HC Deb 07 April 1960 vol 621 cc709-26

[Queen's Recommendation signified.]

Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 84 (Money Committees).

[Sir GORDON TOUCHE in the Chair]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session relating to finance, it is expedient to authorise such increase in the sums which, under section forty-two of the Finance Act, 1956, are authorised or required to be issued out of the Consolidated Fund, raised by borrowing, or paid into the Exchequer, as may be attributable to any provision of the said Act of the present Session continuing the power to make advances under that section (subject to the limits for the time being in force on the borrowing powers of the bodies to which such advances may be made), and repealing the limit imposed by subsection (3) of that section on the total of the advances which may be made thereunder.—[Mr. Amory.]

10.27 p.m.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)

We have—

Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)

On a point of order, Sir Gordon. May I now raise a point which I did not raise before, because I did not want to interrupt the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) referred once or twice to the Clerk of the House and I have always understood that that is out of order because it is the Chairman, or Mr. Speaker, who takes the responsibility. If, when the Clerk of the House, who is a servant of this House, gives advice informally, as he does, he is to be quoted in the House, I think that it will be a great embarrassment to him. I am sure that it is wrong.

I do not know whether you can give a Ruling on the subject, but I hope that it is not something which is to become a precedent. I think that we must quote only Mr. Speaker, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, or the Chairman, but never a servant of the House. I wish to put in a most emphatic way to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kidderminster that he does not advance his case by so doing.

Mr. Gerald Nabarro (Kidderminster)

Further to that point of order, Sir Gordon. I humbly apologise if I was out of order in the reference which I made. I was not aware then that I was out of order, but I have now been reminded by my right hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft). I apologise for my error, which I shall not repeat.

The Chairman

It is undoubtedly a very undesirable practice.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

It would appear that if this Motion is passed there will be a Clause in the Finance Bill which will provide for the financing of the nationalised industries for three years and, in that event, all the undesirable things which my hon. Friend has enumerated will take place. We shall endeavour to amend them, industry by industry and line by line, because we fundamentally feel that the financing of the nationalised industries should be taken out of the Budget and the Finance Bill and be used as a separate occasion.

To stop these undesirable results occurring it would be in order if we voted against this Motion, because then, I think, the Government would be obliged to introduce a special Bill, which would be the Nationalised Industries Finance Bill and that Bill could be debated in the normal way. There would be a Second Reading and a Committee stage, possibly upstairs, or on the Floor of the House, and there should be a general discussion which would present an admirable opportunity for Parliament to exercise its control over the financing of the nationalised industries.

Hon. Members have at various times complained in past years because the capital expenditure programme of the Government was never brought on to the Floor of the House of Commons. I remember the Leader of the Liberal Party intervening in various debates and making this point. In the Budget and in the Finance Bill we have meticulous opportunities of looking at the detailed structure of taxation and getting it changed. In the Estimates, particularly if the Labour Party would use its opportunities correctly throughout the year, we would have meticulous occasions on which we could look at the current expenditure of public Departments. Parliament, in its wisdom, and our procedure have provided over many decades that the current Government expenditure and the current tax-raising capacity of the Government can be reviewed by hon. Members over very long periods of time.

It is a novel procedure, arising out of the war and Socialist nationalisation Acts, that this vast new element of taxation has been injected into the community. It was not so before, and it forms an appreciable percentage of the total amount expended by the nation. We spend £5,000 million a year in current expenditure and raise that amount in taxes. Here is £500 million or £600 million, an appreciable amount, which is quite new in our finances and ought, I think, to be dealt with in a separate way.

I invite the Committee to reject this Motion, because of the immense inconvenience that will ultimately be caused. That would oblige the Government to produce the sort of Bill that we can debate on Second Reading and in Committee and take some time over to see exactly what the plans of the nationalised industries are and approve them point by point. It is not only a question of separation of the nationalised industries financing from the general accounts of the nation which is important. There is this new provision that the Government want to take powers for three years to put into this Finance Bill this summer a sum which is to last for three years. After that time there will be no occasion for the next three years in which we can review the expenditure of the nationalised industries.

