§ Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.874
§ Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)
On a point of order. It is usual at the beginning of the Committee stage of the Finance Bill for the Chairman to 875 make a statement, or for the Committee to ask for the statement, so that one or two matters of uncertainty may be resolved. Therefore, Sir Charles, I should like to have the benefit of your advice.
My first question is: what is meant by the numbers printed at the side of the Amendments on the Notice Paper? What procedure will the Chair adopt with regard to them, so that hon. Members, including those who are not here now, and who may be interested in particular Amendments, will be able to know what the numbers mean? Shall I continue, or will you give a reply to that point first?
§ The Chairman
This is a new idea, particularly useful with regard to new Clauses, because at present it is very difficult to find the marginal titles. If the Amendments are given numbers, one can easily identify them, and it has the advantage that when Amendments are consequential one can give the numbers of them. They are not at the moment in their right order. They were in the right order the first time the marshalling was done, but there have been additions since. That does not make a great difference. I think it is a convenient arrangement to have.
§ Mr. E. Fletcher
Before my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) raises his second question, may I ask you, Sir Charles, if the numbers now given to Amendments will be maintained throughout the whole of the proceedings on the Finance Bill?
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)
Will you also give consideration, Sir Charles, to the possibility of these numbers being shown on the annunciator, because it would make it much easier for hon. Members who are in various parts of the House to know which Amendment was being discussed in the Chamber?
§ The Chairman
I think that it is done at present by reference to the Clause, the page and the line.
§ Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)
It is a very frequent occurrence, and it will be in the case of this Bill, when we come to Clause 16, that there are three or four 876 Amendments to the some line in the Bill. The point made by the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) was an extremely good one, and I wonder whether consideration has been given to showing the appropriate numbers in cases where three or four Amendments to the same line of the Bill are being discussed together.
§ The Chairman
Give all the numbers if we are discussing four Amendments together? Is that the idea?
§ Mr. Wilson
I do not think that I made myself clear, Sir Charles. Sometimes, there may be three or four Amendments all having the same reference, though not the same number—three or four Amendments all relating to one particular Clause, one particular subsection, and one particular line of the Bill, and sometimes it is difficult to know, from the annunciator, which of the three or four Amendments, which all have the same reference, is being debated.
In these circumstances, when there is more than one Amendment relating to one particular line in the Bill, and it is necessary for us to know which one is being debated, we feel that that would be the time when the appropriate numbers could be shown on the annunciator. I think that usually there is a statement from the Chair to the effect that it is the first, second or third Amendment, and so on, but now that the Amendments are being identified in this way, it would be a helpful thing—and this is a useful innovation this year—if the respective numbers could be shown in the annunciator.
§ The Chairman
The first one of a series of Amendments is given on the annunciator. If there is a series, the difficulty of identifying them all would be in regard to the machinery and the man who does this. He would have to come to see me and get his paper marked accordingly. For example, there is an Amendment at the top of page 2188, and the next and the one at the top of the next page, all in the name of the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson), and all going together. Some way would have to be found to inform him about this.
§ Mr. Wilson
I was not raising the point—and I do not think the noble Lord was —about a group of three or four Amendments being debated. The point is that 877 sometimes on one of the key sections of the Finance Bill, for instance, Income Tax, a number of hon. Members may want to move different Amendments all with reference to the same line in the Clause. As they appear on the Notice Paper, they all look the same. They are all described by reference to the same Clause, the same page and the same line.
In this case, they are now separable by virtue of having these marginal numbers which are printed on the Notice Paper, and where it is necessary to distinguish between some of those which have the same references it would be useful if the annunciator could also indicate these marginal numbers.
§ The Chairman
The annunciator will have to give the marginal numbers in respect of the second or third Amendments. Nevertheless, it is not my affair, but I think it would be a great help for the number to be put on the annunciator.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
I thank you, Sir Charles, for making the matter so clear. should like to go a little further and ask you to convey the appreciation of the Committee to whoever is responsible for bringing about this further improvement, because it is an improvement.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
That gives credit where it is due, and also puts it on the record.
My next point is that in this Bill the big issues are contained in Parts II, III and V. I should like to ask you if you have already given consideration, and, if not, will you do so, to the fact that a number of Amendments will be interlocked, and we shall be liable to a lot of repetition.
I should like you to consider whether it would not be better to facilitate the clear-cut consideration of each point as it arises, and if we could have a broad discussion on these three parts of the Bill—Parts II, III and V—on the condition that the Chair will allow, when we come to each respective Amendment, a brief discussion, bearing in mind that we shall already have had a wide discussion on the subject, so that there ought not to be any need for repetition as each Amendment is moved
878 I think that that would facilitate the Committee's consideration of the vital issues involved in the Bill. For example, I am concerned about some of the working-class issues which are deeply involved in the Bill. I think that it is time that we, speaking for the people whom we represent, made our presence felt in this Committee. If this procedure were adopted, I believe that it would facilitate consideration of these points.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
Further to that point of order. It should not be assumed that the idea of having a debate on a particular part of the Bill, even if it were in accordance with our procedure, would he widely supported. In choosing Amendments, we have attempted, as far as possible, to ensure that time spent on the Bill in Committee will be purposefully directed to three or four of the key issues raised by the Bill.
I am sure that it is the feeling of the Committee generally that we do not need to spend an excessive time on the Finance Bill this year and on going into minutae on some of the Clauses. We have chosen Amendments in such a way as to in fluence, as far as lies within our power, the course of the debate in the way that my hon. Friend wants, namely, so that there will be an adequate discussion at reasonable times of the day on some of the general issues, rather than getting the Committee bogged down in too much detail.
§ The Chairman
As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I always try to meet the wishes of hon. Members. If they particularly want to discuss an Amendment, I call it, and if they do not particularly want to discuss it, I do not call it. My reply to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) is that Amendments are often grouped together and that we often have discussions on the groups, sometimes having an extra Division. I think that that meets his point.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
As you will have already gathered, Sir Charles, hon. Members on this side of the Committee want to debate the proposal in this Clause at reasonable length. The Clause abolishes the requirement of a monopoly value payment every time a new on-licence is granted. 1 think that it is safe to say that when, in his Budget speech, the 879 Chancellor announced this abolition, few people knew what he was talking about or had been aware that monopoly value payments were made and that there was provision for them on the Statute Book. In itself, that is an indication that those who have paid them have not regarded them as an injustice, since they would have agitated publicly for their removal before now.
As we are now all aware, these payments have been in existence for about fifty-five years. They were the outcome of one of the fiercest Parliamentary battles of modern times, that which was fought round the Licensing Act, 1902, onwards. The Measure which included these provisions was introduced by the Conservative Government of that day. I think that Mr. A. J. Balfour, afterwards Lord Balfour, was Prime Minister at the time.
The debates make interesting reading for those who want to follow up the matter. The situation which gave rise to that Measure was then described by Mr. Balfour as "utterly irrational." The 1904 Bill was designed to do away with the annual review of public house licences giving the holders of such licences all but permanent possession so long as they behaved themselves. As a corollary to that, to meet the outburst of criticism, particularly from the Liberals, then in larger numbers on this side of the House than they now are, in addition to providing compensation for public houses found to be redundant provision was made for monopoly value payments.
It was inserted in the Bill by the Government themselves to meet the critics. Sir Edward Carson, afterwards Lord Carson, moved the Amendment which was designed to ensure that when a new on-licence was granted the person who received it should pay the Treasury the difference between the value of his premises without a licence and their value which the granting of a licence gave.
In moving the rejection of the Measure, Mr. Asquith, later Lord Oxford and Asquith, declared that this was about the only provision in the Bill which merited any support. He said that the monopoly value created by the public should be reserved for the public—a point of view which I want to commend to the Committee this afternoon and which is one 880 shared by all my hon. Friends on this side of the Committee.
