HC Deb 30 June 1959 vol 608 cc249-97

(1) Any order under section six of this Act may contain provisions as to the transfer of existing officers affected by the order and shall contain provisions for the protection of the interests of such existing officers so affected (hereinafter called "designated officers") as the Minister may designate.

(2) Provision shall be made by regulations made by the Treasury, for the payment by the Commission of compensation to or in respect of persons who are, or who but for any national service of theirs would be designated officers, and who suffer loss of employment or loss or diminution of emoluments which is attributable to the provisions of any order under section six of this Act.

(3) Regulations under the foregoing subsection may include provision as to the manner in which and the person to whom any claim for compensation under this section is to be made and for the determination of all questions arising under the regulations

(4) In this section— existing officer" means an officer serving a development corporation on such date or dates as may be specified in an order relating to that development corporation; national service" means any such service in any of Her Majesty's forces or other employment (whether or not in the service of Her Majesty) as may be prescribed by regulations under this section; officer" includes the holder of any place, situation or employment.

(5) Any regulations under this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.—[Mr. MacColl.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

3.34 p.m.

Mr. James MacColl (Widnes)

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

The Committee may be helped if I endeavour to clear up what may be a certain amount of confusion. In the first place, hon. Members who were in the House 24 hours ago may think that we are resuming the very interesting debate which we then had on the subject of transfer and compensation for certain officers. However, I can assure the Committee that the atmosphere in which we shall discuss this matter and the standard of values which we now have are very different from those of 24 hours ago.

Secondly, it may appear to someone who has looked cursorily at two Clauses with the same marginal heading that they are exactly the same. In fact, they are very different, and the operative words are those which appear in line 4 of this Clause: as the Minister may designate". It may also help the Committee in coming to a conclusion on this extremely important matter if hon. Members know something about its history. It originally came before the Standing Committee by way of a new Clause moved by the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) and indentical with the second new Clause upon the Notice Paper—Transfer and compensation of officers—standing in the name of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison): (1) Any order under section six of this Act may contain provisions as to the transfer of existing officers affected by the order and shall contain provisions for the protection of the interests of any such existing officers. (2) Provision shall be made, by regulations made by the Treasury, for the payment by the Commission of compensation to or in respect of persons who are, or who but for any national service of theirs would be existing officers, and who suffer loss of employment or loss or diminution of emoluments which is attributable to the provisions of any such order as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section. (3) Regulations under the foregoing subsection may include provision as to the manner in which and the person to whom any claim for compensation under this section is to be made, and for the determination of all questions arising under the regulations. (4) In this section— existing officer" means an officer serving a development corporation on such date or dates as may be specified in an order relating to that development corporation; national service" means any such service in any of Her Majesty's forces or other employment (whether or not in the service of Her Majesty) as may be prescribed by regulations under this section; officer" includes the holder of any place, situation or employment. (5) Any regulations under this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament. That is to say, it provided generally for compensation for officers of the new town corporations who lost their jobs as a result of the change of control.

That new Clause had a full debate over two days in Committee and towards the end of that debate the Minister said: The Government's intention is to ask each of the development corporations to look ahead and to try to pinpoint cases in which they think any individual members of their staffs may possibly be left high and dry. There may be few of these cases, but there may be a small core of individual cases. We will do that. We will ask the new town corporations to do that and to consider each case on its merits."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 14th May, 1959; c. 605.] I have no doubt that it is the right hon. Gentleman's intention to honour that underaking, but we have put down a new Clause to be helpful and to enable him to do so. We have done that since he has rejected the general principle which we and the hon. Member for Crosby and all right-thinking people accept, the principle that there ought to be a general compensation, but has admitted the principle of particular compensation for what he has called the hard core of cases.

It is not only kindness to the right hon. Gentleman that has led us to table this new Clause. It is important that the staffs of the corporations should know precisely what their position is to be. This is probably the most important feature of the whole problem. This is a matter not only of the harm and unfairness which are caused to officers who may suffer as a result of the transfer of control of the new towns. It is much more important from the point of view of new towns policy, the whole new towns movement, all the corporations and all the staffs, and not only those who will be affected in the next few years. All those have been suddenly hit with a very great feeling of uncertainty about their future prospects. That is bound to have a most demoralising effect upon the whole staff.

The right hon. Gentleman may say that the Clause will not make things very much better, because it will still leave uncertainty about whether they are to be designated. That is not our fault. It is not the fault of the hon. Member for Crosby. Whatever one may think of the hon. Gentleman—he is not a person with whom I often find myself in agreement—one cannot deny his political courage. He moved his new Clause in Committee, and he divided in favour of it with my hon. Friends and I against the Government. That is to his credit. From the Standing Committee proceedings I could quote many interesting observations made by the hon. Gentleman with which I entirely agree. However, I do not want to waste the time of the Committee by doing that, nor do I want to rub in the difference between the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends.

I will recapitulate the arguments about compensation for loss of office. I mentioned a few moments ago that we were discussing this only 24 hours ago against the background of what happens in big business. I do not want to quote again the illustrations given then about the different levels of compensation offered to displaced directors of one sort and another, ranging from £83,000 tax-free down to a humble, measly £30,000. That is what happens in private enterprise when people are displaced from office.

There is another example, again topical in the context of our discussions yesterday, involving our old friends the Institute of Directors. The Institute of Directors has an axe to grind—I do not use that phrase in an offensive sense—in dealing with what happens to directors of private water companies when a grouping takes place under the guidance of the Ministry, or under the directions of the House of Commons by a Private Bill, as a result of which directors lose their office.

There is not the slightest argument about whether they should receive compensation; that is common ground. However, there has been discussion in the House of Commons recently about whether the compensation should be based on seven times or five times their annual earnings. That is purely a matter of degree. It is not a matter of principle.

The principle of compensation is also beyond argument in many negotiated agreements in private industry. Although one may criticise the level of compensation in the recent proposals in connection with the cotton industry, the principle of compensation has been accepted without question by the House of Commons. That is not only affecting directors, but also workpeople in the industry.

Therefore, the principle of compensation for redundancy is to be found quite generally in private enterprise administering a public service, such as the water companies, and private enterprise dealing with purely business and commercial affairs, such as breweries and other concerns mentioned in the discussions yesterday.

In local government the principle is even more firmly established and more deeply embedded in our legislation. The Clause in the form in which it was moved in Committee was identical with Section 60 of the Local Government Act, passed by the House of Commons as recently as last year. When the House of Commons considered the complicated problems of local government reform, the revision of local government boundaries, the changes which may take place in the allocation of functions which may lead to the displacement of officers, and so on, the principle was accepted that there should be compensation.

It is nothing new. It goes back certainly to the Local Government Act, 1933, and, I have no doubt, a good deal further. Principles of compensation have been laid down in Orders by the Minister and accepted by the House of Commons. Throughout the public service and, as far as one can tell, throughout a very wide range of private enterprise, compensation for redundancy is nowadays accepted as a principle. It is something about which there is very little argument.

3.45 p.m.

Why should this little section of people be excluded? People working for the new town corporations are to receive nothing if they lose their jobs as a result of the change-over from the corporations to the Commission. Two arguments can be advanced. I shall be quite fair to the right hon. Gentleman and to the Committee in stating those arguments as dispassionately as I can.

The first argument is that, when people were appointed to new town corporations, they went into what was essentially a development job, which was not going to last and which they knew would not last. Therefore, they went into it with their eyes open. What has happened is not a change of Government policy affecting their positition, as takes places with water grouping, but a natural effluxion of events which everyone anticipated.

The second argument is that, as a corollary to the fact that this was a temporary job, officials were paid more than they would have received had they remained in local government service or in the kind of jobs which they had if they entered corporation service from the private sector. On the second argument, which is the simplest to dispose of, will the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether that is true? Is it true that the rate of remuneration within new town corporations is higher than the rate of remuneration in the general service of local government? I suspect that it is not higher. At one time probably it may have been higher, but I doubt it now from the little information I have. Almost certainly the second argument is not valid.

What about the argument that this was essentially a development job and that, therefore, people expected that it would come to an end? I gave the answer to that in Committee? I based it on as near first-hand information as I could obtain, because this was precisely the point which I, among others, had to deal with when I was a member of the Hemel Hempstead Development Corporation and had to try to persuade people to enter the service of the Corporation. Being men with careers to make, one of the first questions they asked was. "What is our future? Why should we give up a safe billet, perhaps in the service of a large county borough, where we are chief officer or deputy chief officer, with the almost certainty of promotion to the position of chief officer? Why should we give up that sort of job to come to a new town Corporation, which is an uncertain thing? It may be a flop. The whole thing may fail as a result of the litigation now taking place. The whole thing may fail through some financial crisis. Why should we come into the service of the corporation?" That was a very real problem for the boards when they had to recruit staff.

In our case we were triumphantly successful. I cannot claim that the people who served Hemel Hempstead Corporation were better than the people who served other corporations, but they were outstanding men and were among the top people in their professions. They came to us because they desired to create something. In this sordid world, in which one always thinks that people are activated only by financial motives, it is well to recognise that there are people with pride in their profession, who want to be architects or engineers and who want to create something which will be a little more of a permanent memorial to them than the mere day-to-day routine of administration. They came in because the job appealed to them and they wanted to try to make it succeed.

