HC Deb 23 February 1961 vol 635 cc803-1052

4.3 p.m.

The Chairman

Mr. Houghton. Amendment No. 2.

Mr. Douglas Houghton (Sowerby)

On a point of order, Sir Gordon. May I ask what has happened to the first Amendment on the Notice Paper, in page 1, line 6, to leave out "freely and voluntarily "?

The Chairman

That Amendment is out of order, because Amendments cannot be moved to the granting or enacting words of Bills for granting aids or supplies to the Crown or to the enacting words of other Bills. These words are part of the framework of the Bill and are not submitted to the Committee.

Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn)

Further to that point of order, Sir Gordon. It was very difficult to hear your explanation, but so far as I understand it you drew a distinction between these introductory words in the Bill and the body of the Bill. But surely they are still before the House, either as part of the enactment or as part of the Loyal Address to Her Majesty. I wish to put to you that it is a serious constitutional point which is involved here because we are being told that if this House conveys a loyal message to Her Majesty the House shall have no opportunity of deciding what form of words that loyal message shall take.

I should have thought that was quite unprecedented, because it means that in the name of this House a message is being conveyed to the Queen which has not had the approval of the hon. Members and, therefore, apparently, somebody unspecified and unknown can draw up a form of Loyal Address and put words into the mouths of hon. Members which they have no means of controlling whatsoever.

I wish to suggest to you that this is to make an absolute mockery of any communication from this House to Her Majesty the Queen and to demean the whole status of the relationship, the very loyal relationship, between this House and Her Majesty.

I wish, further, to ask you in all seriousness upon what constitutional authority a person unspecified can draw up the terms of a Loyal Address and on whose authority the hon. Members of this House in whose name that Address is being made may not discuss and decide upon the exact terms of that Address?

The Chairman

The point raised by the hon. Member is a matter for the House. We are now in Committee and it is outside the scope of Committee proceedings. My Ruling was given by my predecessor on the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill on 2nd August, 1912: The enacting words of a Money Bill are different from other Bills. Any alteration in this form would have to be considered by the House. The Committee on a particular Bill has no authority to revise it, and no question is put to the Committee thereon."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd August. 1912; Vol. XLI. c. 2518.]

Mrs. Castle

Further to that point of order, Sir Gordon. Are we not in a very strange position here? You have drawn attention to the Consolidated Fund Bill. If I may draw your attention to the words—to the "enacting words" as you described them—in the Consolidated Fund Bill, you will see that they differ from those in the Bill before us today. Different phrases and different adverbs, of powerful significance, are contained in the two sets of enacting words.

This means, therefore, that this is not merely a matter of form. It is not as if it has been agreed that a set form of words was always to convey the enacting purposes of this section of the Bill, some form of words that might have been commonly agreed on at some point of time. In fact, they vary from Bill to Bill. You have ruled that these words are a matter for the House. May I ask what is the position when hon. Members challenge those words and wish to substitute a different form of words—

The Chairman

Order. That is a matter for Mr. Speaker. All these issues are quite outside the scope of this Committee.

Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)

Further to that point of order, Sir Gordon. It seems to me the argument we are having is parallel with the argument we had the other night, or in the early hours of the morning. Here again, we are involved in an argument about the precedent of the House and a Ruling given by a predecessor in the Chair.

May I put this to you, with respect? Surely it is incumbent on the House, or upon a Committee acting on behalf of the House as a whole, to decide these matters as it sees fit in the light of present circumstances. We cannot accept the argument that solely because something was ruled—I gather, in this case, in 1912—that for ever it must be sacrosanct, that there is nothing we can do about it, and that we cannot question it.

We had an argument for an hour-and-a-half on this point. We discussed whether we can decide for ourselves whether these are issues which we ought to be allowed to talk about and vote on. To argue against something decided in 1912 is out of date.

The Chairman

This matter is quite outside the scope of this Committee. These words are not submitted to this Committee.

Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)

On a point of order, Sir Gordon. I should be the last to wish to challenge your Ruling in any way, but, having listened to your Ruling, might I observe that it does not seem to me that the precedent of 1912 which you have quoted can possibly have any application to the present case? The difference is that here we are dealing with the Preamble to a Bill passed on a Money Resolution which was not freely debated, but was closured. In 1912, I do not think that there was a Closure.

The Chairman

The point is that these wards are not submitted to this Committee.

Mr. Fletcher

When we have a Money Resolution which is closured, and we have a Bill passed on that, surely it is not possible to say in the Preamble that those things have been "freely and voluntarily" decided?

The Chairman

This Committee cannot discuss the matter.

Mr. W. A. Wilkins (Bristol, South)

My name is attached to this Amendment and I was hoping that I might support it in the Committee today.

I want to submit to you, Sir Gordon, that there is a complete parallel between the wording to which we are objecting and the wording to which we took exception on the Consolidated Fund Bill, about which we argued and eventually a Ruling was given which was favourable to the argument that we had advanced. If we now have to allow these words to pass at this stage—the Committee stage of the Bill—we shall be inhibited from making any alteration whatever to these words although, as we claim, in the minds of 253 hon. Members those words are completely inaccurate. We are only asking that, once again, we can rectify the wording of a Bill so that it is presented to Parliament in a form which accurately represents—

The Chairman

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but this Preamble is not submitted to this Committee.

Mr. Wilkins

I have made some researches on this matter and I find that the words incorporated here in the Preamble are, as we usually term it, in common form. I was about to ask you whether you can explain to us Why it is that suet words may be in common form in some Bills, as in the National Health Service Contributions Bill, and exactly the same in the Act of 1957—

The Chairman

Order. It is not my duty to explain what words are used in Bills

Mr. Houghton

Further to that point of order. You said a few moments ago, Sir Gordon, that this was a matter for the House and not for this Committee. Can you guide us in this matter and tell us, first, Whether the House has assented to these words at any previous stage of the Bill and, if so. at what stage was it? Secondly, if the House has not assented to these words, can you tell us when the House will be given an opportunity of deciding whether it will assent to these words?

The Chairman

rose

Mr. Houghton

May I continue with my point of order?

We on these benches are most anxious not to mislead Her Majesty, especially as she is out of the country and is not in a position to judge for 'herself what has passed in these days, by saying that we assented to words when we have not done so. It would be worse than the trade union block vote if, presumably. some hon. Members of the House can theoretically carry the assent of the whole House when it has not been given. Can there be a verbal Amendment on Third Reading on this matter?

The Chairman

As I pointed out, this is not a matter for the Committee. [HON. MEMBERS "Then who for?"] It is a matter for the House.

Mr. Wilkins

Further to my point of order. May I ask whether it will be possible for us to make a further Amendment on Third Reading?

The Chairman

That is not a matter for me It is a matter for Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Wilkins

Did you give us that advice on the Bill before us last evening?

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

As a sponsor of this Bill, would you be prepared to accept such an Amendment, Sir Gordon?

The Chairman

What "such Amendment"?

Mr. Ross

I notice that among the sponsors to the Bill is the Chairman of Ways and Means. I was thinking that you might have a certain authority in respect of what Amendments would be acceptable.

The Chairman

That is not a point of order.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Hector Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

On a point of order. I respectfully submit that there may be cases in which it would be in order to say that an Amendment like this was out of order. There are two classes of case, if I may respectfully say so, the case where the House has "freely and voluntarily" arrived at a decision, and the other class of case—

The Chairman

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. and learned Member, but this is not a matter for this Committee.

Mr. Hughes

It is a point of order.

The Chairman

It is not a matter for this Committee.

Mr. Hughes

May I put my point of order?

The Chairman

It is not a matter for this Committee.

Mr. Hughes

With respect, Sir Gordon, if you allow me to put it, my submission is that it is for the Committee to consider that there are two—

The Chairman

I have given a Ruling. It is not a matter for the Committee and, therefore, the Committee cannot discuss it

Mr. A. C. Manuel (Central Ayrshire)

The Committee is getting into another difficulty. We want your guidance. Sir Gordon—

The Chairman

I have given my Ruling.

Mr. Manuel

rose

The Chairman

I have given my Ruling.

Mr. Manuel

We want your guidance, because you have said that only the House can deal with this matter. Can you tell us whether we shall have the right, when the House deals with the Bill on Report or on Third Reading, to put down an Amendment which would rectify this slur on hundreds of hon. Members?

The Chairman

What can be done in the House is not a matter for the Chairman of this Committee.

Mr. Mellish

Am I right in thinking that this is a form of words created by precedents? Although, in 1912, they could not be discussed in Committee, in fact they cannot be discussed by the House either on Second Reading, Report or Third Reading. We are in 1961 and we are absolutely tired of rules and regulations of the past, which are out of date. What can we do about it now?

The Chairman

This is part of the rules of the House, by which I am bound.

Mrs. Castle

On a point of order, Sir Gordon. You have quoted to us a precedent to establish the fact that this Amendment cannot be moved in Committee on this Bill. It would be possible for any of us in this Committee, I should think, to bring several hundred precedents to establish the fact that Amendments cannot be moved on Second Reading or Third Reading of a Bill. There is, therefore, a clear conflict of precedents and the one you are trying to give priority to over the others is one which violates the natural justice which ought to apply in the House of Commons, namely, the putting of facilities into the hands of hon. Members to control the wording of legislation which they are asked to pass.

Quite clearly, no precedent can be found which approaches a ludicrous situation of this kind. It must be superseded by other precedents which fulfil the whole purpose for which we are all sent to Parliament, namely, to control the wording of Acts of Parliament or of Loyal Addresses to the Crown passed in the name of this House. I therefore suggest to you that your precedent falls in view of the fact that it robs hon. Members of an opportunity of amending these words at any stage whatsoever in the process of this legislation.

The Chairman

I am grateful to the hon. Member for her statement of her views, even though I do not agree with her. There are no precedents enabling this matter to be considered by a Committee of the House.

Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)

I understand that the Ruling you have given, Sir Gordon, is that it is not in order for the Committee as a Committee to consider this matter, and you have quoted precedents. Hon. Members of the Committee are very anxious about this matter. I can quite understand that, because I believe that the Government are doing something unconstitutional This is not a Ministry of Health Bill. I suppose that one of these days all these Bills will come from the Treasury—National Insurance and everything else.

May I ask whether the Committee's remedy—if it so desires, and as this matter cannot be considered by hon. Members as a Committee, but can be considered by the House, as a House—is a Motion that you do report Progress and ask leave to sit again?

The Chairman

I cannot accept that Motion.

Mr. Griffiths

It is for you to decide whether or not to accept such a Motion, Sir Gordon, but am I right in assuming that the Committee's remedy would be to move that you do report Progress and ask leave to sit again, so that the House may assemble, as a House, to consider the point?

The Chairman

The Bill has been committed to this Committee, and this Committee should consider it. If other proceedings arise later in the House, that is a matter for the House.

Mr. Griffiths

With respect, Sir Gordon, when the Bill has been dealt with by this Committee it will be reported to the House. This is an important matter. The point is whether the House is entitled to change words in the Preamble. You have ruled that that is not a matter for the Committee. Will there be an opportunity, during the further stages of this Measure, when the House, as a House, can consider the words in the Preamble?

The Chairman

That, of course, is beyond my jurisdiction. I cannot give a Ruling on that.

Mr. Houghton

Further to that point of order, Sir Gordon. This Amendment is shown as No. 1 on the Notice Paper, and underneath it a line is drawn. Can you tell the Committee why it appears on the Notice Paper as an Amendment for the Committee stage if the Committee cannot deal with it? Secondly, what is the significance of the line underneath the Amendment? I am merely wondering why we are in this difficulty, and how we can get out of it.

You have declined to accept a Motion to report Progress so that we can get this local difficulty tidied up by the House, and we are not anxious to proceed with the Committee stage until we know whether or not we are committed to a form of words that would be misleading to the Crown. Will you please say why the Amendment is on the Notice Paper, why the line is drawn underneath it, and why the Committee cannot deal with something appearing on the Committee's Notice Paper?

The Chairman

The Amendment in on the Notice Paper because it has been handed in, but because it is printed does not mean that it is in order, or selected.

Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, West)

One point may have escaped your notice, Sir Gordon. As I understood your Ruling, you said that the precedent is not to amend the Preamble, but I think that I am correct in saying that some years ago such an Amendment was moved to the Navy Bill. Perhaps you will give a Ruling on that.

I would put a further point of order to you. It is clear that there are words here of which more than 200 hon. Members disapprove. There may have been further objectionable—

The Chairman

That has no relevance, as this question is not within the scope of the Committee.

Mr. Hamilton

I wish that we could finish our points before you give a Ruling, Sir Gordon.

My point is that there might have been even more objectionable words in the Preamble when, presumably, we would have had no redress at all. This seems to me adding insult to injury, and I would hope that Mr. Speaker will have his attention called to this because, when illogicality is defended on the grounds of precedents, the precedents should be broken.

The Chairman

I have given my Ruling, and we cannot go on discussing this matter.

Mr. Fletcher

Sir Gordon, may I put a rather different point of view—

The Chairman

No, we cannot discuss this further.

Hon. Members

Why not?

The Chairman

Because I have given my Ruling.

Mr. Fletcher

With great respect, Sir Gordon, may I put a different point of order?

The Chairman

No other point of order can arise on this. I have given my Ruling.

Mr. Fletcher

May I, with great respect, put a different point of order? The Committee's discussion during the last few minutes has proceeded on the basis that what we are considering is the Preamble to the Bill. My point of order is that it is not a Preamble at all, but an enacting formula—

The Chairman

I am sure that the hon. Member is quite right. There is no dispute about that. It is called the Preamble rather mistakenly, but the term is really "the enacting words". But that does not affect my decision.

Mr. Fletcher

With respect, Sir Gordon, I submit that a good deal of the discussion has taken place on points of order put by my hon. Friends on the basis that the Preamble could not be amended. What I am submitting—and I understood you to agree—is that in so far as my hon. Friends were putting points of order on the assumption that this is an Amendment to the Preamble they were in error because, technically, it is not a Preamble but an enacting formula. With respect, may I quote the two relevant passages in Erkine May—

The Chairman

I can assure the hon. Member that there is no dispute about this at all. Actually, this is not a Preamble. The proper term is "the enacting words." There is no dispute about it.

Mr. Fletcher

I am suggesting that, hitherto, you have been considering points of order put on the assumption that it is a Preamble. I want to put a point of order on what I submit is the true basis; that is, that it is not a Preamble, but an enacting formula. Perhaps I may be allowed to quote from page 518 of the current edition of Erskine May, and, after reading, I shall submit that there is no precedent on this matter that obliges you to rule as you have done.

On page 518 of Erskine May we find: The enacting formula is a short paragraph which precedes the clauses of the bill. This formula, which was developed in the fifteenth century, now runs as follows: 'Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows.' The author then gives a different form of words according to whether the Bill in question is a Consolidated Fund Bill, a Finance Bill, or some other Bill.

In the case of this type of Bill, the phraseology, which was adopted as long ago as the fifteenth century, is: …towards raising the necessary supplies to defray Your Majesty's public expenses, and making an addition to the public revenue, have freely and voluntarily resolved to give and grant unto Your Majesty the several duties hereinafter mentioned… I submit that this formula adopted in the fifteenth century has been modified from time to time. For example, it was varied in the case of Money Bills because of the Parliament Act, and it must be within the competence of the Committee to consider—

The Chairman

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but it is not within the competence of the Committee to consider. I have given my Ruling on the point, and we cannot go on debating it.

Mr. John C. Bidgood (Bury and Radcliffe)

As you have given you Ruling, Sir Gordon, is it in order for hon. Members opposite to go on trying to debate it?

The Chairman

We cannot go on debating it.

Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)

I do not seek to argue the issue, Sir Gordon, I merely seek to get your Ruling exactly precisely. Do you rule that there are no precedents whatever of a successful attempt in the Committee stage to amend the enacting words in a Bill?

The Chairman

What I am ruling is that amendments cannot be moved to the granting or enacting words of bills for granting aid or supplies to the Crown or to the enacting words of other bills. These words are part of the framework of the Bill and are not submitted to the Committee.

Several Hon. Members

rose

Mr. J. Griffiths

In view of all these difficulties, Sir Gordon, I beg to move, That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again. If I may say a word about this—

The Chairman

No, I am sorry, I cannot accept that Motion.

Hon. Members

Why?

The Chairman

If the Bill has been committed to the Committee by the House, it must be dealt with in Committee. It is the purpose of this Committee to consider this Bill.

Mr. Griffiths

I am sorry that you do not accept my Motion, Sir Gordon, but if hon. Members want to consider a matter, and cannot do so as a Committee but only as a House, surely it is right and proper that they should have an opportunity, as a House—

The Chairman

I am sorry, but my Ruling is that these enacting words are outside the scope of this Committee, and we cannot, therefore, discuss the Amendment.

4.30 p.m.

Mr. Griffiths

On a point of order. It is because I accept your Ruling, Sir Gordon, that it is outside the scope of the Committee to discuss this matter, but, for the same reason, within the scope of the House, meeting as the House of Commons, that I was asking you whether you will accept my Motion to report Progress.

The Chairman

I cannot accept that Motion. We have to proceed with the Bill.

Several Hon. Members

rose

The Chairman

Order. I am sorry, but I am not going to accept any more points of order on this subject. I have given my decision, and I must stick to it.

Several Hon. Members

rose

Mr. Fletcher

Further to that point of order—

The Chairman

No; we cannot go on discussing this matter.

Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

With great respect, Sir Gordon, the Committee finds itself in a difficulty.

The Chairman

No, we cannot go on discussing this matter. Mr. Houghton.

Mr. Houghton

rose

Mr. Ellis Smith

rose

The Chairman

I have called Mr. Houghton.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Give us a chance. With great respect to the Chair, I want to make it clear that I accept your Ruling, Sir Gordon.

Hon. Members

Sit down.

The Chairman

I am sorry, but we cannot go on debating my Ruling. I am sorry, but I cannot allow him to continue to debate it.

Mr. Ellis Smith

On a point of order. I was trying to avoid this, Sir Gordon. The Committee finds itself in a difficulty. due to the Ruling of the Chair.

The Chairman

I am sorry, but we cannot go on discussing that matter. We must go on with the Bill.

Mr. Ellis Smith

My point of order is to ask—

Mr. Fletcher

May I ask your guidance, Sir Gordon?

The Chairman

Order. I have called Mr. Houghton. If the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) does not move his Amendment, we must proceed to the next one.

Mr. Houghton

rose—-

Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas (Leicester, North-East)

On a point of order. I am not rising on any matter which has led to the decision which you have given, Sir Gordon. As I understand it, my hon. Friend was not doing so to dispute that decision in any way, but said that he rose to raise a point of order arising out of the decision, which he expressly stated he accepted. In that event—

The Chairman

No. I have already pointed out that we cannot go on discussing my decision.

Several Hon. Members

rose

The Chairman

Order. Mr. Houghton.

Mr. Manuel

How can you rule, Sir Gordon, that my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) is out of order, or that his point of order is wrong, when he has said nothing yet?

The Chairman

I said that we cannot go on discussing my decision.

Mr. Fletcher

May I ask your guidance—

The Chairman

We cannot go on discussing my decision.

Mr. Fletcher

May I ask your guidance—

The Chairman

Not at this stage.

Mr. Ellis Smith

I do not want to discuss your Ruling, Sir Gordon. I am trying to help the Chair.

The Chairman

I am sorry, but we cannot go on discussing my decision.

Mr. Mellish

To test the feeling of the Committee, I beg to move, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair".

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

The Chairman

I cannot accept that Motion.

Mr. Ellis Smith

rose

The Chairman

Mr. Houghton.

Mr. Houghton

I am no more anxious than my hon. and right hon. Friends to continue the Committee stage of the Bill, but if you now call upon me to move the second Amendment and you tell me that, in default, the Amendment will fall, I am bound to rise, as, otherwise, we shall not have put before the Committee at least one important Amendment which we wish to be considered. I hope that my hon. and right hon. Friends will now bear with me.

I beg to move, in page 1, line 18, at the end to insert: but shall cease to have effect on the first day of July, nineteen hundred and sixty-two, unless they are renewed by an affirmative resolution passed by both Houses of Parliament".

Mr. Ellis Smith

On a point of order. May I make it quite clear that I am not challenging or discussing the Chairman's Ruling? I have great respect for the Chair and, therefore, I am bound to be most respectful, but the Chair will agree that the Committee is in a difficulty.

The Chairman

We cannot go on discussing my Ruling. I am asking hon. Members to accept that.

Mr. Fletcher

rose

The Chairman

I must ask the hon. Member to resume his seat. Mr. Houghton.

Mr. Houghton

I have been bound to move the Amendment on the Notice Paper.

Mr. John Morris (Aberavon)

On a point of order. As I understand your Ruling, Sir Gordon, no further points of order can be raised on your Ruling. May I ask how long that will stand?

The Chairman

My Ruling was that we cannot go on discussing the Ruling I have given. I cannot accept any further points of order.

Several Hon. Members

rose

The Chairman

There is no further point of order.

Mr. Houghton

Since you called upon me, Sir Gordon, to move the Amendment and said that if I failed to do so the Amendment would fall, I was bound to move it or allow it to go by default. I suggest to my right hon. and hon. Friends that we have a long way to go on the Committee stage of this Bill. We shall have many opportunities of expressing our dissent from the contents of the Bill, and, therefore, I would respectfully suggest to them that we do not want our fire to continue to be aimed at you, Sir Gordon, when we really want to aim it at the benches opposite [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad that hon. Members opposite are anticipating what is coming to them with such relish and enthusiasm.

I hope, Sir Herbert to make some preliminary remarks about this Amendment so that the Committee might get it in its proper perspective. As hon. Members are aware, during the Committee stage of Bills before the House, we cannot discuss Amendments in order of importance or in order of precedence. We have to discuss them in the order in which they amend the Bill, and that explains why we come to this Amendment first, when we would have preferred to be discussing others first.

