Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £328,000 be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1921, for rates and contributions in lieu of rates, etc., in respect of Government property, and for rates on houses occupied by representatives of Foreign Powers, and for the salaries and expenses of the Rating of Government Property Department, and for a contribution towards the expenses of the London Fire Brigade.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I beg to move that the Vote be reduced by £28,000.
This Estimate is for a very considerable sum. It is caused by the large additions to the rates which have taken place since the beginning of the financial year. I know it is not in order to go outside the limit of this Vote, but with permission I will direct the attention of the Committee to a statement just issued by the Ministry of Health, giving particulars for each borough and urban district in England and Wales and showing the amount of the local rates for 100 typical rural parishes. I will give the information, and perhaps it will induce hon. Members to 1857 peruse the document. It shows that the rates have increased by £78,000,000. For 1918–14 rates which reached a total of £71,000,000 are for the current year no less than £149,000,000. Those figures show the devastating increases which are falling upon the whole of the areas of England, Wales, and Scotland. They are, of course, reflected in the Vote we are discussing. The Committee will observe that the original Estimate was £1,700,000. The revised Estimate is no less than £2,048,000, and the additional sum required is £348,000. That raises a most important point. Nine times out of ten the Committee must look, not at the net sum asked for, but at the gross sum, because the net sum is arrived at by bringing in what are called appropriations-in-aid, which nine times out of ten are the merest book-keeping, and simply conceal—I do not suggest improperly—the real addition to the national expenditure which a Supplementary Estimate produces. I would direct the attention of the Committee to Item C, which says that the increase has been caused by the rise in the poundage of rates and by the continuance of war occupations, mainly War Department, £77,000. I understand that one must not range too widely over that point, but it is a perfectly relevant point for the Committee to discuss. If the Government had cleared out of many of these buildings a year ago, obviously they would not have had to come to the Committee to-day for so large an increase on the original Estimate. We are entitled to ask, and I do ask my right hon. Friend, if there is any hope of any reduction in the premises occupied by the Government and their various Departments. Here is a clear instance of £77,000 added to the rates alone owing to the occupation of premises, many of which certainly ought to have been vacated months ago, if not eighteen months ago. Another Report has been recently issued showing that up to the end of December or November the net decrease was only 399 out of 385,000 employés, and while there has been that decrease among the temporary employés there has been an increase in the permanent staff. That is the trouble with which the Committee are faced, and I simply raise the matter briefly in that fashion and move the reduction of the Vote.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The right hon. Gentleman opposite, in moving the reduction of the Vote, alluded to a certain valuable document. Am I right in thinking that this valuable document emanated from the Ministry of Health?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Did the right hon. Gentleman allude to it ironically as being the only valuable document that has emanated from that Ministry during the last two years, or does he really think that it is an essential document? If he does think so, would he give me the reference?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The right hon. Gentleman has quite correctly pointed out the serious result of the very great increase in rates during the last few years. I take this opportunity to remind Members of the Committee that there is down for this evening a Bill to increase coroners' salaries by 50 per cent. Now that I have warned hon. Members, I hope that those who agree with me that we do not want to increase the rates will take the opportunity of seeing that that Hill does not go any further. It will not if I can help it. The right hon. Gentleman has alluded to the fact that £77,000 of this Supplementary Vote has been caused by the continuance of war occupation. I want very seriously to ask my right hon. Friend (Mr. Baldwin) how the Treasury can have allowed this occupation to go on. Am I not right in saying that our Army grows smaller and smaller every year? If the private soldier is reduced every year, what on earth do we want all these extra buildings for? When the Army was large it was probably necessary that we should have all these extra buildings, but now the Army has been reduced, I think wrongly. It is the only thing in regard to which members, of the Labour party sometimes jibe at me for being a little extravagant. I am extravagant with regard to the private soldier, but I am not extravagant with regard to the permanent officials who live in permanent buildings, and who, if war came about, would be of no use whatever. I see a prominent soldier (General Sir C. Townshend) sitting opposite, and he perhaps will support me when I say that it is no use having these permanent build- 1859 ings for these permanent officials, who certainly do not do any good. I should very much like to know why the Treasury has not insisted upon these premises being given up. Nominally, the War has been over for a long time, and the Treasury ought to have insisted on the War Office giving up these buildings.Appropriations-in-Aid.—Additional repayment by War Office in respect of increased contributions for ordnance factory is £20,000.What does that mean? Does it mean that there is some other Vote in which £20,000 is charged the Ordnance factories and that the Ordnance factories pay back to the War Office? I do not say that is the solution. I cannot make out what is the solution, but I should like to know how it is that this increased contribution comes from the Ordnance factories and what is its form. Is it rates, or what is it? How does it come to be taken as an Appropriation-in-Aid for rates? Item C gives the rates and contributions in lieu of rates, etc., in England. That is a rather large order. There is nothing to show how it is distributed, how much is owing to the Ministry of Munitions, how much to the War Office, or how much to the Foreign Office. It would have been better if there had been a footnote dividing it up instead of putting down one lump sum, £1,700,000 rates and contributions in lieu of rates, etc., in England. I hope that my right hon. Friend will be able to answer those questions satisfactorily.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I rise to support what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down and by my right hon. Friend the Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean). Apparently, as my right hon. Friend has pointed out, the majority of this £77,000 is War Office expenditure upon rates. That being so, it is rather a pity that we have not a representative of the War Office present to answer these various points. My right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is one of the hardest working men in the House, and probably one of the most economical, and I am quite sure that it would not be fair to keep on asking him questions about the War Office. It is not acting quite respectfully to the House when we have a Vote in relation to which it says specifically that the major portion is the War Department that we should not have a repre- 1860 sentative of the War Office to explain the Vote. Therefore I suggest that my right hon. Friend should send one of his private secretaries to get the representative of the War Office to come and deal with the Vote. I have never been able to understand, seeing that the Armistice was signed over two years ago, why we require such an enormous quantity of War Office officials. Of course the amount we are now asked to spend in rates is entirely owing to these enormous quantities of War Office officials who live in these various buildings. Therefore I take it that I am entirely in order in dealing with this point. If it were not for the fact that these buildings are occupied by War Office officials we should not be called upon to-day for this very large sum of £77,000 for rates.
