§ Resolutions reported,
§ 1. IMPERIAL PREFERENCES, SECURITY OF PREFERENCES GRANTED TO THE DOMINION OF CANADA, AND GENERAL PROVISION FOR GIVING EFFECT TO THE AGREEMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENT MADE AT THE IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE HELD AT OTTAWA.
§ That it is expedient—
- (a) to make provision, more especially in connection with the Agreements made at the Imperial Economic Conference held at Ottawa and an Announcement made at that Conference on behalf of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, for Imperial preferences, whether as respects the whole or any part of the British Empire, and whether in respect of duties charged under any Resolutions of this House having for their object the fulfilment of the Agreements aforesaid or duties under the Import Duties Act, 1932, or any other duties (including provisions for the abolition or reduction by order of the Treasury, either generally or in the case of any country, of any preference for which provision is made by any Act of the present Session for giving effect to the Resolutions aforesaid);
- (b) to empower the Board of Trade, in the circumstances contemplated in the Agreement made between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and His Majesty's Government in Canada, by order to prohibit the importation of goods of a class or description grown, produced, or manufactured in a foreign country;
- (c) to empower the Board of Trade, for the purpose of giving effect to certain provisions of the Agreements made between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and His Majesty's Governments -in the Commonwealth of Australia and in New Zealand respectively, to regulate the importation of certain frozen and chilled meat;
- (d) for the purpose of giving effect to certain of the provisions of the Agreement made between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and His Majesty's Government in Canada to amend the law with respect to the importation of Canadian cattle;
- (e) to make such other provision as may appear necessary or expedient for the purpose of giving effect to any of the Agreements aforesaid."
§ 2. IMPOSITION OF DUTIES IN FULFILMENT OF AGREEMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENT MADE AT THE IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE HELD AT OTTAWA.
- (a) In fulfilment of the Agreements and Announcement made at the Imperial Economic Conference held at Ottawa, there shall be charged on the importation into the United Kingdom of goods of the classes and descriptions specified in the first column of the Table annexed to this Resolution the duties of customs respectively specified in title second column of that Table, such duties to be charged—
- (i) in the case of goods of a class or description in relation to which a period is specified in the third column of the said Table, from time to time for such period only as is so specified; and
- (ii) subject to the provisions as to exemption from the general ad valorem duty contained in paragraph (a) of Subsection (2) of Section one of the Import Duties Act, 1932, and to the provisions of paragraph (b) of this Resolution, in addition to any other duties of customs chargeable on the goods or on any of the components thereof;
- (b) As from the date on which any goods become chargeable with duty under paragraph (a) of this Resolution, any order made under the import Duties Act, 1932, shall, if and so far as it imposes additional duties on those goods, cease to have effect, but additional duties may, subject to and in accordance with the provisions of the said Act, be imposed on any goods for the time being chargeable with duty under paragraph (a) of this Resolution as if that duty were the general ad valorem duty.
- (c) The Treasury shall from time to time make such orders for the removal or reduction, or for the re-imposition or increase (within the rates specified in the said Table), of the duties chargeable under paragraph (a) of this Resolution as may be required in order to secure that the said duties shall be chargeable in respect of any class or description of goods only to such extent as may be requisite in order to comply with the provisions of the said Agreements for the time being in force and with the said Announcement.
|Class or description of Goods.||Rate of Duty.||Period during which Duty charged.|
|Wheat in grain||2s. per qtr. of 480 lbs.|
|Maize, flat, white||10 per cent.|
|Rice, husked, including cargo rice and cleaned rice whole, but not including broken rice||ld. per lb.|
|Butter||15s per cwt.|
|Cheese||15 per cent.|
|Eggs in shell—|
|(a) not exceeding 14 lbs. in weight per great hundred||1s. per great hundred.|
|(b) over 14 lbs. but not exceeding 17 lbs. in weight per great hundred||1s. 6d. per great hundred.|
|(c) over 17 lbs. in weight per great hundred||1s.9d. per great hundred.|
|Condensed Milk. Whole—|
|Not sweetened||6s. per cwt.|
|Sweetened or slightly sweetened||5s. per cwt.|
|Milk powder and other preserved milk excluding condensed milk—|
|Not sweetened||6s. per cwt.|
|Fresh or raw fruit—|
|Apples||4s. 6d. per cwt.|
|Pears||4s. 6d. per cwt.|
|Bananas||2s. 6d. per cwt.|
|Oranges||3s. 6d. per cwt.||April 1 to Nov. 30.|
|Grapefruit||5s. per cwt.|
|Grapes, other than hothouse||l½d. per lb.||Feb. 1 to June 30.|
|Peaches and Nectarines||14s. per cwt.||Dec.1 to Mar. 31.|
|Plums||9s. 4d. per cwt.||Dec.1 to per cwt. Mar. 31.|
|Preserved or dried fruits—|
|Apples preserved in syrup||3s. 6d. per cwt.|
|Figs and fig cake, plums (commonly called French plums and prunelloes), plums not otherwise described, prunes and raisins||3s. 6d. per cwt.|
|Class or description of Goods.||Rate of Duty.||Period during which Duty charged.|
|Other fruits (except stoned cherries) preserved in syrup||15 per cent.|
|Honey||7s. per cwt.|
|Linseed||10 per cent.|
|Cod liver oil||1s. 4d. per gallon.|
|Castor oil||15 per cent.|
|Linseed oil||15 per cent.|
|Coconut oil||15 per cont.|
|Ground-nut oil||15 per cent.|
|Rape oil||15 per cent.|
|Sesamum oil||15 per cent.|
|Chilled or frozen salmon||1½d. per lb.|
|Copper, unwrought, whether refined or not, in ingots, bars, blocks, slabs, cakes, or rods||2d. per lb.|
|Magnesium chloride||1s. per cwt.|
§ 3. INCREASE OF CUSTOMS DUTY ON CERTAIN WINE.
§ "That, with a view to giving effect to certain of the Agreements made at the Imperial Economic Conference held at Ottawa, the duty of customs on wine, not being an Empire product and not exceeding twenty-five degrees of proof spirit, shall be increased to four shillings per gallon."
§ 4. GENERAL PROVISIONS TO RE INCLUDED IN ACT FOR GIVING EFFECT TO AGREEMENTS MADE AT THE IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE.
§ "That any Act of the present Session for giving effect to the Resolution of this House providing for the fulfilment of the Agreements made at the Imperial Economic Conference held at Ottawa (hereinafter referred to as 'the said Act')—
- (a) shall provide that any order made under the said Act by the Treasury increasing or reimposing any duty of customs (not including an order fixing the date on which any provision of the said Act is to come into operation) shall cease to have effect on the expiration of twenty-eight days from the date on which the order is made unless at some time before the expiration of that period it is approved by a resolution of this House, and that in reckoning any such period as aforesaid no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved prorogued or during which this House is adjourned for more than four days; and
- (b) shall provide that any order made under the said Act—
- (i) with respect to prohibition of the importation of goods of any class or description grown, produced, or manufactured in a foreign country; or
- (ii) with respect to regulation of the importation of frozen and chilled meat; or
- (iii) declaring that any of the Agreements aforesaid is to be deemed to have ceased to be in force or revoking such a declaration, shall cease to have effect on the expiration of a period of twenty-eight days (to he reckoned as aforesaid) from the date on which it is made unless at some time before the expiration of that period it has been approved by a resolution passed by each House of Parliament; and
- (c) may contain all such other incidental and consequential.provisions as may be necessary or expedient in connection with the matters for which provision is made by any of the Resolutions aforesaid, and, in particular, may include provisions—
- (i) with respect to the making of declarations by the Treasury that any of the Agreements aforesaid has ceased, or is to be deemed to have ceased, to be in force;
- (ii) for applying, for the purpose of any of the duties charged by the said Resolutions, any of the provisions of the Import Duties Act, 1932, and of any enactment amending that Act, whether with or without modifications;
- (iii) as to drawbacks;
- (iv) for amending the Import Duties Act, 1932, and any other Act relating to customs;
- (v) For applying the said Act to the Agreements aforesaid when varied;
- (vi) for providing that the said Act shall come into operation on days to be fixed by the Treasury, and shall (except as otherwise expressly provided therein) continue in force so long as any of the Agreements aforesaid is in force."
§ Adjourned Debate resumed on Amendment proposed [21st October], on consideration of First Resolution.
§ Which Amendment was, in line 18, to leave out paragraph (c).—[Mr. Rhys Davies.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Resolution."
§ Sir PERCY HARRIS
When the Debate stood adjourned on Friday, I was in course of seconding the Amendment to leave out paragraph (c). This is one of the vaguest and most indefinite of the proposals resulting from the Ottawa Agreements. The House has the right to claim from the Government a full and 626 proper explanation of the purpose of these proposals. The ordinary custom would be to have a White Paper, and it is of the greatest importance that the House should have the fullest information, as there are various interpretations which have been read into this proposal. I had hoped that this afternoon the President of the Board of Trade himself would have condescended to come to the House to explain this Agreement, but instead of that we are fobbed off with the Under-Secretary. We congratulate him on his appointment, and perhaps lie will be the better qualified to expound and explain these Protectionist doctrines because of his long apprenticeship to the doctrines of Free Trade. No doubt he will be familiar with both sides of the case, but we would rather have had somebody here who was present at the drafting of the Agreement and who would have been able to lift the veil from the Committee Rooms where these long controversies in the heated atmosphere of Ottawa took place. We have not been allowed to have any report. When a similar economic conference has taken place at Geneva or Lausanne the Press have been permitted to be present, at any rate at part of the conference; if not, a full and detailed report of the proceedings has been given. The Ottawa Conference, however, is shrouded in mystery, and only occasionally we can pick up a little of what took place.
We do not know exactly what is behind this particular Agreement. The first thing we would like to know is why a quota has been selected for meat? Why has not the simpler form of duties, which has been adopted with regard to other products that were made part of the bargain at Ottawa, been adopted in the case of meat It is possible that it is because of the pledges of the President of the Board of Trade that he would not tax wheat or meat. In the House last summer the President explained that he did not pledge himself against food duties; he limited himself to omitting duties on wheat and meat, and it is possible that, in order to satisfy the qualms of his conscience and that of his colleagues, the quota system has been adopted instead of duties.
Whether it is a quota or a duty, however, it comes to the same thing. The object is to raise prices, and it is small 627 consolation to the housewife who goes to the shop to buy her joint to he told by the butcher that the cause of the increase in price is not a duty but a quota. It may be a more unfamiliar term, but the result is the same. The Agreement on this point is contained in Article 6 of the Agreement with Australia, which appears in the Imperial Conference Report on page 42, but it does not contain the terms. It appears in the form of a declaration. It is an affirmation of faith. It gives no details, but expresses the opinion of, apparently, both sides to the Agreement. Schedule H., which is referred to in Article 6, has a gloomy opening and refers to grave depression in the meat industry. It then goes on to say that the parties to the Agreement are prepared to take whatever step may appear feasible to raise the wholesale prices of frozen beef. There is, by the way, no mention of the consumer. That makes it quite clear to the House and to the country that the purpose of the Agreement is to raise prices——
§ Sir P. HARRIS
It says that the purpose is to raise the wholesale price. The scheme is interpreted in paragraph 8 of the Schedule, which provides that, starting next March, there shall be a progressive decrease in the importation of foreign frozen beef. The decrease goes on each quarter by 5 per cent., until by June, 1934, the reduction of our foreign imports of frozen beef will be no less than 35 per cent. Then comes a curious provision for the maintenance of the scale of importation of chilled beef. The quantities imported last year are to be permitted to go on at the same scale as at present. I was rather surprised at that provision. I have made some inquiries, and have found that last year the imports of chilled beef from South America were abnormally low. The figures have not been given by the Government, except to-day for the first time in answer to a question. They are very illuminating. I find that the imports of beef are on a large scale, and no less than£25,500,000 worth was imported in 1931. Of this no less than£17,000,000 came in the form of chilled beef from South America, mainly from the Argen- 628 tine. Only£1,500,000 of this total was for frozen beef. On the other hand, we imported a quantity of frozen beef from Australia and New Zealand amounting to a little over£2,000,000.
The reason for the popularity of chilled beef over frozen beef is that it is of superior quality. unfortunately, at present, it is impossible to import chilled beef from Australia because of the long distance it would require to be chilled. It was suggested in a previous Debate that it would be possible in future so to improve the process of chilling that Australian beef could be brought here chilled. At present beef can only be chilled for three weeks and has to be placed rapidly on the market and sold right away. As chilled beef provides a very healthy food at a reasonable rate, it is a serious competitor with fresh meat.
I know that something will be said in the interests of farmers about British beef. I agree that the British farmer ought to be our first consideration. If there is to be any quota, we should consider our own people first and the Dominions second, but the British farmer looks like being a bad second. The difference between the wholesale prices of chilled and fresh meat is very marked. The average price of chilled beef works out at 4⅝d. per lb. On the other hand, British beef is selling at the very low price of 7¾d. per lb., but the margin is enormous. If we keep out the chilled beef, it will not mean that the public will turn to the home product, because it is quite outside their pocket. They will be forced to buy something inferior, and the effect of this Agreement will be to debar the public from chilled foreign meat. They will have to take inferior Empire-produced frozen beef, which is much cheaper and which, owing to its inferior quality, is not palatable to the public. We should be very jealous about agreeing to this proposal, because it will be an expense to the consumer. It is significant that after this declaration comes this N.B. on page 55:His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia, recognising the interrelation of all meat products, and that the object of the above regulation of imports into the United Kingdom is to raise the price level of frozen meat.4.0 p.m.
It is because the object of this proposal is to raise the price level of frozen meat. 629 that I suggest to the House that the proposal should be left out, unless we can get very much more enlightenment on this Agreement than is contained in its wording. The second part of the proposal is not in the form of a declaration or agreement, but in the form of a letter addressed to Mr. Baldwin and signed "Yours sincerely, J. G. Coates," on behalf of the Government of New Zealand. It is much vaguer than a declaration. We imported in 1931—an exceptional year, when the imports were very large—£18,000,000 of lamb from all parts of the world, of which no less than£10,000,000 came from New Zealand, and£3,500,000 from Australia and, I think,£3,750,000 from the Argentine. The precedent in the agreement with Australia is again adopted in this case. We are to have a progressive decline in the importation of mutton and lamb from foreign countries until 1934, when it is to be 35 per cent.
There is one factor about this Agreement which does provide some consolation. In 1934, apparently, it is to be open to revision. We are not to be completely tied for five years. Meanwhile, we are to be cut off from foreign supplies by this arrangement to reduce those supplies up to 35 per cent. I am going to suggest to the House—and I have very good evidence—that the large quantities of mutton and lamb imported in the last 18 months from New Zealand are due to exceptional causes, namely, the low price of wool which has been predominant in the market for the last two years, and has made it unprofitable for the farmer to keep his flocks. The result has been a large increase in the supplies from New Zealand of mutton and lamb. There is evidence in the Report of the Royal Corn-mission on Food Prices, 1925, that we had a very similar state of affairs then. May I read one paragraph on page 111? It is pointed out thatDuring the year 1924 the two most important factors affecting meat supplies and prices have been, first, the decrease amounting to 15 per cent., in the imports of mutton and lamb compared with the previous year, and secondly the large increase in the Continental demand for frozen beef.It goes on to say:These two factors have been the principal cause of the noticeable stiffening in wholesale price during the last six months. As regards mutton and lamb, the higher 630 prices now ruling in comparison.with the low level reached in 1922 are principally due to the reduction of flocks brought about by the post-War slump and a severe drought in Australia, and to the more favourable prices now ruling for wool.The high prices stimulated supply, and now prices have fallen, with the result that it does not pay farmers to retain their flocks, and next year, or the year after, there will be a shortage of supplies. It is clear that what New Zealand wants is an increase in price, and, in order to bring that about, they have persuaded the Government of this country to agree to this restriction of foreign supplies. We cannot afford in this country to take any risks. One consolation for all the hard years we have been going through with unemployment and bad trade is that there has been an abundant supply of cheap and good food in this country. Wages may have been low, and the unemployed man may have had a very low pittance, but he always knew he could get good food at reasonable prices untaxed, and that has been an asset of very great assistance in these bad times.
It is possible to show that retail prices have not always kept pace with wholesale prices, but that is an argument, not for robbing the country of the advantage of low wholesale prices. It is an argument for an inquiry into the problem of prices; it makes no case for cutting off our supplies of cheap food. Inquiry shows that the margin between home produced meat and foreign meat is very large. Take New Zealand lamb. The retail price of Canterbury lamb is about 1s. 1d., whereas the English is 1s. 4d., 1s. 5d. and even more. [Interruption.] Here is a printed list: Hind quarter, English, Is. per lb. New Zealand, 9d.; fore quarter, 9d. and 6½., respectively. This is Mr. Sainsbury's printed list, and I am rather more inclined to accept that printed list than what my hon. Friend says. [Interruption.] If you go down to the poorer districts, such as my district, the difference is very much more marked. As they cannot afford to buy New Zealand, they have to put up with Argentine or Australian meat.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
I am quoting a multiple shop with branches practically all over the country—in London and elsewhere.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
I agree with the hon. Member that the difference is more marked in the poorer districts. The advantage to the consumer in having an open market, uncontrolled, untaxed, with no quotas, no State interference, and no bargains of this kind, is great, especially to the poorer districts. I would suggest that the hon. Member should come with me into the Lobby to protect the food consumer.
§ Sir G. ELLIS
If the hon. Baronet will come with me into the Lobby to get at some of the shopkeepers.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
I am quite prepared to do so if the hon. Member will produce a Measure which will secure the advantage of some ordered system of marketing. In the meantime, we have to take the world as we find it. I say that it is our business to exclude this proposal in paragraph (c). Here is an important proposal, and Ministers do not even try to explain it. It is left to inexperienced Under-Secretaries, whose main qualification seems to be that they were formerly Free Traders. In the meantime, I am going to resist the proposal, and I hope that, supported by my hon. Friends opposite, we shall go into the Lobby.
§ Mr. R. W. SMITH
Naturally, anything that has been done for the agricultural industry by the Government is very warmly welcomed by all agriculturists, but, like every one else interested in agriculture, one feels that these arrangements with the Dominions at Ottawa may not come soon enough to save the agricultural industry. The only point I want to put is a very short one, and I would like the representative of the Government to give a reply. Doubt arises in the minds of many agriculturists in this country as to what is the full meaning of these limitations of foreign supplies of meat. They fear that these are stabilised figures, and that the Government are precluded from going further. I would like the Minister to give me a definite reply on that point. I understand that the Government are perfectly free to reduce foreign supplies if they consider it necessary, and that is the point about which the farmers are 632 a little doubtful. I would be very grateful if the hon. Gentleman would give a definite assurance that the Government are free to reduce further foreign meat supplies if they consider it is to the benefit of the country.
§ Sir BASIL PETO
I want to criticise these regulations of meat supplies from almost exactly the opposite point of view which we have just heard from the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris). I want to criticise them from the point of view of whether they will be effective in carrying out what is stated to be the purpose of the whole of these Regulations and the arrangements made at Ottawa. If we look at the commencement of the declaration which is found in the Blue Book, Schedule H, on page 54, we see:I call the attention of the House particularly to the fact that in the first two paragraphs part of the policy is to protect the interests of the consumer. If the present state of affairs is allowed to go on—and the Chancellor made that quite clear in his opening speech on Tuesday last—it will mean the extinction of beef and mutton raising in this country and, consequently, very serious injury ultimately to the consumer as it will mean a very large increase in the price we shall have to pay. It being quite clear that the Government knew at Ottawa exactly what we were up against, knew that it no longer paid to raise and market mutton or beef in the United Kingdom or in the Dominions, one looks to see whether the arrangements actually made are likely to be in any way effective in dealing with that state of affairs.
- "1. The present wholesale prices of frozen meat are at a level which has resulted in grave depression in the livestock industries of the United Kingdom and the Dominions. This depression is likely, if continued, to bring about a serious decline in production and consequent ultimate injury to the consumer.
- 2. Such a position is so serious that it is essential to take whatever steps may appear feasible to raise the wholesale prices of frozen meat in the United Kingdom market to such a level as will maintain efficient production."
I find on page 54 of the Summary of Proceedings at Ottawa that the imports of frozen mutton from Australia during 1933 are to be exactly the same as for the 12 months ended 30th June, 1932. A little later, in the Agreement signed by 633 Mr. Coates and the Lord Privy Seal, we are told, though not quite so clearly or emphatically, that the imports of mutton and lamb from New Zealand will be the same as for the 12 months ended June last, and that it is estimated that there will not be more than a 5 per cent. increase in the exports from New Zealand in the year 1934–35. So far we have found no reduction of imports at all. On looking further at the programme, however, we find that there is to be some reduction in the very much smaller quantity of imported mutton which comes from foreign countries, a reduction of 10 per cent. in the first three months of next year, finishing up with a reduction of 35 per cent. in the second quarter of 1934. I am indebted to my right hon. Friend the Member for South Molton (Mr. G. Lambert) for the question he asked to-day, the answer to which enables us to measure the amount of the actual reduction and its relationship to the total imports.
On Tuesday last the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us that imports for the whole 12 months of this year, on the basis of the importation for the first nine months, would be 7,607,000 cwts. We are told to-day that the reduction will be 322,000 cwts. for the year 1932 and 382,000 cwts. for the year 1934. That means that there will he a reduction of 4 per cent. of the total importation in the year 1933 and 5 per cent. in 1934; but the increase in the importation from abroad, which according to the Chancellor brought about the present calamitous state of affairs, was 27 per cent. between 1929 and 1931 and 36 per cent. between 1929 and 1932. How, then, can we deal with this state of affairs by a reduction which contemplates a fall of only 4 per cent. or 5 per cent. against increases of 27 per cent. and 36 per cent.? It is quite clear that it is in the nature of a pill to cure an earthquake, and that it cannot possibly be effective as a means of bringing relief to our agriculturists. When we turn to beef we find exactly the same state of affairs. In the case of chilled beef, which, as the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green says, is the real competitor of the English farmer, there is to be no reduction at all. The import is to be at the rate of 100 per cent. during the whole of the six quarterly periods ending in the middle of 1934. It is true that the importation of chilled beef has been on a 634 slightly lower scale, but it is to remain at the present scale; and therefore nothing is being done there to get the English farmer or the Dominions' farmer out of his present mess.
I would ask the House to look at the figures which the Chancellor gave us on Tuesday. He said that prices have fallen far below the cost of production either in this country or in any other sheep-producing country in the world. He told us that in 1930 the average price in England and Wales was 60 per cent. above pre-war level, whereas last month it was 14 per cent. below. He described that as a calamitous state of affairs, and said it was clear that if it went on much longer farmers must be completely ruined. I would direct special attention to that phrase "much longer." There is nothing in these arrangements, provisional arrangements as I understand them, which will do anything at all during the next 18 months, and yet according to the Chancellor farmers will be "completely ruined" if the present state of affairs goes on "much longer." They will never be able to hold out for 18 months, or anything like that time, and the proposals now before the House will do nothing to help them in the crisis in which they find themselves.
What is the cause of this exceptional and disastrous fall in the wholesale prices of mutton and lamb, disastrous not only to the agricultural interests of this country, as was made perfectly clear at Ottawa, but certain to be disastrous ultimately to consumers in this country? The Chancellor said that in 1929 the total imports of mutton and lamb amounted to 5,631,000 cwts., of a value of£19,000,000, which works out at an average 7⅙d. per lb.—not a. very high price. Two years later, he tells us, the quantity had risen to 7,100,000 cwts., an increase of nearly 27 per cent., and the value was£18,250,000. It comes to this, that the more the Dominions send us the less they get, and therefore it would have been in their interest to limit their shipments overseas and get higher returns for a smaller quantity. It does not matter what you sell; what really matters is what you get for it. While the price they got in 1931 had dropped from 7⅙d. per lb. to under 5½d., in the first nine months of this year, when importation was at the rate of 7,607,000 cwts.—an in- 635 crease of 36 per cent.—the price went down to under 5d. per lb.
In the very next column of the report of his speech the Chancellor said that what is necessary is to regulate imports, until we reach a more reasonable relation between what the market can take and what is offered to it. It was pointed out that we were the only market for mutton and lamb, and therefore it was a question of what this market can take, and he proposed to regulate the supply. He says that a duty on foreign meat would be no use. Why? Because the excess was not coming from the foreigner but from the Dominions. Those are his words; and yet there is no plan to reduce those imports the slightest degree, but, on the contrary, the plan will slightly increase the importation of mutton and lamb from New Zealand, and there is a proposal to increase the importation of frozen beef from Australia by 10 per cent.
It appears to me that our representatives at Ottawa were "sinning against the light," as I believe it used to be called. In darkness a sin may sometimes be forgiven, a sin, that is, committed in ignorance of the facts; but at Ottawa they had all the facts, they knew the whole situation. They say that our trouble arises not on account of imports from the foreigner but owing to excessive imports from the Dominions, and yet they propose to do nothing to reduce the imports from the Dominions, and to make only a trifling reduction of those imports which they tell us are not the cause of our trouble. The figures show that regulation of foreign imports could obviously be of little use even if we shut out a great deal more than it is proposed.
Though that is the situation, I need not say to the House that I do not propose to support in the Lobby the Amendment to do away with this particular provision, because, after all it is something, although it is something that I cannot believe will be effective. Further, I regard these Ottawa Agreements as infinitely more important as a whole than any part of them. Therefore, not only on this Amendment, but on every Amendment, I intend to give my complete support to the Government. But that is no reason why we should not point out that what is proposed cannot be effective, that the situation is even more worse than was 636 suggested by the Chancellor, and that it is getting worse. It has become worse almost since he spoke. Only to-day there was a report in the "Times," under the headline "Pigs at 2s. each" of a farmer who sent 38 pigs to market in Yorkshire, and got only 29 for the lot, 30 of them going at 2s. each. When I was in the North of Scotland during the Recess the average price of lambs at the annual lamb sales was 7s. I happened on one little farmer, who had only 20 lambs. He had driven them 26 miles to market, and could not take the poor little brutes back. There was absolutely no market for them, but he had to sell them, the whole 20—his only 20—and got only 30s. for them. That works out at 1s. 6d. apiece—worse than pigs at 2s. I wish the late Secretary of State for Scotland had been here to say what he would do for people in such a case.
There is another aspect of affairs to which I wish to draw attention, because it is very appropriate to the fact that the real question is the regulation of imports from the Dominions. In my own constituency farmers have been in the habit of getting a decent market for fat sheep in the summer, when we have a short tourist season. The town of Ilfracombe, which has a population of only 10,000 in the winter, has 30,000 people to feed during the summer months. What has happened this year? The farmers in my constituency find not only that there is a bad market; that does not describe it. There is no market at all for home-grown lamb and sheep, even when English people are down there. Why is it? It is because it is far easier and far more profitable for the butcher to take delivery at his door of ready-dressed car-cases on which he has only to use a meat saw and hatchet, and to chop up into blocks, in order to turn his capital over twice a week in selling his food to the summer visitors. When the farmer comes and says: "Can you take any of my fat sheep?" he says: "No, I am very sorry; I am quite full." What is the use of skinning and dressing a carcase, and all that troublesome business? Skins are worth nothing but 2½., or sometimes 4d. or 5d., each, and the wool is worth nothing. Therefore, the butcher fills his shop only with carcases from overseas, carcases which are brought down by the lorryload straight from the Port of 637 London and delivered at the butcher's shop. As soon as one lot is gone, another comes down, and there is no trouble whatever.
A farmer in my constituency, one of our most enlightened farmers, showed me a bill of sale for 20 fat animals that he had had to send to London because the butchers of Ilfracombe could not take them. He sent them up, and when he had paid carriage, toll and all the rest, the return was 25s. each for 20 lambs weighing about 70 or 80 pounds apiece which comes out at less than 5d. a pound. That is the position. It is not only that we have a bad market, but that we have no market left. Stock that has been raised cannot be sold, and has to be given away, sheep and lambs at is. 6d. each and pigs, as we have seen, at 2s. Even if these proposals were immediate, they would be utterly inadequate, and as they cannot operate for 18 months they must be far too late to save the farmers from the situation in which they are placed. In those circumstances, we are hound to point out clearly to the Government that the proposals which are contained in this Blue Book are useless. As they cannot operate at once, they cannot be in time to deal with the situation.
§ Mr. J. JONES
I have listened to some of this Debate, and I have read most of it. It takes me back 42 years in my experience, when we fell between Tweedledum and Tweedledee; either Free Trade or Protection was going to be the solution of our problems. I would like to ask those who were responsible for the Ottawa Conferences whether they discussed competition within the Empire. My constituency of Silvertown contains factories which are seriously interested in the competition of India against their products. We have a coir factory in my constituency and the directors of that factory have approached me with the idea of asking where they come in.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I must ask the hon. Member to speak to the Amendment before the House which deals with the importation of certain frozen and chilled meat.
§ Mr. JONES
I understand. Frozen and chilled meat represents mostly the mentality of the people who are interested in Protection. I only tried to introduce 638 the subject of India as an interlude. In the East end of London, we are seriously interested in the price of meat, whether it is frozen or chilled. We want cheap food for our people. The argument that I have just heard advanced by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) seems to indicate that he wants higher prices for meat, whether it is chilled or not. It made me feel chilled when I heard him talk. Wages are going down, and, according to him, food prices should go up. He is grumbling because the Government have not been able to achieve a policy whereby food prices can go up.
In the East end of London we are interested in the importation of foodstuffs. In the Victoria and Albert Dock areas, a large number of men get their living by bringing in frozen food, as it is called. It is all British. It comes from Australia and New Zealand, in the main. Does the hon. Baronet suggest that that trade should be stopped, in order to protect the farmers of Devonshire, and that the dockers of the East end of London are to be thrown out of employment? Is that the proposal? That is the inevitable result of the arguments that he has advanced. Thousands of men are working in the docks in my district, and they have to be told that we are going to prevent frozen meat coming into the market, because the Devonshire farmers are not getting the prices that the hon. Baronet thinks that they should get.
Who controls prices? I would undertake to say that the hon. Baronet knows as well as I do that the very people who control the importation and exportation of goods are members of the party to which he belongs. They are the importers and the exporters—[Interruption]—Yes, and the exploiters. They exploit us in every case. They do not care a tinker's curse where their profits come from. They talk about "buying British," but they would buy Chinese to-morrow if they could get more profit out of it. The price of foodstuffs have a great relationship to the cost of production of all commodities. If you charge high prices for the food that the people want, you will have to meet a demand for higher wages in order to meet the increased cost of foodstuffs.
