§ 9.12 p.m.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Dr. Burgin)
I beg to move:That the Additional Import Duties (No. 28) Order, 1936, dated the twelfth day of October, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, made by the Treasury under the Import Duties Act, 1932, a copy of which was presented to this House on the twenty-ninth day of October, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, be approved.This Order, and that which follows it, deal with iron and steel, and I think it would be for the convenience of the House if, with your permission, Sir, they were taken together.
§ Sir PERCY HARRIS
On a point of Order. I am quite in favour of taking Orders together when they have some relation to each other, but are not these two Orders quite distinct?
Mr. DEPUTY - SPEAKER (Captain Bourne)
The Orders referred to by the Parliamentary Secretary deal entirely with iron and steel, and can conveniently he discussed together. The two subsequent Orders deal with the Coronation trades, and are completely different. They cannot be discussed with steel.
§ Dr. BURGIN
If you please, Sir, the two Orders are practically the same, and are printed in the same White Paper. It would be convenient to take the two together. When, in July of this year, we discussed Section 6 of the Finance Act, a White Paper was produced, and the full details of a cartel agreement were given. The Orders that are now before the House for approval are the machinery Orders which carry out the decision then taken by the House. Let us look into them and see whether they are effective. Let us see precisely what they do and do not imply, but let the 340 House not imagine that any new question of principle arises. There are two Orders. The first Order increases the rates of duty of a number of iron and steel articles to the level of those which were in force in 1935. The subsequent Order (No. 29), reduces the duties on the same iron and steel goods, broadly speaking, to 20 per cent. when they are imported into this country accompanied by a certificate of origin and under certain conditions.
Before going into the detail of the Orders, let me say a word or two about the iron and steel industries as a group of industries. There will be no dispute in the House of Commons that there is no other group of industries in the country quite so important as that group of industries which we call iron and steel. In the years of the depression, the years 1930, 1931 and 1932, our iron and steel industries were faced by a progressive decline of orders, they were being undersold in their own markets, their reserves had been depleted, and there was no possibility of their acquiring the money with which to renew their plant. And, had they renewed their plant, they would still have been undersold in their own market. In these circumstances it was necessary to have a double-barrelled Government policy; it was necessary both to provide facilities under which cheap money could be available for the iron and steel group of industries with which to renew their plant, and it was necessary to provide a protected home market within which, when the new plant had been installed, products could be sold to advantage. And so the policy of protecting the home market and the policy of introducing facilities for cheap money were complementary, and both were necessary for the recovery of iron and steel as a whole.
The fact that the iron and steel industry has recovered very considerably in this country is not likely to be contested. Up to 1935, the record year of steel production in this country was the year 1917, when the total steel production of this country was 9,750,000 tons of steel ingots and castings. In the year 1935, that production of steel ingots and castings was increased, and the rate of annual production in the period between January and October, 1936, shows that the production this year will be well over 11,500,000 tons, as against 9,750,000 tons 341 in the record year of 1917. Until September of this year, when a little over 1,000,000 tons were produced, the monthly output of steel in this country had never reached 1,000,000 tons in a single month. The steel output for October of this year is 1,060,500 tons, which is a record for any month in any period at any time.
The important need for iron and steel is not merely a healthy home market with a demand for its products, but an export trade, and one of the great inducements to enter into an agreement with the Cartel was the guarantee to this country of a minimum share in the great international markets of the world. The House will like to know that the year 1934, which is the basic year for the export agreement with the Cartel, is a favourable year to this country. Our proportion of exports, in the branches which are of most importance to us, was in that year at least as good as it had been in the year 1929, the year to which we are so often referred. The Cartel Agreement had, therefore, as its object that, in return for granting to this country an assurance that in the markets of the world we should retain, in the particular articles of steel to which we attach the greatest importance, at least the share which we had in the year 1934, we should grant to the Cartel countries the right to import into this country a quantity of steel, should limit that quantity of steel, and should organise its distribution fairly. That is the basis of the Cartel agreement, and in order to work out that Cartel agreement it was necessary to introduce a system of licensing of steel under the control of the Board of Trade, under the supervision of the Import Duties Advisory Committee, and by agreement with the various Governments concerned.
There is a Statutory Rule and Order, No. 1081, which I wish to bring to the attention of the House. It is the Iron and Steel Import Duties Regulations of 1936, made on the 12th October by the Board of Trade under the Finance Act of this year. These Regulations provide the actual machinery under which the various Cartel countries, through their governments, nominate bodies which issue quota certificates for the steel coming from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg and Sweden; and in other countries the Board of Trade does the licensing under the system which is set 342 out in the Order No. 1081 to which I have referred, where the quota certificate and the certificate of origin are set out as specimens. The guaranteed quantity of steel which is to come into this country was in the first year 670,000 tons, and in subsequent years 525,000 tons. Since the agreement with the Cartel has been made, there has been a world increase in the demand for steel. In every country of the world recovery of business, and in many countries of the world a tendency to expand armaments, have combined in producing a demand for steel, with the result that all figures of steel are showing a tendency to increase. The British Iron and Steel Federation have, by subsequent arrangements with the Cartel countries, brought into this country some hundreds of thousands of tons of steel additional to the minimum quantity allowed by the Cartel agreement, and, as a counterpart, have also succeeded in increasing their export quota by a considerable figure. In the first year of the agreement our exports to world markets exceeded our maximum quota rates by no less than 100,000 tons, and since then our quota rates have been fully maintained in these different markets.
§ Dr. BURGIN
I have not been asked to give them yet, but certainly our exports of iron and steel have increased. I have the actual figures here, and will give them in a moment. But the point I was desirous of making was that, whereas the Cartel agreement provided a specific figure of imports and gave a specific proportion of exports, in the events that have happened, owing to An increasing world demand, both figures have been increased. That is the only point that I want to make on that matter.
§ Dr. BURGIN
The quota allotted to us, based on our percentage of the 1934 figures in the markets of the world, has been exceeded in the first year by more than 100,000 tons—
§ Dr. BURGIN
That was dealt with, as the hon. Member will recollect, in a question on the 11th November, when the figures were given by the President of the Board of Trade. The figure he gave was the quantity ordered, and perhaps the hon. Lady will accept that figure as indicating the quantity imported. The federation has already ordered from the Cartel about 300,000 tons of iron and steel in addition to the amount provided for in the agreement. [Interruption.] The hon. Lady will understand that that does not necessarily cover the same period of time, and it does not follow that it has all been delivered. I think the House will realise that there are many delays in delivery in every country where steel is being made at the present time. I do not think that figure of 300,000 is, as the hon. Lady suggests, an arithmetical multiple of 100,000. We are dealing with two figures for different periods.
§ Dr. BURGIN
I think that is not yet known. The way I put it was that at the end of the first quota year we had exceeded our quota allowance by 100,000 tons, and that there has not been a moment at which we have fallen below our quota rates. It is impossible at a broken period to forecast, but my inclination is to say that with a rising demand for steel we shall exceed our quota rates.
§ Dr. BURGIN
Nothing is done under this cartel agreement except by agreement between all the parties. The cartel countries, working together with the Iron and Steel Federation, make arrangements supplemental to the cartel agreement. There is no question arising with other countries.
§ Dr. BURGIN
Not her share. Let us take it by stages. There is guaranteed to this country under the cartel agreement, which is set out in Command Paper 5201, a percentage of the 1934 exports to the markets of the world. What I said was that the aggregate iron and steel that we had exported under the terms of this cartel agreement had amounted to 100,000 tons more than the quota rate based on the 1934 figures. That has been done by agreement because there is a demand for extra steel.
§ Mr. JAMES GRIFFITHS
I gather that the imports have increased at a larger rate than the exports. Will the hon. Member give us the percentage capacity of the steel industry at present employed?
§ Dr. BURGIN
I gave the House the facts that the aggregate production of this country had now reached record proportions never hitherto obtained, and that it is a rising production. I do not know of any steel productive capacity that is not being used. I know of a desire that the steel-producing capacity of this country should be increased, I know that even so there is a demand for additional steel which has been met by an order for additional quantities from the cartel countries. These are the facts I was endeavouring to put to the House. I want the House to be seized of the broad situation before I move the Orders. I will deal with points of detail when we come to them.
§ Mr. E. J. WILLIAMS
May I ask whether the furnaces are now working to the maximum of their man power? In 1929, we understand, they were working to 65 or 70 per cent. of their capacity. Have they now reached 100 per cent.?
§ Dr. BURGIN
The number of persons working was 112,600 in July, 1922, and had risen to 178,200 in July, 1936. The percentage of unemployed, which was 44 in January, 1931, 43.5 in January, 1932, 44 in January, 1933, was in October, 1936, 14.3 per cent. The points I am making are that the number of people working has increased, the output has reached record proportions, and the percentage of 345 unemployed has dropped from 44 to 14. Whether there are theoretical increases of production still possible is a matter outside what I can deal with at the moment, but these facts are themselves impressive. I have given figures for steel ingots and castings. If we were to look into the production of pig iron we would find that in 1936 we manufactured more than we did at the height of manufacture in 1929. Having authorised the conclusion of the cartel agreement, and having passed into law the Finance Act, 1936, giving power to the Import Duties Advisory Committee to recommend high rates of duty on steel on the one hand, and to allow of a permitted import of a given quantity at a low rate of duty on the other, it was necessary to have machinery to carry that agreement into effect. That machinery is provided in the two Orders now before the House. No. 28 puts the duties up; No. 29 permits the importation of given quantities of steel from foreign countries under the provisions of the Finance Act, 1936, Section 6, at the low rate of 20 per cent.
