for years on both sides of the council. Many have grown old in the service of the corporation. Some are old-age pensioners. The hon. Gentleman would leave those outside the concession also. If we had to eliminate everybody over the age of sixty-five from local government the position would be grim, so I should have thought that this was a reasonable Clause.

There is so little between us on the explanation I have given that, even at this stage, I appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite not to press an objection to this concession which is accorded to other cities. Let it go out from this House that local government is not the junior partner, but an equal partner in the public service with us.

8.26 p.m.

Mr. Edward Short (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)

I apologise for intervening in a Leeds debate. I do so because the proposal to increase the number of people to whom concessions are given follows closely on the Public Service Vehicles (Travel Concessions) Bill, which I had the privilege of piloting through the House last year.

Reference has been made to disabled persons, and the hon. Gentleman said that as Leeds now gives concessions to disabled persons in uniform the majority of such persons would be covered. I should have thought that only a minority of disabled people would now be in uniform. For instance, this limitation excludes those disabled in industry, all the people disabled on the roads, and so on. Generally speaking, when a person becomes disabled he suffers some reduction of income. Therefore, there is a perfectly good case for extending this concession to all disabled persons, whether they are in uniform or not.

On the question of young people and small children, I think that the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West (Mr. Kaberry) will agree that, since the Leeds scheme was introduced, the school-leaving age has been raised by one year and that boys and girls of 15 are not now covered. So at any rate there is a case for increasing the age from 14 to 15.

Mr. Kaberry

Those concessions refer to school children and there is no definition of age. Presumably a child is a school child as long as he is going to school, whether he is 14 or 15. They get the concessions now, so the hon. Gentleman and I are not at issue.

Mr. Short

I am sorry, but this is general throughout the country. The concession stops at 14.

On the question of councillors' travelling expenses, hon. Gentlemen opposite have said that this concession is granted only by Labour councillors, but that is not so. At the time my Bill went through the House I made a lot of research on this point. I discovered that this concession is granted by many councils throughout the country, about half of which are Conservative and the other half are Labour. It is done by my own City Council in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which has a Conservative majority; it is done in Edinburgh, and in many other places.

The present scheme to give travelling expenses to councillors does not apply to borough councillors travelling within their own borough. A man can travel 8 or 10 miles in his own borough, but can claim no expenses, A member of a district council may travel only 5 miles to the Shire Hall and yet be able to claim travelling expenses.

The hon. Member for Leeds, North-West referred to his own services on the Leeds City Council, and he will know, as we all know, that to serve on a big borough council involves an enormous amount of committee work. It is quite common for a city councillor for a city the size of Leeds to have to attend twelve, fifteen and sometimes twenty meetings a week. I have done that, as no doubt has the hon. Member, and it imposes a considerable financial burden on people who live on the outskirts of their city.

This is a very modest request in respect of old-age pensioners. In "Britain Strong and Free" there was a section dealing with local government which said that the Conservative Party wanted to give local government more discretion and more freedom. Surely it is fair and reasonable to give local government this simple discretion to make this modest extension to our social services to help old people. The Conservative Party made a song about local government freedom and discretion. Here is an opportunity to give a big city council a little more discretion to do something to 'help its own people.

The hon. Member said that the Leeds undertaking was in a bad way financially, but it is not alone in that most transport undertakings are in a bad way. I would point out that in our case, and in the case, I think, of many councils who have given concessions to old people, the usual practice is to give concessionary fares in the slack periods of the day. We usually find that it does not result in a reduction of income, but puts more passengers on the buses in the afternoons than otherwise would use them. On the whole, the transport undertaking probably gains.

Since the war our big cities, such as Newcastle and Leeds, have changed, and there has been a big movement of population from the old central areas to the perimeters. The families who go to the perimeters are usually young families with children. We all know that old people like to visit their children and grandchildren. They like to go by bus in the afternoon, when not many people are travelling, to the new housing estates to visit their children and grandchildren. This is a wonderful opportunity to enable them to do that.

I estimated last year that the type of concession mentioned here was made available to between 15 million and 16 million people throughout the country by last year's Act. I can see no reason that any other local authority who wishes to introduce such concessions should not be able to do so. It is a very modest extension of our social services. I hope that hon. Members opposite will see that it gives local government a little more freedom and discretion and will support it. I appeal to them to look at it fairly and squarely. If they do, I am sure they will support it.

8.34 p.m.

Miss Alice Bacon (Leeds, South-East)

After the excellent speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell), there is little that I want to add; but I want to emphasise two points. The first concerns concessionary fares for councillors and the great anomaly which exists between city and county areas.

The hon. Member for Walton (Mr. K. Thompson) said that I live at Normanton, and I should like the House to know that Normanton is on the borders of Leeds and just inside the West Riding area. The county town, with the county hall, is Wakefield, five miles from my home. The county councillor representing me and travelling five miles to Wakefield can be reimbursed for the whole of his travelling expenses under Section 15 of the Local Government Act, 1948, but a borough councillor living some five or six miles from the centre of Leeds cannot have his expenses reimbursed.

The hon. Member for Leeds, North-West (Mr. Kaberry), said there was no evidence that anyone was finding it difficult to carry out his councillor's duties through inability to pay the fares. I know that people struggle on somehow, but I want to give the House two examples, one of a councillor and one of an alderman, from my constituency, One alderman is an old-age pensioner who actually lives in the last house on the southern side of the city of Leeds; indeed, his house is in Leeds and his garden is in the county area. Probably the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West knows who it is I have in mind, and he will agree that the old gentleman is an exceedingly public-spirited man who has done a great deal under difficult circumstances. That alderman has to pay the whole of his travelling expenses out of his retirement pension. That is just one example; I am sure there are many others. I have in mind also one of my councillors, a woman who is a widow, again with a very small income. She is doing an enormous amount of work. She is chairman of one of the sub-committees in Leeds.

These are the people who will be helped. It does seem to me to be a great anomaly that this House should have made provision for people who live in the county area but not for people who live in the city area.

I notice that the Instruction which is being proposed by hon. Members opposite is an instruction to delete the whole Clause. That means that we shall be deleting, for example, the proposal to raise the age from 18 to 19 for those who are in full-time attendance at school or university. It means that we shall be denying to retirement pensioners the right to concessionary travel.

I re-emphasise what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West that the city council is quite prepared to make regulations to provide that these concessions shall only be given to older people after the peak hours from ten o'clock in the morning until four o'clock in the afternoon. Knowing the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West as I do, and knowing that he must realise he is going to deny to old-age pensioners in Leeds the right to these concessions, I do ask him even now to withdraw this Instruction.

Something was said about the will of the people of Leeds. At the town's meeting, this proposal now being put forward tonight was defeated by 277 votes to 85. It was rather significant that the person who moved the rejection of this Clause at the town's meeting was a Mr. Booth, who is one of the only two elected representatives in the city who receives payment of his expenses because he happens to be an auditor for the city.

I do appeal to the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West, to withdraw this Instruction. I feel he will be doing great injustice to a great many people if he does not do so.

8.37 p.m.

Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, All Saints)

I should like to say one or two words as one who comes from the city of Birmingham. Citizens of Birmingham enjoy every one of these proposals in this Bill, and I cannot for the life of me understand why we in Birmingham—glad though we are to do so—should enjoy them while the citizens of Leeds should not be allowed to do so.

I wish to say a word about local government. Surely this is precisely a matter which should be left to the ratepayers and electors of Leeds. There is every possible safeguard here. First of all, there is the town's poll, which has been referred to.

Mr. Kaberry

There was no town's poll, if I may remind the hon. Member.

Mr. Howell

I was coming to that. That was a helpful interpolation, and I thank the hon. Member for it. There was a town's meeting. There could in fact have been a town's poll; a town's poll could have been requested so that this matter might have been taken to the vote of the people. That was not done. Obviously, if there could be only 85 people from the whole city to go to the meeting to object, not many people would vote in a town's poll. Surely, although we might not agree with town's polls—I personally do not—as long as they are in being we must have regard to the fact that the rights of the ratepayers and electors of Leeds to have a town's poll were exercised on this occasion.

There is another very great safeguard. It is that even if the Clause is accepted in its entirety, if the citizens of Leeds do not like it they will turf out their council at the next election. Why should these powers not be available to the citizens of Leeds? Why should people who object not make their objections known at the next local election?

I believe it is absolutely essential in the changing pattern of our society to keep old people mobile. If there is anything which is a great cost on the Exchequer and local government finances it is the cost of putting old people into old peoples' homes. It is essential to encourage old people to move about and to visit relatives, their allotments and old peoples' clubs. We should keep old people on the move as much as we possibly can. The way to do that is to encourage them to use city transport in off-peak hours. We do that in Birmingham where it is greatly appreciated and where it is not a party matter. I am amazed that in Leeds it is a party matter. In Birmingham it went through with hardly any objection.

I come to subsection (2. f). I have in my hand the pass which entitles me as a city councillor in Birmingham to ride free on Birmingham city transport in pursuance of my duties. What justification is there for my having a pass to travel around Birmingham visiting my ward when colleagues in Leeds cannot have the same facility? I hope that iii those circumstances the objection will be withdrawn.

There is one final point I should like to make. When the Birmingham Corporation Bill was going through Committee I watched its progress on behalf of the council. I was delighted that the Ministry of Transport offered no objection to it in Committee. It provided precisely the same sort of facilities as this Bill, and in view of the Ministry's attitude only a month or two ago, I hope that the Government will advise the House to take the same course with this Bill, which has been subjected to the test of local opinion, which is the acid test. All of us ought to be very jealous indeed to preserve the rights of local government, especially when expressed in such an overwhelming manner as in this case.

8.43 p.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. Hugh Molson)

The hon. Member for Birmingham, All Saints (Mr. D. Howell) spoke of my replying, but misunderstood my position in this matter. This is a Private Bill and it is only because it deals with very much the same matter as that to which the hon. Member referred, that I feel obliged to say something upon the subject. I note what the hon. Member has said about the Ministry not feeling obliged to make any comment upon the merits of proposals of this kind when a previous Bill went forward. I indicated the attitude of the Government on the Second Reading of the Public Service Vehicles (Travel Concessions) Act, 1955 moved by the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) last year. It is the view of the Government that a local authority is entitled to apply to Parliament for powers to grant concessions to aged people and people suffering from certain disabilities.

