HC Deb 13 April 1960 vol 621 cc1343-402

7.11 p.m.

Mr. Walter Monslow (Barrow-in-Furness)

Having regard to the limited time for the debate that is come, could we, at least, through you, Sir William, ask that speeches should not be unduly long?

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

As the Committee will know, the Chair has no power to control the length of speeches, but I feel sure that it would be in the interests of hon. Members on both sides if hon. Members could curtail their remarks as far as possible.

7.20 p.m.

Mr. Alfred Robens (Blyth)

I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Monslow) that I shall curtail my own speech to the minimum in order to permit the many hon. Members on both sides who wish to take part in the debate to do so.

We make no apologies at all for returning to the subject of British Railways on this Vote. After the statement by the Prime Minister on 10th March and the subsequent statement by the Minister of Transport, it would hardly be expected that we could be content with the exchange of views which normally takes place after statements and Questions and Answers across the Table. We wish to spend time on this Vote to deal specifically with the matters raised in the two statements which were made.

There are two very great interests involved here. The first is the interest of 800,000 people who work in the industry and their dependants. Probably about 2 million people in all are involved. Therefore, the ups and downs of the railway industry have a good deal to do with a very sizeable portion of the population. Secondly, an industry with a turnover of £700 million, an industry which, for strategic and social purposes, must be maintained irrespective of profit, is one which has a tremendous effect upon the economy of the country. It seems to us, therefore, that we ought very closely to examine precisely what the Government's policy is in relation to the matters covered by the statements made by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Transport.

I was very satisfied indeed with that portion of the Prime Minister's statement referring to the Guillebaud Report, in which he indicated that the Government's view was that fair and proper wages should be paid to railwaymen and the Government would accept responsibility for that, the actual working of the Guillebaud Report being left to the ordinary negotiating machine within the transport structure.

Many of the difficulties occasioned to the Transport Commission and to those associated with the railways have been brought about by constant political interference with the industry. In the first place, there was fairly unanimous opinion among hon. Members opposite that they should denationalise road transport to a considerable extent. Thereafter, it became obvious to people in the House and outside that there was then arising a small group of people who wished to hive off or cream off all the other remunerative parts of the Commission's work and another group who were content to leave the Transport Commission as a public board but proposed to break up and decentralise the whole show.

The Prime Minister laid down three principles in his statement. When the Minister of Transport came to make his statement, he referred to the setting up of an advisory body. I am not sure that we have the right title for this body. The Prime Minister referred to it as a planning body or planning committee, and the Minister spoke about it as an advisory committee to advise him. The Minister said that the terms of reference were wide and had direct reference to the statement made by the Prime Minister on 10th March.

The Prime Minister laid down three principles. The first was that: the industry must be of a size and pattern suited to modern conditions and prospects. The second was that the public must accept the need for changes in the size and pattern of the industry. The third, which seemed to me to be the vital principle, was that the Commission must accept a radical alteration of its structure, so as to secure a more effective distribution of functions and a better use of all its assets. Measures of reorganisation should include decentralisation of management so that individual undertakings, including the regions of the British Railways, should as far as practicable be made fully self-accounting and responsible for the management of their own affairs."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th March, 1960; Vol. 619. c. 643–4.] This, so the Minister of Transport said, had to be done as a matter of urgency. He had, therefore, decided to appoint four eminent businessmen, as a matter of urgency, to deal with the position of the Transport Commission in relation to the principles laid down by the Prime Minister on 10th March.

After the two Acts of Parliament, there were two White Papers. In 1954, in Cmd. 9191, the Government said that they had consulted a wide range of interests, including all the big users, the Federation of British Industries, the Association of British Chambers of Commerce, the trade unions, the Trades Union Congress, and others. They said that Those consultations have shown the Commission's scheme"— that is to say, the railways reorganisation scheme of 1954— to be generally acceptable and, in particular, acceptable in making possible a proper degree of"— I ask the Committee to note these words— decentralisation of management and control, and as being sufficiently flexible to allow for the development of regional management as experience develops of the Area Authorities which the Commission propose to appoint. They went on to say: The Minister fully agrees with the Commission's view that the Scheme must be widely drawn and flexible if it is to facilitate a fruitful and orderly development of decentralised management. Finally, they said: The Minister commends the Commission's Scheme to Parliament as one which will in his view give full effect to the policy for the efficient management of the railways within the provisions of the Transport Act, 1953. Two years passed, and then we had the White Paper of 1956 on the modernisation programme. Again, I ask the Committee to note these words carefully in relation to what the Prime Minister said on 10th March about the need for decentralisation. In the 1956 White Paper, Cmd. 9880, the Government said: By these Acts"— that is to say, the 1953 and 1956 Acts— the Government have, in their view, established the right framework for this great industry. The direction of British Railways has been decentralised to six Area Boards consisting of men of outstanding ability and experience. They went on to say: For their part the Commission early in 1955 published their Plan for the Modernisation and Re-equipment of British Railways, and the Government announced their support for it as a courageous and imaginative plan to give this country a modern and efficient railway system. The setting up in 1955 of the British Railways Productivity Council was a recognition by all concerned that the successful operation of the Commission's undertaking and its prosperity are dependent in a high degree on the efficiency and willing co-operation of every member of the staff. Where are we going when a Government can in two White Papers fully approve the decentralisation and reorganisation schemes of the British Transport Commission and yet, after a General Election, say that they now want an advisory committee of business men to advise the Minister on further decentralisation? The 1956 Report of the British Transport Commission made it perfectly clear that these schemes which the Government pressed upon Parliament for approval and which Parliament accepted could not fructify in less than 10 or 15 years. When the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor presented these schemes in the debate, he was content with the view expressed by the British Transport Commission that it would take time effectively to decentralise the railway administration once it was admitted—as these White Papers showed that they were prepared to admit—that decentralisation was necessary and important. Now the Prime Minister and the Minister have appointed four eminent businessmen to advise them to do what the Transport Commission had spent a good deal of time in doing, that is, on decentralisation and so on.

I should like to know, and perhaps the Minister will be able to tell me, what is special about the four businessmen who have been appointed to advise him on what has already been dealt with very exhaustively by the Transport Commission and the businessmen who had been appointed in a part-time capacity to serve on the Commission. What is the difference? Are they more eminent? Are they better businessmen? What is it that these four businessmen have that the businessmen who are part-time on the Commission have not got? If the right hon. Gentleman wants the answer to those questions, I will tell him. The four businessmen have no railway experience and the part-time businessmen on the Commission have now had a considerable amount of railway experience.

One wonders, therefore, why it is that these four businessmen without any railway experience whatever have been chosen to advise the Minister. The chairman—I make no reference to the capacity of these men—is associated with Tube Investments. Mr. Chamberlain is also a director of Tube Investments and a part-time member of the Western Area Board. I should have thought that it would have been worth while to ask Mr. Chamberlain, who now knows something about the railways, rather than the chairman of Tube Investments.

Can the Minister explain why two scientists, an engineer and an accountant are superior to part-time businessmen whom he or his predecessor appointed? Are these part-time businessmen a poor lot? There is Mr. Barker, the managing director of Parkinson Cowan, a very big group of companies; Sir Leonard Sinclair, chairman and managing director of the Standard Oil Company of this country; Mr. Hanks, chairman and managing director of the Nuffield Organisation, a director of the British Motor Corporation and of the Nuffield Organisation and Parkinson Cowan. One could go through the list. They are very eminent businessmen indeed. Therefore, one has to look for another reason why more businessmen have been brought in.

I wonder whether these four businessmen realise that they may well have been brought in to be the handmaidens of Government policy. They cannot possibly, eminent and clever as they may be, as a matter of urgency advise the Minister in a matter of months on railway reorganisaton which is a lifetime's study. It is very strange that the eminent businessmen who know something about railway workings have not been chosen.

The general view held by many people is that this is a way out of the difficulty into which the Government have got in relation to railways. They nearly reached the stage, by their continual interference, of a national stoppage some weeks ago. They are now in a position in which there is undoubtedly a desire to cream off the hotels, to prevent British Railways from developing their most valuable property sites throughout the country. It is far more acceptable that a little advisory committee should advise the Minister on these things rather than that the Government spokesmen should come boldly to the Box and say what they intend to do or indeed to give directions, as they have the right to do under the Act, to the Transport Commission. One can only draw the conclusion that this is in fact a screen for Government action and Government policy, and that, because of differences as to presentation, they find that it is the most expedient way in which to do it.

I have referred to the number of workers who are engaged in this industry and whose lives can be turned upside down by the political vagaries of the Government and their constant interference with British Railways. I read out from the White Paper approval of the setting up of the Productivity Council. We on this side have never complained, nor could we, at an outside body being appointed from time to time to look into the operations and workings of a nationalised industry. In fact, we have said that this is a useful thing to do, but always the committees that were appointed were completely free and independent to make any kind of recommendation they wanted.

Every one of these committees—the Fleck Committee, which looked into the operations of the N.C.B., the Committee presided over by Mr. Chambers, which looked into the affairs of London Transport, and the Herbert Committee, which will look into the question of the electricity supply industry—had wide terms of reference in which it was perfectly clear that they were not there merely to carry out Government policy but were appointed to look perfectly objectively at a particular industry and make recommendations. On all these committees there has been an individual who had a long experience in the organisation of the workers. On this occasion, the T.U.C. were never even approached as to whether they might submit a name or names for inclusion on such a Committee. I must say that if they had been, in the knowledge of these sort of terms of reference, they would have been very unwise to accept any part in it.

Mr. Leslie Thomas (Canterbury)


Mr. Robens

I will finish in a moment. I say that they would have been very unwise to have any part in it. This undoubtedly is purely a screen which the Government have put up to cover their own desire to carve up the railways and in fact to denationalise everything but the essential non-profit part of running the railways. I am surprised that under these circumstances the right hon. Gentleman was able to get people to sit on a committee of this character where in fact they will not be advising on an objective basis but merely giving to the Government the kind of advice that the Government want.

Mr. L. Thomas

The right hon. Gentleman said that my right hon. Friend did not consult the T.U.C. When my right hon. Friend announced the setting up of the Advisory Group and its terms of reference, the right hon. Gentleman objected to the terms of reference. I am quite genuine about this and I am asking this question to clarify my own mind. When the right hon. Gentleman objected to my right hon. Friend's proposals, had he consulted the T.U.C. and asked the T.U.C. whether it objected?

7.40 p.m.

The Minister of Transport (Mr. Ernest Marples)

I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) should have stated his objections the other day in the way that he did, because I have always had a great respect for his talents and ability, especially where trade unions are concerned. However, I am grateful for this chance to set out the Government's proposals as clearly as I can.

I start by summarising the position which faced the Government after the election and with the action which has been taken. The dominant factor of the situation was a huge loss, including interest on transport stock, which, in five years, amounted to almost £350 million and which, in the calendar year 1960 alone, will be £80 million, including interest on stock. This reflects an operating loss on the railways estimated at £45 million a year, which includes the 5 per cent. interim award of the Guillebaud Committee, but does not include the final award, whatever that may be.

That was an intolerable burden on the community and it was clear that the Government should act and be seen to act promptly. The Government acted in several ways. The first was to decide that the deficit could not be met by loans below the line in the Budget, because there was no hope of repayment so that such a system was dishonest to the country. The Government faced the situation and put £90 million above the line, which, therefore, came from the taxpayer and which was one of the major difficulties with which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had to cope in this year's Budget. The Committee should recognise that it is difficult to meet an extra expenditure of £90 million above the line.