§ Dr. BURGIN
At the rate agreed with the cartel countries. The high rates of duty are the rates prevailing in 1935. Substantially what has occurred is that the Import Duties Advisory Committee has put the duties back to what they were prior to 1935, and then by appropriate machinery they permit of the setting up of this system of quota certificates and certificates of origin for a given quantity of certain specified kinds of steel to come in at the rate of 20 per cent. On all these occasions when we are discussing Orders which restrict the arrival of a commodity which somebody may claim to want, it is natural that the House will want to know how the consumer is protected. The matter is dealt with in the White Paper and in the discussions that took place on Section 6 of the Finance Act, but the Import Duties Advisory Committee is watching the whole question of the distribution of this quantity of foreign steel which is coming into this country. They are ready to inquire into any case of difficulty of obtaining supplies, and they are at present satisfied that the reasonable requirements of consumers are being met. The distribution of the imported steel is being watched, and at present 346 the Import Duties Advisory Committee are satisfied that the undertakings given by the Iron and Steel Federation regarding this distribution are being carried out.
The House understands that the principal imports of iron and steel come from cartel countries, but there are some non-cartel countries. Quite the most important country is Sweden, and certificates are being distributed amongst exporters in Sweden by a body nominated by the Swedish Government. No other foreign country sends us any large quantities of iron and steel of the kinds that are included in the scheme. Certificates for imports from non-cartel countries up to 100 per cent. of the imports in 1934, are being issued by the Board of Trade. I mention the point, because it deals with the most-favoured-nation clause. Other countries that send steel to this country are receiving a ration up to 100 per cent. of the imports that came in in 1934. The bulk of our imports of iron and steel from Sweden and Norway are not of the kinds of steel that are included in this scheme at all. A considerable part comes in free of duty, such for instance as charcoal iron, and the statistics of iron and steel as a rule treat the entire industry as one global industry. I want, in order that there may be no misunderstanding, to let the House appreciate that the goods that are included in the cartel agreement are some, but not all, of our manufactures of iron and steel. It is difficult, therefore, to find a quite comparable figure, because the figures will deal with all our imports and exports of iron and steel, while the cartel agreement deals with a limited class, though certainly an important class, and the figures are not necessarily absolutely identical.
§ 9.38 p.m.
§ Mr. BENSON
I think we have heard one of the most extraordinary speeches to which it has been my lot to listen while I have been a Member of the House. The statements made by the Parliamentary Secretary and the facts as I know them simply cannot be correlated. It is true that at present the iron and steel industry is in a condition of boom. When you have such an enormous expansion of demand for a commodity, as the world has shown for iron and steel in the past 12 months, and when you have 347 at the same time a virtual monopoly set up, it is very natural that the industry should be working to capacity. But there is another side to it, and that is the question of the rights and interests of the consumer, and we are proposing to oppose this Order because the Government have set up a monopoly in the iron and steel trade without any adequate safeguard of the interest of the consumer. The hon. Gentleman suggested that the Imports Advisory Committee were an adequate safeguard. Nothing of the kind. If one refers to the Memorandum on the Finance Act and reads the correspondence between the Import Duties Advisory Committee and the Iron and Steel Trades Federation one gets the impression that the Committee is like an old lady trying to placate a very savage dog by saying, "Good doggie," in a very timid voice. Let us examine this most extraordinary document. In February, 1935, the Import Duties Advisory Committee, writing to the President of the Board of Trade, say:The increased home production and the improved equipment in organisation which will result from the policy that we now recommend ought to assist prices in some instances to be reduced at an early date.When that was written, the Iron and Steel Trades Federation had not got their duty, so they categorically renewed the assurance given by their representatives to the Minister on 4th March that it was not their intention to raise prices as the result of increased protection. From then onwards we have a continued correspondence between the Committee and the Federation, which is very funny when one realises that the Committee is supposed to be a safeguard of the interests of the consumer. On 14th November a demand was made for an increase in steel, and granted. Meanwhile, there has been an enormous increase in the production of steel, as the Parliamentary Secretary pointed out. The increase between the date when they suggested that increased production would lead to lower prices, and the present time, has been 37 per cent. increase in the production of pig iron and 45 per cent. increase in the production of steel. Production has mounted but so have prices.
§ Mr. BENSON
The increase in the price, not so much of coal as of coke. What is the history of coke and its relationship to the great iron and steel and coal trades? To begin with, coke is carefully taken out of the ascertainment so far as miners are concerned. Profits are made on it and the miners are cut out of any share in them, because coke is barred from the ascertainment. There is not a single great iron and steel concern which is not, either directly or indirectly, in possession of a coking plant. The result is that when they present those very elastic things, figures of production costs, to the Import Duties Advisory Committee they include in them the increased prices of coke which they themselves have made while cutting the miners out from any share in the advantage. That is the position of coke, and I hope we shall hear no more about the increased price.
I will continue this correspondence. On the 14th February of last year they demanded an increase of 7s. 6d. per ton in the price of soft basic billets. The protector of the British consumer, the Import Duties Advisory Committee, grant it and at the same time pat the savage dog. They say:If an adequate supply of British billets is to be assured, it is of course essential that their manufacture and sale should be reasonably profitable."—Everybody agrees with that—but the Committee are glad to learn that it is the settled policy of the Federation to endeavour as far as practicable to achieve this result by a reduction in such costs of production as are within their control.Every letter contains the same thing—the granting of the increased demand of the Steel Federation and a kind of diffident suggestion that the Steel Federation are really a body of philanthropists. In April we get another demand. This time not a modest amount of 7s. 6d. on soft basic billets, but a demand and a grant of 20s. a ton on acid billets with 0.25 per cent. carbon, and 10s. billets of a slightly higher carbon content. Here we have also the agreement of the Import Duties Advisory Committee that the cost to be taken into consideration shall be the cost of the district where costs are highest. In the next month there is a further demand of 2s. 6d. a ton on basic pig iron, 3s. 6d. on hematite pig iron, 5s. a ton on soft basic billets, the price of 349 which has already been raised, and 5s. on the hard basic billets. Here is the extraordinary agreement that the cost of production which the Iron and Steel Trades Federation was supposed to submit to the Import Duties Advisory Committee should in effect be based upon the cost of the most-inefficient unit of the industry. These are the costs which are prevailing to-day, and which will give the most inefficient industry a profit.
§ Mr. LEWIS JONES
The hon. Gentleman would not like to mislead the House on the point of costs. He has made a statement that the Iron and Steel Federation are supplying to the Import Duties Advisory Committee the costs of the less efficient. Will the hon. Member accept it from me that the costs of the plants in the country are submitted to the Department?
§ Mr. BENSON
I think that the hon. Gentleman misunderstood me. I said that the selling price should be based upon those costs, but I did not suggest that those were the only costs supplied to the Import Duties Advisory Committee.
§ Mr. BENSON
No. But the point is that the Import Duties Advisory Comrnittee—and these are the actual words:While the returns show a wide range of costs, the Committee agree that, in view of the unprecedentedly high level of demand at the present time, it is impossible to base prices solely on the working of the newest and most efficient plants." That means that they are taking the inefficient plants as their basis.
§ Mr. BENSON
Therefore, they are taking the most inefficient plant. That is 350 what I said to start with, and now the hon. Member admits it.
§ Mr. BENSON
Anyhow, after making that very useful concession to the Iron and Steel Federation they fixed the price of various articles, including basic pig iron. They fixed basic pig iron at 70s. and hematite pig iron at 80s. 6d. Those prices as far as the agreement between the Import Duties Advisory Committee and the Steel Federation is concerned obtain to-day, but you cannot buy basic pig iron at 70s. and hematite pig iron at 80s. 6d. If you look in the various trade papers you will find basic pig iron is 75s. and hematite pig iron 85s. 6d., and you will also find a, note that these are merely nominal prices and that if you want delivery particularly of hematite pig iron you have to pay a premium of 10s. a ton.
§ Dr. BURGIN
Is the point of the hon. Gentleman that the consumers are objecting to the price of these articles?
§ Mr. BENSON
My point is that the Import Duties Advisory Committee, the three gentlemen who compose it, are about as useful in standing up against the Iron and Steel Trades Federation as if they were three little maids from school. The Federation are getting their duty on the understanding that they keep to the prices agreed with the Import Duties Advisory Committee. They have the Import Duties Advisory Committee in their pockets and they flout them. There is the agreement and it was upon that agreement that Clause 6 of the Finance Bill was based. It was put before us as an agreement and that agreement has been flouted. You cannot buy hematite pig iron at the present moment without paying a premium of 10s. a ton, not on the agreed price, but at 5s. above the agreed price.
§ Dr. BURGIN
I do not want to interrupt the hon. Member continuously but I interrupted him so unsuccessfully that I want to try again. Will he say whether he is suggesting that consumers have a grievance because of the price?