639 The very people who are asking for protection for the farmers are supporting the demand for the reduction of wages of the workers who are the basis of production. These people are asking for higher prices so that they can get their profits, but at the same time they are unanimously supporting the demands for the reduction of the standard of life in the form of a reduction of wages. I have been reading the papers, and I find that the class of gentleman that the hon. Baronet represents are the people who are now asking that agricultural labourers' wages should be still further reduced, although these are down to starvation level, in most cases. The hon. Baronet asks us to support him in a policy which will increase prices for the benefit of the farmer. Will he give us a guarantee that, if the farmers get increased prices for the goods they sell in the market, they will volunteer to increase the wages of the men who produce the goods?
He will give no guarantee. We know them. We fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts; therefore, as a representative of an industrial constituency largely concerned in the importation of foodstuffs landing at the docks—because London is the big centre for the importation of chilled beef and frozen mutton and other commodities of that kind—I ask him to realise that while he is-trying to defend, say, 200,000 people in the agricultural areas, he is inflicting a greater injury upon millions of people, the industrial section of the workers, who, after all, count for something. After long years of struggle, we have built up certain standards of life, and these are being attacked from two directions, by-higher prices for the goods we want to consume, and by reduction of the wages which the workers receive.
Now, this demand is put forward. The Government have gone to Ottawa, and have talked through the backs of their necks. They have come back with nothing. Even their own supporters are not satisfied. They have not got what they wanted; they will not want what they will get. They will get it in the neck at the next election. [Interruption.] Oh, yes, some of you will get it in the neck. This is the last Parliament you will ever see. We are opposed to 640 this policy of teaching your grandmothers the way to suck eggs. Protection cannot solve the problem. Tariff Reform of any sort is no solution to our difficulties. It is only a policy of pills for earthquakes. We are up against it, and whatever this Parliament may do in the time of its existence, which will not be long, it will have to face up to the issue that it will be a question of the workers taking advantage of the opportunity, when they get it, to substitute a different form of government, a government of the workers, for the workers, by the workers. That will come along—[Interruption]—oh, yes, some hon. Members are shaking their heads——
§ Mr. JONES
But I am talking about chilled meat, Sir. That is the reason why I am talking about the hon. Members. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] Of course, order for you, but not for me. This is an attempt to introduce indirectly an increase of the prices of the foodstuffs of the people, in addition to the attack all round on their wages that is now taking place. It is simply once again demonstrating that the Tory party, as such, is the enemy of the working classes.
§ Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
This Debate was opened last Friday by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) who, as usual, made an interesting speech, with not quite his customary degree of accuracy. I hope that he will not mind if I comment on one or two things that he said. He wondered why there were no references to South Africa in the Resolution, and he. proceeded to give reasons why South Africa should have been brought in, although he opposes the Resolution. If the hon. Member will consult- Article 7 of the Agreement with South Africa, he will see that they are parties to the scheme. There is no need to mention them in particular. If that reference had not occurred in the Agreement, they would automatically have been brought into the scheme as it stands.
§ Mr. J. JONES
On a point of Order. I was called to order because I referred to India. I do not know whether South Africa has anything to do with chilled beef. I would like to ask your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, as to whether it is in order 641 for any hon. Member to introduce South Africa after I was precluded from bringing in India?
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
The hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) was, I think, referring to coir matting from India. I am referring to chilled or other forms of beef from South Africa. The hon. Member was ruled out of order, not because he referred to India, and not on geographical grounds, but upon commodity grounds.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
Will the hon. Gentleman pardon me? I want to ask him why South Africa is not mentioned in paragraph (c), with which we are dealing. Why does the Government include Australia and New Zealand, and not South Africa?
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
That is a matter on which we should probably have to get the views of those who drafted the Resolution, but, if the hon. Member will look at the Australian Agreement and the New Zealand Agreement, he will find what apparently the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) did not realise, namely, that there are specific Articles in those Agreements which refer to the plans—one in the form of the declaration of policy by His Majesty's Government, and the other in the form of the letter addressed by Mr. Coates to the Lord President of the Council. I presume that it is entirely on grounds of drafting that there is no specific reference in the Resolution which we are now discussing to the Union of South Africa and obviously Article 7 of the Agreement applies to South Africa. The hon. Member for Westhoughton said:The chilled meat coming from Brazil, the Argentine and Uruguay is known to be about 2d. or 3d. a pound cheaper than the same quality coming from Australia and New Zealand."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st October, 1932; col. 567, Vol. 269.]We do not import chilled beef from Australia and New Zealand; the distance is too great to allow of the chilling process being applied. I suppose that the hon. Member had in mind similar beef in both cases. As a matter of fact, if you compare frozen, which is the only thing you can compare in respect of Australia and New Zealand with the Argentine, the real truth of the matter is that the Australian and New Zealand 642 frozen is about 1½d. a pound cheaper than frozen from the Argentine. If he will take the average for the first nine months of the present year from the official statistics, which he can easily work out, he will see that that is the case. I am sorry that the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green has gone, because he suggested that in all cases chilled beef was more expensive than frozen, but as a matter of fact frozen beef from the Argentine rules about ½d. higher in price than chilled beef from the Argentine. The hon. Member for Westhoughton, who always speaks in an interesting way, made a most amusing declaration towards the end of his speech. He said:I may say that this is the only point of the problem with which I can claim to be somewhat conversant personally; all the rest I am saying has been borrowed, more or less, though nevertheless it is true."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st October, 1932; col. 571, Vol. 269.]
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
If the hon. Member will pardon my interrupting him before he comes to that very interesting point, may I ask him, does he mean to say that all the chilled meat from South America is dearer in price when it reaches our ports than similar meat coming from the Dominions?
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I only stand by my declaration. Here is the document from which I obtained the information by the ordinary process of arithmetic, and it is equally open to the hon. Member to do the same; he is just as good at arithmetic as I am. My figures are based upon this. The general average price of the frozen meat from Australia and New Zealand rules at about l½d. a pound lower than that coming from the Argentine, and the hon. Member had not taken account of that at all, because, as he said quite honestly and ingenuously, his information was borrowed.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
No, mine is the result of original investigation. The hon. Member said that these proposals take no account at all of British agriculture. That is a very strange statement for him to make, because, manifestly; they do take account of British agriculture. They are very important to British agriculture if they are right proposals, and I shall have one or two criticisms of them to make later on. They are more important 643 to British agriculture than to Dominion agriculture, because, for every two pounds of Dominion meat that we eat in this country, we eat five pounds of homegrown, and, that being the case, obviously anything which produces more satisfactory conditions from the point of view of producers in regard to the sale of meat in this country will be of much greater aggregate importance to British agriculture than to Dominion agriculture.
The hon. Member made another very extraordinary statement. He asked whether it was not a fact that the Argentine, Brazil, Uruguay, Australia and New Zealand literally flooded the markets of this country on the basis that they were expecting a quota and on the assumption that 1932 would be the year to be taken for the purpose of the comparison. One would imagine, however, that, if they had flooded the markets, the aggregate imports this year would have been greater than those of last year, but, for the first nine months, by a curious chance, the imports were about 2 per cent. less in quantity than was the case last year. The hon. Member said that the only part of this subject with which he was conversant was the part relating to the relationship between retail prices and wholesale prices, and on this he was very informative. He accurately pointed out that shopping habits have resulted in a greater oncost between wholesale and retail prices than used to be the case before the War, because of the increased services rendered by the distributors, and I hope that some of his friends will take that fact into account when they indulge in quite unjust denunciations of certain people for profiteering. With regard to the rest, all of which I have analysed and find to be inaccurate, he says that it was borrowed—that, in other words, he was suffering from the disability of speaking from a brief from the Bright Boys of Transport House.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
Certainly, and it is not a bad one either. I would suggest that there would be some advantage in his passing the news back, so that they might not let him down as badly in the future as they have done on this occasion. I think that everyone who listened 644 to it was very much impressed by the notable speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto). It was, if I may say so, a very valuable contribution to the Debate. I think that the proposal we are now discussing is very revolutionary in character. It affects, roughly, one-eighth of our imports, if you have regard to the supplies of all meat. It is very much bigger than anything else we have yet discussed in our movement from a Free Trade to a Protectionist system. It is worthy of every consideration from this House, and I think, with great respect to the benches in front, that it is worthy of a reply from one of those who were present at Ottawa. I am very glad to see that the Secretary of State for the Colonies is now present, because, without any disrespect to other hon. Gentlemen who were not present at Ottawa as delegates, I think we are entitled to the very fullest information on this matter, about which some of us have some doubts. It is revolutionary in principle, but timorous in detail.
The consumption of meat in this country—by "meat" I mean beef, mutton and veal; I am not speaking of pig products for the moment—is, in round figures, 2,000,000 tons a year. The restrictions under this scheme, as far as I can work it out, when it is in full operation 21 months ahead, will be applied to some 50,000 tons; the imports from certain foreign countries are rather less than 50,000 tons so far as I can make out. In other words, the restriction applies, in effect, to somewhere between 2 and 2 per cent. of our meat supply. That is a very small restriction indeed.
On the other hand, in fairness it must be borne in mind that our consumption of meat is extraordinarily stable; it does not increase to any very remarkable extent if prices fall, and does not decrease very much if prices rise. One of the things, apparently, that the people of this country are willing to make sacrifices to get is their meat supply. If that be the case, the arguments of the Government are strengthened because they can say that, although you take only a small fraction of what is on the market, the effect on prices will be very marked indeed. On the other hand, a cut of from 2 to 2½ per cent. in 21 months from now does not seem to be a very drastic remedy for something which is imperilling the 645 whole of British agriculture at this moment, and, by so doing, is aggravating the unemployment problem of every town. In the first place, British agriculture is far and away the biggest market for British manufactured goods. The whole of British agriculture buys from British industry as much as the whole of Western Europe put together. If these people lose their employment, they naturally cannot buy, and they are driven into the towns to compete with the industrial population, and it is important that the most drastic steps should be taken in this connection.
I am one of those who think that a quota system ought to be applied only in most exceptional circumstances, and we want to know from the Government what they regard as the exceptional circumstances. I think that the boldest thing that has been done in political life for many years was the declaration which appears on pages 54 and 55 of this report. I think that Ministers are entitled to every praise for having boldly said, "Meat prices are too low, and we intend to raise them." There is no popularity in a declaration of that kind; it required real courage, and they showed it; and I think they were right. The speech of the hon. Member for Westhoughton indicates that less than a proportionate increase in retail prices will follow the necessary increase in wholesale prices. Naturally, if there is a rise in wholesale prices, there will be some rise in retail prices, but no Member of the Labour party can object to that" because every Member of the party takes the view that you are not entitled to sell goods at prices Which sweat those who produce them, and that is the position to-day with regard to meat production.
The view is expressed, or will be expressed, I have no doubt, that regulation by duty cannot be effective, on the ground that, if you do put on a duty, the taxfree supply from the Dominions and from this country is so large that you cannot produce any effect on prices. That argument is certainly true so long as the tax is small, like the tax of 10 per cent. for which I voted last February. I think there were 44 of us who voted for it, but the majority of the House was against us. That tax certainly would not have raised the price at all, though it would have brought a very satisfactory revenue 646 —25,000,000 or£6,000,000 a year—into the Exchequer. But there is a point beyond which, if you raise an import duty, it begins to have an effect on prices, and I am by no means convinced that it would not be possible by an import duty to bring about an essential rise in prices and to save British agriculture, of which livestock is the mainstay. It may be that the arguments which the Government can adduce will show that I am wrong, though I am satisfied that I am right at the moment.
I distrust a quota system, because a quota is a most sterilising thing. It is true that, if the bulk of a commodity is in the hands of only a few firms, the administration may be comparatively easy, but the fact that it is in the hands of only a few firms makes it all the more dangerous. The objection to the quote is, first, that it destroys freedom of trade—which is very different from Free Trade—and makes it impossible for anyone else ever to start in the business. If you are going to have a quota system in which you license imports, you have to give the licences to someone, and if you do not have licences because you can come to an arrangement, you have to come to an arrangement with the people who are already in the industry.
I am rather tired of rationalisation; thank goodness no one ever mentions that dread word now. It has now largely gone out of date, and largely it was a false idea. After all, it is only nationalisation mildly applied, and both suffer from the same fundamental evil of trying to do things on too large a scale. I am distrustful of organisation of that kind, particularly if it is likely to preserve people in existence irrespective of whether they continue efficient or not. Therefore, there is quite a big moral issue, and some of us would very much prefer regulation by a duty. A duty brings in some revenue, but, if you have a quota, any rise in prices benefits not only British but foreign producers, and part of the benefit will be deliberately paid away to foreigners. It may be that those foreigners are situated in countries where we have large interests, and that, therefore, there is a case to be made out on the ground of British interests for raising Argentine meat prices. That is debatable, and it may be one of the factors which His Majesty's Ministers 647 take into account, but I want to hear the whole case on both sides. I frequently disagree with the Sunday "Observer," but yesterday it stated the case very admirably. It said:The one disappointment of last week's great Debate was the failure of Ministers to expound the 'quota' features of the Ottawa Agreements. This is a device of which we have never concealed our distrust. It is far more obstructive of the natural genius of trade than any tariff can ever be. It stereotypes production and deprives the consumer of any relief from an inefficient supply, and nothing could be more calculated to foment friction among the parties to a commercial pact. A tariff has the virtue of working automatically, whereas a quota needs personal (and political) attention in every phase of its operation.5.0 p.m.
I think that that is an admirable statement in a few words, and it represents a point of view that many of us hold. I have spoken to a great many people since the Ottawa Agreements were first announced, and I have still to meet anyone who really likes a quota scheme as compared with a tariff; and, as this is the first time, so far as I am aware, that we have ever had the opportunity of contrasting the possibilities of a quota with those of a tariff, I hope we shall get from the Government a very adequate exposition of their scheme. Up to the present we do not know exactly how they are going to put it into operation. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Barn-staple, I shall support this proposal, because it is better than doing nothing. I realise that the Ottawa Agreement stands as a whole, and I shall vote for every part of it as part of a whole. I think it has been a brilliant success—far better than many of us expected. [Interruption.] I must not make a Second Reading speech, but there is no reason why we should not put forward criticisms in detail, and particularly with respect to this scheme, because it is a provisional scheme. There will be time to modify it 18 months ahead, and possibly before if you wish, by negotiation. I very much doubt whether there will be any particular difficulty in inducing the Dominions to accept regulation by duty rather than by quota. I hope that we shall get from those who speak for the Government an effective and full explanation in defence of the proposals as contrasted with the proposal that might be made of regulation by tariff.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)
I am very much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for making the remarks he has made on the South African question. South Africa did not ask to be included in the specific scheme which is outlined as a schedule to the main Agreement. South African interests are covered by Article 7 of the South African Agreement. The industry in South Africa is only a developing industry. Its development may certainly be rapid, but, at any rate, it was not necessary immediately to mention figures with regard to South Africa in the scheme which will start to operate next January. South African interests are protected by that article, and it is certainly the intention of the Government to stand by the undertaking that they have given to the South African Government.
I was asked what is to happen to the Empire Marketing Board when the scheme comes into operation. My hon. Friend told the House that the Empire Marketing Board is spending something like£400,000 annually on its work. His assumption, apparently, was that the whole of that£400,000 is spent on publicity work in general and publicity work for the sale of Empire lamb, mutton and beef in particular. That is very far from the truth. Only a small fraction of that sum is spent on advertising. Far the greater part of the Board's resources are spent on all kinds of agricultural research, which, of course, must continue whether these Agreements come into operation or not. Only a small fraction of the sum is spent on publicity, and only quite a small fraction of that fraction has been spent on trying to persuade hon. Members, and the public generally, to buy Australian or New Zealand mutton or lamb or Empire meat of any kind at all.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
Will that part of the£400,000 that is spent by the Empire Marketing Board on publicity in connection with these articles be stopped?
§ Mr. MacDONALD
That, of course, is a matter which the Empire Marketing Board itself will have to consider. No doubt, if my hon. Friend's point is a sound one, the Board will agree with him. At any rate, it is quite a mis- 649 apprehension to suppose that anything but a very small fraction of the£400,000 is concerned with the question that we are discussing. This proposal is, therefore, not designed to take over the functions of the Empire Marketing Board. The scheme of restriction of meat imports is designed to tackle one of the causes of the world trade depression. Members on all sides of the House, including hon. Members opposite and hon. Members below the Gangway, have deplored the fall in wholesale prices, and that fall has been particularly deplorable in the case of certain kinds of meat. This proposal, with its deliberate objective of raising wholesale prices, is intended to increase the purchasing power of primary producers throughout the world. Hon. Members opposite are always talking about the value of purchasing power. I do not believe there is anyone on this side of the House who would dispute the principle which they maintain so stoutly.
Here is a proposal designed to improve the purchasing power of important sections of our community at home and of the community in the Dominions and of the agricultural populations in foreign countries as well, and, if it is true that one of the great causes of our depression is the fall in the purchasing power of primary producers throughout the world, certainly this proposal, as far as it goes, should he welcomed on all sides of the House. The Chancellor of the Exchequer dealt faithfully with the actual present position on Tuesday and showed conclusively how in the last three or four years, as imports of mutton and lamb in particular have increased, the value of those commodities has fallen until I believe everyone would admit that the price received by farmers for these things has reached an unremunerative level. If that state of things goes on, it will result in the ruin of farmers engaged in this production in this country as well as in the Dominions, in the Argentine and in any other countries concerned. This proposal, therefore, is designed to tackle that root cause of the depression in which we are so unhappily involved to-day. If, as my right hon. Friend argued on Tuesday, the fall of prices to an unremunerative level is connected directly with the increasing volume of imports of mutton and lamb, the first and most commonsense method of tackling the problem is to try to regulate 650 those imports so that supply has some kind of reasonable relationship to demand.
The last speaker urged the merits of the tariff method as against the one proposed by the Government. The point of these Resolutions is to carry through by the ordinary machinery of this House the ratification of Agreements reached by the Government. They simply cover the terms of those Agreements. I assure my hon. Friend that the alternative methods of regulating imports were all discussed at Ottawa, and it was as the result of all the discussions that the representatives of the different Governments, our own, the Australian and New Zealand Governments, and to a certain extent the South African Government, agreed that the most effective method, in the interests of our own producers and of those of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, was the quota method. It is because of careful examination by those men at Ottawa that this particular method is included in the Agreements and that the Government are asking the House to give its approval to the method so decided.
§ Sir B. PETO
Will the hon. Gentleman tell us why the Dominions representatives thought it would be more effective to confine the regulation of imports solely to the small part of our imports of frozen meat from foreign countries and leave the larger part of the imports from the Dominions unregulated?
§ Mr. MacDONALD
It is riot unregulated at all. Several hon. Members have expressed doubt as to the effectiveness of what has been decided. They assent to the principle, but they are not quite certain about the practice. This does more than call a halt to the unrestricted importation of all kinds of meat. Every kind of meat imported is restricted, from whatever part of the world it comes. There is to be a considerable reduction in the imports from foreign countries, but it is not true to suggest that the Dominions do not have a limitation placed upon themselves because limits of imports are laid down in the scheme.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
Most certainly it does. I was also asked whether these 651 figures are to be stabilised. The part of the Agreement that gives the figures starts by saying:Statement showing the maximum quantity of foreign meat allowed to be imported.The intention of the Government, and of all the Governments concerned at Ottawa, was to raise the wholesale price of meat to a remunerative level in the interest of the primary producers concerned, and, naturally, the interpretation of that is going to be such as to achieve the objective in view.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
When the total imports under restriction come into this country, will there be a gap between the demand and the supply, taking into consideration the volume from outside the country and the home production, which is to be filled by the British farmer? Also, will the increase in the commodity price give the British farmer an economic price for his production?
§ Mr. MacDONALD
Certainly. The primary object of the scheme is that the home producer of meat shall be able to supply the market as far as he possibly can and, naturally, a scheme which is devised in order to raise the wholesale price to a remunerative level is going to apply to meat sold by the home farmer as well as to meat sold by the Dominions and foreign producers of mutton and lamb.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
I realise the object, but are the Government quite sure, as far as they are able to make certain, that the rise in the commodity price for meat in England will ensure to the British farmer under these restrictions an economic price for his production?
§ Mr. MacDONALD
All that I can state at this moment is the intention of the Government, and the hon. Member really must give credit to my right hon. Friends on this bench for having tried, in working out any details, to realise their honest intention to the home producers concerned.
§ Mr. R. W. SMITH
I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman will reply to the question I put or not, but I am afraid that my point was not quite understood. Are the Government precluded by these Agreements with the Dominions from 652 putting further quota restrictions upon the foreign imports of meat? That is a direct question.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I thought that I had dealt with the point. I pointed out that the figures are maximum figures, and are stated to be such in the Agreement itself. I think that that answers the question which the hon. Member put to me.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I do not know what other interpretation can be put upon those words in the Agreement, and I stand by those words, and the Government stand by those words.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I would point out again to doubters who are not quite sure how the home agriculturist is to benefit by this Agreement that paragraph 4 of Schedule H, in page 54, lays down the general intention of the plan, and reads as follows:The policy of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom in relation to meat production is, first, to secure development of home production, and, secondly, to give to the Dominions,etc.
I would point out that that principle is not only a declaration by the Government of the United Kingdom, but that it received the approval of the Australian, New Zealand and South African Governments. If the Government are not successful in carrying out their intention, then I have no doubt that they will have the assistance of hon. Members who are concerned in administering the proposal in whatever way is going to carry out the primary intention of the scheme of which we ask the House to give its approval in the form of a Financial Resolution.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I think that that point possibly arises on the next Amend- 653 ment, but I would say, especially to my hon. and right hon. Friends opposite who are concerned about the point, that I recall speeches which they were making in this House two or three years ago on another subject. A similar situation arose in the coal-mining industry in this country. Through over-production and cut-throat competition, prices, according to my hon. Friends, had fallen to unremunerative levels, and in order to meet that situation, a precisely similar situation to that with which we are dealing to-day in the meat question, hon. Members supported a Coal Mines Bill which established a very definite system of regulation of production.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
Hon. Members were severely criticised on various points of the coal mines legislation. The question was put to them over and over again that if they legislated to increase the pithead price of coal, would it not mean an increase in the price of coal to the consumer? The reply of my hon. Friends was: "You must not reduce the purchasing power of the coalminer below a certain level. If the pit-head price of coal is too low to make a prosperous industry, we must regulate production in order to bring the price to a remunerative level." If that principle is to be applied rightly to the coal-mining industry, it should be applied to the meat production business as well. You cannot apply a safeguard to the miner or to the person interested in coal production, and deny the same safeguard to the farmer or agricultural worker. On the point of retail prices, we were, in those days, perpetually asked why we had not done something about retail prices in the Bill, and hon. Members defended the omission of anything specific about retail prices from the Bill. They said that their first object was to raise the pit-head price, the wholesale price, so to speak.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
One ought to correct the statement which the hon. Gentleman has just made because those representing either the mine-workers or this party were always willing to permit the consumer to have representation on all the district committees, and, in fact, 654 upon the national committee, who stand as a safeguard.
Mr. Mac DONALD
Those committees have not the function of fixing the retail prices of coal, and the question we were asked from the Front Bench opposite during the Debates last week upon the meat question was: Why, if you make an arrangement to regulate and fix wholesale prices, do not you include in the same Measure a regulation fixing retail prices? The answer which the Government give is the same as the late Government gave when they were facing exactly the same problem in the Coal Mines Bill.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I do not want to add to the interruptions which the hon. Member is receiving from the supporters of the Government but I wish to ask him, as he is quoting our speeches, kindly to quote the speech of the Lord Chancellor in another place and the speech of Mr. William Graham in introducing the Bill, who both said that if they had the power and the majority that was not the kind of Bill which they would bring forward. The hon. Gentleman has taken the trouble, without giving chapter and verse for his statement, to quote what purports to be the view of the late Government, and I only want him, if he is going to quote us, to quote the two introductory speeches, the one by the then President of the Board of Trade and the other by the Lord Chancellor.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I have no desire to be anything but fair in anything which I say about hon. and right hon. Members opposite. I think that my main point has been made, and that it is exactly analogous to the position taken up by the Labour Ministry two years ago. At any rate, we were faced at Ottawa, as we are faced here, with the problem of a great fall in the wholesale prices of meat, and anyone who is interested in the development of home agriculture must agree that there is no possibility of a development of our meat-producing industry in this country if wholesale prices remain at the level to which they have fallen. Anyone who votes for the deletion of this paragraph in the Resolution will be voting for a continuation of the chaos and lack of regulation which has produced these appalling results and still more appalling prospects. The 655 Government cannot possibly contemplate the continuation of that state of affairs and therefore are bound to resist the Amendment.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
The hon. Gentleman has possibly made the best of what I consider to be an extremely bad case. We are obliged to sympathise with both the hon. Gentleman and the Government, because no less than five speeches have been made, none of which has supported the Government, but all, more or less, have condemned the proposal, and we feel that the Government cannot be very happy in regard to the proposals which they have advanced. The hon. Gentleman who has replied for the Government, says that the proposal is to deal with one of the main causes of world depression, which is, presumably, over-production of beef, mutton and lamb. The object of the Government in dealing with this cause of world depression is to increase prices by restricting foreign imports, and by permitting increased imports from various parts of the Dominions. I ask the hon. Gentleman if it is the view of the Government that over-production of meat is really one of the great causes of world depression, and, if so, will he tell us why in these proposals there is definite encouragement to the Dominions to increase the supply of the commodity which is already here in abundance, the commodity, for instance, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us last Tuesday has been flooding this market from the Dominions. Indeed, this proposal encourages New Zealand by 1934 to increase her imports of mutton and lamb by approximately 400,000 cwts., and concedes the right to Australia even in the first year to increase her imports of frozen meat by 14,000 cwts. If superabundance is the cause of all the world depression, why do the hon. Gentleman and the Government deliberately encourage an increased output of the commodity of which there is already a superabundance?
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I did not say that the cause of the depression was the overproduction of anything at all. I said that one of the main causes was the reduced purchasing power of the primary producer. My remarks were particularly relative to that point.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I do not wish to misrepresent what the hon. Gentleman said, but I took down his words, and I think that the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow will show that I am correct:The proposals are to deal with one of the main causes of world depression, and the object really is to increase the price, and to improve the purchasing power of the producer.The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the hon. Gentleman himself declared that, as a result of the flooding of the British market by Dominion importers, supplies exceeded the demand, and during the present year the price had fallen, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer pointed out, from 60 per cent. over pre-War to 14 per cent. below pre-War. So that it was excessive supply which brought about the catastrophic fall in prices which the proposal of the hon. Gentleman is designed to improve. Is it not therefore a contradiction in terms to restrict foreign imports and at the same time to leave Dominion imports at the peak-point of 1932, with an excess over and above the peak point for 1933–34; or, in terms of beef, mutton and lamb, round about 450,000 cwts. more? Is not the world going to be still more flooded by this superabundance, arid will not the price possibly fall further in the years that lie ahead? If so, I would ask the hon. Gentleman the same question as was put by the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), and put to him the point submitted by the hon. Member for South Croydon. If this is an encouragement to the Dominions to increase the volume of a commodity or commodities already present in superabundance, to what extent is it going to help the home producer of food?
The hon. Member for Barnstaple gave us the figures as nearly correct as they could possibly be, namely, that the net decrease will be round about 4 per cent. on the year in which the peak point was reached so far as imports of beef, mutton and lamb were concerned. During the past three years the Dominions increased their imports by approximately 2,100,000 cwts. They took, therefore, the peak point. If we take the peak point, plus the additional output from the Dominions, the import licences and the restrictions of foreign imports, the net decrease on the peak year will be any- 657 where round about 4 per cent. Does the hon. Member expect that that is going to have any material effect upon prices? To what extent is it going to encourage the home producer of meat to increase his cattle? We understood from the last census that in cattle, sheep and pigs there was a formidable increase. The bottom has been knocked out of the prices. Consequently, what encouragement there may have been for diverting activities from arable cultivation to meat production has been destroyed by the Dominion importers of frozen mutton, lamb and beef. We do not see, therefore, that even the foreign restrictions will assist the British farmer to the extent of one single penny piece throughout the year, but we do see the possibility that when this policy is applied, if it is to be applied, that prices may be raised in a certain way without having any useful effect upon the producer either at home or abroad.
I would ask the hon. Member, to whom are they to grant these licences. To the Dominions only? Or will licences be granted to shipping companies and to recognised importers. Will he say to whom the import licences are, to be granted? I should like him to reply to that point. If, however, he is not ready or willing to give us that information, we can only reach certain conclusions. It is conceivable that unless some definite machinery is utilised for the purpose of importing the requisite quantities of beef, mutton and lamb from the Dominions, the shipowners can, by combination, determine the price they will pay to the primary producer in Australia and New Zealand. They will have it in their power to form a combination that will dominate the whole situation, and all the golden intentions of the hon. Gentleman and his Government may be brought to naught. Therefore, from that point of view we can see a source of jiggery pokery, or the possibilities thereof, unless and until the Government; make up their minds that a quota scheme is necessary—I do not admit or reject the idea—and the principles espoused by the hon. Member for years will have to be applied.
The Government will not have to leave such a machine in the hands of multifarious people in business, either traders or individuals whose outlook is not public 658 service, the well-being of the producer or of any one else. It will have to be either a Government institution or a semi-Government institution, to which licences will be granted for the importation of the permitted quantities of these commodities from the Dominions. We would like to know a little more about this matter, because we say that no real benefit can come to the home producer. We can easily see the possibility of the farmer in this country recognising that the quota system is no good to them, and wanting further restrictions put upon the importation of mutton, lamb and beef. We can see the possibility of more and more restrictions upon the importation of food, and the ties growing thinner and thinner between the various parts of the Empire. Therefore, we regard the whole scheme as something which no section of the House ought to support.
I disagree with the hon. Member for Bethnal Green, South West (Sir P. Harris) when he suggests that Government interference is wholly bad. If this scheme is to be made workable, with any hope for the home farmers or the Dominion producers it must of necessity be a Government scheme, controlled by the Government, and they will have to move away from wholesale prices and follow the matter down into the retail area. There is one important combine Which has 4,000 shops in this country. Suppose they get control of licences or certificates to import Dominion meat. Are they not going to control the prices in all our shops? Are they not going to do just as they like with the small butchers or the small retailers of meat, without any consideration for the bigger intentions of the hon. Member and his Government? If the Government are to avoid that, they must have a Government institution, and that Government institution must care as much for the retail price, that is, the consumer, as the Government are now seeking to care for the producer.
The point which the hon. Member raised about coal is by no means analagous. The Coal Mines Act, as the Lord Chancellor said, was merely a makeshift. He confessed in the House of Lords that no such Bill would have been introduced by a Labour Government if they had had a majority. The miners, the Labour Government, and the Labour party as a whole, said that order ought to be estab- 659 lished in the mining industry, without necessarily increasing the price of the commodity to the consumer. If our capacity for production was 330,000,000 tons, and our sales were only 240,000,000 tons, clearly we had 20 per cent. or 30 per cent. more production than was really necessary. Therefore, the intention of the Bill, much more than increasing the price to the consumer, was to concentrate on the output of the coal requisite to meet the normal demand on the more economic pit. There was no reason why the price of coal should have been increased. In fact, since the passing of the Coal Mines Act of 1930 there has been no material increase in the price of coal. Therefore there is no analogy between the two points.