I said to them, and I am afraid that I misled them, "If you succeed in this job, you need not worry. If the new towns are a success, it will be such a tremendous triumph that this will mark the beginning of a new movement, so that when you have completed your job in one new town you will find the new towns that will have started in other parts of the country clamouring for your services, because you will be the people who made Hemel Hempstead."

I miscalculated abominably there. I never had much doubt that the new towns would not be a success, but I certainly did not think that any policy so negative and defeatist as that of the right hon. Gentleman would be followed. I never believed it possible that, in spite of the success of the new towns, the Government would take a policy decision not to have any more of them, and it is that decision, of course, that is primarily responsible for this problem.

These are men who have been in new town service now for ten years and more. They still have something to contribute in the new town movement. They have devoted to it the best years of their lives, and could certainly offer something priceless to other new towns. They have been through all the problems of the creation of new towns, all the teething troubles, and could offer something that other corporations would be glad to have. Therefore, were there to be other new towns, there would be no problem, but because the Government have killed the movement there are no other new towns for these men to go to.

These men are ten years and more older than they were. They have got out of the swim of local government. They have not been going round in the local government circus, applying for jobs. They are not recognised as being within what might be called promotion potential of local government, in which everything is watched so carefully by those responsible for making appointments. In relation to local government work these men have rusted for ten years—though they have not rusted in the work of new town development—and that is why they cannot get jobs now. They cannot get jobs now in local government because they were prepared to help in the new towns.

As I say, I do not want to make this plea only on the basis of what is just to the men to whom we owe so much, although I should have thought that that would appeal to the Committee. I am shocked that apparently only one hon. Member opposite cares sufficiently for justice and fair play to this splendid body of men and women as to be prepared to stand out on this issue. However, I do not want merely to labour that.

The other aspect is probably the most important—not justice, but calculated self-interest. Although the Government may kill the idea of any future new towns, there are still some that are in process of developing, and the effect of this decision not to have any clear-cut methods of compensation is the most demoralising thing that could happen to the staffs here. Here we are considering men of whom many are in their forties or fifties. They are men, outstanding in their professional careers, who have entered into new town service. They see now what is happening to their fellows in Crawley, Hemel Hempstead and the other new towns that are getting on towards completion, and that will cause difficulty throughout the whole of the new town system.

These people will not now be thinking primarily of devoting their lives to building up a new town of which they can be proud. Instead, for the sake of their families, they will be thinking of how they can get out as quickly as possible—and while they are reasonably young—and get into something safe, such as local government. Once they are in local government they are safe. They are protected from the Minister. Even were the right hon. Gentleman to bring about mergers into gigantic all-purpose local authorities, they are protected—whatever he does—by the Local Government Act, 1948. But so long as they remain in the new towns they are not protected at all. They have not even the elementary rights of a director of a water company that is wound up by special order of the right hon. Gentleman. The Government have got themselves into a fantastic situation, and the effects on the remaining staffs must be quite demoralising.

As we all know, the Minister is no fool—that is about the nicest thing that I have said of him for many months—and I can only believe that this is a deliberate attempt to throttle the new towns in an indirect way, because, without coming to the House, without having a great clash on a matter of policy, without being accused of being the man who has cut the throats of the new towns, quietly, by tightening the string, he can create an impossible situation for the corporations.

How will the corporation of a new town whose creation is likely to take five or ten years be able to keep its staff or to replace it in the face of the knowledge that personnel now have that if they are found to be redundant and lose their jobs they have no certainty of getting compensation? Of course, if they get another job, compensation does not arise. It is always part of the compensation orders that those getting other jobs do not get compensation.

We are dealing, therefore, with those who will not get other jobs. They will fail, not because they are not outstanding in their work but because they have reached an age, which many of us have reached, when the outside world decides that they may be all right at their own particular job but too old to start a new job or to go back to the job they left ten or fifteen years ago. We all know that that is what many establishment committees and other bodies of local authorities will feel about the man of 40 or 50 who comes to them seeking a chief officers job.

We are, therefore, moving this new Clause as a compromise. The right hon. Gentleman has said that he will apply this sort of means test, and ask the corporations—I suppose that this is how it will have to work and, although I do not pretend to like it, if it is all that the Minister will do, let us accept it—to line them up. They will say to this one, "You ought to be able to get a job", and, to another, "You look unemployable. We do not give you much chance of getting anything so we will put your name up to the Minister and try to get you a hand-out."

That is rather degrading treatment to mete out to an architect or an engineer, and to all those who have worked so hard to build the new towns; the men who have come into the movement not because they were the flotsam and jetsam of local government, but because they were the top people, the men of adventure who were not content just to go on ticking over but were prepared to go into something new. Those are the men who will be lined up and, if they are the hard core—to use the right hon. Gentleman's happy phrase—they will get a hand-out.

We want the Minister to give us something in the Bill that will at least define what he has to do, and put on him and his successors some responsibility to see that it is done. To leave it just to the terms of an undertaking, without any Parliamentary authority for what is to be done, without any clearness as to where the money is to come from, will create more alarm and despondency than ever.

There must be a proper system of compensation. That is vitally important to the whole future of the new towns. Unless the Minister is prepared to make a statement that will allay the present anxiety he should just go ahead and introduce a Bill to abolish the new towns altogether. Unless he creates a proper system of compensation it will be imposible for these men to try to keep going in the atmosphere of instability, uncertainty and fear that he himself is creating.

4.0 p.m.

Mr. C. W. Gibson (Clapham)

I, too, rise to ask the Government to accept this Clause. It is not only the chief officers, to whom my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) referred, who are involved; it is the staff all the way down the line. That the Bill has already created great fears in the minds of the staff is evidenced by the fact that the trade union concerned has been publicly protesting, and some of these people are already seeking new employment.

These men did not go into the new town corporations only because of the extra money. I know of highly-skilled technical people who went into this employment because they enjoyed working on a brand-new idea, the building up of new towns to enable people to live better and fuller lives. Some of these officers are already seeking other employment. It is not sufficient for the Minister to say, as he said on 14th May: …I can give an undertaking that, from new town funds, whether from the development corporations or from the Commission, help will be given, if it is needed."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 14th May, 1959; c. 605.] That is not the way in which the problem was dealt with when the nationalisation Measures were put through. Men who lost their jobs, or even those who had to take within the newly nationalised industries jobs at lower salaries, were given compensation rights. It seems to me to be only fair that if, by deliberate Government policy, we completely change the whole set-up in the new towns as a result of which some men lose their positions or have to take posts at a lower salary, they ought to be entitled by law, laid down in the appropriate Act, to compensation for any loss they may have suffered. It is because the Minister has so far refused to put any such provision into the Bill that some of us are pressing him. I hope that he will have had time to give further consideration to this matter since the Bill was in Committee.

This situation is worrying many good men who should not be treated in this way as a result of a sudden change in Government policy. Most of them, naturally, expected that they would have a good many more years in the job of building up the new towns, and that when it was over they would be absorbed into the local authority organisation to which, under the law as it stands now, they would have been transferred. But the Government have completely changed that. They are to nationalise the new towns by putting them all under the control of a Commission which will run the show and which will employ some of the staff but, as the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary have admitted, will want to get rid of others of the staff. We say that if the Government do that they must, as a matter of elementary justice, compensate those people who may suffer as a result of the change.

We have not so far been able to get much change out of the Government on this point, and I press it strongly. I would point out that already the organisation which represents these people, N.A.L.G.O., has been protesting. In addition, the published documents of the organisations interested in town planning called attention months ago to the dangers into which the Bill puts the staff of new town corporations.

As a matter of elementary fairness, this new Clause and the next one—Transfer and compensation of officers—ought to be included in the Bill, just as in the past Parliament has included Clauses providing for the compensation of people who lose their jobs or suffer a reduction in income as a result of a change in policy instigated and implemented by the Government of the day That seems to me to be such an elementary principle that I am amazed that the Minister did not think of it in the first place and has not been prepared to include such a provision in the Bill, even at this late stage.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will say something more hopeful when he replies. If he does not do so, I ask the Committee to agree that this piece of elementary justice should be put into the Bill on behalf of staff who may be displaced.

Mr. Joseph Slater (Sedgefield)

I support this new Clause because we shall be failing in our duty if we do not make some provision for these officers who are displaced.

All of us who have some association with the new towns and their operation know the feelings of some of these officers who have done so much in the course of their development. When the Bill was in Committee it was said that we had set out on a new venture in accordance with the 1946 Act. Here we have men and women who are having to leave responsible positions which they took to further this new venture, and hon. Members on both sides of the Committee have sung the praises of these people for the work that they have done in these new towns I am at a loss to understand how these new towns could have reached their present stage of development if it had not been for the efficiency exercised by these people who brought all their valuable knowledge to the service of these towns.

I am confident that the determination which I have seen in the building up of the new town in my constituency has been operating in all the new towns throughout the country. It is easy to say that these people who undertook this responsibility knew the risk that they were taking when they accepted these responsible positions. Of course, there may have been some risk, as there always is in any kind of employment, but to say that such contracts were for only a limited period is begging the question.

I am sorry that the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) is not in the Chamber. He made out a good case in Committee on behalf of these people and I agree with the sentiments that he expressed when he moved his proposd new Clause and said that these people were engaged for an indefinite period and that the period was in no way at an end. It would be ludicrous, to say the least, to suggest that one could have speculated on the political future of these new towns. Yet it would appear that some people, including the Minister, really believe that these officers who are holding responsible positions should have been able to forecast how long they would be required in the service of new town development.

