HC Deb 18 April 1962 vol 658 cc510-29

3.45 p.m.

The Minister of Transport (Mr. Ernest Marples)

I beg to move, in page 27, line 5, at the end to insert: (7) It shall be the duty of the Holding Company to exercise its control over any wholly-owned subsidiary of the Holding Company so as to secure that the subsidiary does not engage in manufacture or production except the manufacture or production of things for use in their own business or for supply to a Board, or a wholly-owned subsidiary of any of the Boards or of the Holding Company, for use in their business. For the purposes of this subsection the expression "wholly-owned subsidiary" means a subsidiary all the securities of which are owned by the body of which it is a subsidiary, or by one or more other wholly-owned subsidiaries of that body, or partly by that body and partly by any wholly-owned subsidiary of that body. Last night I started on an explanation of this Amendment, and I should like to take up where I left off We had a discussion on Clause 13 which defines the powers of the four statutory boards. Under Clause 31 (6) three companies are transferred to the Holding Company, which, of course, is not one of the four statutory boards. Clause 29 covers the duties and responsibilities of the Holding Company.

May I look at the three limited companies now owned by the British Transport Commission, but which under these proposals will be transferred to the Holding Company? May I look at their present position and what restrictions are placed on them, and then try to explain the Amendment in the light of what exists at the moment?

Under Section 2 (4) of the Transport Act, 1947, there are two types of limitation on these three companies. The three companies are Star Bodies (British Transport Commission) Ltd., Bristol Commercial Vehicles Ltd., and Eastern Coachworks Ltd. Two of the limited companies make bodies and one makes chassis. At present they are subject to two types of restrictions. First, there are statutory limitations on the number of road vehicle bodies and chassis which the companies can manufacture in any one year. These statutory quotas apply to the output of the three companies. I mention this because I believe that these limitations are unduly restrictive and ought not be retained, because if we have assets which we want to be used to their maximum it is surely better not to place restrictions on what they can produce. I therefore propose to alter in this respect the Act which right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite passed.

The present limitation is unduly restrictive. First, under Section 2 (4) of the 1947 Act, it amounts to a quota on the manufacture of chassis, related to the actual position prior to nationalisation. It was frozen at a given figure for all time. The Commission cannot manufacture chassis for road vehicles substantially in excess of the total manufactured in a year by the undertakings that were acquired by the Commission, so that even if the assets were capable of being deployed more effectively this provision would prevent it because the basis of calculation is the year in which the largest number of chassis were manufactured out of the last three years before acquisition.

The second limitation was on the manufacture of bodies, and that was made up of a proportion of one-fifth of the estimated annual requirements of the Commission plus the quota of bus bodies which the London Passenger Transport Board could have manufactured under Section 21 of the London Passenger Transport Act, 1933.

The third restriction was a quota on the manufacture of bodies of vehicles other than buses, and was fixed at one-quarter of the estimated annual requirements of the Commission. The fourth restriction, which really was a great restriction on the output of these companies, was a ban on the manufacture of major components for road vehicles other than those required for chassis. These components are defined in Section 2 (5) of the 1947 Act as complete power units, complete transmission systems, complete suspension systems, complete steering gear, complete braking systems and complete axles. Those are the restrictions which now apply to these three companies, under that Act.

Under that Act another restriction was imposed, namely, that the output of these three companies cannot be sold in the open market, but must be sold within the Commission's organisation. The Amendment will alter the existing system to some extent. First, the restrictions on the output of whatever these firms produce—the quota system—will go. It will be replaced by a flexible Ministerial direction. If, for example, the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) returned triumphant at the next General Election—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I do not think that there is any hope of that, or I would not have used the phrase—but if he were returned, and became Minister of Transport, it would be his judgment that would replace this rigid quota system. Nothing could be fairer than that.

The shackles which the party opposite placed on the companies will be removed. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will apologise for putting shackles on those companies, and will accept the Amendment, which will help them.

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

Will the Minister tell us what is the capacity of these three companies?

Mr. Marples

If I have to go into details it will take a long time, but I am prepared to do so.

