§ Mr. HARNEY
I beg to move in page 3, line 8, after the second word "hereditament" to insert the words, "or that part thereof."
If my Amendment is carried it will remove from the scheme what a great number of people consider to be a great injustice. There may be a tradesman who bakes bread on the ground floor and sells it in his shop above as a retail business, but that is not an industrial hereditament at all. My point is that that class of person should be de-rated in respect of the productive proportion of his industry. There is a good deal of distributive and productive work connected very closely one with the other, and it is highly' desirable that the distributive part should be separated from the productive part.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I wish to support this Amendment, because I think it makes for clearness in the Clause. I take this course, because I have a special reason as representing a constituency like Shore-ditch, which once upon a time was a respectable residential area in which large houses of the middle-class type were situated. Since that time many of those houses have been converted into tenements, and the large gardens attached to them have been used for the erection of workshops and factories. These houses, with their gardens, are rated as a single hereditament. The Town Clerk of Shore-ditch tells me that there are some thousands of these hereditaments in the borough of Shoreditch, and it is not at all clear, as the Bill now stands, whether such hereditaments would be treated primarily as dwelling houses, and only secondarily as industrial establishments. If such words as are proposed by this Amendment are inserted in the Clause I think our anxieties would be at an end. I support this Amendment because I think it is the intention of the Mover to give relief to factories and workshops of 1060 the kind I have mentioned, and unless some such safeguarding words as those contained in this Amendment are inserted there is a danger that valuers will say that those factories and workshops, having been established after the dwelling houses, and being secondary in character, will not be treated as they should be.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The hon. and learned Gentleman who raised this matter referred to the fact that Clause 3 gives a definition of what is called an industrial hereditament, and very largely in this Clause, so far as industrial hereditaments are concerned, is found the main feature of the Government's scheme. The exact proposal, putting it very broadly and, I am afraid, rather roughly, is that the assessment committee will have to come to a conclusion as to whether the particular hereditament is primarily used for the purposes Bet out in Clause 3, and, if it is used for any of the six matters which are enumerated in the first part of the Clause, it will not receive the rating relief which is proposed in the Government's scheme. Very briefly, the whole idea, as has been constantly stated from time to time from this Bench and also in various parts of the country, is to stimulate productive industry.
The hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) and the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle) have both referred to the position of the small man who, perhaps, occupies a dwelling-house, at the rear of which he has some kind of business or trade. I venture to suggest to both hon. Members that the best way of assisting such people at the present time is undoubtedly to get trade and industry running again at what I would call full speed. If you brought in every small man, and apportioned the relief, as it would have to be apportioned, among the very many—I might almost say millions—who would be thus brought within the scheme, hon. Members will at once see that the relief would be to a very large extent dissipated. If, on the 1061 other hand, you really want to assist those cases, I venture to suggest to the Committee that the Government scheme is the best and the right one, because, if you can reduce the terrible amount of unemployment which exists at the present moment, almost the first people to benefit will be the small householder and the small trader who, to a very large extent, depends upon the prosperity of the country.
Take the ease of, say, the small trader in what we call a necessitous area He, I suppose, is the man who is suffering as much as anyone at the present time, simply because works have closed down and industry in very many cases is at a standstill. If you can get that industry going again, if you can restore that vitality to trade which we all desire, the very first to benefit will be the people to whom the hon. Member for Shoreditch has referred. Therefore, entirely apart from the main objects of the Government's scheme, I say that the best way to assist those people is not by dividing this relief into a very large number of small portions, but, if we can, as I believe we shall to a considerable extent by means of the Government's scheme, to reduce the very large and serious unemployment figures which exist at the present moment. I need hardly say that a great deal of consideration has been given to this particular definition, but for the reasons I have stated—in the first place, because we desire to attack the problem in what we believe to Be the best and most scientific way, and, secondly, because, even from the point of view of these people themselves, this is the best way in the Government's judgment of attacking it—I must ask the Committee to reject the Amendment.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
The Parliamentary Secretary is obviously in a difficulty, for, in a very short speech, he has said the same thing about six times, and he has very conveniently avoided altogether dealing with what is the purpose of this Amendment. He has given a general discourse upon the main object of the Government in bringing relief to productive industry, but, obviously, the object of this and several other Amendments on the Paper is to try to do away with the gross injustice which, on the face, of it this Clause perpetrates. It is no use the Parlia- 1062 mentary Secretary saying that the best thing to do for the little man is to relieve large productive industry in order generally to improve trade, so that he may thereby get a little more trade. The right hon. Gentleman knows, probably as well as any man in this Chamber—not only because of his Ministerial position, but because of his legal knowledge of the assessment position generally—that all over London and our other large towns you have a great variety of circumstances in regard to the productive industries which serve the distributive trade in this country. Whether you think of the baker or the boot producer or repairer, the clothier, the tailor, and so on, you have a tremendous variety of circumstances, and I will try just to illustrate how futile the answer of the Parliamentary Secretary is.
Take the thousands of small bakers in the country, and see what is their position. Hon. Members on the other side often complain that these small bakers are handicapped in their competition against the big multiple bakers or against the co-operative societies. Wherever a co-operative society or a great multiple shop-owning company connected with the production of a commodity like bread or boots or clothes carries on its work in a separate factory, it will—because this Bill is going to apply, not only to necessitous productive industry, but to prosperous productive industry as well—receive substantial rating relief, and, whether the state of industry in the country is altered or not by this Measure, the small man will be jeopardised and prejudiced in his future trade relations, because the large firm with a separate factory will get considerable rating relief, while the man who has a small productive undertaking within his own business or domestic curtilage will get no relief at all. That is plain to us from the answer of the Parliamentary Secretary.
It all turns on the question whether there is a separate assessment. Even inside the large firm, inequality occurs, and I will give an example from the Parliamentary Secretary's own constituency. It is just as well that Ministers should have these cases brought to their notice. South of the River, in the Metropolitan area, we have a very large distributive organisation known as the Royal Arsenal Cooperative Society, with headquarters in 1063 the constituency of the right hon. Gentleman. They have two large bread-distributing bases. One is in Brixton. That is a complete, self-contained bread-baking factory of very large dimensions, and it will get a very considerable amount of rating relief every year in these circumstances, for which, of course, the society will be duly thankful. But the other bakery, where almost as much bread is produced in every baking shift, is included in one assessment of all the central premises in Powis Street, Woolwich. It is true that many years ago those particular premises had a number of assessments, but the local assessment committee decided that that block of buildings constituted one curtilage, and could not be separately assessed. Most of the site value to-day would be regarded as being in the part which is alongside the street, and which has special advantages from the point of view of shop frontage. The greater proportion of the site value of the whole premises would probably rest, if it came to be examined in detail, in that part of the premises which comes right up against the pavement, since this constitutes a very big commercial advantage from the point of view of advertising, sales, and attraction of customers; but, because that bakery is attached to these premises, and is really within the same curtilage as the other part of the business which is primarily used for distributive purposes, the bakery will get no relief at all, while the bakery which produces practically no more bread in the large separate factory at Brixton will get relief.
I am not at the moment arguing specially for relief for that bakery at Woolwich; what I am trying to do is to prove, and I think I have proved conclusively, that, if that be the position as between two separate bases of manufacture and distribution within one organisation—and that position exists right through the country—it will set up very unfair competitive conditions between the small man and the large multiple shops in other trades. The Parliamentary Secretary has been very careful not to touch upon that point at all, but simply to give us a general discourse, and he helped himself out of his difficulty by repeating about six times the statement that, after all, the best relief for these people will be 1064 to give a general stimulus to productive industry. They are a productive industry, and they are entitled to the stimulus, but they do not get the stimulus. Instead, they are going to have an additional competitive burden placed upon their backs. Really, it is not treating the Committee quite fairly to ride right off the real purpose of this and subsequent technical Amendments on the Paper, and to make no real answer to the case that we are putting forward.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
The Parliamentary Secretary seems to have as his favourite word the word "dissipation." He talks about the dissipation of relief on every possible occasion, and seems to think that, once he has used that rather difficult and, in some senses, unpleasant word, he has disposed of all argument on an Amendment. I suggest that in this case the use of the word "dissipation" is entirely unnecessary. This Amendment would not dissipate the relief. What it does is to call for more relief. This Clause will involve the giving of relief to the extent of 75 per cent. to productive industry, and, if this Amendment be carried it will not dissipate relief, but will only add another particular type of productive industry to those to which it has already been decided to give relief. There is no question of dissipation.
The hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander) has made the point as between the large and the small man, but the matter goes further than that. The discrimination shown in this definition of a productive industry is not merely unfair as between the small and the large man in the same trade, but is unfair as between one small man and another small man in the same trade. I have in mind two bakers in the same town. One has four distributing shops and has his bakery quite apart, while the other has his bakery along with the shop. The one will get relief while the other will not. Again, take the case of another baker who has 12 shops, at one of which happens to be his steam bakery. All that he has to do is to shut down the shop at which he has his steam bakery, and set up another shop some little distance away from the bakery, and he will then come within the definition of a productive industry which we are now discussing.
1065 8.0 p.m.
The Clause as it is now drafted will not be disposed of by arguments such as that brought forward by the Parliamentary Secretary. The fact is that the very definition itself discriminates between one small man and another in the same trade, and it will affect shops and productive factories in every town in the country. I see opposite me hon. Members all of whom can think of constituents of their own who have little businesses. This is particularly the case of the small men. They are working very hard; they have great difficulty in keeping their heads above water; they sell the goods they produce, and they are the very kind of men whom the Conservative party ought to do their best to help, if there is anything in their general case. We have put down this Amendment, and there are other Amendments to follow, in order to raise this very important issue. I suggest that not merely the right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary, but the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health himself ought to be here now, because there can be no larger issue raised on this Bill than this unfair distinction to which we are calling attention. I join my protest to that of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough. The right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary cannot get away from the Committee stage with arguments about dissipation of the benefits that were put up on the Second Reading. These are practical and constructive Amendments, designed to meet real cases of hardship, and the Committee will do well on all sides carefully to consider this Amendment.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
I desire, very briefly, to support this Amendment, and I do so with special pleasure, because I have been asked by the Association of Bakers in my constituency to protest against the way in which this Clause is drafted. I am astonished that the Government have not accepted this Amendment. There are Amendments on this paper which I can well understand the Government rejecting; there are Amendments on the principle of the Bill, which, if carried, would mean that the main lines of the Bill would be shattered, and that it would be, in effect, defeated. But this Amendment, like several others, is intended to give effect to the Bill, and 1066 to improve the language of the Bill so that it will really achieve its purpose. The right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary told us that this Amendment had had consideration, but I think that consideration must have been very slight, because undoubtedly, in a great number of trades, this Clause, as it is drafted, appears to be exceptionally faulty. I have had a memorandum from the bakers in my constituency which I understand they have sent to the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health himself. In that, it is pointed out that, of the bakers throughout the country, in the case of something like 75 per cent. their business is carried on in premises which are attached to dwelling houses and retail shops, whereas in the case of only 25 per cent. are the premises solely or mainly devoted to baking. I cannot see that there can be any adequate ground for that very unfair discrimination. Here you have one class of bakery which, through accident, gets relief, while another class of bakery, which is every bit as much a productive work as the other, does not get relief.