§ Mr. BENSON
I will deal with that in a moment. [Interruption.] If the Parliamentary Secretary wants an answer, they unquestionably have a grievance Anyhow the Iron and Steel Trades Federation are flouting the Import, 351 Duties Advisory Committee. They are breaking their agreement with the committee. What is the reply? The Government introduce this Import Duties Order and ask the House to pass it. The Parliamentary Secretary asks: Have consumers any grievance? If he read the papers, as I no doubt he does, he would see that Alderman Harris Barrow of Birmingham has been protesting very bitterly at the result of the policy of the hon. Gentleman. He has just written to the papers stating that in 1933–34 the Birmingham Corporation paid for a steel construction contract £12 0s. 7d. and £12 10s. 9d. per ton, and that they have just let a steel contract which is of simpler construction and have had to pay £20 16s. per ton, an increase of 66 per cent. upon the price of two years ago. If the Parliamentary Secretary does not consider that to be a grievance perhaps he will kindly explain what he means by the word "grievance."
I will leave prices for a moment. The Parliamentary Secretary stressed very wisely—I agree with him heartily, and I am only too pleased to say when I agree with him—the importance of the export trade in this country. As he truly said, the agreement was recommended to this House to be embodied in the Finance Bill on the ground, with others, that it would very considerably benefit our export trade. What is happening at the present time? The demand for steel in this country is so high that the iron and steel manufacturers are absolutely neglecting the export trade. The Parliamentary Secretary said that we might exceed our quota. May I quote from a weekly journal, "The Ironmonger" of 14th November. This refers to hematite pig:Inquiries from abroad are on an expanding scale, but producers are too preoccupied with home orders to entertain overseas business.Let me quote from this week's issue of that organ, in regard to the outlook in iron and steel:It is by no means easy to place orders from overseas and lately some offers of contracts for substantial tonnages have been turned down in more than one department of the market.This applies to finished materials:In these conditions little interest is shown in export trade, and merchants complain of the difficulty of persuading producers to accept orders for delivery within a reasonable period.352 We are not going to exceed our quota this year if the iron and steel trades are not prepared to execute orders. They are neglecting the export trade because it is customary to give a rebate of anything up to 10s. a ton on export materials. They are fulfilling the higher-priced home orders and allowing the export trade to go.
§ Mr. L. JONES
The hon. Member tells the House that the export trade is being neglected because of the rebate on exports. He must be aware that there is a rebate system which also applies to the home trade.
§ Mr. BENSON
If the hon. Member will look at the market quotations he will find that export quotations are, roughly, 10s. a ton cheaper than for the home trade.
§ Mr. JONES
That is not the point. The hon. Member gave the impression that the iron and steel manufacturers were neglecting the export market because they had to give a rebate on their prices. I ask him bluntly whether he is not aware that there is also a rebate system affecting the whole of the home market in iron and steel.
§ Mr. BENSON
Of course, I am aware of that, but that does not in any way alter the fact that iron and steel for export purposes is sold at a lower price than iron and steel for home purposes. Does the hon. Member deny that?
§ Mr. BENSON
The hon. Member is quibbling. The Parliamentary Secretary mentioned that some 300,000 tons of steel had been allowed into this country. If necessary we must increase that amount. We can always maintain our home market, but if necessary we must import steel to fulfil the needs of the home market. It is absolutely essential that we should maintain our export market and our contact between the manufacturers of export steel and the foreign market, so that if we require more steel 353 for export than can be made in this country we must allow steel to come in, in order that we may have adequate supplies to maintain our contact abroad.
§ Mr. BENSON
I have no doubt the Parliamentary Secretary feels the weakness of his Front Bench. That 300,000 tons is practically all raw steel and will go to the re-rollers. Very little of it is finished steel, and there is a very big demand for finished steel, as will be seen from the increased price that the Birmingham Corporation have had to pay. A further cause of the shortage from which we are suffering is due to the Customs and Excise, who are holding up thousands of tons of steel in order to apply these wretched Import Duties. By holding up that steel they have increased the shortage from which we are suffering. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will see to it that steps are taken to prevent the machinery of these Import Duties from holding up steel in this way.
I think I have shown that the Import Duties Advisory Committee is utterly incapable of dealing with the iron and steel trade of this country. Nobody except a fanatical protectionist ever expected that they could. It is not the first time that great powerful monopolies have been subject to control which has been utterly futile. The United States of America have had unlimited experience of attempting to control powerful trusts, and we all know the appalling power for evil of the steel cartel on the Continent and its influence and interference in political matters. The iron and steel trade is like every other trade. If there is free competition there is hopeless inefficiency and if you get rid of the competition and set up a monopoly you get a rapacity that cannot be controlled by the Import Duties Advisory Committee or any such concern.
No one on these benches wants to go back to the hopeless inefficiency of innumerable competing plants. We wish to see a great deal more integration of the steel industry. No one suggests going back to free competition but, on the other hand, we are not prepared to accept the monopoly that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite offer us. There is a third alternative which, sooner or later, this country will have to accept, either because it requires a maximum of efficiency 354 or possibly because it must insist on protection from a rapacious monopoly, and that is the establishment of a great public utility company in the iron and steel industry, not for the purpose of grinding out the maximum amount of profit for the shareholders but supplying the requisite needs of this country in iron and steel and allied products.
§ 10.5 p.m.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
The hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benson) made, I think, an unjustifiable attack on the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary. I thought it was an excellent speech from his point of view. The great merit of it was not what it contained but what it left out, and I am rather amused at the hon. Member for Chesterfield when he says that if we go back to free competition the whole thing would be chaotic; that if you get a monopoly you cannot control it but by some wonderful means of a State monopoly everything in the world is going to be all right. I still believe in free competition. I am pleased at the success which the steel trade is enjoying at the moment. [An HON. MEMBER: "Under Protection."] Never mind why—I am not such a political bigot as not to be delighted with the success of the steel trade. These duties are the logical consequence of the application of Section 6 of the Finance Act. The Parliamentary Secretary has said that the Order we are now discussing is mere machinery. I agree, and I am not going to waste time in arguing the merits or demerits of tariffs or of this particular cartel.
I want to draw attention to the working of Section 6, or I should say the guarantees which were given under that Section. Hon. Members know that imports from cartel countries are brought in under a licensed system to be made up by the British Iron and Steel Federation, and there was a guarantee to the importers of these licensed imports as to certain things. I want to ask whether the guarantee in Annex 3 on page 12, is being carried out:To make such arrangements for the disposal of the imports of foreign steel from the cartel as will secure to the satisfaction of the Import Duties Advisory Committee an equitable distribution of such steel as to quantities, qualities and prices among all classes of the consumers without discrimination as to whether or not they are members of an affiliated association.355 Is that undertaking being carried out? I objected to this arrangement on the Report stage of the Finance Act and said that I was suspicious that monopolies would be created under this particular Section and under the facilities given by it to the Iron and Steel Federation. My information is that my suspicions were correct, and that the importation of all licensed imports of Continental gas and steam strip seem to be controlled by one firm in this country. All the imports of this particular commodity go to the firm of Stewarts and Lloyds. They are in the position of being able to control all these imports. Previous to that the Continental sale of steel strips was £5 per ton, English £6 7s. 6d., and the present English price is 18s. 6d. Is it the fact that this Continental strip is unavailable to independent makers or users? Two or three months ago this particular commodity was available at £7 7s. 6d. per ton, but this particular firm three years ago called a meeting of tube makers and told them that they were making 80 per cent. of the tubes made in this country and that they were determined to have the other 20 per cent. of the trade.
They followed that particular meeting by reducing selling prices to an uneconomic level, with the consequence that nearly all the independent tube makers in this country are now out of business. They now stand in this happy position, as I am informed, that they are controlling at the moment practically the whole of the licensed imports of this particular commodity. Secondly, they make their own raw material and they quote the users of that raw material such a price as knocks them clean out of the market for finished products. Having sold at uneconomic prices for three years and driven most of their competitors out of business the competitors of this particular firm are in this position, that as compared with three or four years ago their turnover has been brought down to 7 per cent. of what it was previously. Now what does this firm do? They suggest that an agreement should be drawn up, and I am going to quote to the House the terms of the agreement. It is called the "Gas Tube Organisation." I shall quote fairly fully because I want these questions to be answered:The agreement is for the regulation between the parties of the sale and delivery 356 of gas, water and steam steel and wrought iron tubes and for the supply by Stewarts and Lloyds, Limited, of at least 75 per cent of the steel strip requirements of the firms provided they all accept the following main terms and conditions.They shall fix daily or from time to time prices and conditions of sale and delivery and other matters within the agreement.That the quotas of the parties be based on the audited deliveries in the following periods:This is interesting because they fixed a certain date for the home trade and a certain date for the export trade, and the year fixed was the year when the competitors had been brought down in their turnover because of the uneconomic price of selling. The Agreement says:The prices of steel and wrought iron tubes when the firms draw any of their basis quota from Stewarts and Lloyds, Limited, or members of their group, shall be in accordance with Schedule A attached hereto.It goes on to say that theyshall have absolute control of selling prices in the export trade.That is the agreement they have now suggested should be drawn up and signed by those competititors who have been brought almost to a standstill in their business because of the monopolistic powers enjoyed by that particular combine. Was that what was intended when the promise was made by Sir Andrew Duncan to the Import Duties Advisory Committee? Is that what the House expected when it passed Section 6 of the Finance Act? Was it anticipated for one moment that one great combine would be able by the power of finance and its organisation to stamp out every individual firm? If they were permitted to import steel from the Cartel into this country at the same price as everybody else pays for it, without its going through other hands, they would still be able to compete with this particular combine. I am not making a debating point of this; all I am trying to get is fair play between one user and another. Are the Government content to see small firms dominated by this monopolistic combine? Does the individual count any longer in this country?