Mr. Popplewell

It is so small that the proposal is ridiculous.

Mr. Marples

It may be that the capacity is very small, but, in that case, why did the party opposite put on the shackles?

Under the provisions of the 1947 Act the output of these three companies cannot be sold in the open market, and must be sold entirely within the Commission's organisation. The Amendment secures that the wholly-owned subsidiaries of the boards or the Holding Company—that is, these three companies, among others—shall not manufacture for sale in the open market, either home or export, but shall be able to sell only to the four statutory boards or their wholly-owned subsidiaries. Therefore, those three companies will be in precisely the same position as they are now in relation to the people to whom they can sell, but the onerous restriction of the quota will be removed.

Many outside pressure groups have asked me to continue the statutory quotas, but I think that that is wholly inappropriate, and that the assets should be used to the maximum. I have also been asked to write into the Bill a provision placing a duty upon the Holding Company to dispose of these companies. I have resisted that. The Amendment should, therefore, be welcomed by the Opposition. It removes the restrictive quotas, while maintaining the market which the party opposite thought right and proper in 1947. In view of the fact that we have very little time at our disposal, I hope that hon. Members opposite will quickly accept the Amendment.

Mr. G. R. Strauss (Vauxhall)

As I understand the Amendment which is now before the Committee it has nothing to do with quota restrictions. Those are removed by other provisions in the Bill. If I am wrong about this the Parliamentary Secretary will correct me, but it seems to me that the Amendment merely ensures that the output of these companies shall not be sold outside the publicly-owned transport services. That is all that it does. It has nothing to do with quota restrictions. The reasons why these restrictions were imposed in 1947 were explained by me yesterday, and I do not wish to repeat what I then said. There were very good reasons in those days, which do not apply now. But we are not considering that.

We are considering an Amendment dealing with the output of these companies, which produce very good vehicles and chassis. One of them has been producing some outstanding models. The Amendment provides that they shall not sell their products outside the publicly-owned sector of the transport industry. However good these models may be, and however profitable their sale might be in the private sector of the industry, they are not to be sold there.

The output of these firms is minute compared to that of the chassis and body-producing companies. I cannot understand why the Government, who are so anxious that the publicly-owned transport system should maximise its profits—or reduce its losses, which comes to the same thing—should place this restriction on these small companies. As the Amendment is concerned solely with this restriction I must advise my hon. Friends to oppose it.

Mr. J. M. L. Prior (Lowestoft)

I have mixed feelings about the Amendment. One of the firms to which reference has been made operates in my constituency. I had hoped that these restrictions would not be placed on the industry. The coach-building industry is now going into a slight decline. Coaches which are built nowadays are of far better quality than they used to be, and last much longer. Furthermore, owing to the production of so many cars, fewer buses are required. If a coach-building firm is to run efficiently and properly it must try to maintain its output, and there is always a danger that this kind of restriction will result in these companies having to run down their commitments and output. From that point of view I am sorry that the Amendment has been moved. I would rather the Parliamentary Secretary had stuck to his guns, as he did in Committee.

Having said that, however, it is clear that the removal of the restrictions laying down a quota is of some help in establishing the building of an integrated bus, as opposed to one with separate chassis and coachwork. I hope that the advantages of this group of companies—especially Bristol Commercial Vehicles Ltd. and Eastern Coach Works Ltd.—will be realised by the Committee. They are of great advantage to the Holding Company. When they were first started they were small companies, carrying out maintenance work, but they developed into production units. They belonged to the Tillings Group from the earliest days— long before the companies were nationalised—and they were on the production side of the group. They were considered part of the commercial enterprises of the Tillings group, and up to 1947 they worked in the open market.

They exported to South Africa and other countries, as well as providing an outlet for the Tillings group of bus companies. Many advantages flowed from that arrangement. The bus operating companies were able to get the buses they wanted, of a standard uniform type, which helped in maintenance. Eastern Coach Works Ltd. and Bristol Commercial Vehicles Ltd. were able to concentrate on production, knowing that they had a reasonable throughput each year, and did not have to worry too much about their commercial side.