This Amendment, while it would wound the Bill, would not kill it, and what we want to do is to kill it. We may get an opportunity, in a later Amendment, of inflicting such grievous bodily harm upon the Bill as to cripple its further stages through the House. At the moment, I must confine myself to an Amendment which has a simple and very moderate, indeed unduly moderate, purpose. The Amendment provides that the Bill shall cease to have effect on the 1st July, 1962, unless its provisions are renewed by affirmative Resolutions passed by both Houses of Parliament. That would limit the duration of the Bill to one year, except for renewal by affirmative Resolutions of both Houses.

We expect that this Parliament will still be in existence fifteen months from now, and this Amendment would do no more, perhaps, than give the House an opportunity of reviewing the harm which has been done by the Bill to the National Health Service and to the general structure of our welfare services. Nevertheless, that pause to reconsider the matter would be welcome to us on these benches and might lead the House of Commons at that time to reconsider what we are asked to enact today. The House of Commons could then decide that it would not continue with these contributions but would find alternative means of providing the finance necessary for the National Health Service.

On earlier stages of the Bill we have had a good deal of opportunity of inviting the House to reject the Bill. We had a Ways and Means Resolution. We opposed that in somewhat turbulent circumstances, which you may recall, Sir Herbert. Then there was the Second Reading of the Bill. We opposed that. Then there was the Committee stage of the Money Resolution. We opposed that. Early this afternoon there was the Report stage of the Money Resolution. We opposed that. We are carrying our opposition to the bitter end. If we cannot kill the Bill in Committee, we must try to mitigate the hardship which it will cause on particular groups of contributors. That is what we shall do later in the Committee proceedings.

The pause which the Amendment asks should be given to the House of Commons to reconsider the matter on 1st July, 1962, is based on our belief that the Measure has been unsought by the electorate and that the promise of the Measure was not amongst the many promises given by the Conservative Party at the General Election. Indeed, during the General Election the promise was held out that combined contributions under the National Insurance and National Health Service Acts would be reduced. The promise was held out that the combined contribution for a male contributor would be reduced by 1 s. 7d. and for a woman contributor by 10d.

Now we find that the combined contribution will rise in July next by 10d. for men and by 8d. for women. There will also be an increase in the employers' contribution. This is so contrary to the expectations which the Conservative Party held out during the General Election that we are entitled to ask the Committee to embody this provision in the Bill so that public opinion can be brought to bear upon Parliament and upon the benches opposite in the next twelve months. Then the House of Commons can reconsider the matter in the light of current public opinion at the time.

This is not a wrecking Amendment. I wish that it was. At this stage, it is the most that we can do, and I sincerely hope that the Amendment will have support on both sides of the Committee. After all, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite should not be reluctant to accept an Amendment which merely halts the progress of the new contributions pending reaffirmation by Resolution of both Houses of Parliament. They should not shrink from having public opinion express itself in the next twelve months. They should not shirk the responsibility of deciding anew, in twelve months' time, whether to renew the contributions under the Bill. I sincerely hope that after ample debate my right hon. and hon. Friends will divide the Committee on the Amendment, unless it is accepted by the Minister.

4.45 p.m.

Dr. Horace King (Southampton, Itchen)

I hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken note of the beginning of our battle in Committee as some measure of the depth of our hostility to everything which is enshrined in the pernicious little Bill that we are discussing. As my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) pointed out, the purpose of the Amendment, like that of every Amendment that we shall seek to move during what I believe will be a long debate, is to minimise the harm that the Bill can do.

Therefore, on the first Amendment, we are trying to tie it down to a very short time. When the Labour Party tampered with the principles of the National Health Service in 1949 and 1950, it said that both the methods it proposed were for temporary reasons. My late right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale, Mr. Aneurin Bevan, spoke in the House of the temporary easement. When my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition made an enactment, it was an enactment for a set period of time. We hope that the Government will at any rate accept this Amendment, which would restrict the effects of the Measure to a short time.

The only grounds on which the Government can resist the Amendment are these. The first ground is that they believe on principle that the poll tax element in our national system of taxation is not enough and should be increased. If that is their view, we on this side of the Committee reject it wholeheartedly. Our belief is that the principle of the poll tax, and an expanding poll tax, is a bad principle and, therefore, should not be applied any further than it has been up to the introduction of the Bill.

Secondly, the Government may argue that, while some of them agree with us that poll taxes are regressive, the financial state of the country is so parlous at present that to get the money which the reactionary Minister of Health wants for his hospitals we must, as a temporary measure to meet the changed financial situation of the country, impose a new poll tax element.

We on this side of the Committee do not accept that argument, either. We refuse to accept that Britain is in such a desperate plight that Lord Montgomery and the private soldier who fought with him in North Africa in the last war, both of them so magnificently, should both be subject to the same levy of 10d. new tax because of the country's parlous financial state.

Mr. Ross

My hon. Friend will appreciate that the field marshal will not pay anything at all.

Dr. King

I do not want to pursue that point. Perhaps my hon. Friend will pursue it when he rises. It is possible that the field marshal will be able to offset some portion of this 10d. at an[...] rate against—

Mr. Houghton

The field marshal is over 70.

The Temporary Chairman (Sir Herbert Butcher)

Perhaps the hon. Member will address his observations to the Chair.

Dr. King

Yes, Sir Herbert. I mistook the point my hon. Friend was on. I should have picked another but younger distinguished high-ranking officer who fought in the war, who will pay exactly the same proportion of the new levy as the humblest private soldier.

We suggest to the Government that even if the financial state of the country demands an increase in the regressive element of our taxation the situation may improve in the months ahead and a time limit on what we regard as a regressive step would be useful.

I have used the word "regressive". It is a commonplace that the most progressive element in the Conservative Party uses exactly the same name as we do for the poll tax element in the national situation. Perhaps, by the time which we suggest in the Amendment, there will be a different Minister of Health. I regard that as a change devoutly to be desired. It may be that the better elements in the Conservative Party which seem to have lost the fight in the last twelve months, by the return of one of the retiring Ministers to the Ministry of Health and the imposing—

The Temporary Chairman (Sir Herbert Butcher)

It is a little difficult to relate the hon. Member's present argument to the Amendment which was called

Dr. King

I am not making myself clear, Sir Herbert. By the Amendment, we ask the Government to limit the effect of the Bill in time, and I suggested that, by the date we propose, there may have been changes within the Conservative Party. I suggested that there might be a new Minister. I suggested that the less reactionary elements in the Conservative Party might then be in control and, perhaps, willing to change their attitude towards this Measure.

It is certainly true that the House of Commons would then have an opportunity of examining once more the incidence of this new burden, and the experience of it during the intervening twelve months may have convinced even members of Her Majesty's Government that it is a very real new burden which they are seeking to impose on the poorest people. It is possible that, even if the present financial circumstances of the country warrant the imposition of the tax now, things may have changed by then.

We suggest, therefore—I am sorry if I did not make my argument clear enough for the Chair—that the tax which the Government seek to impose in the Clause should be imposed for a limited period and that, at the end of the period, the House should have an opportunity of again deciding whether it wants to go backwards in taxation or forward away from regressive impositions.

Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)

I hope that the Committee will reject the Amendment. Whatever be the merits of the proposal in the Clause, I should have thought that it would be generally accepted that it was most undesirable to legislate in the way suggested in the Amendment. I imagine that hon. Members opposite as well as hon. Members on this side of the Committee would think that major changes of this kind should always be carried out in the proper form and process of legislation with the much more generous opportunities for deliberation which are possible when a Bill is before the House. I am sure that at least some hon. Members opposite will, on reflection, regard what is proposed in the Amendment as not a good thing and not a good basis for precedent.

It has been suggested from the benches opposite that when the Labour Government introduced certain changes they were of a temporary nature or, at any rate, were described as such. Even so, I respectfully submit that, whatever the merits of this legislation, the incorporation of any such provision as is contained in the Amendment would be a very bad precedent indeed and would lead to a very ill-digested proposal and an insufficient reassessment of whatever it is that hon. Members opposite want.

Mr. Arthur Holt (Bolton, West)

The hon. Member will be aware that in another Bill which has just gone into Committee upstairs, the National Health Service Bill, the Government have, in Clause 2, made considerable arrangements for altering the charges by regulation, a procedure to which he objects in this context.

Hon. Members

Answer.

Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on-Trent, North)

There have been many occasions in the past, and there are many suggestions at present coming from the Government, which deny the claim which the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) has just made. One of the reasons advanced by the Government for these increased contributions and for the new prescription charges was that the Chancellor would then be able to give to the Minister a pool of money which could be used for hospital extensions. Every regional hospital board is at the moment drawing up plans for extensions, alterations and improvements.

What is to stop the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose Bill this really is, from deciding during the next twelve or eighteen months that there has to be a drastic cut in all sorts of health expenditure and that, therefore, the proposals which have been drawn up by regional hospital boards for extensions and improvements have to he seriously curtailed? There is no provision in the Bill as at present drafted to ensure that the contributions of ordinary men and women would likewise he cut because the money was no longer needed.

It may be suggested that that is a foolish argument to advance, but I ask the Committee to recall the Questions to the Minister of Education today. Also, there are provisions in the White Paper of the Minister of Housing and Local Government for him to revise the subsidies every year, and he may cut them. There are proposals already coming from the Government which lead us to believe that it would be quite possible for the reasons at present advanced for these increases in contributions to have no foundation whatever fairly soon because the present Government would be quite prepared drastically to cut proposals for hospital extensions and improvements.

Mr. John McCann (Rochdale)

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind also that this afternoon the Minister of Education laid it down specifically that, because the building trade was working to full capacity, there was no point in allowing money for work which could not be done? Is there not, therefore, a distinct possibility that the present hospital programme will not be carried out?

Mrs. Slater

The Minister of Education advanced that argument as a reason for his reduction in the school building programme, but we all know that that is not a well founded argument in view of the fact that plenty of money is being found for many-storeyed office buildings and expensive houses in London and elsewhere.

We cannot trust the Government to keep the promises they have made or to fulfil the arguments they have advanced for the increases in contributions. I hope, therefore, that my right hon. and hon. Friends will have no hesitation in voting for our Amendment and showing our distrust and fear of the Government.

Mr. M. Foot

The hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) argued that it would be improper to accept the Amendment and have an alteration such as we suggest made in the Bill because it was a Bill incorporating major changes. Of course, some of;his right hon and hon. Friends have tried to minimise the importance of the Bill. They have said that it is a small Measure, one which should be hastily debated in the House, a Measure not of major principle but one which merely carries on the previous arrangements and ratios of payments from the Insurance Fund and the amount paid by workers to the Insurance Fund. They have tried to pass it off as a small Bill. It was not fortunate for the hon. Gentleman that, in his one effort to support the Government in their Bill, he should have advanced a reason which happened to contradict most of what has been said from his own Front Bench on the mutter.

I do not regard the Bill as a small Bill and I do not regard the Amendment as a modest Amendment. My hon Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr Houghton) said, quite rightly, that the Amendment expresses only a small part of what we want to say in the course of these proceedings, but I must say, nevertheless, that the Amendment expresses something which I wish to say about the Rill and that it underlines one of the worst defects and one of the most reprehensible aspects of both the Bill and the way in which the Government have introduced it.

Quite apart from anything else, I object to the Bill because it is simply taxation. I say "simply", but, whether its form is simple or complicated, at any rate it is unjust taxation. I am old-fashioned enough to think that all taxation ought to be introduced at the time of the Budget. I say that because, even if it is not incorporated in the Finance Bill itself, Members of Parliament at that time have an opportunity to compare one form of revenue raising with another and one form of expenditure with another.

5.0 p.m.

The Temporary Chairman

I find it difficult to relate the hon. Gentleman's remarks to the Amendment.

Mr. Foot

With great respect, Sir Herbert, if this Amendment is passed it means the operation of the Bill will cease to have effect after July, 1962. It means that when we are discussing the Budget of 1962 we shall be able to consider whether to pass the affirmative Resolution for which this Clause asks. One of the purposes of this Amendment is to ensure that the raising of £50 million of taxation every year will be discussed every year. I should have thought that was strictly relevant to the Clause we are discussing. I am sure that on consideration you will agree with that, Sir Herbert.

The Temporary Chairman

The hon. Member is much more in order than when I spoke earlier.

Mr. Foot

I was leading up to the point. I submit that I would not have been able to make the subsequent point if I had not made the previous point. It is a very important principle. We know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would very much like to have a Bill which provides £50 million before he presents his Budget. We are trying to put an obstacle in his way. It means that when he introduces his Budget this year he will have £50 million more to play with. He will have that facility this year if the Bill goes through, and no doubt he would welcome the £50 million in 1962 and every other year. To have such a sum raised through Insurance contributions helps his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

What we insist upon is that the raising of the £50 million in 1962 should be considered by this House in relation to the other measures the Chancellor of the Exchequer is taking. I do not see why the Chancellor should not agree to this. What has he to hide? If he is still there in 1962, and if he is to introduce a Budget which is worthy of acceptance by this House and the country, why should he not have it all out in the open?

Of course, we do not yet know that the Government will reject the Amendment. If they are prepared to accept the Amendment—and I do not see any reason why they should not—they would have saved the time of the House if the discussions on this Clause had started by their getting up and saying that they are glad to accept it. It is only by inference that I take it that the Government will not follow that course. It is partly by inference that I have jumped to that conclusion, and partly because I know the stony heart of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his colleagues on the Treasury Bench.

If the Chancellor of the Exchequer was confident that this form of taxation could be easily justified to the public, and could be justified every year—as taxation should be justified to the public every year—he could perfectly well accept the Amendment. He gets his money every year. It would not injure him at all this year; he would get exactly the same amount of money. All the Chancellor would have to do would be to come along next year and defend this proposition. He would not even have to defend it as part of a Bill going through the House. I know that Bills do take a little time to go through the House and he might feel some objection on that score. He would have only to come to the House with an affirmative Resolution in a year's time and say, "My measures have worked so well that we should go ahead for another year."

Does the hon. Member for Newbury (Sir A. Hurd) wish to say something?

Sir Anthony Hurd (Newbury)

I was only thinking to myself.

Mr. Foot

The hon. Gentleman is thinking aloud. The question is whether he ever thinks silently. If he wishes to think aloud, I hope that he will rise and put in his objection.

The Minister could agree to our proposition. I know that he will not because of what has been happening over the last five or six years and what we are hoping to put a stop to by this Clause. Over the past five or six years the Government have been increasingly raising the proportion of taxation raised by this means. In fact, it is worse than that. The Chancellor knows perfectly well that at a time when other forms of taxation have been declining—not in the total amount brought into the Exchequer, but the amount the individual pays.

The Temporary Chairman

The hon. Member is falling into error.

Mr. Foot

I was doing my best not to. I would have thought that it would have been perfectly proper for us on this side to argue that because we wish to keep a check on the way in which different forms of taxation are raised, and that can only be done if we have a debate on it every year. This applies particularly to a form of taxation which is a poll tax and therefore—

Mr. Gower

If there is virtue in this proposal, the hon. Member will recall the 1948 legislation imposed a flat rate and why was not this put into the original legislation?

Mr. Foot

I am sure there are many other arguments to be raised about it. I am fed up—and I am sure the Committee is fed up—with the proposition that because something was or was not done in 1947 or 1948, therefore it is sacred for all time.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis (Rutland and Stamford)

Shall we forget about the past? Will the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) say, should the tragedy occur of his party being returned to power, whether he would dispense with the contributions at the first Budget? He is already on record as having said that he would not press that they should be dispensed with at the first Budget.

Mr. Foot

I am very glad that the hon. Gentleman listened so carefully to the speech I made on an earlier occasion, and I hope he will listen equally carefully on this occasion. What I said when debating this Bill on Second Reading—and it is relevant on this Clause, too—is that I hoped the Labour Party would make a declaration that it was its aim to remove the Insurance contributions from the money provided to maintain the Health Service. I added that I thought it was a perfectly reasonable proposition that the whole of the amount should not be removed in one Budget but that we could wipe out part of it in the first Budget and another part in the second. If such a Clause as the one we suggest is included in the Bill it will make it easier to do that because the Amendment says that it shall be debated every year.

This form of taxation is so pernicious, so regressive and so unfair that it makes all the more powerful the argument that the House of Commons should debate it every year. There are various Measures which have to be discussed every year because the House of Commons does not trust future administrations. There is a whole series of matters which the House of Commons, in its wisdom and over the ages. has found it very convenient to discuss every year, such as the Army Act. I do not wish to bring up sore subjects to hon. Members, but there are such things as the Consolidated Fund Bill which have to be discussed every year. There are certain provisions which, over the centuries, the House has laid down should be discussed annually because it wants the verdict of the House every year. If that should apply to anything it should apply to this poll tax. As I was venturing to say earlier, it applies all the more in a situation where over the past five or six years this form of taxation has steadily increased, while other forms of taxation have been steadily reduced. The hon. Gentleman tried to deny it but it is the fact.

The Financial Secretary shakes his head. It is no use his shaking his head because he knows better than anybody else that over the past ten years the amount which would have been raised from Income Tax and Surtax, if rates had been kept the same as in 1951, would be £1,200 million more than is being paid. It would have paid for the Health Service almost twice over. While some members of the community, whose taxation systems arc discussed every year in the Budget, have had their rates of taxation reduced, the persons on whom this form of taxation is imposed have had it steadily increased but have not had the chance of the issue being debated in the House as other items in the Budget are debated.

Therefore, I do not see any reason why the Treasury should not, on reflection, agree to the Amendment. I know that it will be inconvenient for the Treasury, but what is inconvenient for the Treasury is often very good for freedom in this country. Indeed, it is almost a good rule that, if it is inconvenient for the Treasury, it is healthy for the nation.

I therefore hope that, instead of being stubborn about the matter, the right hon. Gentleman will say that he accepts the Amendment. I cannot give any guarantees on behalf of my right hon. Friends —I would not attempt to do so—but if he accepted the Amendment it would at least put the Bill in a slightly different context. It would not appear as much as part of a deliberate and vicious attempt to undermine the National Health Service generally. It would not fit into that strategy in the same way if we were given the guarantee that a year hence we would be able to debate the matter again, at any rate on an affirmative Resolution.

If the Minister wants to get his business through the House, and if he thinks that he can justify this proposal this year —I do not think he can why should not he agree that he should attempt to justify it next year as well and explain to the people why is proposes to obtain another £50 million from them, because at that time he may have a surplus on his Budget? In one sense, this Clause goes to the root of the evil of the form of legislation which we are discussing. It is quite wrong that supplementary Budgets should be introduced before the main Budget and that the people should not be able to compare one form of revenue or one form of expenditure with another. The Amendment provides a small remedy for a very serious evil which the right hon. Gentleman is responsible for introducing.

Mr. Laurence Pavitt (Willesden. West)

I wish to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) in urging the Committee to acoept these two safeguards in what is a thoroughly obnoxious Bill. As my hon. Friend said, it would at least ensure that the Treasury would have to come before the Bar of the House to justify its expen- diture every year in the same way as it does with other taxation.

This poll tax has aroused a considerable amount of fury in the country. I represent an industrial constituency. Since the Chancellor of the Exchequer embarked on these financial measures and the Minister of Health produced his proposals, I have had a greater barrage of protests from the industrial workers in my constituency than at any other time since I have been a Member of the Committee.

We are trying to save the Government from the consequences of their own folly. There is no doubt that inevitably this 10d. a week, or £2 3s. 4d. a year, will be part of the counter in the game the Government will play with men and management in discussions on wages and conditions in the immediate future. If men have this swingeing poll tax inflicted on them, they will automatically use their right to attempt to ameliorate its worst effects.

The Temporary Chairman

The hon. Gentleman should relate his argument a little more closely to the Amendment.

5.15 p.m.

Mr. Pavitt

I am sorry, Sir Herbert, if I have strayed from the idea of this built-in safeguard. As the first impact of these proposals will be felt in industry and by industrial workers in constituencies like mine, it is right that we should safeguard their interests and inquire into what will be done in the years to follow. The purpose of the Amendment is to ensure that people will be made aware of things which will have an effect on their everyday lives.

I view the Amendment against the background of the economic conditions of the past few years. The Government and the previous Government have made it plain—it is no secret to anybody—that they have no intention of planning and that they rely for their economic and financial policies on a kind of boom or bust situation. At one moment in 1957 we had a Bank Rate of 7 per cent. The next moment there was a free-for-all on hire purchase. We have no feeling of continuity about the financial policies of the Government. We are never certain when the brake will be applied or when the accelerator will be applied.

At the moment, it is apparent that there is financial stringency. The Government are in local difficulties. They need money, and believe that the Health Service should provide it But we do not know whether the position will be precisely the some in twelve months' time. In view of the Government's stop and start policy and general attitude to the way in which they should arrange their financial affairs, the least we can do is provide some safeguard so that in fifteen months' time they should come back here and ask for our assent that this policy should be continued.

The total sum to be raised under the Bill is £50 million. The Minister of Health claims that he must have this money so that the Health Service may progress and because he has a 10-year plan for building more hospitals. His plan provides that there should be an additional expenditure of £5 million a year. If my arithmetic is correct, that means that the £50 million to be raised under the Bill will pay for all the proposals in the Minister's 10-year plan. If that is so, before giving him another £50 million next year we would want to know what has happened to his plan because he proposes to take enough money for his 10-year plan in one fell swoop, apart from any other measures which come before the House. On this ground alone it seems obvious that the least the right hon. Gentleman can do is to put his proposals before the House again next year.