I would like to ask another question bearing on the same point. Is it correct that the British Iron and Steel Federation have imported during September and October an additional tonnage of 357 wire rods (said to be 600 tons) in excess of the quota agreed with the Cartel, and was the allotment to the group of independent firms for October 59 tons above those of August and September? If that be the case, was it a fair allotment? I would like also to ask whether paragraph (a) of Annexe 3 of Command Paper 5201 is being carried out. In that paragraph, the Iron and Steel Federation gave the following pledge:To use their best endeavours to secure that adequate supplies of suitable steel are at all times available to meet the reasonable requirements of British consumers, and to make arrangements, if circumstances so require, for the importation of such additional tonnages as the Import Duties Advisory Committee may deem necessary in excess of those fixed by the Cartel Agreement.Under that particular agreement, I understand that the Federation arranges increased imports or may consider suggestions as to the tonnage of those increased imports. I would like to ask a third question, What knowledge have the independent firms of these arrangements? Are they aware of what amount of tonnage the Federation arranges in excess of the quota, and if they have no knowledge—which I understand to be the case—how can they tell what their percentage increase should be? How can paragraph (a) be checked up? How can an individual firm know whether it is getting a fair proportion of any increased imports? Moreover, everybody knows that every user of iron and steel in country to-day is having difficulty with regard to deliveries. Everybody knows also that when those difficulties are encountered every business man would like to be in a position of knowing in advance what supplies he is going to have at a given date to meet a particular demand. To whom can these individual firms apply in advance for their share of any increase in imports when they are controlled by one Federation? Another question which I wish to ask is this. Are independent firms notified of any increased imports Do they know that there is going to be an increase, or is it an accomplished fact before they are aware that there is a certain supply to which they are entitled, in proportion to their requirements, under paragraph (a)?
358 I know that I am asking the Parliamentary Secretary a great many questions, but I would also put this to him. Could not the independent firms be notified of any agreement made for increased imports, so that they would be able to apply for a share in that increase? Will he ask his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade to arrange that each customer shall in the first place be informed by the Federation of his percentage share of the total imports, on the basis of the August-September original agreed allotment and distribution? These firms are not aware of what is their proper share, and it seems to me that all along the line they are working in the dark. In the second place, could not the President of the Board of Trade arrange that each customer should know the total tonnage of wire rods agreed each month between the Federation and the cartel for importation, and also that they should have an indication of any excess arranged above the quota?
I am concerned as to whether proper steps are being taken to see that. fair play is given to everybody in the trade. It is not my purpose to score debating points. I am not going to waste time in discussing whether a tariff system is wise or unwise. It is here and we have to accept it, but it is the duty of the House to see that justice is done as between the monopoly and the individual user. Certain guarantees were given specifically under that Section 6 of the Finance Act to which I have referred. I remember the interesting Debate which we had upon it. Do the guarantees mean Anything? It is all very well for the Parliamentary Secretary to come down to the House and to say, "You can be satisfied; everything is being done perfectly well," but that will not do. That is a statement made, I am certain, in good faith, but it may be a statement sent to him by the Import Duties Advisory Committee, and I candidly confess that, as far as their treatment of this kind of thing is concerned, I am not satisfied that their judgment is to be relied upon. I feel convinced that the trend of modern legislation is in favour of the big monopoly, and to me it is a tragedy that such should be the case. I hate monopolies. They are against the interest of the community and they are against the interest 359 of the individual, and the rights of the individual are far more important to me than the privilege of a monopoly.
§ 10.25 p.m.
§ Mr. MARCUS SAMUEL
I intervene only for a moment to remind hon. Members opposite that when they were in office we were importing 3,000,000 tons of iron and steel into this country and that they sent Mr. J. H. Thomas to Canada especially to see if he could arrange for 300,000 tons extra export to be made from this country to Canada. Now we have seen the difference of what is happening under the present Government. I have no axe to grind in this matter. I use a safety razor, and I do believe that the Import Duties Advisory Committee are dealing justly and fairly, as far as they possibly can, with these questions as they arise; and I am surprised at hon. Members opposite, seeing the difference in the state of these trades now, making such a lot of trouble about what in the aggregate are comparatively small matters. I hope that they will see their way to support rather than oppose these Orders.
§ 10.26 p.m.
§ Miss WILKINSON
I have a certain sense of sympathy with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. In all his speeches in this House he has given the impression of having a logical mind. He does know something about figures, and he does not treat them like adjectives, as does the Minister of Labour, but for a man with a logical mind and who knows as much about this matter as the Parliamentary Secretary does to get up and have to put the case that he has put before us to-day—well, I can only say that he has our respectful sympathy. He says that really this is only machinery, a mere consequential arrangement, but surely we have to see how this Clause 6 is likely to work out and how it is working out at the present time. The Government came to us with a record of muddle in the iron and steel trade unprecedented even for this muddling Government, and that is saying a lot. They have created something like a monopoly, and the fact is that they have given these people vast powers without apparently having any control whatever over how those powers are being exercised. I can imagine the kind of speech that the Parliamentary Secretary, in his 360 more regenerate days, would have made from these benches, and I feel regretful that we are not able to listen on this occasion to the brilliant oration that he could have made if he had been engaged in tying up his present chief instead of having to support that muddling gentleman.
The Government cannot have the case both ways. Look at the people opposite. They have pleaded for tariffs, and they have said, in glowing terms, how tariffs were going to sweep away unemployment and how that really they were only asking for tariffs, not to make profits for themselves—oh no—but because their hearts bled for the working classes. Let us take the figures given by the Parliamentary Secretary to-night. He has, by the way, a manner of using technical terms with a disarming air of saying, "Well, we are all experts together, and therefore this case can be taken for granted," and unless one watches him very carefully, he is very liable to get away with it. But what are the figures that he has given for 1933 and for today? The figures of unemployment in 1933, he said, were 48 per cent., and today they are 14 per cent. It is interesting to note that the 1933 figures which he took were those of just about the completest slump period and that he took the very lowest there were. Are we to understand that the Parliamentary Secretary regards 14 per cent. not even as the ordinary normal state of unemployment in the iron and steel trade, but as something for which we ought to be thankful because it is so good?
§ Dr. BURGIN
I was not arguing about it, but merely stating the facts. I gave the figures for 1931–2–3 and those for October this year merely to show a falling rate of unemployment. I am by no means satisfied so long as there is any unemployment.
§ Miss WILKINSON
We all look forward to that blissful period when there are no unemployed but the suave tone of self-satisfaction with which the hon. Gentleman pointed out that reduction of figures as a result of the tariff gave the impression, and was intended to give the impression, that the tariffs had done great good. There is 14 per cent. unemployment in the industry in a boom period with an arms programme and then the Parliamentary Secretary comes here 361 and suggests that it is something to be proud of. He did not say a word about potential capacity or about the men who ought to be engaged in this trade. He did not say a word about the possibility of expanding it, but in this industry at this boom period 14 per cent, is the best he can show.
I want to bring the position of the Jarrow steel works into this matter, because it is an object-lesson of how the tariff is working out. When in 1934 the Bragart report on the question of the Jarrow steel works was being discussed very much behind the scenes, the suggestion of the experts was that we might reach 10,000,000 tons production by about 1937–8. The Parliamentary Secretary has pointed out that we are already getting 11,500,000 tons production and that it is still rising. It is not only still rising, but the demand cannot be met. I can give strings of quotations from the "Ironmonger," which is the trade periodical, showing how production is being held up because the necessary steel products cannot be obtained. With this situation the Parliamenary Secretary comes here and says that we are to pass an Order to arrange machinery with the international steel cartel so that in addition to the 520,000 tons that are allowed, we are to allow another 300,000 tons from abroad. You cannot have the argument both ways. Hon. Members on those benches can argue that you can have a high tariff and increase employment, and that the consumer, if he pays higher, gets corresponding advantages. What is happening, however, is that we have a monopoly which can refuse new firms which are prepared to put down up-to-date iron and steel plant in this country, and that monopoly can, in order to put up its own profits, demand an extra 300,000 tons of imports in order to satisfy the rising indignation of its consumers.
What sort of condition is this in a trade as vital to this country as the iron and steel trade? I can only quote briefly paragraph 194 of Mr. Malcolm Stewart's Report:Briefly stated, the establishment of more economic manufacturing conditions in the future has been sacrificed to procure profits made available by the present good demand, influenced by the granting of a materially increased tariff on imported steel and by the Defence programme. I believe this to be a short-sighted policy…. 362 Manufacturers will only hold their own by securing an ever increasing degree of efficiency. This is essential to national prosperity. The advantages accruing from tariffs should be utilised to promote efficiency and ability to meet foreign competition and not merely as a temporary shelter for making increased profits.Nobody knows that better than the Parliamentary Secretary, They talk about inefficiency. Germany, the United States and France have switched over to up-to-date methods of steel production such as make a very great part of the steel production in this country so hopelessly out of date that it could not hold its own with free foreign competition, and again nobody knows that better than the Parliamentary Secretary. Fords, at Dagenham, can produce steel goods for their own use 25 per cent. cheaper than that of the prevailing combine price. Stewarts and Lloyds cost of production I understand is even lower.