Subsection (2, f) of Clause 269 really largely reproduces a certain provision which was the subject of an Amendment moved to the Bill introduced last year by the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central, and if I venture to quote what I said on that occasion, it is because I believe it to be still true. I pointed out that, under the Local Government Act, 1948, passed by hon. Gentlemen opposite when they were in office, it was expressly provided that travelling expenses should not be paid to a member of the council of a borough, including a metropolitan borough, of an urban district or of a rural parish. I said that I was disposed to wonder why this distinction had been drawn. I was impressed in the Committee upstairs with the facts put forward by some hon. Gentlemen, and I have been impressed today by the arguments put forward from the other side of the House. I then said: I think that at some time or another it would be wise for Parliament to consider again whether the distinction that was then drawn has really any validity or substance in it. I still say exactly the same thing tonight, I went on to say that the way the matter ought to be dealt with was by amending the Act of 1948, and I added: It is nearly always unwise to try to effect a change in one branch of the law by incorporating an Amendment in legislation which is purporting to deal with another matter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B. 10th March, 1955; c. 138.] I would therefore say that, while I am frankly sympathetic—speaking for myself, and not for the Government in this particular matter—[Interruption.] Oh yes, indeed I am—to the idea of looking again at the provisions of the Act of 1948, I think my hon. Friends are fully justified in opposing a Clause in a Private Bill which will, in fact, have the effect of enabling a single city to do something which other cities are not entitled to do under the general law of the land.

Mr. C. Pannell

The hon. Gentleman cannot get away with two things. One is that he cannot express sympathy when he stands at that Box, because when he stands at that Box he is presumed to be speaking for the Government. The next thing is that—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris)

The hon. Gentleman cannot speak a second time.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)

On a point of order. May I ask your guidance, Mr. Deputy-Speaker? It is very difficult in the House for hon. Members to know when hon. Gentlemen who are called by you as spokesmen for the Government side are speaking for themselves and when they are speaking for the Government. I should like your guidance on whether it is possible for some indication to be given at the beginning of their speeches.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

That has nothing whatever to do with me. I was merely saying that I understood that the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) was making a second speech.

Mr. Pannell

With great respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I hope you will extend to me the usual courtesy extended to a Member in charge of a Clause.

Hon. Members


Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)

Further to that point of order. With great respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker I did not think that the Parliamentary Secretary had finished his speech but had given way to an interruption to ask a question. Indeed I think that the OFFICIAL REPORT will show tomorrow that the hon. Gentleman was in the middle of a sentence, but, if it was your impression that the Parliamentary Secretary had finished, may I say that I propose to rise and see if I can catch your eye?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I understood that the hon. Gentleman had resumed his seat.

Mr. Pannell

I intervened in this matter, it is a Leeds matter, to ask two points of the hon. Gentleman. I have dealt with the first, and the second which I was coming to—I did not think my intervention was unduly long—

Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I apologise to the hon. Member. I understood, apparently mistakenly, that the Parliamentary Secretary had resumed his seat.

Mr. Pannell

I was coming to the point at which I propose to ask the hon. Gentleman how he could maintain his objection to this being put into a Private Bill, bearing in mind that he had not answered the point put by my hon. Friend the Member for All Saints (Mr. D. Howell) about why he had changed his tune since the Birmingham Bill, when he raised no objection at all?

Mr. Short

Before the Parliamentary Secretary resumes his speech, may I ask that he deal with this point? As I understand him now, he has advised his hon. Friends to vote against this Clause. May I ask how he squares that with the fact that three weeks before the General Election, when the election was announced, the Prime Minister himself intervened—as the hon. Gentleman himself well knows—to save my Bill when most Government legislation was washed out. The Government then went out of their way to provide time for my Bill when the General Election was imminent. How does the Parliamentary Secretary square that with the fact that he is now advising his hon. Friends to vote against this Clause?

Mr. Molson

I will deal with the second point first, because the answer is so simple and so extremely obvious. I was the Minister charged with the task of enabling the hon. Gentleman's Bill to reach the Statute Book. We took the view, which I made perfectly plain in my Second Reading speech on that occasion, that where local authorities had in good faith been granting certain concessions, we thought it fair they should remain. Under what I still like to call the "Short Act," the Leeds Corporation is entitled at the present time to grant any concession which was being granted before the day laid down in the Act.

What I am saying today is in accordance with what I said then; that other local authorities can come forward and promote Private Bills. The Leeds Corporation is accordingly now seeking certain additional powers from this House.

Mr. Short

The hon. Gentleman invited them to come forward.

Mr. Molson

I did not undertake that anything they asked for would receive the support of the Government. The Leeds Corporation is coming forward. It has taken advantage of the invitation, and I do not know what is the grievance. What is being asked for in subsection (2f) of Clause 269 is almost exactly what was proposed in an Amendment moved to the Bill promoted by the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central and which I opposed on behalf of the Government on that occasion. This is completely and entirely consistent with the line I took on behalf of the Government on that occasion.

Mr. Short

This is precisely the same Clause which the hon. Gentleman went out of his way to put on the Statute Book.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

The Parliamentary Secretary has said that Leeds Corporation is asking for something new. Can he tell us how many local authorities in Scotland and in England—I could tell him of half-a-dozen in Scotland—

Mr. Nabarro

What about Wales?

Mr. G. Thomas

Leave Wales alone.

Mr. Ross

—including Edinburgh and Glasgow, already have this provision? Can the hon. Gentleman tell us how many authorities in the country have already got it?

8.55 p.m.

Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)

I have no intention of intervening in the debate except to say that I understand that the Parliamentary Secretary is trying to convey the impression that he is speaking for himself. I do not see how he can do so, speaking from that Front Bench. We must assume that he is speaking with some Governmental authority. He said that he supported, in principle, what is required by Leeds City Council in this Bill, and that he would, therefore, like to see some amendment to the 1948 Act—that is, where he tried to convey that he was speaking for himself—in order to give the Leeds authority the very thing for which it is now asking.

In effect, he is saying that he supports the principle of the Bill but also thinks it right to support the Instruction. I do not see how he can marry those two statements. Surely, in the circumstances, if he supports the Instruction he should at least give an undertaking that the Government will at some time introduce legislation to alter the 1948 Act and make the same provisions apply throughout the country. He cannot say that he thinks the Instruction is fine and then vote against it—although that is what he has indicated, in effect. He has said that he supports the principle of the Bill, but he now wants the Instruction supported as well. I do not know what sort of nonsense that is.

The hon. Gentleman cannot speak for himself on this occasion. If, as my hon. Friend the Member for All Saints (Mr. D. Howell) has said, Birmingham is already getting exactly what the Leeds people want, it is a fantastic situation. It is obvious that as the law now stands Leeds has no alternative but to promote legislation in order to achieve the same position as exists in Birmingham. Its only course is to promote this Private Bill. If the Government had told the sponsors of the Bill that they would agree to amend the 1948 Act—and, at the moment, they have given no indication of that—I have no doubt that the city council would not have bothered to introduce these Clauses, but they obviously have not been told that. We have no assurance that such amending legislation will be introduced, and we must support the Clause. If the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West (Mr. Kaberry) has any interest in the City of Leeds he should be only too pleased to ask leave to withdraw this Instruction, which operates against principles which his own Parliamentry Secretary supports

8.57 p.m.

Mr. John Edwards (Brighouse and Spenborough)

I intervene only for a moment or two, upon two counts. First, because I want to point out that I have been connected with the City of Leeds in my time, and, secondly, because I was concerned in the passage of the 1948 Bill through the House. One of my hon. Friends said that the Parliamentary Secretary had advised the House to vote against the Clause. He certainly did not say so explicitly. His objections were concentrated upon subsection (2, f).

I submit that there is a good deal of common ground between all those who have spoken so far. Most of the Clause is beyond any debate. It has been suggested that subsection (2, a) will cause some difficulty—that is, the provision relating to men over 65 and women over 60—partly because it is thought to be a little wide. I have checked up on this matter and I can say that the council has in mind that it would be a practical proposition to grant to old-age pensioners passes which would entitle them to travel at the same rates as children's half fare between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., that is to say, during off-peak hours.

For all practical purposes this would also have the effect of limiting the concessions to pensioners who were not working. The Leeds City Corporation is quite willing to seek to amend the Bill in this sense, so that any concessionary fares will be granted only between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. I think it will be recognised that this goes almost all the way to meet the kind of difficulties which have been put up.

The point I want to leave with the House is this: if the Instruction is carried we shall, from the point of view of hon. Members who have spoken in favour of it, prevent Leeds from doing something which they themselves would agree that Leeds ought to be able to do, as well as prevent Leeds from doing one thing which hon. Members opposite do not want it to do. I submit that there is a perfectly ordinary procedure for us to follow. When we have a Clause with which we are on the whole in agreement, surely we can leave it to the later stages of the Bill to deal with the one part of the Clause about which we disagree.

I was on the Leeds City Council with the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West (Mr. Kaberry) and, incidentally, I was defeated in the 1930 Election, to which he refers. Knowing him as I do, may I say to him, "Cannot we be perfectly reasonable? We know the point on which we disagree and we know that we agree about all the rest. Cannot we now leave it to the further stages of the Bill, where this matter of detail can be properly argued out?" The hon. Member would not forfeit any rights which he has. I say to the Parliamentary Secretary that this is the procedure which we have always followed and that it would be a good thing to follow it now. I ask the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West to withdraw the Instruction. He can go on with the argument, if he likes, elsewhere.

Mr. Kaberry

Was the hon. Gentleman offering to withdraw subsection (2, a)?

Mr. Edwards

No. I was giving an assurance on (2, a) and was saying that the only point between us is on (2, f), and that can be dealt with in Committee.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 153, Noes 130.