It is our duty to protect the ordinary person who, when he gets his pay slip at the end of the week, finds all sorts of deductions for pay-as-you-earn Income Tax. My hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) understands these things very well. I find it very difficult to understand them. I am sure that when my constituents get their pay slip at the end of the week they find it very difficult to understand why /Os. has been deducted for this and 2s. 81-d. has been deducted for something else. It is only we in the Committee who can protect their interests. If we do not do it now, for the next fifty years there will be this same impost, this same poll tax, year after year. The only protection they have is their elected representative, and the only way in which we can protect their interests is to appeal to the Committee to accept the Amendment

Mr. Richard Marsh (Greenwich)

Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton), I believe that this is a very important and good Amendment. It has some deep implications. I am distressed that when we consider an Amendment as important as this in a Bill as important as this—whether hon. Members agree or disagree with the Bill, I think that we all agree that it is an extremely contentious and important Bill—it is a great pity for the Committee and for democracy that only three back bench Members of the Conservative Party should take the trouble of turning up to listen to the debate. I appreciate that right hon. and hon. Members opposite may find considerable disagreement and controversy in the Amendment, but surely it is essential that, if disagreement exists, it should be ventilated in this Chamber.

One of the reasons why I support the Amendment is 'that it is essential for the ordinary people to have a sufficient period to assess exactly what is happening in relation to the Bill and to all other things. This is a Chamber of professional and semi-professional politicians with more time than other people to discuss and to try to understand the implications of legislation of this type. Since I began sneaking, there appear to be twice as many Conservative backbenchers pouring in to take part in the discussion.

It is difficult for the ordinary constituent to be able to assess in a matter of days the tremendous implications of complicated legislation like this. They had no prior warning of it. I came across very little intimation at the last General Election that hon. Members opposite had this gift to humanity in mind. They may well have done so, but certainly they did not tell my constituents or, I think, anybody else's about it.

The first that we and people outside heard about all this was a couple of weeks ago, when the Minister came to the Dispatch Box and told us that the Government intended to introduce these increased contributions and the charges to raise the sum of £65 million. The moment that the right hon. Gentleman came to the Dispatch Box with those suggestions, there was immediate disagreement among even his own 'hon. and right hon. Friends about why he was doing it. Some of them were not really sure. They all had different paints of view of why he was doing it.

I know why the Minister was doing it. Most of us on this side are agreed why right hon. and hon. Members opposite have introduced these Measures. They have produced a variety of reasons Why they were necessary. We were told, on the one hand, that this was a temporary expedient and that the nation was in economic difficulty. This we can understand. Indeed, many of us on this side have been trying to say that as long as things go on in this catch-as-catch-can form of economy, there will always be economic difficulty, as, more often than not, happens from time to time with the Government. Therefore, there was a necessity to raise this money.

If the nation was faced with those economic difficulties, hon. Members on both sides would be prepared to support the obvious need to raise further sums. We are fully aware that the social services, whether the National Health Service, education or anything else, cannot be financed except by money produced by the taxpayer. When speaking of these Measures, hon. and right hon. Members opposite over and over again have referred to the action of the party on this side in introducing, so they suggested, a similar Measure—although the similarities are few and far between—in 1951 as a result of the economic difficulties with which we were then faced as a result of the Korean crisis.

Hon. Members opposite have said that economic difficulties are the reason and justification for the present Bill. That is probably a rather thin argument. Certainly, one would agree that the country is faced with economic difficulties. [An HON. MEMBER: "They have never had it so good."] My hon. Friend is entitled to say that. As a result of Government policy, quite a lot of hon. Members opposite have never had it so good. Many of their friends have never had it better. As a result of the Government's policies, or lack of them, the country is faced with fairly considerable economic difficulties.

If that were the reason for introducing this series of Measures, unless the Government are even more depressed by their abilities than we on this side are, they would not need to legislate for all time to meet this economic difficulty. It would be one of the Prime Minister's little local difficulties that seem to bash around the world with such devastating results.

If these Measures were introduced as a result of the economic difficulties with which the country, as a result of Government action, is faced, there is no reason whatever why we should not look at the economic position in a year's time, expressing the hope, albeit optimistic, that after another dozen economic debates and speeches from this side, right hon. and hon. Members opposite will have learned something of the way to run the country and we might not be in such serious economic difficulties as we are at present.

Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)

Would my hon. Friend not agree that the reverse also applies? Assuming that the Government's pessimism was well-founded, the Clause would enable them to come back again in twelve months' time to ask for more.

Mr. Marsh

My hon. Friend's reference to the phrase "to ask for more" is significant. It is the subconscious Pavlovian reaction and poor law attitude of hon. Members opposite. Indeed, I said once before that hon. and right hon. Members on the Government Front Bench are probably the direct successors and descendants of the original gentlemen who refused to give anybody relief.

Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)

Surely, the phrase "coming to ask for more" originated with Oliver Twist in the workhouse?

Mr. Marsh

That is what I was saying. We are all agreed that this twist has a great deal to do with the debate and is probably one of the significant things about it.

If these Measures are introduced and the contributions are increased merely as a result of the economic difficulties facing the country, it is sensible that we should view the situation in twelve months' time to see whether, first, we are still in the same economic difficulties or, secondly, whether they are worse. Many of us on this side feel that the latter eventually is a distinct possibility.

Some hon. Members opposite have an entirely different attitude. They say that our troubles are not simply the result of little local difficulties or the result of economic problems of a transient nature. They disagree with the method of financing the National Health Service.

Mr. McCann

Would my hon. Friend not agree that the Minister who introduced these Measures was himself one of the Prime Minister's little local difficulties?

Mr. Marsh

That is a sound point, but it is regrettable that he should now be one of the nation's big difficulties. That he has been promoted is unfortunate.

Some hon. Members opposite suggest an entirely different reason for the introduction of these Measures and one which has nothing to do with economic problems or with any difficulties which exist at a particular point in time. Here we come to the big clash between the two sides. I refer to the fundamental basis of our approach towards the social services and the question of whether the National Health Service should be financed according to people's ability to pay or whether it should be a flat rate charge upon everybody regardless of ability. If hon. and right hon. Members opposite agreed that this was their purpose in introducing these Measures, they would have little support in the country. If that is not the case, however, there is no reason why they should not be prepared to look again at the position in twelve months' time.

It is suggested that the purpose of this manoeuvre and of these Measures is not to increase the revenue that is available for the country, but is merely to redistribute the burden of the social services from one section of the community to another.

5.30 p.m.

I am pleased to see the number of hon. Members on the Conservative back benches growing at such a rapid rate. I see that the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) has arrived. This brings me to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot), whether or not the Bill constitutes taxation or whether it is simply a Bill to amend the administration of one of the social services. This is an important point. Hon. Members opposite have complained time and time again very bitterly about the lack of control exercised by Parliament over the spending and raising of public money.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Is my hon. Friend aware that the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) won a glorious battle by compelling the Government to ask the House of Commons every year for power to make advances to the Coal Board? Does he not agree that something similar might be done with the Health Service.

Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff. West)

A very good point.

Mr. Marsh

I say in all sincerity that that was the reason why I expressed pleasure at the sight of the hon. Member for Kidderminster, though when somebody expresses that pleasure on this side of the Committee the hon. Member gets very frosty looks from right hon. Gentlemen on his own Front Bench.

Mr. Gerald Nabarro (Kidderminster)

On a point of order. The greatest cordiality and mutual respect exists between me and my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. F. Blackburn)

The cordiality which the hon. Member receives from his Front Bench does not come under the Amendment.

Mr. Marsh

And does not come into the Chamber, either, very often.

It is good, however, that we have in the Chamber one of the hon. Members opposite who have so often campaigned that Parliament should examine in great and intricate detail all the moneys raised and spent by the Government and that it should do so every year. Is it right that hon. Members should sign a blank cheque for the Government to raise £50 million a year on this and that Measure because of difficulties with which the Government are faced at the moment? We are asking that Parliament should be asked each year if it agrees with the purpose for which sums of money are being raised and whether it wishes to increase or decrease those sums for those purposes.

On the other hand, we are told that this money must be raised because right hon. Gentlemen opposite want to embark upon a process of expansion within the National Health Service. They want to build more hospitals and to operate a better Health Service than it is at present. Every year that they are in control it becomes easier to have a better one than it was the year before. They want to raise this money, for example, to increase capital investment on the building of hospitals, but when one examines the Government's proposals one does not find that they intend to spend £65 million more this year on hospital building. One finds that they intend to spend £5 million more.

If hon. Members opposite really believe that the wealth of the country, its gross national product, could not be guaranteed to be increased by £5 million a year, they are making a very serious suggestion which should be debated on an entirely different issue. But they come here to redistribute burdens from one section of the community on to the backs of another section and we are arguing on the Amendment that the people should have an opportunity fifteen months from now to discuss and consider all the implications of this Measure. This is a most important point.

One cannot have a true democracy unless the electorate are fully seized of the factors which are being discussed in Parliament, and because there have been differences of view not only on this side of the Committee but on the other side about the purposes which necessitate this Bill, it is more than ever essential that this nasty, Habbesian Bill should be discussed more fully in the Chamber and that people should be able to have the opportunity in fifteen months of re-examining it.

There is another point on which we are faced now with an important issue of principle. Shall the House of Commons discuss taxation in detail or shall it discuss taxation under other names? We shall come later to an Amendment which I would not attempt to discuss at this stage, if for no other reason than that you would stop me, Mr. Blackburn. There are suggestions that we should stop calling this a contribution and come out quite clearly with it as a tax, because that is what we are being asked in the Bill to introduce. It is taxation for a variety of purposes.

The more we discuss the Bill the more obvious it becomes that it is merely a cover for the destruction of the basic principles of our approach to the National Health Service. It is a Bill not to raise more revenue but to ensure that those who have most pay less and those who have least pay most.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) quoted the other day an example of the relationship between this and taxation when he showed that ten years ago a person earning £10 per week was paying 10s. 6d. per week in Income Tax. Today under a beneficent Tory administration he is relieved of paying Income Tax and pays 10s. 7d. in insurance contributions. At the other end of the scale, the Surtax payer for whom hon. Members opposite have such feeling and about whom they worry so much has a drop in taxation of £700 a year.

This is what lies behind the whole Bill. It is simply a Bill to change the tax structure. We are being asked to deal with it not at the time of the year when hon. Members come prepared to discuss taxation and are able to balance the argument between one form of taxation and another, but under the guise of a National Health Service Bill.

We believe that this is a serious issue of principle and for that reason we want the electorate to be able to discuss it, hear the arguments and come to their own conclusions. We have no doubt that when they discover what is being done on their behalf by right hon. Members opposite they will rise up and make their feelings very well known. But even if we accept the arguments of right hon. Members opposite, there can be no excuse whatsoever for raising £65 million in 1961 because the Government want to spend another £5 million in 1961. If the Government find in one or more years' time that they want to raise more money by taxation, let them come to this Chamber and have the courage to put forward their arguments and let the Committee or the House of Commons decide whether or not it is necessary to do so by raising taxes in the proper way.

Mr. Mellish

The Committee will understand that I am not an economist nor am I a professor of Greek and therefore I have not the same approach to these matters as that of people who have that sort of mind. I have heard many hon. Friends say that the Government have introduced the Bill because the country: is facing economic problems. In the area which I have the honour to represent we have always had economic problems.

I do not remember a time when the people there have been genuinely happy. Poverty and general shortage of money has been with them for many years. Therefore, to say suddenly that a new situation has been created and that the country's economy is so bad that this money must be found represents to the people in my area a further hardship, and they are getting pretty used to the hardships which the present Government have been imposing upon them for many years.

I believe that there are industrial problems involved here. In dockland the situation is explosive. A great number of arguments could be put forward concerning the industrial field in which demands for wage increases are being made at this moment. There can be no doubt that these extra charges will mean further demands. I hope that I am keeping in order, Mr. Blackburn.

The Temporary Chairman

I was hoping the same thing.

Mr. Mellish

On the last occasion we debated this matter I proposed a Motion to move the Chairman out of the Chair, but it did not have any effect.

The position is that if we, as a House of Commons, accept an Amendment of this kind it will give us a guarantee that we can every year make a close study of the situation as we find it then. I believe that the industrial situation could become very much worse because already claims are being made for increase of wages. But that fact has not yet been taken into account. In addition to the present proposals to increase contributions, further increases are proposed in connection with the new pension scheme which is coming along. I believe that the Bill, and all that it means, will make the position of the trade union movement considerably worse.

The Tory philosophy and the arguments which we have had from hon. Members opposite have been weird and wonderful. One day we have the Minister of Housing and Local Government arguing that a differential system was a wonderful thing and that everyone would pay according to the amount of money they got. If they were well off they would pay more; if they were badly off they would not pay so much. That sounds a very attractive proposition. Why cannot the same argument be applied to this Bill? After all, there are thousands of people in my constituency for whom this new tax will be a genuine burden.

Mr. W. Hamilton

Will my hon. Friend not forget that the farmers get their subsidies on a flat-rate basis?

Mr. Mellish

I shall not talk about the farmers. Farms are rather a long way from my constituency. I am saying that I do not see why arguments which are made with regard to other matters cannot be applied here. There would be a very good case for the Government talking in terms of those who earn more than a certain income having to pay more than those on a lower income. There are millions of people in this country who earn less than 10 a week. That is why it is right that we should discuss this matter every year, so that we can look at it from their point of view. A man with a wife and two children, earning £10 a week or less, is having a pretty rough time. He is finding it tremendously difficult to live, and so far as any small luxuries are concerned he has "had it ".

I am associated with an industry concerning which there has been a lot of wild talk about the high wages paid. But the fact is that the big wages are earned only by the few. The vast majority do not earn anything like the wages that have been suggested in certain national newspapers. If we go on with the boom and slump nonsense under this Government, there will come a further period when the average rate of pay will be about £7 a week.

Mr. Marsh

Is it not ironical that in the National Health Service with which my hon. Friend is also connected, the basic rates which many of the hospital workers take home today are under £8 10s. a week?

Mr. Mellish

My hon. Friend must not anticipate me. I want to be able to tell them that we are doing our best and that if this Amendment is passed it will mean that this time next year we shall be looking at this whole question again. I should like to give them that satisfaction. As the Bill now stands, they have "had it" for good and all.

5.45 p.m.

My hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Marsh) is absolutely right when he says that we have an ironic situation in this large administration, the National Health Service. It is true that we have the Whitley Council. We had a bad start because of the old voluntary hospitals. We had to start from there. Money is always short when we are talking about paying people decent wages for a decent job, and that is why I want a yearly review of this position.

As my hon. Friend for Greenwich rightly said, we have hospital porters earning £8 or £9 a week. We have auxiliary staff earning well under £10 a week, and we have radiographers and other skilled men earning just over £10 a week. It is now proposed to put a further poll tax on all people administering the Scheme. If these people walk out, we have had it. Hundreds and thousands of simple ordinary folk owe to them their very existence. That is why we ought to examine this matter to make certain that these are the people who will be protected.

There is one way in which we could save money and that is on the sale of drugs. I have been associated very closely with the Health Service for twelve years. I know from our inquiries that if the Minister of Health and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had enough courage to give a directive to stop being so terrified of the word "control", and the Government were determined to cut down some of the cost of the Health Service by applying a measure of control over drugs and appliances and maintenance costs, then by this time next year we should be in a position to argue on the evidence before us how we could lower the very high "ceiling" of the National Health Service. That is why this Amendment becomes so important and why this matter should be discussed yearly.

Hon. Members opposite seem to have almost a hatred of anything owned by Britain and by the nation. Sometimes I wonder whether the Health Service does not come within that orbit. That is why I want an assurance that every year we can discuss this matter in the same way as we discuss the nationalised industries. The coal industry is one which is always under fire from hon. Members opposite.

The Temporary Chairman

It does not bring the hon. Member in order to discuss every single problem affecting the country by saying "One can discuss it every year."

Mr. Mellish

That is a matter of opinion, Mr. Blackburn. I say that it is a valid argument that if in fact the precedent is established that certain things may be discussed every year, there is no reason why the Health Service should not be discussed every year. I believe that it is much more important than some of the things that we discuss. On the transport industry, we have a full-scale debate each year on every penny spent, and we have had arguments from hon. Members opposite about the waste; so why not a yearly debate on this matter?

I think that I have made all the points I want to—at least, I cannot think of any more. I remember the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer as the Foreign Secretary and—

Mr. A. V. Hilton (Norfolk, South-West)

There is one point you forget. You have mentioned some workers, but you have not mentioned the point—

The Temporary Chairman

I hope that the hon. Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Hilton) is addressing the Chair; I have not mentioned any points.

Mr. Hilton

I was drawing my hon. Friend's attention to the fact that many of the workers he has mentioned earn up to £10 a week, but he has overlooked the farm workers whose minimum wage is £8 9s. a week. Will he say a word about them?

Mr. Mellish

I said earlier that I could not talk with any knowledge of the farming industry. However, what my hon. Friend has said reminds me that in an area like mine there are vast numbers of women who are employed at very low rates of pay and to whom these additional costs will be a major burden.

It is interesting to note that there are more spinsters in my constituency than anywhere else in the country. [Laughter.] I do not suggest that that is the fault of the Government Front Bench, but it happens to be so. It caused me some amusement, too, when I first heard it, but in fact it is rather sad. These women were attracted to the area by big firms making biscuits and chocolates and so on, names which I will not advertise on the Floor of the Committee, but which are famous. These women lost the men who would have been their husbands in the 1914–18 war. Many of them were only daughters, left behind to look after their families and I am one of those who regards them with great affection—and I hope that that will be taken in the right way.

I said to the right hon. and learned Gentleman before, when he occupied another very 'high office, that one of his troubles then—and I still see it now—was that he was just a lawyer with a brief, approaching the matter in that way. One day he is defending and the next day he is prosecuting. He comes to the Dispatch Box without any feeling. How can he put up a tax of this kind without expressing some regrets? I do not understand how he can say that this is an essential tax which will save X millions of pounds, without considering any other way in which the money could be found.

It has been said before that if it is the Government's view that the ceiling of expenditure on the Health Service has gone up and up and that more money must be found for it, why is the same not said about education? That is a logical development of the argument of hon. Members opposite. Why do they not impose a poll tax on children going to school?

Mr. Marsh

That is a matter about which some of us fee] strongly, believing that this principle is involved not only in the Health Service, but in other national services. The noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) and the Bow Group favour a 5s. per child per week tax on education.

Mr. Mellish

I am obliged to my hon. Friend. I did not know that. I do not read Bow Group publications.

Mrs. Slater

They are worth reading.

Mr. Mellish

It would be out of order to quote what was said in the Licensing Bill Committee this morning, when we heard about the Bow Group and about the views of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on teetotallers—which I thought rather odd.

This is one of those subjects about which some of us feel passionately. I have been connected with the Health Service for many years and I believe that at the end of the day this legislation will result in a lowering of standards and in a loss of workers to industry and in a general reaction which will damage the country. If the Government are to make out a balance sheet, merely showing credit and debit, and are concerned only with costs, they must make sure that on the credit side they clearly understand that the Health Service has not only improved the health of the nation, but has enhanced the reputation of Britain throughout the world. The right hon. and learned Gentleman should be thoroughly ashamed of it and not beam as though he is doing something clever. This is almost like Suez.

Mr. W. Hamilton

The debate has now been going on for nearly two and a half hours. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."]

Mr. G. Thomas

There have been points of order.

Mr. Hamilton

The only speech which we have had from hon. Members opposite was the two-minute speech from the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower).

Mr. Emrys Hughes

My hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) said that the debate had been going on for two and a half hours. Is he now moving to report Progress?

Mr. Hamilton

My hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) will have an opportunity of making his own speech in his own inimitable way, and I have no doubt that he will use this persuasiveness on the hon. Members opposite.

I am surprised that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has not leapt to his feet with his usual alacrity to accept the Amendment. He had tremendous support from the hon. Member for Barry, on whom I was about to comment. Not for the first time, the hon. Member has come to the aid of the Government through thick and thin. If they murdered his grandmother, he would come to the House and justify it on grounds of humanitarianism.

Mr. Manuel

Make him a Life Peer.

Mr. Hamilton

The hon. Member said that the Amendment would stultify debate and that if we wanted the sort of arrangement suggested in the Amendment, we should have a Bill and not do it by means of an affirmative Resolution.

If the Government will say that they will introduce another Bill in July, 1962, then that will satisfy my hon. Friends I hope that the hon. Member for Barry will seek to catch your eye again, Mr. Blackburn, so that he can urge the Government to bring in another Bill in July, 1962. He would get all the dabate he wanted in those circumstances.

Mr. H. Hynd (Accrington)

Would it not be more honest if the Government said that they would bring in that Bill after the next General Election when we would have had an opportunity of going to the country?

The Temporary Chairman

The hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd) should not try to bring into this discussion an Amendment which has not been selected.

Mr. Hamilton

I was about to say that I disagreed with the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd) and to incorporate my reasons in my speech.

I should have thought that with their concern for constitutional propriety and public accountability, the Government would have accepted this Amendment, and I shall be surprised if that is not their intention. We have had frequent debates about the decline in public accountability of the Executive, and the Amendment would provide an additional means by which we could ensure that the Legislature controlled the Executive.

This is a reasonable proposition. Every year we have a debate on farm subsidies. The Annual Price Review has not yet come up for this year, but we have an annual discussion on the merits of giving to farmers a flat-rate subsidy at present running at £250 million a year. We do not get an annual debate, but at least we get an Annual Price Review, which is normally debated.

6.0 p.m.

We are now giving the Government an opportunity to say that, although they needed £50 million this year, thanks to the prosperity they were building up they were able eventually to reduce this figure, and, therefore, all the words of the Opposition at the time this Bill was going through could be hurled back in their teeth. Surely that is what the Government would like? Surely they would like to tell us that the things we have been saying about hardship have not been true, that the people have liked to have these increased contributions? The Government could ask Mr. Hurry to conduct a public opinion poll.

Mr. G. Thomas

Who is he?