I want to see the steel industry boom, not with 14 per cent. unemployed, but with a very much higher proportion of its men employed. The pathetic town of Jarrow, which I represent here, is a town which to-day, on the Government's own figure and on the evidence of the trade papers, could now have thousands of men employed, and save a bill of £286,000 which the country is bearing in Poor Law relief and unemployment benefits. It is a pretty big bill in order to save the profits of the iron and steel manufacturers. I listened not only with interest, but with dismay, to the statements made by a Liberal Member below the Gangway with regard to the history of tube making in this country. The one hope that has been held out to Jarrow is that it is to get a small tube works, and the hon. Member has pointed out how, under the working of this monopoly tariff, Stewarts and Lloyds are able to strangle any steel tube works in this country. We may be allowed, and I hope we shall be, by their mercy and grace, to make tubes at Jarrow.
What sort of position is that? The party opposite are supposed to be the patriotic party. They speak about the necessity of national rearmament, even up to an isolation standard if necessary—I do not say that the Government do so, it could not do so, but that is what most of them do; and yet the Government come here and calmly state, not at a time 363 when we are at war, but when we are only at the beginning of this rearmament programme, that we are so pressed for steel that we cannot get deliveries. The Minister has claimed that we are working practically to maximum production. I ask the Minister to face up to the position. If we are working practically up to maximum production now, what will the position be like when our rearmament programme is in full swing, in addition to our normal domestic consumption? Is he to come down to the House and ask for more and still more increases and licences under the steel cartel agreement? If so, what will happen? Either this rearmament programme is meant seriously, or it is a ramp for profits for the manufacturers. If it is meant seriously, do the Government seriously mean that they will increase our dependence upon people who are making our potential defences? Is that the sort of thing which a patriotic Government puts before this House?
Before the Government ask us to pass these Orders and put these enormous powers into the hands of a private organisation, why do they not say that the industry must be made efficient and that new works shall not be stopped because Messrs. Dorman, Long, the Consett Iron and Steel Company, United Steel and the rest of them say: "We have had a good time. The Government pays the bill and the steel cartel protects us from foreign competition. We are going to make hay while the sun shines because we do not believe it will shine much longer." That is what they say, although they put it into more polite language, like the hon. Member for West Swansea (Mr. L. Jones). While the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence is talking about not being able to get men and pulling long faces, he is leaving this country dependent upon foreign imports of steel, and increasing that dependence if nothing is to be done to increase the production of steel in this country.
The Government cannot have it both ways. I am not stating the case as I would like to state it, but from the Government's own point of view. The Government asked for a mandate, and got it on the basis of tariffs, and hon. Mem- 364 bers who go to their constituencies—when they do go to them—talk about rearmament. I say that the Government are weak in the face of a monopoly which they have themselves created. If that were not so, they could have forced some kind of reorganisation, but now they are trying to say that it is too late to start steel works in Jarrow or in South Wales because the period is over now, and it would be two years before there was production. As a matter of fact, a steel works could be in production in a much less time. Even now, we ask the Government to face the realities of the situation and to get some organisation done before it, is too late.
§ 10.43 p.m.
§ Mr. R. ACLAND
I hope the House will realise that I do not intervene for the purpose of prolonging the discussion or arguing the issue of Free Trade or Protection, but because hon. Members on these benches, and, I am sure, other hon. Members, have a real interest in the employment of our people and in a certain amount of decency in industrial life, both of which we believe to be threatened by the Orders which are now before us. As to employment, we believe that countless manufacturers with the widest possible range, employing thousands of men and having a capacity for employing thousands more, are cramped, hindered and crippled to-day, in the home and export markets, because of their inability to get steel in the conditions as to delivery, quality and price which are needed for their full development.
In this matter, one can never quite refrain from going to the fountain head of all good sense which has been poured out on this matter, namely, the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade himself, where he has said:The fact is, there is not a single class of the community, industrial or domestic, which would not be injured by the imposition of a duty on imported steel. You cannot find a single trade in this country of importance which is not directly dependent upon cheap steel. The Protectionist campaign will centre on steel, but it may be the beginning of the end. I hope it will be the beginning of a great defeat for the Protectionist Government.A great many things have changed since the President of the Board of Trade said that, but, as he said in the same speech:There are some things which do not change, for instance, the laws of arithmetic. They remain absolutely the same.365 When we were debating the Import Duties some 12 days ago, I ventured to put before the House one or two bits of information which I had received from manufacturers. I think the Parliamentary Secretary gently mocked me for doing it, and implied that information supplied to a private Member of Parliament by some miserable little manufacturer or other, was of very little importance. But really these people are not little manufactures, and, if they were, I would say that well over half the people employed in this country are employed by little manufacturers. It is these little men who know what the conditions are to-day, and therefore I make no apology for submitting to the House quotations from two letters which I have received, and which, of course, as the hon. Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) said, are two out of strings which might be produced:It is beyond all doubt that something like famine conditions are prevailing…. There is a known shortage of re-rolling billets which is already having an adverse effect on our capacity to buy small bars, and this trouble looks like becoming intensified…. Quite frankly, I think the time has definitely arrived when the gates ought once more to be opened to further supplies of foreign steel.There is undoubtedly very great difficulty everywhere in getting delivery of mild steel, and the position is such that buyers who have big contracts with steel makers at fixed prices are even obliged to pay a premium to get deliveries. The attitude of the steel makers appears to be very independent, and in our work we are bound to use material which in the ordinary way we would reject, owing to the difficulty in getting replacement.That is the background against which these Orders are being imposed; and a far more serious point in the Orders is that they raise grave questions as to the decency of industrial life. We are setting up a monopoly. I asked the President of the Board of Trade a few days ago whether the assurance of equitable distribution of steel as to quantities, qualities and prices among all classes of consumers, without discrimination as to whether they were members of the Association or not, was being observed, and I was told that the Import Duties Advisory Committee was looking into the matter. I hope the present Debate will at least have achieved this, that the Parliamentary Secretary and hon. Members opposite will now realise that, when Members of the Opposition and members of the public express disquiet on any 366 point, it is no longer a satisfactory answer to tell us that the Import Duties Advisory Committee is looking into the matter and will make a report. If they say that they are satisfied that non-members of the British Iron and Steel Federation are getting steel on equitable terms, I deny that that is so, since throughout the industry merchants and consumers are being forced to toe the line by the Federation, and to accept their terms under the threat of refusal to grant the supplies that are needed. I believe that that is the case with regard to the 300,000 tons of steel which is to be imported additional to the Cartel agreement amount. Is it the fact—I believe it is—that 300,000 tons is bought outright at the foreign price, plus 20 per cent., by the British Iron and Steel Federation, and redistributed by them at the British price fixed by the Cartel less a certain amount which corresponds to its slightly inferior quality as compared with British steel? I believe that the whole of that importation is treated in that way, and that the British Iron and Steel Federation make therefrom a profit in the neighbourhood of 10s. a ton. If that is true, it would be £150,000 profit per year. As to the 500,000 tons imported under the Cartel arrangement, is it the fact that on the whole of that the British Iron and Steel Federation take a commission, and a commission very substantially higher than would satisfy any merchant on a much smaller quantity, and without rendering to any party the services which an ordinary iron and steel merchant would be expected to render? I believe these things are true, and I ask whether they are true. Obstinately perhaps, I shall not be in the least satisfied if the Parliamentary Secretary tells me that they are not, not for a moment that I will not believe his answer, but because if these things are not true to-day there is no earthly reason why they should not become true to-morrow, with nobody knowing anything about it. This is not a case for supervision by the Import Duties Advisory Committee. It is not even a case for an ad hoc inquiry. It is a case, where the Government have set up a monopoly under the protection of the State and there can be no health in the industry, no public confidence in the industry, unless representatives of the State are permanently placed where they can see everything which goes on within 367 this monoply, and report to the Government and to the public regularly if any abuses are taking place.
§ Sir PATRICK HANNON
Could anything be reported to the House of Commons at the instance of some officer of the State which is not examined by the Import Duties Advisory Committee?
§ Mr. ACLAND
I thought it had become clear in the course of this Debate that those of us who are not satisfied that the industry itself can be trusted without investigation are not now likely to be satisfied merely because we are told that the Import Duties Advisory Committee is making a private investigation on evidence which is not published and not likely to be published and making reports which, again, I do not believe—I speak subject to correction—are likely to be published.
§ Sir P. HANNON
Would the hon. Member indicate to the House with what kind of data he would be satisfied?