We feel that prices may be manipulated by certain people who are to be granted import licences, persons so far unknown, and we say that it is possible to increase prices without the producer enjoying any benefit. You may restrict foreign imports of meat without in any way assisting the home producer of meat, and I do not think that the farmers will give their blessing to the Government for this. We are convinced that the Empire ties will grow thinner and thinner, that the scheme is the least scientific and the most haphazard and most clumsy scheme imaginable to deal with a problem of such magnitude. For these reasons, we feel that the whole scheme has been badly conceived, ill-thought-out, ill-planned, and only goes part way to do what the Government intends. For these reasons we have no alternative but to oppose it.
§ Mr. AMERY
The hon. Member has dealt with the analogy of the Coal Mines Act, by pointing out that the retail price has not been affected. If that is the case, there is some reason for supposing that an increase in wholesale prices due to the working of the Government scheme may also not affect the retail prices. If so, I think everyone will be content. I have risen only for a minute or two, in the first instance to congratulate my hon. Friend, the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, on the admirably clear and effective statement of Government policy which he gave, and also on a declaration which he made in his speech, in answer to a question, which is of the first importance. That declaration was to 660 the effect that the schedule of reductions embodied in the Agreements with the Dominions is the schedule of the maximum amounts to be allowed in from foreign countries, and that those figures can be reduced, and reduced substantially, by the Government if they wish. Further, I gathered that it is the intention of the Government to reduce those figures still further, if the present schedule is not adequate to bring about the necessary object—the raising of wholesale prices.
That is a very important declaration. The only addition which I would make to it is that, if that is the Government intention, they had much better revise that schedule straight away. I think that it is perfectly clear, if any one considers the actual figures, that that schedule, only applied by very small instalments after next January, can have no really adequate effect upon the terribly critical situation of British agriculture to-day. The reduction for the first quarter, beginning next January, is to be a reduction of 10 per cent. of frozen beef, mutton and lamb from foreign countries. The total importation from those sources is in the neighbourhood of 2,000,000 cwt. The reduction, therefore, will be 200,000 cwts. The total importation of all forms of meat, leaving aside pig meat, which is being dealt with separately, is in the neighbourhood of 16,500,000 cwts., and against that you have the further factor of the home production in those types of meat, which is about equivalent to the total importation. Therefore, what you are doing is to begin with a restriction of 200,000 cwts. on over 32,000,000 cwts., a restriction of just over one-half of one per cent., to be followed in subsequent quarters with a restriction of just over a quarter of one per cent.
Even assuming that prices are influenced by comparatively small margins, if one compares the fluctuations in the last few years and the disastrous fall in prices, it is absurd to suppose that so small a check on the figures can really achieve an immediate and urgent result. Therefore, I would implore the Government, in the interests of farmers who do not know where to turn, as well in the interests of the Dominions, to decide now upon a higher figure and upon the introduction of that figure upon the earliest possible date, without waiting 661 until the 1st January. I doubt, however, whether restriction alone can affect the object in view.
My hon. Friend suggested, I am sure unintentionally, that the Dominions did not want a duty, but only wanted restriction. It is a matter of common knowledge that the Dominions and all the representatives of British agriculture who went to Ottawa were in favour of the combination of a duty and restriction, but regarded a duty as an essential element in the policy. The most difficult stage of all in the Conference was reached largely because, for reasons outside pure economics, the British delegates were not prepared to concede a duty for which the Dominions pressed with the greatest insistence. The arguments used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer against the application of a duty were really not strong enough to meet the situation. It may be that a small duty will be paid by the foreigner. If so, why should he riot pay it and thus help the revenue? The Chancellor of the Exchequer may use it for the remission of other taxation, possibly for a meat scheme to help the British meat producers. In any case, it is easy to find out up to what point the foreigner will pay the duty and impose it for revenue purposes up to that point, and then impose whatever further duty you want to help in your policy of effective restriction. In dealing with so urgent and so critical a situation you should not despise any means and should reinforce your policy of restriction with the effective policy of a Duty.
More than that, I do not believe that the policy of a duty or of restriction, or both together, will meet the situation unless you are prepared also to have a monetary policy. The greater part of the terrible situation which affects all meat producers, and every primary producer, has been due to the change in the value of money, which has left all his overhead charges fixed but which has reduced fatally the cost of what he produces. In addition, a continuance of that situation brings about changes in the relative value of Empire currencies which completely upsets the situation. The excessive importation of some Dominion produce has been largely due to the fact that owing to our inadequate purchases from Australia, as compared with Australian purchases from us, the Australian exchange fell to a point which 662 offered a direct inducement to sending ever increasing quantities of meat at an ever falling price into our market.
If we wish to prevent that occurring, the right method is to arrive at a stable basis of currency relationship with the Dominions and at the same time, in that stable basis, to secure a rise in the price of sterling, when we shall once again restore a condition under which the producers of the Empire can produce at a figure at which they will be able to live and, in turn, support other producers of the Empire. The whole of these Ottawa arrangements are liable to be frustrated, and are in a large sense meaningless, unless they are supported and backed up by a reasonable monetary policy. I urge the Government in dealing with this matter, which affects not only the success of Ottawa but the life and death of English farming, to take all the measures which are required to deal with the situation, and to take them promptly. There is no time to be lost.
§ Sir HERBERT SAMUEL
I did not intend to intervene in the Debate, but the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs has made a statement this afternoon to which the attention of the House should be specially directed. Let me, first of all, say with how much pleasure his speech was heard in all quarters of the House. It was a most admirable, lucid and effective statement of the case entrusted to his hands. In the course of that speech and under pressure from those benches he made a statement of great significance. These Agreements, with regard to meat restrictions, embodied in the Blue Book we thought were the scheme. In the Agreements, and in the correspondence arising out of them, there is a list of percentage reductions of meat imports from certain foreign countries and we imagined that these were the reductions which were, in fact, to be effected. To-day the hon. Member has said that the reductions are not to be less than these, and might be more. I do not think I have misunderstood him. If I have, perhaps he will correct me before I go further. But his statement is perfectly clear, that these percentages in the Blue Book are the reductions which are now to be effected, but the Government are perfectly free to make further and larger reductions if, under pressure from the agricultual interests here or elsewhere, they find it desirable 663 to do so. Let the country quite clearly understand that the published statement made as to the extent of meat restrictions may prove only a first instalment and that the Government are perfectly free, from the moment this Measure is passed, to impose further and greater restrictions tending to reduce meat supplies to the British population to whatever low point they may think fit.
In our view that is most dangerous to the interest and welfare of the poorer sections of the community, and, in the second place—and this is the other point to which I desire to draw special attention—it is likely to have a direct effect on trade agreements with foreign countries, particularly the Argentine, Brazil and Uruguay with which the Government tell us they are now about to negotiate. We have been told again and again that foreign countries are only too ready to enter into trade agreements with us, that the Government are about to open up negotiations, the purpose of which is to expand our export trade in these countries, to get them to open their markets to us. We have said that the Ottawa Agreements will largely tie our hands and make it less easy for us to offer inducements to foreign countries to make arrangements of this kind. The statement made to-day reinforces that argument very powerfully. If there are any countries with which we wish to make favourable trade agreements they are the countries of South America, with large and expanding populations offering enormous markets for our produce. Now we are told that when we negotiate with these countries we shall have to be free to put on greater restrictions year after year on their principle export to this country, namely, cattle. If that is so, it is a most serious situation and very gravely affects the possibility of entering into these more favourable trade agreements, which all sections of the House desire to see made.
§ Sir SAMUEL CHAPMAN
We have certainly had a most excellent and clear statement from the Under-Secretary of State, which the agricultural interests will welcome with the greatest pleasure. The right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) has said something about a rise in the price of meat to the consumer. May I call his attention to the fact that when he was a Cabinet Minister his right hon. Friend the then Minister for Agri- 664 culture declared quite plainly in this House the object of the Government in going to Ottawa. On 7th April the then Minister of Agriculture used these words:One thing perfectly clear is that whether it is arable farming or stock raising, if the prices which the producer gets for his product do not pay the cost of production, it is impossible indefinitely for him to carry on."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th April, 1932; col. 433, Vol. 264.]My right hon. Friend who was then Secretary of State for Scotland speaking in the Debate on Scottish agriculture used these words:The Committee would not expect.…to enter upon a discussion.…of agricultural policy, nor do I think it is necessary after the very full and clear explanation of the Government's policy which has been given in successive statements by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture to go into the matter at any length."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd June, 1932; col. 1201, Vol. 267.]This declaration by the then Minister of Agriculture was made, I presume, with the consent of the right hon. Member for Darwen and the late Secretary of State for Scotland, and the Government are only now doing what we expected that they would do by the important declaration just made by the Under-Secretary of State for the Dominions. They are going to see that the farmers of this country get a fair price for their produce. That is all. How they are going to implement that promise I will not discuss now. But they are going to implement it, and the important declaration just made shows that they are going to implement a promise made when the right hon. Member for Darwen and his friend the late Secretary of State for Scotland were members of the Cabinet.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
We are very grateful to the hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Sir S. Chapman) for placing the responsibility for Ottawa where that responsibility rests. Members below the Gangway seem to be desirous of evading that responsibility, and the hon. Member has performed a real service in pointing out that all sections of the National Government, past and present, must take their full responsibility. I only want to try to understand the ultimate ideal of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery). I gather that he wants to restrict the supplies of meat and to raise the price of meat. The Government and employers throughout the country are 665 doing all they can to depress the purchasing power of the masses. As they steadily increase the number of the unemployed, the demand for meat necessarily will fall, because people will be unable to afford to buy meat; and they will have to restrict and restrict again the imports of meat and raise and raise the price; and the more they raise the price the less the impoverished people will be
§ able to buy. It seems to me that there is a secret conspiracy on the part of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook, and that his ultimate ideal, his aim, is to make us all vegetarians.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Resolution."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 285; Noes, 68.667
|Division No. 315]||AYES.||[6.0 p.m.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Dickle, John P.||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.|
|Albery, Irving James||Doran, Edward||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'1, W.)||Drewe, Cedric||Kirkpatrick, William M.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Duckworth, George A. V.||Knatchball, Captain Hon. M. H. R.|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Duggan, Hubert John||Knight, Holford|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Knox. Sir Alfred|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Dunglass, Lord||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Eden, Robert Anthony||Law, Sir Alfred|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Law. Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Atkinson. Cyril||Ellis, Robert Geoffrey||Lennox-Boyd. A. T.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Levy, Thomas|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Elmley, Viscount||Lewis. Oswald|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-|
|Balniel, Lord||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Lioyd, Geoffrey|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Couper||Entwistle. Cyril Fullard||Loder, Captain J. de Vera|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)|
|Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Everard, W. Lindsay||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Fielden. Edward Brocklehurst||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Bird. Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Fremantle, Sir Francis||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Blindell, James||Fuller, Captain A. G.||McLean, Major Alan|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Ganzonl, Sir John||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Bossom, A, C.||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Boulton. W. W.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Magnay, Thomas|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Gledhill, Gilbert||Maitland, Adam|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Giuckstein, Louis Halle||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Goff, Sir Park||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.|
|Bracken, Brendan||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Meller, Richard James|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Greases-Lord, Sir Walter||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Millar, Sir James Duncan|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Grimston, R. V.||Mills. Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Brown, Ernest (Lelth)||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Milne, Sir John S. Wordlaw-|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks..Newb'y)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Mitcheson, G. G.|
|Burghley, Lord||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Hanbury, Cecil||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Burnett, John George||Hanley, Dennis A.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Caporn. Arthur Cecil||Hartland, George A.||Morgan, Robert H.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J.A.(Birm., W)||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Morrison, William Shepherd|
|Chamberlain. Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Muirhead, Major A. J.|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsf'd)||Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Cobb. Sir Cyril||Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||O'Connor, Terence James|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Cooke, Douglas||Hornby, Frank||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Horobin, Ian M.||Pearson, William G.|
|Courlauld, Major John Sewell||Horsbrugh, Florence||Penny, Sir George|
|Craddock. Sir Reginald Henry||Howard, Tom Forrest||Peters. Dr. Sidney John|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Petherick, M.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n,Biiston)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Denman. Hon. R. D.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Denville, Alfred||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Purbrick, R.|
|Pybus, Percy John||Selley, Harry R.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Ramsbotham, Herwald||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Ramsden, E.||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Ray, Sir William||Smith, R. W.(Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Somervell Donald Bradley||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Warrender, Sir victor A. G.|
|Remer, John R.||Soper, Richard||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Sotneron.Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Wells. Sydney Richard|
|Robinson, John Roland||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Ropner, Colonel L.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Rosbotham, S. T.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fyide)||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Ross, Ronald D.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Storey, Samuel||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Runge, Norah Cecil||Strauss, Edward A.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Withers, Sir John James|
|Salmon, Major Isidore||Summersby, Charles H.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Salt, Edward W.||Sutcliffe, Harold||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Tate, Mavis Constance||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Taylor, Vice-Adimiral E.A.(P'dd'grn,S.)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaka)|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Savery, Samuel Servington||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)||Major G. Davies and Lord Erskine.|
|Scone, Lord||Todd. A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Maxton, James|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall. George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pickering. Ernest H.|
|Banfield, John William||Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Z'tl'nd)||Price, Gabriel|
|Batey, Joseph||Harris, Sir Percy||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hicks, Ernest George||Roberts. Aled (Wrexham)|
|Briant, Frank||Hirst, George Henry||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Holdsworth, Herbert||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cove, William G.||Janner, Barnett||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cowan, D. M.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Thorne, William James|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Tinker. John Joseph|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kirkwood, David||White, Henry Graham|
|Edwards. Charles||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, David (Swansea. East)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Logan. David Gilbert||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Lunn, William||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|George, Major G. Lioyd (Pembroke)||Mabane, William||Wood. Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|George, Megan A. Lioyd (Anglesea)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro'.W.)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Mr. John and Mr. Groves.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
§ Mr. GEORGE HALL
I beg to move, in line 22, at the end, to insert the words:so long as such regulation does not result in any increase in retail prices of such frozen or chilled meat.The Amendment deals with the position of the retailer and the consumer under these proposals. On the previous Amendment we heard a lot about the producer. We on this side are very anxious that the interests of the consumer should be protected. It might well be that the proposals not only of the meat quota, but the whole of the proposals of Ottawa, will be judged very largely from two standpoints: First, as to how far they are going to give em-employment to those who are out of em- 668 ployment in this country; and, secondly, how far they will be responsible for increasing the cost of living to the working people. The lag between the wholesale price and the retail price is well known, more especially in the case of meat. I read with interest a question put to the President of the Board of Trade on Thursday by the hon. Member for Honiton (Mr. Drewe), who pointed out the difference between wholesale prices and retail prices. The President of the Board of Trade then said:I am aware that retail meat prices have not fallen in proportion to the prices received by the farmer for his stock."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 20th October, 1932; COL 319, Vol. 269.]The same thing might he said about the price of foreign or Dominion meat which 669 is sold in this country. We think that the Government should assist in protecting the interests of the consumer in this matter. We were rather alarmed at the statement made by the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs as to the possibility of reducing the quota, thereby making it possible to increase the wholesale price of meat. That increased price must inevitably fall upon the consumer. We must remember that at the present time, notwithstanding the reduction in wholesale prices, the cost. of living in this country is still 45 per cent. above what it was before the War. It has gone up by two points compared with a month ago. The same thing might be said about the cost of food only. In this increased cost of food there is no item, with the exception of two or three, which is more responsible for the increase than meat. have taken the trouble to look up the return which is issued by the Minister of Labour month by month, and I find that as far as meat is concerned, whether home produced or imported from the Dominions or foreign countries, the consumer has to pay something like 35 and 40 per cent. more for meat than he paid before the War. That indicates the "lag" between wholesale and retail prices.
It may, of course, he said that an increase in wholesale prices would wipe out or reduce the "lag," but we wish to satisfy ourselves that such an increase will not be passed on to the consumer, and that is the purpose of the Amendment. It may also be said that this would deal only with meat imported from foreign countries or the Dominions, but the Dominions Secretary knows that the majority of those who eat foreign meat in this country are working-people. They do not eat it from choice. They prefer British meat, if they have the wherewithal to purchase it, but, unfortunately, owing to economic conditions, the large mass of the working-people have to purchase foreign instead of British-produced meat. I know that wholesale prices have fallen and that retail prices have not fallen in the same proportion. We are asking the Government to give the consumer the protection which he ought to have in this respect. My right hon. Friend the Dominions Secretary knows that an increase in the cost of living is 670 tantamount to a reduction of wages. I do not think for a moment that he would stand for a reduction in wages, and, to be consistent, he ought not to stand for the possibility of any increase in the cost of living of the mass of the working people.
The Amendment is a reasonable one, and one which will protect the Government against those people who are prepared to exploit a position such as this. It is of no use for the Dominions Secretary to try to ride off, as the Under-Secretary attempted to ride off, on the analogy of the Coal Mines Act. No one knows better than the Under-Secretary why such protection as this was not put into the Coal Mines Act, and it ill becomes him to chide us because we did not, in the Coal Mines Act, take the protection which we think ought to be taken under these proposals. He knows why we did not take that protection and the possibilities are that now that a certain section has left it, this party has become a little more wide-awake, a little more sensible. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, I say, knows why this protection was not taken in the Coal Mines Act, and I repeat that it ill becomes him or his Under-Secretary to chide us on this side of the House in reference to a matter of that kind. But whether it was right or wrong on that occasion, we definitely say that it is right on this occasion. We ask the Government to consider favourably this reasonable Amendment in order that the consumer may be protected against proposals which might involve a very large increase in the cost of living to the poorest of the people.
I trust that the Government will give reasonable consideration to this Amendment. I do not see why they should object to it, because we have been told already by Ministers that during last summer an analysis was made of the wholesale and retail prices of meat, and it has been admitted that there is a tremendous divergence between the wholesale prices and the prices which the poor people have to pay. During the discussion on the Import Duties Act, we claimed that the provisions of that Act would increase the cost of living to the poor people purchasing articles in the retail shops. Ministers defending those proposals said that the cost of living had not 671 increased owing to the duties imposed on foreign articles of food, and claimed that the cost of living had, in fact, undergone a decrease of two points. They were quoting the wholesale prices of food. But if the Government are now bringing in a full-blooded Tory Protectionist scheme; if they are going to offer to the manufacturers and to the producers of food, both here and in the Dominions, a levy or tax to increase wholesale prices, then some measure of protection ought to be given to the poor people who have to spend their earnings in the retail stops.
I could never understand the tariff reformer who was anxious to pursue the policy now being pursued by the Government, of giving Protection to the manufacturers alone. If Protection has any virtues at all—and I have failed to see them up to now—surely it ought to be applied at the bottom as well as at the top. In this case, on the admission of Ministers themselves, the only people who are getting protection are the people who deal with wholesale prices, and they can charge what they like to the general public. When the Import Duties Act was under consideration I took great care in collecting details from many parts of Yorkshire as to the retail prices of articles before and after the imposition of duties. The then Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade said it was perfectly true that retail prices had gone up and that the housewife was paying far more after the Import Duties started than she had been paying before. Whether wholesale prices went up or not it was a certainty that the poor people's wages were buying less than they had bought previously. Unless we have the protection sought by this Amendment the same thing will happen again under these proposals. As I say, if there are virtues in this Protection, surely the working man's wife ought to be protected by some regulation of retail prices within limits of reason, commonsense and justice.
During this summer, in Cheshire, sheep were sold at 3s. 9d. a head but my wife was paying 1s. 8d. a pound for meat like everybody else in the district from which I come. Unless we are to have some guarantee that retail prices will be controlled, Protection will do only one thing, and that is help to fill the pockets of those who are dealing with wholesale 672 commodities and passing on the charge to the general consumer. As the Government apparently have decided to push on this policy of Protection and of high tariffs, first of all on foodstuffs, before considering the reorganisation of industry and the increase of wages, we suggest seriously that they should consider our proposal. In every industry for the last 12 months we have seen a reduction of the spending power of the wage-earners. Wages are being reduced and at the same time the Government are pursuing a policy which is bound to increase the cost of living unless the people have some protection of the kind which we suggest in this Amendment.
I am not prepared to give way. I am going to finish what I have to say, and then the hon. Member can say what he likes. We do not agree with the Government's Protectionist policy, but we say that if the Government consider it right to apply that policy, then they ought to give the people at the bottom of the scale the same protection as they are giving to the manufacturers. What are the Ottawa agreements to end in? In making the rich richer, and the poor poorer. In this case we ask for the inclusion of a simple Amendment in the interests of the retail purchaser, the people at the bottom of the ladder, the men and women who have to depend on small incomes, the unemployed who have to depend on transitional benefit, the thousands who have to depend upon public assistance. They are the first people to whom protection ought to be offered by this Government if they were really a National Government.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Dr. Burgin)
The Government, welcome this opportunity of making quite clear to the House that they have the interest of the consumer very much at heart. It is apparent that retail prices in connection with such a commodity as meat are of first-rate importance, and I desire to deal with the Amendment by showing some of the provisions which have been included in the Ottawa Agreements to make certain, as far as possible, that difficulties of the kind indicated shall not arise. In the first place, paragraph 8 of Schedule H 673 of the Australian Agreement makes it clear that the whole of this scheme of meat restrictions can be suspended if the supplies are inadequate. Quite apart from that power to bring the scheme to an end, there is a further important announcement in paragraph 6 of Schedule H of the same Agreement to the effect that the whole scheme is experimental and that during the year 1933, in the light of the experience that has been gained by operating this limitation scheme, it is hoped in consultation with the Commonwealth of Australia Government to arrive at an improved price situation, and a more orderly marketing of supplies.
This Amendment is sought to be incorporated in a Resolution which empowers the Board of Trade to carry out this regulation of importation scheme. It is a machinery Resolution. It is a Resolution which gives the Board of Trade the responsibility for seeing that the regulation of imports is carried out without damage to any interest. I think perhaps the most interesting piece of information which I can give to the House is that it is the hope of the Government that the regulation will not be necessary at all, owing to the agreement of the trade interests. The representatives of the trade in all its branches have already been conferring with the Government and it is hoped, entirely independent of the powers which a Government. Department must necessarily have in reserve, to arrive at an orderly scheme for working out the intention of the Ottawa provisions with regard to meat, without the necessity, except perhaps in minor respects, of doing it by way of regulation at all. The plentiful supplies of meat at present available give no ground for thinking that there is likely to be any substantial increase in retail prices. That appears to be pure assumption. I accept the suggestion of the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall) in saying that the consideration of proposals will be governed, partly by the number of extra people who will be put into employment as a result of them, and partly by any effect which it will have on the price to the consumer.
We cannot discuss the first of those two suggestions until some experience has been gained, but it is the Depart- 674 ment of the Board of Trade in regulating this scheme that will have very prominently in view the second matter, in seeing that the consumer is not exposed to any prejudice as a result of the way in which the regulation of the scheme is operated. On the mere question of wording, it would not be possible to accept this Amendment. It is obviously impossible to say that regulations shall be brought in but only so long as no rise in retail prices is caused. It might no doubt be possible, if it. were the wish of the House, to say that if a rise took place, there would be certain regulations to counteract such a rise, but we think the point is unnecessary and that it may be possible for the trade itself to regulate these imports without Government intervention, and we think that any prospect of a rise in prices is extremely slight. For these reasons and for the practical difficulty, I must decline to accept the Amendment.
§ Sir STAFFORD CRIPPS
I should like to congratulate the hon. Member on having spoken from that Box for the first time, and I am sure the House will wish to join in those congratulations. I am afraid that what he has told us has not inspired us with any very great confidence in the Government's intentions. We were under the impression that this was an inquiry which was going to give the Board of Trade certain powers which they would exercise, but he now tells us that. it is going to be done by agreement with the trade interests. It is the trade interests which are the worst features of proposals such as these, and if the interests of the consumer, which are very much at the heart of the Government, are to be left to the trade interests, he will indeed fare badly, because it is those trade interests, the large meat combines, the trusts which control this class of trade, that have shown the greatest skill in taking the maximum amount out of the consumer and the producer in the past; and if some form of regulation is to be introduced, if the trade interest is to be _left to agree upon the method of controlling prices, we are even more afraid than we were before.
But I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that he should accept the Amendment, because it will vastly strengthen his hands. He says he sees no reason why 675 retail prices should rise, but what enormous power he would have, when dealing with the trade interests, if he were to say, "You must so regulate this that the retail prices do not rise because the House of Commons has insisted upon it." Surely the hon. Gentleman will appreciate that we are doing our utmost to strengthen his hands in negotiations with the trade interests, so that the consumer may not be left entirely at their mercy. Mere vague phrases like having the consumers' interests much at heart do not really cut much ice if you are not prepared to put into the Resolution and the Bill which follows it some effective control of retail prices in the consumers' interests.
§ Mr. ANEURIN BEVAN
I found it very difficult to understand the hon. Gentleman's reply at all, because in the one part of his speech he told the House that it was the Government's intention to use these powers to make regulations in order to prevent an increase in the retail price of meat, and in the other part of his speech he told us that the purpose of the regulations was to bring about an improved price situation. I would like to know precisely what the hon. Gentleman means by an improved price situation. Is it an improved price situation for the consumer of meat I If it is, then I understand that he proposes to accept our Amendment, because nothing would provide more adequately for an improved price situation for the consumer of meat than power to withdraw the regulations restricting the importation of meat if the price rose. But I gather that it is not his intention to protect the consumer at all, because an improved price situation means an improved price situation for the seller and the producer of meat, so that the primary purpose of the regulation is to secure an increase in the price of meat. That is clear.
§ Mr. BEVAN
That is precisely what I wanted, but the Amendment is directed to preventing an increase in retail prices. I followed the argument of the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs in the previous Debate, and I gathered from him that the purpose of these regulations was to 676 correct what has been described as the disequilibria between the nations producing primary products and the nations producing manufactured products. How are the countries producing primary products, like meat, going to be put in an improved position if the people of the manufacturing nations are made too poor to buy their products? I would like to know that, because it has always puzzled me. I have heard for some time—in fact, it has been the favourite theme of many textbooks on the present depression—that the main cause of the depression is the disequilibria to which the hon. Gentleman referred; but I always gathered that the one way of restoring equilibria was to reduce the cost of production of manufactured goods.
This attempts to obtain equilibria by reducing the consuming power of the manufacturing countries. How will those countries producing meat secure a larger market for meat in this country if people buy less meat? The answer is obviously that if the people have to pay more for meat, they will consume less of other things, and more money will be flowing into the nations producing primary products. I suppose that would be the answer. But we only want the nations producing primary products to get more money in order to buy more manufactured goods, but if they have secured more money already by our people withdrawing their consumption of manufactured goods in order to pay the higher prices for meat, there is not a total increase in the volume of manufactured goods. I would like the hon. Gentleman, who is now such a valuable ally to the Government and who will provide the Government with a great deal of international learning, perhaps knowing much more than I do about this problem, to explain to the House how he is going to obtain a larger market for Canada by making English consumers of Canadian meat pay more for their meat and therefore buy less manufactured goods in the British market.
Equilibria between the manufacturing countries and the countries producing primary products cannot be established by impoverishing the poorer people in the manufacturing countries. It can only be done by raising the standards of consumption all round, and I do not know whether I would be in order, though I 677 believe I would be, in referring to the extraordinary argument used by the Under-Secretary of State for the Dominions. He used the analogy of coal and said that the purpose of the regulation of the coal industry was not primarily to reduce the price of coal, but to enable the industry itself, within the bounds of the secured market, to reorganise itself to produce cheaper coal scientifically and to eliminate from the coal industry many collieries that are now kept in existence because the market, is quite unknown.
Here is a regulation whose sole purpose is to increase the price of meat to the consumer in order that there might be an increase of revenue to the meat-producing industry of Canada. I suggest that the hon. Gentleman has not left his party for so long that he has forgotten one of its cardinal principles. I have learned that one of those cardinal principles is that the principal cause of the world depression, or at least the chief cause of its continuation, is the fact that so very many people have been thrown out of employment, that their consuming power has been greatly reduced, that as a consequence of that more people still have been thrown out of work, and that if you are going to find your way out of the depression at all, it must be by giving the mass of the people higher standards of consumption to set the producer at work.
One of the hon. Gentleman's first duties as a Member of this National Government is to get up at that Box and defend this proposal, a proposal whose primary purpose it is to reduce the consuming power of the mass of the people of this country. What an astonishing position to get into. I have seen some strange somersaults in my time, but never one quite as complete as that; and he used the analogy of the Coal Mines Act, sitting beside his colleague there—an Act having many good features, but most of its bad features due to the people who have now left this party, and they know it very well. I would suggest to the hon. Member that if he is going to defend these policies in future in this House, he should do so on the ground of pure politics, in which he is such an adept. Let him not attempt to defend them on the ground of economics, because economics has as much to do 678 with the National Government as have the principles of logic themselves.
§ Sir G. ELLIS
I cannot hear what has been going on without getting up, and I want to be quite frank about it. My friends and I have entered into certain negotiations to try to get the coal trade on a proper basis, and we did it with a definite end in view.