Nobody yet knows how long it will take a development corporation to complete its job. The Minister has certain powers. He can say that, when it reaches a particular target figure of population set by him, then the corporation should be wound up. We have had that experience in regard to Newton Aycliffe. In the first place, it was said that, at a particular figure, the Minister would determine to wind up the corporation, but now it has been extended, and we are very grateful for that. But even a set figure may not be achieved for some years, and it may take longer even than the Minister expects. These things are not as easy as some people think. It is difficult to assess the nature of the problem and difficult to visualise quite what will be necessary.

It was said in Committee that many of these employees who are to be displaced came from the local government service, and my hon. Friends have reminded us that this is so. Many of them were, perhaps, over 40 years of age. What chance have many of them, after taking responsible positions and being employed with the corporations for ten, twelve or even perhaps, fifteen years, of finding another post within the local government service or of going back to the work they were doing at the time they left? If these people wish to go back to local government again, they will face serious competition in finding employment. After years of experience in local government. I believe that many of the young people now working in the local government service are constantly looking ahead to the positions to which they may aspire, and the employees who may be displaced as a result of the Government's Bill will have to compete with these young people. It will be an arduous task, and their future will not be bright.

The Government should accept the new Clause. If private industry feels itself under an obligation to grant large sums of money as compensation for loss of office to some of its officers—and the Government say "Amen" to that—I cannot sec how the Government can escape giving support to this new Clause, even if the argument is used that the money will have to be found from the Exchequer in view of the amount of compensation which may have to be paid out tax-free to these people.

The Bill may not have received the publicity it should have had throughout the country. The building of the new towns was a great venture, introduced by the Labour Government. One thing, however, is certain. The people who will be affected by the implementation of the Bill are waiting anxiously to see what the final result will be. The Minister has had ample time, since we met in Committee and since the new Clause was tabled, to consider the whole matter and be ready to say "Amen" to the application which is made in the new Clause on behalf of the people who have given valuable service in the new towns. So long as they are employed by the corporations or, if the transfer should take place, by the Commission, they deserve better consideration from the Government than what the Minister promised when we were in Committee.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)

The Minister has a remarkable capacity for making enemies. He went out of his way to make enemies of hundreds of thousands of tenants throughout the country. Not content with that, he helped to introduce the block grant and thus made enemies among countless teachers and people in local government. The adverse reaction of his activities in that direction has yet to be encountered. Not content with that, he now makes enemies of those employees in the new towns who are about to lose their employment as a result of this new Bill. When does he intend to stop? If he goes on like this, he will make enemies of the Opposition. Then where will he be?

Some time ago, I had some correspondence with the Minister precisely on this subject. I happen to have a new town in my constituency, and a very good new town it is—no thanks to the Minister. He had nothing to do with it at its inception, and he certainly has not helped it along since he became Minister. Ever since he became Minister, I have encountered much trouble because of rising rents, because of economic difficulties confronting the development corporation, because of difficulties about amenities, and the like. I have had very little help from him. As will be shown later when we discuss some of the other items, I have been confronted with more difficulties as a result of his decisions. He will hear all about that.

In my correspondence with the right hon. Gentleman, I pointed out, quite rightly, I thought, that those employees who were about to be displaced, or who were likely to be displaced, were entitled to a measure of compensation for loss of office. There is nothing new in that. It is no new principle, as the Minister will agree. My hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) referred to what happens in privately owned industry when vast sums are provided as compensation for loss of office. Precisely the same principle applies in the case of nationalised industries.

I put this simple question to the Minister. Let us suppose that, when I introduced the Bills to nationalise the coal mines and to nationalise the electricity industry, as I did, I had refused to provide for compensation to the owners who were to be displaced. What would the right hon. Gentleman have said? What a row the Conservatives would have kicked up! There would have been a real hullabaloo about it. Indeed, I had to go to arbitration to ensure that everything was fair and reasonable. What is more, there are hon. Members on the benches opposite—there are not many of them there at the moment, any more than there were in Committee—who are today receiving large sums of money in compensation as a result of the nationalisation of the mining industry. There was never a word of protest about that. If it had not been so provided, I venture to think that the right hon. Gentleman would have had a great deal to say.

What is new about what is proposed? Nothing at all. We are asking merely for the continuation of a well-established principle. That is all. I do not think that a great deal need be said about it. It is a simple issue. Nobody questions the qualities of these employees. All we are asking is that the Minister should provide regulations so that these employees, if they ask for compensation—and that question is not settled by the Clause; there is nothing obligatory about it—may at least have their demands examined. Either they are to receive the opportunity to be provided with the facility for making a claim for compensation, as is provided in the proposed Clause, or the Minister says, "No compensation in any circumstances", which is going a bit too far.

I know that the Minister is a bit of a dictator, but he must not be too much of a dictator. I could say a lot of other things about him, but we can leave vituperation until later, if it is necessary, unless he gives way. This is not good enough. We have stood the Minister long enough. Some of us have been quite mild about it, but even mild people like myself cannot tolerate this kind of conduct too long. I shall not allow the people in my constituency, who are likely to suffer as a result of the Minister's indecision, to suffer if I can help it. They are very good people.

I know what the Minister will say. Apart from the verbiage in which he indulges, he will say, "After all, they are entitled to a pension. They are probably superannuated. They have come from local authority service and their superannuation will continue". But there may be many who have not come from local authorities, who are not entitled to a pension and who do not come within the ambit of superannuation schemes. In that case, what will they receive if they are displaced? Nothing at all. The right hon. Gentleman will say that they can claim National Assistance or can look for other jobs. It is not certain that they will be able to get other jobs, or if they find alternative employment it may not be so remunerative as their existing employment.

We are entitled to be indignant about this matter. The Minister must come off his perch and must, at any rate, be a little resilient. We are not asking for anything definite. We are merely asking for something which is permissive, namely, that regulations should be in existence so that if a claim is made it can be investigated and if it is thought by the appropriate authority that a man is entitled to compensation he shall receive something. On the other hand, if it is thought that he is not entitled to compensation he will receive nothing. That is fair enough.

I must ask the Minister to give way a little in this matter. If he does not, as T have said, he will make more enemies. My hon. Friends the Members for Widnes, Clapham (Mr. Gibson) and Sedgefield (Mr. Slater) are quite right. What sort of sentiment will exist in the sphere of new town development? These people do not know where they are. What changes will take place in the administration of the new towns? These men will be left high and dry, in the lurch and on a limb, because the Minister has not the resilience which is essential in these matters and will not give way. I will not beg him to give way. I say that he ought to give way and I hope that that is firm enough. If he does not give way, he ought to be ashamed of himself.

Mr. Albert Evans (Islington, South-West)

After the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) it is, perhaps, unnecessary for me to intervene, but I hoped that we should have the benefit of the views of the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page). He dealt with this matter in Committee. There he moved an Amendment which was very similar to the proposed Clause which we are now considering. I regret that the hon. Gentleman is not here. In fact, so far not a single hon. Member opposite has said a word about the staffs of the new towns who are likely to be displaced. One would have thought that at least one or two hon. Members opposite would have displayed some interest in the fate of these officers who will become redundant when the new towns pass into the care of the Commission.

I want to say a word to the Minister on three points. I know he takes the view that when these officers were recruited they understood that their job was a temporary one. The Parliamentary Secretary made this clear in Standing Committee. He said: It was known right from the start that development corporations were temporary bodies. In the nature of the case, the corporations could never have given guarantees to their staff of permanent employment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 12th May, 1959; c. 589.] I doubt whether that is a true statement of the atmosphere which prevailed when the staffs were recruited. From my own knowledge, some of the personnel went into the service of the new towns with the impression that it was a job which would last them for the rest of their working lives. I very much doubt whether the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary are right in saying that the staffs took on these jobs in the belief that it would be for only a short period.

It was provided in the New Towns Act that the staffs of the new town corporations should come within the provisions of the Local Government Superannuation Act, 1937. Section 18 of the New Towns Act makes it clear that the staffs of the new town corporations would be covered by the provisions of that Act. Therefore, these people, knowing that that was in the Act, would have been justified in concluding that, as they were covered by the Local Government Superannuation Act in their new jobs in the new towns, they were, for all practical purposes, being treated as local government officers.

From my own knowledge of certain cases, some of these officers, if not all of them, who went from the employ of local authorities into the employ of the new town corporations were under the impression that, far from going into a job of a temporary nature, they were entering a sphere of activity which would last them possibly for the rest of their working lives. The provision in the New Towns Act to which I have referred supported them in their belief that they would be treated in the same way as local government officers. I am sure that many of them will be very cross and will suffer a sense of injustice unless the Minister inserts a provision in the Bill that will ensure that they are compensated if they lose their job or suffer a diminution in remuneration.

4.30 p.m.

My second point, which is a very serious one, was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl). This concerns the dissipation of the very specialised staffs which are now employed in the various new town corporations. It is already happening. The staffs in the various new town corporations are unsettled. They realise that the Government's intentions are such that it would be better for them to leave their jobs as quickly as possible. They know that if the Minister has his way and they subsequently find themselves redundant they will not be entitled to compensation. Many of them—often the most able—are on their way out, trying to get away from the corporations as quickly as possible because of the Minister's refusal to arrange compensation for the loss of their jobs.