4.0 p.m.

The Tillings group has taken practically all of the buses in recent years although one or two other parts of the nationalised industry did take a few. It has been stated in the Press that there is a movement to get rid of these companies and to offer them back to private enterprise—

Mr. Gerald Nabarro (Kidderminster)

Hear, hear.

Mr. Prior

—and I wish to examine this matter, because I think it important. I have already discussed it with my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro), and I know his views.

We are in the position of having two small companies which have always been associated with the Tillings group. They were there before nationalisation and they were nationalised with that group. They were there for one reason, because the Tillings group, as a private enterprise firm, thought that these companies, Eastern Coach Works Ltd. and Bristol Commercial Vehicles Ltd., were necessarily a part of the group so that it could conduct its business properly. These companies were there for no other reason at all. It was a straightforward commercial enterprise. They were nationalised alongside—

Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)

My hon. Friend keeps talking about Tillings as being nationalised. In fact, it never was. The shares were sold voluntarily to the Transport Commission.

Mr. Prior

I will accept that. The fact is that now it is nationalised and these companies still belong.

Among the proposals which have been advanced—I am glad to say not by my right hon. Friend—is one that these companies should be sold off. What we are saying is that Tillings, which, in its wisdom as private enterprise operators, considered these companies necessary to its production, should be told by this House that because it happens that the companies make vehicles the present position is all wrong and that they are no longer to do it. In other words, we shall place this nationalised industry, this bus operating group, at a disadvantage which the group has always appreciated, because otherwise it never would have gone into the manufacturing market in the first place.

I hope that no direction will be given for denationalisation. Not because I think that these companies could not pay their way if they were denationalised —I think that they could do extremely well—but because we should be placing the nationalised bus companies, the operating companies, at a grave disadvantage, and I do not see why we should do that. If it happens that the chairman of the Holding Company is given a directive that he can offer these companies for sale there are certain conditions which I think that he ought to consider.

First, the chairman of the Holding Company and the chairman of the Tillings group should be able to make representations to the Minister on this subject and should be able to show how the selling off of those companies would affect the operations of the bus companies and the smooth running of the group. Secondly, I should like the Minister to give an undertaking not to sell off these companies—

Mr. Nabarro

No. May I make quite clear to my hon. Friend now that I want the Minister to do exactly the opposite and give an undertaking to sell these companies, in order that there shall not be an extension of nationalisation? Mine is the true voice of Toryism.

Mr. Prior

I can assure my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster that I appreciate his view. It may be that he will allow me to state my view, and to finish my sentence.

I was saying that I should like the Minister to give an undertaking that if he sells off these companies, if he even thinks of doing so, he will also give an undertaking to see that the company which comes in will at least maintain a continuity of employment in these firms. I believe that it is practically impossible for any private enterprise firm to give such an undertaking. That means that I do not really want them to go. I want to be perfectly straightforward about this. I do not regard it as being anti-nationalisation, or anything of the sort. To me, this is purely a commercial enterprise and just common sense.

I had meetings in my constituency during the election, at which I roundly condemned the nationalisation of steel and was in favour of denationalisation. But I certainly said nothing of the sort about Eastern Coach Works Ltd., and I do not intend to back out of that now. What does worry me is that there are still some restrictions to be placed on this company. But I quite understand this, because if a company is to use public money, and it is possible that this company will do so, regard must be had to the competition of private enterprise.

Mr. Leslie Spriggs (St. Helens)

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that he will have an opportunity of proving his words later that the test is in the Division Lobby?

Mr. Prior

I should have thought that the hon. Member would know me well enough by now to appreciate that I do not stand here and say one thing and then do another thing. I resent the implication that I should not do the logical thing.

Mr. Nabarro

Send for the Chief Whip!

Mr. Prior

I hope that we may get some sense into this matter. The main point at issue is that these companies are now doing a good job. I think that I am right in saying that they have paid their way quite satisfactorily in recent years and that the bus operating side has not been the side of the industry which has been losing money.