§ Sir G. ELLIS
I am sorry, but I have one other argument. My friends here have produced an Amendment, and they are asking the Government to accept it, but they are not in the least saying how the Amendment is to be worked out in a practical way. There has been no suggestion of that kind, and I want to put this to the Labour party from that point of view. They have allied to them an organisation which is, or ought to be, a complete protection to them against this long ladder of difference between wholesale and retail prices. I refer to the cooperative societies. They can watch most carefully the difference between wholesale and retail prices, particularly in the meat market, and if they find other butchers not taking the position which they think ought to be taken, they can immediately cut prices and bring the butchers into line. That is the sort of process that has begun in parts of the country where people believe that the rungs of the ladder of wholesale and retail prices are too wide, and already farmers are selling direct to the public. There is no need for this Amendment, because the Labour party have in their own body a full opportunity of seeing that the consumers are treated properly.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
I agree that the competition between the co-operative societies and the ordinary traders should enable the public to get commodities at proper prices. What amazes me is the argument that comes from the Government Bench. The Government emphasise the fact that their purpose is to raise wholesale prices. The declaration to which I have already referred says:The object of the above regulation of imports into the United Kingdom is to raise the price level of frozen meat,and so on quite clearly in various letters and memoranda. If the increased price is to be passed on from the wholesaler to 679 the retailer, who is to pay? Perhaps the Government will explain. Do they suggest that the retailers are getting exceptionally high profits and that the public is being robbed? If they do, it is an unfair attack on the butchers, who are no worse than any other retailers. It has yet to be proved that there is any combine or trust to prevent the public getting the advantage of low prices. On the other hand, there is the evidence of the Royal Commission on Food Prices, which made a long investigation for two years and examined accounts and wit-
§ nesses. They proved to their own satisfaction—and they have not been proved to be wrong—that on the whole there is no clear evidence of any real monopoly in retail distribution. The rise in wholesale prices must inevitably be followed by a rise in retail prices, and the only people who will pay for this preference to a Dominion through the quota system will be the general public.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 46; Noes, 272.681
|Division No. 316.]||AYES.||[6.49 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Parkinson. John Allen|
|Banfieid, John William||Grundy, Thomas W.||Price, Gabriel|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cape, Thomas||Hicks, Ernest George||Thorne, William James|
|Cove, William G.||Hirst, George Henry||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, David||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Edwards. Charles||Lawson, John James||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|George, Major G. Lioyd (Pembroke)||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. John and Mr. Groves.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Chalmers, John Rutherford||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A. (Blrm.,W)||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Albery, Irving James||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Allen. Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Fielden. Edward Brocklehurst|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Choriton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Fox, Sir Gifford|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Clarke, Frank||Fremantle, Sir Francis|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Clayton, Dr. George C.||Fuller, Captain A. G.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Gillett, Sir George Masterman|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Colfox, Major William Philip||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Gluckstein, Louis Halle|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cooke, Douglas||Goff. Sir Park|
|Balniel Lord||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Cranborne, Viscount||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Crossley, A. C.||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Davidson. Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Grimston, R. V.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Davison, Sir William Henry||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Boulton, W. W.||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Gulnness, Thomas L. E. B.|
|Bowyer. Capt. Sir George E. W.||Denville, Alfred||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Hall. Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Doran, Edward||Hanbury, Cecil|
|Bracken, Brendan||Drewe, Cedric||Hanley, Dennis A.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Duckworth. George A. V.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington. N.)||Hartland, George A.|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Dunglass, Lord||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenn'gt'n)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Eastwood, John Francis||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Eden. Robert Anthony||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Ellis. Sir R. Geoffrey||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chein sford)|
|Burghley, Lord||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Elmley, Viscount||Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)|
|Burnett, John George||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John waller|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Campbell. Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Hornby, Frank|
|Horobin Ian M.||Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Howard. Tom Forrest||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)|
|Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||O'Connor, Terence James||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Hudson. Robert Spear (Southport)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Somerville, Annesley A (Windsor)|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Palmer, Francis Noel||Soper, Richard|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Peake, Captain Osbert||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Pearson, William G.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Penny, Sir George||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Jamieson, Douglas||Petherick, M.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fyide)|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Kirkpatrick, William M.||Pete, Geoffrey K.(W'verhipt'n,Bliston)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Pike, Cecil F.||Storey, Samuel|
|Knight, Holford||Pybus, Percy John||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Ramsay, T. B W. (Western Isles)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Ramsbotham, Herwaid||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Ramadan, E.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Lewis, Oswald||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Ray, Sir William||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Lioyd, Geoffrey||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G.(Wd. Gr'n)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Remer, John R.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Mabane, William||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Robinson, John Roland||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Rosbotham, S. T.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Scaham||Ross, Ronald D.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Ward. Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|McLean, Major Alan||Runge, Norah Cecil||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffietd,B'tside)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Salmon. Major Isidore||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Marsden, Commander Arthur||Salt, Edward W.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw-||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Mitchell, Harold P.(Betf'd & Chisw'k)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Savery, Samuel Servington||Womersley, Waiter James|
|Monsen, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Scone, Lord||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Moreing, Adrian C.||Selley, Harry R.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Morgan, Robert H.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Morrison, William Shephard||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Mr. Blindell and Major C. Davies.|
|Muirhead, Major A. J.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."682
§ The House divided: Ayes, 269; Noes, 69.685
|Division No. 317]||AYES.||[6.59 p.m.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Brass, Captain Sir William||Courtauld, Major John Sewell|
|Alnery, Irving James||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandernan (B'k'nh'd)||Broadbent, Colonel John||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootie)|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Brocklebank, C, E. R.||Croom-Johnson, R. P.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Crossley, A. C.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Brown. Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolie||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Burghley, Lord||Davies, Maj. Geo.F.(Somerset,Yeovli)|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Davison, Sir William Henry|
|Balilie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Burnett, John George||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Butler, Richard Austen||Denville, Alfred|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.|
|Balniel, Lord||Capers, Arthur Cecil||Dicke, John P.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Drewe, Cedric|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Chalmers, John Rutherford||Duckworth, George A. V.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.Sir.J. A.(Birm.,W)||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Dunglass, Lord|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Eastwood, John Francis|
|Blindell, James||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Eden, Robert Anthony|
|Bossom, A. C.||Clayton. Dr. George C.||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Elliston, Captain George Sampson|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Colfox, Major William Philip||Elmley, Viscount|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Collins, Rt. Hon, Sir Godfrey||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.|
|Bracken, Brendan||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Cooke, Douglas||Entwistle, Cyril Fu'lard|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Lioyd, Geoffrey||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Salt, Edward W.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Fox. Sir Gifford||MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Seaham)||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||MacDonald. Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||McKie, John Hamilton||Savory, Samuel Servington|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||McLean, Major Alan||Scone, Lord|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Selley, Harry R.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Magnay, Thomas||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw-||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Mitchell, Harold P.(Brtf'd & Chisw'k)||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Grimston, R. V.||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Soper, Richard|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Moreing, Adrian C.||Sotheron-Estcourt. Captain T. E.|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Morgan, Robert H.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Morrison, William Shepherd||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fyide)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Muirhead. Major A. J.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Hartland, George A.||Murray-Phillpson, Hylton Ralph||Steel-Maitland. Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth,Kenningt'n)||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Storey, Samuel|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Strickland. Captain W. F.|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||O'Connor, Terence James||Sutcliffe. Harold|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Palme Francis Noel||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Peake, Captain Osbert||Thomas. Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Pearson, William G.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. RI. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Petherick, M.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Touche. Gordon Cosmo|
|Hornby, Frank||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n,Bliston)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Horobin, Ian M.||Pike, Cecil F.||Turton. Robert Hugh|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Pybus, Percy John||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Hewitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Ward, Lt-Cot. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Hunter. Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Ramsden, E.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|James. Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Jamieson, Douglas||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Remer, John R.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Kirkpatrick. William M.||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Windsor-Clive. Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Knight, Holford||Robinson, John Roland||Withers, Sir John James|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Rosbotham, S. T.||Worthington. Dr. John V.|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Ross, Ronald D.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S's'noaks)|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Runge, Norah Cecil||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Lewis, Oswald||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Sir George Penny and Mr. Womersley.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Edwards, Charles||Hirst, George Henry|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Holdsworth, Herbert|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Janner, Barnett|
|Banfield, John William||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Bernays, Robert||George, Major G. Lioyd (Pembroke)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||George, Megan A. Lioyd (Anglesea)||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Briant, Frank||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Brown. C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Kirkwood, David|
|Cape, Thomas||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Lansbury, Rt, Hon. George|
|Cove, William G.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Lawson, John James|
|Cowan, D. M.||Grundy, Thomas W.||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Lunn, William|
|Curry, A. C.||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mabane, William|
|Dagger, George||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Harris, Sir Percy||McKeag, William|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hicks, Ernest George||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Rothschild, James A, de||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Nathan, Major H. L.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Williams. Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Parkinson, John Allen||Thorne, William James||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Pickering, Ernest H.||Tinker, John Joseph||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Price, Gabriel||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Rea, Walter Russell||White, Henry Graham||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)||Mr. John and Mr. Groves.|
Second Resolution read a Second time.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
I beg to move in line 3, after the word "Ottawa," to insert the words:except in so far as they relate to wheat in grain.I am expecting that the President of the Board of Trade will support me in this Amendment because, as is well known, he definitely stated at St. Ives that, whatever else he might do as a Member of the National Government, he would never support an import duty on wheat or meat. Now he has got the opportunity to declare whether he is going to stand loyally by the pronouncement made to the electors of St. Ives. We should hate, of course, to see any further split in the Government, although this is a question that provides justification for it. This intention of putting 2s. per quarter on wheat is, presumably, not so much aimed at the foreigner as to provide the Dominions with further opportunities for meeting the needs of this country with regard to grain or flour. If we recall what transpired early in the year, when the Wheat Act was passed, it will be remembered that the duty upon wheat or flour to the consumer amounted to 2s. 8½d. per quarter. This proposal is for an additional 2s., making a total of 4s. 8½d. or, presumably, l¾d. per stone upon flour.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer will be aware that from Land's End to John O'Groats employers of all kinds, and representing all industries, are persistently demanding further decreases in the wages of workpeople, and just at the moment when employers and workpeople in large industries and the major services are trying to secure some sort of reasonable understanding, which from the workers' point of view can only be regarded as the rock bottom so far as wages are concerned, the Government bring forward a proposal further to penalise millions of wage earners and people who are on a fodder basis. For that reason alone, we are bound to contest this proposal. We shall vote against this addition to indirect taxation imposed by the 686 present Government, which already amounts to somewhere about£38,000,000 a year.
But there are other reasons why, as we submit, this Resolution should be contested in the Division Lobby. Last December the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs made a statement that a quota scheme would be arranged for the import of wheat. For some reason unknown to the Opposition, but probably well known to the millers of this country, when the internal Wheat Act was proposed it was the result of an agreement entered into by the Minister of Agriculture for the Government with the millers to work a quota scheme for internal use. The agreement, we understand, was that there should be no quota of imported foreign wheat or Dominion wheat, that having been found to be wholly impracticable. To come forward, after having entered into a solemn agreement with the millers to work the highly complex machinery of the Wheat Commission, with an arrangement which renders that Commission null and void is, to say the least of it, not playing the game, for this proposal imposes a duty upon the raw material of the milling trade, and the cost of the manufactured article, flour, is bound automatically to increase.
Apart altogether from consideration for the millers, who have excellent arrangements with their men whereby wages are regulated without trade disputes, there are other considerations which arise as a, result of this import duty. Clearly, the object of the Government is to enable the Dominions to import a greater volume of flour. That implies a decreased quantity of imported wheat. Bearing in kind the obligations of the Wheat Act, 1932, it must be clear that next year, when the bumper harvest is produced in this country, millers, having a smaller quantity of imported wheat to mill, will require less British wheat than normally, arid will be unwilling to purchase that wheat from British growers except at a very low price. All the bargaining power must, of necessity, be in the hands of the millers, who do riot want 687 the British wheat for milling purposes, and only accept a certain proportion under protest even in normal times. With an increase in imported flour and a decrease in imported wheat, the home grower will find it extremely difficult to persuade the miller to accept his wheat at any price. That means that the payments under the wheat quota will rise, which implies a further burden on consumers in this country.
I do not think it is out of place to remind the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the poorer the family the bigger the contribution they must make to this duty. An addition of 1¾d. per stone to the price of flour may not seem a very large sum to the comparatively well-to-do, but for the poor, miserable miner, who is working the maximum time permissible and taking only 20s. to 25s. a week home for the maintenance of himself, his wife and his family, that 1¾d. is a real difference. The smaller the wage the smaller the quantity of meat a family can afford to buy, and the larger the quantity of bread they consume. Therefore, the duty is a very heavy burden on the poorer section of the community. We are obliged, by reason of our general feelings about import duties on food, to oppose this proposal.
The Chancellor would, of course, agree if I suggest that the whole scheme is designed exclusively to provide a preference for the Dominions, but I do not think he would extend the argument beyond that point. In this case, where food is concerned and the reputation of the President of the Board of Trade is at stake, he would readily agree that the only intention and purpose of the Government is to provide the Dominions with a preference. In that case may I ask the Chancellor whether the duty which flows to the Exchequer as a result of this scheme, and which will amount to round about£1,500,000 a year—[Interruption.] When speaking in terms of millions, one million does not make any difference, and particularly where it is a question of import duties, for the right hon. Gentleman will agree that his first proposal of February of this year was to impose duties on about£336,000,000 worth of goods, and so I out of 336 does not seem to matter very much. Whether the duty be£1,500,000 or£2,500,000 makes no difference to my argument, that as the Chancellor's idea is to provide a prefer- 688 ence for the Dominions he ought to consider the advisability of transferring the income from this increased duty to the Wheat Commission as a contribution towards the£6,000,000 which the consumers of bread in this country will have to pay. I think that is a very fair proposal. If the idea is exclusively to provide preference for the Empire and is not intended to exact more indirect taxation from the poorer section of the community, the proposal I have made is well worth consideration. Otherwise, whether the sum be£1,500,000 or£2,500,000, it will be an addition to the burden put on the consumers of bread.
In conclusion, I submit to the right hon. Gentleman that the proposal is contrary to the faithful promises made by the President of the Board of Trade; that it does not carry out the election proposals made by the National Government 12 months ago; that it is calculated to disturb the milling industry of this country, with whom a faithful agreement has been made; and that it would certainly be contrary to all the past practice of this House that, for the purpose of providing a benefit for some external purpose, home consumers should be called upon to render increased contribution. For these reasons, and particularly on account of this being an increased impost on the people, I hope the Chancellor will see his way to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. ALED ROBERTS
I rise to support this Amendment as strongly as I possibly can. The hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) has already put before the House some of the effects upon consumers of bread in this country, and also the possible repercussions of this further tax on wheat on the working of the wheat quota. I agree with all he says on those matters, and I think, also, there is another grave risk which the Government are taking if they persist in imposing these duties. In the first place, we are dealing with an essential food of the people which must be obtained from overseas. We cannot supply the wheat to feed the people of this country. We have had to get it from overseas for a very long time, and we have had the benefit of probably the best and the cheapest bread that any people have had throughout the world. I want to ask whether anything has been brought for- 689 ward in the course of these Debates which would justify the House in turning back the clock to the position in which we were before 1846? There were reasons then for removing the tax on bread which were so pressing that it. was taken off, and it is from that date that the standard of living of the people of these islands improved, until it reached the position of which, until quite recently, we were so proud.
Wheat is already bearing a burden of some£4,000,000 this year as a result of the Wheat Act, and that sum will probably be£6,000,000 next year, and though the additional burden which may be imposed as a result of these new duties may not be very excessive, possibly not more than£1,000,000, yet it has to be remembered that wheat is a fluctuating commodity and that supplies do not remain regular from year to year. At present there is a, world surplus of wheat, and so long as there is a world surplus the effect of this particular duty may not be very seriously felt, but we have had world surpluses before, and we have also had world shortages. As recently as 1923 we had a world surplus of wheat, and in the following year there was a world shortage, with a consequent rise in prices. Hitherto we have been able to get the best wheat at the cheapest possible price; we have had the pick of the world's markets. Whatever we may be able to do in the future on the Liverpool and London markets, it is certain that foreign wheat, even if it is the cheapest and the best in quality from our point of view, will be 2s. per quarter dearer in this country than in other countries. Therefore, we shall be giving up a very substantial advantage which the people of this country have enjoyed. No longer shall we be able to enjoy the choicest wheat at the cheapest price.
It is sometimes thought that the people of the Argentine who produce this wheat send it on to the market here. They do nothing of the kind. They only send here what we buy from them, what we ask them to send, and it seems rather ridiculous for us to be attempting to develop and rehabilitate our export trade with South American countries, and particularly the Argentine, if at the same time we say to them that they cannot send their wheat here, because that is 690 the one and only way in which they can pay us for anything we send them. The quota which we were told about in this House as a proposal which was to apply to Canadian wheat has disappeared, but one of the conditions has remained, and that is the very important provision as to world prices. We are told that in certain events, that is to say, in the event of the supply going down below a certain point or the price of wheat rising above the world price, certain steps may be taken. Nobody seems to know what is meant by "the world price." I have been endeavouring with the very kind assistance of a few experts to discover what it is, and I am told that the United State Government, in an official statement the other day, said that in the absence of any official interpretation of how this provision was to be applied in actual practice its meaning must remain somewhat uncertain. I do not know whether it is a diplomatic way of saying that the whole proposal is nonsense, but it may have some relation to what the Lord President of the Council said last week. He said:The right hon. Gentleman asked…'What have you got out of all this, what does it mean in trade?' I answer quite frankly, 'I do not know; no one knows.'"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th October, 1932: col. 452, Vol. 269.]Here is a very important proviso, and the people in the United States, who know something about the wheat question, admit that they know nothing about it. One thing is quite certain; by taxing wheat we are going to make it 2s. per quarter higher than it otherwise would be, and I doubt very much whether we are going to benefit the Canadian producer. Immediately these proposals were announced, the price of wheat on the Winnipeg market dropped to a record low level. The price of wheat on the Winnipeg market is to-day being pegged by the Canadian Government. The Canadian wheat producer does not want this. He knows perfectly well that if he has to come into this market and get a preference, he is going to shut out his foreign competitors from the Argentine, and that he has to meet their competition in other parts of the world. He knows that, if this competition is severe in other places, he will lose on his foreign trade all that he is going to gain. He would be better off without this proposal. The only 691 people who might benefit are the foreign buyers of wheat on the Continent and in other places.
We have to consider the effects of this upon other trades. We have had, and we still have, an extremely efficient flour-milling industry. That industry is in a remarkable position. Although this is not a wheat-producing country, yet it is, in order of importance, the fifth largest exporter of wheat in the world and that, in competition with other countries, such as the United States, Canada, the Argentine, and Australia where the wheat is produced on the doorstep. We are able to carry that wheat overseas, pay all the costs, to mill it over here, and to export it from this country in competition with the whole world, notwithstanding the fact that most of those other countries have subsidies direct for their flour. The reason for that has been stated by the Food Research Institute of Stanford University in California. That is the university where Mr. Hoover graduated; it publishes a book called Wheat Studies which is recognised by the wheat people throughout the world as authoritative and unbiassed. They give us the reason and tell us why the British flour industry in the past has been able to do this thing. They say:The prominence of Great Britain is the outstanding feature of the table of flour-exporting countries, indicating the preeminence of British milling as well as of British grain trading in the international market.…On account of the pivotal position occupied by the British grain trade in respect to world supplies of wheat, British millers probably have adaptable wheats available at lower prices than in any other country.If these proposals are persisted in, they will make very serious difficulties and do very serious damage to the flour-milling trade in this country. That trade as I have said is a big exporting trade and a prosperous trade. If anything is done to interfere with its export, that is bound to react directly on the unemployment figures. There is no doubt about that.
As the result of these proposals the millers of this country have had about the rawest deal of any section of the community. They have agreed to work the Wheat Quota Act, and they expected some compensation in regard to flour. What is their position? They must, when they import wheat, pay a 10 per cent. 692 tax on it. They must find a levy on every sack of flour. The Canadian flour exporter can send flour into this country without the 10 per cent. taxation. It is true that he has to find the fee per sack when it gets over, under the Wheat Quota Act, but the British miller has to find the 10 per cent. tariff and the 2s. per sack, if he is to compete in the markets of the world. The result of this 2s. per quarter which is now proposed will merely be to place the British miller in an impossible position from the point of view of foreign competition. If the Government persist in this—although I hold no brief for the millers and have nothing to do with the milling trade—I think they ought to repay all the 2s. per sack under the Wheat Quota Act, so that the millers may have some chance of competing in other parts of the world.
We have to consider the effect upon the agricultural people, who were to have the consideration of this Government. Under this proposal, they are not going to get very much. The one thing that is essential for the agricultural community is cheap feeding-stuffs. Though flour may come from Canada, and may in that respect improve inter-Imperial trade—it may, I do not say it will—the offals do not come with it. The flour comes into this country, and does not give the same benefit to British agriculture as flour which is milled in this country. There is no bran with it, and no wheat offals. If the farmer, through the operation of this duty, is not to get the benefit of wheat which is milled in this country, he will find, as his feeding-stuffs cost him more, that, instead of receiving help from this Government, he is going to be worse off.
There are so many disadvantages in this proposal that I urge the Government to accept the Amendment. There are the people who eat the bread, and, goodness knows, they require every consideration. Wherever you turn their spending power is being reduced. First of all, it is coal; then it is cotton, and next it may be railways. People are suffering from a reduction in their purchasing power and here we are attempting to tax the very vital food that these people have to fall hack on. For these reasons, I have great pleasure in supporting the Amendment.
§ Mr. HOLFORD KNIGHT
With the concluding sentences of the hon. Gentle- 693 man who has just spoken the Whole House will be in sympathy. I rise to express a point of view which is directly raised by the Amendment. It was stated by the hon. Gentleman who moved it that this proposal had no connection with the proposals which the Government laid before the country at the recent General Election. In that I think he was mistaken, and I would like to suggest that be should refresh his recollection as to the case which the Government presented. They sought permission, which they obtained by an overwhelming support which was almost unexampled, to adopt any proposals which, in their judgment, were necessary for safeguarding and improving the economic situation. Their immediate proposals can be described as a short-term policy, embodied in the Import Duties Act. Their long-term proposals contemplated an Agreement such as is now before the House. These Resolutions give effect to an Agreement covering a long series of proposals. Those proposals are connected with what the Government regarded as certain advantages and, if you reject those proposals, naturally you forego the advantages.
When I sought permission to assist the Government in these proposals, I made a reservation about the taxation of staple foods, meaning thereby wheat and meat. I avow that if this Government, in its short-term policy, embodied in the Import Duties Act, had embarked upon the taxation of wheat or meat I should have resisted it. The present proposal is connected with a wide scheme which is designed to open up the home market to a long range of manufactured articles which at present have difficulty in entering the market, owing to foreign competition. In my belief, an increase of employment must result. I listened with astonishment to the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment. I think he took the case of the miner, and queried in what way the miner would benefit by these proposals. If we are right that this Agreement is going to enlarge the area of exported manufactured goods, is not the milling industry going to benefit by the increased consumption of coal which will result? If that is so, the hon. Gentleman opposite has no reason to complain.
I recall the confident declarations of the right hon. Gentleman the Member 694 for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) who loses no opportunity in this House, and in the country, of saying that these Agreements must have certain definite results. What is the foundation of that statement? Each item in this Agreement has to be worked out on the basis of previous figures. These figures have to be corrected by the fall in prices. The opinion which the right hon. Gentleman puts forward has to take into account transactions under this Agreement which have not yet taken place. The whole case, presented with distinction, and I believe with sincerity, by the right hon. Gentleman is a sheer speculation. Who can say at this moment, and until these Agreements have been worked, how they are going to result? What we say is that, on the recommendations of the Government after their negotiations at Ottawa, we believe that these are proposals which ought to be considered and applied.
I desire to say quite specifically that in my view this Agreement is an experiment, and I think I charge my memory correctly when I say that the Lord President of the Council has used similar expressions in the course of these Debates. This Agreement is an experiment designed to secure a readjustment of inter-Dominion trade, in the hope that it is going to improve, not only the position of the Dominions, but that of our own people, and is going to be a preface to a releasing and restarting of the general trade of the world. To the best of our ability we have to form a judgment on these matters. I have come to the conclusion that this Agreement must be accepted, and, in accepting the Agreement, I have to honour the payment for it. If these arrangements are to be made with the Dominions, and if the Dominions, after negotiation with our representatives, have insisted upon certain terms, which have been accepted, then, if Members of this House are going to honour that Agreement, they must honour the payment which has been negotiated. In these circumstances, therefore, believing that this enlargement of inter-Dominion trade will result in increased employment, and that we have to regard this particular proposal as part of the set-off in the negotiation, I am going to vote for the proposal in the hope that it will mature as the Government expect.
695 Turning again to the criticism of the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams), who asked whether this Agreement and Resolution were connected with the commission which the Government obtained from the country, I am here to support as far as I can the carrying out of that commission, founded upon a review of the economic situation of the country, with freedom to apply any proposals which in the view of the Government should be so applied. I hope that this particular proposal, which I admit is a hazardous proposal, will be accompanied by further proposals from this country and an energetic policy designed to realise and open up and develop all the resources of our countryside. The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) laughs at this suggestion, but it has been put forward in this House for many years, and has been finally swept into the Department which supplies hon. Gentlemen opposite with material and largely with their observations on public business. It is a very old suggestion, but no preceding Government has carried it out with that energy which I believe at this moment the country desires. It would not be proper to enter into any detail as to what these proposals should be, except that I might perhaps be allowed to say that they should be directed to an intensive cultivation of the land of the countryside, with collective and organised marketing and credit schemes, and, indeed, a whole range of proposals which have been advocated in this House but, generally speaking, shelved. In the belief that this is an experiment which we ought to do our best to carry out, and that it is connected with further proposals which the Government are going to prepare and put forward in pursuance of the commission which they received from the country, I shall support all the proposals contained in these Agreements.
§ Mr. GRAHAM WHITE
I have listened with attention to the speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight), but I must confess that I have had some difficulty in following the course of some of his arguments. I think that perhaps I shall not be guilty of unfairness if I say that during the election or on some other occasion—indeed, I think I recollect having read a speech by him in Nottingham to that effect—he said that 696 he was going to vote against taxes on wheat and meat, and, having made that declaration, or something like it, on a previous occasion, he is now going to take an opposite course.
§ Mr. KNIGHT
My hon. Friend will forgive me if I interrupt him on a point of correction, because it is important from my point of view that this matter should be correctly stated. I stated in exact terms that I made a reservation in respect of taxes on staple goods, and directly these Ottawa proposals were first mooted, when no particulars were available, I reiterated that, and said that I stood by that declaration, but at no time did I bind myself to vote against any proposals which in my judgment were necessary.
§ Mr. WHITE
I am the last Member of this House who would wish to misrepresent any other Member, but I had some difficulty, as I have explained, in understanding the arguments of my hon. and learned Friend. I only hope that the electors of Nottingham will not have the same difficulty as I have had. It is not my wish, and it is not necessary, to trespass on the time of the House at any length after the admirably lucid speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham (Mr. A. Roberts), which placed before the House the most salient features with regard to this proposal. There is, however, one aspect of these Debates which has been brought to my attention, and probably to the attention of other Members, day by day as these discussions have proceeded, and that is that the public outside this House are not aware of the wholly unreal nature of these discussions. [Interruption.] Hon. Members are not looking at the matter from quite the same angle as I am.
The statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that these arrangements were to be taken as a whole and without modification has not been fully impressed upon the mind of the public outside. There is not a day, and, indeed, I might go further and say that there is not a post, which does not bring to me from individuals or manufacturers, or from associations of traders or manufacturers, letters in which they express their anticipation that their interests or their business or their employment will in some way be adversely affected, and inviting me—and no doubt other Mem- 697 bers have the same experience—to do what I can to secure modifications of these proposals. They are wholly unaware of the fact, which nobody can deny, that in regard to this set of proposals the British House of Commons is a "tied House," and that the only thing we can do here is to state our views, to ask for information, and to try to elucidate many of these proposals which are perplexing and also extremely obscure. Many questions about Ottawa and the proposals which emanated from that famous city remain without an answer for the present, but we.hope that as time goes on answers will be given.
Of all the perplexing proposals, this one regarding wheat is probably the most obscure. It is obscure in its origin. The purpose appears to be clear in some respects, but the results, as my hon. Friend has already pointed out, may be very different from those which it has been sought to achieve. It is obscure in its origin, and I hope that we may be given in the course of these Debates, some reason why this particular proposal has been brought forward at all. It was opposed, I understand, by an important section of the Canadian Cabinet, and a very large and influential body of the wheat growers of Canada were opposed to this proposal and said that they did not want it. So far as we in this country are concerned, I do not observe that any important body of consumers here have asked that they should be associated with Canadian growers in a partnership the result of which would be to enrich the Canadian grower at their expense.
All of these elements in Canada and in this country have expressed their views against this particular proposal, while, so far as the corn trade of this country are concerned, they are entirely opposed to it. I am not sure whether the services of the corn trade in this country have been adequately recognised. They have built up in the course of years a machine, complex and delicate, which has rendered extraordinary service to the people of this country, by bringing to them their supplies of wheat and bread-stuffs always at the cheapest price, always from those places where they were cheapest and best and could be most easily obtained. The advantages to this country, for reasons which have already been pointed out, have been very great, and this work has been carried on 698 smoothly and easily at the smallest possible expense to the British consumer. I think it is very doubtful if any trade in this country has rendered greater service to the community more easily and more cheaply than the British corn trade. They have not asked for these dodges and devices to be introduced into their trade.
Turning to the millers, the milling industry is indeed now an efficient industry. It has not always been so, but to-day it is highly efficient. The milling industry is opposed to these proposals, and for very good reasons. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Nottingham suggested that these proposals were likely to do something to lead to increased employment in this country, but that certainly cannot be said as regards the milling industry. Sixty per cent. of the flour which comes into this country is of Canadian and Australian origin, and that constitutes 10 or 12 per cent. of all the flour which is consumed in this country. That flour will continue to come into this country untaxed. It has already been said that the milling industry, having agreed, at inconvenience to themselves, to work the quota proposals, were entitled to greater consideration when these arrangements were under discussion. Now we find that inevitably there will be a tendency for Dominion flour to come in increasing quantity into this country, and less flour will be milled in this country, with the consequence, which has already been pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham, that the agriculturists who use the offals will suffer in that respect, while there will inevitably be less employment as time goes on in the milling industry. The effect of disturbing the great world of trade in wheat and turning it out of its normal channels is very difficult indeed to estimate. I wish to ask again why these proposals have been introduced. What is their object The only intelligible reason that I can think of is to give a better price to the Canadian grower. Who is going to pay the duty? Is there anyone who can pay it except the British consumer? If that is the reason, it is well that the House should know it. The opposition to these proposals from the Canadian growers is perfectly easy to understand. The normal import of wheat into this country in an average year is 699 of the order of 29,000,000 quarters. We could not take anything like the surplus growth of the Dominions in a normal year. In fact, the Canadian surplus would probably be sufficient to supply the whole of the import needs of the Empire. The opposition of the Canadian grower is, therefore, well founded. He sees that in any circumstances the bulk of the Dominion-grown wheat will have to be sold outside this country. In the past they have scored, because they have sold their wheat in this country in the proportion in which they did sell it at a, lower price, while the higher prices outside this country have 'enabled them to benefit in regard to the bulk of the crop which they had to sell.
This arrangement is likely to produce the reverse result. They will concentrate the sale of the bulk of Dominion wheat in the markets of the East and of Europe, and there will result a lower price for the market in which the Dominions have to sell the bulk of their wheat. There is much that is perplexing in these proposals. I should like to have some explanation of the machinery whereby this impost of 2s. a quarter will be withdrawn if the Dominions are not prepared to supply at the world price and at first price of sale in this country. In the past there was a standard price of wheat. It was fixed in Liverpool.