I hope that the Committee will come to the conclusion that this is a reasonable idea and that we are not trying to introduce something novel or distasteful to the Committee. This is an occasion when quite substantial elements of policy will pass from our control unless we do something about it. I invite the Committee to say that this Motion should not be passed, in the knowledge that by so doing we shall secure a proper Money Bill, equivalent to the Finance Bill, related solely to the nationalised industries and giving us an annual opportunity of looking at their financing until such happy time supervenes when the finances of the nationalised in- dustries can be hived off on to the market and we can forget about them.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Anthony Barber)

I was not sure whether I heard my noble Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) correctly, but I understood him to say that he thought it might be a good idea if the particular Bill that he is advocating were considered upstairs. He has had far more Parliamentary experience than I have had, but it seems to me that if this matter is of such great importance— and I agree with him that it is—it would hardly be appropriate to have it considered by a small Committee. It would be better that it should be considered on the Floor of the House.

In any event, on the question of whether or not we should have a separate Bill, I do not think—I hope that the Committee will excuse my brevity on this particular aspect—that there is anything I can add to what I said to my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) on the earlier Motion, which, of course, was concerned exclusively with the question of whether or not his proposals should be contained in the Finance Bill, in a separate Bill, or dealt with in some other way.

This Motion is concerned, as was the earlier one, with the financing of the capita] requirements of certain of the nationalised industries. It is needed, first, to authorise the inclusion in the Finance Bill of a Clause to allow for the issue from the Consolidated Fund of sums up to the aggregate amount of the limit prescribed by law in respect of borrowing by the nationalised industries. Secondly, it is concerned with borrowing by the Treasury of sums to allow us to replace the money issued. Thirdly, it is concerned with the application of repayments of principal and interest. That, as I understand, is the technical content of this Motion.

My hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminister, who spoke on the earlier Motion, and my noble Friend have misunderstood one aspect. I say so respectfully, because it was a matter which did not appear to me when I first considered these two Motions. My hon. Friends will see that nowhere in the two Motions is there a reference to three years.

My right hon. Friend made clear what his proposals are. He wishes to take these powers for a further three years, but these two Motions are drawn deliberately in such a way as to leave open the question whether the powers should be taken for one year, two years, or three years—or, as was suggested by the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) on the previous occasion, without any limit of time. Consequently, that is a matter which could properly be discussed in Committee on the Finance Bill.

I hope that my hon. Friends will give us at any rate a little credit for this. In fairness to the Committee, it was thought that it was right that this matter should be left open this year, as in previous years.

Mr. Nabarro

Will my hon. Friend answer this question? [Interruption.] I hear my hon. Friend the Member for Bebington (Sir H. Oakshott) grumbling at me for asking questions. I shall go on asking questions about these huge sums of money. Is it not the position that, unless we amend the Finance Bill to reduce the three-year period of financing to one year, my hon. Friend's explanation is no longer valid? The object of my exercise this evening is to get annual accountability. I cannot get annual accountability unless one of two things happens. Either this Motion is negatived, or the Government accept a reduction from three years to one year when the appropriate Clause of the Finance Bill comes along.

Mr. Barber

I wish to make only two points on that. The first of them seems to be by far and away the most important on this aspect of the discussion. Whether it is one year, two years or three years does not arise on this Motion. I will be perfectly frank with my hon. Friend. If he cares, in Committee, to table an Amendment to the effect that he would prefer that it should be one year, although I did not put it as bluntly as this when I spoke a few moments ago, that is just the sort of question which we can consider during the Committee stage. But I do not think that it is right for it to be considered in any detail on the consideration of this Motion, which makes no reference to the period in question.

I hope that my words will not be taken too literally, but, broadly speaking, this Motion seeks to enable a Clause to be included in the Finance Bill, which Clause will be concerned primarily with the method of financing the nationalised industries. I thought that my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster said on the earlier Motion that he was not opposed to this method.