I am much obliged to the hon. Member for putting the matter to me as a point of Order. The only question in order is whether this Supplementary sum is required for rates. It would not be in order to discuss and debate the various Departments and their staffs and the buildings they occupy.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
We are entitled to try to ascertain exactly which Departments are concerned in this matter. We are told it is mainly the War Department, and I think we are entitled to extract from the Government what proportion of this £348,000 is on account of the various Departments.
I allowed the right hon. Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) to put that point. Anything that helps Members of the Committee to obtain information with regard to items in the Vote would be in order, and I will give every facility to Members to obtain such information.
§ Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I will keep within your ruling. As the War Department are the chief offenders in this respect, I brought the matter forward. I daresay hon. Members are aware that since the War there are over 7,000 more War Office officials than there were before the War. Just before the War began there were 1,600.
I think that is rather going into the details of 1861 administration of the War Office. The hon. Member will see where that would lead to. If I allowed that, hon. Members might raise very wide subjects of a similar kind.
§ Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I will not pursue that. I take it that rates are not payable on the huts in St. James Park. Would they be payable on the hutments on the Horse Guards Parade? I do not quite understand why the War Office should be specially guilty in this respect if it is not the case that these rates are paid, because the other day, in answer to a question, the First Commissioner of Works told us that 30,000 feet of hutments had been evacuated in St. James Park, and when he was asked whether the huts were going to be pulled down, he replied, "No; the whole of the vacated huts will be used by War Office officials." I should like to know definitely whether rates are payable on these St. James Park huts.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Baldwin)
No, they are not.
§ Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON
Then I am rather surprised that these War Office rates have gone up to such an extent, and if it is the case that rates are not payable on these huts, surely if we have got to have these officials, it is a pity to pull down any huts. Why pull down the huts on the Horse Guards Parade?
I can foresee an interesting discussion on the huts in the Park, and that would be out of order.
§ Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON
Is it in order to discuss the methods by which this sum appears on the Estimates?
No, I do not think so. This is a definite account for rates, and the question is as to whether the Committee agree that the Department should pay these rates, and whether they are satisfied that the Supplementary Estimate and the increased sum that is asked for is a proper sum to be asked for for rates. If the Committee approve the 1862 rates being paid, they are paid, and it is the rates only that can be discussed, and not the policy which leads to the expenditure of money on the rates.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
Is it not in order to discuss the question, since a large part of this increase is for the continuance of war occupations, without going into details? As long as we keep on to general grounds, I understand you will allow the discussion to proceed?
I desire to allow as much latitude as possible, but the last time I rose to call the attention of the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Locker-Lampson) to the point he was referring to was on the question of huts in the park. It is obvious to me that if I allowed that to continue other Members would discuss the desirability or otherwise of retaining the huts in the park. I shall not intervene unless I feel obliged to do so, but I must watch that the Debate is kept within proper limits.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
May I put this point of Order? We are asked to vote £348,000, and an Amendment has been moved to reduce that to £320,000. Is it not a good argument to say that if these huts in St. James' Park on which rates are not payable had been used, it would not have been necessary to come for this supplementary sum, and that therefore it is owing to the negligence of the Government in not taking advantage of these huts being free from rates that that part of this sum is required? I think an argument like that would be in order.
§ Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I do not intend to go on with the remarks I was making, but may I ask your ruling on this point? Is the only thing we can discuss as to whether the actual rates on these buildings were proper rates to pay? Are we not allowed to discuss the administration of the Government in remaining in these buildings instead of going elsewhere?
I think the discussion must be confined to the point whether these rates are to be paid or not. If I allowed the discussion to 1863 be on the class of buildings, it would be out of order, and would not be strictly within this Vote. There are other occasions for dealing with the occupation of buildings in the park and elsewhere, but the present is only an occasion for deciding whether this sum shall be granted for rates, and I must ask hon. Members to keep strictly to the question of rates.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
I wish to draw attention not so much to the one-fifth of this sum, but to the four-fifths, namely, the £271,000 necessitated by the rise in the poundage of rates. We are in this difficult position, that if we reject this Supplementary Estimate it puts up the rates which everybody else has to pay, because local authorities have to get their money. What to my mind is wrong about the Estimate is that the Government ought to have foreseen, and could have foreseen, that their administration would inevitably put up the rates and the poundage of the rates by the enormous sums that it has during the last few months, and that their coming here for these supplementary sums is the result of a rise in rates which was inevitable considering the number of commitments they were forcing on the local authorities. We are asked to give this enormous sum of money in support of the expenditure of local authorities for Government buildings, and we are not told anything to show which of the Departments is mainly responsible for the £271,000 increase. The Government could undoubtedly have done without so large a sum had they not occupied not only these buildings in London alone, but so many valuable, highly-rated premises in all the provincial towns of the country. Supposing there is no employment exchange in a town, the Labour Minister comes down and takes the most expensive office promises that he can in the whole town, and so it is all over the country.