§ Mr. WHITE
The hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity of stating his views later on, but he will at least agree with me that the option market—futures market—in Liverpool was a most valuable and important indicator of the general course of world prices, in fact, the most reliable indicator in the world. We should like to have an assurance in some detail as to how the world price is to be decided—to know by what machinery this regulation is to be put into force. The only useful purpose that can be served by this Debate is to try to elucidate these points in order that the people of the country may understand exactly what it is that they are confronted with. I hope the Government will deal with these matters in some detail in order that the importers may know where they stand. It is very important that the trade in 700 Liverpool, and the milling industry, should know where they stand. At present they do not, and it may be partly in consequence of that that stocks of wheat at present are very much lower than they are normally. I think supplies are not more than about a third of what they were at this time last year, a falling off which has led to an increase in unemployment in our ports.
There are two things that it ought to have been possible for our delegates at Ottawa to have done if they were not to inflict injury upon the British consumer and, indeed, upon the whole Empire, because I hold that it is not possible for injury to be inflicted in any substantial degree upon any unit of the Empire without injuring the whole. In the first place, they required to be in a position to control the weather in the wheat-growing districts in all the Dominions, because we have been able to draw our wheat in times past from those areas where the crops were best and most abundant, and a study of the course of wheat crops and prices reveals this interesting fact, which is unfortunate from the point of view of these proposals, that it is in the Dominions that variation in crops, in acreage, and in yield and so on is widest, and it is, therefore, very unwise to try to stabilise our main supplies from sources which are subject to the greatest possible variation. The second thing that our delegates ought to have been able to do if they were not to inflict injury upon this country was to show how it is possible to impose a tax for the benefit of the Canadian grower which will not be paid by the consumer in this country.
§ Mr. STRAUSS
I should not have intervened but for my hon. Friend's very interesting speech. I know something about wheat. Whether we like it or not, whether we desire it or not, we must realise that our interests are somewhat diametrically opposed to those of our Dominions. At the same time, we have common interests, and the more prosperous we can make the Dominions the better for us and the world at large. Naturally, the Dominions wish to get the best price they can for their foodstuffs and raw materials, and the people of this country wish to buy their food at the very lowest price. Those are things that we must recognise. If these Agreements lead to anything, I hope they will lead to 701 making the Dominions more prosperous, and we shall benefit. I am not so apprehensive as my hon. Friend that the loaf will rise in price. Wheat is grown from the North Pole to the South Pole and is the staple food of the people of the world. I feel very strongly that, if we can come to some satisfactory arrangement with the Dominions up to a, point, and make them more prosperous, we shall benefit, and everyone in the world will benefit. If the Government could see their way to deal with the great problems that confront us at present and which affect our everyday life, we would gladly overlook any of these difficulties. If my friends who are so apprehensive as to the cost of food would only venture on a little farming, they would soon find out that it is not a very lucrative occupation at present. I repeat that I will overlook any difficulties that may arise in regard to these Ottawa Agreements if the Government can see their way to deal with the greater problems that confront us.
§ Mr. CURRY
I should not have intervened but for the remarks of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Nottingham (Mr. Knight) with regard to certain pledges which he has given about this wheat tax. I felt some sympathy with him because I, too, have given a pledge of that nature, which drives me to oppose these proposals and to support the Amendment. I was amazed to find that in the political arena the way to get out of a pledge given before your election is to explain to your constituents after the election that you did not quite mean it. I would appeal to the hon. and learned Gentleman to reconsider his position. After all, the taxation of the staple food of the people is no light matter. We cannot bandy it about in words, and ignore altogether the consequences of our action. The significance of this tax seems to me to lie not in these Debates but further back, in the previous policies which have been pursued during recent months. We have had a reduction of unemployment benefit, we have had cuts in civil servants' salaries, and a corresponding diminution of income among almost all classes of the people. One would think that a very dangerous complement to that policy is the policy of raising the prices of the staple food of the people. Surely the next step to that is to keep down the 702 cost of living to the lowest possible level. Anything that tends to raise it artificially is dangerous at any time, but is most dangerous in the condition in which we find ourselves to-day. We have an increasing volume of unemployed people, all of them on the lowest level of sustenance.
If you came to my part of the country you would be appalled at the large areas of hitherto industrial activities which have been made almost derelict. Is this the time to ask these people for permission to tax their staple food? Has anyone ventured to ask for that permission? I gave a pledge, which I intend to carry out, that I would oppose any attempt to tax the food of the people. Although I stood as a supporter of the National Government, I am firmly convinced that, without giving that pledge, I should not have been in this House. It is still my firm opinion that if you went frankly to the industrial population of this country with this proposal they would do what we are doing to-night. They would oppose it in the strongest possible terms.
But there is another aspect of this question. There is the broad aspect that this House is responsible for the wellbeing of a State which is, perhaps, the most densely populated island in the world, and one which must perforce draw its food supplies from overseas. One would have thought that the best way to safeguard—and this House believes in safeguarding—the well-being of the people is to leave this island free to draw its food supplies from the best and cheapest sources of the world. To tell us that you are to regulate this matter by committees and by Orders-in-Council is to refuse to take account of the simple fact that you cannot at will regulate the sunshine and the rain. You cannot determine where the crops are to grow. All that you can do, with your great responsibility for the well-being of a densely populated island, is to keep it free to draw its sustenance from the places where sustenance is available. On those grounds, I shall support the Amendment, and I appeal to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Nottingham, who finds himself in the same position as myself, to support us in this matter.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Hore-Belisha)
I 703 regretted to hear my hon. Friend the Member or Bishop Auckland (Mr. Curry) deploring, not only this Measure, but all the activities in which His Majesty's Government have hitherto engaged.
§ Mr. CURRY
Pardon me, I did not do that. This is rather important, and I hope that the hon. Member will pardon me for interrupting him. I was pointing out that this is a bad complement to their policies. I made no comment upon them. In fact, I supported most of them, but this, in my view, is not a good policy.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I apologise at once to my hon. Friend. I understood that he was deploring the economies which we had put into operation and he said, in effect, that this was the last straw which was breaking the camel's back. If I have done him an injustice, I most readily withdraw, because it is not really germane to what we are discussing. It is true, as my hon. Friend says, that we are an island dependent for much of our food upon foreign countries, and it should, therefore, suit the economy of this Island to enter into Agreements whereby it can sell more in order to have the means to buy that food. The House will realise by this time that that is the whole purpose of the Agreements into which we have entered. I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight) and not less to my hon. Friend the Member for (North Southwark (Mr. Strauss) for having lifted this Debate out of an atmosphere of detail on to that higher level. After all, if you enter into a discussion with the object of reaching an agreement you must give something, and you must get something. My hon. Friends have placed the right emphasis in this Debate upon what we are receiving, and they have preferred to think of what the industrial workers of this country will gain by way of increased employment, and, as I say, I am beholden to them for that.
What is it that we are doing? We are doing no such terrible thing as some of my hon. Friends have indicated, although I sympathise with their fears and forebodings and their very natural solicitude on behalf of their constituents. We are taking wheat out of the Free List and putting upon it, in so far as it is foreign wheat, a tax of 2s. a quarter. That is 704 equivalent to a tax of 8 per cent. ad valorem; not a. very heavy tax. On what does that tax fall? It does not fall on that proportion of our consumption which is provided at home nor upon that proportion of our consumption which we derive from the Dominions. It falls only upon that which we buy from foreign countries, that is to say, 50 per cent. Fifty per cent. of our supplies of wheat in grain would be taxed if these Agreements did not result in diverting our purchases from abroad towards the Dominions. That, indeed, is the objeet of the tax which we are imposing. The Dominion supplies are quite adequate—and no one would dispute it—to meet our home requirements. Also, you have the necessary varieties of hard wheats and soft wheats within the Empire. That, I think, is established, and we therefore come down to this very simple issue, although it is not the whole issue—the whole issue is much broader—"Will this injure the consumer?"
I listened to my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) in the very able speech which he made and to my hon. Friend the Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White), and, indeed, their contributions were most valuable and instructive. They feared—and it really comes to this—that the consumer would be penalised and that the price of bread would rise. I have had a calculation made. I do not give it as an absolutely accurate calculation, for no calculation of this sort can be exact, but I am informed—and anyone can verify it by a simple mathematical process—that if the tax were to fall upon all the wheat, not only upon the foreign wheat alone but upon the Empire wheat as well, the additional cost of the 4 lb. loaf would be less than a ¼d. That is to say, that if we do not divert our supplies at all and if this tax were to fall on all our imports of wheat instead of upon half of them, the additional cost of the loaf would then be less than a id. But as it does not fall on all our imports of wheat nor on home-grown the additional cost per loaf cannot be anything like a ¼d. Therefore, it is somewhat strange that hon. Members on those benches, to whose motives, I think, I have done complete justice throughout these Debates, should protest at the small increase, if it turn out to be an increase, in the cost of bread—and I do not think it 705 follows that there will be an increase—when they voted for an Act which was in their view to increase the price of bread more than that. It is that which gives me some surprise.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I will willingly supply it to my hon. Friend because I understand his interest in this matter, he being at Birkenhead so near a futures market, for it is from that market in Liverpool that we shall have some indication of the future prices of wheat.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
In case I am thought to be one of the hon. Members referred to below the Gangway who supported the Wheat Bill, I wish to make it perfectly clear that my personal argument was not wholly devoted to the present proposition. I allied the potential farthing of the present Motion to the excess of a farthing under the Wheat Act. I put them together and declared that it would undoubtedly become a burden upon the average poor family. I want it to be made perfectly clear, however, that, while some Members who are new no longer in the Government supported the Wheat Act, we were all opposed to it.
When the hon. Member referred to an extra farthing on the loaf, I take it that he was referring to the 4-lb. loaf.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Certainly. I had made a note of the point just mentioned by the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams), and I was going to reply to him that any increase in the price of home-grown millable wheat would reduce the amount payable under the Wheat Act, and would be a saving to the State. I was referring particularly to the Liverpool futures market which does give some indication—I hope my hon. Friend will not deny this—of the word price of wheat. The price of wheat is quoted in Liverpool, in Winnipeg, in Chicago and elsewhere, so that there will be no great difficulty in ascertaining the world price. I think the hon. 706 Member for Birkenhead East will agree with that. Moreover, the consumer has this great safeguard, that the duty will lapse altogether if the Dominions supply is not forthcoming here at the world price and in sufficient quantity. Therefore, the whole of this great argument about the increase in the cost of food—which, in any event, is a hypothetical argument —falls to the ground. The consumer has the most adequate protection that can be afforded to him in the assurance that, unless the supply from the Dominions allows him to have wheat at the world price and in sufficient quantity, he will not have to pay any duty on foreign wheat at all.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
Surely, the Financial Secretary is not going to sit down without answering the question addressed to him by the hon. Member for East Birkenhead? He has laid great emphasis on the question of the world price being maintained, but everyone wants to know by what machinery that is to be enforced. Who is to calculate it? The price of Canadian wheat is to some extent an element in fixing the world price. The world price differs from one day to another. The price of Canadian wheat may conceivably be over the world price one day by a few pence and below it another. What machinery is to be used to put into force this vague and uncertain provision? My hon. Friend desired a specific reply, but the Financial Secretary sits down without even referring to the point.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I thought I had answered the point. It is always possible to make a very simple thing complicated. I do not see how I can make it more simple. The world price of wheat of all qualities is a publicly quoted price. Anyone can tell my right hon. Friend any day by referring to the evening paper or to the morning paper what is the world price of any particular quality of wheat. As the hon. Member for North Southwark (Mr. Strauss) has said, and he is well acquainted with the trade, wheat is grown practically from the North Pole to the South Pole, and no one has any doubt as to the price. I do not think that it is necessary to set up special machinery. It is a well-known fact, and the Government will be equipped sufficiently to perform their function and to protect the consumer.
§ Mr. WHITE
Who will deal with the matter? Will it be the Board of Trade, the Cabinet in Council, or a Committee of the Privy Council? The hon. Member said that there is a world price and that there is a futures market in Liverpool, in Winnipeg, in New York, and elsewhere, and that each publishes a world price. Each of his statements leaves us more perplexed.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I think the hon. Member is doing me an injustice. I am not trying to confuse the issue. I am trying to simplify an issue which other people are seeking to confuse. I say that the world price is known. The world price for all qualities is publicly quoted every day, almost every hour of the day, and the Government are in a position to judge whether the Canadian wheat grower or wheat seller is exploiting the British consumer. It must be left to the Government of the day to do that, and it does not necessarily require any machinery at all.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
Is the duty to be taken off or on as the price varies from week to week and month to month?
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I have far too much respect for my right hon. Friend's intelligence to believe that he is really serious. If the Canadian wheat seller is exploiting us, then we shall deal with him. [HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] If he exploits the British consumer, then the duty will come off, but let us, for heaven's sake, assume that the Dominions are going to carry out this Agreement honourably. If they do not, we shall know what to do.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
We must have something clearer on this issue. The Financial Secretary had a perfectly plain question put to him. He was asked: How are you going to decide as to what is the price, and he replies: "Oh, everybody knows that. It is in the newspapers. You can see it every day." He is then pressed as to the duty and the world price and whether the duty is going to change from day to day. He replied: "Nonsense. You cannot do that."
§ Mr. ATTLEE
He says that if there is any exploitation by our being charged a 708 price above the world price, then the duty will come off, and he is questioned as to the time. It is pointed out that the price varies from day to day, and he is asked if the matter will be reviewed from day to day. He replies: "You cannot do it from day to day." We want to know what period is going to elapse before he takes off the duty. He has not dealt with that matter. Being beaten on that, he says: "We must trust the Canadians. They are not going to exploit us." It is not good enough to come to this House, when we have had the bargaining at Ottawa, and, when the opinion has been expressed by an hon. Member with a great knowledge of the corn trade that our interests as consumers in this matter are not identical with those of the producers, for the Financial Secretary to say: "It is a gentleman's agreement. It will be all right." He has dodged the whole issue.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
I do not suggest that the Financial Secretary wishes to confuse the issue. He is new to his office, his leader has been called away, and he is doing his best to put up a good case. Let it be remembered that the wheat trade in Canada is not in the hands of the State. If it was a question of Russia it would be a different matter. The wheat prices in Canada are decided at Winnipeg by the market. The whole thing is handled by private traders. Owing to the fact that in Canada they are going to get 2s. a quarter more under this Agreement, the tendency inevitably will be that Canadian wheat will fetch a higher price than wheat from other sources. If the Canadian farmers get a higher price for their wheat, are the Government immediately going to take off the 2s. advantage? That is what we want to know. It is not a conspiracy of any kind. If that is going to be taken off, then what is the Canadian farmer going to get out of this. Is it going to be of any advantage to him?
The only reason why the Canadian farmers for years have been asking us to put a duty on foreign corn is in order that they might get a better price for their products. If they do not get that better price, then they will have to thank us for nothing. When Mr. Joseph Chamberlain originally put forward his proposals, he said he was going to give a preference to the Colonies and that we 709 must put a tax on corn. He was perfectly frank about it. He said that inevitably that would mean an increase in the price of wheat, consequently of flour, and ultimately of the loaf, but he was prepared to ask the country to pay that price. We say that the country will have to pay the price of the Government's proposals to-day, and it is mere quibbling with a complex and difficult problem to
§ suggest that this is a reflection on the Canadian farmers. We want it to be made perfectly clear that it is the Government's policy that as soon as there is a tendency for the price of Canadian wheat to rise they will take the duty off.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 68; Noes, 230.711
|Division No. 318.]||AYES.||[8.36 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||George, Megan A. Lioyd (Anglesea)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Albery, Irving James||Granville, Edgar||Mellalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Greenwood, lit. Hon. Arthur||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Milner, Major James|
|Banfield, John William||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Batey, Joseph||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Bernays, Robert||Groves, Thomas E.||Price, Gabriel|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Briant, Frank||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Roberts, Aied (Wrexham)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cape, Thomas||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Ztl'nd)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cove, William G.||Harris, Sir Percy||Thorne, William James|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Hirst, George Henry||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Curry, A. C.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Daggar, George||Janner, Barnett||White, Henry Graham|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Edwards, Charles||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianally)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lawson, John James||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||McKeag, William||Mr. John and Mr. G. Macdonald.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Gluckstein, Louis Halle|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Goff, Sir Park|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Colfox, Major William Philip||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Conant, R. J. E.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Cooke, Douglas||Greene, William P. C.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Grimston. R. V.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cranborne, Viscount||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Balniel, Lord||Crooke, J. Smedley||Guest, Capt Rt. Hon. F. E.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Crookshank, Col. C.de Windt (Bootle)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Blindell, James||Crossley, A. C.||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil)||Hanbury, Cecil|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hanley, Dennis A.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Denville, Alfred||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Bracken, Brendan||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Hartland, George A.|
|Bralthwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Duckworth, George A. V.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Dunglass, Lord||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Eden, Robert Anthony||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Elmley, Viscount||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Burghley, Lord||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Hornby, Frank|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Horobin, Ian M.|
|Burnett, John George||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Howard. Tom Forrest|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J.A.(Birm.,W)||Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgbaston)||Fox, Sir Gifford||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Fuller, Captain A. G.||James. Wing-Com. A. W. H.|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Ganzoni, Sir John||Jamieson, Douglas|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Clayton, Dr. George C||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Penny, Sir George||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Knight, Holford||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Somerville, Annesiey A. (Windsor)|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Petherick, M.||Soper, Richard|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'vertrpt'n,Bilston)||Sctheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Lewis, Oswald||Pike, Cecil F.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Potter, John||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster. Fyide)|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Pownall. Sir Assheton||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Pybus, Percy John||Storey, Samuel|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|McLean, Major Alan||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Ramadan, E.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Manningham.Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Thomas. James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Martin, Thomas B.||Ramer, John R.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Robinson, John Roland||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Ropner, Colonel L.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw-||Rosbotham, S. T.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Ross, Ronald D.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Mitcheson, G. G.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Runge, Norah Cecil||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Moreing, Adrian C.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Morrison, William Shepherd||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tslde)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Moss, Captain H. J.||Salt, Edward W.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Muirhead, Major A, J.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Savery, Samuel Servington||Windsor-Cilve, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Scone. Lord||Wise. Alfred R.|
|Newton, Sir Douglas George C.||Selley, Harry R.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Nunn, William||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Womersley, Walter James|
|O'Connor, Terence James||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Palmer, Francis Noel||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Peaks, Captain Osbert||Smith. Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)||Lord Erskine and Dr. Morris-Jones.|
|Pearson, William G.||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)|
§ Mr. CHARLES BROWN
I beg to move, in line 3, after the word "Ottawa," to insert the words:except in so far as they relate to butter, cheese, eggs in shell, and milk.I understand that it is the desire to take a discussion on these dairy products together. So far the Government have not made out a very good case for the preferences already discussed. There are certain facts in regard to these various articles of food which we must bear in mind when discussing the question of a preference on them. Take the case of butter. There has been a large increase in the importation of butter from Empire countries. In the last five years the importation of butter from Empire countries has increased from 3,200,000 cwts. to 4,000,000 cwts. last year. That is roughly 75 per cent. increase in that period, without preferences. I want to ask the Government, why the need for preferences? I shall be told that the reason is that we are getting something in return. But that is very problematical. What we are to get in return has never been clearly shown to us up to now. Probably the Government will justify a preference in regard to butter by showing us definitely what we are to get in return.
712 Then take the case of cheese. The importation of cheese into this country last year was 2,800,000 cwts., and of that 2,500,000 cwts. came from the Dominions, leaving only 300,000 cwts. to come from other sources. Again I ask, what justification is there for the preference? As in the case of butter, the Dominions are slowly but surely getting the Home market almost entirely into their hands. I shall be told that it is part of a bargain. I want to know what is our share of the bargain. Let us pass on to eggs. The imported supply is about 3,000,000,000 eggs. The domestic supply, according to the agricultural statistics for 1931, is in the region of 2,200.000,000. What in this case is the reason for the preference? In my view most of the actions of the Government are prehistoric in character. We have had a duty on eggs in this country before. I believe it was repealed in 1860. The Government are going back to archaic times to justify their policy. I do not think it will be easy for Government spokesmen to make a reasonable case for these preferences to the Dominions on any of these dairy products.
I beg to second the Amendment.
713 I would call the attention of my farming friends to the aims of the Amendment. My hon. Friend has referred to the percentage of imports of eggs from the Dominions. What is likely to happen to the egg producers of this country if the Government's policy is pursued? In recent years many people who are interested in agriculture, and particularly in the position of ex-service men, have assisted in putting them upon poultry farms. In the last two years we have increased the head of poultry in this country by over 5,000,000. That has been the result largely of the development of smallholdings under the control of ex-service men. These Agreements with the Dominions are going to interfere with the development of egg production in this country. That is quite unjustified. A large number of ex-service men and other poultry farmers who have been encouraged to start poultry farms will now have to face keener competition than ever. In regard to milk also, an article used in the poorest homes of the country, and one on which many people have to depend, the policy of the Government is a mistake.
§ Mr. PICKERING
It is rather difficult to speak for the Amendment, when we know that nothing can be altered. We can speak only in the hope of getting information, and the information I wish chiefly to obtain is this: Since this is a duty, in the case of butter of 15s. per cwt., how can it be anything but a tax on food? A certain number of people in the Cabinet are going to vote for this duty, though they say they do not believe in food taxes. I want to know how this 15s. can he anything but a food tax. Perhaps in some ingenious way it may be shown that this 15s. per cwt. is not going to raise the price of butter, or the argument may be that it is but a trifling increase and does not matter. The trifling increase in the wholesale price of butter before this preference was about Id. per lb., and now it will be l½d. To me that is no trifle. It is not fair to try to get away with this duty on the ground that it is such a little one. In a famous novel, "Midshipman Easy," we are told of a certain young lady who brought forward a baby and tried to excuse it on the ground that it was only a little one. It may be that the excuse offered for these preferences will be that they are only very little ones. If they are only very little ones, what is the good of 714 having them at all? The fact is, of course, that a lot of little ones will soon mount up.
This passing on of little babies will soon turn this country of ours into a gigantic orphanage, full of babies passed on by various authorities and interests. Times have changed since the days of Lord Nelson. He fought to make this country free, and his motto was "England expects every man to do his duty." To-day the motto is "England expects every man to pay his duty on everything", because this is fast becoming the most protected country in the world. This increase of l½d. a pound will fall very heavily on the great bulk of the people, and I do not think that those who can afford to pay it, ought to ignore that fact.
Another objection which I would put in the form of a question is this: How is this duty going to affect our relations with countries outside the British Empire? In the case of butter we import about£46,000,000 or£47,000,000 worth each year. Of that£20,000,000 worth comes from the Empire countries and about£26,500,000 worth from foreign countries. The greater part of the latter comes from Denmark. Excellent relations have long been maintained between this country and Denmark, and one reason among many is that Denmark, along with Norway and Sweden, has been of great assistance to us in sending us many valuable exports. Latterly, Denmark has become a remarkably good customer of this country. Very few countries buy more, per head of population, from this country than Denmark. Therefore, we ought to consider the case of Denmark in relation to this duty. At present great efforts are being made, efforts which have been favoured with active support in the highest quarters, to increase our trade with Denmark and with other countries like Norway and Sweden. If the policy of taxing Danish butter is persisted in, it must inevitably diminish our importation of butter from Denmark considerably and as the production of butter is one of the chief industries of Denmark it will eventually affect that country's purchasing power, and all the good work that is being done to create good relations between Great Britain and Denmark will be undone by these Ottawa Agreements.
715 It may be said, again, that the small additional preference will not have any such sweeping effect. I may, however, remind hon. Members of what happened a year or two ago in connection with Canadian butter. An attempt was then made, when Canadian butter was not so well-known, to put it on the market here. A certain big store in London in order to make Canadian butter better known sent out samples with the usual order forms. The butter met with the favour of many of the firm's customers. A large business with Canada was built up, but all at once the supply of butter from Canada ceased. A certain gentleman, who told me this story, was going to Canada on business and he was asked to inquire into the causes of the cessation of supply. In Canada he heard various reasons, but, when it came down to the facts, he discovered that Chicago was able to offer a cent. per pound more for the butter and so the butter went to Chicago. If a matter of a half-penny per pound will do that, one can see that it will have a serious effect in regard to the supply of Danish butter to this country.
It seems to me that at Ottawa the Government, on the one hand, have been pursuing the policy of cutting out foreign trade and on the other hand of trying to build up foreign trade by means of arrangements outside the Conference. They have acted in a manner which reminds one of a story about a certain school. This school prided itself on giving good religious instruction. A lady had a girl from the school as a maid and found her very incompetent and clumsy. Finally she said to the girl, "Well, at that school they taught you one principle of Christianity at any rate—not to let your right hand know what your left hand is doing." That is more or less the policy of the Government. Because this duty on butter will affect our international relations generally and increase cost of living to those least able to bear it I support the Amendment.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
May I put a question to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker? I wish to know whether you are going to call separately the Amendment standing in my name to insert the words: 716except in so far as they relate to condensed milk, whole, not sweetened or slightly sweetened, milk powder and other preserved milk, excluding condensed milk,or whether I ought to address my remarks regarding condensed milk to you on this Amendment.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Captain Bourne)
I am not quite certain as to the intention of Mr. Speaker in regard to that matter, but on looking through the Schedule I notice that the only kinds of milk on which it is proposed to put a duty are either condensed milk or milk powder and other preserved milks, and it seems to me, as the question has been raised by the Amendment now before the House, that it would be better for the hon. Member to make his point on this Amendment.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
The point which I wish to make concerns the argument already used in reference to meat by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. He suggested that there would be little increase in the price of meat because the Dominions were quite capable of satisfying every demand which this country could make, but that argument cannot apply to the case of condensed milk. The quantity imported into this country 'in 1930 from foreign sources amounted approximately to 384,000 cwts., and from the Empire 18,780 cwts. Of the total imports 95 per cent. were of foreign origin. The suggestion is to tax 95 per cent. of the total imported into this country in order to give an advantage to the 5 per cent. which is brought in from our own Dominions. I presume that the purpose of the duties is to increase Empire trade. I have taken the trouble of interviewing a large importer of condensed milk, and I am informed that already the price of Canadian condensed milk has been increased by the amount of the duty suggested in this Schedule, namely, 6s. per cwt. It is true that before this duty was imposed or suggested the Canadians were rather at a disadvantage with regard to the price of condensed milk, but when the duty was put on they were unquestionably placed in a very favourable position. But the fact of increasing their price by 6s. has already cut them out of the market, so that there are two particular consequences of that action. The first is that there can be no increase in Empire trade because of that increase, 717 and secondly, you have now increased the price of 95 per cent., and the consumers of 95 per cent. of these goods have to pay for no material advantage to the Dominions.
I am not at all persuaded by the argument that is put up every time a duty is mentioned, that this is a mere trifle. I think that every increase in the cost of food is a very serious matter. Only so recently as Saturday we avoided in this country a very serious strike, and in every industry we are now finding a suggested lowering of wages. Every time we put on an increase, however small, taking the whole of them together, they form a serious aggregate and a serious deduction front the working man's wages. Who are the consumers of this class of milk I happen to come from an industrial area, and perhaps it is true to say that they are the greatest consumers of this condensed milk. For one thing, it is put up in a convenient farm, and for people who have regularly to take their meals out day by day, it is convenient if they can take a tin of condensed milk with them. The second thing is that it meets the difficulties of those who are not in such a position that they can keep milk in the summer time, so that from those two points of view it is a real asset that we should have a free import of this commodity. It is adding another, if only a small, burden to the already heavy burden which the workers are called upon to carry.
We are told that later on we are to receive a report on the reorganisation of milk products. I am quite willing to admit that this particular tax does not apply to the cheaper classes of condensed milk, which are still left to come in free, but the Government are claiming credit for continuity of policy, and if we are to believe—and on this question I give them full marks—that they will continue with this policy, in the near future we shall even find the cheaper brands of this particular commodity taxed. An hon. Member on my left who represents the farming interests says, "Hear, hear!" and I believe he honestly represents the views of the Government and that before many weeks have passed we may expect that skimmed milk will be taxed.
I would like to ask the Minister to consider this point: The cheaper types of condensed milk, as we all know, are those 718 types which are devoid of their fat content. I remember certain questions being asked last year regarding the imports of fresh milk. There was a great outcry about the importation of fresh milk, but by driving the people on to the inferior grade, because it is cheaper, are you not lowering the standard of health of the poorest people? On the cheaper brands, I think you will find printed on the label —I am sorry to have again to introduce babies into the Debate—words to this effect: "Not to be used for babies." The reason is that there is no fat content for the child in that particular milk. It would not be quite so serious if this only affected the adult population, because the adult has other means of getting fat besides drinking milk. What is the use of spending money on health services in other forms and at the same time making it more difficult for the very people who need it most to get the cheapest possible supply of what is vital to their physical well-being?
This is a step in the wrong direction. If I might state my ideal—and I can honestly say that I have never voted for a single food tax since I came into this House, and I wish every man who made the same promise as I made had fulfilled it as well, and on all sides of the House—my ideal is this, that every kind of food should be without taxation, with abundant supplies and as cheap as possible. I have listened with charm to the Parliamentary Secretary's speeches on this subject from time to time, and I should like to see him join hands with me in opposing absolutely anything that would impose an added burden on the poorest class of the community.
§ Dr. BURGIN
It will be convenient that I should reply to the four Amendments with regard to butter, cheese, eggs in shell, and milk in one response. The hon. Members who have moved the Amendment and spoken in support of it have themselves anticipated to some extent the answer. You cannot take these items one by one and ask of the Minister, "In reply, tell us exactly what we have obtained in return." When you conclude an agreement of a trading character between two countries you must on behalf of the one country offer something which you can produce, and you must in exchange take from the other country something which they are 719 willing to export. The range of commodities is therefore necessarily limited. We, in going to Ottawa, knew perfectly well that there were certain products which the Dominions produced in abundance, and certain things which they could not produce at all, and the whole idea of Ottawa, which was mutual exchange and mutual development, had to work round that basic, unalterable fact. Therefore, I am quite unable to say that in return for butter we secured the free entry of steel. It would not be true. We are bound to look at this matter as a whole, and these Amendments which seek to insert clauses restricting the application of the Agreement to certain commodities are, in effect, wrecking Amendments, and go to the root of the whole of the Ottawa proposals.
Before saying a word or two about the different commodities, I should like to deal with one or two arguments that have been put forward. Ons is that our relations with foreign countries might in some way be endangered, and reference was made by my hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester (Mr. Pickering) to Denmark. I am sure that we may credit the Governments and trading communities of countries like Denmark with the shrewd common sense of knowing the commodities in connection with which they are in most active competition with parts of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Denmark's competitive capacity has arisen from the fact that her ports are 22 hours from us, whereas New Zealand is some six weeks, and being able to make her fresh butter compete with the frozen butter which comes from New Zealand. When we come to see the nature of the increase of the duty, we shall see whether effective competition on Denmark's part is still within the bounds of possibility. This is not the place to discuss it, but friendly communications from Denmark are being received.