Mr. Hamilton

He is the man who won the General Election. If the Government could get a public opinion poll which proved that the people really wanted these contributions—that they wanted to pay more "freely and voluntarily", as the preamble to the Bill says —then this Amendment would give the Government the opportunity to tell that to us.

They would also be able to come along in July next year and tell us what had happened to the money. In the course of proceedings on this Bill up to now they have told us that this money will be used for financing the hospital investment programme. I want to know where the Secretary of State for Scotland comes in in this connection [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] Not for a single moment has the Secretary of State deigned to attend this Committee. Nor have any of his junior Ministers. Nor do I see a single Scottish Tory Member here today.

Mr. E. G. Willis (Edinburgh, East)

What makes it worse is that the Secretary of State is one of the sponsors of the Bill.

Mr. Hamilton

My hon. Friend and I are thinking alike. I was about to come to that point. The Secretary of State is not here, nor is he represented. I understand that he is to meet my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) on a constituency matter, and, therefore. on can excuse him from attending while he is engaged with that interview. But one cannot excuse him for the duration of this Committee stage, nor does it excuse any of his junior Ministers.

The Temporary Chairman

Would the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) explain how the presence of the Secretary of State for Scotland would affect the proposed annual review?

Mr. Hamilton

It is clear that the Secretary of State is one of the sponsors of this Bill. The Government are to get £50 million in increased contributions. and £6 million of that is to come from Scotland. If the Government accepted the Amendment, then the Secretary of State would be able to come here in July, 1962, and tell us what had happened to that £6 million.

Mr. 11. Hynd

In fairness to the Secretary of State for Scotland, I wonder if he is concerned so far? Have any new hospitals been built in Scotland since the war?

Mr. Hamilton

No. The point I was about to make was that this sum of £6 million is to be raised in Scotland and the Government have promised that the money will be spent on hospitals. I was visiting a Dunfermline maternity home last Sunday morning. There are women in labour in the corridors of that hospital, and in the last twelve months three children died because their mothers could not get into the labour rooms at the time they were about to deliver them. Because of that, I think it is criminal that the Secretary of State has not chosen to come for a single moment to this Committee. It is his duty to the women of Dunfermline and Fife to tell us what he intends to do.

The Temporary Chairman

I also have a duty to the Committee, and that is to attempt to keep the discussion in order. I am certain that the hon. Member realises that he is getting beyond the scope of the Amendment.

Mr. Manuel

rose

The Temporary Chairman

I think that the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) has had so many years training in the Scottish Grand Committee that he does not need another hon. Member to help him.

Mr. Manuel

That was neither necessary nor asked for. I rose to put the point that £6 million from Scotland is to go direct into the Treasury, and money will come out of the Treasury for hospitals. In my opinion, there is a close connection, and we should try to follow through what is to happen to the excess of money going into the Treasury over the year, and to see that the pledge that it will be spent on hospital building is carried out.

The Temporary Chairman

The Committee will be able to do that on an appropriate Amendment.

Mr. Hamilton

I have made my point, and I do not want to delay the proceedings. I have felt strongly about this murder committed in my division in the name of the Secretary of State. When he is taking 10d. a week from people—many of whom in my constituency are earning under £8 a week—I want to know what he is going to do with the money, and I want him to come here yearly and tell us what he is doing with it. I want to be able to challenge him about it. That is what the Amendment is about. I can think of little that is more important than what I have been saying.

I want the Secretary of State, the Treasury Ministers, and the Minister of Health to tell us each year what they are doing with the money—whether they are relieving the Surtax payer or preventing murder in my division by using the money for the National Health Service.

Mr. G. Thomas

My hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) has made an impassioned appeal which, I hope, will not fall on deaf ears. [HON. MEMBERS: "It will."] I must say that I feel sorry for the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He and I have a great deal in common. [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."] We came into the House of Commons together. He is from North Wales and I am from South Wales. There are other details of great interest to us both.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

He is a Methodist.

Mr. G. Thomas

Yes, he is a Methodist. As I listened to my hon. Friends, I felt sorry about the way in which trouble follows the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer in whatever Department he finds himself. It is strange that the Government seem to reserve unpleasant tasks for him. I also note the uncanny pleasure he takes in unpleasant tasks.

Mr. Hughes

No. That is unfair.

Mr. G. Thomas

My hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) is also from South Wales, although he represents a Scottish constituency. Perhaps I did go a bit too far, and I withdraw my last remark.

I want to refer to the Amendment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I want to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether he has considered its effect in the Principality of Wales. My hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West asked why the Secretary of State for Scotland was not present. We have almost forgotten the name of the Minister for Welsh Affairs. [HON. MEMBERS: "Who is he?"] He is the Minister for Increased Rents. He was much advertised as a watchdog for Welsh affairs when he was appointed to his office, but he has not given a peep into the Chamber while we have been discussing these proposals, which are arousing considerable feeling in the Principality. I am sure that the Chancellor will tell me that North Wales is as upset as South Wales at the fact that the Government are unwilling to set a target date for the restoration of the authority of the House of Commons on the question of the weekly subsidy taken from the wages of the workers.

Since I have been in the House I have noticed the way in which the Executive has been encroaching more and more upon the authority of the House of Commons. In view of the fact that the wages of our people are concerned here, it is not asking too much to say that the elected representatives of the people should have a chance to examine the accounts of the Government each year, and to see whether it is necessary to maintain these higher contributions and whether this unfair system of a flat rate is justified.

We may now have a more enlightened discussion, since the Attorney-General has entered the Chamber. I hope that he will bring his vast experience at the law to the aid of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. [HON. MEMBERS: "He has gone again."] I keep being disappointed with right hon. Gentlemen on the Government Front Bench.

Does the Chancellor realise that if he brings this proposal up again in a year's time it will be that much nearer the General Election, and he will be in a better position to test the confidence and feeling of the British electorate on this matter. I notice a light in your eye, Mr. Blackburn. It is almost blinding me. I should have thought that since this proposal has burst upon us in recent days, without it being possible for any preparation of the mind of the public, or any possibility of judging its feeling on this question, it would only be common decency for the Treasury to say, "We will bring this Measure forward again just before the General Election, in order to give an opportunity for the voice of the people to be heard."

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

Does my hon. Friend realise that that would be contrary to the tradition of the Conservative Party? He must understand that never in our history has the Conservative Party, before a General Election, told the electorate what it was going to do after the election.

The Temporary Chairman

There are now two hon. Members who are out of order.

Mr. Thomas

I thank you for your assistance, Mr. Blackburn.

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

If the Amendment is accepted by the Government, cannot they come forward on the next occasion and explain, before the General Election, what they will do, so disproving the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman)?

Mr. Thomas

I always know that when my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. A. Lewis) rises he is going to be most helpful. He has never failed me yet.

I want to ask the Chancellor and the Financial Secretary—who, later on, towards supper time, will probably be speaking to us—whether they believe it fair to saddle the workers with this flat-rate system without making it possible for us to reconsider the graduated contribution when our economy stands upon a firmer and sounder basis. Why should the Earl of Bute and the roadsweeper in Cardiff make the same weekly contribution towards the Health Service? Why should Mr. Clore and Mr. Cotton make the same contribution as the railway porters on Cardiff General Station?

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Or the inhabitants of Cardiff Castle.

Mr. Thomas

Cardiff Castle now belongs to the ratepayers. My hon. Friend is a little out of date. Why should the Supertax payers make the same contribution as is made by the humblest farm worker, whom my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Hilton) represents with such distinction? The Amendment gives the Government a chance to restore social justice and to give the workers the feeling that we are not tearing at the vitals of the Health Service, or changing its whole basis. It gives the Government a chance to prove that the weak will still be borne by the strong. I find it offensive that the lowest-paid wage earner should have to face additional anxiety every week because of this increased demand.

When a man has a low weekly wage an extra shilling may cause a crisis in his affairs. He must decide what he will do without. He will not say, "What is it, after all? We are all doing so well. This is an affluent society". That propaganda may go down all right with the easy-money boys, but not with most of the workers. The Chancellor has heard some very good advice in the last hour or so, and he ought to have an open mind on the question. He should be able to say that he will take the necessary steps to have this matter dealt with on a yearly basis.

It is interesting to note that it is the Chancellor of the Exchequer and not the Minister of Health to whom we have to appeal. It is the experience of every hon. Member that the hardest Department to appeal to on any subject is the Treasury. I do not blame the Chancellor; he has not long been in his present office. Whoever may be at the Treasury, our experience is that it is the hardest Department to appeal to on human grounds. I would rather deal with the Ministry of Health in these matters.

The Temporary Chairman

Is the hon. Member now making his speech on the next Amendment, too?

Mr. Thomas

Not exactly, Mr. Blackburn. All I wanted to do was to appeal to the sense of decency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Financial Secretary. The Financial Secretary is not an unreasonable man. On many occasions he has shown that he is responsive to appeals from hon. Members on this side of the Committee. I can recall occasions on which he made a reasonable speech and accepted proposals from this side. I ask him to realise tonight that if he and the Chancellor of the Exchequer were on these benches they would be making the kind of fight that we are making. They would argue that Parliament should have its say every year; that this is too big a matter to leave to the executive; that it is too big to leave in the hands of the Government and the Chancellor of the Exchequer however much a man of probity and kindness he might be.

This is a matter which Parliament should decide. I hope the Financial Secretary realises that unless he puts this on a yearly basis he will give the impression that he does not like the Welfare State, and that he does not like the principle that we contribute according to our ability and receive according to our needs.

In the early post-war years we stayed up night after night in this Chamber to establish the Welfare State despite the fierce opposition of the party opposite. In those days when we went throught the Lobbies singing Welsh hymns, our idea was to lay down for all time the principle that the humblest baby should enjoy the privileges of a civilised society and that treatment in time of sickness should depend not on the state of one's pocket but on one's need, and that people should be educated according to their ability. We find now that the party opposite is slowly but surely taking us back to the old society. By proposals of this kind it is tearing at the foundations of the society we built, and I warn hon. Gentlemen that the day will come when we shall re-establish a Welfare State on the basis of brotherhood instead of on the "smash and grab" policy which the Government pursue.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

I was very much moved by the peroration of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas).

Mr. Grant-Ferris (Nantwich)

So was he.

Mr. Hughes

I want to come back to the Amendment which seems to have been lost in the midst of Welsh eloquence.

The Amendment reads: but shall cease to have effect on the first day of July, nineteen hundred and sixty-two, unless they are renewed by an affirmative resolution passed by both Houses of Parliament". I understand that my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West referred to a date, but it was not the date in the Amendment. What will be the situation on 1st July, 1962? I am hopeful that by that date there will be new minds on the Treasury Bench. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West made some sympathetic remarks about the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I agree with my hon. Friend, but I think that the right hon. Gentleman is looking tired again. I remember the same tired expression on the face of the Chancellor of the Exchequer last year. The political mortality of Chancellors of the Exchequer is very high.

My chief reason for supporting the Amendment is that by July, 1962, the night hon. and learned Gentleman will have joined his predecessor in another place and we will have another Chancellor who I hope will be prepared to review the whole situation. There is bound to be a change in the Government personnel who will be handling the National Health Service Contributions Bill on 1st July, 1962. I understand that when the present Chancellor of the Exchequer follows his predecessor to another place there will be certain changes, and I confidently predict that the Minister of Health on 1st July, 1962, will not be the present Minister of Health. I believe that because of his successful attempts to reduce national expenditure he will be transferred to the Ministry of Defence and that there will be a fresh mind on the Front Bench opposite. The Financial Secretary need not look so optimistic. I was not referring to him. I believe that by that date certain changes will have taken place and that there will be a different approach to this problem. That is why I think that the Committee should apt for this date in 1962.

I was rather alarmed when my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) referred to the burden on farmers, because he rarely makes a speech in Committee without attacking my constituents. I remind my hon. Friend that the farmers in South Ayrshire are as much concerned about this Bill, and about it being renewed on 1st July, 1962, as are the constituents of my hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish), or his constituents. Farmers are involved in this contribution because they pay as employers. That seems to have been forgotten. If the farmers are mulcted of an extra 2d. for every employee, it will be a serious burden on the farmers in my constituency.

I am not speaking for farmers only when I say that the Minister ought to agree to accept the Amendment. I am speaking also for the farm workers, to whom my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Hilton) referred. I must point out, however, that a poll tax or contribution presses more hardly on farm workers in Scotland than it does on those in England, because farm workers' wages are reviewed after the Annual Price Review.

The Temporary Chairman

Order. I thought the hon. Member said that he was anxious to remain in order.

Mr. Hughes

I am as anxious to remain in order as I am to see justice done to the farmers and farm workers in my constituency. I understand, Mr. Blackburn, that you are not as familiar with the plight of agricultural workers as you are with that of industrial workers.

The Temporary Chairman

My knowledge is not in question, and I do not think that the hon. Member is in a position to know whether what he said is correct or not. I think that he had better get back to the yearly review.

Mr. Hughes

To the yearly review of the farming industry?

The Temporary Chairman

No.

Mr. Loughlin

I thought that the point my hon. Friend was going to develop was that if the increased contribution by the farmers increased their costs it would be essential for this issue to be reviewed every year otherwise it could not be considered when the subsidy to farmers was reviewed.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. Hughes

That was exactly the point I was trying to make, the whole economics of the farming industry—

Mr. Manuel

My hon. Friend must keep firmly in mind that there is the yearly review, about which we know very well, in connection with the farming community, and obviously an increase in the contribution of 2d. for each employee will come into the reckoning in that yearly review. There is also the yearly review for which we ask in this Amendment, and it is necessary for my hon. Friend to keep firmly in mind the need to discuss that yearly review so that he will be in order when he refers to the other yearly review.

The Temporary Chairman

I do not know whether the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) is helping the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), or the Chairman.

Mr. Hughes

I am sure that there is no hon. Member in this Committee who understands this question as it affects the agricultural industry—with the exception, perhaps, of my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South-West—more than does my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel). Although I may be obscure in explaining this to the Committee, I am glad to know that my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire sees the point I am trying to make. I am sure, Mr. Blackburn, that if he is successful in catching your eye he will amplify this argument.

The suggestion has been made that farmers are indifferent to what is going on regarding the National Health Service Contributions Bill. I can assure the Committee that they are not indifferent; they are deeply interested. It was the one subject which farmers were discussing in the Ayr market place last week, and I should be failing in my duty if I did not—as the representative of an agricultural constituency—say that I believe that the agricultural community would welcome the acceptance by the Government of this Amendment. I am sure that I am speaking not only for the farming community of South Ayrshire but also for the farming community of Berwickshire which is watching and listening to the explanations of the injustices which would be committed if the provisions of the Bill were adopted. They are looking forward to 1st July, 1962, in order to see whether on that date there may be some possibility of alleviation.

I wish now to turn to another point, the possibility of the effect on industrial wages in the event of there being a rise in the cost-of-living index by 1st July, 1962. I do not know whether that has occurred to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The cost-of-living index is a matter which ought to be carefully considered in relation to every kind of financial imposition placed upon the workers of this country.

Mr. W. Hamilton

My hon. Friend will recall that these increases in the National Health Service contributions and the National Insurance contributions do not come within the index. That point has been raised, and perhaps my hon. Friend might care to develop it.

Mr. Hughes

I appreciate the point made by my hon. Friend. I was referring to the indirect effect of a possible rise in the cost-of-living index on the weekly income of the average worker whether agricultural or industrial. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin), with his long experience of industrial negotiations as they affect different kinds of workers, will realise that this is a vital element and that is why the whole position should be reviewed every year on 1st July in order to ascertain how it affects the incomes of the workers. I believe that the case for this Amendment has been fully made out and I hope hon. Members opposite will support us in the Division Lobby.

Mr. Loughlin

In considering this Amendment it is essential to look at the reasons given by the Government for requiring this £50 million. Apparently it is on the basis of an extension of the hospital services, and they propose to increase expenditure on their hospital building programme at the rate of £5 million a year for the next ten years. If that is so, there is every reason why the amount of money which they are asking the workpeople of this country to provide should be reviewed every year.

During Question Time this afternoon the Minister of Education gave reasons why the rate of school building has not been as great as it should have been. It may well be that in twelve months' time circumstances will be such that the Government will not be able to spend even £5 million on hospitals because of other extensive building of one kind and another which may be going on—

Mr. McCann

"Pubs" and garages.

Mr. Loughlin

I was coming to that, if my hon. Friend will be patient. It may be that the extension of other projects may prevent work being carried out on hospital building. Much has been said in the House in the last twelve months about the provision of office accommodation in the City of London, and it may be that in another twelve months the materials to carry out hospital building will not be available. Because of the incapacity of the Government to plan the building programmes which the nation needs, it may be that the hospital building will not be carried out. But for this the people, particularly those in the lower income groups —such as shop workers whose rate of wage, without any possibility of augmenting it by overtime, is about £8 10s. a week—are being called on to provide an additional 10d. a week.

The shop worker earning less than £10 a week is being called on to pay an additional 10d. a week on the ground that it is necessary in order to build hospitals. If in twelve months' time it is found that this is another prospectus of the Tory Government which is fraudulent and that, because of other activities, bricks and other materials are not available for hospitals, the charge should be reviewed. That should be done far the benefit of the shop worker, the farm worker and all the 7 million workers earning under £10 a week. It is necessary to ensure that if the primary purpose for which the money is secured is not possible of accomplishment the workpeople should be given an opportiunity to pay less in contributions.

It would indeed be a fraud by this Government if they imposed an additional burden on people who could ill afford to bear it and at the end of that time found that the specific purpose for which the burden was imposed could not be accomplished. In all honesty and decency the opportunity should be given for review. Because of their mistakes, the Government should then say to the workpeople, "You have paid 10d. a week for the last fifty-two weeks and we have not been able to do what we said we would do. For the next twelve months the present amount will be reduced by 10d. a week so that a state of equity may be produced."

The Government have boasted for a long time about 'prosperity. They boasted about it at the General Election, but now they have a responsibility to the electorate. We want to save them from the guilt consciousness they are bound to have unless they accept some of the Amendments we advance. In the General Election they promised that they would not interfere with the social services or the Health Service. They said they would pursue a policy which would ensure that there would be no increase in the rates of contribution. It is not eighteen months since the last General Election, but they are now pursuing a policy directly contrary to the mandate given to them. They issued a false prospectus to do precisely the opposite of what they are doing. If we can save them from guilt consciousness by restricting this provision to twelve months, we shall be doing a good job for them.

It is very nice for the Tory Front Bench occupants—including the Secretary of State for Scotland who has just come into the Committee—to talk about prosperity, but it is essential that they should recognise what they are doing. In the ultimate all this money will be found from production. Whether the Tory Front Bench or back bench Members opposite like it or not, these increases will be found on the basis of wage increases. Each union in its turn, quite rightly, will advance wage claims to cover the cost of these contributions. I do not think they will always get them.

6.45 p.m.

I am being very careful, Sir William, because I do not want to get out of order in talking of the economic situation, but I think it important to remember that the economic position is not very good at present. We are having extreme difficulty with exports. If we are to impose additional costs on employers and employees those costs will have to be found from somewhere. They will be found through the cost of goods. That will increase our difficulty with exports and increase our economic problems. It is essential that there should be the opportunity in twelve or fifteen months' time to look at this position again.

I do not know whether the super-optimism on the Government Front Bench is such that they do not think they will have any problems on the economic front in twelve months' time, but it may be that they will have to come to the House again in order to put on another poll tax. This is an issue which ought to be considered every twelve months. It should be considered in the Budget. It is not a matter for this type of Bill. This is something which the Chancellor ought to review every year, It would be wrong not to pass this Amendment which gives an opportunity for a yearly review.

There are plenty of precedents for it. There have been references to hon. Members opposite who, by their persistence, have managed to ensure that there is to be a review of finances of the Coal Board. There is also the Annual Review of Farm Prices. I shall not develop that point now, because it has been developed by my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes). There is constant review of all types of subsidies for many industries. If subsidies to industry can be reviewed, there is no earthly reason why we should not year by year review this poll tax imposed on work-people in industry. I hope that the Financial Secretary will now say that he can accept the Amendment.

Mr. William Hannan (Glasgow, Maryhill)

I was much encouraged when I saw the Secretary of State for Scotland coming into the Chamber. I thought he had heard perhaps that some of us were to make some remarks about Scotland, but perhaps the real reason was that he thought the Financial Secretary was about to reply to the debate.

I wish to urge acceptance of this Amendment so that the extra taxation derived as a result of this Bill will be reviewed annually. Ministers have been urging as one of the strong reasons for this Bill that they considered the alternative was to reduce the scope of the Health Service or to increase contributions. Hon. Members on this side of the Committee do not accept that the issue is that alternative. The Minister of Health argues that the increases are made in order to improve the Service and, in particular, to provide more hospital accommodation. Of this sum, £6 million will go, through the Treasury, to the Secretary of State for Scotland, but I cannot recall the Secretary of State indicating how he would account for the services provided with this extra money.

On 1st November, the Minister of Health told the House that the Government were anxious, in particular, to carry through the long-term programme of hospital modernisation. Whatever may be the case in England and Wales, it certainly does not apply to Scotland, and I am sure that it would be a good idea if, each year, the Secretary of State for Scotland explained where these extra resources were going towards improving hospital accommodation.

Most Scottish hon. Members will recall that in 1955, with a great flourish of trumpets, the present Lord Strathclyde announced in another place a hospital programme. That programme was to include, for example, the Bellshill Maternity Hospital, a new surgical block at Kirkcaldy, and the reconstruction of mental hospitals at Dundee, Banff and Glasgow, yet, on 14th February, my hon. Friend representing the constituency concerned was astounded to learn that no date had yet been fixed for the start on the hospital in Dundee. My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis), who had referred to the inadequate mental hospital accommodation and had complained of the long waiting-lists in Edinburgh, also got little satisfaction. The answer to an inquiry about the maternity hospital was that it had not yet been finished. Yet all those matters were announced in 1955.