Mr. Nabarro

I said that I would not cavil at this stage.

Mr. Barber

I accept my hon. Friend's assurance. As this is concerned with the method of financing, at which he will not cavil at this stage, and as I can give him the assurance without any qualification that the period remains open for consideration in Committee on the Finance Bill, I hope that he will allow this Motion to pass.

Major H. Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)

On a point of order. I wonder whether I might put this point to you, Sir William. When we debated the Consolidated Fund Bill a Ruling was given about the possibility of raising matters of this sort. In view of the wording of this Motion, which actually refers to increasing sums issued from the Consolidated Fund, may I humbly suggest to you, Sir William, that perhaps the Chairman might be prepared to consider a revision of his Ruling on that matter for the future?

The Deputy-Chairman (Major Sir William Anstrurher-Gray)

I do not think that I would be prepared to undertake to do that just now.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

I should have thought that this was a matter that ought to be considered very seriously by both sides of the Committee from the point of view, if I might put it first, of the future convenience of the House. Some hon. Members who, like myself, have pre-war experience of the House will remember the annual frolic that we used to have on the Army Bill when large numbers of Amendments were put down and when it was expected that the House would sit all night considering them.

It is quite clear from what the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) has said that whichever side happens to be in opposition to the Government—I put it that way in view of the claim that the hon. Gentleman has made, and I expect that shortly there will be some dispute between himself and the noble Lord as to who is entitled to the room that will be allotted—we might quite easily, in periods when the House gets into a bad temper, be inconvenienced. Of course, new Members have never seen the House in that condition, but those who have know the inconveniences that can then be inflicted by a very small group on the rest of the House when this kind of continued discussion proceeds on this sort of matter.

No one can contend that the matter of the financing of the capital of nationalised industries is other than a very important part of the national financing at the present time. Some of us take the view that as a result of criticism, and the fear of it, the public sector does not get the amount it ought to have compared with the private sector. Future discussions may not all be along the lines of recent discussions.

Both points of view have the right of expression here. I would say to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if I may, that this is obviously a matter on which a snap decision ought not to be taken and that there should be discussions through the usual channels and with Members who are known to be interested in this sort of matter so that we can come to some arrangement by which the public interest can be served and by which Members desirous of raising these matters can do so without being accused, sometimes quite wrongly, of trying to inflict inconvenience upon other Members of the House.

I only hope that I have said nothing that apportions any blame to anybody, but from this side of the Committee I continually hear questions being asked about how we can get more accountability for the nationalised industries. I think that it will be in the interests of both parties.

I do not regard the occupants of the Treasury Bench as other than people holding a very short leasehold interest in the position they occupy. I have been a Member of the House of Commons long enough now to know that most unexpected reversals of fortune come. There may be a few right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench tonight trying to relieve themselves of some possibility of discussion who may, in a few years' time, wish themselves back in the old days and be able to do what other hon. Members used to do. I would urge that this is not a matter which ought to be pressed till serious efforts have been made by those capable of speaking for both sides to ensure reasonable arrangements are made.

I make no claim to speak for this side. I speak for myself only on this as on other matters, but I think that all ought to try to see whether we can get some reasonable arrangements on this highly important question.

1.0.45 p.m.

Sir Toby Low (Blackpool, North)

The Committee is concerned, in this short discussion, with the very important question whether, between Finance Bills, we are or are not able to discuss the very large capital investments of the nationalised industries. I venture to intervene because I happen to have the duty, as Chairman of the Select Committee on the Nationalised Industries, of studying these problems. I venture to put this point to my right hon. and hon. Friends on both sides of the Committee. Surely it is possible to discuss the capital investment programmes of nationalised industries within our normal procedures.

The nationalisation Acts make the specified Ministers responsible for approving the investment programmes of each nationalised industry. In their various different ways they make various Ministers responsible for approving borrowings. If the House wants at any time to raise a question whether a proposed investment programme is right or wrong, it has the opportunity in the ordinary course of business—Supply days, and so on.