The Minister's obstinacy is undermining the confidence of these highly skilled and valuable staffs, and is bringing about the dissipation of this very valuable and irreplaceable type of officer. The Town and Country Planning Association had something to say about this in January. In effect, it said that it would be wholly deplorable if these valuable staffs, with their great fund of knowledge and skill, were to be dissipated. That, coming from the Town and Country Planning Association, is entitled to re-receive the Minister's attention. My hon. Friend the Member for Widnes put the matter with some force, and I support him. We want to know what reply the Minister has to this charge. Does he understand that his action will result in the dissipation of these irreplaceable staffs? What has he to tell the Committee about it?

If the Minister can see any reason behind the arguments put forward I hope that he will incorporate in the Bill some form of words—possibly in another place—to meet our point. I appeal to him to try to act as a good employer in this matter. Leaving aside all our arguments as to whether or not these were temporary jobs, I come to the simple plea: will the Minister act as a good employer and treat these men fairly, as a good private employer would?

It has already been said that many large private enterprise firms provide compensation if their workers are displaced. These large firms would think it immoral to toss aside servants without some regard to the service they had rendered, and without some measure of compensation for their displacement. Even small firms realise their obligation towards men who have been working for them for many years, and they would not simply throw them aside because of some rearrangement. The time has passed when even a private employer, let alone a Government Department, could pick up a man and drop him again whenever he thought fit.

Upon that simple ground I ask for fair play. The Minister should reconsider the matter and provide that these men shall not be subject merely to an ex gratia payment by the Commission, but will know that they will be properly compensated for loss of office or diminution of remuneration.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. J. R. Bevins)

Fortunately, the new Clause has nothing to do with take-over bids or the activities of that admirable body known as the Institute of Directors. For that matter, it has nothing to do with the Local Government Act or the amount of the general grant referred to by the hon. Member; neither does it relate to the personal qualities of my right hon. Friend, although I am, of course, grateful to the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) for his solicitude for my right hon. Friend and for the negative compliment that he paid him.

We are now discussing a Clause the purpose of which is to make statutory provision for compensation to be paid to development corporation officers, designated by the Minister, who will suffer loss or diminution of emoluments as a result of Orders made under Clause 6. We are discussing directly the question of compensation, and not of pensions, although I agree that the two things impinge upon each other. I may be a little optimistic, but I hope to be able to satisfy the Committee that what my right hon. Friend has had in mind, and what he has already embarked upon, is right, and that he is acting fairly towards those persons who may be displaced.

I want to make it clear that, generally speaking, my right hon. Friend does not expect many people from the new towns to find themselves made redundant as a result of the ending of the activities of the various corporations. As the rate of development declines from town to town we know that some members of the staffs will begin to cast about for other suitable employment. Many members will be taken on by the Commission itself; indeed it is almost inevitable that certain grades of staff, such as rent collectors, will be taken on more or less automatically and will function in the localities where they are working today.

Some hon. Members opposite have given the impression that the Government have done little or nothing to meet the claims made by the new town staffs. That is not true. A great deal has been done to safeguard their superannuation rights. Most of the men who came to serve on the corporations from the sphere of local government will have the right to an immediate pension, if they are unable to find reasonable alternative work within twelve months, and are within ten years of pensionable age.

Mr. Shinwell

The hon. Gentleman said that we were not dealing with pensions.

Mr. Bevins

I said that the two things impinged one upon the other.

If, on the other hand, a man is not within ten years of pensionable age, he will be entitled to have his pension rights frozen.

These provisions are quite novel in the sphere of local government and were designed by my right hon. Friend to deal with a special case. I ought also to mention that arrangements have been made to help people to find work in local government, through the agencies of the development corporations and the Whitley Council, which are working together and doing all they can to help. Even so, as my right hon. Friend conceded during the earlier stages of the Bill, there will be a limited number of hard cases. He has already made it clear that he intends to ask the development corporations to pick out the hard core of individuals who are likely to suffer, and has said that if it seemed fair and reasonable to make some provision for them over and above the pension provision made by the superannuation regulations which I have sketchily referred to already, he would give an undertaking that help would be given if it were needed.

In pursuance of that undertaking the chairmen of the corporations have been asked to undertake that investigation. In due course the measures to deal with hard cases will be discussed, through the new towns Whitley Council machinery.

The question posed by the new Clause is whether the Government, in dealing with the matter in this way, are acting correctly, or whether it would be right to give these employees a statutory right to compensation on the basis of formal legal regulations. This, I entirely agree, is a serious argument and one to which the Committee is right to devote its mind. My right hon. Friend has always argued that it would be inappropriate to give a statutory right to compensation for loss of office on the ground that all these jobs with the new town corporations were necessarily for a limited period. I shall not rest my case on that simple assertion. I want to deal with some of the arguments which have come from hon. Members opposite. Putting it in the simplest form, my right hon. Friend has based his case on the ground that all the jobs within the new towns were necessarily for a limited period and that those jobs were bound to come to an end when the development came to an end.

A good deal has been said this afternoon about precedents of compensation for loss of office. I am sure that right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the Committee realise that all the precedents concerning staff or employed persons refer to staff employed by permanent bodies where the staff had every reason to suppose that the employing body and their jobs would be of a permanent character.

I cannot accept the alleged analogy put forward by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Widnes regarding cases of amalgamations of local government authorities deriving from the Local Government Act. I do not think that that is a parallel case at all. The truth of the matter is that development corporations were known from the start to be temporary bodies. So far as I know, no hon. Member has ever suggested that employees of the corporations were ever given any kind of assurance that their jobs were permanent or that if they came to an end they would be compensated. If that has ever been said by any member of the Government, I am perfectly willing to give way, but I think that what I have said is a statement of fact.

Mr. Slater

Can the hon. Gentleman give an example of a case where a delegated authority has had its powers taken over by another authority, with the result that the officers from the previous authority lost their jobs and were not paid compensation? For example, a district surveyor attached to a district authority would receive compensation for loss of office when the highways were taken over by the county authority. What is the difference between the proposals in this Clause and that position?

Mr. Bevins

I think that the difference is perfectly clear. In the case to which the hon. Gentleman refers there was a very natural expectation of permanency of employment whereas, so far as I know, no one has ever suggested that the employees of the corporations were ever given any kind of assurance that their jobs were permanent or that if they came to an end the employees would be compensated.

In the nature of the case, no one could ever have said that at any time, particularly as the New Towns Act, 1946, itself provided for the dissolution of the development corporations. The truth is that this problem—let us be quite open about this—would still have been with the Government and with Parliament if the new towns had been transferred to the local authorities, because the work of substantial development would have finished in just the same way and redundancy would have flowed from that.

To turn to the argument of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Widnes, which is an argument which merits serious consideration, he said what, I think, is felt by many hon. Members on both sides of the Committee that although the majority of these men, perhaps all of them, must have realised that there could have been no permanency of service with a single development corporation, nevertheless, if the new towns venture as a whole proved successful, there would be some measure of permanency for them in, as it were, the world of new towns. I am perfectly willing to say that there may be something in that argument, but I do not think that it ought to be taken too far. Even in that case, there would have been no guarantee that the staff which left a moribund or dying corporation would have found jobs with one which was starting from scratch. I will return to that particular point in more detail in a moment.

4.45 p.m.

What is the problem? As I see it, the problem is mainly concerned with the men serving the development corporations who are now in their fifties and who may not find it easy to get suitable alternative work. Even if we were building another 10 or 20 new towns, there is no assurance that men in this age group would readily be taken on by the new development corporations. Of course, they might be, or they might not be—no one knows. I think, however, that one is bound to admit that it would be a very open question.

My right hon. Friend is saying this to the Committee. If one of these men is over, shall we say, 55 years of age, then he can claim a pension if he cannot get suitable work within twelve months. If he is younger than 55 he is entitled, as a general rule, to a frozen pension. I should have thought that generally speaking—there may be exceptions—that most people younger than 55 would have no great difficulty in getting alternative work. I agree, and my right hon. Friend agrees, that there may be difficult cases in both of those categories—men over 55 and men who are below that age. When the examination which the chairmen of the new towns and my right hon. Friend are carrying out has been completed, these cases will be discussed through the new towns Whitley Council machinery. I think that that is a reasonable proposal.

To return to the new Clause, I should say this to help the Committee. As I read it, the Clause as drafted would cover only the hard case which arose among men who remained with the development corporation until the actual transfer order was made. It would not cover the cases which arose before the transfer order. As the Committee well knows, staff who expect to be redundant, or some of them, will be seeking employment over a longish period, perhaps a matter of months or of years before the actual date of the transfer order.

It is only fair to say to the Committee that the merit of my right hon. Friend's scheme is that because of its flexibility it will enable the Government to pick out the hard cases and deal with them as they arise, however they arise, and whenever they arise. For all those reasons, I feel that the approach of my right hon. Friend to this admittedly difficult question is a fair approach. We are seeking to do the right thing by men who may suffer loss of office.

Mr. Slater

Does the hon. Gentleman say that he places the responsibility on the chairman of the corporation to go into the cases of people who are likely to be redundant and, after he receives it, he passes that report on to the Whitley Council? Where in the world have we got to?