I hope that the Minister will resist any efforts to get rid of these companies on purely political grounds. That would be a mistake, and I do not think that it would be in the true interests of the Conservative Party, either. I say that in all sincerity. I feel that the Conservative Party is a party of common sense, and I hope that we shall remain one. I have no hesitation in saying that, on balance, I support the Amendment. Although I am a bit disappointed by it, I think that it is better than anything which we have had before.

I hope that the Minister will stick to what he has done so far and that Eastern Coach Works Ltd., and Bristol Commercial Vehicles Ltd., will have a prosperous life in the future.

Mr. Nabarro

This is one of the rare occasions when I find myself completely in disagreement with my hon. Friend the Member for Yarmouth—

Mr. Prior

The hon. Member for Lowestoft.

Mr. Nabarro

I am sorry. The hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior)—I knew that it was something to do with fish.

Hon. Members

Wrong again.

Mr. Nabarro

The right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) said that the output of these companies was tiny and, relatively, their output is very tiny. Last year these companies made about 2,200 units, out of a total output of commercial vehicles and chassis in the entire United Kingdom amounting to 463,000. Therefore, these companies made half of 1 per cent., or one two-hundredth part. In that respect their output is tiny. But there are matters of political principle involved. That is why I have been continuously engaged in conversation with my right hon. Friend the Minister about these principles as they are applied both to Clause 13 and to Clause 29.

When the quantitative restriction was placed on the output of the three companies under the 1947 Act, it meant that, translated into the output of last year, the figure of production was about 2,200 units. If, under the terms of this Amendment, they are able to build vehicles and chassis for all the boards, their maximum output would be 6,000. The effect of this Amendment, therefore, is to treble the maximum potential output of the three companies. I am sure that my right hon. Friend would not quarrel with those figures.

As it is trebling the productive potential of these nationalised undertakings, it represents, in this context, an extension of nationalisation. That is why I say to my hon. Friend the Member for Lowestoft, with the greatest sympathy for his constituency interest, that I am concerned with the matter of principle. An extenson of nationalisation is anathema to me—

Mr. Strauss

If the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) followed the proceedings of the Committee, he would have noticed that the Parliamentary Secretary said that the present output of the three companies together amounted to about 90 per cent.—I have not the exact figure—of their capacity. I have the figures here, which I could quote.

Mr. Nabarro

But that is a totally invalid argument, because although, today, output is 90 per cent. of their capacity, there would be, in the terms of this Amendment, nothing to prevent expansion of their productive capacity up to the total requirements of the boards, which is a total of 6,000. That represents, potentially, a trebling of the capacity of these firms, and, therefore, to me, a direct extension of nationalisation, to which I am vehemently opposed, not only in this context but in other contexts.

I have always been very greatly opposed to nationalised undertakings engaging directly in the manufacture of productive equipment—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] We had all these arguments ad nauseam on the Electricity Bill in 1957. When that Bill was first brought to the House, it provided for the Central Electricity Generating Board and Area Boards being able to manufacture their own equipment such as turbo-alternators, boilers, and electrical equipment of that sort. I fought a long battle in Committee to get those Clauses out of that Bill, and get them out of the Bill I did before it went on the Statute Book, because the majority of Conservatives take the view that nationalised industries should not engage in the manufacture of productive equipment or extend their productive capacity. These are matters of principle.

I want now to address a word to my hon. Friend she Member for Lowestoft. I quite realise that he has here a strong constituency interest. It would be remiss, in a constituency sense, if he did not plead that interest here, but I could not accept that interest as overriding a matter of principle in my Conservative philosophy—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes, I am a man of stern principles; that is all I am in this House for. Socialist hon. Members would not admit that there is any common sense in Conservative philosophy, but I am a man of stern principles as to Conservative philosophy.