For those reasons, I urge the Government to accept this Amendment and to shake some of the Under-Secretaries out of their apathy. For example, on 14th February, one of the Joint Under-Secretaries, when charged with these delays, said: I cannot admit that there has been any avoidable delay since building began."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th February. 1961; Vol. 634, c. 1215.] The noble Lord's announcement was made in 1955, yet only a few days ago the Under-Secretary of State had to make such an abject confession of lack of movement—and I am glad to see the Secretary of State for Scotland is present. I urge acceptance of the Amendment in the hope that such a review of taxation will take place next year. so that we can deal with these delays at the time and not after some ten years have elapsed.

Mr. Cyril Bence (Dunbartonshire, East)

I urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to accept, if not this Amendment some such Amendment as will avoid creating, outside the Budget, a piece of legislation which, in effect, until repealed, will inflict a permanent tax on one section of the community. Knowing well that on the benches opposite there are many hon. Member with long Liberal—indeed, in some cases, radical—backgrounds, I am shocked that after experience of the tax levied on the motorists for the improvement of our roads, they should, both on Second Reading and in this Committee, once again accept a tax that it is said will be used for specific purposes in the Health Services.

Quite frankly, I would not trust any Government, or any Chancellor of the Exchequer—perhaps I should say the Treasury—to impose upon my fellow-countrymen a tax on one section of the community, as was the case with the road tax, on the understanding that it would be used for a specific purpose. There is no guarantee that it will be so used. The Bill itself says that this is a levy by the Treasury that can be used in the National Health Service—

Mr. K. Lewis

The hon. Member's analogy is not a very good one. With the road tax, the Government were collecting more money than they were spending on the roads—[Interruption.] In this case, they are collecting less money than they are spending on the National Health Service. It is completely the reverse.

Mr. Bence

I am shocked at the hon. Gentleman's intervention. I had always known that, but I am so eager to preserve democracy, and the institutions and the ideas by which we are governed that I have never in my propaganda revealed how those who use the roads have been swindled all these years. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman feels that he can support a Government that has perpetrated such a fraud. I can assure him that we were all aware of it, but we did not want to shout too much about it.

Mr. W. A. Wilkins (Bristol, South)

Surely the answer to the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. K. Lewis) is that the Government are now collecting an extra £50 million a year, out of which they will spend £5 million on hospitals. That is the matter before us.

Mr. Bence

Sir William, the Bill does not tell us that the Government will spend the money on hospitals—[HON. MEMBERS: That's their reason."] Yes, they have mentioned hospitals and lots of other things on which they are supposed to spend it. I admit that they may spend it on hospitals, because we have passed a Bill for the payment of about £48 million from the Consolidated Fund for the doctors. On the other hand, I am not prepared to accept the verbal statement on the subject. It is not written into the Bill.

I do not accept that taxes should be levied for a so-called specific purpose. The public should be taxed—

The Deputy-Chairman (Major Sir William Anstruther-Gray)

I am reluctant to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but I hope that he will direct his remarks to this Amendment.

Mr. Bence

I would have continued to do so, Sir William, had I not been interrupted.

I see this increased charge as a flat poll tax, just like the road tax, and those who pay it should have their taxation reviewed once a year exactly as other taxation is reviewed. Our Income Tax is reviewed every year—why should not this tax be examined annually? Are we building up a fiscal system which will result in the presentation of an annual budget to deal with one type of taxation only and, in between times, have a series of Bills imposing flat poll taxes on certain sections of the community that can be altered only by a repeal of legislation—

Mr. McCann

My hon. Friend's analogy of the road tax is not quite true. With the road tax, the bigger the car the more one pays but, in this case, the lower the wage the more the man pays.

Mr. Bence

I did not want to spend too much time on that analogy. I want to be brief so that the Financial Secretary can reply. By the present method, we seem to be imposing taxation burdens on sections of the community by Measures introduced periodically between Budgets, and I intensely dislike that. On the other hand, we have Bills brought before this House of Commons to enable money to be paid out to certain sections of the community.

7.0 p.m.

On the one hand, we can have Measures imposing a poll tax on people, and on the other Measures giving benefits to other sections of the community. We had a Bill giving the doctors increases in salaries, and at the same time a Bill imposing a tax on the workers. I wonder how far this is going. Have we started a new technique so that a powerful Conservative Government can distribute benefits to one section of the community and impose charges on another? Are we moving away from the idea of the annual Budget by this sort of thing?

That is why I wholeheartedly support the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend. I take it that there would be an annual review of this taxation, just as there is an annual review of Income Tax, Surtax, road tax, oil and petrol taxation and all the taxation that one can think of. This seems to me to be a very genuine and serious Amendment worthy of every consideration, and I hope that the Government will think again about it. It may not be the right way to do it, but I urge upon the Gov- ernment, in the interests of Parliamentary control, of equity and justice to all taxpayers of this country, that these taxes levied on people shall be reviewed every year, and that no Government should have the power to pass into legislation a tax almost as a permanent institution.

We cannot, during the debates on the Budget and the Financial Resolutions, put down Amendments reducing the taxation levied by the Health Service, or by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on behalf of the Health Service. This form of taxation is outside our power of amending or altering. I think this is a very bad thing indeed, and I hope that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in his reply will recognise the justice of this plea, and perhaps find some form of words or method by which this matter can be reviewed every year, because it may well be that if we get rising prosperity, which is doubtful, we might be able to lower the contribution after 12 months.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Edward Boyle)

The effect of this Amendment, as hon. Members have said during the debate, is to limit the operation of the increased charges in this Bill to one year only, by the technique of bringing them to an end on 1st July, 1962, unless Parliament should decide to continue them beyond that date by affirmative Resolutions of both Houses of Parliament.

The Amendment was moved some two and a half hours ago by the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton), and he, at least, was able to do so in a very moderate and fairly short speech. I think I had the impression listening to him that while he was in support of the Amendment, he did not consider it one of the most important Amendments to the Bill, and, if it is not in bad taste to refer to the words, I think he showed signs that he would rather be getting on with the sums when we come to the Amendments to the First Schedule.

The hon. Gentleman made one substantial point in his speech, to which I should like to reply without more ado. He said that the House should have an opportunity of reconsidering this matter, because this Measure has not been either sought by or put before the electorate.

I make two answers to him on that point. First, if every time any Government were to bring in proposals which had not been in the previous election programme, they were to be obliged to have an annual review in this House, our proceedings would become very prolonged in the course of many Sessions.

Mr. Houghton

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman so soon, but these proposals of the Government run positively counter to the expectations which they held out to the electorate at the last election.

Sir E. Boyle

I disagree with the hon. Gentleman, for this reason. I do not believe that the proposal that we are discussing in this Bill raises any new issue of principle. As I said during the Second Reading and repeat again now, there is no dispute at all between us that a flat-rate contribution is an appropriate way of financing in part the National Health Service.

I am not going into all the history this evening, but will merely quote one sentence, which has the distinction of not having been quoted before in this debate —one which I think might even be called outside this Committee—a statement of the "founding fathers" which has not actually been quoted. It consists of words from the White Paper of the party opposite, which said: A proportion of contributions will be used to help to finance the Health Services under the present Bill. There is no dispute between us on that principle.

Mr. Nabarro

Rub their Socialist noses in it.

Sir E. Boyle

I do not want at this stage of the evening, and the evening is yet quite young, to do any rubbing of noses, because I do not think we have got to that stage, but I should like to reaffirm a point which I made on Second Reading. It is that what should be the balance between the proportion of Health Service expenditure financed out of general taxation and that financed out of contributions, I am sure, cannot be regarded as more than a matter of degree between the two sides of the Committee. I certainly do not think that this is a matter which, simply because it is a new issue, merits being raised in this House every single year.

Mr. W. Hamilton

The hon. Gentleman should not assume, as is so often assumed, that what was said at the beginning now applies. There has been some rethinking since then, and the hon. Gentleman should not assume that what was applicable in 1946, 1947 or 1948 is now applicable.

Sir E. Boyle

There has not only been rethinking, but there has been a very rapid increase in the social services and in the rates of enjoyment of social benefits by all ordinary people in this country, and that leads me to the point made by the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King) and the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Marsh), who made one of his usual agreeable and racy speeches, but is not with us now, when they and several others said that these proposals simply arose out of the economic difficulties of the Government. Let me mention to them very briefly the economic circumstances as I see them, and I mention them here simply because they are circumstances which I do not believe will be any different in July. 1962.

We have a situation in which social service expenditure, and public expenditure generally, as a proportion of the national product, is rising. As I mentioned to the Committee in an earlier debate, it was 40 per cent. in 1957, and was 42½ per cent. of the gross national product in 1959. Public expenditure, as a proportion of the gross national product, is rising, and is likely to go on rising, so far as we can see, because there are such strong expansionist influences. Furthermore, Health Service expenditure, as a proportion of the gross national product has also been rising. The total of public capital expenditure, as a proportion, has been rising. A good deal has been said about hospital building this afternoon. It is worth remembering that hospital building has gone up by £175 million in the last three years[Interruption.]—quite rightly—and we are today devoting a substantially higher proportion of our gross national product to social capital spending than we did ten years ago.

Finally, it is common ground in this Committee when we have economic debates that we need to use an increased level of resources for other purposes, such as productive capital expenditure, to aid our export trade. These are all tendencies which are going to persist, and I believe that, in these circumstances, given, as we have, a very high level of prosperity today, it is not unreasonable that we should ask for this extra contribution. I can throw out absolutely no hope to the Committee—and I say this quite frankly—that the circumstances which justify this Bill today are likely to be any different in a year's time, and that is the reason why I do not believe that there is a case for a review in 1962.

Mr. K. Robinson

In the course of the catalogue of benefits showered on the populace by a Conservative Government, I believe that the Financial Secretary mentioned £175 million on hospital building in the last three years. That is vastly more than I thought we were spending. Can the hon. Gentleman justify it?

Sir E. Boyle

I should have said the total of health expenditure—and if I have misled the Committee, I withdraw and apologise. What is true, as I said in an earlier debate—and again I apologise for making an incorrect statement—is that hospital expenditure is going to rise by £5 million a year for several years. There is no doubt of that.

Dr. King

We all admit that this increased expenditure is necessary, but why do the Government believe that it is preferable to raise part of the necessary money by a flat-rate contribution from everyone as distinct from a graduated contribution?

Sir E. Boyle

That point takes us rather wide of the Amendment. It was raised on Second Reading. The Government have not closed their minds for all time on these points. In the circumstances of today, we do not regard this increase in the flat-rate contribution as unreasonable. I would rather leave it at that on the Amendment.

A substantial point raised by the hon. Members for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence), Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) and other hon. Members was that this matter should be considered annually, for two reasons—partly because the total amount of the contributions is so great that Parliament should have its say every year, and partly because, as the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale argued so strongly, we should look at the whole field of taxation each year.

The hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) referred to matters concerning Health Service administration. The points he raised would clearly be in order, not necessarily on a day when we are discussing taxation, but on an ordinary Health Service Estimates debate. The point he raised today would obviously be relevant then.

There are two answers to the argument about the desirability of an annual debate. First, it is not true that when we discuss the Budget and the Finance Bill all the main aspects of our taxation system are debated once a year. We do not debate, for example, Purchase Tax once a year.

Mr. Nabarro

We do if I am here.

Sir E. Boyle

Not necessarily. We do not have a formal debate on the main indirect taxes. The only form of taxation which we do debate every year—my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) makes a sonorous contribution—is the standard rate of Income Tax.

Secondly, when we come to the annual debates on the Budget and the Finance Bill, in particular the debate on Income Tax, it is absolutely right that we should consider on those occasions the total distribution of the national product and what the various sections of the community get in real terms. That is an absolutely relevant point. We have ample opportunity to discuss it during the Budget debates.

I am not opposing the Amendment tonight because the Government are in any way frightened of these comparisons. The hon. Member for Greenwich talked about people receiving £500 a year. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer pointed out on Second Reading that between 1949 and 1959 the number of people with incomes after tax of between £500 and £1,000 a year had risen from 2.4 million to 11.1 million.

Mr. Ross

And the value of money has gone down.

Sir E. Boyle

Yes, but nothing like as fast as that, as the hon. Member knows very well. It is also relevant to say that, whatever criticisms can be made of the present Government's policies, nobody can say that the direct taxpayer paying progressive direct taxation has not financed his fair share of Government expenditure during the 1950s. As my right hon. and learned Friend pointed out, under the present Government the share of direct Income Tax and Surtax in the revenue has risen during the 1950s. It is always relevant to remember that for 1961–62 the total contribution by Health Service contributions to the total cost of the National Health Service will be £148 million. whereas the contribution from the Exchequer will be £600 million. No one could possibly say that the taxpayer is not paying his full share—and a very good share-of the cost of the National Health Service.

I am sorry that the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) is not here. He made a very agreeable speech. Indeed, at one moment he came to the rescue of my right hon. and learned Friend. The hon. Member produced one final argument for the Amendment. He said that he thought, at any rate as regards senior Ministers, though he was careful to exclude junior Ministers, that there might be new minds on the Treasury Bench in 1962. I can only say—this is a serious point—that the decision to introduce the Bill and step up the flat-rate contribution by this moderate amount is a decision of the Government. In view of the economic facts I mentioned earlier, I can see no reason for supposing that the Government will take a different view of the matter in a year's time.

Nobody ever supposed that the Bill would be popular. I believe that in a year's time, as today, it will be regarded by ordinary families in this country, enjoying the greatly improved standards of social service in this country, as a not unreasonable Bill.

Those are the main points which have been raised by hon. Members. We have debated the Amendment now for two and three-quarter hours. I make no complaint of that. However, there is a great deal still to do on the Bill. There are two more Amendments on this Clause. We can then debate the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." The real guts of the controversy on the Bill will clearly come when we reach the First Schedule. Therefore, I express the hope to hon. Members opposite that if we have a fairly short further debate on the Amendment the time will not be far distant when the Committee will feel able to make a decision on it.

7.15 p.m.

Mr. Hilton

We on this side of the Committee are very disappointed at the reply given by the Financial Secretary. We consider this to be a very fair and moderate Amendment. We think that it should not have been very difficult for the hon. Gentleman to have accepted it. We agree with one remark made by the Financial Secretary. He said that the Government did not expect this Measure to be popular. He knows just how unpopular it is with us on this side of the Committee and with the majority of the people.

I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the Committee are in agreement about one thing, namely, that more money must and should be spent on hospitals. We all agree that this is long overdue. Our hospitals have been too long neglected. We are told that £5 million is to be earmarked this year for hospital work. We on this side would not complain if a far greater sum had been allocated for this purpose, because we believe that it is badly needed.

During the next year the Government propose to raise about £50 million, or ten times the £5 million which is to be used for hospital purposes. We on this side would have no complaint if all the £50 million were to be spent next year on hospital modernisation or rebuilding. We know that that is not the intention. It is proposed to raise this £50 million by increased National Health insurance charges at a flat rate. That is one of the points where we disagree with the Government that this should be a flat rate tax.

In recent days we have been discussing other aspects of the Government's proposals on the Health Service, which they seem determined to undermine. I do not want to get out of order, Sir William, but the doubling of the prescription charges, as we know, hits most of all—

The Deputy-Chairman

I do not at all wish to have to call the hon. Member to order, but if he could come closer to the Amendment, I think we should do better.

Mr. Hilton

I was just saying that the increased prescription charges hit the lowest-paid worker the hardest, and this flat-rate tax will do exactly the same.

Mr. Wilkins

All the more so because it will hit him every week.

Mr. Hilton

Yet, it will hit him every week. I do not want to cover ground which has been traversed already, but I hope the Committee will understand that I represent a truly rural constituency where the majority of workers are the lowest paid. The majority of workers in my constituency are farm workers whose minimum wage is £8 9s. a week.

Division No. 68. AYES 7.23 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Cordie, John Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Corfield, F. V. Hare, Rt. Hon. John
Allason, James Costain, A. P. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)
Arbuthnot, John Coulson, J. M. Harris, Reader (Heston)
Atkins, Humphrey Craddock, Sir Beresford Harrison, Brian (Maidon)
Balniel, Lord Critchley, Julian Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Barber, Anthony Crosthwalte-Eyre, Col. O. E. Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)
Barlow, Sir John Cunningham, Knox Henderson-Stewart, Sir James
Barter, John Curran, Charles Hendry, Forbes
Botsford, Brian Currie, G. B. H. Hicks Beach, Mal. W.
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Dalkeith, Earl of Hiley, Joseph
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Dance, James Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Bell, Ronald Deedes, W. F. Hill, Mrs. Evellne (Wythenshawe)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) de Ferranti, Basil Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Cos & Fhm) Digby, Simon Wingfield Hirst, Geoffrey
Berkeley, Humphry Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Holland, Philip
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) Doughty, Charles Hollingworth, John
Bldgood, John C. Drayson, G. B. Hopkins, Alan
Biggs-Davison, John du Cann, Edward Hornby, R. P.
Bishop, F. P. Duncan, Sir James Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)
Bourne-Arton, A. Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Howard, John (Southampton, Test)
Box, Donald Eden, John Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hughes-Young, Michael
Boyle, Sir Edward Elliott, R. W. (N'wc'stle-upon-Tyne, N.) Hulbert, Sir Norman
Braine, Bernard Emmet, Hon Mrs. Evelyn Hurd, Sir Anthony
Brewis, John Errington, Sir Eric Hutchison, Michael Clark
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Brooman-White, R. Farey-Jones, F. W. Jackson, John
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Farr, John James, David
Bryan, Paul Fell, Anthony Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Bullard, Denys Fisher, Nigel Jennings, J. C.
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)
Burden, F. A. Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Butler, Rt. Hn. R.A.(Saffron Walden) Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Johnson Smith, Geoffrey
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Gammons, Lady Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)
Campbell, Cordon (Moray & Nairn) Gardner, Edward Joseph, Sir Keith
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Gibson-Watt, David Kerans, Cdr. J. S.
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Channon, H. P. G. Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Kershaw, Anthony
Chataway, Christopher Goodhart, Philip Kimball, Marcus
Chichester-Clark, R. Goodhew, Victor Kirk, Peter
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Gower, Raymond Lagden, Godfrey
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Grant, Rt. Hon. William Lambton, Viscount
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. Leavey, J. A.
Cleaver, Leonard Green, Alan Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Cole, Norman Gresham Cooke, R. Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Cooper, A. E. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Lindsay, Martin
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Gorden, Harold Linstead, Sir Hugh
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hall, John (Wycombe) Litchfield, Capt. John

Is it fair that this should be a flat-rate tax?

Mr. Nabarro

Perfectly fait

Mr. Hilton

Tenpence a week for the hon. Member for Kidderminster might be fair—

Notice taken that 40 Members were not present;

Committee counted, and, 40 Members being present——

Mr. Hilton

I am pleased to note that my speech—

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Martin Redmayne)

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 265, Noes 214.

Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Pearson, Frank (Ciltheroe) Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Longbottom, Charles Percival, Ian Tapsell, Peter
Longden, Gilbert Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Loveys, Walter H. Pilkington, Sir Richard Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Pitman, I. J. Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Pitt, Miss Edith Teeling, William
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Pott, Percivall Temple, John M.
MacArthur, Ian Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Price, David (Eastleigh) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.) Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold(Bromley) Prior, J. M. L. Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Macmillan, Maurice (Hallfax) Prier-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Maddan, Martin Proudfoot, Wilfred Turner, Colin
Maginnis, John E. Quennell, Miss J. M. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Maitland, Sir John Ramsden, James Tweedsmuir, Lady
Marshall, Douglas Rawlinson, Peter van Straubenzee, W. R.
Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Vane, W. M. F.
Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Rees, Hugh Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald Rees-Davies, W. R. Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Mawby, Ray Renton, David Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Wall, Patrick
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Ridsdale, Julian Ward, Dame Irene
Mills, Stratton Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Montgomery, Fergus Robson Brown, Sir William Watts, James
More, Jasper (Ludlow) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Webster, David
Morgan, William Roots, William Wells, John (Maidstone)
Morrison, John Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Whitelaw, William
Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Russell, Ronald Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Nabarro, Gerald Scott-Hopkins, James Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Neave, Airey Seymour, Leslie Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Sharples, Richard Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Noble, Michael Shaw, M. Wise, A. R.
Nugent, Sir Richard Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Smithers, Peter Woodhouse, C. M.
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher Woodnutt, Mark
Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Stevens, Geoffrey Woollam, John
Osborne, Cyril (Louth) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Worsley, Marcus
Page, John (Harrow, West) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Partridge, E. Studholme, Sir Henry TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Peel and Mr. Finlay.
NOES
Abse, Leo Driberg, Tom Hunter, A. E.
Ainsley, William Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Albu, Austen Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Hynd, John (Attercliffe)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Edelman, Maurice Irving, Sydney (Dartford)
Awbery, Stan Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Janner, Sir Barnett
Bacon, Miss Alice Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Evans, Albert Jeger, George
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Fernyhough, E. Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.) Finch, Harold Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Benson, Sir George Fitch, Alan Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Blyton, William Fletcher, Eric Jones, Elwyn (West Ham. S.)
Boardman, H. Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Forman, J. C. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Bowles, Frank Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Kelley, Richard
Boyden, James Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Kenyon, Clifford
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. George, Lady MeganLloyd (C'rm'rth'n) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Brockway, A. Fenner Ginsburg, David King, Dr. Horace
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Gooch, E. G. Lawson, George
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Ledger, Ron
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Gourlay, Harry Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Callaghan, James Greenwood, Anthony Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Grey, Charles Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)
Chetwynd, George Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)
Collick, Percy Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Loughlin, Charles
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Gunter, Ray Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) McCann, John
Cronin, John Hamilton, William (West Fife) MacColl, James
Crosland, Anthony Hannan, William McInnes, James
Crossman, R. H. S. Hart, Mrs. Judith McKay, John (Wallsend)
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Hayman, F. H. McLeavy, Frank
Darling, George Herbison, Miss Margaret MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Hill, J. (Midlothian) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Hilton, A. V. Manuel, A. C.
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Holman, Percy Mapp, Charles
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Holt, Arthur Marsh, Richard
Deer, George Houghton, Douglas Mason, Roy
de Freitas, Geoffrey Howell, Charles A. Mayhew, Christopher
Delargy, Hugh Hoy, James H. Mellish, R. J.
Diamond, John Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Mendelson, J. J.
Dodds, Norman Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Millan, Bruce
Donnelly, Desmond Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Milne, Edward J.
Mitchlson, G. R. Reid, William Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Monslow, Walter Reynolds, G. W. Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Moody, A. S. Rhodes, H. Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Morris, John Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Moyle, Arthur Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Thornton, Ernest
Mulley, Frederick Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Tommy, Frank
Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip(Derby, S.) Ross, William Wade, Donald
Oliver, G. H. Royle, Charles (Salford, West) Wainwright, Edwin
Oram, A. E. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Warbey, William
Oswald, Thomas Silverman, Julius (Aston) Watkins, Tudor
Owen, Will Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Weitzman, David
Padley, W. E. Skellington, Arthur Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Paget, R. T. Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield) White, Mrs. Eirene
Pargiter, G. A. Small, William Whitlock, William
Parker, John (Dagenham) Smith, Ellie (Stoke, S.) Wigg, George
parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.) Sorensen, R. W. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Pavitt, Laurence Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Wilkins, W. A.
Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Spriggs, Leslie Willey, Frederick
Peart, Frederick Steele, Thomas Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Pentland, Norman Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw:
Popplewell, Ernest Stonehouse, John Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Prentice, R. E. Stones, William Winterbottom, R. E.
Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Probert, Arthur Swain, Thomas Woof, Robert
proctor, W. T. Swingler, Stephen Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Sylvester, George Zilliacus, K.
Randall, Harry Symonds, J. B.
Rankin, John Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Redhead and Dr. Broughton

Question put accordingly, That those words be there inserted:—

Division No. 69.] AYES [7.34. p.m.
Abse, Leo Edelman, Maurice Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Ainsley, William Edwards, Robert (Bliston) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Albu, Austen Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Evans, Albert Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Awbery, Stan Fernyhough, E. Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Bacon, Miss Alice Finch, Harold Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Fitch, Alan Kelley, Richard
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Fletcher, Eric Kenyon, Clifford
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.) Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Benson, Sir George Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) King, Dr. Horace
Blyton, William Forman, J. C. Lawson, George
Boardman, H. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Ledger, Ron
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Ginsburg, David Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Bowles, Frank Gooch, E. G. Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)
Boyden, Jamee Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Gourlay, Harry Loughlin, Charles
Brockway, A. Fenner Greenwood, Anthony Mahon, Dr. J. Dickson
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Grey, Charles McCann, John
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) MacColl, James
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Griffiths, W. (Exchange) McInnes, James
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Gunter, Ray McKay, John (Wallsend)
Callaghan, James Halt, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) McLeavy, Frank
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Hamilton, William (West Fife) MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)
Chetwynd, George Hannan, William Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Collick, Percy Hart, Mrs. Judith Manuel, A. C.
Corbel Mrs. Freda Hayman, F. H. Mapp, Charles
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Herbison, Miss Margaret Marsh, Richard
Cronin, John Hill, J. (Midlothian) Mason, Roy
Crosland, Anthony Hilton, A. V. Mayhew, Christopher
Crossman, R. H. S. Holman, Percy Mellish, R. J.
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Holt, Arthur Mendelson, J. J.
Darling, George Houghton, Douglas Millan, Bruce
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Howell, Charles A. Milne, Edward J.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Hoy, James H Mitchison, G. R.
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Monslow, Walter
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Moody, A. S.
Deer, George Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Morris, John
de Freitas, Geoffrey Hunter, A. E. Moyle, Arthur
Delargy, Hugh Hynd, H. (Accrington) Mulley, Frederick
Diamond, John Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Dodds, Norman Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Phillp(Derby, S.)
Donnelly, Desmond Janner, Sir Barnett Oliver, G. H.
Drlberg, Tom Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Oram, A. E.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Jeger, George Oswald, Thomas
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Owen, Will

The Committee divided: Ayes 215, Noes 267.

Padley, W. E. Silverman, Julius (Aston) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Paget, R. T. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Wade, Donald
Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Skefington, Arthur Wainwright, Edwin
Pargiter, G. A. Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Warbey, William
Parker, John (Dagenham) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield) Watkins, Tudor
Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.) Small, William Weitzman, David
Pavitt, Laurence Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Sorensen, R. W. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Peart, Frederick Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank White, Mrs. Eirene
Pentland, Norman Spriggs, Leslie Whitlock, William
Popplewell, Ernest Steele, Thomas Wigg, George
Prentice, R. E. Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Stonehouse, John Wilkins, W. A.
Probert, Arthur Stones, William Willey, Frederick
Proctor, W. T. Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall) Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Swain, Thomas Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Randall, Harry Swingler, Stephen Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Rankin, John Sylvester, George Winterbottom, R. E.
Reid, William Symonds, J. B. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Reynolds, G. W. Talbot, John E. Woof, Robert
Rhodes, H. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Taylor, John (West Lothian) Zilliacus, K.
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.) Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline) TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Ross, William Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.) Dr. Broughton and
Royle, Charles (Salford, West) Thornton, Ernest Mr. Redhead.
Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Tourney, Frank
NOES
Agnew, Sir Peter Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Cunningham, Knox Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)
Allason, James Curran, Charles Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)
Arbuthnot, John Currie, G. B. H. Hirst, Geoffrey
Atkins, Humphrey Dalkeith, Earl of Holland, Philip
Balniel, Lord Dance, James Hollingworth, [...]ohn
Barber, Anthony Deedes, W. F. Hopkins, Alan
Barlow, Sir John de Ferranti, Basil Hornby, R. P.
Barter, John Digby, Simon Wingfield Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)
Batsford, Brian Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Howard, John (Southampton, Test)
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Doughty, Charles Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Drayson, G. B. Hughes-Young, Michael
Bell, Ronald du Cann, Edward Hulbert, Sir Norman
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Duncan, Sir James Hurd, Sir Anthony
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Got & Fhm) Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Hutchison, Michael Clark
Berkeley, Humphry Eden, John Irvine, Bryant Codman (Rye)
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Jackson, John
Bidgood, John C. Elliott, R. W. (N'wc'stle-upon-Tyne, N.) James, David
Biggs-Davison, John Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Bishop, F. P. Errington, Sir Eric Jennings, J. C.
Bourne-Arton, A. Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)
Box, Donald Farey-Jones, F. W. Johnson, Erie (Blackley)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Farr, John Johnson Smith, Geoffrey
Boyle, Sir Edward Fell, Anthony Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)
Braine, Bernard Finlay, Graeme Joseph, Sir Keith
Brewis, John Fisher, Nigel Kerans, Cdr. J. S.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Brooman-White, R. Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Kershaw, Anthony
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Kimball, Marcus
Bryan, Paul Gammans, Lady Kirk, Peter
Bullard, Denys Gardner, Edward Lagden, Godfrey
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Lambton, Viscount
Burden, F. A. Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Leavey, J. A.
Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Goodhart, Philip Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Goodlhew, Victor Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Gower, Raymond Lindsay, Martin
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Grant, Rt. Hon. William Linstead, Sir Hugh
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. Litchfield, Capt. John
Channon, H. P. G. Green, Alan Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)
Chataway, Christopher Gresham Cooke, R. Longbottom, Charles
Chichester-Clark, R. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Longden, Gilbert
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Gurden, Harold Loveys, Walter H.
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hall, John (Wycombe) Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby
Clarke, Brig. Terence(POrtsmth, W.) Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Lucas, Sir Jocelyn
Cleaver, Leonard Hare, Rt. Hon. John Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Cole, Norman Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) MacArthur, Ian
Cooper, A. E. Harris, Reader (Heston) McLaren, Martin
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)
Cordle, John Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)
Corfield, F. V. Henderson, John (Cathcart) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)
Costain, A. P. Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Coulson, J. M. Hendry, Forbes Maddan, Martin
Craddock, Sir Beresford Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Maginnis, John E.
Critchley, Julian Hiley, Joseph Maitland. Sir John
Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Prior, J. M. L. Temple, John M.
Marshall, Douglas Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Proudfoot, Wilfred Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald Quennell, Miss J. M. Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Mawby, Ray Ramsden, James Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Rawlinson, Peter Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Turner, Colin
Mills, Stratton Rees, Hugh Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Montgomery, Fergus Rees-Davies, W. R. Tweedsmuir, Lady
More, Jasper (Ludlow) Renton, David van Straubenzee, W. R.
Morgan, William Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Vane, W. M. F.
Morrison, John Rldsdale, Julian Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Mott-Radclyfte, Sir Charles Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeler) Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Nabarro, Gerald Robson Brown, Sir William Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Heave, Airey Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Wall, Patrick
Nicholson, sir Godfrey Roots, Wllllam Ward, Dame Irene
Noble, Michael Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Nugent, Sir Richard Russell, Ronald Watts, James
Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Scott-Hopkins, dames Webster, David
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Seymour, Leslie Wells, John (Maidstone)
Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Sharpies, Richard Whitelaw, William
Osborne, Cyril (Louth) Shaw, M. Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Page, John (Harrow, West) Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Partridge, E. Smithers, Peter Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Peel, John Stevens, Geoffrey Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Percival, tan Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Wise, A. R.
Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Pilkington, Slr Richard Studholme, Sir Henry Woodhouse, C. M.
Pitman, t. J. Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury) Woodnutt, Mark
Pitt, Miss Edith Tapsell, Peter Wooliam, John
Pott, Percivall Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Worsley, Marcus
Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Price, David (Eastleigh) Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.) Teeling, William Mr. Gibson-watt and
Mr. F. Pearson.
Mr. Ross

I beg to move, in page 2, line 15, to leave out "Treasury" and to insert: Minister of Health and the Secretary of State". I am very glad, Sir William, that you saw fit to call me on this occasion and give me the opportunity of making one or two comments on an Amendment. I am very glad, too, that the Patronage Secretary is present, because if I had felt any deep feelings about the Amendment before I feel them even more deeply now, recollecting that the right hon. Gentleman is one of the Lords of the Treasury.

Mr. Redmayne

indicated dissent.

Mr. Ross

The right hon. Gentleman should be.

7.45 p.m.

I suggest, Sir Herbert, that we might discuss at the same time the Amendment in line 15, after "may" to insert "jointly".

The Temporary Chairman (Sir Herbert Butcher)

indicated assent.

Mr. Ross

That will restore the position concerning the appointed day to what it was in the original Act of 1957. There are various references throughout the Bill to the principal Act, Section 6 of which states that 'the appointed day' means such day as the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State may jointly appoint by order made by statutory instrument". For some reason, on this occasion, in exactly the same kind of Bill, which is the successor and amender of the original Act, we have the change that the appointed day must be decided by the Treasury. We are entitled to know the reason. Was it that the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland could not be trusted to pick a suitable date? Have they in any way, in the last two Acts of Parliament, made a mess of it? Did they pick the wrong day? There must be a serious reason for a change like this. It is a legislative insult to two right hon. Gentlemen, one of whom is a member of the Cabinet. I wonder what the Secretary of State for Scotland felt about this when told that he was not to participate in the decision as to which day was the appointed day.

We are left with the position that the appointed day will be the business of the Treasury rather than of these two Ministers, who are two people we know. They are Ministers. Whatever the Treasury is, it is not a Minister. I always thought that the Treasury was a Department. How a Department as such can fix the appointed day, I do not know. Had it been the Chancellor of the Exchequer, we could have understood. Had it been the Prime Minister, who is First Lord of the Treasury, we could have understood. But it is the Treasury.

At this important point, before we are duly closured, we might ask the Financial Secretary to the Treasury exactly what the Treasury is. How can this Department supersede two Ministers whom we know well? It may be that the Government will accept the Amendment. When it is appreciated that the representatives of the Treasury on the Government Front Bench will be fairly busy over the next few weeks and months, it might be as well for them to shed the load of their responsibilities and give it to the Secretary of State for Scotland.

The Secretary of State for Scotland might well ask, "Why me?" I am not usually the kind of person to give the right hon. Gentleman further responsibilities, but this time, despite his Hughie Long propensities, I am prepared to trust him alongside the Minister of Health. I am sure that he would look after our interests. Despite our difficulties in that respect, we prefer the right hon. Gentleman to a board, which is what the Treasury is. It certainly used to be a board. Perhaps we shall get enlightenment about this. It certainly used to be. It became one quite a long time ago.

There was at one time a Treasurer in the Treasury but then he disappeared. The Board used to meet, I gather, with the Sovereign in the chair, and in the eighteenth century when George III surrendered the royal revenues the Board met without him. Gradually it became less formal, and now, I believe, the Board does not meet at all, despite the fact that there are important people who are members of it. There is the First Lord of the Treasury who is the Prime Minister and there are the other Lords of the Treasury, some of whom sit on the Front Bench as Whips. Which of them is the Treasury I do not know. Perhaps we can be told why this important change is being made.

Is it that the great pretence about the original Bill having something to do with the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland and the services which they represent in this Chamber is being dropped and the Treasury is operating here instead of these Ministers? Is it purely and simply a recognition of what we on this side of the Committee have already stated?

Is it a recognition of our argument that this is not legislation properly related to the Health Service but purely a matter of raising money? Is it the case that despite the fact that in 1957, when we passed the principal Act, we had this pretence about the Health Service and the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland representing the Health Department of the Scottish Office were named in the Bill in connection with regulations and the appointed day, they are now being dropped out?

Why have we the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, accompanied as he has been for a good part of today by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, actually conducting the Bill through Committee? Is this a proclamation to the country that this Bill is really a little Budget? Does it strengthen our argument about the way in which these things have been done?

If the Financial Secretary is to refute this suggestion of mine, I urge him to accept the Amendment in order to show that the two Ministers, who will supposedly be the direct beneficiaries on behalf of the Health Service in England and Wales and in Scotland, are still concerned with the Bill and that he is prepared to let them fix the appointed day.

Mr. Willis

I am amazed at the way the Government seem to be determined to delay the passing of the Bill by failing to listen to the very eloquent pleas of my hon. Friends and by the failure of any right hon. Gentlemen opposite to jump to the Dispatch Box and accept the Amendment. I cannot see why, after listening to this argument, the Government should oppose the Amendment.

I support the Amendment for the reasons given by my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross). I also support it with great enthusiasm because I do not like seeing the Secretary of State for Scotland robbed of any of his powers. We want more power in Scotland, not less. I should have thought that the tendency of legislation and administrative activity during the past ten to fifteen years had been towards giving Scotland greater control over her own affairs.

I do not know whether the Secretary of State for Scotland has acquiesced in the changes made in the Bill, because this is not the only change made in the Bill which takes powers from him. I can see the right hon. Gentleman now holding earnest converse with his minion, the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. I hope that they are getting their ideas into order on why they have accepted this change.

Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

I hope that my hon. Friend gives credit to the Secretary of State and the Joint Under-Secretary. All afternoon my hon. Friends have been pleading that the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Gentleman should be present. Now that they are present I hope that my hon. Friend gives them due credit.

Mr. Willis

I am delighted to see the Secretary of State for Scotland. He knows that there is nothing I welcome so much than the opportunity to see his handsome figure stretched along the Front Bench opposite. It gives me great delight. We have also the additional pleasure of talking to the man whose powers are being taken away from him.

Mr. Ellis Smith

And whose name is on the Bill.

Mr. Willis

Yes. The right hon. Gentleman is one of the sponsors of the Bill.

I do not know when the debate will be finished, but I hope that before it is ended we shall have a contribution from the Secretary of State. The right hon. Gentleman knows how we welcome his contributions His lucid explanations are always looked forward to greatly, at least by me, and I think by other hon. Members. I hope that he will tell us whether he willingly acquiesced in having his powers taken from him and whether in future we are to expect a further transfer of powers from St. Andrew's House to the Treasury.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Where is St. Andrew's House?

Mr. Willis

I might be out of order if I tried to explain that to my hon. Friend. It is in the finest and most beautiful city in the country.

Mr. Loughlin

Is my hon. Friend referring to Stoke-on-Trent?

Mr. Willis

I was talking about the modern Athens, the city of light and learning. If my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) walks far enough along Princes Street he will reach St. Andrew's House. [An HON. MEMBER: "Really? "] Certainly, if he goes past the Post Office. I am getting into a topographical discourse rather than into a discourse on the merits of the Amendment and I apologise for that.

I cannot understand why the Secretary of State should allow himself to be robbed of his powers. We are increasing these contributions to meet increasing expenditure on hospitals. As I understand it, that is the purpose of the Bill. Surely the person who understands what is being spent on hospitals in Scotland and when it is being spent is the Secretary of State for Scotland. I do not know what the Financial Secretary to the Treasury knows about hospital building in Scotland.

Mr. G. Thomas

Nothing at all.

Mr. Willis

I do not suppose that the Financial Secretary has the foggiest idea of what is going on there. I do not suppose he has the foggiest idea about Scotland. I am sure that he does not know what is going on in the hospital building programme in Scotland. I can assure him, however, that it is not very much.

The Secretary of State for Scotland is the man in charge of this programme. He therefore ought to be the person who decides when he wants the money. It might be that because of factors which are outwith his control the programme might be delayed. We might not start on the proposed new buildings when we expect to start on them, but the only persons who know all this are the Secretary of State and his Joint Under-Secretary.

Mr. G. Thomas

Who is the right hon. Gentleman's Joint Under-Secretary?

Mr. Willis

I am surprised that a Chairman of Committees should tempt me to get out of order.

The Secretary of State is the man who knows all about this and it seems to me natural that he should be the man to decide when he wants the money. He should, therefore, be the person, jointly, of course, with the English Minister, who is in a corresponding position for England and Wales. He should be the man who, jointly with the Minister of Health, decides when the Government shall start collecting this money. That seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable proposition. I cannot see anything wrong with it. But instead of that, we have this business of the Treasury.

8.0 p.m.

Whenever I see the word "Treasury" in a Bill it arouses within my breast the deepest suspicions and fears. I ask myself: Why this sinister change?—because that is what it is, a sinister change. What has happened in the past? Have the Secretary of State and the Minister of Health fallen down on their jobs? Are we to understand from this change that these two Ministers are incompetent, that they have failed to discharge their responsibilities adequately and properly in the past? I am sometimes critical of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State, but I would not go quite as far as apparently the Government go. I have great affection for the Secretary of State; he knows that.

Mr. Gower

Has the hon. Gentleman never heard of one Department acting as an agent for another? Does he object to the Post Office acting as agent for the Ministry of Pensions?

Mr. Willis

I do not know whether the hon. Member is suggesting that the Post Office should fix the date. I do not want the Post Office to fix the date. All I am suggesting is that the Ministers who fix this date should be the Ministers in charge of the Departments responsible for the work which, we are told, this money is for. That seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable proposition.

Mr. Ellis Smith

That may be all right for Scotland, but not for Wales.

Mr. Willis

I do not think that my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) would want the Post Office to take charge of the Health Service in Wales.

Mr. G. Thomas

I hope that my hon. Friend will never be misled into thinking that the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) speaks for Wales.

Mr. Willis

I think that the Welsh people, by and large, are a bit more independent-minded than the hon. Member for Barry. I was asking whether these Ministers had fallen down on their jobs. Or is there a split in the Government about this? Did the Secretary of State and the Minister of Health say, "We refuse to accept this", and the Cabinet made a decision and said, "All right, in that case we shall get the Treasury to push this through "? We want to be told about some of these matters.

In the course of these debates it has never been made very clear why the Treasury should usurp the functions of the Secretary of State and the Minister of Health for England and Wales. I cannnot see why that should be done. No doubt my hon. Friends representing English constituencies will put the case for England and Wales to the Minister of Health. I should like the Secretary of State to have this power, because we can get at the Secretary of State much more easily than we can get at the Treasury. In other words, the democratic processes work much more effectively through this channel than when it is the very difficult channel of the Treasury.

At least we are able to exert pressure on the Secretary of State. He is more easily available and probably more susceptible to some of these democratic pressures than the Treasury. Personally, I would sooner see the Secretary of State performing this function than the Treasury. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), I hope we shall have a very clear statement of the reason for this change. I hope that we shall not only have a very clear statement but one also of a character likely to satisfy my hon. Friends on this side of the Committee as to the reasons why this change is being made.

Mr. Bence

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis), I can never understand why we have a Department of State which is called the Treasury. I understand that it is composed of the Prime Minister and the Lords of the Treasury. I cannot understand why we have this institution into which the taxes are poured and out of which expenditure is made to various Departments of State and to which, from time to time, we seem to hand powers to decide when, where and how these things shall be done. In almost every Bill, particularly in Scottish legislation, we get the words, "With the consent of the Treasury". The appointed day in this case is such day as the Treasury may appoint. Here again, it still appears to us, and it certainly appears to Scotland, that whatever is done or ought to be done from St. Andrew's House can be done only with the consent of the Treasury in London. That is one of the reasons, I think, why the propaganda of more devolution for Scotland fails to get over.

The people we know in the factories and workshops, in the trade union branches and all sorts of institutions, who read this Bill will see again that the dominant institution, the real controling force, is the Treasury. The Treasury fixes the appointed day when these charges are to be levied. In Scotland we celebrate holidays on days different from those in England and Wales. The Treasury under this Bill may fix as the appointed day a day which is a holiday in Scotland.

Mr. G. Thomas

Or a Sunday in Wales.

Mr. Bence

In a country with its own traditions and background, suitable days for starting something or ending something should be the decision of the Secretary of State for Scotland and not the Treasury. I do not know who these boys are. I understand that the Prime Minister and someone else constitute the Lords of the Treasury, and are themselves the Treasury. We do not want the Prime Minister here to decide what the appointed day shall be in Scotland and how it shall be applied. We want that to be done by the Secretary of State.