Down the years, these payments have brought many millions of pounds into the Exchequer. Last year, the figure was about £¾ million and the average since the war has been about £1 million. One of the questions I want to ask the Chancellor, and I am sure that with his usual courtesy he will answer it, is why, after all these years, when the arrangement has apparently worked exceedingly well, when it has brought to the Exchequer a sum not lightly to be thrown away, when no one has objected to the payments and when, above all, the right hon. Gentleman's own party originally introduced the provision which has stood the test of time, he should suddenly decide to throw away these payments.
This announcement was one of the surprises of the Budget. I have been looking at the legislation upon which these provisions are now based. The old Act has, I believe, been repealed and replaced by the Licensing Act, 1953. I have been looking at that Act to see whether the words used in Clause 5 meet the new situation created. I have done so because, since I raised this matter earlier during the Budget debates, I have been told by those competent to judge that the legislative position remains obscure. I want to ask the Chancellor if he will repeat the assurance he gave during his Budget speech, when he said:…these changes in the Excise licence duties in no way affect the control over she sale of alcoholic drink exercised by the licensing justices."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 7th April. 1959; Vol. 603, c. 57.]I want to ask whether the licence duties which he then had in mind were the changes in the public house and other duties from the old scale down to a flat rate, or whether he also included the change due to the abolition of monopoly payments.
I do not want to weary the Committee, but those hon. Members who are interested might care to look at Section 5 onwards of the Licensing Act, 1953, together with Section 59 and the Schedules which affect this matter. Before we part with this Clause, we on this side of the Committee would be glad if the Chancellor would let us know what the legal position is and whether the change he now proposes makes it perfectly clear.
881 The Royal Commission on Licensing Reform, which sat in 1929–1931, received evidence on these monopoly value payments. Among others, one of the witnesses was Mr. O. F. Dowson, who at that time was the legal adviser to the Home Office. He said:This very important question of monopoly values means that it is a fundamental feature of our licensing system with regard to the granting of new licences.and he described the provision in the Act, under which monopoly value was paid as "a mandatory provision". He continued:The justices are hound to impose this monopoly value condition.If the Act makes it mandatory to see that a licence can only be granted and conform legally as part of the payment of the monopoly value contribution, do the mere words contained in Clause 5 put the matter beyond all question?
The change which we are discussing is. of course, part of the other changes which run to seven and a half pages of the Finance Bill designed to reduce the cost of a pint of beer by 2d. As my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Redhead) said, the Financial Secretary waxed lyrical during his Second Reading speech on this part of the Finance Bill. In fact, he spent more time dealing with beer and this provision for 2d. off the pint than with any other part of what in some of its Clauses is a very complicated Measure.
The Financial Secretary even broke into poetry and quoted from, I think, "The New Mistress", by Housman:Malt does more than Milton canTo justify God's ways to man "-[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th April, 1959; Vol. 604, c. 1110.]But, unfortunately, he did not complete the verse. I propose to make good the omission. The next two lines run:Ale man Ale's the stuff to drinkFor fellows whom it hurts to think.Re-reading the Financial Secretary's speech, I was struck by the fact that he commits himself to the assertion that, in getting rid of the monopoly value payments, the Chancellor is doing no more than returning to the public the amount which previously has been taken in these payments. He said:The assessment of these amounts is not a simple matter. Clause 5 abolishes monopoly value, but preserves the principle that the public and not the individual should benefit 882 from the monopoly constituted by the licence. It does this by converting the charge into an addition to the beer duty. I think that the House will agree that this is far simpler and more satisfactory."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th April, 1959; Vol. 604, c. 1108–9.]I read those words more than once, and to begin with I thought that there must have been a misprint until I realised that what he was trying to say was that in reducing the price of a pint of beer by 2d., the Chancellor has made the amount up to the brewers, by reducing the duty by £40 million a year, and making changes to licence duties which will bring in something just under £5 million in a full year, and that he has made up the balance by the abolition of monopoly value payments, which amounted to about £720,000 last year. According to the Financial Secretary, what the Chancellor is doing is giving this £720,000 to the public as part of the reduction of 2d, a pint in the price of beer.
That argument will not hold water. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] The receipt from the beer duty during the past year was £253 million. This, then, is the real position—a figure of £¾ million against £253 million. The abolition of this relatively small sum can thus surely play but a very tiny part in the price of a pint of beer. It certainly does not make a difference of a penny; I doubt if it is a farthing, and there is no reason, when one comes to a fraction of that kind, why the brewers themselves should not find the extra money.
Looking down the Stock Exchange list, one does not find any brewery company in difficulties. The dividends paid vary from 48 per cent. to 25, and 12 per cent. The prices of the shares too are exceedingly high. If the brewers themselves are finding, as is said, that people are not drinking as much beer as they previously did, surely the remedy is in their own hands. They should reduce the price themselves and not expect the taxpayer to meet the cost.
Look at this how one will, it seems to me anti-social and wrong for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make this change. He has done it not for one year, but permanently. From now on as long as beer is drunk and taxes are levied the brewers will get away with the best part of £1 million which quite properly belong to the public, and should go to the public. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer did 883 not want this money, we can suggest quite a number of directions in which it could have been used. Why not, for example, put it towards the building of the National Theatre? Or what about using part to take the tax off musical instruments? The Chancellor could do that and still leave a fair sum to be put to some other useful purpose.
When the Chancellor of the Exchequer made this proposal during his Budget speech, he did not explain why he was doing it. He made a flat, bare statement, and nothing more. Up to now we have had no explanation from him as to why he is doing it. Looking at the facts and knowing the history of the matter, we feel pretty certain that he has no real explanation to give. Therefore, I hope my hon. and right hon. Friends will go into the Lobby to register their objections to the proposal.
§ Mr. C. W. Gibson (Clapham)
I want to put one point to the Chancellor which has not been put by my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall). There is no public support that I can see anywhere for this proposal. It was put into legislation over fifty years ago in response to public pressure. As my right hon. Friend said, it was almost a second thought, resulting from that public pressure but, so far as I can tell, no one has been able to say that there has been public pressure anywhere for the abolition of payment of monopoly values to the State.
It seems that the Chancellor has no real case against that being done, except apparently, as a sop to the brewers to keep the 2d. off a pint of beer.
§ Mr. Gibson
The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but what other reason can there be?
I have heard it said that clubs provide the answer as so many clubs are not subject to the ordinary laws about drinking as are public houses. That is something which some of us on more than one occasion have tried to raise in the House, but that reason cannot apply over enormous areas of country. In my district I do not know of a single club where beer is drunk as a result of a licence to sell drink. In all those areas the publican 884 still has a very valuable monopoly because of the licence he is compelled to get but others are prevented from getting. This is altogether wrong, apart from the social implications. This is a step back in British history, not a step forward. I hope that the Chancellor will have second thoughts about it.
Part of the use to which moneys raised by monopoly charges has been put was compensation for "pubs "declared redundant. As one which has had a little to do with the remodelling and planning of London, and the transfer of public house licences, I know what enormous pressure the brewers can put on over the question of monopoly values. There are still many places where, everyone admits, there are too many "pubs." If some are to be closed is the ordinary taxpayer to be saddled with the cost of compensation for closed houses because there are too many? That has not been the position in the past.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Remnant (Wokingham)
Surely the compensation fund is a fund levied at the instigation of the licensing justice and paid by the brewing trade, not by the public.
§ Mr. Gibson
It is paid by the brewing trade as part of the moneys collected from monopoly values. I want to know whether this change in the law makes a difference from that point of view.
The chief reason why I oppose the suggestion is that public opinion is not in favour of it. Indeed, there is very strong vocal public opinion against making this change. I hope that in this democratic assembly we shall pay some attention to public opinion. The whole idea of this change is wrong. It is bad socially and completely unnecessary. It is a free gift to a very wealthy industry. Although the Chancellor shook his head, it is true that everyone to whom I have spoken regards this as a sop to the brewers to make sure that the Government could take the 2d. a pint off beer.