Another argument was: Why should the Dominions, which have been making very extensive inroads into our domestic market with these particular commodities, be given a preference? The answer is this. The Dominions offer us certain very considerable advantages in return for certain advantages here. One of the forms that advantage will take is that we shall endeavour to divert trade which we are doing with the non-Empire 720 countries into Empire countries; and one of the ways of diverting trade is to put a duty on—but not on the whole of the imports of those foodstuffs. We believe that by diverting the trade from foreign countries to Empire countries, by allowing the Empire products to come in free and by putting a duty on some of the products that come from foreign countries, we shall in effect secure a considerable diversion of trade.
I will deal with the specific products, and take butter first. Butter is subject to 10 per cent. under the duties at present in force. The imposition of 15s. per cwt. brings that up to 13 per cent. I ask hon. Members not to attribute to me the expression "trifling," but the arithmetical fact of the increase of 3 per cent. The home production of butter is one-tenth of the whole; of the whole imports, one-half are derived from Empire countries. It is expected that the butter duty will give the home producer some advantage, and that the Dominions will also secure some advantage. I should like to point out that in the Agreements themselves, it is provided that after three years there may be a duty against Empire butter, if necessary, provided that certain preferences are maintained. With regard to cheese, the present duty on cheese from foreign countries is 10 per cent. Under the new Ottawa proposals, that 10 per cent. becomes 15 per cent. Of the total supplies, 25 per cent. is produced at home, and the Dominion imports account for 85 per cent. of the total imports. Most of the remaining imports are luxury cheeses, so that it is not expected that these duties will involve any increase in price.
With regard to eggs in shell, again the duty at present is 10 per cent., and under the Ottawa proposals that will rise to 15. In answer to an hon. Member who referred to the large increase that had taken place in the home production of eggs, let me tell him that that now amounts to one-half of the total supply. Of the total imports, something between one-quarter and one-fifth comes from British countries. It is expected that some of the foreign trade will be diverted, and the home producer will get considerable benefit from the duty. Again, there is the provision that after three years duties may be imposed on Dominion eggs if 721 necessary. That brings me to condensed milk. Parts of the speech made by the hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth) made me think that we had anticipated a duty on cod liver oil. That may still be in store. The duty on condensed milk is 10 per cent., and with the increase to 5s. on sweetened and 6s. on unsweetened, that 10 per cent. will be increased to 13. Again, let not the House attribute to me the expression "trifling," but the accurate fact of the 3 per cent. increase. The supplies from Dominion countries have shown a tendency very appreciably to decrease and supplies from the United States have remained considerable. His Majesty's Government are unable to say why, if the United States can export it, Canada cannot. So far as we know, the width of the Atlantic is broadly the same.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
The hon. Member will admit that the percentages of production that he has given for the other commodities do not apply to condensed milk.
§ tion from Empire countries of condensed milk is approximately 5 per cent. There is a considerable home production, and the remainder is derived from the Netherlands, the United States, Switzerland and Denmark. The argument which I am pressing is that, for reasons not known to the Government, the supplies from the Dominion countries have decreased and the supplies from foreign countries have increased. Inasmuch as one of the foreign countries which have done a. large amount of the export trade is the United States, with which Canada is on exceptionally favourable terms with regard to effective competition, we are in great hopes that the increase of this duty from 10 per cent, to 13 may assist the Canadian producer. With regard to milk powder, the present duty is 10 per cent., and under the Ottawa duties it will be increased to 18 per cent. For those reasons, I am unable to accept any of these Amendments, which are in effect wrecking Amendments.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 68; Noes, 244.723
|Division No. 319.]||AYES.||[9.25 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Milner, Major James|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, Thomas W.||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Banfield, John William||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, Gabriel|
|Bernays, Robert||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Ztl'nd)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Harris, Sir Percy||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Bevan, Frank||Hirst, George Henry||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Holdsworth, Herbert||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cape, Thomas||Janner, Barnett||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cove, William G.||John, William||Thorne, William James|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Curry, A. C.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Dagger, George||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||White, Henry Graham|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lunn, William||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianolly)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Mabane, William||Williams. Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||McKeag, William||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|George, Megan A. Lioyd (Anglesea)||Mallaileu, Edward Lancelot||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Mr. G. Macdonald and Mr. Groves|
|Grenfall, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Brown, Ernest (Leith)|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leede,W.)||Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Brown,Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.|
|Albery, Irving James||Blindell, James||Burghley, Lord|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Bossom, A. C.||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Boulton, W. W.||Burnett, John George|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Caporn, Arthur Cecil|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Bracken, Brendan||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (P'rtsm'th, S.)|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Chalmers, John Rutherford|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Brass, Captain Sir William||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J.A.(Birm.,W)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Broadbent, Colonel John||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Brockiebank, C. E. R.||Choriton, Alan Ernest Leofric|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Horobin, Ian M.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Howard, Tom Forrest||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Colfax, Major William Philip||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Jamieson, Douglas||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield,B'tside)|
|Cooke, Douglas||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Salt, Edward W.|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Law, Sir Alfred||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Scone, Lord|
|Crossley, A. C.||Lewis, Oswald||Selley, Harry R.|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Loder, Captain.J. de Vere||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo, F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Denville, Alfred||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major.J. A. F.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Drewe, Cedric||MacDonald, Malcoim (Bassetlaw)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||McKie, John Hamilton||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||McLean, Major Alan||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)|
|Dunglass, Lord||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeeton)||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Soper, Richard|
|Ellis, Robert Geoffrey||Martin, Thomas B.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Elmiey, Viscount||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Emmott. Charles E. G. C.||Merriman, Sr F. Boyd||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Emrys- Evans, P. V.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'a'd & Chisw'k)||Storey, Samuel|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Mitcheson, G. G.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Moreing, Adrian C.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Fleiden, Edward Brocklehurst||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Morrison, William Shepherd||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Moss, Captain H. J.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on.T.)|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt Hon. Sir John||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Goff, Sir Park||Nunn, William||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Gower, Sir Robert||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Ward. Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Grattan. Doyie, Sir Nicholas||Palmer, Francis Noel||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Peaks, Captain Osbert||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Greene, William P. C.||Pearson, William G.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Petherick, M.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Blist'n)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Pike, Cecil F.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Potter, John||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Hartland, George A.||Pybus, Percy John||Withers, Sir John James|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Ramsden, E.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Remer, John R.||Mr. George Penny and Lieut.-Colonel|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.||Sir A. Lambert Ward.|
|Hornby, Frank||Robinson, John Roland|
§ Mr. LAWSON
I beg to move, in line 3, after the word "Ottawa," to insert the words:except in so far as they relate to fresh or raw fruit.Having dealt with the duty on wheat, we are asking in this Amendment for a reconsideration of the question of fruit. One of the significant things of recent 724 years is the way in which fruit is gradually becoming transformed from a kind of occasional luxury to a very real food. It has been rather amazing to notice the extent to which fruit has become a regular part of the menu, not only of working people, but of every class. As a matter of fact, in recent years in working-class homes fruit has become really 725 a vital part of the food of the people. I do not know whether that is because the growth of employment has reduced wages and gradually lowered economic standards, but it is a fact that fruit has gradually taken place of meat and other things. It would be true to say of the great mass of the people, particularly those unemployed, that in the main they have left the meat standard and are on the fruit standard. Of recent years not only has it become usual to eat fruit as food, but doctors say that from a medical point of view citrus fruits are a vital part of the diet of the average person if he would maintain good health. Therefore, we have here a real danger of increasing the cost of a vital item of the people's food I understand that when this section of the Ottawa proposals was put through an organisation which was very much interested in the subject felt called upon to ask certain questions of the Government, and I would like, if we can, to get from the Government to-night the answer which they made. Representations were made to the Prime Minister and the Members of the Cabinet by the National Federation of Fruit and Potato Trades Association in regard to the proposed tariffs upon oranges, grape fruit, pears, apples, etc. They said:It is difficult to believe that the importance of a continuous supply of cheap fruit to the health of the industrial classes of this country received adequate consideration when the proposed tariffs were formulated.They go on to point out this amazing fact, that something like 2,000,000 ewts. of oranges are to be taxed in May and April in order to protect 1,000 cwts. of Empire oranges in the last week of that period. Really, the Government must meet this point. I do not know whether they have returned an answer to this organisation. It was shown that during April, 1931, nearly 1,000,000 cwts. of oranges were imported, of which none came from the Empire, and in May 800,000 cwts. were imported from foreign sources while only 1,000 cwts. came from the Empire. They point out that during the two months of April and May some 2,000,000 cwts. of oranges are to be taxed to the extent, I think, of 3s. 6d. per cwt. in order to protect some 1,000 cwts. from some part of the Empire. Whatever the Government do in response to our Amendment to-night, that position surely ought to receive consideration and some reason- 726 able adjustment. ought to he made. Then there is a duty upon grape fruit, and the duty of 4s. 6d. per cwt. on apples coming from outside the Empire. The Government ought to meet the points which have been put forward in this document, which is known to all Members, and was sent specially to the Prime Minister and the Members of the Cabinet with a covering letter.
I do not want to take too long over this point, because we have other Amendments, and I know that the Government are ready to meet the point, but one of the things which has been harped upon throughout these Debates is that the cost of the food of the people is going to be increased. I do not think that can be seriously challenged. If it is challenged, then there does not seem to be any point in having Protection. There is to be a duty on meat—not much it is said—and something on fruit—we have done butter and a whole range of other things. A little here and a little there—it does not matter, of course! It does not matter so long as you are not depending on 15s. a week, like an unemployed man. In response to these arguments about additions to the cost of living it is said, "But see what you are going to get! As a reward for paying this taxation you will get increased trade and increased employment." [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear!"] I am glad that one hon. Member believes that. But we have got to wait. The Secretary of State for the Dominions told us the other night that we have got to pay first. He said something about, "Of course, before we get the benefits we have to pay for them."
What are we going to get? When the 10 per cent. import duty was imposed we were told of the wonderful things that would follow. I think the Financial Secretary to the Treasury spoke about-the results of that policy as proving the moral and spiritual superiority of the Government. I know they are going to tell us again that we shall see an increase in the number of factories. The Tyne was never so busy, with ships going in and going out, and pits were opening on every hand! That was the picture they gave us when they put on the 10 per cent. duty; and that is the kind of picture with which the public are being encouraged now. All I can say as that at the present moment as a result of tariffs—at any rate, whether it 727 is the result of them or not it is the fact—there are 100,000 fewer miners in work than there were 12 months ago, 15,000 fewer in Durham alone, the river is at standstill, there is no shipbuilding, there is nothing. Yet we are going on with a development of this tariff system. If we are to take our experience of the import duties as a test of what is to follow from Ottawa, all I can say is that if we are going on at this rate there will be nothing left at all.
Therefore, I move this Amendment, and I ask the Government to give an answer to the point put by the association referred to regarding oranges in the months of April and May, and to answer their document as a whole, because it is a wholesale and forthright attack upon the duties. It would be better still, of course, if the Government could accept the Amendment, and withdraw these duties, which simply add another burden to the responsibilities of the people. To me, at any rate, one thing is certain, and that is that there will be increased prices to the unemployed, and that means less food, and if we go on as we are going on there will be less trade and less employment.
§ Mr. JANNER
In ray view there is no answer that can possibly be given by the Government to refute the arguments against this duty. There is something different about the question of fruit, in that attempting to interfere with the distribution of fruit is running counter to the whole scheme of nature. It is true that some of the Dominions, by selecting other varieties of oranges, grape-fruit, apples or pears, may advance their season, but I think no one will deny that if they advance their season at all it can only, at the outside, be by one month. As for an extension of the season, that is impossible. Even if you do advance the season, the terms of the Ottawa Agreements are quite unreasonable. No season's crop could possibly be stored for a sufficiently long period to reach into the next. Practically the whole of the output of the Dominions is already sold in the British Empire, mainly in Great Britain, and, as far as Australia and New Zealand are concerned, the fruit is practically all grown for Great Britain.
What is going to be the consequence of the Ottawa Agreements? You have 728 to put a greater acreage into cultivation. I would like to remind hon. Members that it will take at least five years before a crop of oranges, grape-fruit, apples or pears can be grown, and even then the crop might fail. What on earth is the use of putting a definite specific tariff on at the present time when you will have to wait five years before that tariff can be of any avail in order to help the Dominions Put the case at its very highest. Those who foresaw the possibility of the last election being abused specifically for the purpose of imposing tariffs had only a year's advantage in which to prepare themselves for the new growth. They will have to wait four years before they can get a single penny piece, even if the crops are good at the end of the four years, out of the tariffs which are being imposed. What is going to happen if the crops fail? In Nova Scotia, a gale in one night. destroyed half the crop of apples, and, instead of 1,100,000 cases of apples to market in this country, there were only 500,000 cases. Consequently the merchants had to go to the United States to replace the other 500,000 cases. What is going to happen with the new tariff imposed in such a contingency? Four shillings and sixpence per cwt. will have to be paid extra for these apples. And this is not a case Where there is an extreme difference between the wholesale and the retail price. The story of the wholesale price being brought up to a certain level and the retail price not being affected, does not apply in the case of fruit. The wholesaler works on a margin of about. 10 per cent. About 10 per cent. is the net basis upon which he works and 10 per cent. cannot be considered by those who are urging the argument in respect of wholesale prices as exorbitant.
I said a few months ago that we are trying to interfere with Nature. In my view, the Government beauty specialists are trying to alter the face of Nature altogether. Poor Mother Nature, always regarded as being something of permanent beauty, is not only having a 10 per cent. dab of powder and paint put on, but we have started on a lifting process that will take five years to set. The furrowed brow is no longer going to be seen through roseate spectacles. It is going to be replaced by a beautiful, new lifted face, full of all sorts of tariffs and all sorts of artificial devices, in order to put it 729 right. What is going to happen, supposing that the beauty specialists change their views in the course of the five years, and supposing that they come to the conclusion that the setting is no longer a thing of beauty and a joy for ever? That will place them in the unfortunate position of having to accept the deformed face without any possible recourse to alteration.
The main point of the argument that I desire to put to the House is that there is never a failure in the consumers' demand for fruit. Fruit comes to this country and very little storage is done; the merchant sells it immediately to the retailer, the retailer disposes of it to the public forthwith, and any balance left over, which does not pass through the usual channels or is disposed of in the ordinary way, is sold to the street tradesmen, who dispose of it to the poorest classes in the community. As a result of that, not only is the food sold at a cheap price to those who need it most, but a form of new health, and of opportunities for health is brought within the range of the purchasing power of the poorest people in the land. Fruit is not only a food; it is something whose value goes beyond ordinary food values. [Interruption.] It is something about which my friends will laugh very differently when they have to explain these duties to their constituents. It is something which their constituents have known as part and parcel of their daily health-giving routine, and which they can obtain from day to day in a cheap and reasonable market. By the present system the sale and production of fruit is extended, and the man-in-the-street who in normal circumstances is not in a position to purchase fruit at a higher price, has the opportunity of purchasing it and of acquiring a taste for it.
I will illustrate what I mean by reference to grape fruit. It is not so very long since grape fruit was practically unused in this country, but now it can sometimes be obtained from the barrows in the streets, at about 2½d. or 20., so that the working-class individual is in a position, not only to purchase this grape fruit, but also to acquire the habit of using grape fruit in the course of his daily life. We are told by medical authorities that this is a very valuable health-giving commodity. The moment that these duties are imposed, it will be found that 730 the entry of grape fruit into this country will be halved, and only those who are able to pay a high price will be able to purchase it. As far as the Empire is concerned, it will not be possible to grow a greater quantity of this fruit until five years have elapsed. There is only a limited quantity of the fruit at present, and, once heavy taxation is placed upon it, the people who most need it will not have an opportunity of getting it. They might get it in five years' time. There is to be no variation of the tax from one year to another. By the time the five years have elapsed, it will be found that the taste for this particular commodity has been destroyed, and the industry will have to build up an entirely new taste for that fruit. You are killing an industry rather than encouraging it; you are checking its progress for five years; you are doing the Empire absolutely no good during that period, because it has no additional acreage under cultivation. You are depriving the people of a food commodity which they have learned to use and which they now need. What earthly use is there in doing that? And, if this prevails with regard to grape fruit, it also prevails with regard to oranges.
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Mr. JANNER
I will give my hon. and gallant Friend the figure forthwith. The average auction price of an 80-1b. box of grape fruit to-day is 17s., less selling expenses 1s. 6d., making a net price of 15s. 6d. The present duty is 10 per cent., which adds Is. 7d. to the price of the box. The proposed duty is to be 5s. per cwt., which means an increase of 3s. 6d. per box. There will be an increase of 121 per cent. on the rate of duty charged, and the actual increase in the price of the fruit will be 22.1 per cent. My hon. and gallant Friend and other Members may be in a position to pay that 22.1 per cent.——
§ Mr. JANNER
I have not a ready reckoner with me, and am not going to argue with my hon. and gallant Friend as to whether or not it is ¼d. per grape fruit, though my own view is that it is more; and not only is that my view, but 731 the National Federation of Fruit and Potato Growers also think that it is much more. Moreover, the poor people will not have an opportunity of getting this commodity. As my hon. and gallant Friend has asked the question, I think that I ought perhaps to bring another commodity into the picture which may amplify what I had to say on the question of grape fruit. Let me take the question of apples. In this case the same amount of duty is going to be charged on every grade of apples. It is proposed to put, on a barrel of 140 lbs. of apples, a duty of 5s. 9d., no matter what the grade of apples may be. [An HON. MEMBER: "Foreign apples."] There is a period in the year when you are not able to get any but these foreign apples, and, therefore, hon. Members may be interested to know the effect of this proposal.
It may be argued that this amount is not material in the case of the wealthy consumer, whose 140-lb. barrel of apples might be expected to cost 40s. wholesale. It is 5s. 9d. on 40s. But what of the poor man who has to buy the apples that are sold wholesale at 15s. a barrel? You are going to put on that 15s the same duty of 5s. 9d., and not only has the consumer to pay 5s. 9d. on this 15s. barrel of apples, but the retailer who has purchased the apples hitherto from the merchant is no longer able to buy the same quantity of apples, but has to buy a smaller quantity if he happens to be in a small way of business. The overhead charges are added, and, by the time the poor consumer gets the apples, he has to pay, not only this duty of 5s. 9d. on the 15s. barrel, but also additional overheads, together with a little profit on these.
There are enough already of these pernicious and difficult taxes on poor people in this country, and there is no need to increase them, particularly when you are doing yourselves no good. The trade itself contends that the Government have not taken their view into consideration even in arriving at the periods clueing which the taxes are to be imposed. Taxes are going to be imposed in respect of some periods when one cannot even get the commodities from the Empire. What on earth is the use of coming to the House and saying that you have prepared a reasoned and proper system by 732 which you are going to help Imperial trade? You have in the matter not taken into consideration important factors, and you are not doing, by this system of taxation, anything to benefit either the consumer or the producer. Certainly at some periods of the year you are not helping any part of the Empire, because the Empire has no fruit to sell to you in those periods. Why tell the House that these measures have been carefully thought out, when you are putting a five years' millstone around our neck and telling us that you are not going to make any provision whereby we can remove the millstone?
If there is any significant factor which proves the absurdity of the method in which these Agreements have been arranged, these fruit taxes, which do not help the Empire, show in themselves that the matter ought to be reconsidered. I know it is a question of running one's head against a stone wall to expect concessions. I do not like the stone-wall attitude. I wish it were a little more flexible. We ask that there should be a little rubber on it. If the country is asked to run its head against something hard, let us have something to protect our beads. The facts in support of the Amendment clearly illustrate the necessity of action being taken in that direction, and I appeal to the Government, if they are not prepared to accept the whole Amendment, at least to revise the periods which they have set down, and show the Dominions how important it is that these periods should be properly revised. When they have done that, perhaps they will realise that they ought at the same time to allow the House to have opportunities from time to time to consider the removal of any other discrepancies which may arise.
§ Mr. M. MacDONALD
My hon. Friend who introduced the Amendment told the House that certain people who were interested in this question do not consider that the Government took into consideration certain important matters when arriving at this Agreement. All I can say in reply to that is that, even if it were true—which we do not, admit—that relevant considerations were not taken into account, the fault does not lie with the Government. For months before our delegation went to Ottawa, appeals were made, at 733 this Box and elsewhere, for all those who were concerned in the matters that were to be discussed at Ottawa to put their case before the Government, and to put the Government in possession of all relevant facts and considerations, and it was open to anyone interested in this question of fruit to put whatever facts were relevant- before the Government months before the Conference took place.
§ Mr. JANNER
Is it a fact that a certain important confederation of fruit-growers asked to be given an opportunity of assisting the Government to come to a conclusion, and was that application accepted or otherwise?
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I do not know to what organisation of fruit growers the hon. Member is referring, but, if he will let us have the information, we will look into it. It is, however, in the recollection of the House that appeals were constantly made, and the Dominions Office and the Board of Trade, members of the Delegation or their representatives or industrial advisers were day after day seeing deputations from all sorts of interests. It was certainly the intention of the Government, which I believe was carried out to the full, that anyone who had any representations to make should be heard. On the general question of these fruit concessions, I must repeat what has been said on other Amendments. Our delegation went to Ottawa to try to increase inter-Imperial trade by the grant of mutual preferences between the Dominions and this country. Many-Dominions are interested in fruit. This was one of the matters on which we could help them, and the concessions which we made to the Dominions on this subject are, of course, in return for concessions which we get from the Dominions, which have been discussed at other times. There are one or two details which I should like to emphasise in respect to some of the items under consideration. Apples consigned directly to registered cider factories are exempted from the proposed additional duties, because the Government were anxious not to risk placing any obstacle in the way of the cider industry.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
Why should a privilege be given to the man who drinks cider and he denied to the poor child who wants an apple?
§ Mr. MacDONALD
It is an industry which is giving some employment, and holds out hopes of giving more, and the Government did not want to put anything in the way of that prospect. I am not quite sure that the stone wall is quite as hard as my hon. Friend made out. May I give a figure which will perhaps give a new impression, after his speech, of what the new proposals would amount to. There is already a 10 per cent. ad valorem duty on apples, and I am informed that the additional proposed duties will bring that 10 per cent. up to something like 20 per cent., on the basis of the average declared value in 1931 of imports from America, on which the duty will fall almost entirely. The stone wall in respect of apples is not quite so hard. There is, perhaps, a little of that rubber that my hon. Friend appeals for. Upon the question of bananas, the specific duty now proposed is simply the equivalent of the existing ad valorem, duty, so that there will be no change in the price of that kind of fruit. On the question of oranges, the proposed new duty only apply during a certain period of the year, and it will not apply during that period when the bulk supply is coming in from Spain and Italy, so that during that period prices will not be affected at all. Even during the other periods of the year, when it is proposed that this duty should apply, the increase in the price should not be as great as might at first appear, because of this question of the increased planting of orange groves in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. My hon. Friend seems to, imagine that that new planting is only going to start now, and that from the moment of this duty, if the House accepts it, the South Africans and Southern Rhodesians are going to start a great extension of orange groves, and he told the House that we should have to wait for five years until the fruit first come to our markets. That extension has been going on during recent years. It has already started. [An HON. MEMBER: "Without a preference!"] With-out a preference. But the fruit from those plantations, as my hon. Friend said quite correctly, did not begin to come in during the first few years, but they have been sufficiently long established now to justify our expecting increased supplies from those sources.
§ Mr. LAWSON
Is the hon. Gentleman really meeting the point laid down by the Fruit Association as to the 2,000,000 cwts. which come from foreign sources in May and April when there is only 1,000 cwts. coming from any part of the Empire and there is to be no tax at that time?
§ Mr. MacDONALD
The period during which the Tax is to operate is as stated in the Agreement. I am bound to say that the point was in the minds of the Delegation at Ottawa, and after full consideration of all those matters it reached agreement with South Africa and other Dominions interested, as is laid down in the Agreement. It is proposed that the Tax should operate during that period and that period alone. On the question of grape fruit, again I should like to give a figure, which, I think, will give possibly a more correct impression of the significance of the proposed new duty. I am informed that the increase will be from the existing 10 per cent. to something like 18 per cent. on the valuations for 1931, but, in fact, it will not be 18 per cent. on the most recent valuations for imports during the period of this year. Therefore, I think that my hon. Friend exaggerated somewhat the increase which could be expected from the Ottawa Agreements with regard to grape fruit.
§ Mr. JANNER
I am quoting from definite figures and giving definite percentages. The period for which I am giving the figures is October, 1932, and that, surely, is late enough. The percentages which I have given as far as grape fruit is concerned are quite clear. I have the figures before me. The proposed duty is to be 3s. 6d. per box as compared with ls. 7d. under the 10 per cent. duty.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
Naturally, I am also quoting from figures supplied to me, and I must give the full quotation, which is a thoroughly authoritative one:The proposed Duty on grape fruit of five shillings a cwt. represents, on the basis of average declared values in 1931 18 per cent. ad valoremthat is an increase of 8 per cent. on the existing duty of 10 per cent—but would be considerably less on the basis.of the declared values for September, 1932.All I can say is that, like the hon. Member, I am quoting figures given to me from an authoritative source.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
Suppose that it is found as between the different authorities that a mistake has arisen owing perhaps to there being no real contact with the trade at the time, can that mistake be put right before the Bill leaves the House?
§ Mr. MacDONALD
If any mistake can be shown to have been made naturally we shall take it into consideration. I cannot go further than that at the moment, but I have no reason to suppose that these figures are incorrect. The duty on plums is already in existence during certain periods of the year, and it is now proposed to put it into operation for an additional period of the year, but the supplies from foreign sources are scarcely anything at all during this additional period. The proposal is simply to put on a tax which will secure South Africa against any possible new competition from abroad. South Africa already supplies almost the whole of our plums during that period. Therefore, the price ought not to be affected. Exactly the same applies in regard to grapes, peaches and nectarines. We are making these concessions to the Dominions as part of a mutual agreement, in return for concessions which have been given to us. These fruit concessions cannot be divorced from the Agreements as a whole. We believe that they will be of very considerable help to the Dominions, and in some cases they will be of help to our own home producers of fruit. Because of these circumstances, it is impossible for the Government to accept the Amendment.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
Before the House leaves this matter its attention should be called to one statement of the hon. Member which is of rather wider significance than might at first sight appear. We are continually told that all these duties will make no difference to the consumer, that the Empire can give us almost all our supplies and that even if it cannot, the foreigner will pay the duty, and there will be no increase in the cost of living; but when we come to this duty upon apples, which is a duty of 4s. 6d. a cwt., my hon. Friend drew our attention to the fact that the Agreement specifically makes an exception and that the duty of 4s. 6d. is not to apply to apples sent direct to a registered cider manufacturer for producing cider. Why? The hon.
737 Member very clearly stated that it was because they do not want to put any obstacle in the way of that industry, which gives a considerable volume of employment. They do not wish to tax these apples because they are the raw material of the cider industry. But if the foreigner is going to pay and if all these taxes are to make no difference to the price, why not get a useful revenue from all the apples that are sent to the cider manufacturers? This is the modern form of one of the fallacies—we are having them repeated one by one—in Mr. Joseph Chamberlain's campaign of 30 years ago, when he said in one breath that the foreigner was going to pay and that our people would not suffer, and in the next breath he said that we must on no account put a tax upon foreign maize and foreign bacon because they contri-
§ buted to the food of the poorest of the poor. If the foreigner was going to pay, why not tax maize and bacon? My hon. Friend's special reference to this Clause in the Agreement, and the fact that it appears in the Agreement itself, is a complete answer to the whole of the claim that the consumer is not to suffer from the taxes that are being imposed.
I had not the advantage of going to Ottawa and I have not the facts before me, but I think that cider apples are a very special commodity and are not grown within the Empire. I am not, however, quite sure of all the facts.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 68; Noes, 274.739
|Division No. 320.]||AYES.||[10.25 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middiesbro',W.)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Banfield, John William||Grundy, Thomas W.||Milner, Major James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Bernays, Robert||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvill)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Ztl'nd)||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Briant, Frank||Harris, Sir Percy||Price, Gabriel|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hicks, Ernest George||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Cape, Thomas||Hirst, George Henry||Roberts, Aied (Wrexham)|
|Cove, William G.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Janner, Barnett||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Curry, A. C.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Thorne, William James|
|Dagger, George||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||White, Henry Graham|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, David||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lunn, William||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Mabane, William|
|George, Major G. Lioyd (Pembroke)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|George, Megan A. Lioyd (Anglesea)||McKeag, William||Mr. John and Mr. Groves.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Conant, R. J. E.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Bracken, Brendan||Cook, Thomas A.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Cooke, Douglas|
|Albery, Irving James||Brass, Captain Sir William||Courtauld, Major John Sewell|
|Alien, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverpl, W.)||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Broadbent, Colonel John||Craven-Ellis, William|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Crooke, J. Smedley|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Croom-Johnson, R. P.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T||Crossley, A. C.|
|Atholl Duchess of||Burghley, Lord||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Burnett, John George||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (P'rtsm'th, S.)||Denville, Alfred|
|Bainlel, Lord||Chalmers, John Rutherford||Drewe, Cedric|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.Sir J. A.(Birm.,W)||Duckworth, George A. V.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)|
|Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Dunglass, Lord|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Clayton, Dr. George C.||Eastwood, John Francis|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Eden, Robert Anthony|
|Blindell, James||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Colfox, Major William Philip||Ellis, Robert Geoffrey|
|Boulton, W. W.||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Elmley, Viscount|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Ross Taylor, Waiter (Woodbridge)|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Russell,Hamer Field (Sheffield,B'tside)|
|Fleiden, Edward Brocklehurst||McCorquodale, M. S.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||McKie, John Hamilton||Salt, Edward W.|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||McLean. Major Alan||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Magnay, Thomas||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Making, Brigadier-General Ernest||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M||Scone, Lord|
|Gluckstein. Louis Halle||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Selley, Harry R.|
|Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Goff. Sir Park||Martin. Thomas B.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Shaw. Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Gower. Sir Robert||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'ri'd, N.)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw-||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Greene, William P. C.||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Grimston. R. V.||Mitcheson, G. G.||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Moison, A. Hugh Elsdale||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Guest. Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Morning, Adrian C.||Soper, Richard|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Morgan, Robert H.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Hamilton. Sir George (Ilford)||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Hammersley. Samuel S.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denblgh)||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Morrison, William Shepherd||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Moss, Captain H. J.||Storey, Samuel|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Hartland, George A.||Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth,Kenningt'n)||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Stuart. Lord C. Crichton-|
|Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Headiam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Nunn, William||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Thomas. James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Heneage. Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Palmer, Francis Noel||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wlck-on-T.)|
|Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)||Peake, Captain Osbert||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Hills. Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Pearson, William G.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Penny, Sir George||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Perkins, Walter R. D.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Hornby, Frank||Petherick. M||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Horobin, Ian M.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Wallace. John (Dunfermline)|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Pike, Cecil F.||Ward. Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Potter, John||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Hudson, Cant. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Pybus, Percy John||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Jamieson, Douglas||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Ramsay. Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Jones. Lewis (Swansea, West)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Windsor-Clive. Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Ramsden, E.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Knatchbull. Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Womersley, Walter James|
|Knight, Holford||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Worthington. Dr. John V.|
|Latham. Sir Herbert Paul||Remer, John R.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Rentoul Sir Gervais S.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'y'noake)|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Rhys. Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Leighton. Major B. E. P.||Robinson. John Roland||TELLERS FOR TREE NOES. —|
|Lennox-Boyd. A. T.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Lord Erskine and Commander|
|Lewis, Oswald||Rosbotham, S. T.||Southby.|
§ Mr. WHYS DAVIES
I have on the Paper an Amendment, in line 3, after the word "Ottawa" to insert the words:except in so far as they relate to linseed, cod liver oil, castor oil, linseed oil, coconut oil, ground nut oil, rape oil and sesamum oil.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I understand there was an intention to deal with linseed oil separately, and therefore I do not pro- 740 pose to include it in the hon. Member's Amendment.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
"Linseed" covers a much larger subject than "linseed oil." It was "linseed" that we wished to leave out of this Amendment.