The right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary says that you cannot bother about all these little businesses, because you would get into a complete muddle. But there is one thing more important than having to do a lot of detailed work, and that is not being unfair. If the right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary does not mind being unfair, surely he minds giving the impression of unfairness, and he will create the impression of unfairness in the minds of 76 per cent. of the bakers who do mot get relief under the Bill. Bakeries, of course, do not by any means stand atom? in this matter; there are all kinds of other trades which are similarly affected. There are, for instance, dressmaking, millinery, tailors' workshops, and cabinet makers' workshops. You have one class of works which are separately assessed, and which therefore get relief, while there are others that may be larger or smaller, but which are similar so far as the men are concerned. But, because they happen to be united with a shop under one assessment, they get no relief. I cannot see how a Bill so unfair, discriminating so unjustly between two classes of people in similar occupations, giving to one and withholding from the 1067 other, can find its way on to the Statute Book in this form. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary that he should have another conference with his chief, and see whether, before the Report stage, they cannot accept this Amendment, or a similar proposal. If he will not do so, we shall support this Amendment, and, so far as I am concerned, I hope very much that it will be pressed to a Division.
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
Every Member of the House would like to see this rating relief extended to every kind of factory, even if it is attached to some portion of the building which is used for distributive purposes. But the gist of the matter has just been stated by the hon. Member who has sat down. In effect, there are two different problems. One is how are you to get the money to provide relief for all classes of Employers in the smaller factories and workshops, and at what point are you going to say that a factory ceases to be a factory in the real sense of the word and becomes a factory attached to some distributive organisation?
§ Mr. HARNEY
You could discriminate with little difficulty. The point as to what is a factory and what is not a factory has been defined in the Factories and Workshops Act. Take the definition of "workshop" or "factory" in the Act, say, of 1901, and apply that definition wherever it is applicable. It is true that that would have the effect of bringing the' relief down from the rich man to the poor man.
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
The hon. Member has hardly answered the point. The point is, would that definition apply to all the factories? If it would, then I say it is impossible under present conditions, and under the Money Resolution, to apply this relief to all sections of the population who would then come under it. It would be extremely difficult to define what is and what is not a factory; but, if it were as simple as the hon. Member (Mr. Harney) thinks it is, or as difficult as I think it is, the point still remains that, under the scheme put forward by the Government, which is to give a real grant of relief to productive industry with the object of distributing employment, it would be impossible to go to the expense of relieving every form of 1068 distributive organisation which is connected with a small factory, so small that it is hardly worth describing as a factory, and, therefore, you must have some practical limit to the operation of the Bill.
§ Sir R. HAMILTON
I should like to hear the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken explaining to the owners of small factories and workshops that they are not to get this relief.
§ Sir R. HAMILTON
I merely say that I would like to hear the hon. Member doing so, and I would like to hear what the small man would say when he knew that the big shop was to get relief while the man who owns the small factory was to get none. That is what we object to, and that is what will be objected to throughout the country. The country has not yet got hold of this grandiose scheme, but, when they do get it, they will say: "We will not put our seal upon such unfairness as a Bill like this." Why should not the small man get the relief? The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Wardlaw-Milne) says that it is because it would be difficult. Is that an answer? Is it just or fair that that should be the test? We all want to help productive industry which is in a bad position, but none of us want to help the productive industry that is in a good position. What is the difficulty of discriminating? Has not the right hon. Gentleman got a magnificent Department to help him to say where the relief is required? Why should we give it to the big, strong, upstanding industry and leave the small man without relief? What is the percentage of the small men who are to be left out? I hope that this Amendment will be fought, and fought bitterly, because it goes to the root of the whole Bill. We feel that the Bill is founded to a large extent on injustice. I have received, as I dare say other hon. Members have received, papers from different bodies of traders, from chambers of trade and so on, pointing out the injustice of it. Why should the House of Commons commit an injustice like this with its eyes open? Nothing will give me greater pleasure than to speak in the country as well as in this House against the operation of what I consider an injustice that could be avoided.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
We have come in this discussion to a point which is well worthy of consideration. The whole thing arises out of a faulty and stupid valuation. You have put in a word in your Clause which I should like to see defined in some Law Court. The Parliamentary Secretary and his chief impeached Members on the Liberal Benches for putting in a word which in their opinion could not be clearly defined in some law action, should any law action arise. How is this word "primarily" to be defined? What is treated as a factory by one Assessment Committee might be deemed not a factory under some other Committee. Would there be uniformity of practice among the various Assessment Committees?
§ Mr. MacLAREN
I did not know that. In my case it caught my attention during the course of the discussion. It brings you face to face with the unworkability of this latest expedient in attempting to accomplish something according to the design of the Government in giving relief to industries. The Parliamentary Secretary said the difficulty of the large undertaking would redound to the credit of the small undertakings, because they would feel the benefit of enhanced trade. The small shopkeeper is the man who first feels distress, and feels it more seriously than the large multiple combinations, and the small men are the last to recoup themselves for their losses or to regain the credit they have advanced. I cannot for the life of me see how any definition such as is drawn in this Bill can be maintained in equity. An hon. Member opposite says: If you open the door to hereditaments such as this Amendment contemplates, where are you going? I should not mind where we go as long as the relief would be genuinely given to any undertaking that was of service to the community. The distinctions that are drawn will leave the Bill open to serious criticism, and destructive criticism, in the country. The question is asked Where the money is coming from? When I am asked a question like that, there is a ready answer which I am sure you, Sir, would rule out of order. We know where the money is to be found. I support the Amendment, not that I anticipate that we shall succeed in carry- 1070 ing it, but that I hope this discussion will be noted in the country. Arbitrary distinctions like these must be drawn in a political expedient which is not on all fours with justice and equity, and the more you set to work your permanent officials to try to overcome difficulties of this kind, the more cumbersome will bathe White Papers they issue in their attempt to give directions as to what ought to happen under the control of the various governing bodies. Various people have been spoken of, such as the baker and the confectioner. I wonder where the funeral undertaker comes in. Is he a factory, or a production place, or what is he? In any case, he will be kept busy.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
When it comes to a question of what is easy or difficult to define, I am sometimes thrown into a state of bewilderment by hon. Members opposite. An hon. Member asked, "How can you pick out all these factories and workshops?" That is exactly what people said in 1840. Numerous definiti6ns have been made during more than half-a-century. More than that, there is a register of factories and workshops kept at the Home Office which is available for the purpose of any rating authority. When I hear hon. Members talk of the difficulty of defining factories and workshops, I do not know where I am, If there is one thing that has been hammered out in the course of industrial legislation for over half-a-century it is precisely the question of what and where is a factory or a workshop [Interruption.] I know that definition, and I know the definition of a workshop, of a domestic workshop, and of a non-textile factory. The point is that a register has been compiled, and it is a severely punishable offence to carry on a factory or a workshop without informing the Home Office. That objection is the most trifling that could possibly be made. There is nothing in it whatever. It is as easy to find out as looking for a telephone number in the Directory. Industry can stand burdens far better than it can stand dislocation and disturbance, and that is what is taking place. If you give relief to large establishments and refuse it to these little ones, you are not really penalising in many cases one man—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not quite follow the hon. Lady's argument. The purpose 1071 of the Amendment is not to distinguish between large and small establishments, but between hereditaments which are solely used as factories and others which are partly used.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
It is the hereditaments that are used for both purposes which contain the small workshops. Take the boot trade. You have very large establishments doing wholesale boot making. You have in the West End of London small hereditaments where high-class bespoke work is done behind the shop. It is so also with the dressmaking trade. By discriminating in this way you penalise one branch of a trade at the expense of another. Take wholesale dressmaking. When I was young the bespoke dressmaking trade was very much bigger than it is now, and it was carried on at the back of retail shops. It is being pressed very much by the wholesale dressmaking trade, and it is holding its own with some difficulty. If you give rating relief to big wholesalers and not to little ones, you will penalise a distinct branch of the trade. It is exactly the same with boots. The best boots you buy in the West End are made in quite small places behind shops, and that trade is engaged in a death grapple with the wholesaler.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
If the hon. Member is going to do any walking in the holidays, I am sure he will have the sense to get the hand-made article. Of course, you pay more for it, but you get a different thing and one suited to the idiosyncrasies of your individual feet. You are giving to one class of business a relief which you deny to people who are competing in the same market under slightly different conditions. You are unnecessarily throwing grit into the wheels of industry. You are favouring one class of business at the expense of their competitors. That runs through the whole of this scheme. We want persons engaged in the same sort of pursuit to be treated alike. You will upset trade and production very much more by pushing one business over the edge and favouring the other than by actually imposing a burden on them.
Mr. WARD LAW-MILNE
We are all agreed on the point the hon. Member is 1072 raising. The point that is interesting is: If it is impossible to give it to all, would she not give it to the large industries in the manner proposed?
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I would treat them all fairly and share out this money equally among them. But, since you ask me the question, if there was an industry which was doing notoriously well, I would rather leave that industry out lock, stock and barrel. I would rather take away the money from the brewer, and give it to the baker if I had the money to spend in this way.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I have finished now, and I will not trespass further upon the time of the Committee or upon the patience of the Chairman.
§ Sir WILLIAM PERRING
I certainly feel that the question which has been raised on this Amendment is one of substance. As far as I judge the question, the arguments that have been advanced up till now appear to suggest a distinction between a large industry and a small industry. I wish to submit to the Committee that it is a question between one large industry and another large industry, and one small industry and another small industry. The distinction is, that where a productive industry is carried on in conjunction with a retail distributive business, it is going to be treated entirely different from a productive business carried on apart from a distributive industry. That is where the line is drawn, and that is why I feel that it is a point of great substance. This question is agitating the minds not only of the Members of this House but the minds of a large number of people engaged in the distributive business all over the country. This Bill is really an enforcement Bill, but it is part of a great scheme, and has primarily been devised and submitted to this House for the purpose of promoting productive industry and providing some measure of relief in order to enable it better to compete with its rivals whether at home or abroad. I feel that while the argument of the baker and of the small tailor has, perhaps, been quite adequately submitted to the Committee, there are other people in trade who, perhaps, might have a little time spent on their claims 1073 and their grievances. I know of a firm in the borough which I represent where at least 600 women are engaged in a dressmaking business, and it will be argued under this Bill this is primarily a distributive business because it has a very important frontage, very highly rated, in a most prominent thoroughfare and because the whole of the products which it sells are made on the premises. That is the case of a large industry as against another large industry.