I think that the Government are making ail enormous mistake even over that. So far as I can tell it is not having the desired influence on the drinking of beer. According to one report published this weekend there has been no increase in beer drinking as a result of reduction in the 885 duty. That is something for the Government to worry about, but we ought not to make a change of this kind, when the provision has been on the Statute Book for more than fifty years, without there being a good, strong reason for making that change. One factor to which we ought to pay attention is whether public opinion is in favour of it, and, as I have said there is no evidence whatever that public opinion supports it. 1 hope that the Chancellor will withdraw the Clause so that we do not have to mess about with the licensing laws and restart an argument which, as some of us remember from our young days, was very bitter.
§ Sir Charles Taylor (Eastbourne)
I shall detain the Committee for only a few moments. I hope that before we leave this Clause the Chancellor will point out some of the fallacies in the speeches of the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) and the hon. Member for Clapham (Mr. Gibson).
Many people in the country have always thought the imposition of monopoly value payments unfair. Here I should like to say a few words from the hotel aspect. Hon. Members know that I am interested in the hotel industry and I hasten to declare my interest. It was obviously objectionable that if one were running an hotel that was built before a certain date there was no monopoly value to be paid, whereas any new hotel was assessed for monopoly value; and, if I may say so, assessed in a rather arbitrary fashion.
It was obviously unfair that those who ran hotels of the older vintage should get off scot-free, whereas those with new hotels were assessed for monopoly value. Great pressure has been brought to bear for the building of new hotels. Although the establishment with which I am associated had to pay monopoly value, I still feel it right to do away with monopoly value payments. [Laughter.] That is fair enough. An hon. Member may laugh, but he would take the same view if he were in my situation.
Clause 5 (2) says:A person who, in pursuance of any such condition, has paid a sum which became due on or after the said eighth day of April shall be entitled to repayment of that sum.I do not ask my right hon. Friend to answer the case today, because I want the opportunity of putting certain facts and 886 figures before him before the Report stage of the Bill, but I would point out that there have been cases in which certain establishments have agreed to pay a once-for-all capital payment in order to buy out the monopoly value. It would be grossly unfair if that payment were not related, as it were, to the years during which monopoly value would have had to be paid. As I say, I do not ask my right hon. Friend for an answer today, because I should prefer him to consider, before Report, the evidence which I am prepared to give him.
I do not believe that it affects many people, but it affects some establishments in the country which I regard as important. If they are to be caught in this way through having paid a large purchase price, so many years' purchase, to redeem the monopoly value, and having almost been encouraged to do so, it would be grossly unfair. Rather than ask him to deal with the point now, I should prefer the Chancellor to listen to the evidence which I and others are prepared to put before him.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
Would it not be fairer to the Committee if the hon. Member were to tell us that any part of the hotel profits or business not concerned with an on-licence are not subject to the value payment?
§ Sir C. Taylor
I am talking entirely of the case of a hotel which is due to pay a monopoly value for its licence as an annual payment. There have been cases in which this annual payment has been redeemed by a capital sum calculated on so many years' purchase. In return for the capital sum the monopoly value in those instances has been washed out. If a substantial capital sum were paid to cover so many years' purchase of the monopoly value, some consideration should be given to those establishments which agreed to do this at that time.
§ Mr. E. Fletcher
It is obvious from the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) that this Clause impinges on a very big subject. There is a great deal more to be said about the subject than appears from the remarks made by the Chancellor in introducing the Budget, or by the Financial Secretary in moving the Second Reading of the Bill. The Clause, like the preceding Clause, is recommended to us 887 as part of a series of Clauses designed to tidy up administration but, as we found in dealing with the previous Clause, when we tidy up administration, unless we are careful we can at the same time both create injustice and prejudice the merits of existing laws.
I have not had much time to refresh my memory about the debates which took place in 1902–06, but my right hon. Friend has reminded us of them and of the fact that in those years there was a raging controversy in the country on this subject and that at the General Election of 1906 this issue of licensing loomed large in the fight between the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party.
§ Mr. Fletcher
Exactly. I want to be careful in what I say, because I have not had long to refresh my memory and I am, therefore, subject to correction by my right hon. Friend. I understand that a licensing Bill was first introduced in 1902 by the then Conservative Government. It was subject to considerable amendment in Committee at the instigation of the then Liberal opposition. Various Amendments were moved, if I remember correctly, from the Liberal Party, by, among others, Mr. Asquith and Mr. Lloyd-George, as they then were. There were violent debates in the House on the subject. Some of the Amendments were accepted by Mr. Balfour, then Prime Minister, supported by Sir Edward Carson, subsequently Lord Carson.
A subsequent Bill was introduced, making considerable changes. One right hon. Member—I forget whether it was Mr. Balfour or Sir Edward Carson—pointed out that the Bill had been largely transformed. I forget precisely when that Bill passed into law, but it was passed into law and became the subject of heated controversy in 1906 when it was attacked by the then Liberal Opposition. As a result, in the election the Conservative Government were defeated and the Liberal Party came into power for a number of years.
I mention these matters of history as a warning to the Government that they should bear in mind that licensing is a very dangerous and delicate subject. I 888 should have much preferred the Chancellor to withdraw the Clause from the Bill. If we are to have a wholesale amendment of the licensing law, with all the political implications which might ensue, we should have it in a separate Bill. I am not much enamoured of this device which the Government are adopting of trying to slip into the Finance Bill a Clause making these revolutionary changes in the licensing laws. We have come here primarily to address our minds on the Finance Bill to important matters of national finance. As my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) said, we have come primarily to debate Income Tax, Purchase Tax, and taxation generally. This is not one of the major subjects which should be dealt with in a Budget. Nevertheless, it is in the Bill and we have to apply our minds to it as best we can.
May we, therefore, consider what is involved, from the point of view of the licensing laws, in this proposal to alter the requirements as to monopoly value? As I understand the debates which raged from 1902 to 1906, there were various aspects of licensing, drunkenness and social conditions generally which then agitated the country. I am happy to say that some of them do not agitate the country today. We no longer have the unhappy and unfortunate aspect of widespread drunkenness which occurred when the Conservative Government were in power in the early part of this century. No doubt the Liberal Party helped to cure that in 1906.
The licensing laws were obviously designed to deal with licensing. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Members should not forget that in this country, unlike a great many continental countries, such as France and Italy, it became recognised as desirable to license public houses for the sale of liquor. It was not merely necessary to have licensed hours within which the sale of intoxicating drinks could take place, but also to grant licences to selected persons to whom permission was granted to sell intoxicating liquor, whether it was at public houses or, as the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Sir C. Taylor) said, at hotels. There is a valid distinction between hotels and public houses, to which some of the hon. Gentleman's predecessors referred to in the earlier debates. That is a point to which I should like to return later.
889 5.0 p.m.
The problem which confronted the House of Commons at that time was this. If there was to be a licensing system under which magistrates were entrusted with the power of saying to an applicant that he should have permission for a licensed public house or he should not, the magistrates were obviously being given the power to grant a franchise of very considerable value to someone or another. It was agreed that the number of public houses in any locality should be limited. I notice that the then hon. Member for West Ham was complaining that there were fewer public houses in West Ham than in any other part of the country, but that is by the way.
Then it was asked on what basis the magistrates were to exercise the discretion. The point was made that very probably the brewers would benefit, because if the House of Commons were to give magistrates power, as one of the conditions to the licence, to exact a payment, it was probable, as one hon. Member said thatthe brewer would pay the highest price, because he would not only get the advantage of the liquor sold, but also secure the trade of that particular house for his brewery.At that time that was one of the potential evils of the system.
It was said that the brewerwould probably offer as satisfactory a person to carry on the house as anybody else, and fully comply with all the other conditions, so that the justices would be almost bound, if they were to secure the full monopoly value, to give the licence to the brewer.Experience over the last fifty-five years has shown that that is what has very largely happened in practice. As my right hon. Friend said, since then most new licences have been granted to brewers. That may have been inevitable. It may have been implicit in the fact that there was this licensing system. Then it was said from the Liberal benches, and ultimately accepted with some hesitation by Mr. Balfour and Sir Edward Carson, that we might be granting this monopoly to brewers, but we could correct or mitigate the apparent injustice of granting the brewers the monopoly by imposing on them the liability to pay a monopoly tax.