Mr. Bevins

I did not say that. I said that my right hon. Friend had invited chairmen of corporations to examine potential hard cases and, having done so, to report the result to my right hon. Friend. Naturally, my right hon. Friend would look at these cases with sympathy and in detail and he would then make a reference for discussion to the Whitley Council.

Mr. Gibson

Why not put it in the Bill?

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

Yesterday, we were talking about "golden handshakes". The speech which we have just heard from the parliamentary Secretary makes me think that what the Government propose to do with these people is to wave them a rather desultory "goodbye" with a cold and clammy hand which they have probably dipped in a frozen pension. There is no "golden handshake" about this. The Parliamentary Secretary made a speech which, for most of the time, related to an Amendment which was moved in Committee and was hardly related at all to the new Clause.

What we sought to do in Committee, and I must mention it to explain the new Clause, was to introduce the provision in Section 50 of the Local Government Act, 1958, which gives employees of a local authority compensation for loss of office or worsening of conditions on the amalgamation or disappearance of a local authority. I should have thought that the ground for that was by now well-established, namely, that when the Government policy results in a man losing his job through no fault of his own he is usually compensated; and that is not the same question as to whether or not he is given a pension. The Parliamentary Secretary was perfectly right in saying that it was not the same question, and I shall not talk about pensions but about what is in the new Clause.

When we put forward that proposal in Committee we had very much the answer which has been-given to us today—that most of these people will find employment somewhere or other. As the Parliamentary Secretary said, some of them would have found a job anyhow if the corporations had been wound up and the new towns had been taken over. These are only the hard core, as he said, and a wonderfully flexible arrangement is to be made about the hard core. They are to be left entirely to the good will of the Minister.

I would not have regarded the right hon. Gentleman as a very flexible type, though we can all have our own opinion about that. The flexible arrangement is that the Minister is to say, "I will give you what I choose". How wonderfully flexible from the point of view of the giver, but from the point of view of the receiver it is rather unsatisfactory. The receiver would prefer to have some right, even to having Ministerial charity.

I want to say one or two things to the Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister on the question of compensation and the loss of jobs. It is perfectly true that jobs in the new towns were not to be permanent jobs. I accept the phrase used by the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) that these were jobs for an indefinite period. The man who chose to go into a new town was taking a certain risk, but the risk was the risk as matters then stood.

As the Parliamentary Secretary himself said, people were talking about more new towns. The intention of everybody, including, as far as I know, at that period, the Conservative Party—for it said nothing different—was that there should be more new towns. A man who went into new town employment was entitled to take that into consideration. He was entitled to take into consideration also that what he was going in for was a job which would last for some considerable time. He did not know exactly how long. Nobody knew.

Now, by an act of the Government, as a matter of policy, there are to be no more new towns, and the man who went into this employment for an indefinite period is asked to accept a change in the conditions which he contemplated when he went into a new town. That is logically exactly the same, though in a different context, as the case of the man employed by a local authority which disappears through Government action.

In this case the conditions which the man had to contemplate and form a judgment upon are altered for the worst by Government policy. Once we have that position we must realise that we are being unfair to people if we do not do something about it. It is not enough to say that there are not many of these people or that, "I am a nice, kind Minister and I will always give them a good gratuity at the end or find them another job or use this or that machinery."

We are proposing to leave to the Treasury, as the Local Government Act itself does, the regulations determining compensation, and we are further proposing to leave it to the Minister, the right hon. Gentleman or his successor in office, to decide who among these people shall be designated and, therefore, entitled to receive the benefits of the Clause. It may be asked, "What is the use of that to any of them?"

The answer is that the Minister can be called to account in the House of Commons as to whom he does or does not designate. He can be asked questions about it. The real, substantial question raised by the Clause is whether the treatment of these people is to be left to the autocratic bureaucracy of the right hon. Gentleman, or his successor, or whether he or his successor is to be answerable to the House about what is done in relation to these people. That is the effect of the Clause.

It may be said that there is little in that, but, in fact, there is a great deal. Apart from the power of individual Members to speak up on behalf of a constituent who may be affected by this change, the people affected by the change themselves know that the Minister cannot do something at his own sweet will. He must do something that will stand up to Parliamentary criticism and examination. We have gone a long way to meet any possible objections that the Government might make.

I concede at once to the Government that it is true that the majority of these people will find other jobs. The gardener employed by a development corporation is an officer for the purposes of the Clause, but he is likely, and always was likely, to go on being employed by the owner of the piece of land in question. There will be some people, however, who will be very hard-hit indeed. These are the older people, and many of them are people with a particular skill.

It is not for us to speculate whether they will or will not get a job with somebody else, or what their chances are and what can be done to help them. We are treating these people differently from what they expected at the time. The Committee is doing that as a matter of Government policy and we are as bound to give those people some right to compensation, and a right we can supervise, as we were bound, in different circumstances, to give that right to the people who lose jobs under the Local Government Act. I cannot understand why the right hon. Gentleman refuses this proposed Clause.

5.0 p.m.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Mr. Henry Brooke)

May I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman why he says that the Government are giving these people less than they were led to expect? His Government, in the 1946 Act, made no provision for them in Section 15, which deals with the winding-up of the corporations.

Mr. Mitchison

We had not reached this stage then, and if the right hon. Gentleman will look at the Act I think he will find that the Order which could have been made under that Section could have made this provision. However, I agree this much with him, that we were then ten or fifteen years from the period of the Order that could have been made under Section 15, and it may have been that some legislation would have had to be introduced.

I am not concerned with that; I am concerned with the substance of the matter today, and the right hon. Gentleman knows well that he is worsening the prospects of these people by refusing to designate any more new towns. These skilled people, particularly the older ones, stood much of their best chance of re-employment in a newly designated town. It does not matter whether I am right in my assessment. They stood at least a better chance of employment, and they have been deprived of that right, such as it was. They have been deprived of that factor, which influenced their judgment at the time, by a piece of Government policy.

It is quite wrong that a piece of Government policy should be allowed to deprive people of something of that kind, of that prospect, of that chance, however high or low we value it. And it is for the right hon. Gentleman and the Government themselves to decide, in the light of everything, what it is worth; that is to say, what the amount of the compensation is to be—that will be in the regulations—and to whom it will be applied; in other words, the designated people. They could not ask for more. The only difference between what the Government propose to do and what we propose to do is this. We say that there ought to be a right in the House of Commons to see that the Minister designates the right people and to allow the grievances of people who lose their jobs, or have their employment worsened, to be raised in the form of Questions or Motions or other Parliamentary procedure.

That is the right which this autocratic Government are denying. Their answer is, "It is all right. We are nice, kind people. We have the most flexible minds. We will give them just as much coal and blankets as we think is good for them". That is the question raised in this proposed Clause, and I hope that my hon. Friends will join with me in dividing in favour of it.

Mr. Frederick Gough (Horsham) rose

Mr. Shinwell

Sir Gordon, is the Minister not going to reply to the debate? Is he going to remain silent and leave it to his Parliamentary Secretary, who made such a contradictory speech?

Mr. H. Brooke

If the right hon. Gentleman would like me to say something, I certainly will do so.

Mr. Mitchison

Before the right hon. Gentleman begins, Sir Gordon, the hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Gough) was about to ask me a question, and since we are in Committee, perhaps he can be allowed to do so.

Mr. Gough

I am grateful to the hon. and learned Gentleman for protecting me against two right hon. Members. I wanted to ask him a simple question. It occurred to me that what he was saying about my right hon. Friend was that the action he is taking precludes back benchers from raising Questions in the House of Commons if any of our constituents are dismissed and we think they have not received adequate compensation. Surely that cannot be correct.

Mr. Mitchison

I do not see where the right hon. Gentleman's Ministerial responsibility arises. As I see it, there is no obligation in the terms of the Bill to pay any compensation to these people. This proposed Clause, however, imposes an obligation. Supposing the Minister walks out of here and takes a cab and overpays or underpays the driver, it does not matter that in so doing he is distributing money, but there is no Ministerial responsibility on which to found a question. Similarly, I see no Ministerial responsibility written into the Bill, except by this proposed Clause or something like it.

Mr. H. Brooke

I said upstairs in Standing Committee on this subject: If in the particular circumstances it seems fair and reasonable to make provision over and above the financial provision which is made by the special Regulations, I can give an undertaking that through new town funds, whether from the development corporations or from the Commission, help will be given if it is needed"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 14th May, 1959; c. 605.] That is an undertaking I have given to Parliament and I am responsible in the House of Commons for the actions both of development corporations and of the new Commission when it is set up.

To come to the principal issue, the Clause proposed by the Opposition involves accepting a statutory responsibility for compensating somebody whose job has come to an end, conceal it as they may.

Mr. Gibson

Why not?

Mr. Brooke

The hon. Gentleman asks, why not? He has been a member of the London County Council. Neither the L.C.C. nor any other local authority, nor any of the local authority associations, have ever contemplated a system of local government whereby when a man is taken on for a job for a limited period, he should receive compensation when it is finished.

Mr. Gibson

That is not the point.

Mr. Brooke

That is precisely the point. That is the difficulty about the proposed Clauses. They seek to extend to quite a new field what Parliament has always provided for when Parliament, by its own action, has brought somebody's work to an end.