There are large numbers of small industries, and I would emphasise the fact that reference has been made to small industries on the assumption that the pressure is going to penalise small industries as such. I do not see it in that light at all. This particular industry with which I am dealing at the moment is a large industry employing probably as many young people, middle-aged people, women and girls, as at least 10 to 20 dressmakers in Hanover Square. These are not residential premises, but they will be entitled as a productive industry to the benefits of this Bill. If that is not so, I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will tell us. That is how I read the Bill. If that is true, the small business in, say, Hanover Square, will he able to compete in some degree unfairly with much larger businesses in Paddington to-day. I know of other businesses in Paddington in my constituency which are productive industries and are manufacturing things for the purpose of distributing them among their large West End and Oxford Street establishments. They will enjoy the benefits of this relief under the Rating Bill. I feel that the issue has been raised as between the distributive trades carrying on productive industries and the industries which are purely and solely productive. You cannot get away from that fact. I want to proceed with the argument a little further. The very large firm to which I have referred has to compete with the Parisian firms, and I am quite sure that those who have drafted this Measure and this great comprehensive scheme had it in their minds that the English houses would be able favourably to compete with the Parisian houses. If that is so, why should they not have the relief, although they are a big industry with over 500 people, as against the smaller house? 1074 I turn to the cabinet trade. In the East End of London there is a large number of small cabinet makers' shops behind what used to be dwelling-houses but which are no longer dwelling-houses. I have known them quite well for 30 or 40 years, and in fact I know them inside out. Many of these will be relieved under this Bill as a productive industry. There is a great distinction to be drawn between houses that "assemble" and "finish off" and those that manufacture. In the provinces many well-known distributive houses in the cabinet-making business have associated with their businesses a consider able productive side. They find it more convenient in the provinces to produce than by going, say, 50 or 60 miles to where mass production factories are situated. The people in the provinces like to have their cabinet-making and upholstery done on the premises. Because the hereditament in these cases is partly productive and partly distributive, they will not enjoy this relief. But if it were possible to put a brick wall between the two portions of the building—and I know something about assessment work, because I have been associated with it for 20 odd years—you would have two separate hereditaments and two separate assessments. One would receive the relief and the other would not. But if, owing to the circumstances of the construction of a building, the distributive house could not separate from the productive side of the business, it would be deprived of this relief, and therefore would have a grievance. It is desirable that in legislation of this kind we should avoid, as far as circumstances permit, any possibility of a grievance as between one taxpayer or ratepayer and another. It is for these reasons that I feel we are discussing a point of great substance.
I have an Amendment on the Order Paper later dealing with this question on the assumption that a line might be drawn where the hereditament and the net annual value were devoted to production as distinct from distribution. I am not wedded to my percentage. I put in 10 per cent. because the Minister has, in Clause 4, drawn the line at 10 per cent. in respect of industrial hereditaments where a side of the business is distributive, transport, etc. I would like the Minister to say, if he cannot 1075 accept 10 per cent., or 30 per cent., that he will see that we adequately define the distinction. An hon. Friend said it was difficult to define what is a factory. I submit that a factory, whether identified with a distributing business or with a productive business, when it comes under the operations of the Factory and Workshop Acts is clearly defined. I submit that some distinction should be drawn as to the proportion of the hereditament that is devoted to the distributive business. I recognise that the Government cannot fritter away this £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 on every little small place which might have 5 per cent. of the premises devoted to the repairing of boots, and that to employ hundreds and thousands of officials to examine and measure these small hereditaments would be too costly—the burden on the local authorities out of all proportion to the benefits that would be derived—yet that argument cannot be applied to large hereditaments where there is a large proportion of the premises devoted to the productive business. Where a substantial portion of the hereditament is devoted to productive business, giving employment to a number of people, it should receive favourable consideration.
The primary object of this Bill is to find employment, to solve the unemployment problem, and while you will not promote employment by giving it to every little small place, still, when you get to 20 per cent. of the hereditament employing a large number of hands you have a case which should receive the careful consideration of the Government. The various assessment committees who will have to do this apportionment will find themselves in a dilemma, and there may be inequality as between one district and another. I know that these places will have to be measured and an assessment made on the various parts of the building, but where it is shown that a substantial proportion of the hereditament is devoted to productive business it should get the relief of the Bill.
§ Mr. KINGSLEY GRIFFITH
I want to add a few words to the forcible appeal which has been made by the hon. Member for North Paddington (Sir W. Perring). I am not asking that the whole scheme of the Bill should be altered. All we are asking in this 1076 Amendment is that the Government in bringing forward this Bill shall be true to their own scheme, because if they are really going to say that they cannot separate the productive part of these industries in whose interests this Amendment is brought forward, they are really confessing the failure of their own scheme. The argument advanced against them in the first place was that it was difficult in the nature of things to disentangle productive industry from the whole body of industry in the country and now, by resisting the Amendment, the Government are confessing that they cannot disentangle productive industry from the rest of industry. The Government, if they cannot follow up a sound scheme, should at least try to get the real benefits of their own scheme.
The object of their own scheme. I understand, is to help production and to increase employment. If they are going to do that, if they are going to succeed in that project, I say good luck to them, but they will not deserve that good luck unless they pursue it earnestly and consistently. To do that they have to search out production wherever it is found and not select those places merely where production is obvious and where production is the whole business, but wherever they find productive industry being carried on to recognise it and say, "Here is an activity which we started out to benefit, and here our benefit is to be given." Particular instances have been quoted of industries which will be unfairly treated under the proposals, if the Amendment is not accepted. I am dealing with the general principle. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer really believes, if the Government really believes, that the right way to tackle this problem is to tackle productive industry they should with an honest consistency not take one productive industry here and leave another one out but follow out production wherever they can find it and distribute their benefits in the way they intend.
Mr. L'ESTRANGE MALONE
In supporting the Amendment I should like to draw attention to certain anomalies in the boot and shoe trade, which I hope will show the need for some Amendment of this sort. I was in my constituency, Northampton, during the week-end. It is famous all over the world as one of the 1077 greatest boot centres, and I confess that I did not find any remarkable enthusiasm for this Bill. The speech of the hon. Member for North Paddington (Sir W. Perrine) adds increased force to the remarks of the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton), that as the Bill is more known in the country there will be widespread opposition to it. Every day we receive protests from this or that section of the community. Only this morning I received a letter from the Northampton Master Bakers and Confectioners protesting against the Bill, and I have no doubt the Minister of Health has received a copy as well. I have also received a protest from the Northampton Federation of Merchant Tailors. They say:I am requested by the members of the above federation to protest in the strongest possible manner against the proposals in the Rating and Valuation Bill. They are invidious towards the bespoke tailor and place him in an unfair position as compared with the large producer. If the Bill is passed it will place a very heavy handicap on bespoke tailors, and in many instances may mean that they will be unable to carry on.There is also the important question of the bespoke boot manufacturer. This Bill penalises the small boot man as compared with the large manufacturer. The small man, struggling in a small way, working in his own house or back yard, gets no relief at all. The Minister of Health said "let the small man rip. We must help the big man." How is that going to help the small man? There is one question of discrimination in regard to the boot trade which arises in my own constituency. Some of the boot factories have expanded since they were built and have erected accommodation outside the factory to store their leather and surplus goods. On the other hand, other factories, not so successful, have found ample accommodation inside their own factory to store all the necessary impedimenta connected with their business. There is a discrimination here between two manufacturers of the same size in the same industry; those whose warehouses are outside the bounds of their factories and those whose warehouses are inside. The right hon. Gentleman said that the thing to do is to help the big manufacturers. Let me point out what the help amounts to in the boot industry. The President of the Board of Trade in reply 1078 to a question said that the amount of assistance to the leather boot and shoe trade, would be approximately £800,000 a year. If we take the 1924 census of production, the boot and shoe industry produced £55,000,000 worth of boots and shoes, and the leather industry, £33,000,000 worth. If we include all the other articles mentioned in the reply of the President of the Board of Trade, clothes, harness, etc., the combined figure would come to £190,000,000. What does that mean in relief of boots and shoes? It means that for a 21s. pair of boots or shoes the relief will be exactly 96 of one penny.
§ The CHAIRMAN
How does the hon. Member connect his argument with the question of the division of hereditaments, which we are now discussing?
On the comparison which the Minister made in his reply before you took the Chair, in which he pointed out that it was desirable to spread the benefit over all the large factories and to allow the small factories to rip. I am pointing out that this proposal conveys no benefit even to the big manufacturers, because the benefit only amounts to 96 of a penny for a 21s. pair of boots.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The argument to which I shall address myself and to which no one has yet given any reply—
§ Sir K. WOOD
My argument is that the counter-proposals to the Government proposal would mean such a dissipation of the relief in the sum available that the people we desire to help would not benefit, and that it is better to use the money for the purposes indicated by the Government so that not only the big people but the small people would benefit.
I accept that explanation, but my point is that not only are the small people not benefiting but that even the big people are not benefiting, because under this scheme the benefit in respect of a 21s. pair of boots or shoes will be less than one penny.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The point is whether that boot will get a halfpenny benefit or a penny benefit or more if it is in a 1079 divided hereditament or in one hereditament. The hon. Member seems to be arguing at large.
It may get part of a penny if the Minister would accept the Amendment, although the Amendment would not go far enough. The point I was raising was that even if the benefit were doubled, that is not the question with which we are concerned. We are concerned with a much bigger question. The depression in trade is not merely a question whether people can afford to buy boots at 20s. 11d. or at 21s. It is a question that in big areas in South Wales, in Lancashire, in the shipbuilding and in the mining areas they cannot afford to buy boots.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member does not seem to appreciate the question. It is that where a business is partly productive and partly distributive the part that is productive shall be separated from the rest, and relieved. That is the sole question before the Committee.
I thank you. If there is any further explanation that I can get from the Minister, I shall take the opportunity at a further stage.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Can the Minister help us by a definition? Take the trade of a boot repairer who does not buy boots for sale. Can a boot repairer's shop be called a retail place under this Clause 1 If his premises cannot be described as a retail place of business, and since it cannot be a wholesale place of business, can we have some definition as to where the boot repairer would come? In this Clause and in relation to this Amendment we notice that'Retail shop' includes any premises of a similar character where retail trade or business (including repair work) is carried on.Is that to apply to an engineering repair works as well as to a boot repairing shop or to the repairing of clothes or the repairing of anything? Is there any definition which deals with the case of a man who is not buying boots to sell them again?