That was done. It was provided that the monopoly value should be the difference between the value of the premises without a licence and the value of the premises with a licence. In some cases, 890 the difference was as much as £30,000. Whatever the figure was, it was paid over to the Government. That was the corollary to giving the brewers this monopoly. The point was well put by Sir Edward Carson on 27th July, 1904:When the magistrates granted a licence to a house, the value of the house rose. What caused that increase of value? The licence. In the circumstances, the Government thought it desirable to put into the Bill a definition of monopoly value. He was sure it was better to have it described as they attempted to describe it than to leave it for the magistrates to try to interpret in their own way.I will not trouble the Committee with the details, but there was a great deal of argument about how the monopoly value should be calculated. That discussion wont on week after week. As my right hon. Friend reminded the Committee, the net result was that, as a result of the law passed in 1904, the Government have been receiving about £¾ million a year for the last fifty-five years from those to whom the new licences have been granted.
Then there was the question about the hotels, in which the hon. Member for Eastbourne is interested. The question was raised in 1904. I have no doubt that it is a very fair point. I do not think that the hon. Member for Eastbourne put it any better than it was put fifty-five years ago. It was pointed out then that in the case of hotels there might be ground for special consideration and that the Clause as it stood did not refer to hotels and public houses. I will leave the hon. Gentleman to pursue that matter at some later stage.
We have had no kind of explanation given to us by the Chancellor or by anybody else of why the arguments that were valid in 1904 and which have brought to the Exchequer a very substantial sum of money are no longer valid. No one has ever suggested that the brewers could not afford to pay. Neither the Chancellor nor anyone else from the Front Bench has told us why those arguments which have been valid since 1904 have today ceased to be valid and ceased to be relevant.
What has brought about this change? The monopoly value is exacted because, by reason of a grant by a magistrate to a particular individual or brewery company, the value of the property is enhanced. It has always been The law that, because of that franchise, because of that privilege granted to the individual or the brewery company, the value should not go into 891 the individual's pocket or the brewery company's profits, but should belong to the country. This proposition has only to be stated to be accepted as axiomatic. I am amazed that the Chancellor should even attempt to get it through the Committee.
I looked, as all my hon. Friends have looked, at the speech of the Financial Secretary to see if there was any apparent justification.
§ Sir C. Taylor
Would it be in order to remind the hon. Member that we are now in 1959 and not 1904, that we have progressed since 1904 and that red flags are not now needed in front of motor cars?
§ Mr. Fletcher
The country will notice that the reason given by the hon. Member for Eastbourne for transferring nearly £1 million from the Government to the brewers and for changing a law which has existed for fifty-five years, as a result of which brewers have willingly paid nearly £1 million a year to the Exchequer, is that we no longer want red flags in front of motor cars or a red flag on any particular town hall.
If that is the best reason which can be given, it completely exposes the futility and chicanery of it. It is treating the Committee with contempt to expect either that we can accept the Clause, which is a monstrous Clause, or that we can accept that kind of infantile reasoning as a reason for introducing—
§ Mr. Fletcher
It is naked and unashamed relief of taxation to the brewers, giving them an uncovenanted benefit at the expense of the Exchequer. I hope that it will not need a great many more speeches from this side of the Committee to convince the Government they have made a serious mistake in having introduced the Clause. In view of the hollowness of the arguments which the Government have adduced in support of the Clause, I hope that they will now withdraw it.
§ Mr. Simmons
I think that we ought to have a little more illumination from the benches opposite because, when I first 892 came into politics, which was about the time of the Bill about which we are talking, the Tory Party was very voluble in support of the brewery industry. It was closely identified with the brewing trade. It now seems to be rather ashamed of that fact and to be trying to do favours to the brewing trade by backdoor methods.
A leading member of the Conservative Party once referred on a very famous occasion to the open hand at the Exchequer and the open door at the public house. It was the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), who was then a Liberal. When we remember that and when we see the open hand of the Chancellor being extended to the brewers we feel that the Conservative Party has not changed very much at all.
We have here a short little Clause hidden away in the Budget the object of which is to give a subvention to the brewers of the country. We are always hearing of the virtues of private enterprise from members of the Conservative Party. They say, "Leave it all to free enterprise. Good old private enterprise." Yet they subsidise the building of ships, the production of steel, and even 2d. off the pint of beer. The private enterprise brewers are so clever that when they take 2d. off the price of a pint of beer the Government propose to give them the money first. At the same time they can go on paying out enormous dividends. The "neck oil "factories in Birmingham are making enormous profits and paying out big dividends. This should make it unnecessary for the Government to use the taxpayers' money with which to subsidise a reduction in the price of beer.
We have a belief that the granting of a licence by a magistrate confers upon the person to whom the licence is granted a certain right and a certain monopoly. I do not see how one can get away from that. I hope that the Treasury Bench will be able to allay our fears about the matter. We are concerned as to how far the Clause is going to undermine the powers of the licensing magistrates—what discretion it is going to take away from them. At present, the granting of a licence is at the discretion of the licensing magistrates. When they grant a licence to a brewery that brewery has the sole right to purvey intoxicating liquors, or "neck oil", whichever one likes to 893 call it. from its establishment in a particular area.
Take a great city like Birmingham. I see some of my Birmingham colleagues present and I hope that they will back me up in what I am saying. My hon. Friend the Member for Northfield (Mr. Chapman) has an enormous number of electors in his constituency. On the other hand, my hon. Friend the Member for Ladywood (Mr. V. Yates) represents a constituency which is being depleted of electors. The public houses in Ladywood do not sell as much liquor today as they did because the population has moved out to Northfield. When the brewers go to Northfield they are granted a licence. But it would be no good granting them a licence if they had planted their public houses on a meadow or field some five or ten years ago because that meadow or field is now covered with council houses and factories within reasonable distance of other public amenities. They are public amenities provided by the corporation. There are corporation roads, transport, parks, swimming baths and council schools. All these amenities are created by the community. All that the brewers have to do is to dump down their hostelry there, get a licence and they are made. They have the monopoly value.
In effect, this Bill says that what the City of Birmingham does for its population is of no value at all. We should take no notice of that, because had the brewers gone there before the Corporation of Birmingham had done any of these things they would not have made a profit and they would not have sold any liquor. Of course they would not. The community has created the value of the site on which the public house is built.
A remarkable thing is that when a new council estate is being planned in Birmingham the first thing marked out is the site of the public house. That is done even before the planning of schools or other social amenities, and it leads one to suspect that the brewers value the monopoly value which the licence gives them.
The very fact that the brewing trade has to be licensed is another reason for seeing that its activities are very closely watched. In the old days we had an enormous amount of drunkenness in the 894 country—at the time about which the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Sir C. Taylor) spoke in his reference to red flags—and there was abject poverty It was that poverty which created drunkenness and the other social evils with which the licensing legislation of the period was designed to deal.
I hope that we shall not tamely let the Government insert in the Finance Bill this small Clause of about a dozen lines which proposes to take away from the community its right to the value which it has created for its members living in the area. My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) suggested that what we really need is a Bill to deal progressively with our licensing laws. That would be the honest way to do it, instead of through the back door of the Budget. Let the Government bring in a Bill to deal with the job honestly and straightforwardly, and to deal with the licensing laws of the country generally. Such a Bill could deal with clubs and pubs, the protection of young life and the social implications of the drink trade. Why cannot we have such a Bill?
There is not much on the Order Paper this Session, which still has some time to go. If the Tory Party is so barren of ideas of its own, why not borrow the idea of my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East, withdraw the Clause and put forward a proposal that we should deal in a comprehensive manner, in a comprehensive Bill, with the whole of our licensing laws? I would rather we were dealing with matters of more fundamental working-class importance, but we cannot expect that from the Conservative Party.