Each of these individuals was taken on to do a specific job. They all know that they are working for the Stevenage Corporation, or the Harlow Corporation, or the Crawley Corporation. They are not in new town service generally. They knew from the beginning that the new town they were helping to build would not continue indefinitely or cover the whole of England and Wales. It had to come to an end. Nor do I believe for one moment that people in new town service have at any time assumed that just at the moment when their part in building their own new town would finish there would be some other new town starting up, where they would have a prescriptive right to be employed. That simply is not the case.

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary has advised the Committee, and quite rightly, that we should not make this extension, and that Parliament should not endorse the view that, when a man is doing a certain piece of work which has a limited duration, he is entitled to compensation for loss of office when that work ends. In addition to that, the proposed Clause fails largely in its object because, as drafted, it would appear to me only to offer any possible help to a man who is actually in the employment of a development corporation at the time when it is wound up; whereas common sense will show that the work will have been running down and that the majority of the people affected are likely to have finished their jobs before the moment of hand over. In other words, it is not the Order that winds up the development corporation which brings the job to an end; it is the completion of the job, and that is not a case for compensation for loss of office.

Mr. Mitchison

May I say a word in answer to what the right hon. Gentleman has said? That is the deliberate advantage of the Clause, that it will prevent people—good people very often—from leaving, as they are now leaving, the service of development corporations, because they know that if they stay on there they have, at any rate, some right at the end of the day. And it is right that the compensation should in this case be given, as it is, for instance, under the Local Government Act, at the end of the time and not in the middle of it.

Mr. Shinwell

I must say to the Committee that I regard the right hon. Gentleman's reply as most unsatisfactory, and I think it ought to be placed on record, as undoubtedly it will be, as I am about to say—it will appear in the OFFICIAL REPORT—that I hope the members of the National Association of Local Government Officers throughout the country will take note of the right hon. Gentleman's decision. I imagine that they would regard it as unsatisfactory, as my hon. Friends and I do. I hope that the Committee will take note of the arguments that have been presented.

There are two arguments. One is that when these employees of the development corporations were first employed, they anticipated that their employment would come to an end in the course of a few years. So far as I know, they were not so informed. They may have anticipated that their employment would be terminated after a few years when the development corporations came to an end, but they were certainly not so informed because, obviously, had they been it is very doubtful whether, at any rate, all of them would have accepted employment. That is the principal argument that has been adduced in opposition to the proposed new Clause.

I hope that the Committee will have noted what the Parliamentary Secretary said. In the course of his speech, the hon. Gentleman asserted that, at any rate, very few men are likely to suffer. He said that very few will become redundant.

Mr. Bevins indicated assent.

Mr. Shinwell

The hon. Gentleman agrees. That is what he said. There are two replies to that. Ore is that if, after all, very few men are likely to suffer, then the amount of compensation to be paid is likely to be negligible.

Mr. H. Brooke

it is not a question of amount, but a question of principle.

Mr. Shinwell

We know that the Government are so activited by high moral principle that we are really a little dubious about it. We are certainly not going to elevate a principle into a position where hard cases are going to be left to the discretion of the right hon. Gentleman, or of any Tory successor if ever there is one.

I repeat that the Parliamentary Secretary said—there is no escaping this—that very few cases would occur. If very few cases would occur, why boggle at this proposition? On the other hand, the assumption is that when these men were employed by these development corporations the expectation was that they were going to be employed for a very long time and that there was going to be very little redundancy. That is what the Parliamentary Secretary said.

Let us take it a step further and deal with the other argument adduced. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that there may be a hard core of hard cases. What is to happen to them? The Parliamentary Secretary referred to them in a detailed fashion. Men of 50 years of age, perhaps 55 years of age, may be regarded as redundant. They will be dismissed. They may seek alternative employment, but none may be available. They will be the hard cases, so they apply, not to the Minister in the first instance but to the chairman of the Commission, whoever he may be.

The chairman of the Commission may in his discretion—not as a right, a duty or a responsibility, but in his discretion—refer the matter to the Whitley Council associated with the development corporation. The Whitley Council will go into the matter, conduct its investigations and will no doubt inquire whether the person concerned has an income or any capital available. It will apply the means test. The Whitley Council will, first of all, inquire whether the man has a pension or not. If there is a pension, the Council may think it adequate. Therefore, it is no longer a hard case.

The right hon. Gentleman has said that, of course, Questions can be asked in the House. He has given an undertaking. I do not propose to enter into the matter of whether the right hon. Gentleman is likely to be in his present office in the course of the next few years. It matters not. But in spite of the undertaking, when Questions are put to the Minister of Housing and Local Government about such hard cases, about how they are dealt with by the Commission or by the Whitley Council, it is first a question of whether we shall get them beyond the Table. We have ample experience of that. We know the obstacles and snags that lie in the path. But supposing that we do get them beyond the Table and that the Minister is questioned, we know the kind of Answers that we shall receive.

5.15 p.m.

I had an answer the other day from the Secretary of State for War. This is a digression, but it has a bearing on the subject, and a very important one, too, and the House is not going to forget it. I asked a Question about a holder of the Victoria Cross, an ex-officer who in the First World War was responsible for an act of gallantry. He and his wife are now in receipt of an old-age pension of £4 5s. and the man has a disability pension of 25s. a week, which brings the total income to a little more than £5. The man applied for an annuity of £75 under the Regulations and was denied it. What did the Minister say? He said, "I stand by the Regulations." There was a hard case if ever there was one. But the Minister stands by the Regulations, and that is precisely what the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Housing and Local Government would say if he were interrogated by hon. Members on this side or even on the benches opposite.

This matter must be regarded either as a right or the Minister should be quite honest about it and say that these people will be displaced in the ordinary course of business when their activities have come to an end, when the development corporations have been telescoped with the local authorities or when the new Commission takes over, that they cannot expect any more than the pensions to which they are entitled and that not all of them will be entitled to a pension.

I have received no reply to a point which I put in a speech some time ago, when I asked how those persons come in who were employed by the development corporations but who were not transferred from the local authority and therefore did not come within the ambit of superannuation and were thus not entitled to a pension. Are these the hard cases?

Mr. Gibson

This is a revival of charity.

Mr. Shinwell

My hon. Friend is right. This is a revival of the charity society with the Minister of Housing and Local Government as director-general in the chair. God help people who come asking for assistance.

This is not good enough. Hon. Members may think that I am not entitled to be indignant about the matter, but I am. These are acts of injustice. We are not concerned with our high faluting debates but with social justice for our people. When the matter was first pointed out to me I did not understand it because I am not acquainted with local government affairs. I put it up to the Minister and I am astonished at the reply. I have been waiting months for an opportunity of saying what I think ought to be said in this Committee—not that my hon. Friends are incapable of saying it.

Mr. Gough

I fully appreciate the right hon Gentleman's indignation and nobody in the Committee is better able than he in expressing it. But as the right hon. Gentleman has shown such great indignation, could he explain why it was that the Government of which he was a member did not enshrine this very thing in the first Act that they passed?

Mr. Shinwell

This question has been put to us on this side so often that I think the time has come for someone who can speak with authority to offer a reply. We have been asked questions about nationalisation, unemployment, groundnuts and all the rest, and perhaps the time has come for a reply—I hope not a discussion—to be given bearing on the subject.

The first answer which I would venture to give is this. When the new towns were first invented it was not a Labour Government that were in power. The Committee will see that the hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Gough) is not as well acquainted with this subject as I am. I happen to have been a Member of the House at the time. Not very many hon. Members now present were Members at that time. There are a few of us, like my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) and a few other of my hon. Friends who are present in the Chamber. Very few hon. Members opposite who are present this afternoon were then Members. I see the hon. Member for Southgate (Sir B. Baxter) sitting on the benches opposite. He then represented Wood Green and was a very inactive Member. I must say that the hon. Gentleman has persisted in his inactivity throughout the years.

I remember that during the war when we were discussing reconstruction—hon. Members may be surprised to know that we actually discussed reconstruction in the latter years of the war—the matter of the new towns was mooted. It was left to a Labour Government to develop the idea. It may well be that the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, who was then a Member of this House and responsible, may have omitted to mention the matter of a right of gratuity or compensation, in addition to pension, for these people when the development corporations were terminated. It may be that that was a fatal blunder on his part. He certainly ought to have done it. But that is by no means the kind of excuse which should be offered by a Tory Government for failing to accept their responsibilities.

There is another reason, a more valid reason, which has nothing to do with blundering or misunderstanding. It was believed by the Labour Government—I am within the recollection of some hon. Members present in the Chamber—that new towns would go on being built for a long time; that we should not be content only with Harlow, Crawley, Peterlee. Hemel Hempstead and the rest of them, but that we should have new towns scattered up and down the country—a kind of national spring-cleaning. Of course, that idea would never occur to the Tories. But that is what we had in mind—beautifying the country. And is it not necessary, when we think of the squalor which exists in Lancashire, Durham, London and elsewhere, and in Scotland? We thought it was necessary, and we thought that the building of new towns was going on.

It is this Government who have come to the conclusion that the time has arrived to put an end to the building of new towns. And so, having acted in this arbitrary fashion, having decided that the building of new towns should come to an end, that we have sufficient of them, there is an even graver and greater responsibility on the shoulders of the present Government to provide compensation for employees who are regarded as redundant. Let them stand up to those arguments if they can and not run away with this pettifogging, pitiable excuse about hard cases.