We have a great appreciation of the office of the Secretary of State for Scotland. I should perhaps say to my hon. Friends that when we talk about the Secretary of State for Scotland, we should always emphasise that we mean the office, because sometimes one could have a very bad Secretary of State. Therefore, we should emphasise that we are referring to the office and not to the particular person who occupies that office, although I am sure that all my hon. Friends from Scottish constituencies have a very considerable affection for the present Secretary of State for Scotland. I think that it is a natural characteristic, particularly strong in the Scots, to want to help someone, who is not strong, who is beset with powerful forces and in a minority position in the Cabinet.

Here is the Secretary of State oppressed by ruthless men who are determined to screw out of every Scottish working man every penny and every shilling that they can get out of him. In that sense we have tremendous sympathy with the Secretary of State for Scotland and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman's Under-Secretaries will be a little stronger in their support for him and insist that even if English Members of Parliament are prepared to hand over these powers to the Treasury, we are not so prepared in Scotland.

Mr. Thomas

Nor in Wales.

Mr. Bence

I have a sort of dual loyalty.

Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

Hear, hear.

Mr. Bence

I was born in Wales and I know the sturdy independent character of the Welsh people—and I know that they, too, feel that they are too much governed from London and I know that when circles in Wales read Bills of this kind, they once again see power concentrated in the hands of the Treasury and wonder why they have a Minister for Welsh Affairs.

However, I have some advice for my hon. Friends from Wales. I should prefer to have the Treasury appointing a day rather than see the power placed in the hands of the Minister for Welsh Affairs. It would be a disservice to the Welsh people if we passed an Amendment substituting that Minister for the Treasury.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Who is speaking for Northern Ireland?

Mr. Thomas

I will speak for Wales first.

Mr. Bernard Taylor (Mansfield)

In England we have as much objection to this matter being handed over to the Treasury as the Scots have.

Mr. Bence

I have no doubt.

Mr. G. Thomas

My hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) will understand that it is English reserve which prevents English Members from speaking as he is speaking.

Mr. Bence

I must say that I left Wales many years ago to work in London and the Midlands and I have never been conscious of this alleged characteristic of this English reserve.

My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) mentioned Northern Ireland.

The Temporary Chairman

If the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) reads the Amendment, he will see that it does not mention Northern Ireland.

Mr. Bence

I accept your Ruling, Sir Herbert. If there had been a Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, I could have dealt with his position as well as that of the Secertary of State for Sotland.

The Temporary Chairman

Order. The Bill does not extend to Northern Ireland.

Mr. Bence

Then we cannot deal with Northern Ireland. I am sorry about that because that would have given us more scope, but even within the terms of the Amendment, there is plenty of scope for hon. Members to demonstrate to the Government that we must somehow move from this position where we give such dominant control to the Treasury.

The Scottish hon. Members dealing with Bills in the Scottish Grand Committee are constantly referring to this issue and complaining that control rests with the Treasury. Throughout Scotland there is strong antipathy to the fact that the Treasury seems to dominate all legislation. I hope that the Secretary of State for Scotland will give us an assurance that he has done and will continue to do all he can to draw more and more power over Scottish affairs into the Scottish Office in Edinburgh and away from the Treasury, so that he is not always dependent on this frightful Gargantuan monster that devours the incomes of the people—the Treasury in London.

8.15 p.m.

Mr. Ron Ledger (Romford)

I have—

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. G. Thomas

Speak for England.

Mr. Ledger

—no Scottish or Welsh connections and I am sure that the cheers of my hon. Friends are more for the change of nationality than for the particular Member. No doubt they were also for the fact that I shall be more easily understood by the majority of hon. Members. No doubt the Secretary of State will feel that he has earned a little rest in the debate on this Amendment. I have been trying to decide whether this constant reference to him shows a deep affection for him, or just considerable interest. It may be a mixture of the two. At any rate, his actions come under the severest scrutiny of my hon. Friends. I cannot speak for Scottish Members opposite. It may be that the reserve of the English is too much for the Secretary of State, which is why he is now leaving the Chamber.

To be serious, the Financial Secretary can help us considerably by his attitude to this Amendment. Tonight he has shown some sign of willingness to change. I recall that not so long ago he jumped up in Committee of the House after the debate had been proceeding for two hours and said that it was usual for Ministers to jump up to reply after debate in Committee for two hours. We have had some improvement tonight, because he jumped up for the first time after the debate had gone on for two and a half hours. That shows that the Financial Secretary is subject to some wind of change.

The argument on this side of the Committee has been that this appears to us to be a Treasury Bill. The argument from the Government side is that it is a Ministry of Health Bill and that its justification is expenditure on hospitals and other parts of the Health Service. We have tried to draw Government spokesmen into saying exactly what it is that the money is to be spent on. If it is to be spent by the Treasury on matters other than the Health Service, it would be wrong to raise the money in this way and the money ought to be raised in general taxation at the time of the Budget.

The Temporary Chairman

rose

Mr. Ledger

I do not like to argue with the Chair and I am here to learn.

The Temporary Chairman

In that case, I suggest that the hon. Member keeps himself more closely to the Amendment.

Mr. Ledger

That was the exact Ruling I was expecting. It was exceedingly helpful, because I was trying to keep to the Amendment, but I felt that I had to indicate to the Financial Secretary how he could best help us. His attitude to the Amendment will largely decide our attitude to the rest of the Bill. If he rejects the Amendment, he will be saying in effect that this is a Treasury matter, a matter of taxation, and we will then be justified in saying that we do not like this method of taxation with small "Budgets" before the major Budget.

I have something of a problem in this connection. While supporting the Amendment, which asks us to substitute the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland for the Treasury, we are bound to be affected in some degree by the identity of the person who is the Minister of Health. My problem is that it is obvious that the right hon. Gentleman has been brought back into office in order to do the Government's hatchet work. Therefore, there is something in having his name attached to the Bill.

Again, there is the problem that the Financial Secretary, who now represents the Treasury, was himself a kind of Government reject. [Interruption.] I apologise to him. He was not a Government reject. He rejected the Government. But he has been brought back into office again, and we wonder at what price. Although I am supporting the Amendment, I have some reservations about the Minister of Health.

Mr. Willis

If the Amendment were passed, the joint responsibility would be that of the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland. It is quite possible that the benign influence of a Scottish Secretary of State might have some effect on the Minister of Health—it might educate him and make him a little more human.

Mr. Ledger

It may be true that there is a certain influence with which the Secretary of State could affect the Minister, but I gather from the remarks made by my hon. Friends earlier, about the absence of the Secretary of State for most of the time, that they do not think he has enough influence anyway. I am bound, therefore, not to accept the argument put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis).

I was making the point that there is a problem on this side of the Committee in supporting the Amendment, but I have been able to overcome it. Nevertheless, the Financial Secretary should know that we are worried about the influence of the Minister of Health on the Ministry of Health, because we believe that he is in that office primarily to destroy the National Health Service.

On the other hand, there was a time when the Financial Secretary himself showed sufficient principle and courage to reject the Government and their policies. If he could assure us that this was the attitude which he would take in the future, and that he would reject the Government's policy and show his principles, then we might be persuaded in favour of him, as representing the Treasury, in attaching his name to the Bill.

Mr. Marcus Lipton (Brixton)

At the moment there are only three Members present on the opposite benches. They represent Scottish constituencies, and may not altogether be in support of the Government on this issue.

Mr. Ledger

My hon. Friend is right in drawing that matter to our attention. I was astonished when he mentioned the number of hon. Members on the benches opposite, because once again they seem to be on the increase. But I am sure that not only this Committee but the whole country will be pleased to know that at nearly 8.30 p.m. there are seven right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the benches opposite now listening to this discussion.

Finally, I make an appeal to the Financial Secretary. We want to know why he and the Government believe that the Treasury has a primary interest in this Bill as opposed to the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State. It is not because we believe that the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State are more competent than the Treasury that we press this matter, but that we experience far more difficulty in getting information or help from the Treasury than we have so far experienced from the Ministry of Health and the Secretary of State's Department.

Of course, we could be proved wrong, and it may be that the Minister will live up to his form so far and be even more difficult to deal with than the Treasury itself. It is, however, a risk we are prepared to take at this stage, based upon our past experience. I ask the Financial Secretary to try to help us and not to try to go other this matter lightly, as he attempted to do previously this evening. We want to know why it is that he should think that the Treasury has the primary interest in this Bill. His answer may well dictate our attitude to the Amendment.

Mr. G. Thomas

We have so far heard two hon. Members who represent Scottish constituencies and one who represents an outer London constituency—my hon. Friend the Member for Romford (Mr. Ledger). I am a Welshman.

Mr. Lipton

Shame.

Mr. Thomas

I do not want to cast any doubt upon the origins of my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton), but he should realise that I am very proud of mine.

The Minister of Health has sat opposite without giving any indication that he is being moved by the contributions made to this discussion. I cannot help thinking that it is a pity that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has deserted the Financial Secretary. The only one who is left to protext him is the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Mr. Wolrige-Gordon), and he, I believe, is the youngest Member of the House. I know that he will undoubtedly have a badge of courage and is there to protect the Financial Secretary, but we have not heard a word from him yet about this proposal.

Mr. James H. Hoy (Edinburgh, Leith)

He is a P.P.S.

Mr. Thomas

Is he a P.P.S.? Well, if he is not, he will come to it. I hope that the Government will accept the Amendment. It is a reasonable one. It substitutes two important Departments of State for the Treasury. It is not as if we were trying to undermine the general principle of the Bill by this Amendment.

We are being thoroughly reasonable. Let us look at the matter from the point of view of those who come from the Principality of Wales. In Cardiff, which is a very beautiful city, we have a civic centre which is the pride of Europe. People come from all over the world to see it. In that civic centre there is a Ministry of Health building. We have a Welsh Board of Health. This means that we are able to go to Cathays Park in Cardiff and raise questions about the Principality.

Mrs. Slater

But is it not true that this wonderful centre needed a Health Department only because of the sources from which the money came to build it?

Mr. Thomas

My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) is being unworthy of herself. We are very proud of the civic centre. We invite anybody to come—

The Temporary Chairman

The hon. Member, having disclosed his pride, should now return to the terms of the Amendment.

Mr. Thomas

Thank you very much, Sir Herbert. I am sorry, but my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North misled me. I will now keep to the terms of the Amendment. If we replace the Treasury by the Minister of Health it will mean that 'the people of Wales will have a more direct link with those responsible for administering the provisions of the Bill. Why should not we have a direct line of communication with those responsible for fixing the date? I see the Minister of Health reclining on the Front Bench, no doubt gathering strength for the hours to come. Why does not he go 'to the Dispatch Box and fight for his Department and for Wales? We are fighting his battle for him. He should realise that we have much more faith in him than in the Treasury. I am sorry to have to remind the House that the Minister of Health, as well as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is a Welshman.

Mr. Bence

Do not give that away.

8.30 p.m.

Mr.Thomas

I know the Minister of Health, and I know his reputation—but I do not believe it. No man could be as hard as all that. I believe that he is just the one to see that the Welsh people have a fair deal. On many occasions I have been on deputations to the Treasury. Sometimes I have been received by the Financial Secretary—whose appearance is quite deceiving. He has an air of benevolence, but—I do not know how to get in the phrase about the "iron hand", having said that, but that is the position.

Mr. Ellis Smith

If I remember rightly, my hon. Friend used to give the Minister a good name when he was at the Ministry of Education.

Mr. Thomas

Yes, but since then he has strayed from the narrow path—and, as the House knows, I have a very great interest in the narrow path. The Financial Secretary has disappointed me, and I do not like to think that he will be responsible for collecting contributions from the Welsh people.

I now turn to look at the rest of the Department. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is not here now, and I do not like to talk behind anyone's back, especially when he finds out what I have said, but can say of the Chancellor—

Mr. Ellis Smith

Shall we bring him back from dinner?

Mr. Thomas

—that I do not doubt his integrity or his well-meaning intention. But I question his ability to get all that he is asking for from the Principality. The Amendment which has been put down by some of my Scottish friends and my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond) has the full support of the people of Wales. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) is not making one of his occasional visits to the Chamber. He has been the only backbencher opposite who has ventured to interrupt to defend the Government. He is an expert at defending the Government. The Government always look frightened when he stands up, and I sympathise with them. In the absence of the hon. Member for Barry, I must speak for the people of Wales, and I say that we shall be very depressed if the Government stand firm and insist on the Treasury dealing with our people. No one knows better than the Minister of Health—now hiding behind the Financial Secretary—how broad-minded, kindly and tolerant the Welsh people are, but there comes a point beyond which they will resist, and when their ire is aroused it is a case of "Look out!", because there are no better fighters in the world than the Welsh—[Interruption.] I except the Celts—for lending colour to this House and these islands, and for their determination to support this Amendment.

Apart from what my hon. Friends said, I hope that I have said enough to convince the Financial Secretary that wisdom is on our side, that discretion is on our side, and that if he has an interest in his political future he will be on our side.

Dr. King

This is indeed a United Nations appeal. It must be one of the Tare occasions on which an English hon. Member has spoken in a debate, in which Scottish hon. Members have participated, without any hostility from his colleagues.

I want to put to the Financial Secretary a drafting point, a serious political point, and one other point in support of the Amendment.

First, the drafting point. I do not remember seeing in previous Bills the power to introduce a Statutory Instrument given to a Department as distinct from a Minister. If the Treasury is anything, it is a building or a Department. I cannot imagine the Government bringing in a Bill which would say: "On such a day as Education shall appoint", or "On such a day as Agriculture shall appoint" or "On such a day as Transport shall appoint" or "On such a day as Health shall appoint". The responsibility for introducing a Statutory Instrument is always given to a Minister.

It was said of Charles II that he never said a foolish thing and never did a wise one. His defence was that his words were his own but his ants were those of his Ministers. They were not the acts of his Departments. The point of having a Minister to introduce a Statutory Instrument is that he accepts responsibility and can be challenged in the House. We know that the Government are not too anxious to have Ministers in the House of Commons and are moving as many Ministers as they can to another place, but on an important issue like this there ought to be written into the Act the name of the Minister who will introduce the Statutory Instrument.

My second point is a political one. I do not share—at least I have not done during the past months—the view of most of my hon. Friends that the Treasury is a sinister body. My reading of the present situation is that compared with the Minister of Health the Treasury is an angel of light, and he has imposed his will on the Treasury and is demanding these Measures, of which this is the most important.

Mr. Ellis Smith

He is not the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Dr. King

I tread delicately, as Agag did. I never intervene in the relationship between the Secretary of State for Scotland and my hon. Friends.

The case of the Minister of Health is that this instrument which will name the appointed day arises out of the necessity, in the mind of the Minister of Health, that we cannot have the hospitals that he and I believe in unless the poorest diabetics in the country contribute 10d. and prescription money. If that is why the Bill has been brought in, obviously the Minister's name in the Bill ought to be the name that we seek to write in—or at least English hon. Members seek to write in—the Minister of Health.

If the Government do not accept the Amendment, it will appear that what some of us have said on earlier occasions is true, that this Clause has nothing to do with health. It is merely an instrument in the Government's redistribution of the national income. Even if that is so, instead of the word "Treasury" I think we ought to have the name of some Treasury Minister written into the Bill.

I know that again and again when Amendments are moved in Committee the reply from the Government is that they are badly drafted. I appreciate the skill of the Parliamentary draftsmen which I have learned to admire over the years, although I was sceptical about it when I first came to this House. I say to the Minister in all seriousness that if he will accept the spirit of what we are trying to put to him in this Amendment, we should be content if he said that he could not accept the wording because perhaps his Parliamentary draftsman could redraft it in an adequate Parliamentary form.

Mr. Hoy

Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King), I do not think that the skill of the Parliamentary draftsmen is called for on this occasion. I do not think there should be any difficulty about the Minister accepting this Amendment. It is plain, simple, easily understood and has no complications. I cannot hope to emulate the poetic language of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas); when he was trundling the Financial Secretary down that narrow path it became too poetic for me. But I believe that here what is happening is clear, not only to this Committee but to the country.

For the first time the Government are clearly saying that this is not a health matter at all and has nothing to do with the Health Service. Our finances have got into such a state that the Government propose to extract money from the workers by means of a poll tax to make up for the Treasury deficit. That is why the Treasury is mentioned. Tonight we are supposed to be dealing with two Services, and we should remember that. We are discussing two health Measures, one for England and Wales, as represented by the Minister and the other for Scotland, as represented by the Secretary of State for Scotland. Let it be also remembered that there are wide differences even between these two Acts. There are certain services included for Scotland which I could have wished had been obtained for England and Wales.

If that is so, how is it possible for the Treasury to claim this representation? What right has the Treasury to give consent to a contribution for National Insurance? I could have understood the argument better had the Government said they wanted to take away the Secretary of State for Scotland or the Minister of Health, and for those two Departments they would substitute the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance, because it is through the insurance stamp that the contribution is to be made. I am willing to admit that there would be a case for a change of that kind because the Minister was acting as the tax collector. But none of the Ministers concerned are to be involved in this at all.

One of the things which struck me is that if ever there was a stickler for public accountability it is the present Minister of Health. As I recalled last week, the right hon. Gentleman and I served on the Public Accounts Committee for a number of years, and I would pay tribute to the way in which he desired: I examine how the country's money had been spent. I see a difficulty arising out of this. The money is being collected for the purpose, so-called, of providing hospital services, health treatment and so on, and a great many millions are to be collected by this poll tax which the Government are about to impose.

When we come to the Public Accounts Committee there is the Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Scotland or the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Health who are the accounting officers to the Public Accounts Committee set up by this House to be responsible for the nation's money. How do we account for that now that we have to place it before the Treasury? What right will the Treasury have to account for it? The case might arise where there is a fall in income as a result of the change in the date and it will not be the date made by both Health Ministers but by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury. We shall be in great difficulty. I should have thought that even from that point of view, and the point of view of public accountability, the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister of Health ought to have been retained in this Bill.

If we have great suspicion it is because we see the way in which the Government are working. Let is be clearly understood that we are under no delusions about this imposition the Government are foisting on the people of this country. This is a minor Budget. It is something which is common to Tory Governments. They have so many Budgets in the course of the year; they are never content with one. This is a preliminary Budget. Is there any assurance that, having extracted this money from the poorest section of the community, the Government will not take the opportunity when April comes to hand it to their friends who are less deserving of help?

8.45 p.m.

Sir E. Boyle

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Hoy) I thought in the last moments of his speech was in a sense making a speech on the principle of the Bill as a whole. I shall certainly try to answer the points that have been raised by hon. Members opposite. When the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) was speaking, he summed up the position well when he said that the Committee would know of his interest in the narrow path. I shall try to keep to the narrow path in my reply.

The effect of these Amendments would be to transfer to the Health Ministers power given in the Bill to the Treasury to appoint a day when the increased contributions are to come into effect. As I see it, there is no question of the Minister of Health or the Secretary of State for Scotland being put at a disadvantage by this change which is being made in the Bill. I can assure the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) that I should not be opposing the Amendment and defending the Bill if I thought there were any disrespect to the Secretary of State for Scotland. 3 have had the privilege, not only to visit St. Andrew's House, but some of the Scottish museums, and no one has more regard for the Secretary of State or for Scotland than I have. I am not sure that it is always realised by the Committee that the position of the Secretary of State for Scotland as well as the position of the Minister of Health is virtually unchanged by this Bill. That is to say, the two Health Ministers, the Secretary of State for Scotland and the English Minister of Health, will continue to receive and to apply the net yield of this contribution. They will still continue to receive the contribution and, of course, it will be an increased contribution.

In reply to the hon. Member for Rom-ford (Mr. Ledger), whom we welcomed as a relatively new face in these debates —as part of what I might call, I hope without disrespect, the "stage army"—the increased contribution will be a provision in aid to the Health Service so there is no doubt at all as to its being used for the Health Service. The only difference made by this Bill is that whereas on earlier occasions the Health Ministers jointly arranged the day on which the increase in contribution came into effect, the power of appointing the date will lie with the Treasury. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I shall answer that.

The reason for this change is quite understood by the Committee; indeed, I tried to explain it during our Second Reading debate. I then said that I did not want to enter into a prolonged controversy—nor do I now—as to whether, or to what extent, it is proper to refer to the National Health Service contribution as a tax. I believe that there is still a good deal to be said for confining the word "tax" to those Revenue operations that are a means of general financing of the Exchequer—those taxes paid into the Consolidated Fund.

Let me come completely clean with the Committee—and I want to be quite straightforward. This is most certainly a Treasury Bill, and it must be a Treasury Bill. That is to say, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, the Economic Secretary and myself are in charge of it. It is a Treasury Bill, and I wish to make that absolutely clear. The Government have felt, I think rightly, that the proposal we are discussing in the Bill is so clearly significant in relation to general Government policy in regard to the raising of revenue—[Interruption.]—I said almost exactly the same thing on Second Reading, but perhaps my words escaped the attention of some hon. Members opposite. I am sure they would not have escaped the attention of the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton).

We thought that it was only fair to the House that the Treasury Ministers should bring in the Bill for its Second Reading, and should take charge of it in the Committee stage. It is for that reason, likewise, that the Treasury appoints the day—

Mr. Willis

The hon. Gentleman still does not give the reason for the change.

Sir E. Boyle

I think that it is fairer —since it is a Treasury Bill and Treasury Ministers are making themselves responsible—that the Treasury should appoint the day—

Mr. Ross

The hon. Gentleman will appreciate, of course, that the principal Act to which this refers was claimed to the House as being something entirely different. The Minister who saw it through the House was the Minister of Health. It is all very well for the hon. Gentleman to say it now, bat this is the first time we have had this recognition that this is just blatant taxation in a minor Budget.

Sir E. Boyle

During the Second Reading debate I explained to the House, in answer to 'the hon. Member for Sowerby who asked a question—on the evening when more exciting events took place later—just why we did not introduce these proposals at the time of the Budget. I then gave what I hope was an explicit answer. I said, among other things, that the Government thought it right that my right hon. Friend's proposals should accompany the Vote on Account.