I sympathise with my hon. Friends in this, that the choice of subjects on those days is not ours on this side but the choice of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, and that, therefore, it is their choice whether those opportunities exist or not. That is certainly one trouble. To be fair to them, however, there is this fact, that there are nationalised industries days on which we do discuss important affairs of the nationalised industries.

I would remind right hon. and hon. Members, too, that the Select Committee of which I have the honour to be Chairman makes Reports to the House. I regret to say that the House does not always debate those Reports. In those Reports we go very carefully into not only the capital expenditure of the past of the nationalised industry we are reporting on at the time, but such programmes as may have been put in front of us, and more important still, into the general procedures.

It seems to me that my hon. Friends here are over-pessimistic in saying that there is no opportunity between Finance Bills to discuss this very important question. There is opportunity if we choose to take advantage of it. My hon. Friend, who is always right in these matters, says, "If the Opposition choose to take advantage of it". I think that is true, but I repeat what I said a moment ago, that there are the nationalised industries days of which we can take advantage, too.

Just to take up the point which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) made, I think that there is room here for improved procedures. Any hon. Gentleman who joined the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries would see the full difficulties, and I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that there can be some improvement in procedures.

Mr. Roy Jenkins (Birmingham, Stechford)

There seem to me to be two rather distinct issues here. First, there is the question whether the House has the opportunity, if it wishes to take it, to discuss the nationalised industries between Finance Bills. Secondly, there is the distinct issue of whether, if legislative sanction has to be given to these advances, it is better given as part of the Finance Bill or in a separate Bill.

I think that it is not impossible that the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) is better on a small point than a big one. It seemed to me that he argued with greater cogency on this issue tonight than on the rather wider issue of the Budget earlier in our debates. He may have a very substantial point here, I am not sure that the Finance Bill is by any means the natural place in which to do it.

Mr. Nabarro

More support.

Mr. Jenkins

I did not like the suggestion of the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hincbingbrooke) that it should be taken out of the Finance Bill so that it might be sent to a Standing Committee. That is a singularly self-defeating proposal.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

The hon. Gentleman misunderstood me. I said that it should be a second Bill with a Second Reading and Committee stage either on the Floor of the House or in Standing Committee, as hon. Members thought fit.

Mr. Jenkins

I can only think that the purpose of saying that—unless the noble Lord made a slip of the tongue which he would, on reflection, wish to withdraw—was to suggest that one of the advantages of the separate Bill would be that it might be taken in Standing Committee upstairs. It seems to me that one of the disadvantages of a separate Bill is that it might be taken upstairs. In spite of that, one should consider whether a separate Bill might not be more advantageous.

The Finance Bill is, broadly speaking, a revenue-raising Bill, not a Bill for authorising expenditure. As the Chancellor knows and as the Committee knows, we on this side do not share the view of the hon. Member for Kidderminster and the noble Lord about the desirability of providing these funds for nationalised industries. We are in favour of doing this, but this is not the same as not being able to apply one's mind to the separate issue of how the House can best maintain control over this desirable objective.

I would certainly hope that the Government would not close their mind to the possibility of having a separate Bill for the sake of logic and tidiness and for the sake of being able to debate this important issue possibly at a more convenient time than would be likely to arise during the Committee stage of the Finance Bill.

Mr. Peter Thorneycroft (Monmouth)

I agree with the hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins). I do not think that this is at all an unimportant subject. Nor is it a very easy one. I do not think that we can decide it finally this evening.

One thing is quite certain, and that is that the Economic Secretary is right when he says that the provision of capital for the nationalised industries represents an essentially important part of our economy. Hon. Members on both sides of the Committee would agree about that. I hope that everybody would agree that not only is it important, but that we ought, as a House of Commons, to have proper facilities for debating it.

It has rightly been said that there are facilities. Of course, there are facilities for debating every kind of expenditure here. But the Supply day arrangements are a little haphazard in this respect. I do not want to go into the reasons in detail, but I am not sure whether it is an accurate statement to say that the Supply day system gives us an opportunity of studying year by year what the total sum is to be, how it is divided and whether it is right.