Division No. 126.] AYES [9.2 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. C. Graham, Sir Fergus Molson, A. H. E.
Aitken, W. T. Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.(Nantwich) Nabarro, G. D. N.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Green, A. Nairn, D. L. S.
Alport, C. J. M. Grimond, J. Nicholls, Harmar
Anstruther-Cray, Major W. J. Grimston Hon. John (St. Albans) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
Armstrong, C. W. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
Ashton, H. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Nugent, G. R. H.
Baldwin, A. E. Gurden, Harold Oakshott, H. D.
Banks, Col. C. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Barber, Anthony Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Barlow, Sir John Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Page, R. G.
Barter, John Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Partridge, E.
Bidgood, J. G. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Peyton, J. W. W.
Bishop, F. P. Holland-Martin, C. J. Pott, H. P.
Body, R. F. Holt, A. F. Powell, J. Enoch
Bossom, Sir A. C. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Ramsden, J. E.
Boyle, Sir Edward Horobin, Sir Ian Redmayne, M.
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Remnant, Hon. P.
Bryan, P. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Roper, Sir Harold
Burden, F. F. A. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Russell, R. S.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Shepherd, William
Carr, Robert Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Cary, Sir Robert Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Channon, H. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Chichester-Clark, R. Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Storey, S.
Cordeaux, Lt. Col. J. K. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Studholme, H. G.
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Joseph, Sir Keith Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Kaberry, D. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Crouch, R. F. Keegan, D. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Kerby, Capt. H. B. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Cunningham, Knox Kershaw, J. A. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Currie, G. B. H. Kirk, P. M. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N,
Dance, J. C. G. Lagden, G. W. Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Deedes, W. F. Lambert, Hon. G. Vane, W. M. F.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Leavey, J. A. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Doughty, C. J. A. Leburn, W. G. Vosper, D. F.
du Cann, E. D. L. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Duncan, Capt. A. L. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Wall, Major Patrick
Duthie, W. S. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Farey-Jones, F. W. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Whitelaw, W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Freeth, D. K. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Garner-Evans, E. H. Markham, Major Sir Frank Woollam, John Victor
George, J. C. (Pollok) Marples, A. E. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Gibson-Watt, D. Mathew, R.
Godber, J. B. Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan Medlicott, Sir Frank Wing Commander Bullus and
Mr. Hirst.
Ainsley, J. W. Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Clunie, J.
Albu, A. H. Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)
Awbery, S. S. Brockway, A. F. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)
Bacon, Miss Alice Broughton, Dr. A. D, D. Cronin, J. D.
Bartley, P. Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Brown, Thomas (Ince) Davies, Harold (Leek)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Burke, W. A. Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)
Blyton, W. R. Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Deer, G.
Boardman, H. Callaghan, L. J. Delargy, H. J.
Dodds, N. N. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Lindgren, G. S. Skeffington, A. M.
Fernyhough, E. Logan, D. G. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Finch, H. J. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Forman, J. C. McGhee, H. G. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) McInnes, J. Sparks, J. A.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Mahon, Simon Steele, T.
Gibson, C. W. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Greenwood, Anthony Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Stones, W. (Consett)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mason, Roy Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Grey, C. F. Mellish, R. J. Sylvester, G. O.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mitchison, G. R. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Mort, D. L. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Hall, Rt. Hn. Clenvil (Colne Valley) Moyle, A. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Hannan, W. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Timmons, J.
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Oliver, G. H. Warbey, W. N.
Hastings, S. Oram, A. E. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Hayman, F. H. Oswald, T. West, D. G.
Herbison, Miss M. Paget, R. T. Wheeldon, W. E.
Hobson, C. R. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Houghton, Douglas Pargiter, G. A. Wilkins, W. A.
Hoy, J. H. Parker, J. Willey, Frederick
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Parkin, B. T. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Pearson, A. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Hunter, A. E. Peart, T. F. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Popplewell, E. Winterbottom, Richard
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Wool, R. E.
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Janner, B. Probert, A. R. Zilliacus, K.
Johnson, James (Rugby) Randall, H. E.
Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Rhodes, H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Mr. Charles Pannell and
Lawson, G. M. Ross, William Mr. Denis Howell.
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Short, E. W.

9.11 p.m.

Wing Commander Bullus

I beg to move, That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to leave out Clause 276. Briefly, Clause 276 would give the Corporation of Leeds power to sell any articles of school uniform to pupils at any school maintained by the Corporation … The expression "articles of school uniform" means: (for boys) blazers caps ties and badges; and (for girls) blazers badges gymnasium tunics pinafore frocks ties and headgear. The Clause is another example of a local authority seeking to extend its activities and, by trading from the town hall—in this case, from the Civic Hall of Leeds—to enter into unfair competition with traders. I know that there are differences of opinion on this subject—

Mr. G. A. Pargiter (Southall)

Why is it necessary for a Member for a Middlesex constituency to move this Motion rather than a Member from Leeds?

Wing Commander Bullus

If the hon. Member had been present in the earlier part of the debate, he would have heard much play made of the various Members who were speaking to the Bill. I claim rather more than a nodding acquaintance of the City of Leeds. I have attempted to represent the City of Leeds for ten years, and I know something of its work. Clause 276 introduces an unnecessary and undesirable element of municipal trading which is not possessed by any other local authorities for these articles.

Mr. Frederick Lee (Newton)

Is it in order for an hon. Member who failed to secure representation for a city to take it out of the inhabitants of that city by seeking a refusal of the powers for which they are asking?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. and gallant Member is perfectly in order in moving the Motion.

Wing Commander Bullus

May I correct the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee)? I represented the City of Leeds for ten years and was successful in every election I fought. On one occasion my opponents were so satisfied with my representation that I was returned unopposed.

Mr. Pargiter

Then why leave Leeds?

Wing Commander Bullus

I know that municipal trading has been practised for many years and that radio sets and furniture have been sold by municipalities, but that does not alter the principle, and it is not right that the City of Leeds should seek to extend further the powers of municipal trading.

Municipal trading is a new commercial morality that capitalises an enterprise out of the rates and then goes into competition with those who pay the rates. This is an injustice to the traders and to the ratepayers, and it is not outweighed by any possible benefit to the citizens.

Mr. Nabarro

Would my hon. and gallant Friend tell the House what is the attitude of the co-operative society?

Wing Commander Bullus

That is an invitation to a wider debate.

I was speaking of the injustice of the municipality's taking rates from the shopkeepers and then entering into competition with them. If the private trader suffers any losses he pays for them himself, or he goes bankrupt, but when the municipality has losses in trading they are made up from the rates to which those with whom the municipality entered into competition have to contribute large portions.

A trading borough—in this case, a county borough—often hides its losses by its methods of its accounts—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—by the method of the presentation of its accounts. Sales staff are treated as council officials, with their salaries charged to the common pool.

Mr. Nabarro

It is all a fiddle.

Wing Commander Bullus

I ask those who support municipal trading what system is used to show the cost for rates, for rent, for lighting and for heat. They are not shown separately. They are included in the ordinary accounts of the council, and, therefore, there is no comparison.

Indeed, from a local brief supplied, I understand, by the town clerk of Leeds, which has already been quoted by the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell), we can learn something of this. There is evidence here of a deliberate attempt to undercut Leeds traders. I quote from the town clerk's brief: It is a little difficult to be precise about actual prices but as a general principle tradesmen appear to add to the cost of goods to them 50 per centum to cover overheads, whilst the Corporation are of the opinion that a service could be given allowing only approximately 15 per centum for overheads. On such items as caps and badges the saving will, of course, be small except for the availability of badges, but on items such as blazers the saving could be considerable. He sets out some figures of retail prices and the costs to the retailer, and he adds: The advantages of sales with only 15 per cent. or even 20 per cent. to the above cost prices is readily seen. Wages, rates and rent are conveniently ignored.

Mr. Pargiter

On a point of order. Is not this a misleading account of the facts of the situation, and are not these unfair and unjustifiable comments on the accounts of a city corporation? Are they not wrong and thoroughly misleading?

Mr. Speaker

In so far as it is a dispute about the methods of accounting of the corporation, that is a matter of debate. It is not a matter of order at all.

Wing Commander Bullus

The Socialist leader of Leeds City Council has said, Sales will be subject to the fixing of charges sufficient to meet the expense of providing such articles. Does this really mean that wages, rents and heating and lighting will all be charged up and that the extra cost will be only from 15 to 20 per cent.?

Mr. Mellish

Does the hon. and gallant Member see anything immoral in the parents of school children—and I am one—getting these uniforms a little cheaper?

Wing Commander Bullus

I am expressing a personal opinion. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I know that there are other opinions on municipal trading, but I have always thought that it is immoral to take rates from shopkeepers and then have the municipality enter into unfair competition with them. It has been averred that the Leeds shopkeepers will not sell the badges separately. This is quite false. They will sell blazer badges separately, but when sold separately the badges are subject to Purchase Tax. The tax is waived if the badges are on the garments. There is talk about a monopoly of the sale of these blazers, but many of the schools choose their own shopkeeper and are tied to him for years. This practice has led to the confused idea in the minds of many Socialists that this is a monopoly, when it is not.

It has been estimated that in more than 200 schools administered by the Leeds authority about 5,000 garments would be required every year. It is estimated that the average cost of each garment would be £3. That means that in the event of the corporation setting up its own trading bureau the shopkeepers of Leeds would lose an average of £15,000 a year on this item. I maintain that this will be a great hardship to Leeds shopkeepers.

Mr. Mellish

What about the parents? Why does the hon. and gallant Member not say something about them?

Wing Commander Bullus

A few years ago it was estimated that in a representative borough in London the shopkeepers provided 25 per cent. of the rates. I suggest that as a result of the recent reassessments, shopkeepers will now pay nearly half the rates of the municipal authorities and in the great county borough of Leeds, which within a radius of 30 miles has a purchasing population of about 13 million, Leeds shopkeepers will be paying nearly half the rates. It is iniquitous that a local authority should take rates from the shopkeepers and then set up in competition with them. [Interruption.]

Hon. Members


Mr. Archer Baldwin (Leominster)

On a point of order. Are we not entitled to have this place as a debating Chamber instead of a rabble rousing arena?

Mr. Speaker

I think that there has been a little too much noise recently, but I hope that the hon. Member will leave it to me to intervene when I feel obliged to do so.

Mr. Pargiter

Further to that point of order. Must one listen in silence to all these malign statements about the corporation?

Mr. Speaker

All these are matters of debate, and it is the duty of hon. Members to listen to what is being said by other hon. Members and then, if they have the opportunity, to answer them.

Mr. C. Pannell

Further to that point or order, and with great respect, Mr. Speaker, does not the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Wembley, North (Wing Commander Bullus) impinge upon the rule about reading speeches?

Mr. Speaker

I did not observe that the hon. and gallant Member was reading his speech.

Wing Commander Bullus

Sir, I have been expressing my own opinion, which I believe is shared by most of my hon. Friends on this side of the House. From the many interruptions I realise that what I have said has not been popular with hon. Gentlemen opposite, but that does not deter me in a matter of principle.

I recognise that hon. Gentlemen opposite have their own opinions. I endeavour to respect them, and I always listen to their arguments. I rarely interrupt their speeches, and I do not think it is too much to ask that hon. Gentlemen opposite should listen to my arguments when I move on behalf of my hon. Friends and myself that it be an Instruction to the Committee to delete this Clause. I repeat that I think municipal trading is iniquitous, and I hope that the House will reject this Clause.

9.26 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Tiley (Bradford, West)

beg to second the Motion.

The citizens of Leeds can be well assured that their Bill is being debated with sincerity, passion and gusto. I feel that I ought to prove my native and local surroundings by making this speech in broad Yorkshire. I intervene in the debate only as a friendly neighbour of the great City of Leeds—

Mr. Hobson

Bradford used not to be.

Mr. Tiley

It is in these days. Leeds is near Bradford, and I have always thought that Leeds was a nice place to come from. Has the hon. Gentleman something to say?

Mr. Hobson

Bradford goes there to shop.

Mr. Speaker

Order, order. There is far too much interruption in this debate. I ask hon. Members to listen to the speeches that are made on each side of the House.

Mr. Tiley

As a Bradfordian, I envy many of the things possessed by Leeds. It has a famous university, it has a fine sports ground, it has a Customs and Excise office which we think should belong to Bradford. It also has our Lord Mayor's chain of office, which was removed from the Lord Mayor's car on one occasion when he was visiting Leeds. I can think of no reason why facilities for turning Leeds Corporation into a children's outfitters should be approved by this House.