Mention has been made of the effect upon handicrafts. If this Clause becomes law as it stands, handicrafts will almost disappear. It would be a great pity if we lose the handicrafts that are asso- 1080 ciated with many towns. In nearly every town with which I am acquainted there are various forms of handicraft, and there is no town with a greater variety of handicraft than Birmingham. I should have thought that the Minister of Health would have had some consideration for the protection of the arts and crafts. As Socialists, we have been accused that we want to stamp out everything according to the same pattern. Your hats, your boots, your clothes are to be of the same pattern and colour, but here is the bluest of blue Tories, from Birmingham, wanting to put us into the position under this Bill of everything going under for the benefit of the big stamping machine. He is taking steps to crush out all that is left of the handicrafts which are competing against this huge stamping machine. He wants to make things all alike, and yet he will pose at the next General Election as being an anti-Socialist, on the ground that Socialism would make everything of one stamp, one colour, one size and one shape. What it to be gained by giving to a big industry something which it does not require? That method will increase the poverty of the others and by increasing the poverty of the others we shall bring about a greater financial strain and a tendency to increase unemployment. The whole of this Debate depends on a definition of the word "primarily."
§ Mr. HARDIE
I know that it is another Amendment, but everything in connection with this Amendment depends upon a definition of the word "primarily."
§ The CHAIRMAN
The question before the Committee is the division of a composite hereditament. The question of its being mainly productive or otherwise comes later.
§ Mr. HARDIE
We cannot understand this Amendment until we have a definition of the word "primarily."
§ Mr. HARRIS
I am glad that the Minister of Health is back in his place. I wish he had heard the very excellent speech made by the hon. Member for North Paddington (Sir W. Perring). No one more thoroughly understands the association of the distributive and pro- 1081 ductive industries than the hon. Member who has had practical experience for many years and has been President of the Chamber of Trade. He made a division, which was rather unfortunate, between the big and the small industries, leaving us rather to think that it was even more important to have these words, "or that part thereof," applied to the big industry and not to the small industry.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I think the hon. Member was wrong in his argument, because the big retail shop can afford to move their productive side to a separate factory. Undoubtedly if these words are not introduced, that would happen. Large shopkeepers like Selfridge's, Whiteley's and Barker's will open factories right away from their shops, and will get the full advantage of this provision, but when you come to the small shopkeepers, the man of small capital who is able to pay only a very small rent, it will be found that it is impossible for him to make any special provision of that kind. When this Bill was introduced, I straight away visualised my own constituency, as no doubt many others have done. I pictured myself in the Bethnal Green Road. I would like to take the Minister of Health there. It is a street only about one mile in length. There the right hon. Gentleman would see in miniature the industry of the country. I would start at the Shoreditch end, where there are clothing factories. They have a shop-window where clothing is sold to the public and to the trade. But the building is at the same time producing on the upper floors its supplies of clothing. Then I would go to the gramophone works, to a shop where they sell gramophones, a distributive business for selling not only their own makes but other makes of gramophones. At the back of the shop they are producing the article, making the cabinets and putting together the machine.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Yes, and very good gramophones too, as my hon. Friend said. They would reproduce the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman with great effect. There are also two or three milliners who supply ladies with charming hats, but in the same building produce and manufac- 1082 ture hats throughout. A little further away is a cabinet industry where furniture is made, and the middleman's profit saved by distributing furniture direct. All these are very small people who do not make a big living but are producing goods and giving employment to the workers of our own country. Our rates in Bethnal Green are 22s. in the pound, almost the highest in London, not because of extravagance on the part of the local authority, but largely because of the low assessable value. It is very hard that these people, who have to eke out a living by combining two phases of industry, production and distribution, should be specially penalised when it is possible to devise words—as has been done by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) by using his knowledge of Parliamentary draftsmanship—to get over the difficulty.
Earlier in our Debates the Minister of Health met me on several points by stating that, however desirable my Amendment might be, the words I had submitted would not serve the particular purpose in view. Here you have words that would achieve the purpose and would mean that the small man, the producer and manufacturer who has had a great struggle to make both ends meet, would get the advantage of this Bill. If words of this kind are not inserted in the Bill, the large manufacturer, as opposed to the small one, will get all the advantage from the Bill. In my own borough the only two manufacturers—I can give the Minister the names—who will get any real benefit from this relief are two big breweries, which are already very prosperous and paying big dividends. I think the Minister ought to be prepared to accept a reasonable Amendment of this kind. Or is he not going to accept any Amendments, however well-devised they are? Does he want to Report this Bill unamended, so as to escape the Report stage? If so, we ought to know, and we need not waste our time. If we are not to get any Amendments accepted, it is no use speaking and trying to make this a reasonable and just Bill rather than a Measure which would to a large extent benefit the prosperous and give no advantage to the weak and struggling.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE
I beg the Minister to reconsider his decision. 1083 We are told that it is impossible to distinguish between prosperous and unprosperous industries, but in this case there certainly is a distinction made in favour of the prosperous. Take an industry like the baking trade. You have a large shop with its bakery separated from the shop premises. That gets relief. There is the small baker's shop of the county town, with ovens attached to the shop, and it gets no relief. That is obviously unfair. I appeal to the Minister to readjust the Bill so as to meet such a case. I would like to see him accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for North Paddington (Sir W. Perring). It has been suggested that 10 per cent. might be too small. I think it might be too big.
§ Mr. BRIANT
There are many factories which supply shops in which goods are retailed. There are also large manufactures of quite a different category. There are those that belong to huge firms which have no shop attached whatever, and in some cases do not even deliver to shops, but yet have a huge retail business. Obviously, if they have this retail business they will be competing quite unfairly with the small man. They are both makers and retailers, and yet have no shop. It is impossible for human ingenuity in any circumstances to separate what portion belongs to each. I would mention the great Arsenal Cooperative Stores. They make very excellent bread, and are a very excellent institution. They have a huge factory, which may supply some shops, but there is an enormous retail business in the streets. Obviously it is unfair to the small baker, who is occupying the same position as the Arsenal Co-operative Stores, if he does not get the same relief in rates as that huge co-operative concern or any other big concern will obtain. The matter is not at all clear in the Bill. In fact, nothing is clear in this Bill, and we shall be faced in the future with all manner of problems to which I do not think anyone will find a solution. Will the huge co-operative societies and the firms who manufacture bread on a large scale, obtain the full de-rating granted by the Bill? If so, it is obvious that the small man will suffer a dis- 1084 ability which, I think, even the proprietors of these big concerns would not wish him to suffer.
§ Mr. BROAD
Those who have sat through the Debate on this Amendment will feel that it is due to the Committee that something more should be said on behalf of the Government, in reply to the arguments advanced in favour of the Amendment. The Parliamentary Secretary shuffled out of the difficulty by making a Second Reading speech which had nothing to do with the Amendment and which has tempted other Members to break the rules and to call for the direction of the Chair. This is a very serious matter to a number of struggling people in this country. Many of the finest businesses have been begun by small men who carried on their work in their dwelling houses and sold the goods they produced. The constituency which the Minister now represents—but which he will not represent after the next General Election—is the home of the small industry and the right hon. Gentleman knows that very small industries have been the foundations of some of the biggest concerns in the country. One could understand some discrimination between the prosperous and the non-prosperous industries, not discrimination between the small man and the big concern.
The Government proposal would discriminate against the hundreds of confectioners in London who produce and sell their goods on the premises where they live. They are not to be relieved, but a great concern like Lyons is to be relieved of three-quarters of its rates. That is grossly unfair, and leads one to think that this Bill has been conceived by directors and shareholders of big firms who do not care about the small man—who indeed are more concerned to crush out the small man. I am not one to stand for the old garret system of production. I am glad that it is fast becoming a thing of the past; but even if we do not approve of that old system, with all its faults, it is not fair to stab the smaller businesses in the back by relieving their great competitors and not relieving them. In every business to-day one finds that the highest class of work, the produce of the skilled craftsman, is constantly being encroached upon by the factory-produced article. In the clothing 1085 business alone in London, you will still find a large number of real craftsmen producing men's clothing, but they are being more and more crushed out as factory production is improving. There are many such businesses, where craftsmen still pride themselves on their skill and can still carry on, but they will be crushed out if this relief is given to the big factories. Even the undertaker who manufactures coffins on his premises is being cut out by factory-made coffins. Hon. Members opposite say they believe in competition, but this Government have been trying in every direction to help monopolies.
This provision amounts to putting peas in the boots of the small man who has to run against the big firm. It is an unfair proposal and, if nothing else will persuade the Minister to drop it, he ought to consider that he and his party are in for a very tight time at the next General Election if they proceed with it. I can imagine that in my own constituency, every baker's shop would be a committee room in support of my candidature. I hope that consideration will appeal to the Government because I would not like to see them plunged blindly into disaster and, certainly, even to gain a political advantage, I would not like to see many small firms who are on the brink to-day, being forced into ruin. We do not desire to march to victory on such a point. We wish to see these people getting a fair chance, and I hope the Minister will amend the Bill so as to do justice between the small man and the big firm.
§ Mr. MORRIS
I also ask the Minister to accept the Amendment. On turning to the Clause I find that the word used is "occupied," and the word "occupied" occurs in the proviso to the Clause. The Minister is resisting the Amendment on the ground of the difficulty of apportioning the rateable value, as between the productive part and the distributive part of premises. It is clear from the Clause that even the small producer and retailer can get the productive part of his premises de-rated if he does one thing. Instead of leasing or renting the premises as a whole, he can obtain from the landlord a separate agreement with regard to the productive part of the premises and another agreement in respect of the dis- 1086 tributive part. That would constitute separate occupation of the productive part, and he would then be entitled to relief under this Clause. No structural alteration would be required. The objection to that course is that there might be a deal with the landlord that in consideration of the new agreement, a higher rent should be paid for the productive part. The landlord would be able to exact a higher rent because the small producer could only get the benefit of the de-rating proposals by meeting him in that way.
That is one case where the landlord would benefit. On the other hand, if the landlord and the small producer were on good terms, the landlord might give the new agreement without any increase; but if they were on bad terms, he might refuse the concession altogether. Thus, whether the small producer became entitled to the de-rating privileges or not would depend on the caprice of the landlord. The most satisfactory solution for all concerned would be to accept the Amendment with all its defects. Decisions are being given already in regard to the Rent Restriction Acts, that even rooms let in the same house by the same landlord to the same tenant, constitute separate occupation if they are rented separately, and I imagine those decisions will apply in connection with the interpretation of this Clause. Having regard to all these considerations, I would ask the Minister to accept the Amendment as a way out of the difficulty.