Therefore, my question is whether the Economic Secretary means what he says when he says that the Clause which is to be based on this Motion will be concerned with method only. If it were concerned with method only, there would be a very narrow debate. I have a feeling that the hon. Gentleman may be wrong about that and that, in fact, a Clause based, as it will be, on this Motion will go much wider than method and will, in fact, permit a debate upon the merits of this investment.

I should like to be informed about that. I agree that afterwards one could discuss whether this was the best place to do it. I agree with the hon. Member for Stechford that it is probably not, but I should like to know what kind of central discussion of this central problem the Economic Secretary has in mind.

Mr. Douglas Houghton (Sowerby)

Whether the Finance Bill is the best place for dealing with this subject is a matter of opinion. So far, it has perhaps been the most convenient place. The subject has been dealt with in one Clause of the Finance Bill and, obviously, from many points of view, having it dealt with that way is preferable to having a separate Bill which would have to go through its various stages. But if there is to be trouble, then the Finance Bill is not the most convenient place for it.

I did not follow the Economic Secretary's argument that because this provides a method of financing the nationalised industries and prescribes a limit of finances to be provided, it is necessarily part of the Finance Bill. I know that this goes to the core, or near to the core, of some aspects of the Government's economic policy, but so do other branches of Government expenditure. On the hon. Gentleman's argument, we might as well stuff the whole of the Estimates into the Finance Bill.

It is only a few moments ago that the Chancellor was saying that it was not customary to deal with pensions at the time of the Budget and that pensions were always dealt with in separate legislation. However, considerable sums of public money are always involved in National Insurance legislation. Do I not remember that we have hived off post-war credits into a separate Bill, which provides for extensions of the repayments of post-war credits to be made by regulations with which the House will deal on Tuesday? There is not over-much consistency in the arguments of the Economic Secretary about the appropriate places in the Finance Bill.

The Chancellor has to decide where he is to have his spot of bother. Is he to have it on the Finance Bill, or will he have it separately and at another and possibly more convenient time? I am interested in whatever answer may be given to the right hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) about the scope of debate on the Clause, if it is in the Finance Bill. It could be argued that, as a matter of the convenience of the House, if the debate on the Clause would be as wide as a debate on the Bill, then it would be solely a matter of whether we had it in one place or another.

Mr. Nabarro

I am interested in the technicalities involved. With his encyclopaedic knowledge of taxation matters, does not the hon. Gentleman readily admit that it is highly undesirable that, for example, technical fuel and power considerations and technical aeronautical considerations should be brought into debates on the Finance Bill? That is the position into which we are being forced by the Ruling to the effect that these matters cannot be discussed on the Consolidated Fund Bill. I submit to the hon. Gentleman that it is wholly unsuitable to deal with that kind of thing in a Finance Bill.

11.0 p.m.

The Deputy-Chairman

I think that it would be for the convenience of the Committee if I were to remind the Committee that under Standing Order No. 1 (11)1 shall be bound to put the Question at twelve minutes past eleven. We thus have only twelve minutes left in which to debate this Motion.

Mr. Houghton

I thank you for your warning, Sir William. If there are only twelve minutes to go, I will take only one of them.

I was about to say to the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) that I have no orthodoxy about the question of the Finance Bill. If we can debate things on the Finance Bill, it does not seem to matter whether it is debated there or elsewhere, so long as that is a convenient Parliamentary time to deal with it.

Will the Economic Secretary tell the Committee what the position would be if the Committee followed the advice of the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) and rejected this Motion? Can it not go in the Finance Bill? Would it require a separate Bill? Are the "unofficial Opposition" trying to get the Government in a mess? If so, it must rest with some of us on this side of the Committee to get them out of it.