The hon. Member will see that that is a matter for the Office of Works. The Committee discussed the Supplementary Estimates of the Office of Works last Friday, and they cannot have another Debate to-day upon the same Department.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
I was a little afraid that I was out of order, but I hoped I had been sufficiently skilful to get round that fence. I see a great many 1864 fences in discussing this Vote. It is very difficult even to ascertain how it comes about exactly that we are asked to vote this additional money. It is not in order to discuss the various causes which have led to the rise in rates, to discuss whether the Government could have avoided having to ask for this money by taking cheaper buildings, or to discuss the question of giving up the buildings, and so we are really limited to trying to find out exactly what are the Departments which are causing this additional expenditure to the State, and that is what we are not told. It is one of the things which we ought always to be told in a Supplementary Estimate. Whenever a Supplementary Estimate comes before this House, these footnotes should not be so drafted as to prevent the House ascertaining what is going on. They are very cleverly drafted, so as to avoid discussion and keep the House in the dark, instead of being footnotes which would clearly show to us whether it is the Ministry of Health, or the War Office, or the Admiralty, or what Ministry it is that really has caused those increased charges. We can never ascertain that in these block Votes. We are never going to get hold of the control of Estimates in this House until we have the promised Estimates Committee, and until that Committee can point out to the House exactly the cause of the expenditure, and, above all, can present the Estimates to the House in such a form as to enable the House to discuss thorn. We are confined by the narrowest Rules of Order in Committee of Supply on Supplementary Estimates, and the only way in which we can really got control is by getting a Committee which will sweep away all these official explanations and give us the real explanation, the itemised account, of large sums like this £348,000, and tell us exactly who is responsible.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I have listened to my hon. and gallant Friend's gallant efforts to got some discussion on this difficult question, and I want to ask whether it would not be in order to move to report Progress until such time as the Government could give us information to enable us to have a proper discussion on this Vote. I should not think of contesting your ruling, but the Estimates as drawn make it impossible to have a 1865 proper Debate. We are asked to pass £348,000 for extra rates, and we do not know where they come from or what Ministry is responsible. They may be perfectly innocent increases of rates, or they may be due to causes over which the Government has no control, or they may be increases for which some Department of the Government is really responsible. I should like to ask the Deputy-Chairman whether it would be in order—and if so I propose to do so, but I shall, of course, obey his ruling—to move to report progress and ask leave not to sit again until such time as the Government amend the Estimates in such a form as to lead to a Debate?
I must point out there is another Vote on which to discuss policy. The only question now before the Committee is whether rates should be paid on these properties, not whether the Government should continue to occupy these premises. That question can be raised on other Votes which will come before the Committee some other time. In regard to the question raised by the hon. Baronet it seems to me fairly clear in this Vote £271,000 is due to the rise in the poundage on rates. That is quite clear, and that £77,000 is due to the continuation of war occupation. I do not think I should be performing my duty if I accepted a motion to report progress.
§ Lord R CECIL
I should like to put this point to you, Sir. As I understand it, £77,000 is to pay the additional cost of some additional buildings occupied by the Government which were not foreseen in the original Estimates. That must be so, or else there will not be an increase apart from the rise in poundage. We are told that this is due to the continuation of war occupation, mainly concerning War Departments. But what decides the War Departments? We are given information that the Government evidently think it is important that we should know that the sum paid is caused by the War Departments, but they do not think it important that we should know what Departments are concerned in the increase, since the original Estimate was passed, that has caused this rise in the rates. I venture to submit respectfully to you, Sir, that if we are really to examine these Estimates carefully we must know what Departments have caused this increased expenditure, so that we may know 1866 which Minister is responsible for this particular increase, apart altogether from the question of which building it is. I submit that we are entitled to that information, and that we should have had it before the Committee was asked to discuss this question.
What information is given to the Committee by the Minister in charge is a matter for the Minister and not for me, but I rule that this is not the time for discussing policy, nor is it the time to discuss the question whether these premises should be occupied or not. That matter is not now under discussion. The assumption is that these premises have been occupied, and what the Committee is asked for is whether they will authorise the payment of a supplementary sum for rates. That is the only question before the Committee at the present time, and if hon. Members object there is an Amendment now before the Committee to reduce that sum, and they can vote for that reduction if they are not satisfied. I think that the discussion should proceed on the lines I have stated.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
When I was interrupted on a point of Order, I was in possession of the House. I do not think it is right to vote for a diminution of the sum when we do not know all the facts. The Government may be perfectly right in this matter or they may be wrong, I do not know. I do not want to vote for the reduction of £100 in rates. I may be doing an injustice to the Department concerned, or to some authority whose rates are to be cut out. It is not until we know what Departments are concerned that we shall be able adequately to discuss the matter. Of course, I shall be guided by your ruling, Sir, but I venture with great respect as a protest to move my Motion to report progress, and to ask leave to sit again because these Estimates do not give us sufficient information to enable the House properly to discuss the question. I desire to move that Motion definitely, and I hope that you will take it.
The hon. Baronet has given his reasons. I do not agree with him, and under the circumstances the discussion must proceed.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
Perhaps I might usefully intervene at this stage and make 1867 an explanation. A Minister in my position is always in a very difficult case. On a Vote of this kind, which in former times has seldom been debated, I generally think it to be much more for the convenience of the House for the Minister to wait for a time to enable hon. Members who have questions to ask to put them, and then when all questions have been put to do his best to answer them. To-day, by waiting as I usually have done, my hon. Friends have complained that no information has been given to them. They will see the difficulty of my position, but I will try and give such help as I can to the Committee for a few minutes in the middle of the Debate. But I must apologise to those hon. Members who want to raise some matter and to put some further point if I do not deal with that point. Several points have been raised, and I propose to deal with them in as clear a manner as I can.
Some hon. Members who claim to be protagonists of economy have overlooked, I think, what this Vote really is. They seem to think that, while in former years little attention was paid to this Vote, yet in the year that is passing we have piled up a mass of new buildings all over the country on which we are now asking the Committee to vote more money. Of course nothing of the sort has happened. The Treasury is responsible for the payment of rates on Government property in the United Kingdom. If you can put your finger on any one Government Department that is demobilising its staff more slowly than another, the increase caused by that would be very trifling compared to the increase that had to deal with. It must be remembered first of all that the rates which come into this Vote are rates on all Government property, not only on the buildings connected with the Department, but on all buildings connected with revenue, administration of justice, and a thousand and one things for which Government buildings are used from one end of the kingdom to the other. I have a figure in my mind which, I think, may be of some help to the Committee, and that is that, large as his total figure is and much as we know the rates throughout the kingdom have risen, the gross figure of the whole amount for rates in the last financial 1868 year preceding the War was £821,000 and in this year, with all the legacies of the War-time buildings which we still have with us, with the creation of a new-Department and with the enormous increased rates, the total is under £2,200,000. I am quite sure that, great as that increase is, if any of us had been asked without reference to actual figures to state what the increase actually was, we should have said that the difference was a great deal more.