§ Mr. GEORGE THORNE
This is a very vital matter. Everyone must recognise that it is one of the most important issues that will arise in the course of these Debates, but we have not heard a single word in regard to this Amendment from the Minister in charge of the Bill. We have certainly heard something from the Parliamentary Secretary, and his was the only speech in favour of the proposal. I have been here through nearly the whole Debate, and I have heard three Members who support the Government criticise the Bill, and in effect support the Amendment. The only Member who has spoken in favour of the proposal is the Parliamentary Secretary. The benches behind him are for the most part empty, and the Members of the Conservative party will be able 1087 to absolve their consciences when they go into the Lobby because they have not heard the discussion, and know nothing of what it is about. This point will be brought home to them in the country. It will not hurt us on this side, but those on the other side of the House will discover what it means that a matter so vitally affecting the welfare of the country should be carried through with no other Member but the Parliamentary Secretary supporting it, and the Minister in charge of the Bill absolutely silent.
§ Mr. THURTLE
Are we not to have some indication of the mind of the Minister on this matter? It is not as though the point has been pressed merely from one party. Pressure has been applied from all parts of the House, and particularly from the Minister's own supporters, and he ought to tell us whether we might look forward to any concession on this point, either now or at some later stage of the Bill.
I should be very sorry if I thought that silence on my part on such an important question were to be interpreted as discourtesy or want of courtesy towards Members of the Committee. If I did not rise before, it was because, as far as I could see, no fresh points had been raised in the course of the Debate. I have been absent during the greater part of the Debate on this particular Clause, and if, therefore, in the few observations which I want to make, I merely repeat the arguments that have been used by my right hon. Friend—[HON. MEMBERS: "He did not use any!"]—I hope that hon. Members will extend to me their indulgence. I do not in any way complain because some hon. Members have used this particular Amendment to exploit certain party cries. It would be too much to expect, perhaps, that hon. Members opposite should not try to get any advantage which they may think it is possible for them to obtain from representing one particular point of view. I do not want to take up these party points in replying, or to treat this matter in a party spirit at all—at any rate, on this particular occasion, because I recognise that this is one of those cases where you can make on paper, and I daresay to the satisfaction of hon. Members, a very good case for the point 1088 of view which has been put forward by hon. Members opposite, and by hon. Friends behind me. I ask the Committee not to lose sight of the broad general issue which lies at the bottom of the whole procedure outlined in this Bill. There are one or two things that must be borne in mind in considering the proportion and perspective of an Amendment of this kind.
It must not be assumed that the resources of the Exchequer are unlimited. It is all very well to say, "Extend your reliefs still further in this direction and in that"; there are a great number of Amendments on the Paper which would have that effect, and which would, by giving further relief, incidentally pile up the liability of the Exchequer to make good the deficiency of the local authorities. But although my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been very anxious that want of resources on the part of the Exchequer should not stand in the way of the objects which he has set himself to achieve in this Measure—and even he has already considerably extended his original ideas-he cannot go beyond a certain point. Therefore, one matter which the Committee must always bear in mind is that there is only a limited amount of money at our disposal, and that the question which we have to keep before us is how that money can best be applied so as to bring about the objects we have in view. What are the objects we have in view? They are to stimulate industry so as to give rise to further employment. [An HON. MEMBER: "In brewing?"] I remember that the Liberal party even in their proposals admitted that certain brewers would benefit, because they are in what are known as necessitous areas.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have stopped more than one hon. Member who was departing from the question of the composite hereditament.
I was led away from the thread of my argument by the interruption. Our object is to increase and stimulate employment throughout the country, and we have to consider, in the question as to the quarters to which our relief should be extended, whether in fact by giving relief in those quarters we are or are not going to stimulate employment. Judged by that test, it is obvious that a 1089 place where employés are at work, if it is given some relief from rating, may expect to increase its employment and to give rise, therefore, to further opportunities for people to find work, But you are not going to get an increase of employment if you give a small—and it will be very email—amount of relief to an individual who is carrying on some minor process in the back room of his house. It may be of some advantage to him, and a desire on his part, that he should get relief where he can from his rates, but nobody can say, looking at it from the broad aspect of our proposals, that relief of that kind will achieve what we are trying to do. Therefore, the question to which we have to address ourselves is this. If we give relief to the factories, and if we refuse relief to those cases where the primary business is not one of production but of distribution, or some other purpose which is not that of a, factory or workshop, shall we seriously penalise the small man? Shall we put him to such a serious disadvantage that he will be driven out of business? If I thought that, I could not possibly maintain the position which is laid down in the Bill.
Several hon. Members have illustrated their arguments by the case of Birmingham. They said that Birmingham is a great city of the old handicrafts, and there in Birmingham you will find a great many persons who are beginning in a very small way what may ultimately prove to be a great, prosperous career. It is quite true that Birmingham has always been the city of the small manufacturers. We are proud of it, and I venture to say that the small manufacturer in Birmingham, in spite of the extraordinary advantages which are possessed by the roan who is producing on a large scale, and who is able to use the very latest kinds of machinery and labour-saving devices, has been able to hold his own against the competition of the great manufacturers. Why? Because it is not merely a question of the price of the article. There are other things which enter into it. There are the actual characteristics of the article itself, its originality, and its workmanship, and there are such qualities as the personal attention given by the small man to his client when he sets up a little clientele of his own. The big manufacturer is too big to bother with that. He has to do everything on a wholesale scale and so, quite outside the 1090 range of the large manufacturer, there is still a field for the small man which is filled by him Are we going to destroy that by these proposals? I cannot see how that; can possibly be the case. After all, we must remember that in any process, the machinery, under the Eating and Valuation Act, is exempted from rating, so that the actual increase in the valuation of a dwelling-house by reason of the fact that some small amount of productive industry is going on, is very small, and in some cases probably it hardly exists at all.
Therefore, even if we grant that it is a practical proposition to examine every one of these dwelling-houses and to separate from the rest the dwelling-house which has a particular room or rooms in which this small amount of productive industry is going on, I say that the actual relief which would accrue to the occupier of that hereditament would be so small as hardly to count. Whatever the rates are, even in a case like Bethnal Green, I do not believe it will be found that the increase in assessments is sufficient to make any material difference.
§ Mr. THURTLE
What about the shed or factory in the garden? I want the Minister to explain whether that it not a very considerable matter. There is a hereditament consisting of a dwelling-house, and in the garden attached to it there is cither a factory or workshop. The possibility is that, being a dwelling-house with garden attached, it will not be considered as a place which is primarily a place where a productive industry is established, and that it will be considered as a dwelling-house, and therefore it is very probable the workshop or factory in the garden will get no concession at all. What I want to know is, why should not that factory or shed in the garden get some concession?
It seems rather a far-fetched illustration. [An HON. MEMBER: "There are hundreds of them!"] What, considerable factories in gardens?
If it really is a considerable factory, it will be rated as a separate hereditament and will get relief. I do not think that is a typical case of the position which has given rise to the 1091 Amendment we are discussing. The ease which hon. Members have been pressing for consideration is that of the dwelling-house in which there is a room or rooms which are being used for productive purposes. There is every gradation between what is, say, a bakery and the baking of a few loaves in a back room. Take the case of the baker. I quite admit that a bakery is, perhaps, one of the most difficult businesses to argue from my point of view, but even in that case, I am not at all prepared to admit that the competitor of the small baker is the great cooperative baker or the big factory in which baking is carried on on a large scale. I doubt very much whether that is the case. I am not going to be so dogmatic as to say there is no such competition at all, but my own impression is that the bulk of the competition is between one small baker and another small baker, and not the big factories. Again, this is an instance of what I was saying when I was speaking about crafts in Birmingham. The small bakers' customers are customers whom he retains as personal to himself. He makes it his business by particular attention to the individual wants of his customers. The question whether they should go to him or to the co-operative bakeries is not merely a question of the loaf but of the services that are given.
§ Miss WILKINSON
Might I ask the Minister a question? If you take such a business as a fish and chip shop, does
§ that count as, or is it regarded as, a productive business?
I do not profess to set myself up in the place of a rating authority or assessment committee, but, on the face of it, I do not see how a fish and chip shop can possibly be regarded as a productive industry. I have frankly stated that this is a question on which I can understand there may be honest, sincere and fair difference of opinion. All I can say is that I have approached this matter with the responsibility of one who has got to suffer if things do not work out in the way he expects they will. I accept that responsibility, and am prepared to take it on my own shoulders. Having gone into it myself with a real desire to see whether the main object in the Bill could be achieved, and at the same time this concession could be given, and whether if this concession were not given the small people would really be so seriously prejudiced as to be in danger of being driven out of business, I have come to the conclusion that this aspect is not one which is likely to have any very serious or injurious effects. Having given it the best consideration of which I am capable, I feel that the proposal in the Bill is one which I ought to ask this Committee to accept.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 139; Noes, 216.1093
|Division No. 225.]||AYES.||[9.35 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Harris, Percy A.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Day, Harry||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillabre')||Dennison, R.||Hayday, Arthur|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Duncan, C.||Hayes, John Henry|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Dunnico, H.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)|
|Barnes, A.||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Hirst, G. H.|
|Barr, J.||England, Colonel A.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Batey, Joseph||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Forrest, W.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Gardner, J. P.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)|
|Briant, Frank||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Broad, F. A.||Gibbins, Joseph||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)|
|Bromfield, William||Gosling, Harry||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Bromley, J.||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Greenall, T.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Kelly, W. T.|
|Buchanan, G.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Kennedy, T.|
|Cape, Thomas||Griffith, F. Kingsley||Kenworthy, Lt. Com. Hon. Joseph M.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Lansbury, George|
|Cluse, W. S.||Greves, T.||Lawrence, Susan|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Grundy, T. W.||Lee, F.|
|Connolly, M.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Lindley, F. W.|
|Cove, W. G.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Lowth, T.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities||Hardie, George D.||Lunn, William|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Harney, E. A.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Ab'ravon)|
|MacLaren, Andrew||Scurr, John||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Sexton, James||Tomlinson, R. P.|
|Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Townend, A. E.|
|March, S.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Varley, Frank B.|
|Morris, B. H.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Viant, S. P.|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Shinwell, E.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)|
|Naylor, T. E.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Oliver, George Harold||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Palin, John Henry||Sitch, Charles H.||Wheatley, fit. Hon. J.|
|Paling, W.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Potts, John S.||Snell, Harry||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Rees, Sir Beddoe||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Stamford, T. W.||Windsor, Walter|
|Riley, Ben||Stephen, Campbell||Wright, W.|
|Ritson, J.||Stewart, I. (St. Rollox)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Sutton, J. E.|
|Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Runolman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ivee)||Thorns, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||Sir Robert Hutchison and Sir Robert Hamilton.|
|Saklatvala, Shapurji||Thorns, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Scrymgeour, E.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Albery, Irving James||Dawson, Sir Philip||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Dixey, A. C.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Drewe, C.||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Apsley, Lord||Eden, Captain Anthony||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)|
|Atkinson, C.||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Ellis, R. G.||Looker, Herbert William|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Bennett, A. J.||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Bethel, A.||Everard, W. Lindsay||McLean, Major A.|
|Bevan, S. J.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipten)||Faile, Sir Bertram G.||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Fermoy, Lord||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Fielden, E, B.||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Finburgh, S.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Brass, Captain W.||Ford, Sir P. J.||Margesson, Capt. D.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Meller, R. J.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Fraser, Captain fan||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Gates, Percy||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Burman, J. B.||Goff, Sir Park||Newman, Sir H. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Gowar, Sir Robert||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Grace, John||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Nield, Ht. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Grant, Sir J. A.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Oakley, T.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Grotrian, H. Brent||Penny, Frederick George|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Hacking, Douglas H.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Christie, J. A.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hall, Capt. W. D. A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hamilton, Sir George||Pllcher, G.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hammersley, S. S.||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Harland, A.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Harrison, G. J. C.||Preston, William|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxford, Henley)||Rawsnn, Sir Cooper|
|Cope, Major Sir William||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian||Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)|
|Couper, J. B.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur p.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hudson, Capt. A U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Hume, Sir G. H.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindeey, Gainsbro)||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Sandon, Lord|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Iveagh, Countess of||Savery, S. S.|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen't)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. McI. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Tasker, R. Inigo.||Watts, Sir Thomas|
|Sheppereon, E. W.||Templeton, W. P.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Wells, S. R.|
|Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Smithers, Waldron||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Vaughan, Morgan, Col. K. P.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Sprot, Sir Alexander||Waddington, R.||Withers, John James|
|Stanley, Lieut-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.||Wallace, Captain D. E.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Storry-Deans, R.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Streatfelld, Captain S. R.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)||Major Sir George Hennessy and Captain Viscount Curzon.|
§ Mr. R. RICHARDSON
I beg to move, in page 3, line 9, to leave out the words "and used."