I would not trust them to deal with hard cases. I do not mean by that that the Minister is not, on the whole, a decent fellow. I say what I have said before, that sometimes even decent people ought to be ashamed of themselves. I will tell the Committee what is wrong with the right hon. Gentleman. He has a hard core, that is what is the matter with him. It is a kind of malady, a hard core, a kind of cankerous growth. There is no resilience about the right hon. Gentleman, there is almost no humanity about him. He only wants to deal with hard cases. We have finished with all that stuff. It is Victorian, it is Edwardian, it is Georgian—this hard case stuff. Now we want rights and responsibilities.

If the right hon. Gentleman will not concede our point, all the worse for him. I repeat what I said at the beginning of my speech. I hope that the members of the National Association of Local Government Officers will take note of this and will deal with the right hon. Gentleman and his friends at the critical moment.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

The point between the two sides of the Committee was put by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), that what we are asking for ought to be made a statutory duty for the Minister. Then, if we think that appropriate justice, or even mercy, is not being shown to one of these persons, who may be dismissed with no immediate hope of further employment, we can get a Question or a Motion past the Table and deal with the matter.

We do not want to find ourselves in the position that when we try to do that we are told that the Minister has no statutory duty to deal with it. From his speech in reply to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering, I understood that that was just what the Minister was determined not to concede. He does not intend to be put under a statutory duty to handle these things. But he will consider them in what was supposed to be the traditional attitude of the squire and the parson towards the rather decrepit workman who had served them all his life and at the end was merely an object for their charity, if they proposed to exercise it.

What statutory authority will the right hon. Gentleman have to do the kind of things which he has offered to do? He says that he will give an undertaking regarding a case of this kind if it arises in the peculiar way in which it may come about, which is that first of all the person concerned is represented by the chairman of the development corporation as one whose case is a hard case. If the wretched fellow cannot convince the chairman of the corporation of that fact, apparently nothing happens. But, on the assumption that the chairman has been persuaded that it is a hard case, the matter will go to the Whitley Council. What power has the council to vary the terms of the superannuation legislation? If this person is to be the recipient of payments out of superannuation funds—

Mr. H. Brooke indicated dissent.

Mr. Ede

I do not think such a person would have much chance of getting that, and I am glad to see that the Minister recognises it. This will not be part of the statutory contribution.

Then the right hon. Gentleman talked about some development council fund—I think that is what he called it—and said he would get some money from that fund. Are there no statutory requirements regarding the way money is to be paid out of such a fund? Unless the Treasury turns a blind eye when dealing with the right hon. Gentleman, I should have thought it would insist on definite statutory limitations on any such fund, and the money which might be paid out to a person who finds himself in this plight.

5.30 p.m.

The Minister says that he will find the money from somewhere to pay these men something or other. Is it to be in the form of superannuation? Is it to be a once and for all lump sum payment, or is it to be some kind of annuity not at present known to the law? Where does the Minister propose to get the money from? Has the Statute that will enable him to do it been passed, or is it hidden in some remote and rather obscure Clause of the Bill we are now considering? Finally, what sum will be paid?

I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that the last thing that any of us wishes to do—and I am sure he would be the last person who would wish to do it-is to make some statement this afternoon similar to the one that the right hon. Gentleman has made and, when the time comes to operate it, find that there may be difficulties in finding the money. I admit that I have not been a very close student of the Bill, but I cannot find any power in the Bill to enable the Minister to make such a payment.

The Minister says that the Clause deals only with people in the employment of the development corporations from the day that the development corporations cease to act. If that is a hindrance. I am sure that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering would be willing to have consultations with the Minister to amend the new Clause and include the people who may be regarded as losing their employment because of the impending dissolution of the development corporations.

I urge the right hon. Gentleman to tell us where he will find the power to do what he has said he would wish to do if any person's name were brought to his attention as being a person coming within the ambit of the descriptions he has given us this afternoon.

Mr. Gibson

The cold-blooded way in which the Minister has replied to this debate is unacceptable to anyone with any human feelings. We want it established as a right that men who are displaced and lose their jobs will be considered for compensation. The Minister, with a background which indicates his attitude to life, said in Committee, and he must not be surprised that some of us are very annoyed about it: The sort of case I have in mind is where, during the immediate twelve months period afterwards before he can qualify for pension, he is trying to find another job, but nevertheless fails to obtain one and is in financial difficulties. Money out of new town funds will be available in a case of this kind."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 14th May, 1959: c. 606.] That is charity. That is not treating men as men. That is not giving them any rights in the matter. In any case, it is doubtful whether there is any power under this or any other Bill to use the funds of new town corporations in that way. As the law stands the Minister cannot do it, and unless additional powers are given to him I do not see how he can.

Even if he could, it is not good enough. I ask the Committee to adopt the principle which this House has adopted many times, that wherever a man or a woman loses his or her job because of a deliberate change of Government policy—and that is the position here—he or she has the right to compensation.

The Minister's analogy was false. He said that I was a member of the London County Council with him, and that the London County Council would not compensate people it sacked because the job died out. If somebody lost his job because the London County Council amalgamated two departments he would be compensated. That has been done on more than one occasion, and it was done when the tramways were taken over by the London Transport Board. All we are asking is that these new town corporation employees who will be amalgamated into a nationalised body should be given the same rights of compensation, and that the right to compensation should be written into the law so that we do not have to depend on the charitable instincts of the right hon. Gentleman or any other Minister.

Mr. H. Brooke

They are not to be amalgamated into a nationalised body. The new Commission is quite distinct. The hon. Gentleman even now does not understand the situation. There is no question of people losing their jobs through some Government action. Their jobs will end because the work for which they were taken on will end. I have said before, and I say again, that no local authority undertakes to compensate for loss of office somebody whom it has taken on for a job of limited duration. Neither, to the best of my knowledge, has Parliament ever accepted that principle, and I am advising Parliament not to accept that principle today.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) first thought that this money would come out of superannuation funds. He was not a member—

Mr. Ede

I did not think anything at all. I asked the question.

Mr. Brooke

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned superannuation funds. He was not a member of the Committee upstairs, so he was not in a position to know that I had said that the money would come out of new town funds. The money will come out of the general fund which the development corporations administer. There is no reason why payments of this kind should not be made, and statutory authority is not required. I would not have made the statement I did to the Committee upstairs without having first consulted the Treasury and satisfied myself on these matters.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) complained that when he put a Question to one of my right hon. Friend's the other day my right hon. Friend took his stand in what the right hon. Gentleman described as "an inhuman way on the letter of the regulation". That is what the Clause is seeking to do. It is seeking to bind the treatment of these cases by regulations. As I explained to the Committee earlier, the Clause would not enable assistance to be given to the whole class of people who may qualify for consideration. That is another reason why we believe that it is better to deal with these cases, if they arise, on an ad hoc basis rather than by any system of rigid regulation. I made it clear in Committee upstairs, and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary has made it clear here too, that there would be discussions on the National Whitley Council about the manner in which such cases should be handled if any such cases emerged as a result of the investigation I have put in hand.

Mr. MacColl

Would the Minister help further about the general powers of the corporations to make payments? It has occurred to me that the powers of the corporations are to develop new towns. This is not a question of developing a new town, but of not developing one. They will, therefore, be making payments to people when they have not finished the job. What is the statutory authority to make payments to staff as compensation arising out of the general powers to develop? They can employ staff to develop new towns. That is within their power, but to pay staff for not developing a new town might be outside their power. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would clear up that point.

Mr. Brooke

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) will find that it is not beyond the powers of the development corporations to make ex gratia payments where there is a case for them in the interests of the new towns themselves. The people about whom we are talking are people who ex hypothesi have given good service to the new towns. I am advised that it would not be ultra vires for an ex gratia payment to be made out of development corporation funds in a case of this kind.

Mr. Mitchison

The Minister said that he would make the payments or direct the corporation to make them. Has he any power to do that? He cannot pay the money himself. Has he any power under which he can direct a corporation to make given payments to a given person?

Mr. Brooke

I have such powers, but I was not contemplating that this would be done in that way. I am certain that if a case of this kind comes to light the development corporation itself will wish to act.

Mr. Mitchison

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the question?

Mr. Brooke

Hon. Members will be able to ask me Questions because I regard myself as responsible for what is done by the development corporations, beyond those matters on which I am specifically giving them directions.

Mr. A. Evans

We are dealing with public money over which Parliament should have close control. In what part of the Act is power given to the corporations to make ex gratia payments to members of their staff who become redundant? The corporations derive their powers from the New Towns Act, and that Act contains no Section giving them power to pay public money to redundant employees.

Mr. Shinwell

Is it not true that in the Bill there is provision to provide either pensions or gratuities to retiring members of the Commission? Does not that exclude any possibility of any other use of the fund?

Mr. Evans

I am obliged to my right hon. Friend. The Bill gives the Commission power to pay such gratuities. We are discussing the corporations, and the Minister says that they have power to make payment for loss of office. He has put that express power in the Bill for the Commission, and presumably the New Towns Act should authorise the corporations to make such payments. We are entitled to know under what power the Minister considers that the corporations will act.

Mr. Brooke

I invite the hon. Member's attention to Section 2 (2) of the 1946 Act which empowers the development corporations to do anything necessary or expedient for the purposes of the new town or for purposes incidental thereto; That covers the matter.

Mr. Evans

When an Act of Parliament authorises the payment of public money it usually deals with the matter explicitly. Does not the Minister think the interpretation which he has given to those words is rather dangerous?