There are eight shops in that great city which supply school uniforms and they are among the best shops there, performing an excellent service. There is no monopoly about it. The only regulations about the supply of uniforms are those prescribed by the schools themselves.

Furthermore, we are dealing with a commodity which it is not easy to handle. A short time ago we disposed of the question of ice, and now we are asked to extend the facilities for municipal trading into the difficult market of children's clothes. The very fact of different sizes will create difficulties. Special staff will be needed. There will be a need for storage premises. Neither we on this side of the House nor our opponents on the opposite side have yet found a way in which the public can be protected from losses in stock; and this is a commodity which is easily damaged.

There is another factor to consider. When one is buying textiles one must have an understanding of cloth and dyeing, and only specialists have it. More important than that, if one is to give the consumer the benefit of a reasonable market price, one must know when to buy the commodities.

Mr. Pargiter

In any case, Leeds City Council already has a central purchasing department which has experts dealing with the matter.

Mr. Tiley

I understand that in no part of the country does there exist an organisation attached to a municipal authority which understands the service which is necessary. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite may laugh, but it does not disturb me. This is a job which requires understanding and ability. One has to provide alteration hands, for example. Furthermore, one of the big difficulties in supplying goods of this type is that the trade is not an everyday one, but is purely seasonal. One finds that one needs a huge staff at one time of the year and then for the rest of the year it has nothing to do. With their greater turnover and their experience and cleverness, the shops have solved the problem.

I come now to the most important point. It is not a party point. It concerns the well-being of our nation. [Interruption.] I hope that when I have mentioned this point hon. Members opposite will treat the matter seriously and not regard the debate, to the discredit of the great City of Leeds, as a rabble-rouser.

Ever since I came into this House in June, we have been told about the shortage of people employed in production and of the technological students and teachers. The country urgently needs people to enter our new schools and colleges to further our scientific knowledge and enable us to produce more. Yet the House is considering a Measure which will mean more of the distributive class of employee. We are well served by our shopkeepers; in history we have been known as a nation of shopkeepers. Why should we, then, at this moment of all moments encourage our young people not to go into the technological institutions and colleges, not to train as scientists, not to train for dentistry, not to produce the cloth which the distributive people will sell, but rather to increase the numbers engaged in distribution? We are over-well served in the matter of distribution.

In view of that thought, and the need which has so many times been expressed on both sides of the House, I hope hon. Members opposite will realise that their vote may turn young people away from producing goods and towards distribution, a service already well established in this country and particularly in Leeds. I hope that the opponents of the Motion will not find it necessary to divide the House.

9.34 p.m.

Miss Bacon

The hon. and gallant Member for Wembley, North (Wing Commander Bullus) said that he was a member of Leeds City Council some years ago. He does not now represent the City of Leeds either in the House or on the Leeds City Council. Consequently, I was rather surprised to find that he had in his possession the brief supplied by the town clerk to hon. Members representing Leeds.

Mr. Nabarro

We have all got the document.

Miss Bacon

The hon. Member has already shown tonight that he does not know the first thing about Leeds if he did, he would not talk in that way.

We on this side of the House approve of school uniforms. I believe that it looks much better for all the boys and the girls in a school to be dressed in school uniform. The idea behind providing school uniforms has always been not only that the school children in their uniforms would look better, but that they would all look alike and there would be no distinction between children of richer or poorer parents. The idea was that there would be available a cheap kind of uniform which everybody could afford to buy. However, what was originally envisaged as a cheaper kind of clothing has become the most expensive type of clothing for children which we have in this country.

Some years ago children who went to our grammar schools were, in the main, children whose parents could afford the fees. The abolition of fees in maintained secondary schools has meant that a larger number of children of poorer parents are now attending our grammar schools. Further, in the secondary modern schools more children are now being asked to buy school uniforms.

We often hear it said by hon. Members opposite that we should have parity of esteem between secondary grammar schools and secondary modern schools; and there are many head teachers who are trying to bring that state of affairs about. One of the first things they do is to institute the wearing of school uniform in order that the children in the secondary modern schools should have a uniform in the same way as those in secondary grammar schools. But it does mean that many parents are being called upon to buy these uniforms.

Our main case on this Clause is this—and it applies not only to the City of Leeds as all hon. Members opposite who are parents will surely realise—that at present there is a monopoly in a few shops in each city which supply these school clothes. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the provision of school uniforms in many places has become quite a racket.

Mr. Farey-Jones (Watford)

is the hon. Lady not aware that the Co-operative societies do an enormous trade in school blazers?

Miss Bacon

I am coming to that in a moment or two, if the hon. Gentleman will contain himself. In Leeds, the secondary grammar schools are supplied by only four or five shops.

Mention has been made of the Cooperative societies. I would like to tell the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) that, unfortunately—we have to admit this—in Leeds the Co-op is run by the Conservative Party. The President of the Leeds Co-op is a Conservative Party agent.

Mr. Nabarro

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her correction. In those circumstances, would she not consider that it is an extraordinary reflection upon the right hon. Gentleman sitting in front of her, the Member who sits for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell), the Leader of the Opposition, that he cannot even put the Co-ops in Leeds in his pocket?

Miss Bacon

I wish to pursue the question that we are discussing.

I understand that the Leeds Co-op., which is run by the Tories in Leeds, tried some time ago to enter into this business. They tried to get badges so that they could sell uniforms for the secondary grammar schools, but they were told that they could not sell the badges because they were copyright. I do not know what was meant by that, but they could not enter this business because they could not get the badges. We say that that kind of ring, involving the school, the manufacturers and the traders, is wrong.

I know that in some shops in Leeds it is possible to buy badges, but in others it is not and there has been considerable difficulty in the past when parents have tried to buy cheaper kinds of blazers, or tried to make their own—in Leeds there are many parents who are tailors and able to make school uniforms—they have had difficulty in obtaining badges. It is recognised in many places that this kind of racket and monopoly ought to be stopped.

The Daily Mirror on 29th November, 1955, devoted the whole of its leader to this problem. It said: It's a great day for the whole family when the youngster gets his first school uniform. There is only one snag. The cost of rigging him out with the regulation togs. Often parents can buy the clothes only at one or two 'pricey' shops which have a monopoly in uniforms for a particular school It goes on: Now the National Chamber of Trade, representing 500,000 shopkeepers, reports that town councils may muscle in on this clothing business. It opposes a plan by Leeds Corporation to sell school uniforms to children. 'The proper place for parents to buy school uniforms is in the shops,' it says. It goes on: But if uniforms must be sold in shops, let the Chamber of Trade see that they are sold in all the shops and not just in selected ones. It ends by saying: Here is a trade practice which the National Chamber of Trade ought to condemn right away. The British Standards Institution month by month issues a consumer report and it is rather a coincidence that for March. 1956, the report deals with this topic.

This is not a political journal, and is not even a newspaper which sympathises with this side of the House. The British Standards Institution is lauded by the Front Bench opposite. It devotes the whole of its front page to this matter of school uniforms. In an article headed: School Uniforms—Information Wanted. it says: There has never been a time when mothers did not despair about the ravages that healthy children make on their clothing; but when these ravages occur to a compulsory school uniform, sometimes costing more than the family would otherwise have spent, women feel they have legitimate grouse. It goes on to say: Our correspondents complain that blazers do not stand up to reasonably hard wear; some mothers say that they have to be replaced almost every term because, as the nap wears off, greyish threads show through and the blazer looks shabby; and they would like to see elbows reinforced. One mother points out that she bought a blazer of quality similar to the regulation one for 30s. less than the school outfitter was charging and herself sewed on the school badge. Even this consumer report shows that parents are realising that a great deal is wrong.

I have here in my hand a price list of one of these suppliers in Leeds. It is a supplier for Allerton High School, and, significantly, it is headed: Allerton High School. Price List for Outfit Supplied by Rawcliffes Ltd.

Mr. Bidgood

May I tell the hon. Lady that the name of the school is pronounced as though it began with the letters "A1", and not as though it began with "O1"?

Miss Bacon

I refer to it as Allerton, that is to say, as though it began with an "O."

Underneath that heading appear the words: Official Outfitters To The School. Parents must, therefore, go to this shop to get school outfits. Now look at the cost—

Mr. Kaberry

To be official suppliers, presumably, they have been nominated by the headmaster or the headmistress of the school.

Hon. Members


Miss Bacon

Here are some figures. A pinafore dress of the smallest size costs 54s., and the larger size 76s. 6d. Blouses range from 18s. 6d. to 25s. 6d., and "gym" tunics from 45s. to 56s, Blazers, No. 1 quality, cost 46s. 6d. for the small size or 66s. for the largest size. while the No. 2 quality cost from 64s. 6d. to 85s.

I will not go on reading these figures out, but will only say that we have been doing some arithmetic. We find that to fit out a girl from this school at this shop—and the other shops are no cheaper—it would cost her parents from £25 to £30. [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."] This is not exceptional, and hon. Gentlemen opposite, or at least their wives, if they were honest, would be able to reinforce what I am saying, because this goes on all over the country. I have had letters from parents, and there have been many cases in Leeds and elsewhere of children having to refuse scholarships because their parents have not been able to afford to fit them out.

Some hon. Members opposite may say that the council has powers to provide free clothing, but these powers were stopped altogether for some time, and now the Ministry will only allow the council to provide the very minimum. Leeds City Council can provide for a boy a maximum of only 10s., and for a girl a maximum of £5.

What do we propose in this Clause'? The Leeds City Council proposes that it should supply from its central purchasing department certain items of clothing, and let me say here that the council's central purchasing department is already in existence. The council will not have to set up another department, because it is already there and engaged on important work, such as the provision of the physical training clothing which is supplied to some schools. Neither is there to be any loss year by year.

I think that the hon. Gentleman opposite was really being very unfair to a city like Leeds and its officials in suggesting that they would be hiding the losses. I am assured that all the overhead expenses would be taken into account. That assurance has been given, and if the hon. Gentleman has any evidence to the contrary he ought to produce it.

Wing Commander Bullus

I accept that from the hon. Lady about Leeds. I was speaking of municipal trading generally.

Miss Bacon

I am talking at the moment about the powers which the Leeds City Council is asking for; this is a Bill relating only to Leeds, and that is what we shall be voting on tonight.

I would emphasise that we are not proposing that the Leeds City Council should have a monopoly in supplying these clothes. We shall still have traders to supply the clothes. Tories opposite are supposed to believe in free competition, but, in this case, they want to have a monopoly. If the Leeds City Council fails in this project and cannot provide the clothing as cheaply as the traders, well, then, they will stop doing it, because in that case no parents would go to the central purchasing department. If, on the other hand, the Leeds City Council is successful and manages to provide these articles of clothing much cheaper, I am sure that parents in Leeds will feel very grateful to the council.