I wish to know what the Minister intends to convey by these words "and used" in the Clause? Does he mean that every house, every hereditament, everything surrounding a mine, and the mine itself will be rated separately, because if that be so the Minister is doing a very grave injustice. I must argue my case on the assumption that he intends that all the different operations in and around the mine are to be rated separately. If a mine is temporarily closed, no rates are paid at all, but apparently, by this Clause, the Minister means that all these other hereditaments are to be rated separately in that case. For what purpose? Mines at present are not rated on the same basis as ordinary hereditaments. They are rated on the amount of coal produced, and I think that is the only fair way in which they can be rated. Take the case of two pits which employ the same number of men. It does not follow that they produce the same amount of coal. In one case nature has been kind and in another case very unkind, and the output of one pit may be double that of the other. In moving this Amendment, I am assuming that the engine, the shafts, the screens for cleaning the coal, and all that sort of thing are to be rated separately, and I cannot understand how the Minister is to deal fairly as between one mine and another by such a process. I would also point out that parts of the machinery may be stopped for a month or three months. Are they to be de-rated because they are not in use?
The point is that you cannot use a mine for anything else. You cannot very well make a linen store of a mine, or use it as a refreshment room; it would not even make a dance hall, because people would look very ugly attempting to dance in 1096 a 3 feet seam. I suggest to the Minister that so far as mines are concerned these words "and used" are of no value whatever, and ought to be taken out of the Clause. With all my long experience of mines I cannot find any use at all for them. Does the Minister think that these hereditaments can be used for some other purpose if the mine be stopped? If a mine is abandoned it is not rated at all, it goes off the rating book; but it may be temporarily stopped, and apparently, in that case, some of these hereditaments may now be rated. The owners have got to pay rent for the shaft. If the rent has to be paid, have any rates to be paid by the people who receive the rent for the shaft? I shall be very much interested to know what the Minister has in mind and what he regards as part of the mine. Does he regard the coal in the mine as part of the mine? If he does, then is the man who owns the coal and receives 6d. or 8d. a ton when the pit is working to pay his share of the rates on the pit? I would like the Minister to give an answer to these points, so that we may know exactly where we are, but I repeat that in all my experience I cannot find any use for these words "and used," and I move to delete them.
As far as I can understand the hon. Member, he has omitted to notice that these words would apply, not only to a mine, but also to a factory or workshop, and, however unnecessary they may appear to be in regard to a mine, he will, I think, agree that they would be necessary as regards a factory or a workshop. As regards a mine, I do not think the hon. Member need be under any apprehension, if he is under an apprehension, because, if the mine stopped, it would not, of course, pay any rates at all, while, if it were producing but not at its full capacity, the rating, as he is no doubt aware, is in proportion to the output of the mine.
§ Mr. RICHARDSON
Although a mine may toe stopped, and may not be producing any coal at all, nevertheless work may be going on in it, such as drifting and things of that kind. What would be the position then?
Seeing that the rating of a colliery is dependent upon its output, if there is no output there will be no rating, and, consequently, the hon. Member need not fear any untoward result from the use of these words.
§ Mr. ROBERT WILSON
I should like to put another point of view with regard to the word "used." There are industries which are quite different from the mining industry in that they have rates to pay even when they are not working. I am thinking of the large shipyards on the Tyne, the Wear, the Tees and at other great shipbuilding centres. They are occupied as shipyards, but at the moment are temporarily closed down, and, therefore, are not being used as shipyards. What would be the position in regard to such an industry? Would it not have been better to have some such words as "occupied and ordinarily used," so as to protect such places as shipyards.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
Suppose that a glasshouse was closed down and, although not being used, was still paying very heavy rates. The question whether such an industry shuts down or reopens very often depends on quite small factors, and I do not think it is reasonable that factory premises where it may not have been possible to start work at the moment should not receive any rate relief. Those are just the cases where very small factors may just turn the scale between employment and no employment. The case in which a building, although occupied as a factory, is not being used, is precisely the case of all others which needs relief. A building which is devoted to industrial purposes and is not used for any other purpose, but which, owing to hard times, has had to shut down, is precisely one Of those cases where relief is needed. Of course, if the building were entirely turned over to some other purpose, it would not be right to claim relief for it, but that would be sufficiently safeguarded by retaining the word "occupied." We desire the word "used" to be taken out in order 1098 to meet those cases in necessitous areas where factories have been temporarily closed down.
§ Mr. KELLY
I am wondering why the right hon. Gentleman requires these two words in the Bill. He tells us that when a mine is not working rates are not demanded, but, if that be the case, what is the motive behind these two words which have been put in the Bill? I think the Minister in his explanation has kept a good deal back. I think of the tin-mines in Cornwall, where I suppose it would be possible to prove that while they were occupied as tin-mines they were not being "used." In this Clause I can see a wonderful time for the lawyers. I notice some hon. Members opposite who are lawyers smiling over these two words. It seems to me that they will be a wonderful present to the lawyers. Certainly, the hon. and learned Member for Gillingham (Sir G. Hohler) is enjoying himself now, and no doubt he thinks that these two words "and used" are not very lean but very fat words, and I think that will be proved when the lawyers have had a chance of working this Clause. Many of the tinmines in Cornwall have been held up because at the present time the market does not suit those who own particular mines, and they are waiting for what they call a better time in order to obtain bigger profits. I have been wondering what is meant by these two words "and used." I certainly cannot see any necessity for them being inserted in the Bill.
§ Sir K. WOOD
A rather important part of the Government scheme is contained in these particular words. The hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Robert Wilson) has suggested the two words "ordinarily used." I think those words would please the lawyers. I would like to assure hon. Members that there is no sinister meaning behind these words. In the casts which have been mentioned, the assessment would have to be taken into account, and they would be assessed accordingly. That is the real remedy for the cases which have been enumerated by hon. Members opposite. In cases where mines have been closed, the proper remedy is to apply to the assessment committee under the ordinary law. So far as the Government proposal is concerned, what we desire to do is to help production, and directly the works 1099 which have been referred to are able to start again then our scheme comes into operation. That is what the tinmines and any other industry which is affected will be able to take into account, because under our scheme they will receive considerable relief. The Ministry have received deputations on this question, and sooner or later all
§ these matters will be taken into account, and no doubt they will help to a considerable extent the industries which have closed down to start again. Obviously, these words must be included in the Bill.
§ Question put, "That the words 'and used' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 244; Noes, 116.1101
|Division No. 226.]||AYES.||[10.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Iveagh, Countess of|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Albery, Irving James||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman||Dixey, A. C.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Drewe, C.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Eden, Captain Anthony||Kennedy A. R. (Preston)|
|Apsley, Lord||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Kindersley, Major G. M.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||King, Commodore Henry Douglas|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Elliott, Major Walter E.||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Atkinson, C.||Ellis, R. G.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||England, Colonel A.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Looker, Herbert William|
|Bennett, A. J.||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Bethel, A.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Bevan, S. J.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||McLean, Major A.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Blundell, F. N.||Fermoy, Lord||Mac Robert, Alexander M.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Fielden, E. B.||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Finburgh, S.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Ford, Sir P. J.||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Forrest, W.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Meller, R. J.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Fraser, Captain Ian||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Fremantie, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Gates, Percy||Morris, R. H.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berxt, Newb'y)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Goff, Sir Park||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Burman, J. B.||Gower, Sir Robert||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Grace, John||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Grant, Sir J. A.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Oakley, T.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (As'on)||Griffith, F. Kingsley||Penny, Frederick George|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Grotrian, H. Brent||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Hacking, Douglas H.||Perring, Sir William George|
|Christie, J. A.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hail, Capt. W. D. A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frame)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hamilton, Sir George||Pilcher, G.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hammersley, S. S.||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Harland, A.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Philip||Harrison, G. J. C.||Preston, William|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Cope, Major Sir William||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Couper, J. B.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hohier, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Robinson, Sir T. (Lane, Stretford)|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie||Ruggies-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hume, Sir G. H.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham.|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dswerth, Putney)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker K.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Sandon, Lord||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Watts, Sir Thomas|
|Savery, S. S.||Tasker, R, Inigo.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Met. (Renfrew, W.)||Templeton, W. P.||Walls, S. R.|
|Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Shepperson, E. W.||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Skelton, A. N.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Tomlinson, R. P.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Klnc'dlne, C.)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Windsor Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough||Withers, John James|
|Smithers, Waldron||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Waddington, R.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Sprot, Sir Alexander||Wallace, Captain D. E.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.||Ward, Lt.-Col, A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Weitm'land)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Warrender, Sir Victor||Captain Viscount Curzon and Major the Marquess of Titchfield.|
|Storry-Deans, R.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Streatfelld, Captain S. R.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and O[...]|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Sakiatvala, Shapurji|
|Ammon, Charies George||Hardie, George D.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhamton, Bilston)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayday, Arthur||Scurr, John|
|Barnes, A.||Hayes, John Henry||Sexton, James|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Batey, Joseph||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Hirst, G. H.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Shinwell, E.|
|Briant, Frank||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Broad, F, A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Bromfield, William||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Bromley, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, Morgan (Caterphilly)||Snell, Harry|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Cape, Thomas||Kelly, W. T.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kennedy, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lansbury, George||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lawrence, Susan||Sutton, J. E.|
|Connolly, M.||Lee, F.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Cove, W. G.||Lindley, F. W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lowth, T.||Townend, A. E.|
|Day, Harry||Lunn, William||Varley, Frank B.|
|Dennison, R.||Mac Donald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Viant, S. P.|
|Duncan, C.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)|
|Dunnico, H.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Gardner, J. P.||March, S.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Montague, Frederick||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Gibblns, Joseph||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Gillett, George M.||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gosling, Harry||Palln, John Henry||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Windsor, Walter|
|Greenall, T.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wright, W.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Potts, John S.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Riley, Ben||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Groves, T.||Ritson, J.||Mr. Paling and Mr. Charles Edwards.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. P. O. (W. Brormwich)|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I beg to move, in page 3, line 10, after the word "mine," to insert the words "or quarry."