My hon. Friend had a majority at the last election of 1,489, and if I had a seat as marginal as that I might need to have a still greater regard to constituency interests—

Mr. Prior

I should hate my hon. Friend to think that this is just a constituency interest. It is a matter of some considerable principle, because we are saying now that the Conservative Party for all time has to denationalise everything that has anything to do with manufacturing, regardless of whether or not that manufacturing interest is considered necessary for the proper running of something which is to remain nationalised. In the present case, here were private enterprise firms which had a manufacturing interest because it was considered necessary for their proper running. When they were nationalised, they were both nationalised together. We are now intending to split them, and I do not think that that is necessarily Conservative philosophy.

Mr. Nabarro

We are putting a different interpretation on these matters. I listened very carefully to my hon. Friend, and he said that Tillings owns one of these companies. That should not be regarded as an excuse for the retention of the subsidiary to manufacture vehicles and chassis. Tillings was taken over after nationalisation, and I am informed by my hon. Friend the Member for Truro (Mr. G. Wilson) that the amount paid for it was £24 million.

I do not want to denationalise just this one firm in my hon. Friend's constituency. If I had my way, I would denationalise all the firms engaging in manufacture named by my hon. Friend. I would denationalise all of them. I would do an S. G. Brown act on them all. I go further, and say, "Do not only sell the subsidiary, but sell Tillings, too." That would destroy my hon Friend's case at once—

Mr. Prior

That would make much more sense.

Mr. Nabarro

I agree, but I must not push my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport too far or too fast— [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Holt) is, as usual, ill-informed, and has failed to do his home work. Had he read the statement made on the Bill by the Minister without Portfolio, Lord Mills, in another place, he would have noticed that the noble Lord said that this is not a denationalisation Bill. That is why my right hon. Friend is not denationalising these firms under this Measure, but, when the moment comes, he has the powers to denationalise, and my advice to my right hon. Friend the Minister is to sell these firms—get rid of them—as fast as ever he can.

4.15 p.m.

In the next Session of Parliament, when this Measure has reached the Statute Book, I shall harry him and pursue him, in that sense, to dispose of these manufacturing firms which, in my judgment, have no place in the national ised transport fabric—

Mr. Archie Manuel (Central Ayrshire)

Is not the hon. Gentleman painting a slightly distorted picture?

Mr. Nabarro

I am never distorted.

Mr. Manuel

Is he not aware that the main thing is that Tillings voluntarily offered its shares, and voluntarily wanted to be publicly owned? The hon. Member now wants to force the firm back, in an undemocratic way, into the private enterprise economy, even though it voluntarily decided to go the other way.

Mr. Nabarro

The hon. Member seems to be a trifle distorted in his views—

Mr. Manuel

No, that is a fact.

Mr. Nabarro

The plain fact of the matter is that, as between a willing buyer and a willing seller, a market value is established. If my right hon. Friend could sell Tillings for £24 million or more, I would be in favour of his selling it—which would include the subsidiary in my hon. Friend's constituency—but, in the context of these three small firms with an output representing one-half of 1 per cent. of the national output of commercial vehicles and chassis, I say, get shot of them as soon as possible. Then my right hon. Friend and myself will be friends again.

Mr. R. Gresham-Cooke (Twickenham)

The right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) and my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) have very much underrated the size and importance of these three companies. A figure of 0.5 per cent. of total capacity has been mentioned, but what has not been mentioned is that the total production of double-decker buses is about 9,000. If the total requirements of all the boards—which would be about 6,000—were taken into account, these three companies could, between them, make over half the production of double-decker buses. That would be a very serious proportion of the national output of these buses.

I well remember the negotiations that took place on this matter with the Labour Government in 1947. It was just by chance that these three companies fell into the nationalisation net. They were part of the Tillings group, which was nationalised, and which took with it these three companies. It was agreed that it was reasonable that the State should not expand these three manufacturing companies, that it would be unfair to do so and that it would be unfair to pour in State capital to make them much bigger. A quota was put on these three companies.

Bristol Commercial Vehicles Ltd. had a quota of 1,250, the result of a complicated formula. Eastern Coach Works Ltd. had a quota of 750 and Star Bodies Ltd. had a quota of about 450. In fact, they are all making very nearly up to those figures at the moment. Bristol Commercial Vehicles is making rather over 1,000, Eastern Coach Works is fully up to capacity, and Star Bodies is making about 300. No one can say that the assets are being under-employed; they are being fully employed.