Secondly, there was the Guillebaud Report—and I was glad that the right hon. Member mentioned it. In spite of the losses, the Government did not shirk the Guillebaud Report. They made an announcement quickly and, in the terms of the Prime Minister: The Government accept the objective underlying the report of the Guillebaud Committee—that fair and reasonable wages should be paid to those engaged in the industry."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th March, 1960; Vol. 619, c. 643.] I emphasise once again that the final Report of the Guillebaud Committee will add to the costs and that the costs will be borne by the taxpayer. That must be borne in mind, but a fair deal must be given to the railwaymen and, as the responsible Minister, I do not see why the railways should hire their labour at costs cheaper than those in outside industry. I am bound to remind the right hon. Gentleman that the Guillebaud Committee consisted of three dons. There was no trade unionist, but, at the same time, the trade unions had the fairest of fair deals.

The third point in the statement of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was that there should be a reorganisation of the management structure of the British Transport Commission, and that there should be a radical alteration of that structure to get a more effective distribution of finance and a better use of assets. Decentralisation was included in that. However, decentralisation is a meaningless word unless each undertaking is self-accounting and manages its own affairs. The moment someone else holds the purse strings, it is no good saying that one is independent. All those right hon. Gentlemen who have held office in various Governments know exactly what I mean when I say that the Treasury plays a great part in their deliberations in different Departments. So it happens that the Commission needs to have self-accounting regions with their own cash if it is to be decentralised.

Having laid down the broad principle, as the Prime Minister did, the question was how to carry out the detailed application of that principle. The problem was not political. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman—and I hope that he will take my personal assurance—that it was not political, not regional and not local. It was not merely or mainly technical railway problems which were involved, nor merely a problem of industrial relations. The main job was the organisation of the management structure of British Railways from the business point of view, and at present that structure is too large.

We considered many ways of detailed application of the principles. It was suggested in a newspaper that, as the Minister of Transport was a businessman, he should do it himself. However, the sheer volume of day-to-day work which I am expected to do in the Ministry would preclude that. I have to spend three sittings a week in Standing Committee, watching the bright faces of hon. Gentlemen opposite, on the new road traffic legislation.

Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)

The right hon. Gentleman will be very busy.

Mr. Marples

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, for he has advanced the argument why I could not do the job.

It has been suggested that civil servants should do the work, but the civil servants in the Ministry are a staff to cope with the railways as a going concern and not to carry out a major reorganisation of possibly the largest business in the country. In any case, if they had the numbers, they would not have the industrial experience necessary to cope with such industrial reorganisation, and such a proposal would not be fair to them.

Then it was suggested that the Transport Commission itself should undertake the work. I doubt whether the Commission could do it for two reasons. The first is that the Commission would be the judge in its own cause. Secondly, it has so much to do with the problem from day to day, that it might be better to have someone fresh with a new approach and possibly able to see the wood for the trees.

Mr. A. J. Irvine (Liverpool, Edge Hill)

The right hon. Gentleman referred to being a judge in one's own cause. Does he carry that argument to the extent of saying that experience in railway administration could actually be a disqualification for service on such a committee of inquiry?

Mr. Marples

Oh, no. That is a very good legal point, which I did not expect from the hon. and learned Gentleman, but it has nothing to do with what I have said. Irrespective of qualifications, it is difficult to be a judge in one's own cause.

Now I come to the point that more than anything else we wanted speed, because, with the loss running at those rates, we had to move fast. We therefore decided on a small group of outside advisers with experience who would not simply spend half a day or a few hours a week, but virtually most of their time on the job. I will deal with that later, when I tell the Committee what we are doing. In the meantime, the Transport Commission will be run by a very competent man.

When anybody is brought in from outside, one can have a single man, who is called a "dollar-a-year man", with broad terms of reference, or one can have a Royal Commission with every interest on it sitting for a long time. I remember that when I was Parliamentary Secretary under the present Prime Minister, when he was at the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, we appointed a dollar-a-year man, now the noble Lord, Lord Mills. I remember the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) asking us what Lord Mills was going to do.

At this stage, I am sure that I shall take all hon. Members along with me when I say that I hope that newspaper reports about a relapse in the condition of the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale are wrong. I have had many arguments with him, but I am sure that everyone here will wish him well in his present illness.

In that eloquent and vivid way, which he alone in the House of Commons can command, he asked why we wanted a dollar-a-year man. We have provided the answer, because we built the houses with the dollar-year man. A Royal Commission, to go to the other end of the scale, would produce a long report after a long time and there would be majority and minority reports. A Royal Commission would not be applicable in this case.

We therefore decided to have a concentrated effort by a few people. Sir Ivan Stedeford is to give practically the whole of his working week to this task and I am sure that, irrespective of politics, all hon. Members will be grateful to a man prepared to undertake such a task in the public interest. The terms of reference of the Advisory Group are very flexible and wide. The Government have laid down the broad plan, but the group's terms of reference will be: to examine the structure, finance and working of the organisations at present controlled by the Commission and to advise the Minister of Transport and the British Transport Commission, as a matter of urgency, how effect can best be given to the Government's intentions as indicated in the Prime Minister's statement." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th April, 1960; Vol. 621, c. 394.] I saw Sir Ivan Stedeford yesterday and told him that if, when he started his work, he found that his terms of reference in any way inhibited him, I hoped that he would consult me at once so that we could consider whether the terms of reference should be broadened. At one moment, hon. Members opposite complain because the terms are not wide enough. Then, when we make them as flexible as this, they say, "Good heavens above." What do they want?

Mr. Robens


Mr. Marples

The right hon. Gentleman would not give way to one of my hon. Friends behind me and he must not expect me to give way. He must do unto others as he wishes to be done unto him.

Mr. Arthur Holt (Bolton, West)


Mr. Marples

I am sorry; there is only a short time for the debate.

The Advisory Group will be in continuous consultation with myself. I shall see its members every week or every fortnight. They will be treated like top civil servants, with two exceptions. First, they have the knowledge of outside industry, and secondly, they are not being paid. Apart from that, they will be treated in the same way as a Minister treats the top civil servants. I shall see them and help them all I can in any of their difficulties.

If, for example, after a month the members of the Advisory Group said that they would like some restrictions to be removed from the Transport Commission, if it were possible to do it administratively the Government would make the decision and remove those restrictions. If legislation is needed, the Government will give instructions for it to be drafted; and if a Bill is necessary, it will be introduced.

It is not intended to publish any reports. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] There are some good precedents for this. For example, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation, when Minister of Supply, received a report. The terms of reference on that occasion were: to investigate, on behalf of the Minister of Supply, the general organisation controlling the Royal Ordnance factories and to report on any modifications which, if introduced, would tend to ensure closer control and/or greater efficiency. The membership of that advisory group was the noble Lord, Lord Mills, then Sir Percy Mills, chairman of Avery's; Mr. Van Den Bergh of Uniiever; and Sir Reginald Verdon Smith, chairman and managing director of Bristol Aircraft, who was also a director of Lloyds Bank and others. There was no trade union member on the group.

Mr. Percy Collick (Birkenhead)

The Minister has made an exceedingly serious statement which even worsens the whole position. He is telling the Committee that the report from this body is not to be made public property to the House of Commons. Why not? Why the secrecy?

Mr. Marples

I will deal with that.

Those were the terms of reference on that occasion. The members of the group were business people. No trade union member was included. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is a bad precedent."] My right hon. Friend the present Minister of Aviation accepted the report and carried out certain recommendations in accordance with it.

The crucial point is not who received the report, but who set up the committee, and I will say who set up the committee on that occasion. It was set up by the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss), when he was Minister in a Socialist Government.

Mr. Robens

It was purely internal.

Mr. Marples

There was only this vital difference, that the right hon. Member for Vauxhall did not tell the House of Commons and the country, whereas the present Conservative Government have told the House and the country. We have said what we are doing. The only crime to which we plead guilty is that we have told the country what we are doing, whereas the right hon. Member for Vauxhall did not.

Mr. Thomas Steele (Dunbartonshire, West)

The right hon. Gentleman must give us a better argument than that.

Mr. Marples

I will give another one—

Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)


Mr. Marples

No, I cannot give way.

Mr. Pannell

On a point of order. I want to ask the Minister through you, Sir Godfrey, whether, before making that statement, he observed the usual Parliamentary practice of advising my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) that he intended to deal with this matter.

The Temporary Chairman (Sir Godfrey Nicholson)

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Pannell

I know that.

The Temporary Chairman

It is agross abuse of the rules of the Committee when the hon. Member knows that it is not a point of order.

Mr. Jack Jones (Rotherham)

It may not be a point of order. It is a point of honour.

Mr. Pannell

With respect, Sir Godfrey, when the Minister refuses to give way, I am afraid that a Parliamentary device which is well practised on the other side of the Committee must be resorted to.

Mr. Jack Jones

It is a point of honour.

Mr. Pannell

It becomes a point of honour.

Mr. Marples

As this debate was to be on a Motion of censure, I assumed that the right hon. Member for Vauxhall would be in his place.

Another point which is of interest to Members on this side is that the charge against me is that the trade unions who represent the rank and file are not included in the membership of the advisory group. The Leader of the Opposition, however, who was in his place to hear the speech from the Opposition Front Bench, but is not in his place now—I thought he would stay—has an advisory group on transport which is appointed by him and consists of the hon. Members for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) and for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish).

The rank and file, however, have chosen differently. They have chosen the hon. Members for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Popplewell) and for Bradford, East (Mr. McLeavy) as the chosen representatives. [Interruption.] If the unions are to be included, as the right hon. Member for Blyth suggested, the Leader of the Opposition should bring the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West on to the Front Bench.

I want to say this about the unions. I saw Sir Ivan Stedeford yesterday. He has already held the first meeting of the Advisory Group. He will invite the Transport Commission and the interested unions to see him and he will invite all the interested unions, of whom there are quite a number, either together or separately as they choose; the choice is theirs. In this way, the views of the unions will be considered in two different ways. First, the advisers will listen to them before they tender their advice. [Laughter.] Do not hon. Members opposite want them to listen to the unions? Secondly, before the Government take a decision, the unions again will be consulted. There will, therefore, be full consultation. We carried out this form of consultation during my three years at the Post Office, as hon. Members opposite who are interested in Post Office affairs will know. We propose to carry out the same thing with the railways.

Now, I come to the Transport Commission.

Mr. Collick

Why is the report to be secret?

Mr. Marples

The Chairman of the Transport Commission has been consulted throughout. I have seen the whole Commission myself. Its members have promised their absolute co-operation to help us to see whether we can streamline the railways to modern needs. At one time, we considered having the Transport Commission represented on the Advisory Group, but ultimately we came down against that scheme and the Commission accepted it.

The Transport Commission has had a difficult time, largely because transport has changed at bewildering speed. It has gone from mass transport at set times between two set points and has yielded to individual transport at any time between any two points. The motor car and other inventions have played havoc with the railways, not only in this country, but in the world as a whole. We cannot do without railways, small as the country is, with its large population. We need them for the commuter service, for example, in London, where public transport brings in 94 per cent. of the people. They need them abroad too. as they have found out in America.

If we are to bring the unions into this, as has been suggested, who else should be brought in? What about the users of the railways? I have had many representations from the users. Here is one: A large number of the travelling public would feel that a ' travelling member' on the Board would be able to watch the interests of the passenger. The function of the Board is as you have said, purely advisory, but the psychological impact of the appointment I suggest would be very effective on the mind of the weary traveller who can feel at last something is being done in terms of advice other than purely financial considerations. What about the taxpayer and the commercial user of the railways? Where do we end if we are to have individual interests represented? I do not think that we can do it.