Perhaps the Minister will give me an assurance that the word "mine" covers the words "or quarry," but it is customary, in many Bills, to distinguish between a mine and a quarry. The word "mine," I am informed, does not necessarily cover the word "quarry." I should like an assurance from the Minister on that point. Perhaps he will ask' his advisers to make it quite clear that the word "mine" includes the word "quarry."
The hon. Gentleman will find that "quarry" is, under the Factory and Workshops Act, included in the term "factory or workshop."
§ Sir HENRY SLESSER
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will examine this point more closely. I do not intend to develop it at any length, but I understand that certain quarries are, for the purposes of the Factory Act, stated to be factories, and there are others that are not factories. I do not think the word "quarry" "covers the word" factory." I think the Minister will find that, for some purposes, quarries are included in 1103 the Mines Act as mines, and that for other purposes quarries are included in the Factory Act as factories, since industrial processes are carried on there, but that the word "quarry," used by itself, is neither a mine nor a factory for the purpose of the Rating Act. I should like to have the view of the Minister on that point.
The question has been examined by my expert officials at some length, because it has been raised by some of my hon. Friends, and, therefore, I think I can speak with some confidence on the matter. I would say that all the quarries which I have noticed will be included within the scope of the Bill. If there is any particular kind of quarry which the hon. and learned Gentleman has in mind, and he will give me information on that point, I will either give him an assurance as to that particular quarry or I will take care that provision is made to meet the ease.
§ Sir H. SLESSER
The case I have in mind is a quarry where there is no mechanical process of working, and where power is not used, and yet the work done is clearly of a productive character, in the same way as in the case of a mine. But it is not a factory in any sense of the word, because no power is used there, and there is no mechanical process.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I should like to have an assurance from the Minister on one point. I am very glad to hear from him that quarry is included, but I should like to ask for a specific illustration. Would a slate quarry or a sett quarry be included? In the case of a sett quarry, macadam is obtained from it for use on the roads. That is one kind of quarry on which I should like an assurance, and the other is a slate quarry.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I have got before me the definition in the Factory Act and also the definition in the Mines Act. It is quite clear that quarries are not included in mines, and the only way in which you could get them included is under the Factories Act, where it says:'Quarries,' that is to say, any place, not being a mine, in which persons work in 1104 getting slate, stone, coprolites or other minerals.In those circumstances, I think we do need some definite assurance that, say, the china clay mines in Cornwall, the granite quarries, the slate quarries, the quarries from which road stone is produced, places of that kind where real productive work is done, will be included in the rating provisions of this Bill.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Does the Minister object to the words being included? There seems to be some uncertainty in the public mind about it. Would it not strengthen the Bill if these words were included, so that he who runs may read?
§ Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE
Are limestone quarry, which are used so much for agriculture, also included?
§ Sir H. SLESSER
May I raise a new point? A quarry is only a factory at most for the purposes of the Factory Acts. It is very loose language to say a quarry is a factory. It is only deemed to be a factory for the purpose of regulations under the Factory Acts. Here you are dealing with a quarry for the purpose of rating, and it by no means follows that because, under the Factory Acts and certain regulations that control them, they are deemed to be factories (hey will be so regarded under this Act. I cannot understand why if the right hon. Gentleman intends to include quarries, he will not include the word.
I cannot understand why hon. Members are so nervous. I have given assurance that I have looked into the matter and had it specifically examined, and I am quite confident that under the terms of the Bill quarries are included. My. hon. Friend asks me about granite quarries. A quarry is defined under the Factories and Workshops Acts as "any place not being a mine in which persons work in getting slate stone" and so forth. Granite is stone. Limestone is also stone. Surely the hon. and learned Member for South-East Leeds (Sir H. Slesser) is forgetting Sub-section (2):Save as aforesaid, the expressions 'factory' and 'workshop' have respectively the same meanings as in the Factory and Workshop Acts.What could be plainer than that?
§ Mr. HARDIE
Would it not be better to have a definition in plain language? A mine could be described as; that which carries strata over and above what is being taken out, whereas a quarry is something that is open to the light. It would be far better to have a plain definition and get rid of all this muck.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
In regard to the next Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. Dunnico) and the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Miss Lawrence)—in page 3, line 10, after the word "or" to insert the words "for the purposes of trade or commerce or"—I do not know whether they wish to move that or whether they consider the point has already been discussed to a great extent on Clause 1.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
If this Amendment is moved, shall I be entitled to move to leave out paragraph (b)?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I shall not be able to allow a discussion on that Amendment, but hon. Members will be able to divide on the paragraphs indicated by the letters at the beginning.
There is an Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham)—in page 3, to leave out lines 12 to 24—which seems to cover the whole of these paragraphs. Might it not be for the convenience of the Committee to have a general discussion on that?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I am in the hands of those Members who have their Amendments on the Paper. I am prepared to call on the hon. Member for East Ham, North, now, but if her 1106 Amendment is moved, the whole discussion must be taken on that, and I shall not be able to select either of the next two Amendments on the Paper.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I have already ruled on that. I cannot, after a discussion on this Amendment, allow a discussion on Amendments with regard to paragraphs indicated by letters. If and so far as hon. Members wish to take a Division on any of these particular Amendments indicated by letters after a general discussion, they can do so.
§ Mr. HARNEY
On a further point of Order. There is an Amendment further down that really deals with paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d).
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
If the hon. and learned Member has followed what I said, he will know that I have already stated that if the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Miss Lawrence) moves the Amendment in her name, the Amendment to which the hon. and learned Member refers will fall, and will not be called.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I beg to move, in page 3, line 10, after the word "or," to insert the words "for the purposes of trade or commerce or."
This Amendment is a wide Amendment, It proposes to introduce the words "trade or commerce." Those two things are inseparable. In the whole long chain of business which begins for the first time with the law material and continues until the finished product reaches the consumer, you have one process. I do not mean merely by that, that one man's raw material is another man's finished article, but as between different classes of manufacturers you have wholesalers distributing right along from the introduction of the raw material to the finished product. Every producer undertakes, and necessarily undertakes, some of these operations; every producer is of necessity a salesman and engaged in the work of storage. That in itself complicates and discriminates entirely between one class and another class. [Interruption.] It is merely a question as to how far the business of warehousing and distribution 1107 is carried on; whether it is carried on in the factory, or whether it is carried on outside the factory. You cannot say that there is any general rule upon the question. Some business people find it more advantageous to keep the greater part of this work in their own hands and in their own factory, and others find it more advantageous to specialise. You have the man who, inside his own factory, stores his own goods and also distributes goods to the wholesaler, and you have those other great distributive businesses which have grown up outside the factory. I say that these two things are part of the same process.
I will take one trade where the ordinary warehouse business and factory has to a great extent taken root and developed. I will take the trade of Nottingham. If hon. Members look at the admirable tables of rates, upon which some of us have been feeding ever since they were produced, they will see that the number of warehouses specially scheduled in Nottingham bears an extraordinarily high proportion of the rateable value attributed to mills and factories. That is due to the peculiar circumstances of the lace trade. I am very much concerned with this trade, and I have asked the Minister before now to give me an answer in regard to it, because in my humble capacity I am very closely connected with the trade, having been the workers' representative on the Lace Trade Board for a great number of years. The trade is a peculiar one. The lace manufacturers make the lace and send it to the warehouses. The thread winding and minor processes are done in great part by means of out-workers.
The lace warehouses of Nottingham are a great commercial undertaking, and do a certain amount of lace finishing work; but there are factories in Nottingham where they have their own warehouses, and there are warehouses in Nottingham where some additional processes are carried on. I want to be quite sure where the line is to be drawn, because that trade, in which I take an extraordinary interest, has suffered more bitterly from unemployment than any other trade in the country, and it is not all recorded unemployment. It is not the general custom of the trade for all the unemployed 1108 workers to go to the Employment Exchange. The out-workers are not eligible for unemployment benefit. As a result, the amount of unemployment in the Nottingham lace trade is to a considerable extent unrecorded. I am against the principle of the Minister ladling out doles to productive industry, but if that is to be done I cannot see why' the lace trade in Nottingham should not get its share. The warehouse question does not merely affect the lace trade. You find that in the confectionery trade, and in the making of tinned foods, in exactly the same way the warehouse trade has, to a certain extent, taken root, so that where you had, say, a chocolate manufacturer making chocolates, warehousing and distributing them, you now have a separate establishment where nothing is done but the packing and distributing carried on in a separate way.
It is so in the tinned food trade. There are factories which make and distribute their own tinned goods. There are quite a number of large flourishing establishments in Liverpool which do nothing whatever but label and distribute other people's tinned goods; and the one is as large a part of productive industry as the other. It does not matter for the purposes of increasing employment and cheapening production whether you relieve the one or the other. If you cheapen production you encourage commerce, and if you cheapen commerce you encourage production. The one has exactly the same effect as the other. But the point I come back to is that you do more mischief than good if you discriminate between one man and his competitor. If you put one man out of business that is not compensated by increasing employment in another district, and, in addition, you have that friction which is a notorious cause of unemployment. That is why I am a little anxious at this wild incursion of the Minister of Health into a department which he has not studied and with which be is not acquainted.