As these three companies fell into the nationalisation net by chance, and as my right hon. Friend is asking private enterprise to give up a great deal in giving up the quotas which have been imposed on these three companies for the last thirteen years, creating the possibility of making them very big companies, I ask him to do two things. First, he should use his powers while in office, and his successors should use their powers, to maintain the production of these three companies at about the present size and should not allow them to expand. It would be wrong to use State capital to expand them, first, because they might be operating at a loss without our knowing it, and that would represent unfair competition, and, secondly because it would be against the spirit of the original agreement.

My right hon. Friend should make efforts to sell these companies back to private enterprise. That is the practical thing to do. I am not very happy about the Amendment, but if my right hon. Friend makes that statement he will meet the difficulties which many people feel about this. It is quite wrong for a Conservative Government to continue to hold these companies and to allow the Holding Company to build up a private empire manufacturing double-decker buses in this country. It is quite wrong and contrary to the spirit in which the Labour Government took these companies over and the spirit of the 1947 Agreement. I hope that my right hon. Friend will say that he will sell these companies in a reasonable time.

Mr. Spriggs

Did the hon. Member vote against the 1961–62 Estimates on the use of public money for agriculture, involving £348 million, and the £30 million for the cotton industry, and the £8 million in connection with the distribution of industry?

Mr. David Webster (Weston-super-Mare)

On a point of order. Are the voting activities of my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) in order on this business?

Mr. Speaker

The object of the intervention should be limited to elucidation of the speech being made. At present, I am not impressed by the process of elucidation, but we shall see.

Mr. Spriggs

Hon. Members opposite, and particularly the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke), do not vote against the use of public money for private enterprise, but they refuse to agree that similar money should be used for public purposes.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Agricultural subsidies have nothing to do with this debate, in which we are discussing the extension of three manufacturing companies in the transport world.

Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)

The speech of the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) is worthy of a reply, although at 4.30 p.m. we have to deal with this Amendment and a number of Clauses which we cannot possibly discuss adequately, if at all. The hon. Member has some admirers in the House.

Mr. Nabarro

Very few.

Mr. Mellish

Very few indeed. He does not hesitate to declare what he regards as the great principles. The fact that he and his hon. Friends hold these principles is a reason that they are doing so badly at the polls.

What the hon. Member said earlier was that he would lend no encouragement at all to anything owned by Britain as a nation and that he would not encourage it to make profits, but would rather give it to private enterprise under any circumstances. This is the fundamental difference between him and people like him, on the one hand, and my hon. Friends and I.

We have argued again and again that if it can be shown, as we honestly and sincerely believe it can, that by running what we call productive assets within a nationalised industry they make a profit for that industry and, we hope, for Britain, that should be done. The hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) was proud to point out that they are doing that in his constituency. In those circumstances we believe that we should not only encourage them, but should help them to expand and to grow.

We make no apologies for that point of view. I am glad that the hon. Member for Kidderminster put his view on record. I am passionately fond of Britain, but I am getting a little sick and tired of the suggestion that anything owned by Britain must be sneered at and jeered at by the hon. Member for Kidderminster and people like him. We shall go into the Lobby and support what we believe to be in the best interests of the country.

Mr. G. Wilson

The hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) has misunderstood the Conservative philosophy as expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro). The point is that a trading concern ought to be prepared to take risks. If it does not take considerable risks and chance making considerable losses, it is not doing its job. We had an example of that the other day in the steel industry where a company took considerable risks and lost.

Conservative philosophy is that a nationalised industry ought not to be taking this sort of risk, because it is dealing with public money, and that it is not right for manufacturing concerns to be nationalised, because either they then do not take sufficient risks to do the job or they risk public money in a manner in which it should not be risked.

Mr. Mellish

That is where the argument is so illogical and where my hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens (Mr. Spriggs) is right. No objection is raised by hon. Members opposite to pouring millions of pounds of public money into certain sections of the community. But when it comes to a nationalised industry, not a single penny must be given. That is the kind of attitude to which we object.