I am anxious to know. It may be rather late in the day to deal with this matter at a time other than the Finance Bill. I want some advice on that. We can sit all night and discuss the nationalised industries, just as we can sit all night and discuss anything else on the Finance Bill. It is solely a question of the timetable on the Bill; whether it will meet the convenience of the Committee and the House. That is the only point at issue. It is not a question of whether it should be here or anywhere else. It could be here if there were no trouble. If there is to be trouble, it had better be somewhere else.

Mr. Barber

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor, who has been sitting here, has not been doing so merely out of courtesy to the Committee, but also be- cause he, like my hon. Friends and right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, realise that this is an important matter. He has asked me to tell the Committee that he will give most careful consideration—and these are not meaningless words—to what has been said by the Committee.

As regards this year, the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) was again on the question whether the Clause would be in the Finance Bill, or whether it should be contained in a separate Bill. I do not want to resit on a technicality, but I think that it is fair to remind the Committee that we considered this matter when we were considering the earlier Motion. I hope that as this Motion, and the earlier one, do not refer to any specific period, and as this method of dealing with the matter in the Finance Bill has been approved since the new method of financing was introduced in 1956, on this occasion the Committee will agree that we might follow the same procedure.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) raised the important question of the scope of the debate. I would not be so bold as to pretend that I could give him any definite idea as to what the scope of the debate might be. I looked quickly at the debates that took place in 1958 and 1959. In 1958, there was virtually no debate so I did not get much help from HANSARD. Last year, the only question which was debated was that of the period for which the powers should be taken. I feel that it would be wrong of me, at any rate without giving the matter further consideration, to try, "off the cuff ", to give any answer to my hon. Friends on this point.

Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)

Since the Economic Secretary has a few minutes left, can he tell us what will be contained in this Clause in the Finance Bill, which we have not got but which he proposes to introduce?

Mr. Nabarro

I want to make two points which do not seem to have been covered. The word "convenience" has been used. What I have said this evening in connection with the two Motions is essentially a matter of convenience for the House of Commons. It is a question how and where this debate is to take place. I would remind the hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) that there is a grave deficiency in our debates in connection with the Clause for refinancing nationalised industries, whether it is annually or every three years, because only the aggregate sum is referred to. I quote from the principal Act of 1956. Section 42 (3) says: Advances made under this section shall not together exceed the sum of £700 million. The trouble is that the House of Commons has no breakdown of the £700 million, as between the seven industries. I may thoroughly approve the amount of money for one industry, but disapprove the amount for another, and when only the aggregate sum is put down I am forced, first, to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to break down the amount for me, in reply to a Parliamentary Question, and then, when I have had that Answer, I have to put down an Amendment first to reduce the aggregate sum and then to deal with each constituent part seven times.

The Chairman

That question arises on the Bill rather than on the Money Resolution.

Mr. Barber

I want to put one consideration to my hon. Friend. As I understand the matter, no loan can be made out of the Consolidated Fund to any nationalised industry unless the approval of the House has been given. If my hon. Friend will look at this Motion and the earlier one he will see that they contain a specific provision that the power to make advances under Section 42 of the Finance Act, 1956 shall be subject to the limits for the time being in force on the borrowing powers of the bodies to which such advances may be made.

Mr. Nabarro indicated dissent.

Mr. Barber

My hon. Friend shakes his head, but I can only tell him that the House gave certain borrowing powers to the nationalised industries and that it is only within the limits of the borrowing powers that the House grants that the Clause will have any effect. I would have thought that was a fairly good safeguard.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

As the Economic Secretary has been been at pains to assure us that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been listening very carefully to the debate and is prepared to consider this matter, is it not desirable that this Motion should be withdrawn, so that the Government shall have an opportunity to think again and, if necessary, put it down again for Monday?

Mr. Barber

I do not think that that is reasonable. So far as I know this sort of Motion has never been debated in the past—certainly not in the last two years. Whatever my hon. Friend may say, at least I can give him credit for this: he is entitled to raise this matter. But last year, when official spokesmen of the Opposition raised a matter concerned not with the Money Resolution— because that has never been debated before, so far as I know—but with the Clause in the Finance Bill, there was never any suggestion that this matter was not fit for the Finance Bill.