I should like to take the opportunity of thanking the full-time members and the part-time members of the Transport Commission and of the area boards. Theirs has been a thankless task in some ways. There has been a lot of mud-slinging and criticism and they have not been able to answer back. They have had to take all this and give a great deal of their time. But in the House of Commons we get used to criticism. We acquire a capacity to absorb criticism, both just and unjust.

If ever the hon. Member for Bermondsey makes a speech which only discusses the merits of the case and omits personal references to me, I shall think that he is not very well. I expect to be insulted, and I am never disappointed. I must, say, however, that I wish that the criticism were heaped on Members on this side of the Committee, or on the Minister, rather than on individual members of the Transport Commission, who cannot answer back.

The railways are criticised in many ways. People say, "Do away with them and put roads there instead", but when one tries to close a railway one has far more criticism than when one keeps it open, especially in Scotland.

Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

Was that at Inverness?

Mr. Marples

Not only Inverness.

This is a genuine endeavour to try to do our best for the railways. The right hon. Member for Blyth may not think so.

Mr. Robens

I do not.

Mr. Marples

The unions will be consulted in every way. They will be listened to. This is not a political matter. The idea is to make the railways a viable and going concern and not an intolerable burden on the taxpayer or a drag on transport. There is more in this than a pure matter of trade unions. It is a genuine effort to solve the problem.

Therefore, I hope that the Committee will reject the Opposition's view tonight on two grounds: first, on the ground that we are genuine in this effort; and, secondly, that the Minister's remuneration is not adequate anyhow. To attempt to reduce it still further is the harshest measure that the right hon. Member for Blyth could have thought of. I hope that the Committee will accept my explanation of what we are trying to do. We are following the precedent set by the right hon. Member for Vauxhall, which I think, is, in this case, a good one, and we shall carry it to a logical and final conclusion.

Mr. Steele

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the question which has been repeatedly asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Collick)? He has been asking why the Advisory Group's report is to be secret. After all, the Guillebaud Report was a secret report to the Transport Commission and the unions, but it was made public because of the great public interest in this matter. Why, then, is this report to be secret?

Hon. Members


8.4 p.m.

Mr. Ernest Popplewell(Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West)

The Committee will have to go back a long way to find an occasion when a Minister put up such a deplorable case on a major issue. Today we are debating a major change of policy in the great industry of transport, and the Minister's pitiable effort to defend his case indicates a very alarming situation.

Firstly, the Minister tries to base his argument on the statement that he will establish a planning board. Later he changes this to an advisory board, a remarkably quick change of scene in a day or two from planning to advice. The right hon. Gentleman attempts to justify this by saying that he wants outside people to investigate the operations of the British Transport Commission. Does he expect the Committee to accept that argument? I should think that the transport industry has been subjected to more inquiries, public, departmental and otherwise, than any other industry in the country.

The Minister knows what is really at stake here. It is the complete failure of the Government's 1953 Act, which attempted to decentralise and denationalise to a certain extent the transport industry. The whole of the trouble stems from that. The Minister would have been more honest as a politician and for the sake of his reputation as a businessman if he had admitted that fact. Where are we with transport at the moment? We have had nine years of Tory Government to deal with the problem, and they have disposed of only a small proportion of the publicly owned industry and transferred it back to private enterprise. This indicates that public ownership must be regarded as a permanent feature of our economic structure. Events have proved it.

Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)


Mr. Popplewell

The hon. Member should sit down and be more mannerly. I am proving my point and he must wait in patience and hope that he may be called.

After nine years of Toryism, the Government have not thought fit up to now to disband public ownership. During that period they have made a big change. An efficient undertaking, which was developing a good organisation and management structure before the 1953 Act, has been converted from being a full-time Commission which was getting on with the job and which understood it into a Commission of fourteen members half of whom are part-time from outside industry. Half of them come from industries kindred to those with which the four wise men whom the right hon. Gentleman is now appointing are associated. In addition, the Government established area boards with a membership of forty, and it is most interesting to note the directorships which these people now hold. There are members of the areas boards from Tube Investments, and the colleagues of this great take-over tycoon who is now to be chairman of the Advisory Group are already serving on the area boards.

Then there is a representative on the Advisory Group from I.C.I., and already former I.C.I. men are serving on the area boards. Among the four tycoons there are men from the banks and finance houses, and already the area boards are cluttered with such representatives, no matter whether it is in the north-east, the southern or the western. The same type of people are already serving the Commission and have brought the industry serious consequences. Government policy has brought about these appointments, and since their appointment these people have made otherwise what was an industry showing a profit. If the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) does not know that, he had better do his homework. It made a profit after paying £260 million in interest charges between the time it was nationalised in 1948 and the time the Government disturbed it in 1953.

Here was an industry which had been showing a loss under private enterprise in pre-war days and which in 1951, 1952 and 1953 turned that loss into a profit by its efficiency. This Government swept all that overboard, and since that time they have run the British Transport Commission into a deficiency of £350 million. It is not the Commission that should be blamed but those on the Treasury benches who have been responsible for bringing this about.

Now we have witnessed the exhibition made by the Minister in attempting to justify another full-scale inquiry. It is too ridiculous and too stupid for words. The Minister has seen the bad reception which his suggestion for an advisory board has received in the whole of the Press. I have yet to see one newspaper supporting his suggestion. There has been wholesale condemnation. That speaks for itself, because the Press as a whole is not favourably disposed towards publicly-owned undertakings.

Let the Minister consider this fact. What the Government have done is to destroy the esprit de corps which was being built within the railway service. The British Transport Commission is being blamed for many things because it is having to observe the dictates of the Government. At the same time the morale of the men has become extremely low, and it has taken Guillebaud to try to get that back again.

The Government have treated transport as the Cinderella of all the other industries by their policy. Now they are providing a smoke screen. Is this being done in an effort to assist the industry to get back on to the right lines? The Government know what is wrong. The Tory benches have created the difficulties. They have appointed part-time personnel to the area boards, meeting probably once a month and receiving salaries far in excess of those given to highly skilled employees on the railway for a full year's work. Do the Government realise their mistake, and are they trying to use this way of getting out of it?

It is not my intention to speak long, because so many other hon. Members wish to take part in the debate. In conclusion, I appeal to the Government to withdraw their proposal for an advisory board. It is an unwanted child —unwanted by everybody. Let transport men do the job, not transport dilettantes, because that is what these people are. We do not want take-over bid tycoons such as Sir Ivan Stedeford as Chairman of the Advisory Group. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Do not be alarmed, that is correct. He is chairman and managing director of Tube Investments and British Aluminium, making a tremendous packet out of it all, and because he does that in the financial market he is considered to be an ideal person to deal with our transport undertaking. How stupid and how ridiculous. The men in transport know what they want and no further investigation is necessary. The only thing they require is the green light from the Government to go ahead.

Stop this interference by the Government, by directives, by day-to-day interference. The British Transport Commission in the last few years has submitted eight applications to the Transport Charges Tribunal, but the Government have stopped the Commission applying the Tribunal's findings on two occasions. It is estimated that the result of the delay to which the Commission has been subjected has cost it between £100 and £150 million. Let the Government clear out this dead weight and let the transport men who really understand the job have commercial freedom to go ahead. If this is done I am convinced that within a measurable period of time we shall have a transport undertaking in this country of which we can be mightily proud.

8.15 p.m.

Mr. J. A. Stodart (Edinburgh, West)

I rise as a new Member of the House of Commons to intervene in this debate and to ask for the indulgence which is always extended by hon. Members on such an occasion. No doubt some hon. Members here have experienced at some stage in their career that feeling of nervousness, well-nigh amounting to panic, that has been my constant companion through most of the last few days and, alas, through some of the last few nights as well. I wish to make only two or three points and I promise that I shall not encroach long upon the generosity of the Committee. Therefore, I hope that the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Popplewell) will not consider me discourteous if I do not follow him in his arguments on this occasion.

I have the honour to represent the western division of the capital city of Edinburgh. So many words have been used, in speech, in prose, in verse, about the qualities which really are Edinburgh's alone, that I do not propose to be competitive. But between that city and the city of which this House is so historic and distinguished a feature, there is and has been a link each day since before this century opened in the form of one of the most famous railway trains in the world.

About a month ago, thanks to the courtesy of the British Transport Commission and the kindness of the railway-men concerned, I was given the chance of experiencing something which I dare say every hon. Member in this Committee has dreamed about at one stage in his life, of travelling from London to Edinburgh on the footplate of the "Flying Scotsman". As far as Newcastle I rode on one of the new diesels. From there onwards I transferred to one of what I might describe as the vintage steam locomotives, which stand as a monument to the skill and craftsmanship in the engineering workshops of this country. I was thus enabled to see what a contrast there is in what, for want of better words, I may describe as the difference in the conditions between the new world and the old.

I do not suppose that any hon. Member would disagree with me when I say that success in any enterprise depends to a tremendous extent on the working conditions which are provided for those who take part in it. I was enormously impressed with four things as I rode along on this diesel: the absolute and utter cleanness of the driver's cabin; the smoothness of the ride; the visibility through a wide windscreen and windows on each side, and, last but by no means least—in fact, I should say perhaps the greatest of all—the lack of noise within the cabin. All these things combine to reduce strain and to make the responsibility of the crew that much easier to bear.

Add to that the material economies of running the train, the 400 gallons of diesel oil that would have been needed if that engine had run right through to Edinburgh instead of the 7 tons of coal, and one gets an idea that with modernisation, and with the need for less servicing of the diesels there are great vistas ahead for the railways of this country.

My second point is about the composition of the board which the Minister has set up. My one regret is that he has not found it possible—and goodness knows, there must have been a good deal of competition in his mind about who should be on the board—to put on the board someone who lives in Scotland, because without doubt it will be in Scotland that many of the problems will be posed when the report on reorganisation comes in.

That leads me to my third point. It is easy to cry, "Cut down branch lines if they are not economic", but I should like to tell hon. Members of my experience of the branch line on which I frequently travel. Three or four years ago there was word of it being closed down. I live in the seaside town of North Berwick which is about 20 miles, or 40 minutes' travelling time, outside Edinburgh. When multiple unit diesels were introduced on that line, together with a piece of enterprise with which I will not bore the Committee but for which I pay tribute to the Scottish Region of British Railways, that 20 mile track from Edinburgh to North Berwick carried 150,000 more passengers a year than previously. That is a sensational increase, and considering that the running costs are about one-third of what they were before, I say again that the prospects for the railways are not as dim as many people try to make out.

Let those who cry out about closing the branch lines and who talk about that famous, or possibly notorious, line that runs from Inverness to Wick, refresh their memories about the geography of Scotland and not fall into the trap into which a friend of mine who lived in London fell when, in answering my invitation to stay, he ended his letter by saying: Perhaps it would not be much bother to you to run me across to Inverness on Wednesday morning. When I pointed out that Inverness was 200 miles away he was very surprised indeed

I have no doubt that those who run the Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh and Inverness to Wick lines would not, with the best organisation in the world, he able to make them pay, and yet to close them down would leave the Kyle of Lochalsh and Wick over 100 miles from the nearest rail-head. Surely that could do nothing but aggravate the unemployment position and speed up the depopulation which every hon. Member, regardless of his party, is anxious to prevent.

I leave two thoughts with the Committee. First, we have heard a lot about Scotland having cause to lament the contraction in the production of her supplies of coal, but I am certain that Scotland will have many reasons to be thankful for the development of diesels on her railway lines. I hope that the board, when it has reported, will give time for the development to have a reasonable effect.