Until the Labour Party became a force in the House of Commons, the Tory Party spent most of its time during the 1906–1910 period talking about licensing. disestablishment in Wales and things like that. Working-class problems were shoved into the background. Not until Keir Hardie gingered up the Tories did they have to face working-class problems.
I would not myself make a licensing Bill the first priority for the Government, but if they were stuck to find something to do for the rest of this Parliament, which is dying on its feet, if they want to keep it employed and they cannot think of anything better to do, let them be 895 honest about their attitude about the drink trade and the licence trade and bring in, honestly and fairly and squarely, a Bill to deal with the problem instead of coming through the back door of the Budget.
§ Mr. Erroll
It might be helpful if at this stage I reply to those hon. Members who have already spoken and, in particular, to the opening remarks of the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall). He suggested that the Clause contains legislative obscurity, and the hon. Member for Brierley Hill (Mr. Simmons) also suggested that the Clause would undermine the power of the licensing justices. I should like to reassure the Committee straight away that the Clause, to use the right hon. Gentleman's own words, puts the matter beyond all question.
The Clause does not affect the powers of the licensing justices in any way. Indeed, its opening sentence, in subsection (1), states thatConditions shall no longer be attached to the grant of new justices' on-licences for the purpose of securing monopoly value to the public".Clearly, from the wording, that does not imply any change in the powers of the justices or in the considerations which they should have in mind when considering whether to grant an on-licence.
§ Mr. Donald Chapman (Birmingham, Northfield)
Is not the removal of the monopoly value in this case an open invitation to justices to be more free in the granting of licences? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] It leads one to suspect that they may be encouraged to think in those terms. We would like to have a clear answer.
§ Mr. Erroll
It is a matter for the licensing justices to decide for themselves exactly what conditions they should take into account before granting an on-licence. I hardly think that they would be likely to change their views on the ground that monopoly value was no longer to be levied. That consideration arises only after the decision has been made to grant the on-licence.
The main feature of the debate has been the whole principle of monopoly value—
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but we might as well get the position clear as we proceed. What I had in mind was Section 6 (2) of the Licensing Act 1953, which states:The licensing justices may attach to the grant of a new justices' on-licence such conditions governing the tenure of the licence and any other matters as they think proper in the interests of the public".That is a condition. The Clause definitely specifies thatConditions shall no longer be attached to the grant of new justices' on-licences for the purpose of securing monopoly value to the public".It does not say "monopoly value payment". This has been pointed out to me and I undertook to those interested that with my right hon. and hon. Friends I would try to settle the point. In spite of what the hon. Gentleman has said, I still am not clear.
§ Mr. Erroll
Obviously, there is no point in securing monopoly value if the payments will not be made. I do not see that the conditionfor the purpose of securing monopoly valuebeing no longer attached in any way affects the other powers of the licensing justices.
§ Mr. Erroll
They can still lay down conditions, but not those particular conditions, namely,Conditions … for the purpose of securing monopoly value".Those are the only conditions which are affected by the Clause. Other conditions can be laid down as heretofore. Nevertheless, I cannot at the moment check the right hon. Gentleman's exact reference to the 1953 Act, but I will look it up and make certain that what I have said accords with the facts.
§ Mr. Gibson
If no monopoly value is charged, presumably the justices can allow brewers to open their "pubs "on the corner of every street, as happened fifty years ago. Is that point covered by the Clause? As I read it, it is not.
§ Mr. Erroll
There is no change in regard to the number of on-licences which may be granted by the justices at their discretion. Their discretion was in no way hampered previously by the purpose 897 of securing monopoly value. They remain unfettered in the future, as in the past, regarding the number of on-licences that they are prepared to grant. There is no change whatever in that respect.
A number of hon. Members have referred to the fundamental principle of monopoly value. Several hon. Members have referred to the debates which took place in 1904 and some of my hon. Friends have pointed out that conditions have indeed changed since those days. That is one of the reasons why monopoly value does not have the importance today that it had in the past. The right hon. Member for Colne Valley said that everybody was content with the present arrangements and that there was no need for a change. I should like to point out that everyone was by no means content. 'The licensing trade has made representations for a number of years to the Treasury protesting against the continuance of monopoly value and pointing out the severe disadvantages which it entails for the on-licence holder.
It may be that in the conditions of 1904, a substantial monopoly value accrued to the possessor of an on licence, but conditions have changed in a number of important ways. In the first place, there has been a remarkable growth of clubs. There are now four times as many clubs in existence as there were in 1904. Secondly, the concept itself is an imperfect one, because the monopoly value fixed at the time the licence was granted cannot take into account any further licence which may be granted by the licensing justices in the ensuing year or two, although such a second licence effectively destroys a considerable part of the monopoly value granted to the first licence holder, who, incidentally, can get no benefit by way of rebate or repayment in respect of the monopoly value attached originally to 'his licence.
Thirdly—and this is an important social development—the consumption of beer, wines and spirits takes place to a much greater extent in the home today than perhaps it did in 1904. The off-licence holder is able to sell quite freely and easily to those who prefer to consume their alcoholic beverages in the home and this in turn reduces the monopoly content of the on-licensee's licence.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Erroll
I am coming to that.
The next point is that monopoly value does not arise in Scotland. There is. therefore, a conflict of principle between English practice and Scottish practice. In Scotland, this method has not been found necessary.
§ Mr. Erroll
It just shows that it is a very shaky principle.
One of the biggest disadvantages hither-to has been that it necessitated the fixing of the monopoly value in advance before those making the assessment could hope to be in a position to judge the prosperity or otherwise of the licence-holder. It was inevitably something of a "hit or miss" business. The right hon. Member for Colne Valley points out that it has been bringing in £700,000 to £800,000 annually. That is so, but the sum would be expected to decline as the programme for building new houses to replace the old ones comes to an end. It would be a declining source of revenue to the Exchequer.
I come now to what I think is the most important argument in favour of removing monopoly value, which is that the Royal Commission on Licensing (England and Wales), which sat between 1929 and 1931, thought that the provision tended to give an advantage to applicants with large financial resources. For what we believe to be extremely sound reasons, the Commission recommended the abolition of monopoly value.
Several hon. Members suggested that the money which no longer has to be paid in this way is something of a gift either to rich brewers or to publicans or is in some other way lost to the Exchequer. This is not so. It is, in effect, added to the duty on beer in the same way as the changes in excise liquor duty and club duty are added. I will try to explain this by reference to the figures in regard to beer. A reduction of 2d. a pint in the retail price of beer means that the retail price is reduced by 48s. a barrel. The beer duty reduction actually given in the 899 Finance Bill is only 43s. 7d. The remaining 4s. 5d., that is, the difference between 48s. and 43s. 7d., is accounted for by the licence duty, the club duty and the monopoly value reduction. These three items totalling 4s. 5d. per barrel must be borne by the trade. The consequential changes are matters to be worked out between the brewers, the publicans and the off-licence holders.
The amount which is apparently lost in this way is either recovered by the Exchequer or is passed on to the public in the form of the reduction of 2d. a pint. The monopoly value does not revert to the publican. It goes where it should go, namely, to the public themselves.
§ Mr. Simmons
Is it not true that it is a subsidy to the publican to help him to take 2d. off a pint of beer?
§ Mr. Erroll
No; the publican is not taking 2d. off. The brewer is taking 2d. off, although he is not receiving the full 2d. relief in the change of duty. The brewer is recovering from the retailer—I use the term in the most general sense—what the retailer would otherwise gain by the abolition or reduction of the duties which we have been discussing. The brewer is exactly where he was and, by and large, the retailer is about equally compensated for the higher price wholesale which he must pay for his beer, which is countervailed by the removal or reduction of the duties.
§ Mr. Erroll
It is hardly likely to become a benefit to the brewer if he is only passing on increased costs which have arisen in connection with the production of beer, because then he is merely passing on costs which can either appear as an increase in the retail price or be accepted in the form of smaller profit margins by the wholesale and retail sections of the trade. If costs go down, one 900 relies on the competitive nature of the brewing industry to ensure that lower prices are charged to the public.