If I may make one or two general remarks, I should like to point out to the Committee that the whole sum for which we are asking on the Supplementary Vote amounts to a sum that can be explained by a 3s. rise in rates over the kingdom, and that is, roughly, about the rise that has taken place. But in London, of course, the increase in certain parts has been more. To give the Committee two parts of London where the most valuable property is rated, we have an increase this year in Westminster of 2s. 6d., and in Woolwich and Plumstead of between 6s. and 7s. The increase of the education rates in the London area this year alone accounts for an increased expenditure of £48,000. One of my hon. Friends said with some assumption of reason, "Could you not have foreseen the rise in rates that was coming, and have estimated for it in the Estimate which you were preparing a year ago?" My answer to that is that, of course, everyone feared—never mind for the moment whether this can be laid to the door of the Government or not—everyone feared that rates would rise, but you cannot budget on hypotheses in cases of this kind. We might have made a completely wrong shot that would have thrown our figures out; we might still have had to come with a Supplementary Estimate, or we might have had a balance to pay back to the Exchequer. In cases like this it is far better to budget for the rates as they exist, and then come to this Committee in the event of the rates rising, as we have done, and show to the Committee what the rise is, and ask for the Vote as near as you can get it to the actual amount involved.
Some of my hon. Friends noticed that in the Vote the net amount is split up into two parts. The hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Ormsby-Gore) stated that 1869 it would be a very good thing to itemise all the rates for the benefit of the Committee. I would only remind him that if he were in my position and if he had done that, then he would in fact be blamed by a very large number of hon. Members for wasting stationery, because to publish in detail a statement of the properties subject to rates in this kingdom would mean a volume nearly as big as one of the volumes of the OFFICIAL REPORT. I assure him that this is correct.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
Of course any suggestion that is put forward in Committee will be carefully considered, but I would remind hon. Members that the form in which the Estimate appears is the same in which the Estimate has always appeared hitherto. Whether it be a good thing or whether it be not a good thing to change the form of the Estimates, that could not be done in the case of an isolated Estimate nor until a decision had been come to as on the form of all the Estimates. That, I think, is another question, and one which has been and is being considered But on this occasion, with regard to this Vote, we are merely following precedent, and I am most anxious to give all the help I can to the Committee in coming to a decision on this matter. My right hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Lord E. Cecil), I rather gather from the point of Order he raised, was under the impression that a portion of the £77,000 was for some new obligation. Of course, that is not the case. It is a case of retention. There is no case of new obligation of which I am aware.
I want to point out the difficulty of my Department in estimating at the beginning of the financial year in regard to buildings which are liable to be surrendered. My Department never ceases exercising such pressure as it can—and I only wish it were stronger—to get premises given up, but we have of course no premises directly in our own hands. We can only exercise such pressure as we are able, and, in framing our Estimates, after consultation with Departments, we make an Estimate of rates as they would be affected if the demobilisation of premises proceeded at a certain rate; and I would point out here that, of course, 1870 the figure of £70,000 odd is swollen by the increased poundage. But, still, the net increase, of course, is considerable. There were certain factors of great uncertainty with regard to premises held for temporary occupation. If you take premises, for instance, that are held containing goods for disposal, the retention of those premises depends on the speed at which the Department concerned gets rid of the stores. That is a question over which we have no control, and of which it is very difficult to form any Estimate. Also the speed at which premises are got rid of depends on the speed at which either articles of bulk or small articles are disposed of. For instance, an unexpected delay of two or three months in disposing of a quantity of bulky material, or delay in getting shipments or payments, or the hundred and one odd causes that may lead to delay, prevent the surrender of buildings which we hoped would be surrendered. Cases like that occur, and our Estimate is thus thrown out.
Then, again, in surrendering premises, it is very often difficult to decide how much time will be taken to re-condition them, and get them in such condition that they can be handed over to the original owners. Delay has arisen in that way. There has been another way in which we made a miscalculation in trying to estimate this figure, namely, that during the year there have been certain premises in charge of the Ministry of Munitions which have been used for munitions, and which we hoped would have been given up and converted into constructional factories under the Ministry of Labour. In the same way, the Ministry of Pensions have continued the use, for their own services in one or two cases, of hospitals which we had thought, and hoped, might have been completely demobilised.
§ Earl WINTERTON
In the cases to which my right hon. Friend has referred as being retained by the Ministry of Pensions, does the Treasury ask the Ministry of Pensions to give detailed reasons why they have retained those buildings after they said they were going to be given up?
That question may be put to the Minister from the point of view of general policy, but when it comes to the question of rates, supposing his answer is unsatisfactory to the Noble Lord, we cannot discuss it.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I am quite prepared to answer my Noble Friend's question, but that is a point, I am afraid, which we could hardly discuss. There are two or three specific questions asked. I should like to repeat once more to my right hon. Friend the Member for Peebles that no one feels more keenly than I the delay in getting rid of premises. It has always been a subject on which I have felt grave anxiety, and it is a subject where, as far as I am able, I exercise whatever pressure I can. My right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London called attention to the method of accounting and the Appropriations-in-Aid. If I may say so, I feel the greater sympathy with him, because, having had a commercial training, as he has, I found great difficulty when I first came to these Estimates in understanding what was comprised in Appropriations-in-Aid.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
My right hon. Friend wants to know, as this money is credited here, where the debit occurs. The debit occurs in the Ordnance Factory Vote, where it is taken in as part of the cost of production. If it were not treated in that way it would appear on both sides of the bill, and swell the gross Estimates of the year. Those rates have always been treated in that way, but when we come to a time when we may have Estimates which can be more easily comprehended, it is possible that some easier way may be found of explaining this rather singular Appropriation-in-Aid. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Hull—
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I rather gather from the interruption that there may be some further points to be raised, but I was very anxious to speak when I did, so that I might give such help as I could to the Committee on this particular Estimate. I realise as much as any Member the very natural and proper desire to give a thorough and proper examination to all these Estimates. It is very difficult on this particular Vote to give the examination hon. Members wish, but I can assure them—and I am sure they will believe me when I say so—that, as far as I can, and within the limits of this Estimate, I will do everything I can to make the whole matter perfectly clear.