Secondly, provided that the clear light of day can be cast on losses where they take place, and on weaknesses where they exist, is there any reason why these railway services to the far North, once they are modernised and re-equipped, should not be regarded in the same light as the aircraft which are such an indispensable feature of life in the Highlands and Islands?

I thank the Committee for its kindness to me tonight. I welcome, with that one reservation, the appointment of this board, and I believe that its composition will show its work to be complementary to the great modernisation scheme which is being carried on at the moment by the British Transport Commission and the trade unions concerned. I hope that as a result of this tremendous combined operation all that is best in the traditions of British Railways will be writ large into the future, which I am quite sure awaits them.

8.27 p.m.

Mr. Ray Gunter (Southwark)

I congratulate the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart). I am doubly pleased to do so, first, because of the gracious tribute which he paid to my industry, the railway industry, and, secondly, for the manner in which he did it. I am sure that the Committee will look forward to the hon. Gentleman's participation in future debates. I offer one word of warning to the hon. Gentleman. He has a great interest in the Scottish Region of British Railways. I warn him that when his right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport talks about separate accounting for each region he had better look to his guns.

Because of the way the debate has gone I had better declare my interest. I am a member of the British Transport Productivity Council and the British Transport Joint Consultative Council, besides being president of one of the railway unions. I do not claim any greater knowledge than any other hon. Member about the economics of the industry, but I want to try to interpret the thoughts and fears of many railway-men at present—and that I claim to be entitled to do.

All the violent arguments that have raged about the question whether we should have a planning board or an advisory group arouse no more than a flicker of curiosity in my mind. What disturbs me most is the irrelevance of the Advisory Group to the great problems of transport. As far as I know, the men who constitute this Advisory Group are men of great ability and integrity, and I look forward to meeting them next Wednesday, which I believe is the day upon which they have invited us to meet them. We shall be able to tender them certain advice immediately, and if it should be salty I am sure that the Minister will not mind.

The fundamental decisions affecting the railway industry can be taken only by the Government. Before the Government seek advice about the administrative structure of British Railways—how authority can best be further decentralised and how the regions can be made self-accounting—they must determine what is to be the rôle of the railways inside the whole transport industry in the second half of this century. With all the authority in the world, no advisory group can tender the Minister the necessary advice in six months. It is the Government who, having decided the overall transport policy, must turn their attention to the creation of a structure adapted to and capable of performing the task which the Government have laid down for it.

The frustration and bitterness of railwaymen that has reached its culmination in 1960 has not been born suddenly; it has its roots in history. It has been caused by the continuing failure of Governments to make up their minds what they want railways to do inside industry. Forty years ago one of the finest transport men that this country has produced—Sir Eric Geddes, who sat for Cambridge Boroughs as a Coalition Unionist and was far from being a Socialist, although he was one of the most far-seeing men on the subject of transport in this and many other countries—said something which is relevant to the problems that will arise in the next forty years. He said: The State must harmonise the operation of the different agencies of transport as between themselves in the interests of the community as a whole. Under a system of competition not only did one railway or one dock strive to divert traffic from another, but trams sought to wrest traffic from the railways, railways to wrest traffic from canals, coastal services to wrest traffic from both, and so on and on. He added, what every transport man knows by heart: In future our effort will be to encourage each agency of transport to undertake that part of the total work which it, owing to its own special qualities, can most efficiently and economically perform. That is the principle upon which our transport industry should be based, and no advisory group of four men can get away from it. The words I have quoted were the words of a man who was a better transport man than politician, but he became the first Minister of Transport, only to leave that post in disgust after two years because his political friends lacked the necessary vision and thought that the principle which he enunciated would lead to public ownership. The politicians of forty years ago destroyed our hopes of solving the problems which have bedevilled this nation for over forty years.

This principle was argued about by the Royal Commission of 1929–31. I remember talking to the late Sir Arthur Salter who voted against the nationalisation Measure, but who was himself a transport man. He agreed that Geddes was right, and that it was the duty of the State, not necessarily by way of public ownership, to co-ordinate all forms of transport. Measures to further co-ordination have been introduced, bit by bit, but the tragedy is that every Measure taken in this direction over the years has been an invitation to a political dogfight.

Politics have bedevilled the industry that many of us have given our lives to. Any measure, however fiddling, which appears to be a move towards co-ordination seems to be regarded as a threat against personal liberty. It is as if the very foundations of free society would crumble were we to dare to proceed properly along that path. Measures have been taken and later withdrawn; legislation has been introduced and later destroyed. No wonder that today railwaymen pray for their safety against the assaults of the Government and of committees.

We should like direction and leadership to enable us to get on with the job. In nearly every industrial country in the world the State has intervened to lay down its controls and restrictions. I submit that before we start talking about orders and committees the Government must have an overall transport policy; otherwise there will be absolute chaos, with the destruction of the morale, initiative and ability of those men called on to perform the task of providing an adequate system of transport.

I ask the Minister to consider the position of the railways in the present setting, in the absence of any real transport policy. This Advisory Group will not give us a policy; that can come only from the Government. Today railways have to operate against fierce competition and at the same time are denied equality of opportunity with their competitors. There are the restrictions of the transport users' consultative committees, the restrictions of road tribunals, and the railways have to bear the burden of common carriers. Can we envisage a situation—can anyone—in which all these restrictions would be swept away; where railways would carry what they liked; where difficult, uneconomic cross-country hauls would be refused; where commuter services would be curtailed because they were uneconomic, and where there would be a ruthless pruning of all services which could not comply with good economic and commercial conditions? We do not want a planning board to tell us that that is the only logical alternative to a co-ordination of transport, and I do not think that that state of affairs could happen in our country.

I have talked to industrialists and leaders of commerce on this matter and I do not believe that we can have a transport system in which every part of it is relieved of the common carrier liability. In the interests of the nation we are bound to assume that liability. I say, in addition, that we cannot denude large areas of this country of any railway facilities because such facilities do not pay. There is a social content in rail transport which only the policy of the Government can determine, and all the committees in the world will be unable to relieve the Minister of that final responsibility.

Today we have to look at the transport industry as a whole. In 1941, in the emergency of war, an illustrious predecessor of the present Minister, Lord Leathers, said that transport had to be considered as one unit. All the pressures and controls of war do not continue in peace-time, but some lessons learned in war-lime can very often be applied to peace-time conditions and that is one.

The Act of 1947, with all its defects— I have spent a good few years now in the trade union world and I have come to appreciate those defects—prescribed a solution to this problem which had existed for thirty or forty years. It provided a solution on the basis of the integration of all means of transport under a single common ownership. Yet in six years, another Government, which exercised to the full their democratic right, destroyed it and dropped the principle of integration.

The argument was that co-ordination is best left to work itself out through the competitive process. What has been the result? Leaving party politics out of it— because when we go into industrial negotiations, let me say quite clearly, we are not concerned with party politics—what is the position? I venture to suggest that transport in this country is in a chaotic situation. Here we have the economics of Bedlam. The sum of £1,500 million has been put into the modernisation of the railways. Here we have the dream of railwaymen that at long last they can have modern equipment, new marshalling yards, all the new means of signalling and telecommunication, new rolling stock, electrification, dieselisation, and, in the light of the present chaos, what is it to do? What is its function? Only the Government can answer the question. I have no faith in committees. Men can talk with the voices of angels, but they will not answer this question. Only the Government can say what are the real functions and purpose of the modernised railways within an overall transport industry.

I say that the task of the railways must be determined by what the Minister proposes to do with the roads. It is his task, and his alone. If only the Minister would go into a Trappist monastery for six months, sit down and read the words of wisdom of the men in transport since 1920 and really dwell upon the economic problems that arise from an industry that is in chaos, he would find out what is really required in these days to fulfil the dream of Eric Geddes.

What is the present position? Everybody knows that the Institution of Civil Engineers—not the research department of the Labour party—has estimated that the cost of congestion on the roads of Britain in 1967 will be £2,000 million. That is the burden which the nation faces. In less than eleven years there will be an increase of 390 per cent. in the number of "C" licences of six-ton lorries unladen weight and over. This is one of the measures of the number of vehicles flowing on to the roads of Britain. The commercial vehicle fleet of this country doubled in the eleven years between 1949 and 1960, and the Minister scratches about like the Welsh three-quarters against England this year in his efforts to deal with parking, congestion and all the other bodily afflictions of the roads.

I suggest that there are thousands of tons of traffic on the roads of Britain that ought to be carried by the modernised railways, and it is as relevant today as it was forty years ago that it is the Government's duty to encourage each agency of transport to undertake that part of the total work which, because of its own special qualities, it can most efficiently undertake. Whether it be privately-owned or publicly-owned agencies, it is the task of the Government to review the whole of the transport field and to lay down their policy, and they cannot pass the buck to a committee. It can well be argued that the individual should be free to make his own choice between the means of transport provided, but it is my belief as a transport man that the decision as to what means of transport are to be provided in the interests of the nation as a whole must be a Government decision.

It has been suggested that these four wise men are to have a look at modernisation. What a story could be told about modernisation. We have had a committee on modernisation, the modernisation plan approved, the plan appraised and reappraised, and now, in the Prime Minister's word, we are to have it "adapted". Does anyone give a thought to what these changes of policy mean to human individuals? For years part of my daily life has been engaged in dealing with the labour problems arising out of modernisation.

Some of us have tramped the country teaching and persuading our people that modernisation was right and proper, that they could not stand in the way of progress, that the questions of redundancy, moving one's home and interfering with the education of one's children were the crosses that railwaymen had to bear in the interests of a great modern industry. And then we have capital cuts—cuts in the investment programme. The programme is reappraised and the redundancy expected at one spot does not arise but arises at another. The only purpose of the railwaymen is to serve the industry well, but we make them frustrated and upset. I repeat to the Minister that if some of our evidence to the Advisory Group is not strictly Parliamentary, I am sure that at least the Lord will forgive us even if the Minister does not.

The group is to discuss decentralisation. My right hon. Friend the Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) drew attention to decentralisation. We have been going through the agony of decentralisation in the past five years. At a time when everybody should have been concentrating on proceeding with modernisation speedily and efficiently, we have had an administrative revolution with different areas and different districts. At a time when stability was wanted, once again the men were put in a mood of bitter frustration, anxiety and insecurity. How can management manage and how can trade union leaders be expected to maintain the morale and the discipline of their members when there is this everlasting change, largely arising from a lack of Government policy? It is the absence of leadership and of direction from Government level as to what the Government want the railways to do in the future which is the cause of so much of our trouble.

Hon. Members talk about self-accounting. Before the war we had a railway clearing house of over 3,000 clerical units so that they could divide up the amount of rail fare paid between, say, Derby and Bournemouth, because in that journey people came off the London and Midland and went on to the Southern Railway. They had to cost when an engine passed from one region to another. The most meticulous calculations had to be made in order that they could be self-accounting. Is it suggested that we should return to that? Is it suggested, in terms of operation and of accountancy, that we should go back there?

I submit to the Committee that the railways have a great rôle to play in the future. I believe that whatever happens in road development, there is a great place for the railways. I can foresee the day when great electrified tracks run from North to South, with trains running as the passenger timetables are now prepared. I see goods being taken from the place of manufacture speedily and efficiently to the point where delivery is required.