§ Mr. Erroll
We believe that, if costs go down, provided that there is a competitive system, as there is in the production and distribution of beer, the result is a reduction in prices to the public. It depends on how much costs go down and on the unit costs of sale.
The hon. Member for Clapham (Mr. Gibson) spoke about the compensation charge. There is no change at all with regard to the compensation charge. It is a levy on the trade. The compensation authorities can vary the sum which they fix each year. No part of the compensation charge accrues to the Exchequer, and it involves no revenue cost. The compensation charge not being mentioned in Clause 5, it is really not an appropriate matter for discussion at this stage, but I thought that I might help the hon. Gentleman by making that point clear now.
The points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Eastbourne (Sir C. Taylor) will be noted most closely by my right hon. Friend and myself before a final decision is arrived at.
I hope that what I have said will reassure the Committee as to the soundness of our proposals and that the Committee will now accept the Clause.
§ Mr. Ede
We are sometimes accused of being doctrinnaire on this side of the Committee. I wonder what view the hon. Gentleman the Economic Secretary takes of the statement that the Government rely for the adjustment of all these problems on the competitive nature of the brewing industry. I only hope that, in the course of many years, he will at last reach the position of Home Secretary. He will then know exactly how much trust can be placed on the competitive nature of the brewing industry. One of the most amazing examples of the way in which small trading has been gradually, over the years, absorbed in huge, capitalistic co-operative enterprises is shown by the brewing industry. Local brewing firms throughout the country now have virtually disappeared. There are a few 901 large interests which divide the new houses between them in accordance with their own plan. Really, the hon. Gentleman must think of something better than that to justify this proposal.
I gather that nothing is to happen to those people who, like the firm for whom the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Sir C. Taylor) pleaded, have paid monopoly value. Everyone before 1904 escaped having to pay monopoly value, unless they so much improved the house that, when they came for sanction for the improvements, it was obvious that they had created a new set of premises. All people who, after 28th April, 1959, take out a new licence will not have to pay monopoly value. The people in between, between the appointed day in the Act of 1904 and the appointed day in 1959, will have paid. What will happen to their payments? Will the people who have paid what is now regarded as an unjustifiable sum get a refund?
I wish that we could have been told the way 2n which monopoly value has been calculated. I was a licensing magistrate for nearly forty years. We granted some new licences during that period. As far as I could make out, the calculation was arranged between an accountant acting for the brewer and an accountant acting on behalf of the Treasury. They assured us that they had arrived at an agreement and that the figure was so much. I never heard either side cross-examine the other on the way in which the figure was arrived at. I agree with the Economic Secretary that it is very difficult to arrive at the figure. It must have been, because nobody ever ventured to explain how it was done nor where it was arrived at.
Let us take the reasons that, we understand, have now been advanced by someone or other to the Treasury why the requirements as to monopoly value should disappear. Monopoly value is a fact, and let there be no doubt about it. When a licence is granted to a person to carry on a trade in a particular house, from that moment that house has an additional value in the market. The people who own the house are very careful to see that the conduct of the person associated with the house shall be such as never to place that value in jeopardy. If a licensee has the misfortune to be convicted in a magistrates' court of an offence against 902 the law dealing with this trade, he is rarely the person who applies for the renewal of the licence at the next sessions. In those circumstances, a person who has received the kind of testimonials that are required from every person who holds a licence, which are far higher testimonials than are required by any bishop or dignitary of any of the Churches of which I have heard, is installed.
Therefore, a monopoly value is created by the act of the justices in agreeing that certain premises meet with their approval for the conduct of this trade. In almost any other trade, if a man thinks that there is a good market for the exploitation of his trading skill he can open a shop, and no one can question it. It is true that during the war it was necessary to limit that for the time being, but, by and large. a man can practise any trade or profession that he likes, but he runs the risk of someone opening another shop in competition with him.
In the licensing trade, if a man has a justices' licence, he has the right to object to someone else opening a house in close proximity to him. If he objects, the licensing justices have placed before them by the applicant and by the opponent maps of the district showing the number of houses within a quarter of a mile, half mile and one mile radius and the number of licences in that area. There is no doubt that the grant of a justices' licence confers on an individual a very substantial right to a monopoly in the area and very considerable proof must be adduced that the requirements of the area should be met by the granting of another licence.
The trade has now moved from the on-licence to the off-licence. During the latter part of my experience as chairman of a licensing committee, every year we received applications from people holding off-licences to remove some of the limitations that had been placed on them at the behest of the on-licence holders when the first application for an off-licence was made. Whereas in the old days people took home half a dozen bottles of ale or would have half a dozen bottles of ale delivered to their homes, nowadays, when they want licensed products in the house while watching television, they never want half a dozen bottles but only one bottle. People consume liquor in such small quantities that they do not require a pint bottle. 903 They therefore asked that a special kind of sale should be made by which they could have three bottles each containing one-third of a pint—a habit which they appear to have picked up in their childhood, when they were provided with milk in one-third pint bottles at school. I know of no other explanation for this particularly curious development.
It was said that difficulty is caused because the amount has to be fixed in advance. Many calculations of this kind, such as in the purchase of businesses, and so on, are made by fixing the amount to be paid in advance. In fifty years an arrangement has grown up which I am sure no one connected with the trade will deny, namely, that very rarely, if ever, is the amount contested before the justices when it has been made at the kind of conference which I have mentioned.
Monopoly value is a value created by an administrative act associated with the Government. When the country creates such a value, I do not see why it should not have the right to receive it. There may be speculations about unearned increment in land and many other things when one attempts to forecast the future, but one thing that is certain is that, if a justices' licence is granted, an artificial value in the premises concerned is created from that moment.
Would the brewing trade agree that there should be no monopoly and that anybody should be able to open a place where intoxicating liquors can be sold? If it is a hardship to pay a monopoly value, will they agree that anybody shall be able to open premises at which these commodities can be sold?
There is no question here of moral issues. It is purely the commercial question: is there a value in the conferment on a particular person of the right to be able to carry on this trade in a certain set of premises with the certainty that no fresh competition can be brought into that trade in his area without his being able to object to the licensing justices on the grounds that he has bought a monopoly value that should not be interfered with?
There can be no case for this Clause at all. In fact, there has not been any attempt to make out a case. That being so, I sincerely hope that my right hon. 904 and hon. Friends will go into the Lobby against it.
§ Mr. Redhead
Having listened with very great care to the Economic Secretary—because I was exceedingly puzzled, earlier, about the real reason for this proposal—I remain completely unconvinced of the justification of this Clause. I submit most earnestly to the Committee that a provision that was introduced by this Parliament as long ago, admittedly, as 1904, after the most earnest thought, ought not to be abandoned lightly or without some much more solid reason given than we have had from the Economic Secretary today.
What does the hon. Gentleman say? He says that conditions have changed since 1904. Certain hon. Gentlemen opposite were restive when some of my hon. Friends reminded them of the arguments that brought this monopoly value provision originally on to the Statute Book. They did not take note, nor did the Economic Secretary remind us, when he brought in aid the Report of the Royal Commission of 1931, whose recommendation was that monopoly value should be abolished—which recommendation, he said, was backed up with very good reasons—that this very provision was reenacted in the Licensing Act, 1953, during the tenure of office of the party opposite.
If that principle was good in 1904, and was again, presumably, judged still sound in 1953, why is it no longer considered good and sufficient? One cannot be other than highly suspicious of the whole of the present proposal, and of the very peculiar arguments that have been advanced in its favour.