My object in endeavouring to-day to get rather more information on this particular subject is not in any way to attack the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, because I am perfectly certain he does far more to help us save money than to help us spend. But we are now faced with this additional sum required for rates, and what I want to get at is the proportion which comes from the various Departments. It should not be difficult to arrive at that, and if we look at the earlier Estimates in the year we see that for the Admiralty so much is required—a very considerable increase, incidentally, of nearly £100,000—for the War Department there is also a similar sum, and then there is the Post Office. As the Postmaster-General is present, perhaps he will be able to assist the right hon. Gentleman, and I think when questions of this sort are brought before the House, if I may say so very humbly, it would be rather more loyal to those who have to bear the heat and burden of the day if the various Departments concerned would help out the Treasury, which has all the blame—and most unjustifiable blame in many cases. I would like to draw attention to the fact that, so far as the Post Office was concerned earlier in the year, there was an increase of something like £90,000. I want to know, out of this additional sum now asked for, what goes to the Post Office, and, if possible, some details as to whether the amount is for new rateable promises or old rateable premises. But a very much more important point, to my understanding, than that is the question relating to the Ministry of Munitions. I believe it has changed its name—I suppose with the object of hiding its identity more or less—but earlier in the year we had an additional sum there of nearly £60,000. I want to know, just for information, which may be useful on a further occasion, what increase there has been in the amount of rates for property used by the Ministry of Munitions. This is supposed to be a dying Ministry, a defunct Ministry practically, and I want to know whether there has been a further increase beyond the £60,000 increase earlier in the year. There is only one other Ministry about which I am going now to indulge any curiosity, and that is 1873 the Ministry of Food. That Ministry is supposed to be dying. Earlier in the year it was dying more or less, and I want to know whether any of this additional sum asked for to-day is required for additional premises for the Ministry of Food. I think probably not, but I am rather wanting to get that information, because I believe it would be a real help to the Government if they could show that these Ministries going out of existence were reducing the number of premises on which they now have to pay rates.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Lieut-Commander KENWORTHY
I think this Debate will have brought home to all hon. Members present, if it had not dawned on them before, that when Government offices come down with great Votes to this House, that is not the end of them, and that, just as if you throw a boulder into a pond, the ripples extend in ever-widening circles, so do Government waste and extravagance appear again and again in the same superfluous department in Supplementary Estimate after Supplementary Estimate. On Friday, the buildings; now the rates; to-morrow. I suppose, something else. I do not propose to make any detailed interpolation of my right hon. Friend, except on one particular point. I want to know whether these rates on houses occupied by representatives of foreign Powers include the premises in Chesham Place, formerly occupied by the Embassy of the Imperial Russian Government, and whether they include the rates paid on the former Consul-General's establishment in Bedford Square of that same Imperial Government. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Stafford of course treats this matter lightly. He thinks, what are a few thousand pounds hero and there. I am trying to save just two or three hundreds, and it can be done without harm to anyone. These premises have been the hotbed of intrigue and mischief making.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I am much obliged to you, Sir, and I will not transgress your ruling. I was merely pointing out, it is quite wrong to pay rates for promises occupied by representatives of foreign Powers if they are to include two establishments, expensive 1874 buildings, here in London, which are not occupied by the representatives of any foreign Power.
It is quite right for the hon. and gallant Friend to ask information as to whether rates are paid on these particular properties. I only intervened when he began to discuss what those premises are used for.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
It would be interesting to know if the British taxpayers are paying rates on those premises. I shall certainly refuse to vote money for such a thing, and I hope that other hon. Members, whether super-economists or hyper-super-economists, or only people who have some regard for the decency of public expenditure, will support me.
§ Commander BELLAIRS
I am sure the Committee will agree that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury exhibits every degree of zeal for economy, and he will agree, I think, that the Committee have only a desire to help him, to give him an extra push by means of which he can travel a little faster in that direction. I desire to ask him a few questions. I noticed that under Class 2 (c) the rates paid are rates for England only. Does that mean that this Estimate does not cover Scotland and Wales or that there has been no increase in rates in Scotland and Wales? Of course I know it does not cover Ireland. That is information which I think it is essential we should have before us. Then, I believe the Government is its own rating authority. It has no control over the rates as fixed, but it makes its own assessments as to the value of its property. Therefore it has in a large measure control over the rates. I do not know whether from year to year it assesses these properties or whether it accepts the former assessment. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will enlighten us on that point. I would also like to know how much of the rates are due to staffs of Government Departments and how much to Government undertakings such as factories and dockyards. A great many of these undertakings have been leased to private enterprise, and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will give us a little information as to whether there has been any great saving in the rates owing to properties other than buildings occupied by Government officials having been leased to private enterprise.
Mr. T. THOMSON
It is clear from the lucid statement of the Financial Secretary that practically the whole of this supplementary increase is due to the increased rates, and he defended his position by saying that the practice in the past in budgeting ahead was not to include any possible increase that might take place in the rates. It may be presumptuous for me to say so, but I suggest that whatever might have been the practice in the past, it is a question to inquire into whether it is a sound business proposition to ignore entirely, when you are making your Estimates for the financial year, what are almost certain to be the increases likely to take place in the standing charges. Any ordinary business concern has to take into account the increased charges which it is probable it may have to pay during the coming year. Those who are experienced in local authorities, and in making up their accounts for the coming year know very well they have to estimate as nearly as they can the increases which will probably take place for wages, taxes and other purposes, and I submit to the right hon. Gentleman that it would be worth considering whether it does not make for sounder finance to budget ahead on an estimate of what is likely to be the expenses for the whole of the Departments, including the increases in rates. Last year the right hon. Gentleman in introducing the Supplementary Estimates apologised for the sum of £213,000 which was then the supplementary increase required, and said that increase was due to the rise in wages and the rise in rates, the same as this year. Last year it was £213,000, this year it is £328,000. I put it again to him that it would make for sounder finance if he took into consideration and estimated as near as his Department can what would be the likely extra charges in the forthcoming year. He referred to the education rate in the London area as being responsible for some of the increase. That was an ascertainable fact because it was due to legislation promoted by this Government. Reference has been made to the rating of Government property in various local authorities. We were told by the right hon. Gentleman that wooden huts do not pay rates. I would like to ask him whether all property owned and leased by Government Departments pay rates in their particular local area. With regard to the assess- 1876 ment, I understand it is made not by the local assessing authority, but by the Government itself. Is that assessment which the Government fix for themselves based on similar conditions and on similar allowances as the assessment made by local authorities, or do they have preferential treatment, and, further, do the Government have a quinquennial or other re-assessment in order that their property shall be assessed as near as possible at a value comparable to that which other people have to pay? In large industrial centres where the rates are heavy the burden becomes all the greater if the Government as taxpayer has not paid its fair share.