That will be achieved not as the Minister passes his burden to a Committee but as he makes up his mind, and the Government make up their mind, what is to be the overall transport policy. My last words in the debate, speaking as a railwayman, are that there is still a vast store of good will and of initiative among transport men throughout the country. I say to the Minister "Do not bedevil us with any more committees. Make up your mind what you want us to do, and then give us a chance to create a transport industry."

8.50 p.m.

Mr. F. J. P. Lilley (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)

This being my maiden speech, I crave the indulgence from hon. Members which is so generously given at such a time. I have listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Gunter), and I can assure him that I, like the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel), have driven a "pug" and kept it on the fails. The only thing I did not keep on the rails was the thing behind it.

This is the first time I have spoken in the House, and I am assured by many hon. Members that my nervousness is something which is not confined to myself on these occasions. I have the honour to represent the constituency of Kelvingrove, which is situated in Glasgow and is one of fifteen constituencies in that city. Kelvingrove was represented in this House for many years by the late Lieut.-Colonel the Rt. Hon. Walter Elliot. He was not only known as a great Scot but as a great Britisher, and I can assure hon. Members that last October I had every reason to know just how well he was considered by people throughout the world. I had to reply to the telegrams when, in October, Kelvingrove proved itself second to none in Scotland as a constituency.

Lieut.-Colonel Walter Elliot made the representation of that constituency so well known and in the doing of it became so well beloved to many people in this place and out of it that following in his footsteps makes me so nervous that I "gang wary". This fact must have been of great moment to my opponent and predecessor, Mrs. Mary McAlister, who represented Kelvingrove in the interim period. Kelvingrove appreciates the great honour done to Lieut.-Colonel the Rt. Hon. Walter Elliot's widow, who now adorns another place with her dignity and charm.

I come to the question we are discussing. As I say, I am nervous, but I have had a little experience. I have been able to stretch forth my right hand and pull the lever. Without being controversial, I can say that the wellbeing of British Railways has given me—and not me alone—much to think of in many years past. It is not so long since British hotels were considered a joke on the stages of Great Britain. I say this in all sincerity. I am glad to say that that is now a thing of the past and today the magnificent improvement in those hotels, particularly in their catering departments, I am sure gladdens the hearts of the men who are responsible for tourism in this country. In particular, that must be of great pleasure to the man who has taken responsibility for tourism in Scotland.

I believe that with the better service now available, tourism will improve in many ways and it will improve many facets of employment—or, should I say, the lack of it—in Scotland. It may well be that improvements in other directions could be envisaged. This is a matter which has given me considerable thought over a long period as a councillor in the City of Glasgow. I was speaking recently to a man employed by the railways. His job is to assist where he can in the transportaton of goods from Scotland to England.

He assured me that, with the modern vehicles now available, he had improved the facilities between Scotland and England to such an extent that the railways now carried thousands of tons of goods formerly carried by road. I approve of this in many instances. I do not approve of it in other instances. I trust that his efforts, and those of others, will brighten the future for British Railways.

Is it possible that the railways might assist in other ways? I suggest that the City of Glasgow is a typical city in Great Britain. It has a terrific difficulty in securing land in the centre of the City to control its traffic problems. I suggest to the Advisory Group that it is possible to close down one of Glasgow's railway stations, namely, Glasgow Central Station. Better and more secure handling of traffic going from St. Enoch Station would remove the troubles and bothers of wagons, or trains and their carriages, standing at the station.

If my suggestion were adopted, Glasgow Central Station, completed with present-day automation in car stacking, could be of advantage to Glasgow. Other cities could do the same. Such action would produce a revenue for the railways from car stacking. It would prevent the headaches at present being experienced by the local authority, the police, and by the much maligned car drivers looking for car parking facilities in large cities. Further, it would be much to the benefit of shopkeepers in the area.

I do not use trains much, but last week I was on trains four nights in succession going backwards and forwards to Scotland. I found that I could not sleep in the old type of carriage. I half-slept in the new type of carriage. I came into the Chamber and practically slept for the rest of the time. I am not paid to do that. We have a duty to our constituents, and the Minister has a duty to us, to see that the railway lines between here and Scotland are not such that the train bumps over something every second, wakening the passengers and resulting in them lying on the floor before they know where they are, their sleeping pills not having worked.

I apologise for taking up the time of the Committee in this way, but I can assure hon. Members that I was not able to deliver the wonderful speech on my own job as a civil engineer which I had prepared for last Friday. Today, I was challenged by an hon. Member for an Edinburgh constituency. He bet me that I could not make this speech. I took on the bet, and here I am. Strangely enough, everyone in this place worries about when one is to make one's maiden speech; then one gets up and makes it but nobody cares a damn whether it has been made or not. Now, I have mislaid the last part of what I have to say. I will thank hon. Members, therefore, for listening to me and so helping me to win my bet.

9.1 p.m.

Mr. Walter Monslow (Barrow-in-Furness)

I should like to congratulate the hon. Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Mr. Lilley) on his fund of good humour. We could do with more of it in this place—it would certainly enliven our proceedings. I can only hope that now that he has survived the ordeal of his maiden speech we shall have the joy of listening to him many times in the not far distant future.

We are somewhat limited by time in this debate, and many of us wanted to make quite a comprehensive survey of a problem so complex that it certainly calls for something that has not so far been applied to it—dynamic leadership. In his Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer put railway deficits above the line. I agree with him in his action because, quite frankly, there is no possibility of the Commission ever meeting all its commitments, and there is very little hope of its ever being able to repay the advances. We can, therefore, accept the Chancellor's decision.

Railway finances are, properly, being treated formally as subsidies, and counted as current expenditure. The deficit for 1960–61 is estimated at about £90 million. I believe that to be an under-estimate, and that when we have the full implementation of the Guillebaud Report the deficit may reach as much as £120 million. The Government should face the stark reality that what we have previously accepted as, perhaps, a concealed subsidy, will continue for all time. We should face that truth.

The Government claim to have set in motion a complete review of the structure, finance and working of the organisation at present controlled by the Commission, but some of us feel that they have not gone the right way about it. So far, four men are to work on the planning board—two scientists, a chartered accountant, and a chairman who is, I understand, an engineer. I believe that the Minister has not yet completed the composition of the board, but that it is hoped to include on it representatives of the Ministry of Transport and the Treasury.

If we are to augment the number of members of the planning board, surely it is not even now too late to plead with the Government to appoint to it a representative of the Trades Union Congress and someone from the Transport Commission. If the Government are not disposed to do that, they might at least consider the possibility of giving representation to one of the trade unions within the industry.

The Minister's statement clearly indicated his desire for some decentralisation and a realisation that the Commission's financial status must be reconstituted. Anyone would think that that was the result of the application of new thought. I recall Sir Brian Robertson repeatedly making that plea during the past few years. I pay this tribute to the British Transport Commission. Within prescribed limits, in spite of dictation from the Government about how the industry should be administered, it has done a magnificent job in the circumstances with which it has been faced.

Last week, the Economist put forward the proposal to establish a new planning board in its correct setting, pointing out that a public transport organisation is a totally different animal from a manufacturing industry. We are informed that the membership of the board is not completed, and it is illuminating that no one is even now contemplating as a possibility the board's considering one fundamental aspect of the problem, namely, the complete integration of road and rail transport.

Between 1952 and 1955, prior to denationalisation, the road transport section of the industry was making a profit of £8 million to £10 million. The profitable sections of the industry are being hived off. I suggest that the planning board should consider the possibility of integrating all our transport services. In that way much could be achieved and, indeed, we should go a very long way towards making the industry solvent and really efficient. I leave the matter there because time is short and I must comply with the request made to me.

9.8 p.m.

Sir Richard Nugent (Guildford)

I am glad to be able to join in this very interesting debate and to add my congratulations to those already offered to my two hon. Friends from north of the Border, the Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Mr. Lilley) and the Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) on the contributions they made to it.

I cannot agree entirely with what the hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Monslow) said. I felt a good deal of sympathy with what was said by the hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Gunter). The hon. Gentleman speaks with great authority for those working in the railway industry, and I congratulate him on the work he has done in facilitating the difficult affairs of the railways in these times of rapid change.

There is, however, one point he made on which I must comment. He said that what will be the final rôle of the railways is the Government's decision. So it is. I entirely agree. I am sure that my right hon. Friend is well aware of that. What my right hon. Friend is seeking to do is to equip himself with the necessary advice to make the decision. It is an extraordinarily difficult decision.

Mr. Holt


Sir R. Nugent

I am sorry, but I really have not time to give way. I want to sit down as soon as I can and I must be allowed to make my speech. If the hon. Member will be patient. I will give him my reasons for saying that the British Transport Commission is not in a position to undertake the review. I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend as to the reason why the Ministry itself cannot do it. It is not geared to do it.

It is no use asking the Transport Commission to make this review at this time, because it is now doing its utmost to succeed on the railways. My right hon. Friend is perfectly right when he says that he finds a situation, on arriving in office, where the annual loss is about £100 million—and possibly more with the full effect of the Guillebaud award —and the Government are providing over £200 million a year, or a greater part of it, by way of capital expenditure for modernisation of the railways, and that, at the same time, the prospect of the railways being solvent and generally meeting the standard of service for which we all hope is still not there.

That is a situation which no Government could leave. The Government are bound to take action. What the Transport Commission did, at the request of my right hon. Friend who is now Minister of Defence, was to make a reappraisal of the modernisation plans, and this came into our hands at the end of last summer. That was a very sombre document. It caused me anxiety, as I am sure it caused many other people anxiety. The fact is that the Transport Commission, working under many conditions of great difficulty, some of which have been referred to today, has done and is doing its best, and it is no use asking the Commission to review the matter again. It has done so.

I think that my right hon. Friend is quite right to seek the help of outside experts to take a view about reconstruction of management and of finance and, finally—a point which has not been greatly dealt with—as to what is to be the future rôle of the railways for the next twenty or thirty years. Inevitably, when we have discussions on transport the haze of battle descends upon us and each side accuses the other of bringing politics into it. But we have the common wish—and I know that hon. Members opposite have intimate knowledge of the railways—to make a success of the railways. We on this side are also putting our hands to the plough to help to modernise the railways and to make them into a really successful service.

We have the problem now confronting us of this failing service and that is why my right hon. Friend appointed these people to advise him. The main problem to decide is: what do we want the railways to do in the next twenty or thirty years? At present, we have a situation where the railways are not giving satisfaction, are costing us large sums of money and have an annual loss on average of about 20 per cent. overall on all operations. It is quite obvious from that figure that there are many operations which the railways are carrying out today which must be making an enormous loss. There are also operations which are making a profit. Somehow, someone has to disentangle them, the economic from the uneconomic. What my right hon. Friend needs from the Advisory Group is just that analysis of what there is that is economic and potentially economic and what is uneconomic.

Mr. A. C. Manuel (Central Ayrshire)

If the Minister knew his job, he would know that.

Sir R. Nugent

It is not so easy. The railways are a very difficult and complicated structure and it is very difficult to take a view about what is economic and what is uneconomic, particularly when we are dealing with a railway system which was laid out and designed to meet circumstances very different from what we have today, and laid out primarily to carry freight when 60 per cent. of the freight moved today goes by road.

Now, with the universal motor car travelling all over the country, we have an entirely different situation which is changing with enormous speed. There are many innovations, such as transport by pipe for oil and possibly coming for minerals as well. All those things are happening so fast that a modernisation plan which was valid and the best which could be provided ten years ago may not be valid today.