Mention has been made of a town meeting. It was held in December, and at that meeting 254 voted for this Clause and only 68 voted against it. Had there been a referendum on the subject, I believe that there would have been an overwhelming majority in favour. Not only parents in Leeds, but parents all over the country would be grateful for anything which could be done to cheapen this clothing and break the monopoly.

9.50 p.m.

Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)

I believe that certain important aspects regarding this proposal have not been put before the House. Hon. Members opposite may be right in believing that it would provide cheaper clothing for school children. But if they will look at the matter more closely, they will realise there is not much substance in that belief. The hon. Member for Leeds, South-East (Miss Bacon) and other hon. Members have said that the profit imposed by local shopkeepers amounts to 50 per cent. of the cost. They think that the local authority will be able to reduce prices to the consumers. I wish to call the attention of the House to the Clause which states: Provided that the Corporation shall make such charges for articles of school uniform sold by them under this section as will taking one year with another produce a revenue sufficient to meet the expenses of obtaining and supplying such articles It goes on to state, and this is very important: The expression'articles of school uniform' means…(for boys) blazers, caps, ties and badges; and … (for girls) blazers, badges, gymnasium tunics, pinafore frocks, ties and head gear. So the Corporation will be closely confined regarding the articles it may sell.

It is all very well for hon. Members opposite to say that already there is a central purchasing authority which has been purchasing gym slips. But this is a highly technical trade, and I can assure hon. Members that if school uniforms of the right quality and type are to be purchased, the buying must be done by some highly qualified person. There is here no mention of a selling staff. A highly qualified selling staff will be required. Good stocks and shops will also be required. Surely hon. Members will agree that in many cases it would be a considerable inconvenience and hardship for parents to have to go from one side of the city to the other.

There is no question of hon. Members opposite asking for a monopoly for the corporation. They ask that the corporation should compete with other shops. The question I wish to ask—it has not been posed by the corporation—is what is the total turnover of school uniforms per annum in Leeds? That is an important point to consider in deciding the size of the organisation and in assessing prices and profits. Let us assume—I think we may rightly do so—that the corporation would get only a proportion of the available trade. Incidentally, it seems rather odd, having lost to the Conservatives the votes of the "Co-op," that the Leeds Corporation should endeavour to usurp trade within the municipality, but that is an aside.

Anyone who is or has been engaged in the distributive trades knows that considerable costs are involved in such trading, and that where on-costing is restricted, in the case of a very closely proscribed commodity, the cost of the overheads in connection with that commodity will be much higher than they would be in the case of a general store dealing with a considerable variety of goods.

Mention has been made of the fact that certain stores carry certain school uniforms, and that those stores are recommended to parents by those schools. The schools recommend the stores because, ordinarily, dealing in such a proscribed set of articles is just not a trading proposition, and it would not be possible for a number of shops to deal with the same school uniform. They cannot carry a sufficient stock to give a sufficient range of sizes, nor can they provide the attention or the qualities which are necessary. I therefore suggest that hon. Members opposite should consider this matter very carefully, if they have the interests of the Leeds corporation at heart. The corporation has asked for the Clause without really appreciating the arguments which are involved in its application.

9.56 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Mr. Dennis Vosper)

Perhaps I may intervene now very briefly in order to give the views of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education on the educational aspect of the Clause. I do not intend to deal with the arguments which have been advanced by hon. Members against municipal trading, except to say that I give them my general support. I thought that the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham (Mr. Burden)—who has great knowledge of these matters, and who, I thought, was listened to with great interest by hon. Members opposite—put the case extremely well.

As the hon. Member for Leeds, South-East (Miss Bacon) has said, many schools, especially secondary schools, like their pupils to wear some distinctive uniform, and, in order that that should not impose hardship upon those pupils or their parents, local authorities are permitted, under Section 81 of the Education Act, 1944, to assist with the cost of a school uniform, upon an income basis. In accordance with the regulations made under that section local authorities can pay the whole or part of the cost.

I have noted the hon. Lady's point that the Leeds Corporation has been restricted under this scheme, and I will have that point looked into, but this Clause seeks to go much further, and to cover not only those children or parents who would otherwise suffer hardship, but all children in maintained and direct-grant schools. The hon. Lady will know as well as I do that Section 7 of the 1944 Act—which imposes upon authorities the duty of contributing to the spiritual, moral, mental, and physical development of the community by securing that efficient education … shall be available to meet the needs of the population of their area "— certainly does not cover, and was never intended to cover, participation in trade as envisaged by this Clause.

Miss Bacon

Will the Parliamentary Secretary make one point clear? I understand that the provision of school uniform upon a means test basis is governed by Circular No. 210, Addendum No. 1, and that this circular stated that the Minister would allow the expense of providing distinctive clothing for pupils, provided that, in the case of boys, it should be limited to the provision of a cap and badge and, in the case of girls, to the minimum extent considered essential. In the case of Leeds, the authority can provide only 10s. in respect of a cap and badge for a boy, and £5 for a girl—which is totally inadequate.

Mr. Vosper

In fact, the position is governed by Statutory Instrument No. 666, of 1st April, 1945, which is still current, which goes much wider, and covers all items of school uniform.

Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on -Trent, North)

But is it not true that the Ministry of Education has sent out this circular which limits local authorities?

Mr. Vosper

I said that I would have that particular aspect investigated, but I went on to say that this Clause goes far beyond children whose parents are suffering hardship and seeks to cover all children of maintained or direct grant schools.

Anyone who has first-hand knowledge of local authorities must be aware of the problems with which they are confronted at the moment to implement the 1944 Act, and it does not seem to me sense that they should dissipate their energies further by taking on extraneous jobs of this kind. As it is, complaint is often made that there are already too many ancillary services which impose a burden on those whose real task it is to advance the cause of education. I wonder whether this is the time to add to this burden.

Last year I had the good fortune to visit the city of Leeds, where I visited schools and where I was generously entertained by the education committee. On that occasion I was able to compliment the Leeds authority on the work it had done, but I do not think I should be abusing its hospitality if I added that I was fully aware of the immense problems it still has to tackle and in which it wished for my right hon. Friend's support.

I sincerely find it hard to believe that those directly concerned with education in the city wish to enlarge their sphere of activities. I did not hear on the occasion of my visit, and have not heard tonight, sufficient evidence to suggest that there are special local reasons why the city of Leeds should have this power. No other authority in England or Wales has it and, according to my information, no other authority has ever sought it.

My right hon. Friend is not convinced of the need for a general provision of this nature, nor, in his opinion, has a case been made out for exceptional treatment of Leeds. School uniforms for those who desire them are to be welcomed, and there are plenty of people skilled in their trade who are willing or able to supply them, particularly, I should have thought, in the city of Leeds. There is provision in the Act to prevent hardship for those who would otherwise suffer.

In these circumstances, my right hon. Friend shares the views of my hon. Friends about municipal trading and its effect on the educational system and advises the House to reject the Clause and support the Instruction.

10.8 p.m.

Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham)

The hon. Member for Gillingham (Mr. Burden) tried to persuade us that it would be impossible for the Leeds City Council to sell school uniforms at a price lower than that now prevailing in the city, and he developed at great length the difficulties which beset any council which undertakes a venture of this kind. Surely if the Leeds Council is unable to sell these goods at prices which compete with local traders, we have nothing to worry about in the operation of the Clause; the council will simply find that it does not pay it to use the power. It is interesting to notice that whereas the hon. Member for Gillingham was anxious to show that Leeds could not sell competitively with private traders, the hon. and gallant Member for Wembley, North (Wing Commander Bullus), who moved the Instruction, was obviously worried by the realisation that it would be able to do so.

It surely is inconceivable that in a city like Leeds the city council has not fully acquainted itself with the technicalities of the clothing trade. That is the answer to the hon. Member for Gillingham. If there is one city in the country which can say to the House, "We know what we are talking about when we ask for powers of this kind," it is the city of Leeds.

Dame Florence Horsbrugh (Manchester, Moss Side)


Mr. Stewart

Because, although the right hon. Lady is apparently unaware of it, Leeds is noted for the clothing trade; many people there understand it and the city councli can without difficulty acquire the necessary knowledge.

This is the answer to the Parliamentary Secretary when he suggested that we should not give the power to Leeds because nobody else has it. That is an objection to putting anything new in any Private Bill. One of the functions of Private Bill legislation is to allow a certain amount of experiment in the degree of powers which local authorities can exercise. That is part of the merits of our system of local government.

In Leeds there are two facts which urge us to realise that it can claim exceptional treatment. One is the fact which I have already mentioned, that Leeds City Council is probably in a bettor position than any other city council in the country to know how to handle this business competently.

Secondly, Leeds is suffering, with what I believe is exceptional severity, from the general problem of the high prices of school uniforms. When we get those two facts together, a city where school uniforms are at present exceptionally dear and a city council which would be in an exceptionally strong position to be able to develop an efficient service itself, surely that is a case in which we should grant the power, or at the very least say that this House will not, without further consideration, refuse the power altogether.

Let us remember what we are doing. We are not making a final decision on the matter now. If the Instruction is rejected, the matter can still be gone into in great detail and with evidence brought to the Committee when it is considering the Bill. I suggest that, in view of the arguments in favour of Leeds having this power, it is not reasonable for us immediately to shut the door and to say that we will not allow the Committee even to hear evidence on and consider this point.

The points which have been raised by hon. Members opposite no doubt on a suitable occasion could be supported by evidence, just as my hon. Friends on this side of the House could support their views. Let us give them both the chance and not shut the door on them by leaving out—on the ground of doctrinaire principles without any regard for the special needs of this city—a reasonable request from the city council to wield these powers

I have always had a special interest in school uniforms because when I was eleven years of age I had the good fortune to win a scholarship to a school which provided the whole uniform free as part of the scholarship. I remember very well the anxieties of parents of some of my contemporaries who had not been similarly lucky. Since that date the problem has become more and more acute. We all heard the price list read by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South-East (Miss Bacon). It could not possibly be maintained that the city council could not give its citizens a better bargain than was provided by those fantastic figures.

The hon. and gallant Member for Wembley, North who moved this Instruction, tried to argue that if this power were given and exercised it would injure the ratepayers of Leeds, but the few firms which at present supply this clothing at shocking prices are not the whole body of Leeds ratepayers. There are citizens of Leeds who buy school uniforms, parents of the children. If it is a question of weighing up good and evil among the citizens of Leeds, surely that is a matter on which we could trust the good sense of the City of Leeds.

Wing Commander Bullus

Who would pay the losses if the Corporation could not make a success of this venture?

Mr. Stewart

I do not think the hon. and gallant Member paid sufficient attention to the very interesting speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham, who pointed out that there could not be any loss. I would advise the hon. and gallant Member to study that speech. There is no substance in the point made by the hon. and gallant Member, as has been pointed out from his side of the House.