§ Mr. CAUTLEY
I should like to ask the Financial Secretary to give me one piece of information. It seems to me that the Food Controller must have given up a great many buildings during the year, and that various other Departments have diminished and given up a great many premises, and it would be of great assistance to us to understand, when decontrol is taking place and when the Government are attempting to be economical, what has been the total saving in rates in the Budget estimate, and what it has been in previous years, so that we can form some idea of how many buildings are being given up.
The Secretary to the Treasury will no doubt, in the course of his reply, answer the question put to him by the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull, who asked if we were still paying rates on that property known as Chesham House, where the Russian Embassy used to be. While he is answering that, I would like him to state whether we pay the rates of that luxurious suite of buildings taken by Mons. Krassin in a luxurious thorough-fare in London? Of course, the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull will say the people in Chesham Place represented nobody and the people in Bond Street did represent somebody. Perhaps they did then. Do they now? On the larger question of the rates on houses occupied by the representatives of foreign Powers, I also want to ask the Secretary to the Treasury one or two questions. I remember last year I raised a similar question to this. We had then the great house in Carlton House Terrace, formerly occupied by the German Em- 1877 bassy, practically empty. It was then partly occupied and partly unoccupied. Part of it was occupied by the Swiss Government, on behalf of the German Government, and I asked whether we, as a Government, were responsible for the rates on that great and magnificent house. I was told we were. I was told that the understanding was that during the War the houses where representatives of foreign Powers had been housed were being kept at our expense, because they were doing the same thing for us. So far, so good. Now, some of these great Powers have been broken up into a number of smaller Powers, and we have a great number of small States—Lithuania, Esthonia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, to name only four. I take it that all these Powers will establish Legations in London, and that they will all take houses and use them. I know that they are taking houses. I want to know if in every case we have to pay the rates of the houses taken on behalf of all these new Powers. Can the Secretary to the Treasury give us what the cost will be to the taxpayer? I suppose he will tell us that we get a quid pro quo, but I would point out that these other countries do not pay the rates. This is a big question. We have these small States, who will all want houses, and we shall have to pay the rates, and I want to know what return we shall get for this expenditure.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I should like to say that I agree with the statement as to the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman has prepared this Estimate. I think he was right in founding his Estimate on the rates for the present year. You could not tell whether offices would be dispensed with, and you could not tell whether the rates would or would not rise. I am very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for his information with regard to the Appropriation-in-Aid for the Ordnance factories. My right hon. Friend said that he was exercising pressure upon the various Departments to reduce the number of houses which they occupy, and I am very glad he is doing that. I hope he will continue to do it, and I trust the pressure will be of a severe kind. I know there are various degrees of pressure; and I hope the pressure of my right hon. Friend will be of an extremely hard character. My right hon. Friend said that previous to the War the amount paid in rates was £800,000. I cannot find that 1878 the rates have increased in the proportion mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean). It is true that where the Labour party are in control the rates have gone up very much.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I appear to have stated a fact which is a little unpleasant, and I did not intend to do that. I was merely acquainting the House with a very simple fact which I have been able to ascertain. In the City of London the rates have gone up from 6s. 6d. to 10s. 1d., while in Bethnal Green they have gone up from 8s. to 19s. 11d.
The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. J. W. Wilson)
The right hon. Baronet is not in order in discussing these increases in rates.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
We are astonished at the small increase in these rates, because, with the exception of places where the Labour party are in control, the rates have not anything like trebled and the most they have done is doubled. I agree that the right hon. Gentleman is always extremely fair to the Committee and most anxious to give full information.
§ Mr. MYERS
At this time last year, when the various local authorities had their administration under consideration, nothing was so certain in the minds of people acquainted with the needs of local authorities as that a very heavy rise in local rates would take place. Having regard to the mass of Government property which exists all over the country and the rise that has taken place in local rates, we should have expected to have found the amount much larger than it is. I join with the hon. Member for Middlesbrough in suggesting that the Government might well have anticipated this rise in local rates which has taken place. Obviously, the Government Department has to choose between two things, that is either budget well in advance, anticipating probable rises, or budget on the rates which prevail at a given period and then come for a Supplementary Estimate. Those with experience of municipal administration know that it is best to budget well ahead rather than come for a supplementary demand later on.
1879 It is also well known, and it is very desirable that we should know the basis of assessment levied on local authorities in respect of Government property. It is notorious that Government buildings are very much under-assessed, and they are a burden upon the local authorities. If Government property contributed to the local rates in the same proportion, as private individuals then the rates of the local authorities would benefit. I think it is desirable that we should have some information as to the particular Departments which have control and occupy these properties. We want to know how many of these properties have been handed over wholly or in part to private individuals, and we want to know whether the rates are included in this Estimate. When property changes occupation the officials of the local authorities adjust the rates in proportion, and as soon as any property or any portion of property passes from the Government to a private individual the rates will be adjusted from that point and they cannot appear in this Estimate. I think the reply which the Secretary to the Treasury gave in respect of the general position of this Estimate was exceedingly satisfactory, particularly to those who have had experience of local rating and the general effect arising therefrom.