My hon. Friend is at least beginning to do something to convert the Opposition to his view, and I only hope that that will be as great an embarrassment to him as he thought the Opposition's support would be to my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Nabarro

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for what he has said, but he has completely failed to deal with two essential points. The first is that we can deal only with the aggregate amount in this Clause. We do not have the opportunity of dealing with the individual capital sums for each of the seven industries.

My second point is made to my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North (Sir T. Low). It is nonsense for him to say that hon. Members like myself, sitting on the Government benches, can raise these matters on Supply days. Supply days belong to Her Majesty's Opposition. There are only three days devoted to discussing the nationalised industries which are Supply days, and the subjects belong to the Opposition.

Mr. Barber

They are not Supply days.

Mr. Nabarro

They are Supply days. I have protested about this year after year and I have been told that we on the Government benches do not select the subjects.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad that hon. Members opposite confirm what I say.

I must reinforce the appeal made by I he hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins). This is a matter involving several hundreds of millions of pounds and I am thoroughly dissatisfied. Having regard to the accusation made by the absent hon. Member for Louth (Mr. C. Osborne), in today's Daily Telegraph, that I do not exercise proper control and accountability over public funds, I propose to give a demonstration this evening. If my hon. Friend will not withdraw this

Resolution to be reported.

Report to be received Tomorrow.

Motion so that we may debate it on Monday, I shall shout loudly, "No," when the Question is put to the Committee.

It being twelve minutes after Eleven o'clock, three quarters of an hour after the House had resolved itself into the Committee, The CHAIRMAN put the Question pursuant to Standing Order No. J (Sittings of the House): —

The Committee divided: Ayes 100, Noes 20.

Division No. 71. AYES [11.12 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Glover, Sir Douglas Peel, John
Allason, James Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Pitt, Miss Edith
Amory,Rt.Hn.D.Heathcoat(Tiv'tn) Glyn, Col. Richard H. (Dorset, N.) Powell, J. Enoch
Barber, Anthony Goodhart, Philip Prior, J. M. L.
Barter, John Goodhew, Victor Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Batsford, Brian Green, Alan Rees, Hugh
Bell, Ronald (S. Bucks.) Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Berkeley, Humphry Holland, Philip Roots, William
Bingham, R. M. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Sharples, Richard
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Hughes-Young, Michael Shaw, M.
Bishop, F. P. Iremonger, T. L. Shepherd, William
Black, Sir Cyril Jackson, John Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick)
Bossom, Clive Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Bourne-Arton, A. Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Storey, Sir Samuel
Box, Donald Kirk, Peter Studholme, Sir Henry
Boyle, Sir Edward Leavey, J. A. Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Brooman-White, R. Legge-Bourke, Maj. H. Tapsell, Peter
Bryan, Paul Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Litchfield, Capt. John Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Channon, H. P. G. Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter
Chataway, Christopher McMaster, Stanley R. Turner, Colin
Chichester-Clark, R. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Vickers, Miss Joan
Cooke, Robert Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Corfield, F. V. Mills, Stratton Wells, John (Maidstone)
Curran, Charles Morgan, William Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Currie, G. B. H. Noble, Michael Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Deedes, W. F. Nugent, Sir Richard Wise, A. R.
Elliott, R. W. Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Emery, Peter Osborn, John (Hallam) Woodhouse, C. M.
Errington, Sir Eric Osborne, Cyril (Louth) Woodnutt, Mark
Farr, John Page, A. J. (Harrow, W.)
Finlay, Graeme Page, Graham TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Mr. J. E. B. Hill and Mr.Whitelaw.
Gibson-Watt, David
Callaghan, James Holt, Arthur Mitchison, G. R.
Cronin, John Houghton, Douglas Peart, Frederick
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Rankin, John
Doer, George Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Willey, Frederick
Ede, Rt. Hon. Chuter Lawson, George
Hannan, William MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hayman, F. H. Mellish, R. J. Mr. Nabarro and Sir L. Plummer.
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Millan, Bruce