I am sorry that the Parliamentary Secretary, whose concern for education we all know, chose to speak tonight rather as a partisan than as an education officer. I do not think any of us dispute the importance of school uniforms, or the fact that the cost of keeping children at school has been steadily rising which is of very great interest to parents. We all want parents to keep their children at school as long as possible. In a debate a little while ago, I pointed out the growing cost of all the things that education authorities have to buy and the general problem of the rising cost of education. Here we have an opportunity in a particular city to afford some alleviation of that cost. It is not sufficient for the hon. and gallant Member to say that, in cases of hardship, help can be given. That help would be given from public money, and we do not want public money to be used to pay unnecessarily high prices. Whether a parent is sufficiently well off to be able to pay or is a poorer parent who needs help, it remains a waste and an abuse that money should be spent on these high prices.

My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) tells me that some of the members of the Leeds City Council are being obliged gravely to consider whether, if something cannot be done about this abuse of high prices for school uniforms, they will not have to reach the unhappy conclusion that they must no longer promote the wearing of school uniforms. Before we vote tonight, we should remember that none of the hon. Members who oppose the Clause has suggested any remedy for this abuse of high prices in Leeds. In the absence of a remedy, we face the risk that if we do not give this power to the Leeds Council we may—I put it no higher—be bringing to an end the wearing of school uniforms in Leeds schools. I cannot believe that any hon. Member who is really concerned for the education of the children would want to do that. I ask hon. Members, therefore, very carefully to consider before they vote against the Clause.

10.12 p.m.

Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)

I was disturbed when I heard my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) bring forward what I believe is a legitimate argument to our discussion tonight. I would be very sorry if school uniforms were put beyond the reach of children in schools, for uniform helps to create the right atmosphere in a school and to maintain the loyalty to the school when a youngster is wearing it. [An HON. MEMBER: "It helps tradition."] It helps tradition. The uniform, the old school tie—[Interruption.] I am not accusing any hon. Member opposite of having his old school tie from the city council. What I am suggesting is that the old school tie is as important to our secondary schools as to our public schools; it means as much. It expresses loyalties to institutions to which we have all belonged, and it is nothing to be decried.

The 1944 Education Act made clear the will of this House and, I believe, of the nation that all money tests should be removed from secondary education. School uniform, with its present high cost, through monopoly privilege being granted, is an affront to the principle of the 1944 Act.

Four categories of people are affected by the proposition that we are considering. There are the teachers, who have a lively interest in the question of school uniforms. It was suggested by an hon. Member opposite that extra and extraneous duties would be added to those suffered by the teachers of Leeds if the Instruction were not agreed to. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South-East (Miss Bacon) has informed me that Leeds City Council has made perfectly clear that no additional duty will be placed upon the teachers of that city if this Instruction be withdrawn or defeated, and that no teacher in Leeds need feel anxious that he will have more work to do because of the local authority's supplying the uniforms.

Then there are the parents, ratepayers and shopkeepers. I think all of us are concerned that the shopkeepers shall have a fair deal in the community. Shopkeepers have an honourable part in the life of these islands. We on this side of the House are not hostile to shopkeepers, but we have a right to say that the interests of the greater number must have priority over the interests of the smaller number. When the question is merely that of the right of the shopkeepers to sell goods at a higher price because they are faced with the competition of the local authorities, then it is the public interest which must have priority. After all, the majority interest in this case quite clearly lies with the parents of the city of Leeds.

I hope that the educational interests involved will not be misled by the Parliamentary Secretary's brief statement on behalf of the Ministry tonight. He knows that anything that can help to increase the provision of uniforms for schools which have school badges, school ties and school caps is welcome. If a school has a uniform it is an additional advantage to the school if the majority of the girls wear the school dress and the majority of the boys wear the school blazer and tie. We ought to remember the embarrassment of the kiddy who cannot get the uniform when the others who are better off are able to get it. If anything is likely to create an inferiority complex it is that he has to go without. The Parliamentary Secretary has said that the local authorities have the duty to provide these uniforms.

Mr. C. Pannell

After the Parliamentary Secretary spoke I consulted an authority as prominent as he is on the matter, and I am informed that he rather misled the House. He was right when he said that the matter was governed by regulations, but the Minister by a general circular has limited the amount that should be spent. That is the position. The Parliamentary Secretary failed to draw a distinction between this and the provision of necessitous clothing, which is an obligation. He was less than frank with the House.

Mr. Vosper


Mr. Thomas

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will answer when I have finished my speech. I shall not be long.

Undoubtedly there are people who are outside the scale of the local authority provision of free blazers and ties. They are those thriving, thrifty families who are making sacrifices for their children and who would be hit by denial of the right to the local authority to go ahead with this scheme. The House would be mean if it put the interests of the shopkeepers before the interests of the children and the schools on this issue.

10.20 p.m.

Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on-Trent, North)

I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) retrieved himself in the last few sentences of his speech. I am very fond of him, but I was going to disagree with the basis of his argument in favour of school uniforms. I do not agree that school uniforms should be worn merely to create a tradition in the school. A good head teacher and staff, with the co-operation of the parents, can create tradition in a school even without a school tie, but I agree that school uniform is a good thing.

Unlike my hon. Friend, I was unfortunate in that when I won a scholarship to a grammar school the wearing of the full uniform was not compulsory. Whilst I wore the school gym tunic, I did not have to wear the school blazer or coat. Therefore, everybody in those days could almost in every case pick out the scholarship child as distinct from the child who came from a wealthy home. The provision of school uniform means that every child goes to school in exactly similar clothes and nobody can pick out the child of wealthy parents as against a child from a working-class home.

It is ironical that hon. Members opposite object to bulk purchasing or selling by a local authority, yet the Government do just that for the Forces, even though they have apparently made several mistakes lately, either by selling stuff which they ought not to have bought or selling stuff which they ought not to have sold. Let hon. Members opposite apply the argument applied to the Forces to children from working-class homes.

We have to bear in mind the heavy burden which expensive school clothes represent nowadays. The Government have made the burden much heavier during the last year, because the last Budget led to an increase in the price of children's clothes for those parents who have to buy them. What has been happening in many parts of the country is that the head teachers of some of these grammar schools nominate a particular shop—not shops—and do their best to compel the children who go to their schools to buy their clothes only from that shop.

The very people opposite who object to a monopoly and object to this Clause, because they think that it will create a monopoly, are the very people who have condoned monopolies during the greater part of last year. In addition, in some cities there has been a great deal of objection from heads of schools when local authorities have tried to show that more than one shop should be able to sell school uniforms. My local authority has stated through the governors of the schools concerned that Co-operative societies and other traders can sell school uniforms, and in that way parents can choose which shops they will patronise.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite take every opportunity to taunt us about the Cooperative societies' share in these matters. They say that because parents who buy clothes for their children from Co-operative societies have had a dividend on them, they are able to buy school uniforms at a lesser price than that at which private enterprise can sell them.

I am surprised that the Bill does not specify that school uniforms shall be bought only from the local authority. It will be possible in Leeds, therefore, for even a Tory-controlled Co-operative society to sell school uniforms if it so wishes. It is important that we should make it clear that the local authority is not trying to exclude either the private traders, whom hon. Gentlemen opposite are concerned to protect, or the Cooperative societies which, frankly, I wish to protect in this instance.

Concern was expressed by one hon. Gentleman opposite that an expert would be needed to decide whether the quality of the school uniform was sufficiently good. I suggest that a head teacher or a governess can make that decision, and parents are fairly good judges of whether they are receiving good quality for the amount charged.

I hope that we shall agree to this Clause because, if we do, we shall be

helping parents who are hard pressed by the expense of sending their children to grammar schools or to modern secondary schools where a school uniform is worn. What Leeds Corporation seeks to do in this Clause will mean that parents will no longer be held up at the pistol point by the existing monopolies. Parents will know that they can buy school uniforms for their children without excessive profits being made at their expense. I hope, therefore, that we shall support the Leeds Corporation in this way.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 150, Noes 124.

Division No. 127.] AYES [10.29 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Nicholls, Harmar
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Green, A. Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
Alport, C. J. M. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Nugent, G. R. H.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Oakshott, H. D.
Armstrong, C. W. Gurden, Harold O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Ashton, H. Harris, Reader (Heston) Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Banks, Col. C. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Page, R. G.
Barber, Anthony Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Panned, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Barlow, Sir John Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Partridge, E.
Barter, John Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Peyton, J. W. W.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Pitman, I. J.
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Pitt, Miss E. M.
Bidgood, J. C. Holland-Martin, c. J. Pott, H. P.
Bishop, F. P. Hornmsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Powell, J. Enoch
Body, R. F. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Price, David (Eastleigh)
Bossom, Sir A. C. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Ramsden, J. E.
Boyle, Sir Edward Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Redmayne, M.
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Hurd, A. R. Remnant, Hon. P.
Bryan, P. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Burden, F. F. A. Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Carr, Robert Iremonger, T. L. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Cary, Sir Robert Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Chichester-Clark, R. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Clarke Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Joseph, Sir Keith Storey, S.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Kaberry, D. Studholme, H. G.
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Keegan, D. Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Crouch, R. F. Kerby, Capt. H. B. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Cunningham, Knox Kershaw, J. A. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Currie, G. B. H. Kirk, P. M. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Dance, J. C. G. Lagden, G. W. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Deedes, W. F. Lambert, Hon. G. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Leavey, J. A. Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.
Doughty, C. J. A. Leburn, W. G. Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
du Cann, E. D. L. Touche, Sir Gordon
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Vane, W. M. F.
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Vosper, D. F.
Duthie, W. S. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Wall, Major Patrick
Farey-Jones, F. W. McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Fisher, Nigel Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Whitelaw, W. S. I. (Penrith & Border)
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Markham, Major Sir Frank Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Freeth, D. K. Marples, A. E. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Mathew, R. Woollam, John Victor
Garner-Evans, E. H. Mawby, R. L. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
George, J. C. (Pollok) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.
Gibson-Watt, D. Medlicott, Sir Frank TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Godber, J. B. Molson, A. H. E. Wing Commander Bullus and
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Nairn, D. L. S. Mr. Hirst.
Ainsley, J. W. Holman, P. Peart, T. F.
Albu, A. H. Houghton, Douglas Popplewell, E.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Awbery, S. S. Howell, Denis (All Saints) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Bartley, P. Hoy, J. H. Probert, A. R.
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Randall, H. E.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Rhodes, H.
Blyton, W. R. Hunter, A. E. Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Ross, William
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Janner, B. Short, E. W.
Brockway, A. F. Jeger, George (Goole) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Broughton, Or. A. D. D. Johnson, James (Rugby) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Skeffington, A. M.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Burke, W. A. Kenyon, C. Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Lawson, G. M, Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Callaghan, L. J. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Steele, T.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Stones, W. (Consett)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Lindgren, G. S. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Logan, D. G. Sylvester, G. O.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Mabon, Dr. J. D. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Deer, G. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Delargy, H. J. McGhee, H. G. Thornton, E.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mclnnes, J. Timmons. J.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Mahon, S. Usborne, H. C.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Fernyhough, E. Mann, Mrs. Jean West, D. G.
Finch, H. J. Mason, Roy Wheeldon, W. E.
Forman, J. C. Mellish, R. J. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mitchison, G. R. Wilkins, W. A.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Monslow, W. Willey, Frederick
Greenwood, Anthony Moyle, A. Willie, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Winterbottom, Richard
Grey C. F. Oliver, G. H. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Oram, A. E. Woof, R. E.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Oswald, T. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Hannan, W. Paget, R. T. Zilliacus, K.
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Hayman, F. H. Pargiter, G. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Herbison, Miss M. Parker, J. Miss Alice Bacon and
Hobson, C. R. Parkin, B. T. Mr. Charles Pannell.