§ Mr. KILEY
I want to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the Government are now prepared to withdraw the veto which they exercise in the levying of rates on the buildings which they occupy. In my own constituency where formerly the Government had only one or two buildings the question was not of much importance, but they have increased the number of those buildings. When the rates were low it was not a matter of great importance, but with the rates as they are now, and the number of buildings which the Government Departments are retaining, it means that the local authorities are not able to assess those buildings at their full value. The effect is that in my own constituency we are not receiving a much larger amount, and if we were receiving the proper proportion our rates would be much smaller. This is quite the reverse of the procedure under which the Government are giving increased grants to local authorities because, in the case of my constituency, the local authority is really, 1880 through the rates, making a grant to the Government. Has the time not arrived for the Government to withdraw their veto and let their buildings be rated the same as any other buildings? If the Government are not prepared to do that then they should give up some of their buildings, because the policy they have adopted does inflict a hardship upon the poorer districts.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
We have had a very interesting and, I think, important discussion, notwithstanding the rulings which the Chair has felt bound to give on this Supplementary Estimate. It has become quite clear, as the discussion proceeded, that the main idea in the minds of hon. Members criticising the Estimate was that it was their only chance of expressing to the Government their dissatisfaction with the slow rate at which Government buildings have been evacuated and the consequent increase which has had to be asked for for rates and other payments. We all gladly admit that my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, in a difficult situation, has done his best to satisfy the Committee, but it is perfectly clear, as far as he was concerned, that he has no control whatever over these matters, and if the efforts of the Committee had persisted in pursuing this matter to its logical conclusion we should have had the Government Bench peopled with Ministers and various Under-Secretaries to give explanations why these war occupations had been continued. I feel bound to press my proposal for a reduction to a Division. The amount I suggest to be knocked off is £28,000, and that was not merely a shot in the air. It was a rather carefully calculated amount, and I am pretty sure it very nearly covers the increase of rates on the great majority of the premises which might have been evacuated if the Government policy had been directed to that end. In the second place, I am going to press the Motion to a Division in order to help my right hon. Friend. I am sure he will understand this is not a personal matter. We know he is doing his best with the various Departments. He is one of the watchdogs at the Treasury to see that all unnecessary expense is cut down, and if a sufficient number of Members go into the Lobby and express their views on this matter, my right hon. Friend and the 1881 Treasury will be immensely strengthened in their work of cutting down expenditure. I have not the slightest doubt that the result of last Friday's Division will be to save millions to the country. Estimates are now being prepared, and Departments know what the House of Commons is thinking about these things, and what it is prepared to do. If the House will only back the right hon. Gentleman up in the Lobby—no doubt it will be a minority Lobby again—I am certain that the expression of their opinion will add to the moral authority of my right hon. Friend and those who work with him in seeking to reduce the national expenditure.
§ Mr. STEPHEN WALSH
We are all glad to see that the Vote asked for to-day is solely on account of the continuance of war occupations. I would like to ask whether any payments in respect of new occupations by Departments beyond their existing premises are included in the figures asked for. Let me give a case in point. The finest offices in the Empire are those known as the Home Office. Ever since the Coal Mines Regulation Act has been in force, the housing of that great Department has been in the Home Office, but since about July last, under the Mining Industry Act, the whole of the Coal Mines staff, some of the most responsible men in the country, have been taken over to the Hotel Windsor. I can imagine no change so miserable as that. It is like stepping out of what really is to all intents and purposes a palace into something very little better than a hovel. Those of us who know the Hotel Windsor know it is necessary to have artificial light all day in practically every room in the building. I would like to know whether there is any charge for rating in respect of the Hotel Windsor, and, if so, what is the proportionate lessening of the rate on the Home Office. This is no doubt a very difficult question for the right hon. Gentleman to answer, and no one can complain if, at the moment, he is unable to do so. Still, we have a right to say that these utterly useless and worse than useless changes ought not to take place if the consequence is a substantial increase in the expenditure of the country, because there must be a decrease in the physical efficiency of what is after all a wonderfully fine staff. We all thought during the last two years that there would be a substantial reduction in the amount 1882 paid by the Government for rates. When they left the Hotel Victoria—
It was ruled a little while ago from the Chair that details as to particular buildings could not be entered into under this Vote.
§ Mr. S. WALSH
Surely we have a right, when arguing in favour of a reduction, to give illustrations! We know that within the last two or three years large establishments like the Hotel Victoria, the Grand Hotel, and the Hotel Cecil have been vacated, and we have been entitled to hope that there would be a reduction in the heavy charge for rates paid by the Government on property which they have occupied but ceased to occupy a considerable time ago. While the War was on everything had to give way to it, and there was no one in this House who did not recognise the immense force of circumstances. But to-day all the social amenities of this part of London have disappeared. St. James Park—
I think the hon. Member has already given his illustration and should be content with that.