§ Mr. J. WALLACE
On that point of Order. The matter of importance is not linseed oil but linseed. Linseed oil is imported in very small quantities. Linseed is a major import. Linseed oil is only 10 per cent, of the total amount of linseed imported.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It was represented to me that the particular commodity which hon. Members wished to deal with in a separate Amendment was linseed oil.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
A separate discussion on linseed would not be of great length and would be a great convenience, as certain Members wish to raise rather important points on linseed, but are willing to allow linseed oil to be treated with the other oils mentioned in this Amendment. The subject of linseed however raises a larger problem affecting industry.
§ Sir FRANK SANDERSON
I suggest that it would be very difficult to discuss linseed and exclude the consideration of linseed oil, as one is essentially dependent upon the other. I respectfully suggest that they should be treated together.
§ Sir B. PETO
May I with all humility point out, Mr. Speaker, that linseed raises quite a different question from linseed oil? Linseed is the raw material of the industry and linseed oil is only a by-product and a matter of comparative unimportance.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I am entirely in the hands of hon. Members. It does not matter to me whether it is linseed or linseed oil. As I understand it now, "linseed" and not "linseed oil" is to be left out of this Amendment.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
We are quite content to discuss the question of linseed sepa rately and to leave linseed oil to be included in this Amendment.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I think it necessary to point out that you, Mr. Speaker, were right. The usual channels settled the Amendment in the form in which it was read just now by my hon. Friend, and I am surprised that the usual channels did not consult their friends upon the matter.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I beg to move, in line 3, after the word "Ottawa," to insert the words:except in so far as they relate to cod liver oil, castor oil, linseed oil, coconut oil, ground-nut oil, rape oil, sesannun oil.In doing so, I wish to congratulate certain Ministers on appearing here for the first time in to-day's discussion. I notice the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary for Mines and other Ministers are now present. During the evening it has been left to two junior Ministers to reply on these discussions. I must say that from their point of view they have done remarkably well, but we must protest that certain Ministers have kept away. Especially do we want to know where is the Dominion Secretary, who has not put in an appearance yet and who is, from our point of view, the villain of the piece in connection with these Agreements.
§ Mr. M. MacDONALD
I may point out that the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was here during a considerable part of the afternoon's discussion.
§ Mr. DAVIES
The hon. Gentleman's measure of "a considerable part" would probably differ from mine. This Amendment deals with a very serious problem which especially affects the sick among the population of this country. The House has been dealing with meat and other eatables like fruit; we now come to a matter which ought to receive the serious consideration of the Government. First I should like to know, after the arguments which we heard in the last discussion, what are we going to get from Newfoundland in return for this extraordinary preference? I am told on good authority that this country imports cod liver oil from Newfoundland in the ratio of 1 to 30 as compared with Norway. Those who understand the problem better than I do say that it does not matter what preference we give to Newfoundland, we shall never be able to supply our market from within the British Empire with this commodity.
§ Mr. DAVIES
I want to ask for your protection, Mr. Speaker, against the hon. Member's continued intervention when I speak. I do not know whether my lack of eloquence irritates him or not, but his 743 does me anyhow. As he is so very inquisitive and has written a book about this, I will enlighten him. In 1930 the imports of Norwegian oil were approximately 16,000 barrels, and in 1931 approximately 16,500 barrels. The figures for 1932 are not yet available.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
I asked for the figures for Newfoundland and Norway. Will the hon. Member give them for 1928?
§ Mr. DAVIES
If I have them, I will, and if I cannot find them now, I will produce them for the hon. Member, so that he can write some more about it. It is important to remember that Newfoundland only sends to this country the proportion of one to 30 of Norwegian cod liver oil. I think we are entitled to know from the Government how it comes about that they are so very drastic in putting 1s. 4d. per gallon on foreign cod liver oil when they must know full well that the British Empire cannot, in our life-time at any rate, produce enough of this commodity in order to defeat the cod liver oil coming from Norway. Remember that we are dealing here, in the main, with a commodity supplied to people who are sick, and that the population affected by this cod liver oil problem are very largely consumptives. I do not see the Minister of Health here, but I am sure he will find that the local authorities of this country spend enormous sums of money in buying this commodity in bulk for their sanatoria. I have it on good authority that the local authorities, which are dealing with this commodity for the purpose of preventing and curing consumption, are very apprehensive indeed lest the expenses of administering their sanatoria will increase considerably thereby.
This commodity is supplied in very large quantities under the National Health Insurance scheme. The Minister of Health. if he were in his place, would agree that the approved societies of this country pay for medicine in respect of 17,000,000 insured persons. A great deal of the money expended for that purpose is spent on the provision of cod liver oil, and it seems to me, therefore, that the funds of the approved societies will be affected in some degree—I do not say in a very great degree—by this increased duty.
What some of us cannot understand is how the Government are giving a prefer- 744 ence to Newfoundland cod liver oil when it is understood, even by the Government themselves, that practically the whole of the industry in Newfoundland is financed by United States capital. The ships are owned by United States capitalists, and the whole process of extracting cod liver oil is done under the control of American capital. I would like to know, therefore, how it comes about that we are giving a preference, not to one of our Dominions, but to United States capital. The Government in this respect are delivering a serious blow at the sick people who are called upon to use cod liver oil from time to time, and especially those who are suffering from tuberculosis. Some of us feel very seriously on this matter, and I hope that the Government will take heed of what we say on this matter.
§ Mr. McKEAG
In supporting this Amendment, I wish to speak particularly on cod liver oil. It has an interest for me because, had it not been for the fact that I was well dosed with it in my youth, my presence might not have been inflicted on the House to-night. That might be regarded as sufficient reason by the supporters of the Government why the Amendment should be defeated. Be that as it may, the House, I am sure, will not grudge me the view that it is eminently desirable that this commodity should be obtainable by the people of this country as inexpensively as possible. I represent a constituency in the north of England, where the people are subjected to the rigours of a severe climate and cod liver oil is a standby among harassed mothers. Many a child in the north country owes its life to the fact that he has been able to obtain cod liver oil. Surely the Government are not going to sacrifice the welfare of the children en the altar of what they call Imperial Preference. That is no idle statement. I have here a copy of the current "Lancet," which contains two letters written by eminent medical authorities. In one case, we have a letter written by a doctor, which I think it would be useful for the guidance of this House that I should quote and of which we should do well to take heed. He says:The possibility of a rise in the price of cod liver oil, as a result of the Ottawa proposals, must arouse some anxiety in the minds of all who are concerned with the welfare of little children, especially those of 745 the poorer classes. Cod liver oil has a value in early life which cannot easily be replaced, unless indeed any adequate supply can be obtained of fish liver oil with similar properties.He winds up:For those whose circumstances make the liberal use of eggs, milk, and cream a simple matter, cod liver oil is unnecessary, but for the poor who cannot obtain these goods, having an adequate quantity of cod liver oil is of very great value, and it will be a bad day for the children when the price of cod liver oil grows sufficiently to prevent its use for every child who has need of it.Those are comments which I would commend to the serious consideration of Members of this House, and they are backed up by another opinion in the same paper, coming from a lady doctor of the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine. I do not want to weary the House with another quotation, but I think that it is essential to read the concluding paragraphs of her letter, for the House should give very serious consideration to these words of an eminent medical authority:It is evident that any steps which may raise the price and lower the consumption of cod liver oil especially in winter would have a deleterious effect upon the health of the population, involving particularly upon the well-being of the children of the poorer classes.I do submit that this proposed tax can have no other result than to increase the price of cod liver oil to the poorer people. It is indeed a tax which is being imposed to bolster the Newfoundland industry at the expense of the people of this country. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken gave certain figures, which I would only amplify by reminding the House that of the annual consumption of 500,000 gallons of cod liver oil, only 25,000 are obtained from Newfoundland. Therefore, if this tax is imposed, it means that 475,000 gallons out of 500,000 gallons are to be taxed in order to give Newfoundland an increased price for a mere 25,000 gallons of that commodity. If it were not so tragic it would really be farcical. This tax will inevitably result in an increase in the retail price, and it will be a serious matter.
I remember when I was a child being given this cod liver oil, which I did not like, and I used to be given a penny in order to get over my dislike. When sufficient of these pennies had accumulated they were used to buy another bottle. These pennies are very scanty among the poor people of this country 746 to-day, and I submit that an increase of only a copper or two in the retail price of a bottle of cod liver oil will be a very serious matter indeed. Owing to the continued unemployment in industrial areas, children in particular are suffering from under-nourishment, and therefore are more susceptible to those ailments for which cod liver oil is a very proper thing. Now, more than at any other time, it is inadvisable that the Government should do anything to increase the price of this commodity, and I hope the Government will consider accepting this Amendment.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
This is a somewhat strange Amendment. There are a number of oils in it, but the first is the one to which alone attention has been given. There is cod liver oil, there is castor oil which is used for lubricating aeroplanes, coconut oil for hairdressing, ground nut oil and finally sesamum oil which, I suppose, is the oil which certain people use when they want to get concessions. No attention has been paid to these other commodities. The whole case has been built up on one commodity. The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies), whom I have followed twice to-day in Debate, has again been a little inaccurate owing to the bad brief supplied to him. He told us that the ratio of imports from Norway to those from Newfoundland was in the relation of 30 to 1. I asked to what year those figures related. They related, apparently, to 1931, and had been abstracted from the Annual Statement of Trade published two or three days ago. But if he will look at other recent figures he will find a very different picture. I am speaking from memory, and therefore I must give round figures, but in 1928 the imports from Norway were 1,800 tons. The official statistics are not given in barrels, but in tons, and therefore I imagine the hon. Member did not obtain his information from official statistics. The imports in that year from Newfoundland were 800 tons. That shows a ratio not of 30 to 1 but 2½ to 1. The production in Newfoundland is three times as great as the 500,000 gallons which the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. McKeag) said was the aggregate consumption, and therefore it is obvious that Newfoundland is a source of supply that can meet all our needs if it should be necessary to obtain all the oil from that source.
747 None of the hon. Gentlemen seems to have realised that this country is a large cod liver oil producing country. Last year there were landed on our shores 5,000,000 cwts. of cod fish, representing, I imagine, 25,000,000 or 30,000,000 fish. These fish are cleaned when caught, I understand, and the livers are taken apart. If the livers were boiled immediately they would give medicinal quality cod liver oil, and in some cases boilers for that purpose are provided on the trawlers. In the case of ships which do not go long voyages the livers can be boiled fresh ashore. The practice in this country in the past has been, to a large extent, in the case of the trawlers going long distances to wait until they reach shore before boiling the livers, which are then rather stale. That produces oil of an industrial quality, which has high medical qualities but is not pleasant to the palate, and therefore is mainly used for cattle and not given to children. There was an interruption not intended for my ear from the hon. Baronet the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) which shows he thought I was mixing up crude with refined oil. My own children get the crude oil, and if you only bribe them, not with pennies——
§ Mr. McKEAG
Is the hon. Member attempting to defend this tax on the desirability of bolstering up the industry in this country or the industry in Newfoundland?
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I am only trying to explain to the hon. Member certain facts with which he was not previously acquainted. It is not necessary, in the case of my well-brought-up children, to bribe them with a penny every time they consume cod liver oil. There are other methods of education better than that. My cod liver oil is a British production, which is obtained from the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley) and with his advice, if I may say so.
This duty has been represented as a terrible burden. What is the amount of the duty? It is 4d. per quart. If the hon. Member for Durham will go into any chemist's shop he likes to-morrow, he will find that he can get cod liver oil at a rate which represents something between 6s. and 8s. 6d. per quart, if he 748 buys it in substantial quantities. If he buys it in smaller quantities the retail price is higher. In relation to the price to the consumer at the outside, the duty is not more than 4 of 5 per cent. All the talk of the adverse effect which this duty is going to have, is based upon the assumption that there is a high rate of duty that is going to be borne by the consumer. Our own production of cod liver oil is equal to our total consumption. All that is wrong with our own production is that we are producing relatively too much industrial and not enough medicinal cod liver oil. We can increase our total production to a substantial extent. The real truth of the matter is, that Newfoundland and the United Kingdom can supply between them all the oil that is needed, in admirable qualities at reasonable prices.
§ Mr. MALLALIEU
The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) is by no means the only hon. Member who has !been interrupted, in one way or another, by the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams). He supervened after the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) not so very long ago, in a letter to the Press, which was characteristic by its aggressiveness, and by the fact that it criticised everybody except the hon. Member for South Croydon, for ignorance and for not noticing facts. He did this service to his case—if he considers it a service—of putting the whole question of cod liver oil upon a frivolous basis. There may be many frivolous aspects of other oils, but cod liver oil is far from being a frivolous subject. I should like to inflict upon the House a further quotation from the "Lancet" which was referred to this evening, from its issue of 15th October this year. This is the quotation:A leading newspaper last Sunday, in dismissing opposition to the Ottawa Agreements, remarked that even the dissenting Liberals 'cannot be exactly stirred to the depths by the reflection that their cod liver oil will cost them more.'I think the hon. Member for South Croydon will recognise some of the phrases in this quotation. It goes on to say:The medical profession is hardly likely to share this light-hearted view of the proposed duties. Year by year it is made dearer that the diet of the poorer classes, if not the richer, is not the balanced diet advised by the text books. Report after 749 report on rickets, dental caries, maternal mortality, or infectious disease, emphasises the importance of taking fresh foods, or, if these ate too expensive, of cod liver oil.Why is it that, we have been buying cod liver oil from Norway in the past? It is, if I may say so in all humility to the House, because cod liver oil is produced in Norway under conditions which are naturally most suitable for its production. For instance, the season for the fishing in Newfoundland is mainly in June and July, two of the hottest months of the year; and it is an acknowledged fact that, for medicinal purposes, cod liver oil must be produced from fresh livers. It is of no use for medicinal purposes when the livers have become even slightly decomposed. That is merely the coast cod liver oil, the raw stuff suitable for cattle, but not for highly refined medicinal purposes. In Newfoundland the fishing is in two of the hottest months of the year, whereas in Norway the fishing is conducted in the months of March and February; and, if anyone should doubt what are the conditions so far as heat and cold are concerned at that time of the year in that part of the world, let them read "The Last of the Vikings," where they will find very admirably portrayed the privations of the fishermen at the Lofoten Islands. On the spot there are admirable factories, some of them owned by British people, whose products this Government are proposing to tax on their entry into this country. The whole production is concentrated in a very small area, whereas in Newfoundland the production is carried on by small, scattered producers, whose transport costs are naturally very much more proportionately than those of the Norwegians, who have their fish and their factories close alongside. Then there is the aspect, which has been touched upon by the hon. Member for Westhoughton, of the American ownership of the capital of the Newfoundland producing firms. Setting that against the taxation of the products of British firms to which I have just alluded, there seems to be a pretty poor case on Protectionist grounds alone—and I always like to put myself in the position of the Protectionist wherever it is possible—for this tax upon something which is considered by all the medical authorities to be so vital.
750 The hon. Member for South Croydon has been delighting us by his description of how he makes his own children take this cod liver oil. The point is that people need to be made to take Newfoundland cod liver oil. It is highly distasteful, by reason both of its odour and of its colour, and it may be that the reason is largely to be found in that scattered, small production to which I have referred. I hope that the frivolous level to which this subject has been brought will not be the level upon which the House will consider this vitally important matter, which concerns people who may be suffering from the awful diseases of rickets and tuberculosis. I hope that the House will consider this matter bearing in mind these things, and not those frivolities to which certain hon. Members have made reference.
§ Dr. BURGIN
With regard to the oils that appear in this Amendment, it is probably only necessary to say that in the case of the greater number of them there is a duty of 10 per cent. already, and that under the Ottawa Agreements that 10 per cent. is being slightly increased. The Debate has largely centred upon cod liver oil, and there are two points regarding cod liver oil which the Government have to meet. The first is with regard to the retail price of the ordinary quantity of cod liver oil required for consumption by children and patients in hospitals. The normal method of selling cod liver oil is, in an eight-ounce bottle, or some other regular standard bottle. There is no evidence in the possession of the Government that would lead one to think that the price is going to be increased. The other point that we have to deal with is oil for cattle and poultry feeding. We are advised that the increase in price to any individual farmer for cattle and poultry feeding is likely to be small. Those two comments broadly dispose of the whole of the case that is made either in the "Lancet" or elsewhere with regard to cod liver oil. The real truth is that there are only certain things that Newfoundland can produce. The cod fisheries and cod liver oil production are one of Newfoundland's greatest assets. It is a tragic fact that, owing to lack of demand, only a third of the available quantity of cod liver oil has been produced in Newfoundland as refined oil in recent years. It is the hope of the Government that by this 751 method something may be done to encourage that great industry without appreciable extra cost to the consumer.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 64; Noes, 264.753
|Division No. 321.]||AYES.||[11.13 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro',W.)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Groves, Thomas E.||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Banfield, John William||Grundy, Thomas W.||Maxton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Milner, Major James|
|Bernays, Robert||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Harris, Sir Percy||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Cape, Thomas||Hicks, Ernest George||Price, Gabriel|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Hirst, George Henry||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Curry, A. C.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Roberts, Aied (Wrexham)|
|Dagger, George||Janner, Barnett||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Edwards, Charles||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||White, Henry Graham|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bedmin)||Lunn, William||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|George, Major G. Lioyd (Pembroke)||Mabane, William||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|George, Megan A. Lioyd (Anglesea)||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McKeag, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. John and Mr. C. Macdonald.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Crossley, A. C.||Hanley, Dennis A.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel Bernard||Harvey, George (Lembeth, Kenn'gt'n)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Davidson. Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Albery, Irving James||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverpl, W.)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Drewe, Cedric||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Duckworth, George A. V.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Duggan, Hubert John||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Hore-Belisha, Leslle|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Dunglass, Lord||Hornby, Frank|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Eastwood, John Francis||Horobin, Ian M.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Eden, Robert Anthony||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Balniel, Lord||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Bateman, A. L.||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Ayiesbury)||Elmley, Viscount||Hume. Sir George Hopwood|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)|
|Blindell, James||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Jamieson, Douglas|
|Boulton, W. W.||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Joel, Dudley J. Bernato|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Bralthwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fox, Sir Gifford||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul|
|Brown,Brig.-Gen.H.C,(Berks.,Newb'y)||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Law, Sir Alfred|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Burghley, Lord||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.|
|Burnett, John George||Gledhill, Gilbert||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Glucksteln, Louts Halle||Lioyd, Geoffrey|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir A. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Glyn. Major Ralph G. C.||Loder. Captain J. de Vere|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Goff, Sir Park||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Lymington, Viscount|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Gower, Sir Robert||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col C. G. (Partick)|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C`mb'ri'd, N.)||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Greene, William P. C.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Colfax, Major William Philip||Grimston, R. V.||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||McLean, Major Alan|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Guinnees, Thorns, L. E. B.||Macmillan, Maurice Harold|
|Cooke, Douglas||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Magnay, Thomas|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Crookehank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Hammersley, Samuel S.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hanbury, Cecil||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Martin, Thomas B.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Ramsden, E.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fyide)|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw-||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Storey, Samuel|
|Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Remer, John R.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Mitcheson, G. G.||Rantoul, Sir Gervais S.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Robinson, John Roland||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Moreing, Adrian C.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Morgan, Robert H.||Rosbotham, S. T.||Templeton, William P.|
|Morris. Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Ross, Ronald D.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Morrison, William Shepherd||Runge, Norah Cecil||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Muirhead, Major A. J.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Murray-Phllipson, Hylton Ralph||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield,B'tside)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Nation. Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Salmon, Major Isidore||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Nunn, William||Salt, Edward W.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Ormsby-Gore. Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Palmer. Francis Noel||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Peake, Captain Osbert||Savery, Samuel Servington||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Pearson, William G.||Scone, Lord||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Penny, Sir George||Selley, Harry R.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Perkins, Walter R. D.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Petherick, M.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'prn,Bilst'n)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Pike, Cecil F.||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Somervell, Donald Bradley||Wragg, Herbert|
|Procter, Major Henry Adam||Somerville. D. G. (Willesden, East)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)|
|Pybus, Percy John||Soper, Richard|
|Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward and Mr. Womersley.|
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I beg to move. in line 3, after the word "Ottawa," to insert the words:except in so far as they relate to copper, unwrought, whether refined or not, in ingots, bars, blocks, slabs, cakes, or rods.Hon. Members will be glad to see the Lord President of the Council and the Chancellor of the Exchequer present. I feel sure now that we shall get a proper answer to every question we put to the Government. Up to now, I am sorry to say, no real attempt has been made to meet our case. Having got the Chancellor of the Exchequer for once in a good humour I am confident that we shall get along very nicely, and with the Lord President of the Council also smiling, I look forward to the acceptance of some of our Amendments. We are now dealing with a proposal to impose a duty on raw material. On the- previous Amendment we were told that apples were regarded as the raw material of eider manufacture. In dealing with the present proposal I am somewhat at a loss to understand the position of copper. I am informed by those who understand the problem, that all the copper produced in the world goes through the first refining process in what is called a blister.
754 That is the technical term for copper refined at the source of production. We are dealing with copper which passes through another process—the electrolytic process. Those who are in the trade would like to know two or three things from the Government before we allow these proposals to pass.
As far as I understand the position it is this; it does not matter where copper is produced it must pass through the second refining process through one of eight refineries, five of which are in the United States, one in Belgium, one in Australia, and one in Canada. Those in the trade inform me that these eight refineries get hold of all the copper for the second refining process which is necessary to make copper adaptable for cable and electrical purposes and that these refineries are thus able to control the price of the whole of the copper that is produced. About 95 per cent. of the copper passing through the second process is, I understand' under the control of the five refineries in the United States. There are, therefore, two questions which arise, and which should be answered. The technicians themselves in the trade want to know the meaning of unwrought and 755 wrought copper. It may appear strange but the technicians and experts in the trade have as yet been unable to arrive at a definition of the word "wrought." The best experts in this country have not yet secured a definition which will please the trade as to the actual meaning of the word, and I am informed that before these proposals can be applied and administered you must clear up the issue as to the meaning of the word "wrought" otherwise they will be of no value. My final point is this. We are told that certain of these duties depend upon a world price. I put a question to the Government which has been put to me. At the moment there are at least six prices for copper and they are determined by the United States exporters, the United States Customs and the Japanese, Belgian, Australian and London metal markets. I am informed that the concerns in the United States which determine the price may have a different price for the same copper in Germany, in France, in England. In fact, that the price of the same copper which they produce may differ as between one State and another in the United States itself. Therefore those who are engaged in handling raw copper or copper which has passed through all the refining processes are anxious to know what is in fact the world price in connection with these proposals. It is said that if these proposals mature it may be possible to establish a refinery for the second process in this country. I am informed that it will take a sum of£2,000,000 to establish a refinery which would be of any use. Therefore, I want to know whether it is intended to so secure the trade in copper as to divert it to this country, because to establish a. refinery for the second process in this country would mean enormous expense. I have no objection, of course, to increasing trade in this country in that way, but I want to know whether the Government policy implies that that is to be done.
§ 11.30 p.m.
§ Major NATHAN
The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the early Debates on the Import Duties Bill claimed that he was bringing before the House a policy that had been placed before the country a. generation ago by Mr. Joseph Chamberlain. But 756 even Mr. Joseph Chamberlain never produced so revolutionary a proposal as this, for he exempted specifically from his schedules the raw materials, and copper is one of the most widely used of the raw materials of industry. The right hon. Gentleman himself seems to have some doubts upon this matter, for when the import Duties Bill was presented to the House copper was not one of the exempted articles upon the Free List and was subject to the ad valorem duty of 10 per cent. It was upon the initiative of the right hon. Gentleman himself that copper was placed upon the Free List. To-day he is responsible for bringing before the House a proposal which in terms of money may seem very modest —a mere twopence a pound—but in terms of ad valorem percentage is very high. At present prices the duty is in the neighbourhood of 55 per cent. on value.
My first question is, bow does the right hon. Gentleman reconcile the attitude which he adopted six months ago with the proposal which he has placed before it to-day? If one refers to the Ottawa Agreements it is to be observed that there are certain paper safeguards provided for the consumer in this country. How are those paper safeguards to be made effective in practice? The Agreement with Canada differs in a material respect from the Agreements with Australia, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia in relation to copper. The Canadian Agreement provides that the duty imposed is subject to Empire producers being prepared to supply copper "in quantities sufficient to supply the requirements of the United Kingdom consumers." I am quoting the exact words. Those words appear in none of the other three Agreements. I shall be interested to know the reason, and to know exactly what is meant by the words "quantities sufficient to supply the requirements of the United Kingdom consumers."
The next paper safeguard is that the copper is to he supplied at the world price. Although my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment has referred to this point, I must crave the leave of the House to bring it to notice once more. It is the crucial question in relation to this whole matter. What is the "world price"? There is a price in the United States, but there is no free market in the United States.
757 There is a price in France. There is a price in Belgium, a price in Holland, a price in Switzerland, a price in Germany. In the United Kingdom there are four or five prices—one price for American copper, another for Canadian, another for Australian, another for Japanese. Of course, there is the price on the London Metal Exchange. The price on the London Metal Exchange has been the price which has ruled almost universally throughout the industry hitherto. The London Metal Exchange has been the world centre. Efforts have been made in the past by New York, by Amsterdam, by other centres to capture the business of the London Metal Exchange, but those efforts have been unsuccessful, because London has been free hitherto from import and export duties. There are many who hold the gravest doubts as to whether, now that London is no longer to be a free market, the London Metal Exchange will be able to maintain its place as the world centre for this industry. Not only is the price to be the "world price," however, but it is to be the "world price on the first sale." What is meant by "first sale"? The question is posed in terms which I cannot better in the "Manchester Guardian" to-day, and I put it to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with great respect:Does 'first sale' mean that the supplies of Empire copper are to be available to all consumers or does the phrase open the door to monopoly control of imports?He would be an extremely poorly-advised supplier or producer from Canada or any of the other Dominions, who would not be able to frame, under advice, a device which would enable him to bring himself within the terms of "first sale at world price" and at the same time to reap the full benefit of the duty imposed. I ask, therefore, what is meant by "first sale"? What is the "world price"? Who is to decide what is the world price? What machinery do the Government propose to set up for the purpose of deciding. And what do they propose to do when they have decided?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)
I hasten to reply to the genial invitation of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies). I shall endeavour to answer the questions which he put to me and, incidentally, perhaps my answers may also satisfy the rather more heavy- 758 handed questions of the hon. Member for North-East Bethnal Green (Major Nathan). I begin at once by saying that copper is a raw material; that the duty Which it is proposed to levy upon foreign copper is what I should call a prohibitive duty and, of course, we should not have thought of agreeing to impose a prohibitive duty on what was an essential raw material of one of our important industries unless we were satisfied that we had sufficiently safeguarded the interests of the users of that product. In the present case the duty to be imposed on copper is accompanied by the express condition that the Empire producers of copper—Canadian and Rhodesian principally—must be able to supply the needs of consumers in this country and at world prices. The hon. Member who gave us that interesting technical account of the process of refining copper was not quite complete in his information, although I am not saying that he was not accurate so far as he went. As a matter of fact, electrolytic copper is not the only form of refined copper used in this country. Electrolytic copper is produced in Canada, but it is not at present produced there in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements of industry in this country. Their capacity for production, however, is very great, and it will not be very long, I am informed, before the Canadian producers will be able to supply the entire needs of this country in the matter of electrolytic copper.
But that is not the only form of refined copper which is used. There is also fire-refined copper, which is also produced, though not so extensively as electrolytic copper, and which is suitable for various purposes; and there is no doubt there that the Empire is not at present in a position to supply what we want, so that it is clear that we cannot put this duty upon fire-refined copper unless the situation is altered. Therefore, the case of copper does present considerable technical difficulties, and I venture to say that they are not difficulties which can possibly be solved by Debate in this House and by the suggestion of difficulties put up by various hon. Members who do not agree with the idea of entering into these Agreements at al]. What, of course, the House wants to know is that those who have to use copper will get a fair deal in this connection and that they will be satisfied that their interests 759 are properly protected. I do not think the hon. Member opposite need be anxious about the definition of unwrought copper. That, is quite well understood, and the Customs officials will have no difficulty in distinguishing between wrought and unwrought copper.
Then we come to the question of world prices, and the hon. and gallant Member behind me wanted to know how they would be arrived at. That is not a question that either he or I can answer, but it is one to be discussed by those who are engaged in the trade and therefore best fitted to hammer out a scheme by which a really workable plan can be arrived at, and I am happy to inform the House that the producers and the consumers have been engaged in working at this question for several days in conference together. They have already covered the greater part of the field, and I have every reason to believe that we shall very shortly receive from them a report of an agreed conclusion as to the way in which this matter is to be dealt with. When we have got that all that we shall have to do will be to put it into operation.