We ought to have present with us the Minister of Labour as well as the President of the Board of Trade, who I wish was here not only physically but in charge of the Bill. The President of the Board of Trade is the Minister I should like to have seen in charge of the Bill, explaining its intricacies and the effect upon trade of differentiating between one 1109 class of employment and another. I wish he was in charge of the Bill because he does understand the subject with which it deals. I do not want to make too long a speech at this late hour of the night, but I want to say emphatically that to do such a thing as this without consulting the industry concerned is to do something which no President of the Board of Trade and no Minister of Labour would do. When we introduce legislation affecting commercial business and trade Ministers take the utmost possible care to acquaint themselves with the habits and customs and even the prejudices of those engaged in the business, and there never has been an important Bill touching so many interests brought in with so little consultation. The amount of satisfaction with which the Bill is regarded in business circles can be gauged by the number of deputations which, day after day and hour after hour, have been beseeching the Chancellor of the Exchequer for some explanation as to its effect.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
Yes, and when it comes to the proper time I will say what I think about leaving people to starve for 18 months. Long before the Government took tip this question I spoke on behalf of the necessitous areas and the industries in those areas. Nobody can accuse me of having overlooked their interests. I cannot imagine a case which calls for more speedy action, and ask the Minister of Health to do justice and say that I have hardly ever made a speech on rating in which I did not emphasise the damage to industry and commerce of the rates in these depressed areas and the call there was for speedy relief. I do not wonder that half of these deputations say they are cut out and the other half are asking why they have to wait for 18 months. They are very unpleasant deputations for any Minister to meet; and the reason is the unbearable intricacies of this Bill, the imaginary lines which are drawn between interests, the postponement of relief until it is too late in the case of some of the worst industries. Many of them have been pushed over the edge into bankruptcy, and if many of them have to wait for 18 months they will 1110 also go over the edge into bankruptcy. It is all due to the fantastic distinctions-which are made in this Bill. It is because this Bill is so unbearably and unnecessarily complicated that nothing can be done with it until so many months have passed. Here I am trying to remove one of the complications of the Bill. I cannot do more. Line by line and point by point I have been using what intelligence I possess in trying to remove the asperities of the Bill and in trying to give trade and industry something which will benefit them. To try to separate industry from commerce is an impossible thing and I ask the Minister to deal with the matter in the only reasonable way.
§ Mr. BATEY
I wish to support the Amendment because it is a widening Amendment. The Clause defines the expression "industrial hereditament" as a hereditament "occupied and used as a mine." I suggest to the Minister that the word "mine" is too narrow, and will exclude many things that come under the mining industry. The definition of the word "mine" in the Bill has the meaning assigned to it by Section 122 of the Coal Mines Act of 1911, where the word "mine" is given a very narrow construction as follows:Mine' includes every shaft in the course of being sunk, and every level and inclined plane in the course of being driven, and all the shafts, levels, planes, works, tramway; and sidings, both below ground and above ground in and adjacent to and belonging to the mine, but does not include any part; of such premises on which any manufacturing process is carried on, other than a process ancillary to the getting, dressing, or preparation for sale of minerals.I wish to ask whether certain things belonging to the mining industry will come under this Bill for the purpose of de-rating. For instance, there is the coal mine that has coal depots for the sale of coal. Will coal depots come under this de-rating scheme? We have in mind collieries which have their own coal staiths for the purpose of emptying coal out of ships. Others have coke ovens and plant for dealing with by-products. There are also washeries for the washing of coal. These apparently would not come within the narrow definition of "mine" to which I have referred and one would like to be clear 1111 as to whether or not they will be included in the Government's scheme of de-rating. Is it the Government's purpose to assist the industry by not merely de-rating the mines, but also these other necessary things which have grown up around collieries for the purposes of, carrying on the business of the collieries.
§ Sir J. SANDEMAN ALLEN
I found-difficulty in following the point of the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Miss Lawrence). I do not see how the trades to which she refers can be injured if relief is given to productive industries in this country. In the first place, it is quite clearly laid down that only a certain amount of money is available for this purpose and the primary object of these proposals is to relieve British industries in their productive capacity so that the cost of production may be lowered. That I can quite clearly understand. Directly you import into the consideration of that matter questions of warehousing and commerce you open up an enormous field, but I fail to see how trade and commerce generally can be injured by the relief of productive industries. It seems to me that on the contrary it will help trade and commerce. Liverpool has been mentioned, and the tinned goods trade has been mentioned, but the great bulk of the production of tinned goods is outside this country, and any relief of this kind which you give must be a benefit to the whole of industry. Therefore while I, for one, would like to see shopkeepers and merchants and warehousemen relieved as much as possible, that involves a different principle from the principle in the Bill, and I think we ought to keep our minds at present quite clearly to the one point. We ought to realise that the main object of the Bill is to cheapen the cost of production at home so as to enable us to compete and develop our trade and commerce and hold our own abroad as well as in the home market. If we keep that point clearly in mind, bearing also in mind the fact that we have only a limited amount of money at our disposal, I see no difficulty in the question which is before us.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I find great difficulty in understanding this Clause, and I would like to put my difficulty before the right hon. Gentleman. According to my 1112 reading of this Clause we must first look for a factory, workshop, or mine, and having found one that answers the description of a factory, workshop, or mine, primarily used for any of the purposes (a) to (f) then we are no longer to regard it as a factory, a workshop or a mine for the purposes of the Measure. That seems to be the structure of the Clause. If the right hon. Gentleman will be good enough to refer to the Factory and Workshop Act, 1901—[Interruption]. I will be very patient with any interruptions, but not when they come from Members who have been in the Library or the Smokeroom, and have no idea about the subject we are discussing. Perhaps some of those who interrupt me will tell me what they think of the definition. The Bill refers to the Factory and Workshop Act, 1901, as the Measure in which we will find the definition of a factory or workshop. In other words, the Bill says, "If you want to know what we mean by a factory or workshop, you must look at this Act of Parliament." I look at the Act, and find this:Where a place situate within the close, curtilage, or precincts forming a factory or workshop is solely used for some purpose other than the manufacturing process or handicraft carried on in the factory or workshop, that place shall not be deemed to form part of the factory or workshop for the purposes of this Act.So you have it clearly said that a dwelling-house used as a retail shop, a portion of premises used for distributive business, a portion of premises used for storage, shall not be a factory or workshop. Still you have this Bill saying that if these portions which cannot possibly be a factory or workshop are the portions of the factory or workshop for which the premises are primarily used, it is not to be a factory or workshop. Or, to put it in other words, the surveyor, having looked at the concern, and having come to the conclusion that it is a factory or workshop within the meaning of the definition, and that therefore not one of these things which are excluded can have been within it, has then to say, "If I find the things that cannot possibly be within the factory or workshop are those for which the factory or workshop are primarily used, then it is not a factory or workshop within the meaning of the Act." The effect must be, if these words are 1113 not altered, when it comes before some Judge to construe it, that he will have to do one of two things. He will have to reject paragraphs (a) to (f), and he will have to say, "How can I exclude from the general definition of factory or workshop what never could be included in a factory or workshop? I shall have to strike my pen through these words, or if I do not, I shall have to give to factory or workshop a meaning different to the meaning that it has in the Factory and Workshop Act." How can a Judge do that? I see the right hon. Gentleman laughing. I have had some experience of bad Acts of Parliament before, and is it any very great hardship on the Government if, in a modest way, I attempt to point out the difficulties?
When you look at the general idea, you get your factory and workshop and your dwelling-house or storage part, and how is any surveyor to say what is the primary purpose? Take a place I was at the other day—Carr's biscuit factory in Carlisle. There, the most noticeable part of the whole concern is the place where all the cases of biscuits are put before being passed out of the premises. At one end there is a large space given to the ingredients, and in the central portion there is the actual manipulating machinery mixing up and stamping out. At the further end is the place where, when the biscuits are made, they are put in cases, and the cases are all taken in order to be passed out. It is one continuous process from the coming in of the material to the passing out of the biscuits. Therefore, if you look at this place you find that the primary portion of it is given over to storage and the distributing business. It is not to be deemed a factory at all. If I were a surveyor and looked at Carr's place, I would say the primary purposes were the storage or distribution, if judged by space and the number of persons Employed. So I do submit to the Minister that the proper thing to do is this: Make up your minds what is the factory or workshop that you wish to de-rate, give a definition and if they answer to it nothing further need be done, but if it is connected with something else, and that something else answers the primary purpose, then there will be-confusion which may make it absolutely impossible for any Judge to construe the words.
§ Mr. RILEY
I should like to emphasise in a practical way the legal difficulties to which the last speaker has referred. I want to raise a point which has not been referred to and that is the unfair differentiation which is drawn in the Clause between the trading concerns of municipal authorities and private undertakings doing the same class of trade. As I understand this Clause, taking the Section (e) the purposes of a public supply undertaking are to be exempt. You have the case of municipal gas undertakings, which not only supply gas but manufacture coke and other by-products for which they have to find a market in the open field in competition with the coke and by-products manufactured by private firms. In my own constituency our municipal gas undertaking in the manufacture of coke is in very keen competition with a large private coke-producing undertaking. A private coke-producing firm will be entitled to 75 per cent. reduction of its rates, but the municipal undertaking will be entitled to no reduction at all. Can the Minister justify this overloading of the municipal undertakings in their competition with private firms? There are large municipal corporations which not only run their own tramway services but make the trams in their own workshops. Those trams will have to be made in competition with trams offered by private firms. This Clause will relieve the private manufacturer of 75 per cent. of his rates, but gives no relief to the municipality. Can the Minister justify this unfair treatment towards authorised trading concerns carried on by the community for the public service? We have the same kind of thing in the case of municipal sewerage undertakings. Many by-products are produced at sewerage works and sold in the open market in competition with the products of private firms. I submit that the Clause is unfair, and that these municipalities ought to have the same measure of relief.
§ Mr. KELLY
The Mover of this Amendment referred to two or three of the trades of this country in which he said trade and commerce would be affected by the restrictions placed on this particular section of the Bill. A reference was made particularly to the net and lace trade as carried on in Nottingham, but I would remind the Committee that this affects 1115 not only Nottingham but Derby, Somerset and a great deal of the county of Derbyshire and Staffordshire. If the work which is conducted in establishments outside the main factory were conducted inside the main factories it would he considered as part of the organisation which would be relieved of 75 per cent. of its rates, but because there has grown up in the industry a method of conducting it which enables many people to do it in small places according to the extensions they have had up to the present time, these people will not have the direct relief which is allowed under this Bill to certain productive industries. I do not know whether this is the stage where we are going to have set down a real definition as to what is a productive industry. That will certainly be an interesting explanation because I have heard many times many of those who have been sitting as arbitrators in dealing with some of the great industries of this country—
§ It being Eleven of the Clock, the CHAIRMAN left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Wednesday.