Mr. Shinwell

This is a very important issue. The Minister has directed attention to Section 2 (2) of the 1946 Act and is relying on that Act.

Mr. Brooke

I was quoting from Section 2 (2) of the New Towns Act, 1946.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Shinwell

In referring to the provisions of that Act the Minister said that the money could be paid for the purposes of development of the new town or any incidental purposes. What are these incidental purposes? Is there any instance of this provision having been used since 1946? Were these words intended to be construed to enable any of the development corporations to make ex gratia payments to redundant employees? Unless the Minister can answer that in the affirmative, he is on very weak ground.

I direct attention to the First Schedule to the Bill, which is extremely important and which expressly deals with the question of gratuities to retiring officials. If there is an express provision in the Act to enable the Commission to provide gratuities for retiring officials, who retire because of redundancy or age, or any other cause, does it not exclude the payment of officials out of some miscellaneous fund to which the Minister has referred? What is that fund? Is it a separate fund to which the Minister makes a contribution? We know of no such fund. Unless the Minister can explain why there is this express provision in the First Schedule for gratuities in certain cases, with the apparent exclusion of any other kind of payment, the undertaking which he has given has no value at all.

Mr. Brooke

I must try to convince the right hon. Gentleman that I am not speaking lightly or at large. I cannot say what the Labour Government meant by these words when they put them into the Act. I have to take the Act as it stands and to look at it in the light of all the circumstances. The Act does not read as the right hon. Member suggested. It reads: generally to do anything necessary or expedient for the purposes of the new town or for purposes incidental thereto; The right hon. Gentleman said that that would not cover ex gratia payments. In fact, since the Act has been on the Statute Book a number of ex gratia payments have been made, for example to the widows of deceased members of the staffs of the new towns. They have been covered by those words. The accounts have been audited and presented to Parliament and the accounts of the development corporations, as of the Commission, will continue to be presented to Parliament. Parliamentary control will be assured. The Government propose nothing which is not provided for by existing powers.

Mr. Ede

Since a certain famous journey to Damascus there has never been such an example of the sudden seeing of the light. Less than half-an-hour ago we were twitted for not having made

any provision for this in the 1946 Act. Now we are told that the Act was so generously worded that we can do all this and apparently anything else that the Minister would wish to do in the way of granting gratuities. What a pity that the Parliamentary Secretary did not tell us this when he twitted us for not having made provision for it in the 1946 Act.

Mr. Brooke

Following what the right hon. Member has said, I assume that the Opposition will withdraw the new Clause because the provision is already made.

Question put, That the Clause be read a Second time:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 205, Noes 234.

Division No. 152.] AYES [5.48 p.m.
Abse, Leo Finch, H. J. (Bedwellty) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Ainsley, J. W. Fitch, A. E. (Wigan) MacColl, J. E.
Albu, A. H. Fletcher, Eric McInnes, J.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Foot, D. M. McKay, John (Wallsend)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Forman, J. C. MaoMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)
Awbery, S. S. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mahon, Simon
Bacon, Miss Alice Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Baird, J. George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)
Balfour, A. Gibson, C. W. Mann, Mrs. Jean
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Benson, Sir George Greenwood, Anthony Mason, Roy
Beswick, Frank Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mellish, R. J.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Mendelson, J. J.
Blackburn, F. Hale, Leslie Messer, Sir F.
Blyton, W. R. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mikardo, Ian
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hamilton, W. W. Mitchison, G. R.
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S. W.) Hannan, W. Monslow, W.
Bowles, F. G Hastings, S. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Boyd, T. C. Hayman, F. H. Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Healey, Denis Mort, D. L.
Brockway, A. F. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Moss, R.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Herbison, Miss M. Moyle, A.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hewitson, Capt. M. Mulley, F. W.
Burke, W. A. Hobson, C. R. (Keighley) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Burton, Miss F. E. Holman, P. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Houghton, Douglas Oliver, G. H.
Callaghan, L. J. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Orbach, M.
Carmichael, J. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oswald, T.
Champion, A. J. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Owen, W. J.
Chapman, W. D. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Paget, R. T.
Chetwynd, G. R. Hunter, A. E. Palmer, A. M. F.
Cliffe, Michael Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Parkin, B. T.
Clunie, J. Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Paton, John
Coldrick, W. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Pearson, A.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Janner, B. Peart, T. F.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Pentland, N.
Cronin, J. D. Jeger, George (Goole) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs, S.) Popplewell, E.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Probert, A. R.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Proctor, W. T.
Deer, G. Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Pursey, Cmdr. H.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Kenyon, C. Randall, H. E.
Delargy, H. J. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Rankin, John
Diamond, John King, Dr. H. M. Redhead, E. C.
Donnelly, D. L. Lawson, G. M. Reid, William
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Ledger, R. J. Reynolds, G. W.
Edelman, M. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Edwards, Rt, Hon. John (Brighouse) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lewis, Arthur Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Lindgren, G. S. Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.) Lipton, Marcus Ross, William
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Logan, D. G. Royle, C.
Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Wheeldon, W. E.
Silverman, Julius (Aston) Swingler, S. T. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Skeffington, A. M. Sylvester, G. O. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Symonds, J. B. Wigg, George
Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Wilkins, W. A.
Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Taylor, John (West Lothian) Willey, Frederick
Sorensen, R. W. Thomas, George (Cardiff) Williams, David (Neath)
Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Sparks, J. A. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Spriggs, Leslie Thornton, E. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Steele, T. Timmons, J. Winterbottom, Richard
Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Viant, S. P. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Stonehouse, John Warbey, W. N. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Stones, W. (Consett) Watkins, T. E. Zilliacus, K.
Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall) Weitzman, D.
Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.) Wells, Percy (Faversham) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Holmes and Mr. Simmons
Agnew, Sir Peter Fletcher-Cooke, c. Leburn, W. G.
Aitken, W. T. Forrest, G. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)
Alport, C. J. M. Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Linstead, Sir H. N.
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Gammans, Lady Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Arbuthnot, John Garner-Evans, E. H. Longden, Gilbert
Ashton, Sir Hubert Gibson-Watt, D. Loveys, Walter H.
Atkins, H. E. Glover, D. Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Glyn, Col. Richard H. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)
Baldwin, Sir Archer Godber, J. B. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Balniel, Lord Goodhart, Philip McAdden, S. J.
Barber, Anthony Gough, C. F. H. Macdonald, Sir Peter
Barlow, Sir John Gower, H. R. Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry
Batsford. Brian Graham, Sir Fergus McLaughlin, Mrs. P.
Baxter, Sir Beverley Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)
Beamish, Col. Tufton Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) McLean, Neil (Inverness)
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Green, A. Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Gresham Cooke, R. MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Grimond, J. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Bevins. J. R. (Toxteth) Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Maddan, Martin
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Bingham, R. M. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Markham, Major Sir Frank
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Gurden, Harold Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.
Bishop, F. P. Hall, John (Wycombe) Marshall, Douglas
Black, Sir Cyril Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Mathew, R.
Body, R. F. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.
Bossom, Sir Alfred Harris, Reader (Heston) Mawby, R. L.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Medlicott, Sir Frank
Boyle, Sir Edward Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.
Braine, B. R. Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Brewis, John Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Harvie-Watt, Sir George Nabarro, G. D. N.
Brooman-White, R. C. Hay, John Neave, Airey
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Nicholls, Harmar
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)
Burden, F. F. A. Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. Chr'ch)
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden) Henderson, John (Cathcart) Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Sir Allan
Campbell, Sir David Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Noble, Michael (Argyll)
Carr, Robert Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Nugent, Richard
Chichester-Clark, R. Hill, John (S. Norfolk) O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsm'th, W.) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Hirst, Geoffrey Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Cooke, Robert Holt, A. F. Osborne, C.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hornby, R. P. Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Corfield, F. V. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Partridge, E.
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Horobin, Sir Ian Peel, W. J.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Peyton, J. W. W.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Howard, John (Test) Pike, Miss Mervyn
Crowder, Petre (Buislip—Northwood) Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Cunningham, Knox Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Pitman, I. J.
Dance, J. C. G. Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh. S.) Pott, H. P.
Davidson, Viscountess Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Powell, J. Enoch
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Price, David (Eastleigh)
de Ferranti, Basil Iremonger, T. L. Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Rawlinson, Peter
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Redmayne, M.
Doughty, C. J. A. Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Remnant, Hon. P.
Drayson, G. B. Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Renton, D. L. M.
du Cann, E. D. L. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Duthie, Sir William Joseph, Sir Keith Robertson, Sir David
Elliott, R. W. (Ne'castle upon Tyne, N.) Kerby, Capt. H. B. Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Kerr, Sir Hamilton Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Erroll, F. J. Kirk, P. M. Russell, R. S.
Fell, A. Lambton, Viscount Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Fisher, Nigel Lancaster, Col. C. G. Sharples, R. C.
Shepherd, William Temple, John M. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Speir, R. M. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Webbe, Sir H.
Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P. Webster, David
Stevens, Geoffrey Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Storey, S. Tweedsmuir, Lady Wood, Hon. R.
Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray) Vane, W. M. F. Woollam, John Victor
Studholme, Sir Henry Vickers, Miss Joan Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Summers, Sir Spencer Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.
Taylor, William (Bradford, N.) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Teeling, W. Wall, Patrick Mr. Bryan and Mr. Finlay.

Bill reported, without Amendment; as amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.