§ Mr. ACLAND
I think that there ought to be representatives of the State on whatever it may be which corresponds to the board of management of the British Iron and Steel Federation, that no action of that Federation should be valid without their full cognizance, that the whole accounts of the Federation should be available to them and they should know precisely where every penny of the money is being spent. Nobody knows where the money is being spent now. The whole of that should regularly and automatically come under the eyes of representatives of the State. Because we may disagree with the Opposition about the nationalisation of the industry, there is 110 need to say that there is no difference between our attitude and that of hon. Members opposite on these matters. We have been discussing a Public Order Bill. We know that that in part is to meet the menace of Fascist methods. It is not from Sir Oswald Mosley that the danger of Fascism arises at the present time. This is Fascism. This is the glorification of the back-door influences of the vested interests of individualists, and unless hon. Members opposite are prepared to insist by their votes to-night that industries shall be run honestly and openly for the good of the community as a whole, they will have no right to complain over what may happen to them 368 at the hands of the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) and his colleagues.
§ 10.55 p.m.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
The Debate that we have had has shown very clearly that, however complacent the Board of Trade may be, the House, at least in many parts of it, is disturbed about the situation in the iron and steel industry. The case put before us by the Parliamentary Secretary certainly did not convince my hon. Friends, and did not convince me, that the present arrangement is being adequately run or supervised in the interests of the community, or is likely in the long run to be for the good of the country as a whole. I was amazed to hear some of the conclusions that he drew from the present state of affairs. It is true, of course, that production has very substantially gone up, but that is the state of every steel industry in the world. There is no greater measure of recovery in the production of iron and steel in this country than there is in any one of the main iron and steel centres of the world. There is no special merit in the tariff policy of the Goverment in that amount of recovery. The actual impetus which has been given to the volume of output of basic steel by the introduction of the armaments programme in this country as well as other countries is an additional factor in that output. When you see the arguments that have lain behind the previous cases submitted by the Government in favour of an iron and steel tariff, one can but think that the Government are sadly letting the country down unless they insist upon a detailed, systematic and adequate inquiry into the interests of the community in relation to the monopoly that is now being set up.
The Import Duties Advisory Committee has been charged now, I understand, with the special task of inquiring into the future of the industry. It seems to me to be a rather extraordinary task to allocate to a committee of three, usually sitting in camera, in which the public has the greatest difficulty in getting, to inquire into the communal effect of the reconstruction of the iron and stel industry in the future. I should have thought that, in view of the experience that we are having, there ought to be an ad hoc and special committee appointed now to inquire into the position of the industry, for the public are 369 not being protected as consumers as they ought to be. The case that has always been submitted by the Parliamentary Secretary is that if we once gave a sufficient amount of confidence in the industry by the protection that a tariff would bring, output would increase and, with the increase of output and the reduction of charges by way of establishment and the like, so far from prices rising, they would in actuality fall. I see the Parliamentary Secretary nods his head and says that is a correct interpretation of the views that he gave. We have had to-night an example of how it is working out from the case submitted by my hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benson) in regard to a structure needed by the Birmingham Corporation. Let me give my own experience of the average prices which we have been paying, in an organisation with which I am known to be connected, in the past two years for structural steel. We paid for plain beams in 1931, £9 per ton; in 1932, £8 11s.; in 1933, £9 17s. 6d.; in 1934, £9 13s.; in 1935, £13; and in 1936, £15 5s. Will the Parliamentary Secretary say that that rise is all accounted for by costs, or, as was suggested by the hon. Member for West Swansea (Mr. L. Jones), the increase in the price of coke?
§ Mr. L, JONES
The right hon. Gentleman does me an injustice. It was not I who interrupted, I did not suggest that coke was responsible. I am sure that he does not wish to misrepresent me.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I do not wish to misrepresent the hon. Gentleman. I know that there was an interruption from that quarter; and, from the subsequent remarks of the hon. Gentleman, I gathered that it came from him. If it was not his remark, I at once withdraw my imputation, but certainly the suggestion was made from that bench by one of his colleagues that it was due to the price of coke. This is our experience of the increase in this class of steel from 1932 to 1936—£8 10s. to £15 5s. The price we paid for compound beams in 1934 was £11, and this year we paid £18. Let me take plain stanchions. In 1934 we paid £12 10s., which was less than the price we paid in 1931, and in 1936, £19.
§ Mr. LECKIE
Can the right hon. Gentleman give the extra wages paid in 370 the iron and steel industry and also in the coal industry?
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
We shall be very glad to have that matter thoroughly inquired into on the lines of the ad hoc inquiry for which I am asking to-night. I hope that the hon. Member for Walsall (Mr. Leckie), who made the interjection, will carefully observe the percentage of increase which I am quoting from our actual experience—£11 to £18 per ton. Does he suggest that wages have increased at that rate? Combined stanchions in 1934 were £12 15s.; and in 1936, £20. Does the hon. Gentleman suggest that the wages of iron and steel workers have increased at that rate, even if you allow for some extra cost of production in regard to wages connected with the industry There is quite another explanation than that of the hon. Member for Walsall, who will, perhaps, do me the honour of checking the other side of the matter. The extra price which is being extracted from the consumer is going into profits to the iron and steel industry behind the Federation. If there is any doubt about that, you have only to watch the share market. I should have thought that hon. Members who support this tariff were even more interested in the share market than we who sit on this side of the House. Let me give some of the figures. The shares of Messrs. Baldwins, according to the "Times" were, on 19th May, 9s., and are now 14s. 10½d.; Cammell Laird, on 19th May, 9s. 1½d., and on 11th November, 19s. [An HON. MEMBER: "They are now down a bit."] The shares of Dorman Long, on 19th May, were 32s., and on 11th November, 51s. 3d.; Messrs. Hadfields, on 19th May, 23s. 9d., and on 11th November, 35s. 3d. I will take the shares of another Sheffield Company, which speak more clearly still. Vickers shares on 21st November, 1934, were 10s. 9d., and on 11th November, 1936, they were 36s. 1½d.—this for a share which had been written down to 6s. 8d.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I cannot give way, as I am sure hon. Members do not want to sit too late to-night. This index of the stock and share market shows clearly where the extra prices extracted from the consumers go. They are looking to get some extra profits on shares and the issue of bonus shares on the output of steel 371 which hon. Members opposite tell us is to meet the extremities and needs of the country, although their way of dealing with the business has been largely responsible for the dislocation and starvation of the steel industry since the War.
Let me look at Vickers, of Sheffield. They had enormous War profits and increased their share capital during the War by over 200 per cent. Of bonus shares. After the War the slump came and they wrote the shares down to their original value, so that the £1 share became 6s. 8d. Now they are offered again on the market at over 36s. The same process is going on, and we shall have exactly the same experience in the iron and steel industry over again after the armament orders cease, because you are not building up the industry on sure foundations. There is no one with experience of capitalist industry who does not know it to be the truth that you are building now and for the next few years for exactly the same slump, the same disaster, the same lack of consideration for the workers to whom you are now making an appeal, that occurred in 1920–22. In Sheffield they were forced to go to the Poor Law just as you will be re-forcing them on to the Poor Law at the end of the armaments campaign.
The whole basis of dealing with this armaments Problem is a mockery of the real position, and need of the working classes. When we look at the way the country is being bamboozled and misled, we are entitled to oppose in principle the whole system which the Government is fastening on the country and the iron and steel industry. The Government have shown shameless neglect of the country's needs in the re-armaments necessity by not checking the profits that are being made behind this system, and by not dealing with the steel ring, which prevents adequate supplies of steel from being supplied to the people who need it. Do not let the Parliamentary Secretary deny that the steel ring exists. The ring is very close and very effective. I have here a list of tenders with which I had some connection. It gives the quotations for steel, and is contained in a report which I made a few months ago to the Building Materials Prices Committee, of which I am a member. That is an inquiry on which we do not seem to be able to make any progress. These are 372 facts showing how the ring works. It is a list of many firms who were asked to tender for the supply of structural steel for a building of the value of, roughly, £20,000. Six of the seven who tendered quoted exactly the same price for the steel for that £20,000 job, even to the extent of the odd 15s. ld. They quoted absolutely alike even to the last penny on a price arranged between the six firms, leaving a very shrewd suspicion in our minds—as those who have been connected with municipal work in the past know with regard to the building industry—that the one firm that tendered less was taking its turn, being instructed, to take the job. That is the kind of thing that goes on behind the ramp of the protective tariff ring, with this limiting of output, this starvation of the needs of the country. Yet hon. Members opposite call it a beneficent policy which has restored the industrial prosperity of the country.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
If the hon. Member had made inquiries he would find that exactly the same results were being experienced by capitalist countries which enjoyed the blessings of protection. It is sheer humbug to suggest that the condition of the iron and steel industry is due to tariffs when other iron and steel countries had protection and the industry was in the same condition. Capitalist control of this great industry took advantage of the country's needs during war and you will adopt the same disastrous line now unless you are prepared to take measures in this period of the country's need for rearmament and in the period which immediately follows the boom. The workers who are being asked to support this particular tariff because they will get a percentage increase of wages based on the price of steel will be led into the same fool's paradise unless they have the wisdom to stand behind their own representatives for the public ownership of the means of production, which alone can help them.
§ 11. l2 p.m.