The only sound ground is with the passenger service. Having had some contact and some experience with the railways, I have concluded that whatever happens over the next ten or twenty years there is no way of getting commuters daily into the big cities, except by rail. That seems to be a solid ground on which one can build. Nowadays, people commute up to sixty miles, so that that calls for a railway service covering the large part of the country, although still leaving out some remote areas. The Americans have done us a good turn in this respect, since they tried to do without rail services for commuting and have found to their heavy cost that it cannot be done. They have had to resuscitate rail services as fast as they could.

That is the answer to those people who say that we should get rid of the whole railway system. We cannot do that while we require it to carry 2 million and 3 million people a day in and out of the big cities. The position with through lines is enormously complicated and there are hon. Gentlemen with experience of the railways who understand it better than I do. It is very difficult to decide what the position will be in ten or twenty years. Some aspects, such as the parcels service, are sound and likely to contiue, but there are others about which it is difficult to decide.

It is just those matters on which the Advisory Group will advise my right hon. Friend. It will try to disentangle the economic from the uneconomic and then advise my right hon. Friend which is which. It will then be for the Government to decide what part of the existing uneconomic services should be kept, if any, for social reasons. That is obviously a decision of enormous importance. It may be that none will be kept, but if any part is to be kept we should know what it is to cost, a consideration in which all hon. Members are deeply interested.

We are all keen to see the railways modernised and streamlined, except in our own constituencies—and there is the rub. I hope that the review will show which service is economic and which is uneconomic so that we can decide what ought to be kept in operation and what it will cost the Commission to keep in being any uneconomic part which we may wish to retain. That is the way this Advisory Group can help my right hon. Friend. I do not believe that there is any other way in which he can get the advice which he needs. I still hope that the Committee will agree to what my right hon. Friend is asking without a Division.

9.19 p.m.

Mr. Wedgwood Benn (Bristol, South-East)

If I may say so without offence, the hon. Member for Guildford (Sir R. Nugent) has made the best case we have heard from hon. Members opposite in favour of the planning board. But even he, with his courtesy and generosity, has not been able to cover the thinness of the Minister's case for appointing this planning group.

This has been a remarkable debate, not least for the speeches from the two Scottish "maidens" opposite. I congratulate the hon. Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Mr. Lilley) and the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) on having dared to venture into a very controversial debate with their maiden speeches. They were united in one respect—both paid tribute to modernisation. As the years go by, more and more of the travelling public will realise what modernisation means for the railways. Both hon. Members in their pleasantly personal references were much appreciated.

It has been a remarkable debate, too, from this side, because we have heard from three of my hon. Friends each of whom is concerned directly with the railways through one of the railway unions. We have had a measure of the feeling on this side about the new planning Board. The Motion is a Motion of censure—make no mistake about it; but it is a Motion of censure that comes with an enormous amount of good will towards the Minister if only he is willing to take the necessary decisions. As with road traffic and as with almost everything that the Minister has to deal with, this side of the Committee is willing to back him if only he will tackle the real problems. My hon. Friend the Member for Southwark (Mr. Gunter), in what must have been one of the most out- standing speeches heard in the House of Commons for many months or years, has conveyed exactly the tone that we want to bring to this Motion of censure tonight.

What is wrong with the railways is part of our basic transport problem, and it is not only the railways that are affected. This is both an old and a new problem. It is an old problem in that no previous Government, except the Labour Government in 1947, has even tried to solve the problem of co-ordination. It is a new problem in the sense that the deficit which now faces the Government has begun to develop only since 1952. The reasons for it have been brought out by my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Popplewell) and other hon. Members.

First, persistent under-investment in the railways before the war, during the war, because of the war, and during the post-war years because of the priorities of reconstruction. Second, the growing competition from the roads, which have caused great difficulty because the Government have never had a proper policy to deal with it. Third, interference by the Government in the operation of the railways. The Transport Commission estimates that £100 million has been lost to it because it was never allowed to raise its charges in time to deal with the rising costs which it had to face. Fourth, the trade recession which was estimated to have cost £30 million, and the impossible capital structure of the Transport Commission, which makes it pay, or attempt to pay, out of its current earnings, the historic costs of building our railways and to pay fixed interest charges even before paying working expenses. That is the impossible position that faces us in our railway industry.

Let us, however, put the situation into perspective. It is not only the railways that are in a state of difficulty. Let us consider other aspects of our transport problem—Air, for example. The aircraft industry has had public money pumped into it regularly in the last four or five years. Some £430 million of Government money has gone into the aircraft industry.

Consider airfields. The Minister of Transport is responsible for running our aerodromes—

Mr. Marples

It has escaped the hon. Member that there was a change last October. Civil aviation was taken away from the Ministry of Transport and was given to a separate Ministry.

Mr. Benn

The right hon. Gentleman is always the first to draw attention to the failure of a colleague. This is not the first time that he has tried to push responsibility upon his predecessor. It was his predecessor who was responsible for the airfields in the last year for which figures were published—that is, last year. Every one of our 26 airfields made a loss. If we were to apply the same rules and close uneconomic airfields, we would not have a single airfield today. Indeed, under the Ministry of Transport the airfields managed to lose £10 million, representing 60 per cent. of their gross revenue.

The shipping industry has been in receipt of considerable sums of Government money by the investment allowances. Now, we are told, the Cunard Company wants a great deal of money to build successors to the "Queens". Mr. MacBrayne gets £250,000 a year as a matter of course because he runs an uneconomic service. Now, the president of the United Kingdom Chamber of Shipping has said that: We must look to Her Majesty's Government for understanding and action. We shall ask for it not as suppliants but as a vigorous industry, which in these so-called enlightened days must have the Government behind it. Everybody is lined up for money at the Treasury door because there is no co-ordinated transport policy.

Even the road hauliers who are able to claim in public that they run very cheap services do not have to pay for the roads. They do not have to pay for the police. They do not have to pay for the accidents on the roads, or to keep the dependants of people killed and hurt on the road. They do not have to pay the bill of £500 million for congestion which is going to rise, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Southwark said, to £2,000 million in the next few years. These figures are not recorded.

Therefore, we must keep a sense of proportion when discussing transport. It is not only the Transport Commission that is in difficulties. The Government's policy is in shreds. There is no co- ordinated transport policy in the country today.

Let us look at what is to pass as a substitute for policy. First, in a statement made by the Prime Minister on 10th March, the right hon. Gentleman said three things—we must have a size and pattern for the railways which is in accordance with current needs, the public must accept this size and pattern, there must be a radical reorganisation with decentralisation and regional accounting, and the Planning Board is to work out the detailed application. Secondly, the Parliamentary Secretary gave a pledge to the House on 23rd March that the Commission would be represented on the Board. I do not believe there has been a change here. Probably the hon. Gentleman did not know what the policy was. I can hardly believe that the Prime Minister made a statement so ill-considered that it was not at the time realised that the Transport Commission was not to be represented.

Finally, we had the Minister of Transport in the House on 6th April, and by this time it was not a "planning board," it was an "Advisory Group," as my right hon. Friend the Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) said. The right hon. Gentleman went further. The Group is not only going to consult the railways, but other forms of transport as well, and it can recommend what it likes. Tonight the right hon. Gentleman was in most expansive mood and said that if it did not like the terms of reference it could ask for new ones.

But the terms of reference were laid down in the policy decision announced by the Prime Minister. Is the planning board allowed to say now that the Prime Minister's terms of reference do not make any sense? There are questions which the Committee is required to ask itself.

First of all, is the Stedeford Committee to do what the Prime Minister said and apply in detail the Prime Minister's policy? If it is really a task of application in detail, that is a function of management. Sir Ivan Stedeford, whatever his qualities—and none of us has made disrespectful reference to him— was not interested in railways a month ago and will not be six months hence. Therefore, any recommendations made by him to be applied in detail are not likely to be taken by the Commission which will know that his interest in transport is transitory. [Interruption.] We are grateful for small mercies, but he is only a temporary figure on the transport scene.

If, on the other hand, it is the board's duty to advise generally, why has it been prejudged by the Prime Minister and is to include decentralisation and regional accountancy? One cannot have it both ways. Either the board is to recommend things which the Prime Minister did not say or is to be responsible for putting into effect what he did say, in which case it has an executive function. I hope that tonight the Parliamentary Secretary's reply will represent the Government's policy. We do not want to be told later that there has been another change.

How wide is the scope of this Committee? Is it only to consider railways? That has been done before. In the modernisation plan, its reappraisal, and its re-examination all these problems have been looked at from the railway angle. If it is to be not just the railways but a wider scope covering the whole field of transport, as we should like to see done, it should be carried out by another much bigger, stronger committee given an opportunity to do it properly.

The committee's report, we are told tonight, is not to be published. But the Transport Commission having received advice from this group, is it not to be allowed to publish it? Are we not to know even if the Stedeford Committee has come out entirely against the Prime Minister? This is a new departure.

The Prime Minister has gone further. He has attempted to lay down certain specific conditions under which the planning board must operate. First of all, there is to be a reduction of uneconomic services. Of course, there would be no Scottish railways if uneconomic services were to be shut down and if there were to be a strict commercial application in the Scottish regions. I hope that the maiden speakers have by their charm lured the Minister away from this rather primitive approach to railway modernisation, because the railways must operate as a whole. A piece of freight or a passenger who boards them on a branch line may go through the whole railway system. If the branch line is not there the whole railway system will suffer, so we cannot take branch lines and uneconomic services solely by themselves.

Similarly, there are other—social— reasons like those which have dictated the subsidy to MacBraynes, which presumably could and should apply in the case of the railways. These are the problems which the modernisation plan set out to solve, and when the Prime Minister said that we would cut out uneconomic services he did not mention that as part of the modernisation plan there are already great reductions envisaged in uneconomic services. The British Transport Commission is cutting 10 per cent. more of its route miles in the next four years. This is more than in the last four years. Over the period between 1958 and 1963 the Commission will be reducing the number of passenger and goods stations by no less than 1,000, so the process of making the railways compact is already in operation under the existing Commission.

Now we come to the second condition laid down by the Prime Minister, that there must be decentralisation of railways. Of course, the historic process of the railways of this country over many years has been the other way. There has been centralisation—from 120 companies to 4 in 1921; centralisation of the Railway Executive under the Ministry of Transport in the war, when the railways were run by four general managers and Lord Ashfield; also there was centralisation under the 1947 Act.

It is true that in recent years, for managerial reasons, there has been a tendency to decentralise. This process began before the Labour Government left office. The Railway Executive began to give greater authority to the chairmen of the area boards. Then in 1951 the British Transport Commission itself approved managerial decentralisation. Again, in 1953 we had the Government's Act insisting on it, and in 1954 the Commission produced its own plan. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Blyth pointed out, in 1954 the then Minister of Transport, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Lennox-Boyd), approved the decentralisation plan then put into operation, and this process has gone on. In 1957, with the abolition of the central rate book, the Commission moved once again towards effective decentralisation.

Let us be clear about this. When we talk about decentralisation, do we know what we mean? When we talk about centralisation the case for it is in the sphere of operating efficiency. The case for centralisation is an economic one. It reduced the number of locomotive types that are ordered and by centralised wagon control, it gives a far better service out of each wagon than can be got if this job is left to the individual railway regions.

What, as I understand it, is happening at the moment is that for operating purposes there is centralisation, which brings economy, but for commercial and managerial purposes there is a great measure of decentralisation in the operation of the railways. I am only making the argument we often hear from the other side of the Committee, that the man on the spot knows best when it comes to the management of railways. To try to attach from the outside a temporary planning board which has only a transitory interest in railways, and expect its recommendations to be taken seriously makes no sense at all.