There has been an increase in the number of clubs, but not at a particularly high rate. There has been an increase of only about 5 per cent. in the total number of clubs since 1953—that is, since the provision was last re-enacted. The Economic Secretary was at great pains to suggest that there really was no longer any monopoly at all. Nevertheless, it has been yielding a high revenue. The revenue varies from year to year because of the progress in building, or interruptions of the building programme, but it amounted to between £700,000 per annum and over £1 million only a couple of years ago. 905 We have had a reiteration of the argument adduced by the hon. Gentleman on Second Reading that the principle of retaining the monopoly value for the public was being preserved by converting the charge into an addition to the beer July. To speak bluntly, I just cannot understand that line of argument. It is an echo of the earlier contention of the Financial Secretary, who told us that the total cost of all the reliefs in licence duty, club duty and monopoly value was £5½ million. He added, however, that this is not forgone by the Exchequer because the benefit is passed on to the consumer to make up, with the reduction in the beer duty, the 2d. a pint off the retail price of beer.
The fact is that it is forgone by the Treasury. The Exchequer no longer takes and retains this monopoly value. It is no good trying to involve us in arguments about putting the charge on the beer duty when, in fact, the whole of this operation is directed to the purpose of reducing the sum total burden upon beer. The fact is that the Treasury is not receiving this revenue.
I am very puzzled to know why the Financial Secretary made this gratuitous explanation at all. I have tried to discover the reason but I have failed— unless it be that he was anxious that it should not be observed that the concessions amount to considerably more than even the trade itself has been urging in all its representations on the subject. What is meant, we discover, is that the remission of monopoly value payment, estimated by the Chancellor in respect of this year—had the provision continued—at: about £700,000, has been appropriated to the reduction in the retail price of beer. Thus, it has been added to the relief on the beer duty itself, but the benefit does not remain with the public in general—that is, with the Exchequer. As I have explained, the Exchequer definitely abandons this revenue.
I would again remind the Committee that, as some of my hon. Friends have mentioned, there can be no guarantee whatsoever that these reliefs will be passed on. or that things will remain in their present happy position for any length of time. One can imagine the pretexts on the part of the brewers in no far distant time when they bring to their own benefit the remissions they are 906 now enjoying. To the extent that it is passed on, it is passed on not to the general public, but to beer drinkers only. who, on the most optimistic anticipation of the Financial Secretary, represent only about half the population—
§ Mr. Redhead
Hitherto, judging by the representations to which the Economic Secretary has referred, this has been a burden not upon the public, but on the brewers, who have been responsible for the agitation. We have said that we welcome the tidying-up of liquor licence duties upon which the Chancellor is engaged in the Bill. I certainly commend him for taking an obviously sensible step in removing a very complicated schedule of liquor licences and substituting for it a series of registration fees that will achieve what has now become a fundamental purpose of licences, which is to facilitate the control of revenue.
This monopoly value, however, is not an essential part of the administrative tidying-up process. Monopoly value stands on its own, and is not in any strict sense a licence duty. It has, in fact, been swept up with the reductions in that duty to add to the beer duty remissions so as to bring about the 2d. reduction in the pint of beer at the retail end.
I know that the Chancellor is wedded very passionately to this concept of a reduction in the price of beer. I know that he is most anxious to preserve every possible element towards this ultimate end. But I was amused to find the Minister thinking up, as yet another reason for this step, that it ensured that the fiscal remissions extended palpably to the productive worker, and not least to those who do not pay Income Tax. He became most lyrical about the reduction in the beer duty which, on the most optimistic calculation, amounts, for his regular, moderate drinker, to not more than about £2 or £3 a year, but which compares very strangely, as an exercise in the fiscal equity, with the reductions that some Income Tax payers will derive from other parts of the Bill.
Quite frankly, the reduction looks more like a reflection of the rather typical, old-fashioned and by no means 907 flattering Tory view of the British workman as being a creature only interested to the exclusion of more important matters in his pint of "wallop", and. therefore, that 2d. off a pint could be calculated to make him cheer in gratitude, and dutifully vote Tory at the next General Election. If that was what he contemplated, I am quite certain that the Chancellor has miscalculated, because I do not imagine that he will have cheers from the ranks of the old-age pensioners who have been sorrily dealt with in this Bill and who are not likely to derive much benefit from it.
But granting the Chancellor his purpose of seeking to secure this reduction in the price of beer, may I say most emphatically that it is not essential for that purpose that he should have this Clause. What does it amount to? The revenue that he forgoes by this Clause amounts to £700,000, on his own estimate, and its effect on the price of beer is one-twenty-fifth of a ld. I do not believe for a moment that the brewers are in such a parlous condition that they cannot sustain that slight contribution to the Chancellor's purpose in the price of beer.
I remain completely unconvinced by the reasons that have been advanced, and I must tell the Chancellor that what the Economic Secretary said this afternoon has not induced us on this side of the Committee to change our view. So strongly do we feed about it that we shall take our point of view into the Division Lobby.
There is one thing on which I can agree with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Redhead), and that is that this Clause is not necessary to obtain the object of reducing the price of beer by 2d. That is the only reason that I intervene. We could perfectly well have brought that about by leaving the monopoly value where it was, But hon. Members opposite seem very reluctant ever to bring themselves to acknowledge that times have changed since 1904.
I should like to say that we listened, as we always do, with very great interest indeed to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede). I know that he has almost unrivalled experience in this 908 matter from the point of view of the administration of justice.
We are making this change because of the growing amount of evidence that today, in present circumstances, the monopoly value procedure was not working fairly. That was thought to be so even in 1931, by the Royal Commission. Hon. Gentlemen have asked why we did not make the change in 1953. The answer is because the other changes that we are making, and the reduction in the beer duty, afforded us an opportunity of making this change which would otherwise have been difficult to do.
I want to stress what the Economic Secretary said, that this is not putting an additional burden on the taxpayer at all. What we are doing is this. A reduction in the duty on beer that would have been represented by 2d. a pint would have amounted to 48s. a barrel. Instead of giving that concession to the brewers we are giving a smaller concession of 43s. 7d. a barrel instead of 48s. The difference between the 43s. 7d. that they get and the 48s. which they would have been entitled to get as representing a fall of 2d. is represented by the gain to the trade in the aggregate from the change in the licence duties and the removal of the monopoly value.
If our premise that the monopoly value procedure was not working fairly is right, it seems that this step which we have taken is extremely sensible and that it certainly will not work out to the disadvantage of the taxpayer. Therefore, I hope that the Committee will approve the Clause as it stands.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
The Chancellor's intervention seems to have carried the confusion still further. Quite apart from his contradiction about 1931 and 1953, he is still harking back to 1931 to get his argument, yet in 1953 this Government re-enacted the monopoly value procedure. The Chancellor has entirely failed to show why it is considered right by the Government to do this thing and why it has to be done in the Finance Bill at this time. It has been traditionally dealt as part of licensing procedure. The Royal Commission referred to licensing and not to finance. Why has the Chancellor brought this highly controversial little measure into the Finance Bill this year? 909 He has been explaining his little calculations about an item which makes a difference of only one twenty-fifth of a penny per pint, and he has gone so far as to agree with my hon. Friends that this was not necessary in order to secure a reduction in the price of a pint of beer.
I explained that because we were altering the rate this year in the beer duty this was a convenient moment to alter it in respect of these other matters as well.
§ Mr. Wilson
What the Chancellor has done is to get through a highly controversial matter, one which many of us on this side of the Committee and many people in the country not connected with the Labour Party or any party consider to be a vicious principle, and he is doing this by the back door in the Finance Bill.
§ Mr. Wilson
If the hon. Gentleman wants to debate the Institute of Directors with me I shall be glad to do so, although I am sure that I should be as out of order as the hon. Gentleman was in his intervenion. I suggest that the Institute should read its own newspaper, the Director, before it starts talking about things it knows nothing about.
To return to the question of the Finance Bill, we strongly suspect that the reason that the Chancellor has brought this highly controversial Measure forward has nothing to do directly with the Finance Bill and will affront a lot of public opinion. I think we can say that we have debated it in an atmosphere very different from that in which these matters were debated in 1904 and the years that followed. Nevertheless, this is a principle that should have stood on its own. If the Government wanted to introduce
§ it, they should have brought it in in a properly constituted licensing Bill. I suppose that the Chancellor hoped to get this through on the nod or submerge it in the enormous volume of beer that is envisaged under Clause 1 of the Bill, and that somehow it would escape notice.