§ Dr. BURGIN
Little of what the right hon. Gentleman has said has any reference, even remote, to the Orders we are discussing. The House would hardly have that from his indictment of a great series of industries and the way they are carried on, that these industries, which were languishing in 1929 and in the depression which followed, have been brought back to a state of healthy production, and that they are the mainstay and the principal source of supply of almost every form of industrial activity in this country. I could take the right hon. Gentleman to works after works in this country where he would see steel plant which challenges plant in any part of the world. I could take him to his own city and show him steel works which are exporting steel to Germany, because it is better steel, and I could tell him that this industry which never before has reached 1,000,000 tons output per month has three times recently exceeded that figure and that this year's output is 2,500,000 tons above any previous figure. There was little likeness to the actual facts in the oration of the right hon. Gentleman.
Let me deal with some of the questions which have been raised by hon. Members. The hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. Acland) asked me a series of definite questions but I gather that if I give him definite answers they will not be accepted. None the less I propose to give them. There is no truth in the suggestion that the British Steel Federation make a profit of 10s. or any other figure on the 300,000 additional tons of imported steel from the cartel countries. It is true that the working of an agreement on a cartel does provide for bulk buying. The only way by which an agreement can be made between the group in each of the five countries is that contracting parties should be the groups, and the contracting parties as far as the United Kingdom is concerned is the British Iron and Steel Federation, and all quantities, all prices and distribution are as a matter of contractual right, entered into and accepted by the group. Therefore, it is true to say that these 300,000 extra tons which have been ordered by the British Iron and Steel Federation because of the needs of industry are ordered by the federation, but the idea that an 374 intermediate profit is gained by the federation and that then the steel is parcelled out to consumers at some different price, is a myth of the hon. Gentleman's own creation.
§ Mr. BENSON
I notice that the Parliamentary Secretary carefully limits that disclaimer to the 300,000 tons. Is it not a fact that the Iron and Steel Federation receives a definite commission of 5s. a ton on the actual quota allowance?
§ Dr. BURGIN
Perhaps I may be allowed to deal with one subject at a time. The question asked by the hon. Member for Barnstaple related to the specific 300,000 tons, and he quoted an intermediate profit of 10s. a ton. I am not informed as to whether there is a commission with regard to the whole quota under the agreement, but I will make inquiries and endeavour to inform the hon. Member in the course of my remarks. It seems to me that there may well be an office charge in regard to the working of the agreement. The specific point put by the hon. Member for Barnstaple was that steel was bought at a Continental price and resold in this country at an English price. I have made inquiries with regard to that, and the suggestion is completely not in accordance with the facts. There is no such intermediate profit. I will have inquiries made as to whether there is a commission on the ordinary 525,000 tons that come in every year.
The questions that were asked during the Debate ranged over a number of points. The hon. Member for Barnstaple asked whether it is not true that there are famine conditions. The House will realise that since the Cartel Agreement was entered into there has been an enormous increase in world demands for steel, but the idea that has been given to the House by some speakers that the difficulty in getting steel is limited to this country is a mistaken idea. There is difficulty in getting steel in any part of the world, because there is a large industrial recovery and because in many countries there are armaments programmes. Steel deliveries are very late in the United States of America, where there is no question of rearmament, but where there is great industrial expansion. Steel deliveries are delayed in France, where, quite apart from industrial recovery, there is a rearmament programme.
375 Therefore, I want the House to understand that the whole story of famine difficulties is a world phenomenon. There is a demand for steel far in excess of supplies, and there are very large quantities of steel the delivery of which can only [...]e possible a considerable number of months later. That has nothing to do with conditions peculiar to this country. The hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benson) asked me to make inquiries, and I gave him the assurance that I would if possible give the information in the course of my remarks. The latest information available to His Majesty's Government is that there is an office charge of 6d. a ton made by the Federation with regard to the 525,000 tons, the bulk of the shipment under the Cartel Agreement. That exactly confirms the impression I had that there would be an office charge.
The hon. Lady the Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) very naturally raised again the question of the steel works at Jarrow. I do not in the least complain of that, but before dealing with her questions, may I give her a message of encouragement to the locality which she so indefatigably represents? There is little reason to doubt that the tube works will begin work next year. The works are going down there with the good will and entire co-operation of Stewarts and Lloyds and the Tube Industries Limited. This is no question of a small works which will be liable to be frozen out. This is a branch of the great tube industry to be established in Jarrow and the whole House, I am sure, will rejoice at the fact. I do not want to argue in detail the question of the starting of a steel works in Jarrow. The hon. Lady read extracts from the Commissioner's report and also referred to the report of the experts. Let me say, as a general proposition, that there is no obstacle to the starting in any part of the United Kingdom of steel works at any time. There is no opposition from the Government or anyone else to the starting of new steel works. But if a group of people want to start a steel works and if they go to financiers for money, they must expect to find that the financiers will want to know among other things whether there is an assurance that the output of steel from those works will be taken. If the hon. Lady will look further into some of the stories surrounding the starting 376 or non-starting of a steel works in Jarrow, she may find that one of the difficulties was that those in charge of the setting-up of those works were compelled to ask for extra finance and were unable to give the answers which were requisite to that condition—
§ Miss WILKINSON
If there is what is practically a famine in steel and if work is being held up for six or seven weeks or longer waiting for deliveries—surely, there is your market. What is the use of the hon. Gentleman saying that you can put up steel works wherever you like when, in fact, you cannot. I want to know what he means.
§ Dr. BURGIN
I shall be glad to go into the question in detail with the hon. Lady. I am only giving to the House the statement which they ought to have, that there is no bar to the setting up, in any part of the country, of steel works. It is apparent that the demand for steel is unsatisfied. It is apparent that, as an industrial proposition, the making of steel possesses advantages. But if a group setting up a steel works is not able to supply its own finance and has to go into the market and procure outside finance, one of the terms required by financiers may be an assurance that the output of the steel works will be disposed of, and as I say that may be one of the difficulties which confronts Jarrow.
§ Dr. BURGIN
I will deal with the question in a moment. Hon. Members are seeking to read into the Agreement which was made in July, 1935, some conditions arising from a demand which has taken place since. When this cartel agreement was entered into and when Section 6 of the Finance Act was passed the world increase in the demand for steel had not been foreseen by anybody. It is no argument to say now that because the demand for steel has increased and there is a delay in deliveries, therefore it shows that there was a. necessity for a steel works at the time. That is a false line of argument. The hon. Lady asked whether I was satisfied with 14 per cent. as the figure of unemployment, and I said I was not. In 1929 the figure was 20, in 1930 it was 23. It has been steadily falling, and now that it is 14 as against 377 the highest it ever reached, in July, 1932, of 48 per cent., there is, not an absolute, but a commensurate degree of satisfaction.
The hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth) put to me a very long list of questions, most of which dealt with the question of the satisfaction of consumers. One of them dealt specifically with a question relating to Messrs. Stewarts and Lloyds. The hon. Member is not prepared to take an assurance from the Import Duties Advisory Committee. He wants more information. I was very careful, in introducing this matter to the House, to say that one of the factors which would have to be taken into consideration was the treatment of the consumer. I said that the Import Duties Advisory Committee, who were charged with the investigation, the supervision and the smooth running of the whole of this cartel arrangement, were satisfied that the undertakings given to them by the British Iron and Steel Federation were being carried out. I repeat that assurance. Has the Co-operative movement complained to the Import Duties Advisory Committee about the price? My information is that it has not [An HON. MEMBER: "What is the use?"] The use is that if a complaint comes to the Import Duties Advisory Committee, it is at once investigated, and if there is anything to be put right, it is put right.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
The hon. Gentleman must be aware that we have opposed these duties before the Import Duties Advisory Committee.
§ Dr. BURGIN
I am not questioning that, for political and other reasons, that may have been done. I was not conscious of saying anything controversial. I was saying that I am prepared to believe that every duty on every article will be opposed by the hon. Member opposite, but that is not the point. The point is that these duties have been enforced for a considerable time, that the Orders imposing them have been on the Order Paper for a. long time as coming up on any day when the House had time, that the complaints that have reached my Department recently have been two in number, that I have investigated both, and that there is no substance in either of them. If the hon. Member for South Bradford has an instance where 378 a consumer alleges that the equitable distribution of imported steel has not been carried out, he would be doing a good turn if he would be good enough to place that information at the disposal of my Department. I invite him to do it.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
I understand that a firm has made this particular complaint to the Import Duties Advisory Committee, personally, that a monopoly was enjoyed by Messrs. Stewarts and Lloyds.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
I do not want the hon. Gentleman to get away with the idea that these people have not made a complaint. The Import Duties Advisory Committee have advised this particular firm to fall in with the scheme that I enumerated to the House, and the House must know how difficult it is for an individual firm, dependent for its supplies on a monopoly, to state that in public for fear that they might not get any supplies at all.
§ Dr. BURGIN
I am obliged to the hon. Member. We are not talking, obviously, about the same thing. I am anxious to see that undertakings that have been given by me to the House, given in all sincerity, and given upon the reliance that those undertakings have in turn been given to the Import Duties Advisory Committee, are absolutely and fully implemented. If there are indications that steel is not being equitably distributed to certain people who ought to get a certain percentage, and that they are being starved, I want to know, so that the facts can be brought to the attention of the Import Duties Advisory Committee and of the Iron and Steel Federation, and so that, if necessary, supplies can be sent.