Now we come to regional accountancy. The Prime Minister said that every undertaking must have its own accounts, but the undertakings already have separate accounts. After all, the hotel and catering services, for example, put out their accounts separately. This year, for the first time, I understand, they will make a profit of over £1 million, which no doubt is very attractive to the takeover bidders, who are hanging about in the shadows to see what the planning board will be able to throw out to them from the window of the Ministry of Transport.

If we come to this seriously, is there anybody who really believes that we want to recreate regional accounting? Is there anybody who believes that we want to go back to the system of the railway clearing house with its 1,800 people trying to apportion the cost of a locomotive between the L.M.S. and the G.W.R.? Of course not.

The railway clearing house has largely disappeared. It now has a small number of staff—about 400—and it is not engaged in that type of operation at all. To make sense of what the Prime Minister's terms of reference mean, we would need about another 1,500 to 2,000 clerks. What would they do? They would only go back to the position before the war when 70 per cent. of the railway receipts were pooled.

I quote in support the present Minister of Pensions, who was asked this very Question in 1954. In reply, he said: The difficulty is to find a system which really does that."— That is, railway regional accounting— Even before the war, when the four mainline companies were in private hands, 70 per cent. of the receipts of the railway were subject to a pooling system which depended upon a number of arbitrary assumptions. Since then, centralisation has gone further. For example, there is, under this Scheme, a centralised wagon pool. I am not sure that a straightforward profit-and-loss account would necessarily teach us very much."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st November, 1954, Vol. 532, c. 150.] That was not said by this side of the Committee. That was said by the Minister of Pensions who once briefly and ingloriously occupied the post now occupied by the present Minister of Transport.

In fact, this makes no sense at all, and the Minister knows very well that the verdict of people with experience on this Board is that it is ill-considered and ill-fitted for its task and it has been ill-received by the experts. The Minister said that he wanted to take it outside party politics. He has succeeded. It has been attacked by members of all parties. It has been attacked by Modern Transport, which described the Prime Minister's criticism as "unfair and misleading." The Economist described it as "further pinpricking of the Transport Commission." The Daily Telegraph's leading article described it as an "unhappy Board" and the Daily Mail said that "it was not one of Mr. Marples' best days." I congratulate the Minister on having taken it outside party politics.

Why has this been proposed at all? I have been trying to think of what I would say tonight to find out exactly how against all this advice there could have been these recommendations. I think the explanation lies in one reference the Prime Minister made to his own railway experience. He was, I think, a director of the Great Western Railway. So I went to the archives of the Great Western Railway to see what happened when he was a director. I want to tell the Committee one or two figures of the period of stewardship of the Prime Minister when he was a director of the G.W.R. before the war.

The Prime Minister was appointed in 1929 when the G.W.R. was paying 7½ per cent. on its dividends. A year later, that is, after one year's work by him, the dividend dropped to 5 per cent. After the second year the dividend dropped to 3 per cent., and in the fourth year the dividend dropped so low that the G.W.R. could pay only 3 per cent. by dipping into reserves. That was the year in which the G.W.R. asked for a 10 per cent. wage cut to help with its problems. Between 1933 and 1935 the 3 per cent. dividend was paid every year out of reserves. But in 1936 the company actually earned its profit.

In 1937, it managed to raise it to 4 per cent. by postponing modernisation. It cut £3 million out of its capital requirement programme, and was thus able to pay 4 per cent.

In 1938, the dividend dropped to 0.5 per cent. and the G.W.R. lost its trustee status and was considered unworthy to receive the earnings of people under the Trustee Acts. The chairman, when asked why he did not pay the dividend out of reserves, said, "We have paid out £8 million from reserves to dividends in the last fifteen years and we cannot pay out any more". [Laughter.] That was ten years of good hard work by the Prime Minister with the railways. When I think of the Battle of Hastings I am reminded that he is not the only Harold who stuck out his neck and got one in the eye.

The railways were saved by the arrival of the war and by the fact that the Government began to take over railway operations. One of the first things that they did was to raise the dividend again to 4½ per cent. On March 10th one of the last things that the Prime Minister said was that the public must be prepared to pay more money for fares. Of course, he has had a gold pass since 1929 and has not paid railway fares for thirty-one years. Therefore, his appeal to the public for restraint may therefore be received in rather a different way from what he intended. At any rate, that is the lesson of the men who really claim to know how to run the railways. They put the profits first; wages were depressed and modernisation was neglected. Public money went into the industry, as it did before the war with the private railway companies, and there is no accountability of any sort. That is part of the cause of the problem that the Government now must face.

We say to the Government, "We want action from you on certain very clear matters". Let us consider the Victoria Line Tube, for example, This was first examined by a Committee set up by Lord Leathers during the war. It was supported by the London Plan Committee in 1949. It was backed by the British Transport Commission in 1955; supported by the London Travel Committee in 1959. And it has now been handed to Sir Ivan Stedeford to look at in his spare time.

Let us consider the question of parking at railway stations. Why should not the Commission be given a one-Clause Bill enabling it to develop its own facilities in this respect? The late Sir Stafford Cripps proposed this in 1932, when the London Passenger Transport Bill came before the House, and he was backed by the present Prime Minister, who said that the provision of parking places and facilities for people using the railways needed to be developed. The present Minister is 28 years behind with his ideas. It is time that he gave the Commission power to do this.

We want from the Government the beginnings of a transport policy. We want them to think about developments in aircraft, pipelines, vertical take-off aircraft, helicopters and all the things which will emerge in transport in the next few years.

We want them to re-examine the Commission's functions and to take an unfair burden off its shoulders. Above all, we want the Minister to let the railways get on with the job. I challenge the Minister tonight: let him be the first Tory Minister of Transport who really wanted the railways to succeed. Let him be a man dedicated to helping modernisation, and let him forget the idea of a planning board, which we think is the first step in a take-over raid upon the resources of the Commission.

It is the duty of this Committee to put the national interests first. We do not believe that the planning board can succeed, because it does not command the respect of the men running the railways and working on the railways. Therefore, it cannot and should not command the confidence of the Committee tonight.

9.42 p.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. John Hay)

Upon one thing at least the horn. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) and I can be entirely agreed, and that is in congratulating my two hon. Friends the Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) and the hon. Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Mr. Lilley) upon discharging that most difficult of all tasks for a Member, that of making his maiden speech. The speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, West with its references to his journey on the footplate of the "Flying Scotsman"—in these days a diesel train— reminded us of the growing development of the modernisation plan of the British Transport Commission about which I wish to say something before I conclude.

The hon. Member for Bristol, South-East had a lot to say about my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the old Great Western Railway, but he failed to make any comparison between the results achieved by the railways of those days, including the Great Western Railway, and by the Western Region today. Listening to the speeches of hon. Members opposite this evening one would have imagined that the nation was possessed of a highly efficient and highly profitable railway system which the Government, by appointing a group of advisers, were trying to monkey about with.

The whole purpose of the operation upon which we are now engaged, and of the policy enunciated by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister—the whole purpose of the appointment of the Advisory Group—is to deal with a situation which, unless it is dealt with now, will become steadily more serious. We are faced not with a highly profitable or even a highly efficient railway industry; we are faced with an industry which is losing money year by year. As some hon. Members, like the hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Gunter), know—and I pay tribute to his knowledge and experience—people working in the railway industry are grieving day by day over the loss of morale.

Let us look for a moment at the financial situation. First, the deficits of the Commission. To date, they amount to £353 million. Year by year the deficits go up. That is the first fact that we have to keep in mind. The second is that since 1956 the Government have advanced no less than £276 million to meet the deficits of the Commission. They have also advanced a further £326 million by way of capital investment. In all, that amounts to about £600 million which the Commission owes the Government or, to be more precise, owes the taxpayer.

I think that we are entitled to say that with this sort of situation developing the Government have not only the right but the clear duty to intervene and to take steps to put it right. That is what we are trying to do. I know that it is part of the duty of an Opposition to try to jog the Government's elbow, but I think that hon. Members opposite might have a little more sense of responsibility.

May I, next, come to the Advisory Group. As the Committee knows, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made his original statement on this matter on 10th March when he used the expression "planning board". I think that a lot of the misunderstanding, and, indeed, the misapprehension, which there has been about this matter arises from the fact that at that time it was our view that something rather bigger than what we now propose, with a rather wider membership —which would have been a board to carry out the planning of the future of the railways—was in the minds of the Government. But it is important to realise that what we are now suggesting, and, in fact, what my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport said a week ago, when he announced the names of the members of the Advisory Group, and so on, is something rather different from that.

It is important to grasp what the group is and what it is not. It is not intended to be a committee of inquiry. The precedents of the Herbert Committee and the Fleck Committee, and so on, are not appropriate in this case. We are not setting up a body to conduct a large-scale inquisition into the affairs of the Transport Commission. It is a group of advisers possessed of special knowledge, and in due course I will come to what that knowledge is and how it will be useful to us. I will not go over again the major principles and policies that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced in his statement on 10th March, except to say this—[Interruption.] I think that the right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens), who did not allow himself to be interrupted, might be quiet for a moment.

Those principles represent the Government's general overall policy on the reorganisation of the Transport Commission. There is the main context, and now we are seeking detailed advice that we must inevitably have before those major principles of policy can be applied in detail to the undertakings run and operated by the Commission. The purpose of this Advisory Group is to work out the application of those principles to the undertakings of the Commission. As I said in the debate on the British Transport Commission Bill, three or four weeks ago, it is not intended to be an executive body wedged in—as I said—between the Minister, on the one hand, and the Commission, on the other. It is not intended to lay down rules that the Commission must follow. The intention of the Government is that it should be a body to advise the Minister—

Mr. Robens

In secret.

Mr. Hay

—no, not in secret—and the Commission on the detailed application of the Government's policy.

May I now say something about the group's remit. Again, I think that the use of the expression "terms of reference" is somewhat improper in this connection.

Mr. Robens

The right hon. Gentleman used it.

Mr. Hay

I am making my own speech, not my right hon. Friend's. My right hon. Friend put the situation extremely clearly, and got scant thanks from the Opposition for doing so.

The remit, or terms of reference, if hon. Members like, of the Advisory Group must, therefore, be simple and wide. If we need to, we can review and can extend the remit that this Advisory Group will have, but the ultimate respon- sibility will be that of the Government, because it is the Government's policy that has to be implemented, and the Government themselves, as the Committee knows, are responsible to Parliament.

Mr. Collick

The hon. Gentleman has made a quite important statement, and it is the first explanation that we have had from the Government as to why they abandoned the Prime Minister's suggestion of a planning board and have come now to an Advisory Group. The hon. Gentleman will remember that in the debate on the British Transport Commission Bill, he himself said it was the intention of the Government to alter the structure of the Commission. That is what he said. In the terms of reference of this new advisory body—

Hon. Members


Mr. Manuel

Hon. Members opposite do not want to hear.

Mr. Collick

The terms of reference of the new Advisory Group say this, that—

Mr. Hay

May I intervene?

The Chairman

Order. The hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Collick) should make a short intervention.

Mr. Collick

I am trying to make a short intervention. I am trying to get to know whether it is the Government's intention now to alter the set-up of the Transport Commission, or is it in harmony with their own terms of reference, which excludes that?

Mr. Hay

I think that the hon. Gentleman ought to listen to the rest of my speech, when it will be perfectly clear, because in a moment or two I am coming to that very point.