Mr. Nabarro

Why did not the hon. Member vote in respect of the potato scheme last night?

Mr. Wilson

It is not a question of profit, but a question of risking public money. If they are not taking risks they are not doing their job.

I would point out to the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) that Tillings voluntarily sold out, but did so under threat. In their 1947 Act, hon. Members opposite provided that there should be area schemes to operate between road and rail, and it was intended under the Act to have some elaborate organisation which would bring the bus services under public control by indirect means. The three company groups which then existed— Thomas Tilling, Scottish Motor Traction and B.E.T.—took different lines about it. The first two sold out their shares because they were not prepared to fight this proposal, but B.E.T. hung on to its shares, and a partnership developed between B.E.T. and the railways. Scottish Motor Traction and Tillings sold all their shares to the railway companies and, therefore, disappeared as entities, although not as companies.

In other Clauses of the Bill we have had a lot of trouble trying to sort out exactly what is to become of the shares of such companies resulting from the merger which took place with Tillings and Scottish Motor Traction, on the one hand, and the fact that B.E.T. remained separate and distinct, on the other.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 242, Noes 200.

Division No. 167.] AYES [4.30 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Bullard, Denys Emery, Peter
Aitken, W. T. Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Allason, James Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Errington, Sir Eric
Arbuthnot, John Cary, Sir Robert Farey-Jones, F. W.
Balniel, Lord Channon, H. P. G. Farr, John
Barber, Anthony Chataway, Christopher Fell, Anthony
Barlow, Sir John Chichester-Clark, R. Finlay, Graeme
Barter, John Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Fisher, Nigel
Batsford, Brian Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Cleaver, Leonard Freeth, Denzil
Bell, Ronald Cole, Norman Gammans, Lady
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Collard, Richard Gardner, Edward
Bidgood, John C. Cooper, A. E. George, J. C. (Pollok)
Biffen, John Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Gibson-Watt, David
Bingham, R. M. Costain, A. P. Gilmour, Sir John
Bishop, F. P. Coulson, Michael Glover, Sir Douglas
Black, Sir Cyril Craddock, Sir Beresford Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)
Bossom, Clive Critchley, Julian Goodhart, Philip
Bourne-Arton, A. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Goodhew, Victor
Box, Donald Cunningham, Knox Gower, Raymond
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. Curran, Charles Grant, Rt. Hon. William
Boyle, Sir Edward Dalkeith, Earl of Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.
Brewis, John Dance, James Green, Alan
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Digby, Simon Wingfield Gresham Cooke, R.
Brooman-White, R. Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Gurden, Harold
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Doughty, Charles Hall, John (Wycombe)
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Drayson, G. B. Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Bryan, Paul Eden, John Harris, Reader (Heston)
Buck, Antony Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Seymour, Leslie
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Sharples, Richard
Harvie Anderson, Miss Maddan, Martin Shaw, M.
Hay, John Maitland, Sir John Skeet, T. H. H.
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Markham, Major Sir Frank Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Hiley, Joseph Marlowe, Anthony Spearman, Sir Alexander
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Speir, Rupert
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Stanley, Hon. Richard
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Hirst, Geoffrey Mawby, Ray Storey, Sir Samuel
Hobson, Sir John Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Studholme, Sir Henry
Hocking, Philip N. Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Holland, Philip Mills, Stratton Tapsell, Peter
Hopkins, Alan Montgomery, Fergus Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hornby, R. P. Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr) Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Morgan, William Teeling, Sir William
Hughes-Young, Michael Morrison, John Temple, John M.
Jackson, John Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
James, David Nabarro, Gerald Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Jennings, J. C. Noble, Michael Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Turner, Colin
Joseph, Sir Keith Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Kerby, Capt. Henry Osborn, John (Hallam) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Vane, W. M. F.
Kimball, Marcus Page, Graham (Crosby) Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Kirk, Peter Page, John (Harrow, West) Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Kitson, Timothy Peel, John Walker, Peter
Lagden, Godfrey Peyton, John Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon Sir Derek
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Pilkington, Sir Richard Wall, Patrick
Langford-Holt, Sir John Pitman, Sir James Ward, Dame Irene
Leavey, J. A. Pitt, Miss Edith Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Webster, David
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Wells, John (Maidstone)
Lilley, F. J. P. Protumo, Rt. Hon. John Whitelaw, William