§ We are quite unconvinced that it should have been done in this way. The Government surely would not have introduced a betting reform in the Finance Bill; they would have introduced a betting Bill if ever they were going to introduce betting reform and not in this way. We are convinced that this is the wrong way to deal with this problem, and we also believe that, even if it were the right way, it is the wrong principle to introduce that the monopoly value should now be abolished.
§ The arguments have been put forcibly by my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall), my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) and other hon. Members, and we have had no satisfactory explanation at all. The more we think, about this, the more we begin to wonder whether there was some other hidden motive for this particular sell-out to the brewers this year. Surely it could not have been because the Tory Party funds are getting so low. Surely there is confidence that the vast industrial and brewery empires are doing political propaganda for them, although admittedly somewhat ham-handedly and inefficiently. Surely it was not necessary for the Chancellor to use the Finance Bill for the purposes of another sell-out to the brewing community. Therefore, we intend to challenge this in the Lobby.
§ Question put, That the Clause stand part of the Bill:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 227, Noes 184.913
|Division No. 104.]||AYES||[6.10 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Bryan, P.|
|Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Bingham, R. M.||Burden, F. F. A.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden)|
|Ashton, H.||Bishop, F. P.||Campbell, Sir David|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Body, R. F.||Cary, Sir Robert|
|Balniel, Lord||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Channon, H. P. G.|
|Barber, Anthony||Boyle, Sir Edward||Chichester-Clark, R.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Brains, B. R.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)|
|Barter, John||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Cole, Norman|
|Batsford, Brian||Brewis, John||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Brooman-White, R. C.||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Cunningham, Knox||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.)||Pott, H. P.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|D'Avigdor Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Iremonger, T. L.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Prior-Palmer, Brig, O. L.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Doughty, C.J.A.||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)||Redmayne, M.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Duncan, Sir James||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Elliott, R. W. (Ne'castle upon Tyne, N.)||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Kershaw, J. A.||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Lagden, G. W.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Lambton, Viscount||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Fell, A.||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Finlay, Graeme||Leather, E. H. C.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfleld)||Sharples, R. C.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Shepherd, William|
|Forrest, G.||Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Foster, John||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Freeth, Denzil||Loveys, Walter H.||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Speir, R. M.|
|Gammons, Lady||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Glover, D.||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Glyn, Cot. Richard H.||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Storey, S.|
|Godber, J. B.||McLean, Nell (Inverness)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Goodhart, Philip||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Gough, C. F. H.||McMaster, Stanley||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Gower, H. R.||Macmillan, Maurice (Hallfax)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Green, A.||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Teeling, W.|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Manningharn-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Gurden, Harold||Marshall, Douglas||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Mathew, R.||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Harrison, A. B. C. (Maidon)||Mawby, R. L.||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur vere (Macciesf'd)||Medlicott, Sir Frank||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.|
|Hay, John||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Nairn, D. L. S.||Wall, Patrick|
|Hesketh, R. F.||Neave, Airey||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Webster, David|
|Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hn. Allan||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Noble, Michael (Argyll)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Nugent, G. R. H.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Oakshott, H. D.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Hope, Lord John||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Hornby, R. P.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Page, R. G.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Horobin, Sir Ian||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Flerence||Partridge, E.||TELERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Howard, Hon. GreviIle (St. Ives)||Peel, W. J.||Mr. Hughes-Young and|
|Howard, John (Test)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Mr. Whitelaw|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Brown, Thomas (lnce)||Diamond, John|
|Albu, A. H.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Dodds, N. N.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Carmichael, J.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Edelman, M.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Champion, A. J.||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Chapman, W. D.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)|
|Balfour, A.||Chetwynd, G. R.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Cliffe, Michael||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)|
|Benson, Sir George||Coldrink, W.||Fernyhough, E.|
|Beswick, Frank||Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Finch, H. J. (Bedwelity)|
|Blackburn, F.||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Fitch, A. E. (Wigan)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Cove, W. G.||Fletcher, Eric|
|Blyton, W. R.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Forman, J. C.|
|Bonham Carter, Mark||Cronin, J. D.||George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Gibson, C. W.|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Gooch, E. G.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.|
|Boyd, T. C.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Grenfelt, Rt. Hon. D. R.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Delargy H. J.||Grey, C. F.|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Grimond, J.||McCann, J.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Hale, Leslie||MacColl, J. E.||Ross, William|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Mclnnes, J.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Hannan, W.||McLeavy, Frank||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Hastings, S.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Hayman, F. H.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Hilton, A. V.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Mason, Roy||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Holman, P.||Mayhew, C. P.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Holmes, Horace||Mitchison, G. R.||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Holt, A. F.||Moody, A. S.||Stonehouse, John|
|Houghton, Douglas||Moss, R.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Moyle, A.||Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oliver, G. H.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Hunter, A. E.||Oram, A. E.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Orbach, M.||Timmons, J.|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attarsliffe)||Oswald, T.||Tomney, F.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Owen, W. J.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Padley, W. E.||Plant, S. P.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Paget, R. T.||Wade, D. W.|
|Danner, B.||Parker, J.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Parkin, B. T.||Weitzman, D.|
|Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Paton, John||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Pearson, A.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Pentland, N.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Poppiewell, E.||Willey, Frederick|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Prentice, R. E.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Williams, Rev. Liywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Lawson, G. M.||Rankin, John||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Ledger, R. J.||Redhead, E. C.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Reeves, J.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Reid, William||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Reynolds, G. W.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A,||Zilliacus, K.|
|Lipton, Marcus||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Logan, D. G.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Short and Mr. Deer.|
I beg to move,
That consideration of Clauses 6 to 28 and of new Clauses be postponed till after consideration of Schedules 1 and 2.
The other day I had a conversation with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) about our procedure. He told me that he thought that it would be convenient to his hon. Friends and himself if we did the same as we did last year and debated the Schedules at the same time or took them immediately after the Clauses to which they referred. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that that would be for the convenience of the Committee. It worked well last year. However, through an oversight, a Motion to that effect was not put on the Notice Paper.
If the right hon. Gentleman asks through whose fault, it was mine. If he asks why I committed this oversight, I would say that I think my mind was so full of good intentions towards the right hon. Gentleman that this matter slipped my mind. It is in those circumstances that I move the Motion.
§ we had this informal conversation a few days before Second Reading. On that occasion, I suggested that it would be for the convenience of the Committee if, a.' in some previous years, we took the Schedules with the Clauses to which they relate. This, of course, is one more example of the practical way in which we on this side of the Committee have been helping the Government to gat the Finance Bill through year after year. If any Opposition were determined to hold up the Finance Bill—which we on this side of the Committee have never been—there could be no easier way of doing it than to keep the Schedules until the end and then table a whole series of Amendments on them.
§ This is the second year in which there has been an oversight and a failure to put the Motion on the Notice Paper. Last year, the Chancellor and his colleagues had not even thought of bringing the Schedules in with the Clauses. It is usual to do that. It was done in 1955, and it has been done on other occasions. We suggested it to the right hon. Gentleman last year and, therefore, had to agree to a manuscript Amendment.915
§ In view of the frank way in which the Chancellor has made it clear that he is responsible for not having put the Motion on the Notice Paper, it is not unreasonable that we should have a manuscript Motion. It is a good thing that the right hon. Gentleman will not be on the Front Bench opposite next year to obtain a hat trick of these oversights in the matter of the Finance Bill. Shortly, I shall seek to move that the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again, in order to draw attention to some other rather serious matters which suggest, even on the most charitable interpretation, a very serious oversight on the part of the Treasury in the matter of procedure on the Finance Bill. But I did not think that before I had a chance to move such a Motion we should have a confession from the Chancellor on a simple matter of this kind that he had forgotten to put a Motion on the Paper. In the circumstances, I shall recommend my hon. Friends to agree to the Motion.
§ Question put and agreed to.