The method of working of the Advisory Group is to have its emphasis upon informality and speed. It will be for the group itself to decide how it goes about its task. It will be able to consult anyone it wishes, and, as my right hon. Friend said, Sir Ivan Stedeford has already made arrangements to consult both the unions and the Transport Commission. The hon. Member for Southwark told us that he was going to see them next Wednesday. I do not suppose that the group will mind if he is a little "salty" in his language, but I am sure that it will be a useful and fruitful exchange of views. It is open to the Advisory Group to call for any technical advice or assistance which it may wish as its task proceeds.

May I next say something about the composition of the Advisory Group? We have been criticised in the course of the debate for having appointed four gentlemen with no obvious connection with the transport industry, but from what I have said I think it is clear that the task which they are to undertake is one which ought to be entrusted to a certain type of specialist.

The members of this Advisory Group are all in positions of great responsibility in successful—and I stress that word— private industry. There are two scientists, it is true, an engineer and an accountant, but there is one common factor which all of them have. They all have extensive and detailed knowledge of the problems of organisation and management of large-scale business in modern, twentieth-century conditions. That is the justification for our setting up this group.

We have this tremendous problem of overhauling and reorganising a business which, as an hon. Member opposite said earlier, employs over half a million people, and which indirectly affects the lives of several million people. In these circumstances, and with this long history of financial difficulty of the Commission, we cannot neglect the opportunity of making use of the best brains that we can get to advise us in the implementation of our policy. The problem with which the group has to deal is a problem of organisation. The principles of the organisation are laid down by those of us who have political responsibility for them. The application of those principles is a matter for technicians.

May I briefly come to the point about the representation of the trade unions on this group. As I said, we are having a small group of expert advisers to work quickly and informally. If this were a committee of inquiry, if it were like the Fleck or Herbert Committees, there would

have been every justification for having representatives upon it of all manner of interests. Industries, trade unions, the users of the services, the Commission itself, perhaps regional interests such as Scotland, as my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, West said, and Wales, could have been represented. In such cases it is the normal practice to include representatives of special interests.

But this is not that case. We are not appointing a committee of inquiry. We are appointing an advisory group. It is only right that if the Government take overall responsibility for the outline of their policy, and eventually responsibility for the application in detail of that policy, they are entitled to choose the advisers they would like. I do not think there is anything wrong in that. For that reason, there is in our view no necessity to have a representative of, for example, the trade unions.

I understand that the Labour Party's intention is to divide the Committee tonight. Several hon. Members who have spoken—not only today, but a fortnight ago—argued that politics should be taken out of this industry. The hon. Member for Southwark said, earlier, that politics have bedevilled this industry for many years. This may well be true, but surely at this time, with this history behind us and this great opportunity ahead, there is a chance for us to try to overturn and overcome that situation.

We are no longer arguing the virtues of nationalisation. What we are arguing in these days in not who owns industry, but what makes industry efficient. It is not the ownership of the British Transport Commission, who owns the shares, but whether and in what way we can make this nationalised industry infinitely more efficient than it is today and able to serve as the handmaiden of other industries in the years to come.

Mr. Robens

I beg to move, That a sum, not exceeding £2,374,800 be granted for the said Service.

Question put.

The Committee divided: Ayes 226, Noes 293.

Division No. 74.] AYES [9.58 p.m.
Abse, Leo Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Baird, John
Alnsley, William Allen, Scholfield (Crews) Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)
Albu, Austen Bacon, Miss Alice Beaney, Alan
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hilton, A. V. Pavitt, Laurence
Benn,Hn.A.Wedgwood(Brist'l,S.E.) Holman, Peroy Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Benson, Sir George Holt, Arthur Peart, Frederick
Blackburn, F. Houghton, Douglas Pentland, Norman
Blyton, William Hoy, dames H. Plummer, Sir Leslie
Boardman, H. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Popplewell, Ernest
Bowden, Herbert W. (Lelcs, S.W.) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Prentice, R. E.
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Bowles, Frank Hunter, A. E. Probert, Arthur
Boyden, James Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Proctor, W. T.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Brockway, A. Fenner Janner, Barnett Randall, Harry
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Rankin, John
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Jeger, George Redhead, E. C.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Reid, William
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Reynolds, G. W.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Rhodes, H.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Robens, Rt. Hon. Alfred
Callaghan, James Jones, Dan (Burnley) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Carmichael, James Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Chapman, Donald Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Ross, William
Chetwynd, George Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Royle, Charles (Salford, West)
Cliffe, Michael Kelley, Richard Short, Edward
Collick, Percy Kenyon, Clifford Silverman, Jullus (Aston)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) King, Dr. Horace Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Cronin, John Lawson, George Small, William
Crosland, Anthony Ledger, Ron Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Grossman, R. H. S. Lee Frederick (Newton) Snow, Julian
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Sorensen, H. W.
Darling, George Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Steele, Thomas
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Lipton, Marcus Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Logan, David Stonehouse, John
Deer, George Loughlin, Charles Stones, William
de Freitas, Geoffrey Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Dempsey, James McCann, John Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
Diamond, John MacColl, James Swain, Thomas
Dodds, Norman Mclnnes, James Swingler, Stephen
Donnelly, Desmond McKay, John (Wallsend) Sylvester, George
Driberg, Tom Mackie, John Symonda, J. B.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John McLeavy, Frank Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Ede, Rt. Hon. Chuter MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.) Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Evans, Albert Manuel, A. C. Thornton, Ernest
Fernyhough, E. Mapp, Charles Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Fitch, Alan Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Wade, Donald
Fletcher, Eric Marsh, Richard Walnwright, Edwin
Forman, J. C. Mason, Roy Warbey, William
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mayhew, Christopher Watkins, Tudor
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Mellish, R. J. Weitzman, David
Ginsburg, David Mendelson, J.J. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Millan, Bruce Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Gourlay, Harry Mitchison, G. R. Wheeldon, W. E.
Greenwood, Anthony Monslow, Walter White, Mrs. Eirene
Grey, Charles Moody, A. S. Whitlock, William
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Morris, John Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Moyle, Arthur Wilkins, W. A.
Grlmond, J. Mulley, Frederick Willey, Frederick
Gunter, Ray Neal, Harold Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Oliver, G. H. Williams, Rev. LI. (Abertillery)
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Oram, A. E. Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Oswald, Thomas Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Hannan, William Owen, Will Winterbottom, R. E.
Hart, Mrs. Judith Padley, W. E. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hayman, F. H. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Henderson,Rt.Hn.Arthur(RwlyRegis) Pargiter, G. A. Zilliacus, K.
Herblson, Miss Margaret Parker, John (Dagenham)
Hill, J. (Midlothian) Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Mabon and Mr. Howell.
Agnew, Sir Peter Barber, Anthony Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth)
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Barlow, Sir John Bldgood, John C.
Allason, James Barter, John Biggs-Davison, John
Alport, C. J. M. Batsford, Brian Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel
Amory,Rt.Hn.D.Heathcoat(Tlv'tn) Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Bishop, F. P.
Arbuthnot, John Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Black, Sir Cyril
Ashton, Sir Hubert Bell, Ronald (S. Bucks.) Bossom, Clive
Atkins, Humphrey Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Bourne-Arton, A.
Balniel, Lord Berkeley, Humphry Box, Donald
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Nugent, Sir Richard
Boyle, Sir Edward Harvie Anderson, Miss Oakshott, Sir Hendrie
Brewis, John Hay, John Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward Orr-Ewing, C. Ian
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Henderson, John (Cathcart) Osborn, John (Hallam)
Brooman-White, R. Hendry, Forbes Osborne, Cyril (Louth)
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Page, Graham
Bryan, Paul Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Page, A. J. (Harrow, W.)
Billiard, Denys Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Hirst, Geoffrey Partridge, E.
Burden, F. A. Hooking, Philip N. Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Butcher, Sir Herbert Holland, Philip Peel, John
Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Hollingworth, John Percival, Ian
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Hopkins, Alan Pike, Miss Mervyn
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia Pilkington, Capt. Richard
Cary, Sir Robert Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Pitman, I. J.
Channon, H. P. G. Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Pitt, Miss Edith
Chataway, Christopher Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Pott, Percivall
Chichester-Clark, R. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Powell, J. Enoch
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Hughes-Young, Michael Price, David (Eastleigh)
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hutchison, Michael Clark Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Iremonger, T. L. Prior, J. M. L.
Cleaver, Leonard Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho
Cole, Norman Jackson, John Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Collard, Richard James, David Ramsden, James
Cooke, Robert Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Cooper, A. E. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Rees, Hugh
Cordle, John Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Rees-Davies, W. R.
Corfield, F. V. Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green) Renton, David
Costain, A. P. Joseph, Sir Keith Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Coulson, J. M. Kaberry, Sir Donald Ridsdale, Julian
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Rippon, Geoffrey
Craddock, Beresford (Speithorne) Kerby, Capt. Henry Roots, William
Critchley, Julian Kerr, Sir Hamilton Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Kershaw, Anthony Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Crowder, F. P. Kimball, Marcus Russell, Ronald
Cunningham, Knox Kirk, Peter Scott-Hopkins, James
Curran, Charles Kitson, Timothy Seymour, Leslie
Currie G. B. H. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Sharples, Richard
Dance, James Langford-Holt, J. Shaw, M.
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Leather, E. H. C. Shepherd, William
Deedes, W. F. Leavey, J. A. Skeet, T. H. H.
de Ferranti, Basil Leburn, Gilmour Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick)
Digby, Simon Wingfield Legge-Bourke, Maj. H. Smithers, Peter
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. Alan Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Doughty, Charles Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher
du Cann, Edward Lilley, F. J. P. Spearman, Sir Alexander
Duncan, Sir James Linstead, Sir Hugh Speir, Rupert
Duthie, Sir William Litchfield, Capt. John Stanley, Hon. Richard
Eocles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Longbottom, Charles Stevens, Geoffrey
Eden, John Longden, Gilbert Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Elliott, R. W. Loveys, Walter H. Stodart, J. A.
Emery, Peter Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Errington, Sir Eric Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Storey, Sir Samuel
Erroll, F. J. McAdden, Stephen Studholme, Sir Henry
Farey-Jones, F. W. MacArthur, Ian Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Fell, Anthony McLaren, Martin Talbot, John E.
Finlay, Graeme McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Tapsell, Peter
Fisher, Nigel Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Maclean, SirFitzroy(Bute & N.Ayrs.) Teeling, William
Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) McLean, Neil (Inverness) Temple, John M.
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) McMaster, Stanley R. Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Freeth, Denzil Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Gammans, Lady Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Gardner, Edward Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
George, J. C. (Pollok) Maginnis, John E. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Gibson-Watt, David Maithand, Cdr. J. W. Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Glover, Sir Douglas Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Markham, Major Sir Frank Turner, Colin
Glyn, Col. Richard Marlowe, Anthony Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Godber, J. B. Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest van Straubenzee, W. R.
Goodhart, Philip Marshall, Douglas Vane, W. M. F.
Goodhew, Victor Marten, Neil Vickers, Miss Joan
Gower, Raymond Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Grant, Rt. Hon. William (Woodside) Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Mawby, Ray Ward, Rt. Hon. George (Worcester)
Green, Alan Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Gresham Cooke, R. Mills, Stratton Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Grimston, Sir Robert Montgomery, Fergus Watts, James
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Morgan, William Webster, David
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Morrison, John Wells, John (Maidstone)
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Whitelaw, William
Harris, Reader (Heston) Neave, Airey Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Nicholls, Harmar Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Noble, Michael Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro) Woodhouse, C. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Wise, Alfred Woodnutt, Mark Mr. Legh and
Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick Woollam, John Mr. Edward Wakefield.
Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard Worsley, Marcus

Original Question again proposed.

Mr. Ray Mawby (Totnes)


It being after Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.