The hon. Member for Barnstaple asked why there was not a Government representative on the federation so as to keep day-to-day touch. There is; the Chairman of the Iron and Steel Federation was a nominee of His Majesty's Government. The accounts of every daily dealing with the federation are open to the inspection of my Department. When the slightest question arises of why, say, wire rods are being held up, we have inquiries on the telephone as to why X and Y have not 379 been supplied, and they get their supplies. There may be a difficulty in arranging that a certain distribution shall precisely correspond with some particular import in the same month. There must be give and take over the difficulty of distributing a restricted quantity of an article that is greatly in demand by an expanding number of willing users. The whole system of licences with a limited quantity and an unlimited number of users presents certain formidable difficulties in administration. These difficulties are being tackled by my Department, and I say again if the hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth) or any other hon. Member obtains information that is in substance a complaint, I shall be grateful if it is sent to me. They were sent to me before Section 6 of the Finance Act was passed, and I investigated them. I know of no outstanding complaint that has not been satisfied.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I shall have to repeat a specific complaint I have brought to the notice of the Building Materials Prices Committee. I was assured that it would be forwarded to the proper quarter and investigated, but nothing came of it.
§ Dr. BURGIN
The matter to which the right hon. Gentleman refers is that six or seven firms of steel makers quoted the same prices for a particular construction. That has nothing to do with what we are discussing.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
The right hon. Gentleman made a charge of an increase of 70 per cent. in prices, and there has been no answer.
§ Dr. BURGIN
We seem to be back on the question of price now. Let us know what we are dealing with. I was dealing with the distribution of imported steel. Now the hon. Gentleman is referring to the price of British-made steel for construction. They are two widely different things. I rejoice that the price of steel has gone up. The price in the period of depression was uneconomical and numbers of men were being discharged; reserves were being used up, and plant was not being renewed. Now plant is being brought up to date, new work is being taken, there is a period of expansion and wages have been increased. It is no use hon. Gentlemen 380 opposite complaining that an industry is so bad that the Government ought to do something, and then, when the Government do it, say that the industry is so good that they ought to bring prices down. Let me answer the hon. Member for South Bradford with regard to Stewarts and Lloyds. I hold no brief for that great undertaking, and the information I give must be ad referendum. Whatever else they are, Stewarts and Lloyds are a very fine undertaking with some of the most modern plant in the world. I am told that they sell tube strip to many other tube makers at lower prices than that of the foreign strip, and it is unlikely therefore that tube makers would wish to buy the foreign strip at a higher price.
The arrangement by Stewarts and Lloyds to sell strip at low prices was made at the suggestion of the Import Duties Advisory Committee following representations from some of the small tube makers themselves. The House has heard only part of the story from the hon. Member. So far as the economy of Great Britain is concerned the tube making industry represents a very fine asset. We are very proud of our steel making industry. They have captured and maintained a good share of the export market. They maintain and supply the requirements of the home market. They are enterprising and up to date. They are rationalised and they are entering into proper agreements, and I know of no reason why they should be put into the dock for doing so.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
Does the hon. Gentleman imply that the price of English steel is below that of foreign steel? Does he say the figures I gave were wrong and will he say whether the imported steel to make these tubes is now in the control of this particular firm?
§ Dr. BURGIN
I was not attempting to fence with the question, but I was conscious of the fact that the House was desirous of coming to a decision. The hon. Member asserted that the imports of this particular steel came only to one particular firm, to which he referred. I have no means of checking the particular price of steel to which he refers, and I imagine that he is speaking from accurate information. I have no means of checking it at such short notice. The hon. Member for Chesterfield made a speech 381 the burden of which, in so far as it related to these Orders and not to rearguing the case against Section 6 of the Finance Act, was, "What is the use of a cartel agreement under which the advantages are the security of export markets if you are too busy to worry about exports at all and do not even supply the home demand?" Two extracts were read from the "Ironmonger" of 14th and 21st November of an alleged refusal to sell haematite pig because British makers were too preoccupied for overseas business, and overseas business was not easy and was liable to be turned down. Signs of increasing prosperity in an industry when, instead of looking for orders, you have the competition of orders and can fulfil which you like, is a very welcome change for the better. I do hope that industry will bear in mind that it is immensely to their advantage, as it is to the advantage of the country, to keep a hold on their overseas connections. There will come a time when the home market will no longer be able to take the whole of the output and they will be desperately hard put to it to find markets for their supplies for overseas, and I hope that no words of mine from this Box will ever induce manufacturers to regard with anything other than special care an order for the export market. The figures I have show that the exports are being maintained, and that in the first year of the cartel we actually exported 100,000 tons more than our permitted quota.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that for the first ten months of this year the exports of iron and steel went down by over 100,000 tons?
§ Dr. BURGIN
The exports of iron and steel for the first 10 months of 1936 are considerably more than they were in 1934, at any rate.
§ Dr. BURGIN
I was following what the hon. Member said. The actual figures appear to be that for 1935 the exports were 2,372,000 tons, and for the first 10 months of this year 2,170,000 tons. There does appear to be a difference of 200,000 tons in amount, and the difference in price is £37,000,000 in 1935 and £35,500,000 in 1936. There appears to be a falling off in those 10 months. I do not know what the cause was, I imagine preoccupation with the home demand.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
It is only fair that the Parliamentary Secretary should give a true picture. The President of the Board of Trade, in speaking to the trade a few days ago, emphasised the falling export. I wish the hon. Gentleman would give the true picture.
§ Dr. BURGIN
I hope the right hon. Gentleman does not suggest that I am attempting to give anything other than a true picture. I have endeavoured to answer some of the points. I close with the statement that the iron and steel industry is now in a very much healthier position than it has ever been at any time within living memory, and I ask the House to pass the Orders to enable the prosperity to continue.
§ Question put,
§ The House divided: Ayes, 156; Noes, 78.383
|Division No. 15.]||AYES.||[11.40 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt..Col. G. J.||Bull, B. B.||Doland, G. F.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Donner, P. W.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Campbell, Sir E. T.||Dorman-Smith, Major R. H.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Cary, R. A.||Duckwortn, W. R. (Moss Side)|
|Apsley, Lord||Castlereagh, Viscount||Dundale, Major T. L.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Duggan, H. J.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Channon, H.||Duncan, J. A. L.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Christie, J. A.||Eckersley, P. T.|
|Beaurnont, M. W. (Aylesbury)||Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Edmondson, Major Sir J.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Colfox, Major W. P.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Ellis, Sir G.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Elliston, G. S.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||Craven-Ellis, W.||Errington, E.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Crooke, J. S.||Erskine Hill, A. G.|
|Brass, Sir W.||Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Everard, W. L.|
|Brocklebank. C. E. R.||Cross, R. H.||Fraser, Capt. Sir I.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Cruddas, Col. B.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Furness, S. N.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H C. (Newbury)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Fyfe, D. P. M.|
|Gledhill, G.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Scott, Lord William|
|Gluckstein, L. H.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Selley, H. R.|
|Goldie, N. B.||McKie, J. H.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Markham, S. F.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U. B'lf'st),|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Drake)||Maxwell, S. A.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Hannah, I. C.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Somerset, T.|
|Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.|
|Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cir'ncst'r)||Spens, W. P.|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Storey, S.|
|Hepworth, J.||Munro, P.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Holmes, J. S.||Neven-Spence, Mal. B. H. H.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Hunter, T.||Penny, Sir G.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Jackson, Sir H.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Jones. L. (Swansea, W.)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Keeling, E. H.||Porritt, R. W.||Turton, R. H.|
|Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Procter, Major H. A.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Radford, E. A.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Kimball, L.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Ward, Irene (Wallsend)|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Rayner, Major R. H.||Wardlaw-Mline, Sir J. S.|
|Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Leckie, J. A.||Refd, W. Allen (Derby)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Remer, J. R.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord.|
|Liddall, W. S.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|Liewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Windsor-Clive. Lieut.-Colonel G..|
|Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'derry)||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Loftus, P. C.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Wright, Squadron Leader J. A. C|
|Lyons, A. M.||Rowlands, G.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Salmon, Sir I.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|M'Connell, Sir J.||Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)||Mr. James Stuart and Dr. Morris-Jones.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Riley, B.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Harris, Sir P. A.||Ritson, J.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Adams, D. M. (Popiar, S.)||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Rothschild, J. A. de|
|Adamson, W. M.||Holdsworth, H.||Rowson, G.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Jagger, J.||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Sexton, T. M.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Silkin, L.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Batey, J.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Bellenger, F.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Benson, G.||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Broad, F. A.||Kirby, B. V.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Burke, W. A.||Leach, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Daggar, G.||Lee, F.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Dalton, H.||Lunn, W.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Dobbie, W.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Watson, W. McL.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||McGhee, H. G.||White, H. Graham|
|Ede, J. C.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Whiteley, W.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Messer, F.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Foot, D. M.||Muff, G.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Gibbins, J.||Noel-Baker, P. J.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Oliver, G. H.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Paling, W.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Potts, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Pritt, D. N.||Mr. John and Mr. Mathers.|
Question put, and agreed to.
That the Additional Import Duties (No. 28) Order, 1936, dated the twelfth day of October, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, made by the Treasury under the Import Duties Act, 1932, a copy of which was presented to this House on the twenty-ninth day of October, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, be approved."—[Dr. Burgin.]