10.38 p.m.

Colonel Malcolm Stoddart-Scott (Ripon)

I beg to move, That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to leave out Clause 153. This is a most extraordinary Clause. It takes powers which have never previously been included in any legislation. It provides that no calf less than seven days old shall be taken into any slaughterhouse in the City of Leeds to be slaughtered. There seems to be no clear reason or purpose for this power. The farmers do not understand it, the butchers do not understand it, the veterinary surgeons whom I have consulted see no reason for it, nor do the doctors, and the R.S.P.C.A. does not support it.

If calves have to be kept for seven days before they can be slaughtered in the City of Leeds, there will be a great burden on local farmers—and here I must declare my interest. if the calves slaughtered in the City of Leeds last year had been kept until they were seven days old, no less than 12,000 gallons of milk for human consumption would have gone to them.

This Clause is quite unenforceable, because no one can accurately decide the age of a calf until it is three or four weeks old. The provisions of the Clause would cause great cruelty. Farmers would have to keep calves in unsuitable surroundings until they were seven days old, and it would not be possible to slaughter calves injured at birth.

I am told by veterinary surgeons that there is no disadvantage about meat that is two or three days old compared with meat that is seven days old. They were of opinion that the two or three-day old meat was better. I see no reason why the Leeds Corporation should seek to include this Clause in the Bill. It is said that if we are to have a sound economy, we must have a good relationship between the people living in the cities and those in the countryside. This Clause gives no advantage to the City of Leeds and at the same time angers every farmer in the surrounding countryside.

10.41 p.m.

Mr. Paul Bryan (Howden)

I beg to second the Motion.

This is a very simple issue, and most of the arguments have been advanced by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Colonel Stoddart-Scott). This Clause would appear to be unsuitable for inclusion in a Private Bill. If it is a bad thing that a calf should die in Leeds within the first week of its life, it is equally bad that it should die during that time in any other part of the country. As this is a Bill for Leeds, the effects of the Bill should be felt only in Leeds, but the effect of the provisions contained in this Clause would be felt by farmers for thirty miles round Leeds.

I have no information about the arguments which may be advanced in favour of the retention of this Clause. But if it is introduced on account of cruelty, I support what my hon. and gallant Friend has argued in that connection. If a farmer cannot get rid of a calf within the first seven days of its life, he will send it to market, which in my opinion is a less humane way of dealing with the animal. The only other argument would seem to be whether or not a younger calf is better food for human consumption. Section 9 of the Food and Drugs Act provides the necessary powers—

Mr. Charles Howell (Birmingham, Perry Barr)

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that there have been a number of prosecutions for cruelty in the Leeds area?

Mr. Bryan

That may or may not be the case, but I have been to many markets in Yorkshire and elsewhere and have seen calves at least a week old in those markets, and they appeared to me to be having a miserable time. Were this Clause accepted, I believe that there would be a greater number of calves less than a week old in the markets of Yorkshire, and that would be a bad thing. The Clause is impracticable and would cause a great deal of waste and cruelty.

10.44 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Gaitskell (Leeds, South)

I wish to begin by explaining the existing situation in Leeds which has given rise to this Clause. At the height of the season between 1,200 and 1,500 calves arrive each week at the Leeds Corporation abattoir. It is not always possible for them to be slaughtered immediately on arrival. If they arrive in the late afternoon, as is frequently the case, they have to wait until the following morning before being slaughtered. During that time they are kept in a lairage adjoining the abattoir. Once they are at the market the responsibility is in the hands of the wholesale butchers.

I would readily admit that the purchasers, the butchers, do employ people who do their best to look after these animals, but it is a fact, I am assured, that it is an almost daily occurrence to find these calves dead and dying in their lairages. Calves from a few hours to one or two days old have also arrived at the abattoir in a thoroughly distressed condition, and in those circumstances they are extremely difficult to feed and water. They are in any case difficult to feed at that age, and this difficulty is increased if they are in a pretty bad state.

These figures may impress the House. During the last quarter of 1954—and I am speaking of this Leeds abattoir only—43 calves were found to be dead or dying either upon arrival at the abattoir or in the lairages. That is a shocking state of affairs, in my opinion, and I think that if we can do anything to improve the situation we ought to do it.

The period during which the calves sometimes wait to be slaughtered is as long as eighteen hours, and that after they have made journeys as far away as Carlisle. This is, of course, not a problem which is wholly confined to Leeds. Indeed, I understand that there has been very much concern in the minds of the R.S.P.C.A. about the whole traffic in calves which takes place, and the newspaper to which reference was made a short time ago had a very vivid and horrifying story about the situation in the country generally. But we are here concerned with the Leeds Corporation Bill.

The hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Colonel Stoddard-Scott) suggested that it does not make any difference if they are going to be killed anyhow, and that they might as well be killed when they are only twenty-four hours old as when they are a week old. But what the Leeds Corporation is concerned with is that when these calves are very young. or newly born, they cannot survive these journeys properly and that they cannot be slaughtered immediately. Therefore, we have this very horrifying position. It is their argument—which seems to me to be perfectly sound—that if these calves were sent to market when at least a week old, they would be in a far better position to stand up to the journey and we would not have this horrifying picture which I have just described. That is undoubtedly the main reason for the Clause.

We have had a number of debates this evening, and in the main the speeches have followed party lines. I make no complaint about that. There are differences between the parties on these other issues. But I would ask hon. Members not to treat this question of cruelty to animals as a party issue. I hope that we shall give proper attention to the arguments for and against and make up our minds as we think fit.

There is a second reason for the Clause, and that is that the Leeds Corporation is advised—and I will give the reasons in a moment—that the meat of a day old calf is neither nutritionally nor hygienically as good as that of a calf at least seven days old. I could quote a number of ways in which the meat is said to be very unsatisfactory. There is a high water content, lack of fat content, and so on. I think I am right in saying that the retail butchers are not themselves particularly enthusiastic about handling the meat of these young calves. I think they prefer the somewhat older calves.

Colonel Stoddart-Scott

indicated dissent.

Mr. Gaitskell

That is my opinion. The hon. and gallant Gentleman shakes his head. He has quoted from a veterinary expert. We have our veterinary experts as well, and ours say that the meat of a seven days old calf is more mature, wholesome and less liable to post mortem infection than that of a twenty-four hours old calf. I am told that that view is also supported by the retail butchers. I do not think there is any doubt that a calf is better able physically to face the journey and fend for itself when it is seven days old than when it is twenty-four hours old.

It is quite true that, so far as I know, this is something of a precedent in this country, but I should like to point out that there has been, and is, legislation in other countries to prohibit the marketing of calves below a certain age. In Germany, for instance, there was legisla tion to prohibit the marketing of calves less than three weeks old. Various of the States in the United States have regulations prohibiting the slaughter of calves, or the sale of meat of calves slaughtered before they are three, four, six—even eight weeks old. In Australia, in the State of Victoria, there is a law under which no person may sell for human consumption a veal carcase less than 14 days old. We are not, therefore, starting an entirely new precedent here.

Finally, I am told that during the period when the Ministry—and perhaps the Joint Parliamentary Secretary will be able to say something about this—was the sole purchaser of meat in this country it made no formal agreements on the subject of young calves but did discourage their marketing under seven days old by making it known to the farmers and the farmers' unions that the Ministry officials were instructed not to buy calves if they were less than a week old. If, despite that, the very young calves were sent to market they were slaughtered at once, but a very poor price was given deliberately to discourage the farmers from sending them to market in that condition.

I repeat, this is not a party issue but simply a matter of whether this practice is or is not oruel. I venture to suggest that there can be very little need for sending these 24-hours old calves in the conditions in which they are sent to market; that it does impose unnecessary suffering, and that we in this House ought to do anything we can to stop it. There is, in addition, the further argument that the meat is not nearly so wholesome and satisfactory at this very young age.

I realise, and must at once concede that, of course, this proposal would involve the farmers in feeding the calves for another week. No doubt that is an argument, but I am told that so far as this Bill is concerned the loss of milk for human consumption would be only 12,000 gallons a year—[An HON. MEMBER: "£2,000."] It is a negligible amount, and I think one need not take that as a serious argument, though it is a reason for expecting some farmers to oppose this proposal. But I venture to suggest that the balance lies heavily against cruelty, and it is on this ground that I ask the House to pass the Instruction.

10.53 p.m.

Mr. Grant-Ferris (Nantwich)

I intervene only to say that I am sure nobody wishes to make such a subject as this a party matter. If the right hon. Gentleman's figures are exact—and I have no reason to suppose that they are not—they show a very serious state of affairs, at any rate in Leeds. I suggest to my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary that the matter should be looked into on a nation-wide scale, because I do not think it is really the subject for a Private Bill.

Speaking as a farmer who has to get rid of bull calves very quickly, and representing as I do a large number of dairy farmers, I must say that to keep these calves for the extra time would put an additional strain on small farming households, but I think that even they would agree to it if they felt that it was really the humane thing to do. As I say, it is something which should be looked into on a nation-wide scale, and if my hon. Friend can give an undertaking that that will be done, I hope that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite will not object to our asking them to withdraw the Instruction.

10.55 p.m.

Mr. Clifford Kenyon (Chorley)

Where cruelty begins and where it ends is a very difficult question to decide. If a calf is kept for a week on a farm the farmer will give it the least possible amount of milk just to keep it alive, and that in itself is cruelty. In almost every auction in the country a situation such as has been described by my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) obtains. There is widespread cruelty to young calves in almost every auction. I have seen young calves brought into the auction before they were dry. I blame the R.S.P.C.A. I think that inspectors at these auctions could take action in innumerable cases if they would and put a stop to this practice, but they do not do so. Someone will have to take action, and I am very glad that one corporation is coming forward to try to put a stop to it. I hope the House will support this Clause.