Lindsay, Sir Martin Proudfoot, Wilfred Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Litchfield, Capt. John Pym, Francis Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Longbottom, Charles Quonnell, Miss J. M. Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Longden, Gilbert Ramsden, James Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Loveys, Walter H. Rawlinson, Peter Wise, A. R.
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Rees, Hugh Woodnutt, Mark
McAdden, Stephen Renton, David Woollam, John
MacArthur, Ian Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Worsley, Marcus
McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Roots, William
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute&N. Ayre.) Russell, Ronald Mr. Frank Pearson
McLean, Neil (Inverness) Scott-Hopkins, James and Mr. McLaren.
Abse, Leo Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
Ainsley, William Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Hamilton, William (West Fife)
Albu, Austen Deer, George Hannan, William
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Dempsey, James Harper, Joseph
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Diamond. John Hart, Mrs. Judith
Awbery, Stan Dodds, Norman Hayman, F. H.
Bacon, Miss Alice Driberg, Tom Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)
Beaney, Alan Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Herbison, Miss Margaret
Benson, Sir George Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Hill, J. (Midlothian)
Blackburn, F. Edelman, Maurice Hilton, A. V.
Blyton, William Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Holman, Percy
Boardman, H. Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Holt, Arthur
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Houghton, Douglas
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S. W.) Evans, Albert Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)
Bowles, Frank Fernyhough, E. Hoy, James H.
Boyden, James Finch, Harold Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Fitch, Alan Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Brockway, A. Fenner Fletcher, Eric Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Forman, J. C. Hunter, A. E.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Hynd, John (Attercliffe)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Ginsburg, David Irving, Sydney (Dartford)
Callaghan, James Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Janner, Sir Barnett
Chapman, Donald Greenwood, Anthony Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Grey, Charles Jeger, George
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Darling, George Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Gunter, Ray Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Kelley, Richard Padley, W. E. Stones, William
Kenyan, Clifford Paget, R. T. Strachey, Rt. Hon. John
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Ledger, Ron Pargiter, G. A. Swingler, Stephen
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Parker, John Taverne, D.
Lipton, Marcus Paton, John Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Loughlin, Charles Pavitt, Laurence Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Lubbock, Eric Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Peart, Frederick Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
McCann, John Pentland, Norman Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
MacColl, James Plummer, Sir Leslie Thornton, Ernest
McInnes, James Popplewell, Ernest Thorpe, Jeremy
McKay, John (Wallsend) Prentice, R. E. Tomney, Frank
McLeavy, Frank Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Wade, Donald
MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Probert, Arthur Wainwright, Edwin
MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Warbey, William
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Randall, Harry Watkins, Tudor
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Rankin, John Weitzman, David
Manuel, Archie Redhead, E. C. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Mapp, Charles Reid, William Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Marsh, Richard Reynolds, G. W. Whitlock, William
Mason, Roy Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wigg, George
Mayhew, Christopher Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Wilkins, W. A.
Mellish, R. J. Robertson, John (Paisley) Willey, Frederick
Mendelson, J. J. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Millan, Bruce Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton) Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Milne, Edward Ross, William Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Mitchison, G. R. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Monslow, Walter Short, Edward Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Moody, A. S. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Winterbottom, R. E.
Morris, John Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Moyle, Arthur Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield) Woof, Robert
Mulley, Frederick Small, William Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Neal, Harold Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Zilliacus, K.
Oliver, G. H. Sorensen, R. W.
Oram, A. E. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Oswald, Thomas Spriggs, Leslie TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Owen, Will Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Mr. Rogers and Mr. Lawson.

It being after half-past Four o'clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Question on an Amendment, moved by a member of the Government, of which notice had been given, to that part of the Bill to be concluded at half-past Four o'clock.