§ Mr. WALSH
In the overwhelming desire that the expenditure of the nation shall be reduced, especially upon useless matters, we have a right to sec that these Supplementary Estimates are thoroughly examined. An hon. Member reminded us just now that, after all, we have to pay. Of course, we have to. As a matter of fact, these are not Estimates; they are bills to be collected. Ordinary municipalities recognise the force of events, and gauge in some fashion what is likely to occur in the ensuing year. But Government Departments seem to have no provision at all. They appear to think it is their duty to tickle the ears of the taxpayers by making the Estimates as low as possible. They think they gain great éclat from the people by bringing in satisfactory-Budgets, and they say: "We can make it all right later on, and bring in a Supplementary Estimate." Later on, when explanations are asked for, and it is inquired why the expenditure has not been foreseen, their reply is: "Ah, it is impossible, fallible as we are, how can we be gifted with foresight like that?" Thereupon, hon. Members march through the Division Lobbies and vote confidence in the Ministry, believing 1883 that if that were not done, the heavens would fall. I hate Supplementary Estimates. They are not good business, either for the House or for the country. I shall therefore support the reduction of this Vote.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I do not think the Heavens will fall if I cease to be a Minister, and certainly I shall get a holiday. There are one or two points I desire to answer, and then I hope the Committee will be ready to go to a Division after a very useful and interesting discussion. With regard to the old Russion Embassy in Chesham Place, the position is that the rates have been paid for the first six months of last year. There are some negotiations going on now, but in no case will any payment be made on that building after the close of the current financial year. With regard to consulates, no payment is made under any circumstances. They are responsible for their own rates. With respect to the premises in Bond Street, whatever is done with them is subject to the terms of the tenancy by the people who took them. Nothing is paid by the Government there. With regard to diplomatic premises generally, I may say, in reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Enfield, that any new cases which come forward have to be examined and sanctioned by the Treasury. The rule hitherto has been that an ascertainable portion of the rates is paid by this country on the Embassies of foreign countries on reciprocal terms that they in their country pay similar
§ charges on our Embassies. It is a matter of negotiation and agreement, and, of course, must have formal sanction.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I do not think I need repeat what I have said in regard to that. The position with respect to valuation is that the valuation for the assessment of Government properties is made by the Government. It is a very old-standing method of assessment, arrived at many years ago, and it has a good deal of history behind it. The valuation is revised quinquennially. When that valuation is made, the actual amounts paid will, of course, depend on the rates prevailing in the district. It is impossible for me, by a stroke of the pen, to make such alterations as the hon. Member for White-chapel (Mr. Kiley) desires. Any changes of that kind must necessarily be made by the Government, after consideration of the whole question. With regard to the point which was put by the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. Walsh), I am sure he must realise that I could not give detailed figures in a Debate of this kind. I have done my best to answer the points that have been put to me, and I hope that the Committee will now be prepared to come to a decision.
§ Question put, "That a sum not exceeding £300,000 be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 70; Noes, 211.1885
|Division No. 14.]||AYES.||[5.47 p.m.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Newbould, Alfred Ernest|
|Atkey, A. R.||Gritten. W. G. Howard||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Grundy, T. W.||O'Connor, Thomas P.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Poison, Sir Thomas|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Hartshorn, Vernon||Raffan, peter Wilson|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Hayward, Major Evan||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hirst, G. H.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Holmes, J. Stanley||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Briant, Frank||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Irving, Dan||Spoor, B. G.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Swan, J. E.|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Johnstone, Joseph||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Cape, Thomas||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Cautley, Henry S.||Kenyon, Barnet||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Kiley, James D.||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Lawson, John J.||Wignall, James|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Lowther, Major C. (Cumberland, N.)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lunn, William||Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Finney, Samuel||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Mills, John Edmund||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Glanville, Harold James||Morgan, Major D. Watts||Mr. G. Locker-Lampson and Major Barnes.|
|Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Mosley, Oswald|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S.||Gilbert, James Daniel||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||Purring, William George|
|Amery, Lieut.-Col. Leopold C. M. S.||Glyn, Major Ralph||Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Grayson, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Henry||Pollock, Sir Ernest M.|
|Armitage, Robert||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Prescott, Major W. H.|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Gretton, Colonel John||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Purchase, H. G.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Hanson, Sir Charles Augustin||Rae, H. Norman|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Randies, Sir John S.|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Rankin, Captain James S.|
|Barnett, Major R. W.||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel N.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Hilder, Lieut-Colonel Frank||Reid, D. D.|
|Barrand, A. R.||Hoare, Lieut-Colonel Sir S. J. G.||Romnant, Sir James|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Renwick, George|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Hood, Joseph||Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn'n.W.)||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hope, James F. (Sheffield, Central)||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)|
|Blair, Sir Reginald||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Rodger, A. K.|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Hopkins, John W. W||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Bowles, Colonel H. F.||Home, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Briggs, Harold||Hunter-Weston, Lieut-Gen. Sir A. G.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Britton, G. B.||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Brown, Captain D. C.||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Jephcott, A. R.||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Campbell, J. D. G.||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Stanier, Captain Sir Beville|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)|
|Carter, R. A. D. (Man., Withington)||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Stanton, Charles B.|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Kidd, James||Starkey, Captain John R.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Clay, Lieut. Colonel H. H. Spender||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Stevens, Marshall|
|Clough, Robert||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Surtees Brigadier-General H. C.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Lloyd, George Butler||Taylor, J.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Lorden, John William||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Lynn, R. J.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||M'Donald, Dr. Bouverie F. P.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Coote, William (Tyrone, South)||M'Guffin, Samuel||Townley, Maximilian G.|
|Cope, Major Wm.||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)||Townshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)||Vickers, Douglas|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||M'Lean, Lieut. Col. Charles W. W.||Waddington, R.|
|Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mid)||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Walters, Rt. Hon. sir John Tudor|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Davidson, J. C. C.(Hemel Hempstead)||Mailaby-Deeley, Harry||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Weston, Colonel John W.|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Wheler, Lieut.-Colonel C. H.|
|Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry||Matthews, David||White, Lieut.-Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Dockreil, Sir Maurice||Middlebrook, Sir William||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Moles, Thomas||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald|
|Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred M.||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Elliott, Lt.-Col. Sir G. (Islington, W.)||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Murchison, C. K.||Wilson, Lieut.-Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram G.||Murray, Major William (Dumfries)||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Farquharson, Major A. C.||Neal, Arthur||Winterton, Earl|
|Fildes, Henry||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)||Wise, Frederick|
|FitzRoy, Captain Hon. E. A.||Nield, Sir Herbert||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge & Hyde)|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill (High Peak)|
|Foreman, Sir Henry||O'Neill, Major Hon. Robert W. H.||Woolcock, William James U.|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W.||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward|
|Forrest, Walter||Palmer, Major Godfrey Mark||Young, Lieut.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Foxcrott, Captain Charles Talbot||Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.||Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry||Younger, Sir George|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Pearce, Sir William|
|Gange, E. Stanley||Pease, Rt. Hon, Herbert Pike||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Lord E. Talbot and Captain Guest.|
Original Question put, and agreed to.