§ That is the simple answer, I think, to the questions that were asked me, but there is still a question which the hon. Member opposite asked, and that is whether this provision is expected to have the effect of setting up a refinery in this country. I should certainly be very glad indeed if it was felt that the establishment of a copper refinery in this country was a commercial proposition. It used to be. There was a copper refinery in South Wales, I think, not so many years ago, but at present I do not think it is a commercial proposition, and all that I can say is that, whilst I think it would be desirable, it is not an essential part of the arrangement. The essential part is that, in spite of the fact that this duty is to be levied on foreign copper, nevertheless, users of copper in this country shall be able to get all they want at world prices from Empire sources.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 55; Noes, 246.761
|Division No. 322.]||AYES.||[11.45 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Banfield, John William||Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney &Z'tl'nd)||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Batey, Joseph||Harris, Sir Percy||Price, Gabriel|
|Bernays, Robert||Hirst, George Henry||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Holdsworth, Herbert||Roberts, Aied (Wrexham)|
|Cape, Thomas||Janner, Barnett||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||John, William||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Curry, A. C.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||White, Henry Graham|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, David (Swansea. East)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Edwards. Charles||Lawson, John James||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Evans. R. T. (Carmarthen)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lunn, William||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|George, Major G. Lioyd (Pembroke)||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|George. Megan A. Lioyd (Anglesea)||Mc Keag, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Mr. Groves and Mr. Gordon Macdonald.|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro',W.)||Milner, Major James|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Caporn, Arthur Cecil|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds,W.)||Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Chalmers, John Rutherford|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Bossom, A. C.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)|
|Albery, Irving James||Boulton, W. W.||Choriton, Alan Ernest Leofric|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Colfox, Major William Philip|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Broadbent, Colonel John||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Conant, R. J. E.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Cook Thomas A.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Cooke, Douglas|
|Balnlei, Lord||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Bateman, A. L||Burghley, Lord||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Croom-Johnson, R. P.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Burnett, John George||Cross, R. H.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Romer, John R.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset,Yeovil)||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Robinson, John Roland|
|Drewe, Cedric||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Law, Sir Alfred||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Duncan, Janice A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Dunglass, Lord||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Rungs, Norah Cecil|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunlifte-||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Eden. Robert Anthony||Lioyd, Geoffrey||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Lymington, Viscount||Salt, Edward W.|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Elmley, Viscount||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Scone, Lord|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||McKie, John Hamilton||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||McLean, Major Alan||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Erskine-Boist. Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Magnay, Thomas||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'a & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelies||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Fox, Sir Gillord||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Fremantle. Sir Francis||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Soper, Richard|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Martin, Thomas B.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Gluckstein. Louis Halle||Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw-||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fyide)|
|Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Storey, Samuel|
|Goff, Sir Park||Mitcheson, G. G.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Goodman. Colonel Albert W.||Mansell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Stuart. Lord C. Crichton-|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'ri.d, N.)||Moreing, Adrian C.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Greene, William P. C.||Morgan, Robert H.||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Grimston. R. V.||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Templeton, William P.|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Morrison, William Shepherd||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kinoswinford)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph||Touche, Gordon Como|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Tryon, Rt. Han. George Clement|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Nunn, William||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||O'Donovan. Dr. William James||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth,Kenn'gt'n)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Palmer, Francis Noel||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Pearson, William G.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Penny, Sir George||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Perkins, Waiter R. D.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Weymouth. Viscount|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Petherick, M.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Hornby, Frank||Pets, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Williams. Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Horobin, Ian M.||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Williams. Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Pike, Cecil F.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Power, Sir John Cecil||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Womersley, Walter James|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney.N.)||Pybus, Percy John||Worthington, Dr, John V.|
|Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oake)|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Hutchison. W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES. —|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Ramsden. E.||Licit.-Colonel Sir Lambert Ward and Mr. Blindell.|
|Jamieson, Douglas||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I beg to move, in line 3, after the word "Ottawa," to insert the wordsexcept in so far as they relate to magnesium chloride.I do so because I should like to have some information from whoever replies on behalf of the Government as to the reasons for the inclusion of magnesium chloride in the Schedule. It is, of course, a very important raw material in a num- 762 ber of industries, and as far as one can ascertain from such figures as are available the whole of the imports come from foreign countries and do not come from the Dominions at all. It is difficult, therefore, to understand the exact reason why magnesium chloride has been included. I understand there is an idea that some Indian importation into this country may be encouraged, but it is difficult to ascertain the conditions under 763 which the manufacture of magnesium chloride takes place in India. Perhaps we may be given some reason for the inclusion of this substance.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I am happy to give my hon. and learned Friend the information for which he asks. Our imports of magnesium chloride in 1930 amounted to 5,263 metric tons from Germany and 552 metric tons from France. I regret that I cannot give any more precise figures, because in the Board of Trade returns these figures are included with those of potassium chloride, and it is with some difficulty that I have separated them. India has recently been developing her deposits and is anxious to supply this market, and I understand that she is in a position adequately to do so.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 12 m.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
I beg to move in line 3, after the word "Ottawa," to insert the words:except in so far as they relate to linseed.In seeking the exemption of linseed oil I believe I shall have considerable support from various quarters of the House. I appreciate the fact that the Government must have had a difficult time at Ottawa in trying to satisfy the varying desires of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and India, and in the case of linseed, which is an important product of India, there was an attempt to give some concession to our great Indian Empire. That being the case I hope our action in moving this Amendment will not be interpreted as indicating a want of sympathy with India and Indian interests, but I submit that the other interests concerned are so much more important that the subject is one which deserves very serious consideration. The linseed crop is comparatively small in India, in contrast with the Argentine, which is the main source of the world's supply. The Argentine produces annually an average of 2,000,000 tons, whereas the India production is only 400,000 tons. Further, the Argentine exports practically the whole of its crop to various parts of the world, retaining only 764 sufficient for seed for the following year's crop. India, on the other hand, out of a crop of 377,000 tons in 1931 exported only 120,000 tons. It is quite clear that if we are to retain this very important industry we must keep our South American supplies on a competitive basis. Indian linseed has a very much larger oil content and a much greater intrinsic value and fetches, on an average,£1 to£ a ton more than that from the Argentine, but when it comes to a question of a competitive market India is ruled out as a real source of supply. This duty, if placed on the seed, will divert the oil-crushing industry from this country to the Continent, and that will interfere with the oil-cake supply. I am informed that it would be cheaper to import the linseed oil and pay the 15 per cent., than to pay the 10 per cent. on, the raw material for conversion into the oil product. The trade views the tax on the essential raw material with great alarm. When the raw material is converted into oil, it is a very important raw material for the large paint and varnish industry. Last year our exports of prepared paints and enamels came to over£1,000,000; those of paints and colours in powder to over£750,000 and of varnish to over£500,000. There has been a considerable drop in the foreign trade. This is the wrong way to help this great industry. This is a time of great economic stress and great competition in the world's markets, and to put the tax on the raw material is deliberately to handicap the big manufacturing interests that employ a large amount of labour. I ought to add something about the petroleum and oil group, that last year exported manufactured products equal to£1,750,000. Now we are to tax their raw material. It would be a serious blunder to do that. On the other hand, we shall interfere with the linseed oil industry and the crushing trade, and on the other we shall put a serious tax on the raw material for a great manufacturing industry. We are doing this in the very doubtful interests of the Indian producers, but there has been no real pressure from the Indian producers of linseed for this concession, and I have reason to think that if it is withdrawn there will be no serious protest.
765 If there is any other argument in favour of excepting linseed from a tax it is that it was one of the few articles that managed to remain on the Free List. It was very 'difficult, last summer, to keep any article on the Free List, and one can be quite certain that, if linseed appeared there, the Chancellor of the Exchequer must have been convinced that it was necessary in the interests of the trade and industry of this country. Therefore, I say that he would be wise, even at this eleventh hour, to withdraw linseed from his tariff scheme. I know he will suggest that it is like the laws of the Medes and Persians, and cannot be altered, but this House is free, and there will he very little complaint in India if this article is restored to the Free List, where it ought to be.
§ Mr. WALLACE
With very much of what has been said by the Mover of this Amendment I am in complete agreement. I myself received the brief from which he has spoken, and, after reading it carefully, I was very much inclined to take the line that he has taken; but I went rather more deeply into the subject than he did, and tried to realise that the interests were rather more complex and involved than he has stated. It happens that I am intimately associated with an industry which he mentioned, and which is vitally affected by the imposition of this particular duty on Argentine linseed, and naturally we, as manufacturers, object very strongly to anything which raises the cost of production of our goods. My first impulse was to oppose this impost with all t he strength at my commend; but I very soon discovered that there were other interests that one must take into account.
My hon. Friend has made two allegations. One was that the crushing of the linseed imported from the Argentine may be diverted to the Continent of Europe, but there is not a scrap of evidence to support that contention. He further says that no pressure was brought to bear by the Indian delegation so far as this particular import was concerned, but my 766 information is that that statement is not in accordance with the facts of the case. If there was one thing which the Indian delegation desired, it was that they might take back a message to the agriculturists of India inviting them to enlarge their crop areas of linseed for which, under this impost, they hoped to provide a better market all over the world. I do not know where my hon. Friend gets his information; mine happens to come to me at first hand, and that is the only kind of evidence that I care to employ in the House of Commons.
I am quite aware of the intrinsic value of Indian as against Argentine linseed, and I am also aware that the Argentine linseed is more suitable as a raw material for many industries in this country. In the industry with which I am associated, linseed oil crushed from Argentine linseed is our biggest and most expensive raw material. Why, therefore, do I venture to support the Government in a proposal of this kind? I do so for one very simple reason. I believe that the compensating advantages of this Agreement far outweigh the disadvantages. For the first time in the history of our economic relations with India we have a preferential tariff covering a very wide range of commodities, and I believe that, however great the disadvantages may be, in certain industries, of an increase in the price of their raw materials, these compensating advantages in the aggregate will far outweigh any particular disadvantage that certain industries may experience.
My hon. Friend mentioned possibly one of the most important objections to this impost. It is that linseed has a free entry into all other countries as far as I know and, therefore, this country is at a certain disadvantage so far as competition in neutral countries is concerned. Could there not be a drawback in the export trade from this country on any manufactures where linseed oil is an important raw material? I know it is a very difficult matter to administer but, if it were possible that the contents of linseed oil in any consignment of goods from this country could be definitely stated, could not that be considered by the Department before the Committee stage comes on?
When the Leader of the Opposition was speaking the other day, be expressed doubts—he almost hoped that the Indian 767 Government would not confirm the agreement made at India with the Ottawa delegation. I think the attitude of the House ought to be not one of doubt but of strong hope that the agreement entered into with the responsible Indian delegation, which may mean so much to India and to this country, may be realised. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman should have offered encouragement to the Indian people to reject it.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I did not directly or indirectly advise the Indian people on this subject. My protest is against an agreement being made in their name by people who were totally unrepresentative of the people of India. I have as good means of knowing what the Indian people think about this as the hon. Member, and I received a very large number of communications before the Ottawa Conference protesting against the British Government itself appointing the delegation. I understood from the Lord President of the Council the other night that he rather agreed that that was so. That is entirely a different matter from me having the impudence to advise Indian business men how they should carry out their business.
§ Mr. WALLACE
I am the last man in the world, I hope, to impute any motive to the right hon. Gentleman's speech. I thought I represented him fairly when I suggested that he implied that he almost hoped the Indians would turn down the views of the delegation. If I have misrepresented him, I withdraw at once and apologise.
§ Dr. BURGIN
The effect of the Ottawa Agreement, as far as foreign linseed is concerned, is that it will be removed from the free list and become subject to a duty of 10 per cent. Foreign linseed oil, which is at present subject to 10 per cent., will become subject to 15 per cent.
§ The hon. Member for Dunfermline (Mr. Wallace) said it was very much the desire of the Indian deputation to take back a message to their agricultural community particularly in the form of something that the average Indian peasant could grow with very little trouble. The linseed crop answers exactly to that description. It was, therefore, a matter of the greatest consequence to India, and I think that it is right to say that it is doubtful whether the Indian Agreement could have been secured at all had this point not been conceded to India.
§ The linseed is crushed and the oil is used for paint, varnish, linoleum and soap, and the residue for making cake for stock feeding. Reference has been made to the important effect of the duty upon the different trades. I have some calculations which have been made which show that the increase is not likely to be more than threepence a gallon on varnish, and not more than 2 per cent. on paints. Reference has also been made in the Debate to the disproportion between the Argentine production and the Indian production. It is hardly fair to India, in view of her troubles in recent years, to compare the figures of 1930 or 1931, but if we look back a little further we find that in the years 1921 and 1925, when the imports into this country were far heavier than in the past few years, India furnished little less than the Argentine. In one year it actually exceeded the whole of the Argentine total. It is a matter of great concern to the House that the export of a valuable crop like linseed from India should have fallen off so enormously in the years of political disturbance, and it would be a comfort to the. House to do something which would give great encouragement to India to increase the crop and bring a greater proportion than 58 per cent. of it to this country.
§ Question put, "That those words he there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 54; Noes, 205.769
|Division No. 323.]||AYES.||[12.18 a.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Edwards, Charles||Groves, Thomas E.|
|Banfield, John William||Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Grundy, Thomas W.|
|Bernays, Robert||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Hall, F. (York. W.R., Normanton)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)|
|Cape, Thomas||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Harris, Sir Percy|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||George, Major G. Lioyd (Pembroke)||Hirst, George Henry|
|Curry, A. C.||George, Megan A. Lioyd (Anglesea)||Holdsworth, Herbert|
|Daggar, George||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Janner, Barnett|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Grentell. David Rees (Glamorgan)||John, William|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Lawson, John James||Milner, Major James||White, Henry Graham|
|Logan, David Gilbert||Nathan, Major H. L.||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Lunn, William||Parkinson, John Allen||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Mabane, William||Pickering, Ernest H.||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Price, Gabriel|
|McEntee, Valentine L.||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|McKeag, William||Rothschild, James A. de||Mr. Rea and Mr. Harcourt Johnstone.|
|Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'ri'd, N.)||Petherick, M.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds,W.)||Greene, William P. C.||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Grimston, R. V.||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Albery, Irving James||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Pybus, Percy John|
|Amery, Rt. Hon, Leopold C. M. S.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Hanley, Dennis A.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Balniel, Lord||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Ramsden, E.|
|Bateman, A. L.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Beauchamp. Sir Brograve Campbell||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Remer, John R.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Blindell, James||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Robinson, John Roland|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hornby, Frank||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Horohln, Ian M.||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Braithwaite, J. C. (Hillsborough)||Howard, Tom Forrest||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Hewitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Salt, Edward W.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W, H.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Burghley, Lord||Jamieson, Douglas||Scone, Lord|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Burnett, John George||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Leighton, Major B.-E. P.||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Lioyd, Geoffrey||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Soper, Richard|
|Cooke, Douglas||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||McCorquodale, M. S.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||McKie, John Hamilton||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fyide)|
|Cross, R. H.||McLean, Major Alan||Storey, Samuel|
|Crossley, A. C.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel Bernard||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Magnay, Thomas||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Drewe, Cedric||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Templeton, William P.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Martin, Thomas B.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Elmley, Viscount||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Mitcheson, G. G.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Moreing, Adrian C.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Fielden, Edward Brockiehurst||Muirhead. Major A. J.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Nunn, William||Wragg, Herbert|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Palmer, Francis Noel||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Goff, Sir Park||Pearson, William G.||Lieut.-Colonel Sir Lambert Ward and Major George Davies.|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Penny, Sir George|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."772
§ The House divided: Ayes, 204; Noes, 52.773
|Division No. 324.]||AYES.||[12.27 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Pybus, Percy John|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Albery, Irving James||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Hanley, Dennis A.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Ramsden, E.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Balniel, Lord||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Bateman, A. L.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Remer, John R.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Rhys. Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Robinson, John Roland|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Hornby, Frank||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Blindell, James||Horobin, Ian M.||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Howard, Tom Forrest||Ross Taylor. Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Salt, Edward W.|
|Brown. Ernest (Leith)||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Brown,Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Jamieson, Douglas||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Burghley, Lord||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Scone, Lord|
|Burnett, John George||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston)||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Smiles. Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Lioyd, Geoffrey||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Lymington, Viscount||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Conant, R. J. E.||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Soper, Richard|
|Cooke, Douglas||McCorquodale, M. S.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Crookshank, Col. C.de Windt (Bootle)||McKie, John Hamilton||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Cross, R. H.||McLean, Major Alan||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Crossley, A. C.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Storey, Samuel|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Magnay, Thomas||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Drewe, Cedric||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Duckworth, George A, V.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Templeton, William P.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Thomas. James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Martin, Thomas B.||Thomas. Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Elmley, Viscount||Mitchell, Harold P.(Brif'd & Chiew'k)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff. E.)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Ward. Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Morrison, William Shepherd||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Wells. Sydney Richard|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Nunn, William||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Palmer, Francis Noel||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Pearson. William G.||Womersley, Waiter James|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Penny, Sir George||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Goff, Sir Park||Perkins, Waiter R. D.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greene, William P. C.||Petherick, M.||Sir Victor Warrender and Major|
|Grimston, R. V.||Pike, Cecil F.||George Davies.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Cripps, Sir Stafford||Edwards, Charles|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Curry, A. C.||Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)|
|Banfield, John William||Daggar, George||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)|
|Bernays, Robert||Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)|
|Cape, Thomas||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)|
|George, Major G. Lioyd (Pembroke)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|George, Megan A. Lioyd (Anglesea)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Price, Gabriel|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lawson, John James||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Gronfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Logan, David Gilbert||Roberts, Aied (Wrexham)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Lunn, William||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Mabane, William||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Z'tl'nd)||McEntee, Valentine L.||White, Henry Graham|
|Harris, Sir Percy||McKeag, William||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Hirst, George Henry||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Holdsworth, Herbert||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Janner, Barnett||Milner, Major James|
|Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Nathan, Major H. L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. John and Mr. Groves.|
Fourth Resolution read a Second time.
§ Mr. G. HARVEY
I beg to move, in line 3, to leave out the word "not."
I know that it is somewhat late to raise a. subject like this, and I do not want to make very much of it, but it is a matter which affects to some extent our Continental relations. We are raising the price of light French wines from 3s. to 4s. and making the difference between them and Australian wines 2s. There is a considerable difference between the quality of the two. Without being disrespectful, it is like comparing a suit made in Savile Row and a suit made in the suburbs of London. It is penalising a trade already heavily penalised. To add another shilling to the duty on French wines is a mistake, and I feel that it will bring a certain amount of repercussions in its train. It is a pity that this trade has again been attacked after the attack made upon it through the permitted increase in the strength of wines a little while ago, which made it almost impossible to carry on the trade. That change injured it a good deal, and this extra shilling will injure it still further. I suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it is a rather bad time to put on this extra shilling. I cannot think that it will make any increase in the consumption of Australian wines. The sale of French wines in the last twelve months has gone down by two million gallons while the sale of Australian wines has remained about the same. It seems a pity that we should attack an industry already attacked to this extent. We are asking for reprisals, and I am afraid the French people will turn on us. It is a great pity, and I speak as one who is as much a patriot as any Member in this House. I preach it and I practise it, and I think it is a pity that this is being done.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
The purpose of the Resolution is to implement the Agreements with South Africa and Australia—Agreements to increase the preference on Empire light wines by a shilling. That can either be done by increasing the duty on foreign wines or by lowering the duty on Empire wines. We have decided to increase the duty on foreign wines. [Interruption.] I realise the disappointment it causes to some of my hon. Friends, but we have decided upon that course for several reasons. Had we taken the other course we should have lost revenue and we should also have had to adjust the duty on British wines which we have no power to do under this Bill. We should further have done an injury—I ask my hon. Friend who is so concerned about the French wine trade to note this—to producers of wines and spirits in this country. It is for all these reasons we have found it necessary to increase the duty on foreign wines rather than decrease the duty on Empire wine.
§ Mr. HARVEY
In rising to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment, I should like to say that I had a good understanding of the question, but I wanted it to be made clear publicly.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I beg to move, in line 17, to leave out the word "or" and to insert instead thereof the words:shall not come into force until it has been approved by a Resolution passed by each House of Parliament; and (c) shall provide that any Order made under the said Act.The House will observe in sub-paragraph (b) of this Resolution that there is at present a provision that Orders made 775 under the Act with regard to, firstly, the prohibition of the importation of foods of any class or description grown, produced or manufactured in a foreign country; or secondly, the regulation of the importation of frozen and chilled meat, shall come into effect immediately upon being made and shall cease to have effect on the expiration of 28 days unless this House or both Houses pass a Resolution approving of them. In our view matters such as the prohibition of the importation of goods of any class or the regulation of the importation of frozen or chilled meat are of such importance that the Orders ought not to come into force until this House has had an opportunity of discussing their terms, more particularly so because the criterion by which these prohibitions are to be judged is so extremely vague in the Ottawa Agreements. It is within the power of the Board of Trade under these Resolutions to make any prohibition on the importation of any class or description of goods coming from any foreign country, and there is no easy method by which any body can judge as to whether their prohibition is one which really falls within the spirit of the Agreements, or is properly made in view of internal considerations in this country. Therefore, we are urging in so important a question that the publicity which would necessarily follow from the discussion in this House should be given before the approval of the Order, and before the Order becomes effective. It may no doubt be said, that it is always desirable to get these prohibitions through quickly, but in this case that argument can hardly prevail. As I understand it it is not contemplated for at least six months, because there can be no prohibitions until the Russian agreement runs out. There will be plenty of time before that for this House to consider any Order which the Board of Trade desire to bring into force. The matter may be discussed here first and the Board of Trade may have the opportunity of hearing views which it may be desired to be expressed by the users of those goods or any other persons before they make up their minds.
The second matter of the regulation of the importation of frozen or chilled meat, as we have heard, is one of considerable difficulty, and the regulations which are likely to be made are not apparently laid 776 down with any certitude at all in the Agreements of Ottawa because the importations of foreign meat are not necessarily the figures to be adhered to at all. The Government may put a very much greater restriction than there is in the Agreements, and therefore it is a matter of vital consequence, and one for which obviously there is plenty of time to consider before it is brought into force. We say therefore that it is a matter which ought to be discussed before it comes into effect. As regards the third paragraph which refers to other matters which are dealt with, we will leave the provision as it stands. It is the same provision as in the Import Duties Act. We ask the Government to deal with these two special categories of Orders in this way. We are not doing it because we want to be fractious, but because we do really believe that there is no reason in these two cases for the Orders to come immediately into force; as there is time, we think it is proper and right that the House should have an opportunity of discussing them before each Order is made.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. and learned Gentleman has put his case in a moderate and reasonable manner, and, although I do not attach quite the same importance as ho does to preventing any Order being made on these two subjects until the House has had an opportunity of hearing the case, still I cannot take exception to his proposal, though he has forgotten one rather important circumstance; this House does not sit continuously all the year round. He suggested that the Agreements expired in April and that therefore there would be plenty of time to make Orders before then, but no Order will be made until a case for the Order has been made out. It is quite conceivable that a case for the Order—that is to say a complaint by the Dominion of Canada that a preference had been frustrated—might arise in July and that the House might adjourn in July until October. There would then be two months in which no action could be taken and in order that the Dominion of Canada may have no reason to say we were not implementing the Agreements this Clause makes this an expressed condition of the Agreements. Not only that, but, in the case of seasonal trade, it might very well happen—and the House will see that I am thinking of the timber 777 trade in particular—that the whole shipments of the articles in question were practically over by the time that the House were to meet again, and that the' season, when the House was not in session, was the very time when it was necessary that the Order should be made operative. Therefore, it does not seem possible for us to accept the Amendment.
We still think that our Amendment is a right one, but, in view of the late hour, we do not propose to press it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. de ROTHSCHILD
I beg to move, in line 41, at the end, to add the words:(d) shall provide that any duty imposed under the provisions of the said Act shall be removed if at any time Empire producers of the commodity affected by the duty are unable or unwilling to offer these commodities on first sale in the United Kingdom at prices not exceeding the world prices and in quantities sufficient to supply the requirements of the United Kingdom consumers.I must apologise for attempting to move at this late hour a manuscript Amendment. The provision is the same as Article 4 of the Agreement with Canada. If it be possible to make such a provision in the case of a few commodities, I put it to the House that it is possible also to make a, similar provision in regard to all. On what grounds were all these different particular items selected for the purpose of being protected against a rise in price? I cannot see any principle in the selection. The four articles which appear in the Agreement with Canada are wheat in grain, copper, zinc, and lead. Wheat in grain and copper are two new commodities which will be taken from the Free List on this occasion. The third commodity is also taken from the Free List, but one other commodity originally on the Free List—linseed—has not been included but figures among the list of other commodities that are going to be taxed. The distinction is not raw materials versus manufactured ones, because copper ingots and semi-manufactured articles of copper are included on one side. Nor is the distinction between raw materials and foodstuffs, because wheat is included under the first. I do urge that the long list of commodities subjected to this new tax should also be subject to the same con- 778 ditions as the commodities mentioned in Article 4 of the Agreement with Canada.
Do the Government declare themselves against the idea of any rise in prices? The principle of a rise in prices appears, indeed, to have been accepted by the Government in the case of a majority of commodities, especially in agriculture. It is a rise that will not benefit the British farmer, because Dominion subsidies will still allow competitors from the Dominions to under-sell the British farmer. The Dominion goods will still be cheaper in the British market. Take the case of butter, which is subsidised by the New Zealand Government. When there is a. rise in price the subsidy will be increased and English butter will still be dearer. The same applies to apples and other fruit. They will still be bought, and there will still be a tax on the consumer. For articles not consumed in this country, such as the different varieties of oil, the rise in price will benefit no one in this country but merely create a Dominion monopoly.
I quite understand the Government insisting on this tax in the case of castor oil to put a spoke in the future actions of Sir Oswald Mosley and the British Fascisti. This motive does not apply to any other of the commodities in the long list. The Government are setting up inequalities at the start. Here we have distinctions without rhyme or reason, leaving out of consideration the necessities of the agricultural producer and importers of magnesia and linseed oil, who will have reason to point to unfair discrimination against them. The fact that this provision exists at all shows that the Government are beginning to see the light, and I earnestly pray that their vision may strengthen rapidly and that they will see the necessity for extending this list of four articles.
We want to know whether the Government definitely advocate a rise in prices in this country whether or not there is a rise in world prices. If so, British industry will be handicapped in international competition. Mr. Bruce has said that he expects his commodities to fetch higher prices in the British market than in the world market. The Chancellor of the Exchequer nearly a year ago pointed out that the rise in food prices was not a bogy but a real danger 779 while the exchange was unstable. The exchange to-day is unstable, and I appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to accept this Amendment, because it will give him a weapon to keep in his hands when the exchange goes against him to protect the consumer in the last ditch.
§ 1.0 a.m.
§ Mr. KINGSLEY GRIFFITH
I beg to second the Amendment.
When the Financial Secretary to the Treasury was delivering his very able defence of the Wheat Duties I gave him credit for sincerity in his main point, and when he had put forward every point of what must have been a very difficult argument for him he fell back on this—that, after all, there was this Article 4 in the Canadian Treaty, which was something to cling to, and that it would be unreasonable for anyone having this great safeguard to object to that duty going through. All we ask now is that the Government should live up to his words and show what a valuable safeguard this is. It is the only kind of protection we can get in this matter, and we ask for its general extension. Of course, we were told that there would never be any rise in prices because the foreigner pays the tax. But it is recognised clearly now that there is a most serious danger of a rise in prices. The Government put it in the Agreement to try and save us in the four matters mentioned. We are asking the Government to be logical. The Government have seen the real danger in regard to these four commodities of a rise in prices which may, by the annoyance caused to people, endanger the success of the whole experiment on which they are now engaged. Would it not be wise for them to protect themselves against the danger in those other cases? We do ask the Government, after a long Debate in which they have not given way an inch, to make one conces-
§ sion which is entirely in accord with their own principles, as expressed by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and to give a genuine sense of security to others who may feel their livelihood or standard of living threatened by the proposals.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
My hon. Friend was good enough to recall that when we were discussing wheat I observed that the consumer had a great safeguard in that wheat from the Dominions would have to be sold at the world price. My hon. Friends on those benches said: "How ridiculous! It is impossible to tell what the world price is." In vain did I reply that wheat was a commodity grown from the North Pole to the South and quoted in every capital in Europe. In spite of that, my hon. Friends took the point that it was impossible to tell what the price was. They now wish to insert a proviso that world prices should prevail in every case. The inconsistency is not between my attitude then and my attitude now, but between their attitude then and their attitude now. I take my stand on this simple ground, that everyone of these Resolutions begins with some such words as that the Resolution is for the purpose of implementing the Ottawa Agreements. In the Ottawa Agreements we have provided that to wheat, copper, lead and zinc this particular safeguard shall apply. We have not inserted it in every single ease. It is not only in the Agreements in the major cases I have mentioned, but also the meat Agreement. But because it does not apply to all these 32 items equally I do not think it would be possible to insert it now. It would tear up all the Agreements, which we have made.
§ Question put, "That those words he there added."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 49; Noes, 195.781
|Division No. 325.]||AYES.||[1.5 a.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Holdsworth, Herbert|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Janner, Barnett|
|Banfield, John William||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||John, William|
|Bernays, Robert||George, Major G. Lioyd (Pembroke)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Cape, Thomas||George, Megan A. Lioyd (Anglesea)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George|
|Curry, A. C.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W).||Lawson, John James|
|Daggar, George||Groves, Thomas E.||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Lunn, William|
|Davies. Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Ztl'nd)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Edwards, Charles||Harris, Sir Percy||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Hirst, George Henry||McKeag, William|
|Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Milner, Major James||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Nathan, Major H. L,||Tinker, John Joseph||Mr. Walter Rea and Sir Murdoch|
|Pickering, Ernest H.||White, Henry Graham||McKenzie Wood.|
|Price, Gabriel||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Grimston, R. V.||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Pybus, Percy John|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Albery, Irving James||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Hanley, Dennis A.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ramsden, E.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Bateman. A. L.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Remer, John R.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Rhys. Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Robinson, John Roland|
|Blindell, James||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hornby, Frank||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Horobin, Ian M.||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Howard, Tom Forrest||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Rutherford. Sir John Hugo|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Salt, Edward W.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Burghley, Lord||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Jamieson, Douglas||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Burnett, John George||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Scone, Lord|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark. Bothwell)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Lioyd, Geoffrey||Soper, Richard|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Lymington, Viscount||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Cooke. Douglas||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L|
|Cross. R. H.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Crossley, A. C.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Storey, Samuel|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||McKie, John Hamilton||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||McLean, Major Alan||Strickland. Captain W. F.|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Davies, Maj.Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Magnay, Thomas||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Drewe, Cedric||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Templeton, William P.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington,N.)||Martin, Thomas B.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Eastwood. John Francis||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Elmley, Viscount||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Emmott. Charles E. G. C.||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Morrison, William Shepherd||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelies||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Williams. Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Fuller. Captain A. G.||Nunn. William||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Gilmour. Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Palmer, Francis Noel||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Pearson, William G.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Goff. M Sir Park||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Petherick, M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES. —|
|Greene, William P. C.||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Sir George Penny and Mr. Womersley.|
Resolution agreed to.