I was surprised to hear that calves are brought to Leeds from Carlisle. I do not know why that is so; there are any amount of slaughterhouses between Carlisle and Leeds. Anyone who has seen a load of calves in a cattle wagon knows that it is appalling. When they are carried long distances that is another form of cruelty. Always more than one is dead and others are dying after a long journey.

I do not know just where we should draw the line. If the calves had to be seven days old before they were killed they would be starved for a week. Something should be done to put them out of their misery at the beginning. If this Clause is passed a large number of farmers will kill a calf rather than keep it.

Captain J. A. L. Duncan (South Angus)

They will send them to the market instead of straight to the slaughterhouse.

Mr. Kenyon

They will not be able to sell them in the market because the dealers will not keep them for a week. In the first place, they would not have the milk for them and, in the second place they would not get as much money for them at the end of seven days, because of the way in which they had treated them, as the amount they gave for the calf. The whole question bristles with difficulty, but I hope that hon. Members will support the Clause and make a start on a job which should quite definitely be a national question.

To feed a calf properly for a week takes six quarts to two gallons of milk a day. Reckoning that at 3s. a gallon, it is about 42s.

Sir John Barlow (Middleton and Prestwich)

A gallon.

Mr. Kenyon

The hon. Baronet must have very small calves. A calf will drink up to two gallons of milk a day. I know they do not get it, but if the farmer feeds them properly it means that it will cost him 42s. a week. When he takes the calf to auction he will get about 45s. for it. It just is not worth while. He would prefer to kill the calf on the spot as soon as it is born and sell the milk to the dairy.

10.59 p.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Harmar Nicholls)

The right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) expressed the feelings of many people in this country on questions of this sort, and the observations made by hon. Friends show that these feelings are not confined to one side of the House. I need hardly say that the Government yield to no one in their wish to stamp out practices which have been described to us tonight. We are as horrified as anyone at the allegations that dead and dying calves are to be found either in wagons or lairages. I will certainly have the position in Leeds investigated to ascertain whether, for any reason, it is out of proportion to that in other parts of the country.

If the Clause answered the problem, we should be supporting it. We want to arrive at the same end as does the right hon. Member for Leeds, South, but we do not think that the Clause is likely to help us to do that, and for that reason we shall support the Instruction. There are three reasons why we think that the Clause will not do. In the first place, it is unnecessary in view of the fact that legislation already exists to deal with the problem. I do not mean that the Clause is unnecessary in the sense that no bad practice has been proved. It would be foolish to argue that in the light of the prosecutions from time to time. We think the Clause unnecessary because there is already a great amount of legislation which, if made use of, would deal with the problem effectively. The Clause would tend to take away from concentration upon the weapons we have already to our hands.

The Protection of Animals Act, 1911, makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal, whether in transit or in a lairage. It is enforced by the police, who work in close liaison with the R.S.P.C.A. The Act is far from being a dead letter because, as recently as 1954, the House increased its penalties from £25 to £50. The Act is quite effective and, with the help of the Society, the police, ordinary people and local authorities like that of Leeds, who, quite properly, feel very strongly on the subject, we should be able to make use of existing legislation in tackling this problem. I am not suggesting that anybody has been lax, but there is plenty of scope for more concentration on this Act.

There are also the Transit of Animals Orders, made under the Diseases of Animals Act, 1950. They stipulate conditions under which cattle, including calves, must be transported. They lay down very clearly the precautions which must be taken to avoid unnecessary suffering. They include instructions that there must be adequate ventilation in the conveyance and that overcrowding must be avoided, and they strictly prohibit the carriage of unfit animals. Again, there is no need to add to that legislation in the form suggested tonight, if we are vigilant in using existing legislation.

The third piece of legislation is the Slaughter of Animals Act, 1933, which was amended in 1954. It provides all the powers needed to prevent unnecessary suffering. If that legislation is used, this Clause in a Private Bill is unnecessary at this stage. One could go further. To achieve the objects which the right hon. Member for Leeds, South put to the House in moving terms, the Clause is undesirable, in the sense that it could well cause even more suffering. It could well add to the very matter of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke so convincingly.

If we had the Clause in a Bill in respect of Leeds only, with the result that a farmer might be reluctant, for economic reasons, to send his calves to the city, the animals might be sent away over an even longer distance. It would mean that they would be in the unsatisfactory transportation for longer periods than they are now. So, looking at it from that point of view, with the best intentions in the world—and the House knows that the best possible intention is behind this Clause—to agree to the Clause may be adding to the suffering to which we have referred.

The Clause to a large extent would be ineffective, because it is hard to judge the age of these calves. That is admitted all along the line. One cannot say with certainty whether a calf is up to the six, seven, or eight days. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the fact that when the Ministry of Food ordered the purchasing it sent out an instruction that it did not want calves of this age going to the markets instead of to the slaughterhouses. With the best will in the world, it was found difficult to give effect to the instruction because of the problem of deciding age. If we agreed to this seven days' term, the law could be brought into contempt, and it would not be as effective as I know the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends wish it to be.

The Government are always prepared to consider new measures to protect animals, but it thinks that the greatest need at this stage is not for more legislation, but to make effective the existing legislation. If we can approach this humane and moving problem in that spirit we would be achieving the objective we all have in mind. It is because the Government feel that this Clause in this Private Bill is not necessary that they advise the House to support the Instruction to omit it.

11.8 p.m.

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

The question we have to consider is not whether this Clause goes through but whether the matter should be decided now in the House, or whether it ought to go upstairs to be decided by a Committee which will be able to hear local and general evidence about it. All the other matters which have come forward in connection with this Bill were matters which the House could feel had some sort of party content. That cannot be felt about this Clause. It was obviously put in by the Leeds Corporation because it felt that it was right and effective in the interest of humanity. I have listened to the Parliamentary Secretary's description of the legislation with interest; but the fact remains that these young calves, in considerable numbers, have died in the circumstances which my right hon. Friend described. I appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite to tame their party feelings for a moment.

Mr. Grant-Ferris

I am sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman does not mean to infer that we have party feelings on this. I said that we have no feelings of that kind. I hope he will withdraw that remark.

Mr. Mitchison

I said that I was sure that I could say that there was no party point in this. Perhaps I did not choose my words well, but all the Divisions so far appear to have been on strictly party lines, and to have involved matters which hon. Members, rightly or wrongly, thought were party questions. I said, and I repeat, that there is no party question which I can see here. Therefore, I beg hon. Members—if "tame" is the wrong word, perhaps they will find another—not to approach this matter in a party spirit, but simply to consider the one question of whether we are more likely to come to the right decision here on a matter which obviously involves among other things, a conflict of veterinary opinion, or whether a Committee upstairs looking at the matter judicially and with the very great benefit of evidence, is more likely to do the right thing.

I appeal to hon. Members opposite not to press this matter to a Division and to let the Clause go upstairs. I shall not appeal to them about animal cruelty, because I think that is quite unnecessary. I do not believe that anybody in the House would set the comparatively small loss to the farmer against a bit of unconscious brutality—I am sure we would not do that. Surely, if ever there was a case, not for letting the Clause go through—I do not ask for that—but simply to let it go upstairs and be considered on the evidence, local and general, this is it.

11.11 p.m.

Mr. F. H. Hayman (Falmouth and Camborne)

I ask the House to do what my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) has just asked and let the Clause be examined in Committee. We are all appalled at the evidence of cruelty which we have heard tonight. I think the Parliamentary Secretary himself would agree that his brief contained no evidence whatever of prosecutions which have taken place under all the legislation to which he referred.

Surely, a Private Bill is just the kind of Measure in which we can carry out something which is an experiment. It may be wrong, but if it is considered by the Committee very carefully and the Committee passes it, I am quite sure it can do no harm whatever.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 127; Noes 91.

Division No. 128.] AYES [11.12 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
Alport, C. J. M. Green, A. Nugent, G. R. H.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Oakshott, H. D.
Armstrong, C. W. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Ashton, H. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Banks, Col. C. Gurden, Harold Page, R. G.
Barber, Anthony Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Panned, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Barlow, Sir John Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Partridge, E.
Barter, John Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Peyton, J. W. W.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Pitman, I. J.
Bidgood, J. C. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Pitt, Miss E. M.
Bishop, F. P. Holland-Martin, C. J. Pott, H. P.
Bossom, Sir A. C. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Powell, J. Enoch
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Ramsden, J. E.
Bryan, P. Hurd, A. R. Redmayne, M.
Burden, F. F. A. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Remnant, Hon. P.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Carr, Robert Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Cary, Sir Robert Iremonger, T. L. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Chichester-Clark, R. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Cooper-Key, E. M. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Studholme, H. G.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Joseph, Sir Keith Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Kaberry, D. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Crouch, R. F. Kerby, Capt. H. B. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Cunningham, Knox Kershaw, J. A. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Currie, C. B. H. Kirk, P. M. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Dance, J. C. G. Lagden, G. W. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R.(Croydon, S.)
Deedes, W. F. Lambert, Hon. G. Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Leavey, J. A. Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Doughty, C. J. A. Leburn, W. G. Touche, Sir Gordon
du Cann, E. D. L. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Vane, W. M. F.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Vosper, D. F.
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Duthie, W. S. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Wall, Major Patrick
Farey-Jones, F. W. McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Fisher, Nigel Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Whitelaw, W. S. I. (Penrith & Border)
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Freeth, D. K. Marples, A. E. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Mathew, R. Woollam, John Victor
Garner-Evans, E. H. Mawby, R. L.
George, J. C. (Pollok) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr, S. L. C. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Gibson-Watt, D. Molson, A. H. E. Mr. Geoffrey Hirst and
Godber, J. B. Nairn, D. L. S. Wing Commander Bullus.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan Nicholls, Harmar
Ainsley, J. W. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Howell, Denis (All Saints) Randall, H. E.
Awbery, S. S. Hoy, J. H. Rhodes, H.
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Blyton, W. R. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Janner, B. Ross, William
Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan) Jeger, George (Goole) Short, E. W.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Brockway, A. F. Kenyon, C. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Lawson, G. M. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Steele, T.
Callaghan, L. J. Lindgren, G. S. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Logan, D. C. Sylvester, G. O.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. McInnes, J. Thornton, E.
Deer, G. Mahon, S. Usborne, H. C.
Delargy, H. J. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mann, Mrs. Jean Wheedon, W. E.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Mason, Roy White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Mellish, R. J. Wilkins, W. A.
Fernyhough, E. Mitchison, G. R. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Forman, J. C. Monslow, W. Winterbottom, Richard
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Moyle, A. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Woof, R. E.
Grey, C. F. Oram, A. E. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Oswald, T. Zilliacus, K.
Hannan, W. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Hayman, F. H. Pargiter, C. A.
Harbison, Miss M. Parkin, B. T. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Holman, P. Peart, T. F. Mr. Charles Pannell and
Houghton, Douglas Popplewell, E. Miss Alice Bacon.