Nevertheless, the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) is quite right. I well remember, for example, the 1957 Act, in relation to which the present Minister of State, Home Office took a leading part in the debates. I also well recall that with the 1958 Act the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) wound up for the Government. Tonight, I want there to be no doubt. The Government think it is fairer, and that it expresses the position more clearly and more realistically, for this Measure frankly to be regarded as a Treasury Bill. That is why the Treasury is the Department that appoints the day.

The hon. Member for Kilmarnock asked why we speak, on the one hand, of the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland, and, on the other hand, of the Treasury. This continuos what the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition calls the educative process. I thought that the hon. Member for Kilmarnock spoke tonight to a class somewhat apathetic— and I do not think that the hon. Gentleman himself seemed quite so interested in the lesson as I have known him on other occasions.

In terms hallowed by tradition, the Treasury is the Lord High Treasurer in Commission; that is to say, the power to appoint the day is exercised by the Lords of the Treasury, who are the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the junior Lords of the Treasury. What, in fact, normally happens is that one of the junior Lords of the Treasury signs the Instrument appointing the day.

I hope that I have answered the questions asked by hon. Members opposite. I cannot advise the Committee to accept the Amendment, and I hope that hon. Members will agree that we might fairly soon come to a conclusion on it.

Mr. Houghton

It is quite obvious from what the Financial Secretary has said that we are now presented with a taxing Bill. Whether it should have a proper place in the general financial and fiscal arrangements of the country is a debatable question, but all pretence has been stripped from this Bill that it has anything to do with health or, for that matter, with the Minister of Health.

I speak as an Englishman, and when I listen to my hon. Friends from Scotland, who claim the Prime Minister as a fellow-countryman—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—I certainly enter no counterclaim, and when my hon. Friends who come from Wales claim the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Minister of Health and probably other Ministers as well, I feel very keenly indeed that the English are a subject people.

The Financial Secretary is always candid with the Committee, and his patience is inexhaustible in giving us instruction on the obscurities and antiquities of our financial arrangements. What I admired about him last night was that he was explaining in a most painstaking way queries raised by some of my hon. Friends as if they wanted to know and as if he wanted them to know. I think that is in the best traditions of the House of Commons. He really maintained the level of integrity and patience in this Committee. He has carried on his customary courtesy this afternoon.

None of us thinks that it will make any difference to the appointed day whether the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland jointly decide what it should be or whether it is left to the Treasury. It will be the same date. We have to have regard to the precedents of the past, and in the House of Commons a precedent is as brains to a man. When we saw that the Minister of Health had been handling the Bill and that the appointed day was to be agreed upon jointly by the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland, we thought that that should be continued.

Now it seems that, unabashed and unashamedly, the Financial Secretary says that this is a way of raising money and that there is no nonsense about it, with the result, I suppose quite logically in the present context of the Bill, that it should be for the Treasury and not the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland jointly to fix the appointed day. I have never believed in this connection that the Minister of Health was what has been described as a "stooge of the Treasury".

The Minister of Health has never been told by the Treasury what to do; the Minister of Health has told the Treasury what to do. He has never been subjugated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has made Chancellors resign, and that is an indication of his strength and influence over Treasury arrangements, so that, whether the appointed day is fixed by the Treasury or by the Minister of Health, who in turn will tell the Secretary of State for Scotland what date it is, I am sure it will be the same.

In these circumstances, we on this side of the Committee cannot regard this as a fundamental Amendment. It is in keeping with the new look of this Bill, and I think that in the days and months ahead, we shall have to consider this type of Bill in its relationship to the general fiscal arrangements. Wherever one goes now and whatever one reads about the Bill, there is a growing acknowledgment that this is a tax. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is admitted."] I know it is admitted, and I am going to reinforce that admission by quoting from a most authoritative source. Mr. Geoffrey Howe is the editor of Crossbow. That is the sort of Fabian Society of the Conservative Party. What Crossbow thinks today the Government will do tomorrow. Mr. Howe said in the Sunday Times on 19th February: But the contribution through the weekly stamp is more and more coming to be regarded as just another tax. And rightly so 9.0 p.m.

In these circumstances, there is no doubt that the control of it quite logically should rest with the Treasury. What we complain about is that, while at the time of the Budget Resolutions and the Finance Bill we have an opportunity of discussing the whole range of general taxation, we shall never have an opportunty of discussing the level of health taxation except when the Government choose to bring a Bill or other instrument before Parliament arising from this Bill.

As has been said by some of my hon. Friends, we may well be deprived of any Parliamentary opportunity of discussing the continuance of these so-called contributions, although we can discuss other forms of taxation which may bear even more lightly on many people than these contributions do.

Sir E. Boyle

This point has been made very often, but I wonder if the hon. Gentleman is right. In any of our annual debates on Income Tax in the context of the tax a man pays it would be perfectly in order to refer to the contribution as well. My recollection is that in the debates on Income Tax, which we have to pass every year, the Chair has usually allowed a fairly wide-ranging discussion on the subject of the distribution of the national income.

Mr. Houghton

I am obliged to the Financial Secretary and I think he is probably right, but there is only the most general discussion on Budget Resolutions. Not all forms of tax may be debated in detail on the Finance Bill. There are some very obscure provisions as to what is in order on the Finance Bill, based on the Money Resolutions. There have been occasions when a Chancellor of the Exchequer has desired to exclude certain taxes from the scope of detailed discussion and Amendment to the Finance Bill, and the Money Resolutions have been drawn accordingly.

Sir E. Boyle

Not Income Tax.

Mr. Houghton

Not Income Tax, because that is a matter of Statute. The standard rate of Income Tax must be discussed. It has certainly been true of Purchase Tax in my own experience. The Financial Secretary will agree that introducing this form of taxation in this way certainly hinders the House of Commons in discussing these contributions in the general context of the financial situation and general taxation.

However, we shall see how we get on. The debates on the Budget and the Finance Bill lie only a short time ahead. Meanwhile, I am bound to acknowledge that the Financial Secretary has made it clear beyond peradventure that the Bill is intended to get money in for the Treasury, and it seems appropriate that the Treasury should fix the date upon which it will levy the increased taxation on the citizen. We know now where the responsibility lies. We hereby acquit the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland of any complicity—

Hon. Members

No.

Mr. Houghton

—in this diabolical scheme. As a matter of order and Statute that seems to be right, whatever moral responsibility we may feel they have. At any rate, it is a good thing in a matter like this to be able to fix the responsibility specifically on the Treasury. It is noteworthy that in this Bill it is the Treasury which has been handling the Bill, and not the Ministry of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland.

The Secretary of State for Scotland is always an enigma to me. I am always puzzled to see how insistent my hon. Friends from Scotland are that he should be present. When he comes they do nothing but pour scorn upon him, and I am a little at a loss to understand the mental processes lying behind that curious treatment of the Secretary of State. However, it is his cross and not mine, and I must leave him to bear it.

Although we shall not ask the Committee to divide on this Amendment, we still feel unable to withdraw it.

The Chairman

Amendment proposed, Clause 1, page 2, line 15, to leave out—

Several Hon. Members

rose

Mr. James MacColl (Widnes)

On a point of order, Sir Gordon. The Financial Secretary made a passing sneer about a stage army. I have been trying to catch the eye of the Chair throughout the debate. I have spoken in none of our recent proceedings on the Health Service, and I suggest, with respect, that it would be reasonable to allow me to speak for a short time.

The Chairman

Yes. Mr. MacColl.

Mr. MacColl

The proceedings on the Bill have been so rapid that I have found it impossible before this to make a helpful contribution to the discussion. I wish to make what I regard as a constitutional point, which leads me, very regretfully, into collision with my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton). I do not agree with him when he says that if this power is given to the Treasury it pins responsibility. That is my complaint, and on that I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King).

A great constitutional authority once said, I think, that the basis of democratic control of Government was that there should be a clearly discernible bottom to kick. In that context, to apply the expression "faceless man" to the Treasury would, perhaps, be inappropriate. Perhaps one might suggest that there is a deficiency at the other extremity. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am sorry that I am not, apparently, carrying my hon. Friends with me in what is an intricate constitutional argument.

The assumption seems to be that the responsible person for this monstrous Bill, who approves of the Bill coming before us, will be the Financial Secretary, but those who listened to the hon. Gentleman will have noted that he very adroitly slid out of that responsibility. He reminded us that the Treasury is in Commission. I do not know whether the last High Treasurer did something like this and lost his head. That may be an explanation of why they went into Commission and never came out of Commission again. I do not know. My history is a little rusty.

At present, the Treasury is in Commission. There is the First Lord of the Treasury who, we know, runs the Treasury nowadays. There is then a satellite called the Chancellor of the Exchequer and after him a group of little men who are called the Junior Lords of the Treasury. The Financial Secretary made it perfectly clear that the person who would sign this dreaded document, the document which will bring this monstrous Bill into operation, is not the First Lord of the Treasury, not the Chancellor of the Exchequer, not even the hon. Gentleman himself, but one of the Junior Lords of the Treasury.

This is my real worry. If we have a Secretary of State or a Minister of Health giving the authority, we have what I should think we ought to have in our Constitution, that is to say, personal responsibility in an accountable Minister.

Who are we to impeach? Are we to have the whole of the Commission of the Treasury in the House of Lords on an impeachment? No individual person will take personal responsibility for this action. One can say what one likes about the Minister of Health. He has his faults, but no one has ever said that he lacks courage or has not the courage of his convictions and was not prepared to leave a rotten Government where they ought to be left. That is what is behind the proposal in the Bill. When the dread moment comes that the pen is put into the hand of the Minister of Health and he is told to sign something that will destroy the Health Service, the Cabinet is afraid that at the last moment he might suddenly feel that he could not do it, because it is common experience in Government Departments that a reactionary Minister who goes into the Department with the idea of wrecking it becomes so keen on it that after a time he becomes one of its strongest supporters.

That has happened before. It might even happen to the Minister of Health. He might say that he refuses to sign this document. But no one thinks that a junior Lord of the Treasury will refuse to sign a document like this. A Junior Lord of the Treasury is a Government Whip. Government Whips may have good qualities. I do not know. I have never had much to do with them. I hope to God that I will never have anything to do with this lot!

Whatever we may say about Government Whips, independence is not a thing which they either encourage or practice. They do not want other people to have independence of judgment or courage. They certainly will not set an example themselves. No Junior Lord of the Treasury will hesitate to sign this document. He will not interrupt his intricate calculations about how many corpses he will have to marshal among his ranks or some of the other technical problems with which he has to deal. He will not interrupt those duties for a moment to sign this document, probably not knowing what he is signing.

Then the Bill comes into operation, and when we call someone to account, the person responsible for it, there will be nobody. [HON. MEMBERS: "Here comes the Closure."] I mentioned the possibility of impeachment. I did not think that I would see the executioner come in with all the instruments for summary execution!

I want to make this point quite seriously because it concerns a very important part of our constitution. I do not believe that an amorphous body which has no individual responsibility, a body which is in commission so that no one person can be held accountable, should be responsible for discharging a grave function of this sort. If the Bill is to be brought into operation by the act of some Minister, it ought to be a Minister who is named in the Bill and who can be held accountable by the Committee and by the country for what he does. It would be shocking to think that we allowed this matter to pass with a very minor Government Minister of no administrative experience and not

Division No. 70.] AYES [9.16. p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Cole, Norman Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)
Allason, James Cooper, A. E. Goodhart, Philip
Arbuthnot, John Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Goodhew, Victor
Atkins, Humphrey Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Gower, Raymond
Balniel, Lord Cordle, John Grant, Rt. Hon. William
Barber, Anthony Corfield, F. V. Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.
Barlow, Sir John Costalin, A. P. Green, Alan
Barter, John Coulson, J. M. Gresham Cooke, R.
Batsford, Brian Craddock, Sir Beresford Grosvenor. Lt.-Col. R. G.
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Critchiey, Julian Gurden, Harold
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hall, John (Wycombe)
Bell, Ronald Cunningham, Knox Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Curran, Charles Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Currie, G. B. H. Harris, Reader (Heston)
Berkeley, Humphry Datkeith, Earl of Harrison, Brian (Maiden)
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) Dance, James Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Bidgood, John C. Deedes, W. F. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Bishop, F. P. de Ferranti, Basil Hastings, Stephen
Black, Sir Cyril Digby, Simon Wingfield Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Bourne-Arton, A. Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Box, Donald Doughty, Charles Henderson-Stewart, Sir James
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Drayson, G. B. Hendry, Forbes
Boyle, Sir Edward du Cann, Edward Hicks Beach, Maj. W.
Brawls, John Duncan, Sir James Hiley, Joseph
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Eden, John Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Brooman-White, R. Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Elliott, R.W. (N 'wc'stle-upon-Tyne, N.) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Bryan, Paul Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hirst, Geoffrey
Bullard, Denys Errington, Sir Eric Holland, Philip
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hollingworth, John
Burden, F. A. Farey-Jones, F. W. Hopkins, Alan
Butter, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden) Farr, John Hornby, R. P.
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Fell, Anthony Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Finlay, Graeme Howard, John (Southampton, Test)
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Fisher, Nigel Hughes-Young, Michael
Carr, Robert (Mitoham) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Hulbert, Sir Norman
Chanson, H. P. G. Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Hurd, Sir Anthony
Chataway, Christopher Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Hutchison, Michael Clark
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Gammons, Lady Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Gardner, Edward Jackson, John
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Gibson-Watt, David James, David
Cleaver, Leonard Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)

responsible for any policy but purely concerned with the duties of a Whip taking this responsibility.

I do not know whether there are any other Bills when the Treasury fixes an appointed day. There may be. In most Bills that I have seen the Secretary of State, the Minister of Housing and Local Government, or somebody of that sort, is mentioned. As I am reminded, in the Licensing Bill the Secretary of State is mentioned. That is a reasonable arrangement, because a responsible Minister, a member of the Cabinet, is available to be questioned, criticised and have votes of censure upon him. It seems to me that to give that responsibility to this body which is in commission is a gross dereliction of our duties as a legislature

9.15 p.m.

Mr. Redmayne

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 265, Noes 212.

Jennings, J. C. Morrison, John Simon, Sir Jocelyn
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Nabarro, Gerald Skeet, T. H. H.
Johnson, Eric (Blaokley) Neave, Airey Smithers, Peter
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Stevens, Geoffrey
Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green) Noble, Michael Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Joseph, Sir Keith Nugent, Sir Richard Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Studholme, Sir Henry
Kerby, Capt. Henry Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Kershaw, Anthony Osborne, Cyril (Louth) Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Kimball, Marcus Page, John (Harrow, West) Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Kirk, Peter Partridge, E. Teeling, William
Lagden, Godfrey Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Temple, John M.
Langford-Holt, J. Peel, John Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Leavey, J A. Percival, Ian Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Piekthorn, Sir Kenneth Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Pilkington, Sir Richard Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Lindsay, Martin Pitman, I. J. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Linstead, Sir Hugh Pitt, Miss Edith Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Litchfield, Capt. John Pott, Perelvall Turner, Colin
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Longbottom, Charles Price, David (Eastleigh) Tweedsmuir, Lady
Longden, Gilbert Prior, J. M. L. van Straubenzee, W. R.
Loveys, Walter H. Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Vane, W. M. F.
Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Proudfoot, Wilfred Vickers, Miss Joan
MacArthur, Ian Quennell, Miss J. M. Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
McLaren, Martin Ramsden, James Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Maelay, Rt. Hon. John Rawlinson, Peter Wall, Patrick
McMaster, Stanley R. Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Ward, Dame Irene
Maomillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Rees, Hugh Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Rees, Davies, W. R. Watts, James
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Renton, David Webster, David
Maddan, Martin Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Wells, John (Maidstone)
Maginnis, John E. Ridsdale, Jullan Whitelaw, William
Maitland, Sir John Rippon, Geoffrey Willilams, Dudley (Exeter)
Manningham-Builer, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Roberts, Sir Peter (Healey) Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Marshall, Douglas Robson Brown, Sir William Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Marten, Neil Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Wise, A. R.
Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Roots, William Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Woodnutt, Mark
Mawby, Ray Russell, Ronald Woollam, John
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan Worsley, Marcus
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Scott-Hopkins, James
Mills, Stratton Seymour, Leslie TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Montgomery, Fergus Sharples, Richard Mr. Chichester-Clark and
More, Jasper (Ludlow) Shaw, M. Mr. J. E. B Hill.
Morgan, William Shepherd, William
NOES
Abee, Leo Darling, George Gunter, Ray
Ainsley, William Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
Albu, Austen Davies, Harold (Leek) Hamilton, William (West Fife)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hannan, William
Awbery, Stan Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Hart, Mrs. Judith
Bacon, Miss Alice Deer, George Hayman, F. H.
Baird, John de Freitas, Geoffrey Herbison, Miss Margaret
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Delargy, Hugh Hill, J. (Midlothian)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Diamond, John Hilton, A. V.
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.) Dodds, Norman Holman, Peroy
Benson, Sir George Donnelly, Desmond Holt, Arthur
Blyton, William Driberg, Tom Houghton, Douglas
Boardman, H. Dugdate, Rt. Hon. John Hoy, James H.
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Edelman, Maurice Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Bowles, Frank Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Boyden, James Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Hunter, A. E.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Evans, Albert Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Brockway, A. Fenner Fernyhough, E. Hynd, John (Attercliffe)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Finoh, Harold Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Fitch, Alan Irving, Sydney (Dartford)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Fletcher, Eric Janner, Sir Barnett
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas
Callaghan, James Forman, J. C. Jeger, George
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)
Chetwynd, George Galtskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Cliffe, Michael George, LadyMeganLfoyd (C' rm' rth'n) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Collick, Percy Ginsburg, David Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Gourlay, Harry Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Cronin, John Greenwood, Anthony Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Crosland, Anthony Grey, Charles Kelley, Richard
Crossman, R. H. S. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Kenyon, Clifford
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
King, Dr. Horace Paget, R. T. Stonehouse, John
Lawson, George Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Stones, William
Ledger, Ron Pargiter, G. A. Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Parker, John (Dagenham) Swain, Thomas
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.) Swingler, Stephen
Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Pavitt, Laurence Sylvester, George
Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Symonds, J. B.
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Peart, Frederick Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Lipton, Marcus Pentland, Norman Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Loughlin, Charles Popplewelf, Ernest Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Prentice, R. E. Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
McCann, John Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Thornton, Ernest
MacColl, James Probert, Arthur Tomney, Frank
McInnes, James Proctor, W. T. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
McKay, John (Wallsend) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Wade, Donald
McLeavy, Frank Randall, Harry Wainwright, Edwin
MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Rankin, John Warbey, William
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Reid, William Watkins, Tudor
Manuel, A. C. Reynolds, G. W. Weitzman, David
Mapp, Charles Rhodes, H. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Marsh, Richard Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Mason, Roy Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) White, Mrs. Eirene
Mayhew, Christopher Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Whitlock, William
Mellish, R. J. Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.) Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Mendelson, J. J. Ross, William Wilkins, W. A.
Milne, Edward J. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Willey, Frederick
Mitchison, G. R. Silverman, Julius (Aston) Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Monslow, Walter Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Moody, A. S. Skeffington, Arthur Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Morris, John Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Winterbottom, R. E.
Moyle, Arthur Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Mulley, Frederick Small, William Woof, Robert
Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip(Derby, S.) Sorensen, R. W. Zilliacus, K.
Oliver, G. H. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Oram, A. E. Spriggs, Leslie TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Oswald, Thomas Steele, Thomas Mr. Howell and Mr. Redhead.
Owen, Will Stewart, Michael (Fulham)

Question put accordingly, That "Treasury" stand part of the Clause:—

Division No. 71.] AYES [9.26 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Chataway, Christopher Fisher, Nigel
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Chichester-Clark, R. Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Allason, James Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)
Arbuthnot, John Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)
Atkins, Humphrey Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Gammons, Lady
Balniel, Lord Cleaver, Leonard Gardner, Edward
Barber, Anthony Cole, Norman Gibson-Watt, David
Barlow, Sir John Cooper, A. E. Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)
Barter, John Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)
Batsford, Brian Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Goodhart, Philip
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Cordle, John Goodhew, Victor
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Corfield, F. V. Gough, Frederick
Bell, Ronald Costain, A. P. Gower, Raymond
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Coulson, J. M. Grant, Rt. Hon. William
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Craddock, Sir Beresford Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.
Berkeley, Humphry Critchley, Julian Green, Alan
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) Crosthwaite-Eyre, Cal. O. E. Gresham Cooke, R.
Bidgood, John C. Cunningham, Knox Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.
Bingham, R. M. Curran, Charles Gurden, Harold
Bishop, F. P. Currie, G. B. H. Hall, John (Wycombe)
Black, Sir Cyril Dalkeith, Earl of Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Bourne-Arton, A. Dance, James Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)
Box, Donald Deedes, W. F. Harris, Reader (Heston)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John de Ferranti, Basil Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Boyle, Sir Edward Digby, Simon Wingfield Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Brawis, John Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Bromley-Davenport, Rt. Col.Sir Walter Doughty, Charles Hastings, Stephen
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Drayson, G. B. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Brooman-White, R. du Cann, Edward Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Duncan, Sir James Henderson-Stewart, Sir James
Bryan, Paul Eden, John Hendry, Forbes
Bullard, Denys Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hicks Beach, Maj. W.
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Elliott, R. W. (N 'wc' stle-upon-Tyne, N.) Hiley, Joseph
Burden, F. A. Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Errington, Sir Eric Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Farey-Jones, F. W. Hirst, Geoffrey
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Farr, John Holland, Philip
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Fell, Anthony Hollingworth, John
Channon, H. P. G. Finlay, Graeme Hopkins, Alan

The Committee divided: Ayes 271, Noes 219.

Hornby, R. P. Mawby, Ray Scott-Hopkins, James
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Seymour, Leslie
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Sharples, Richard
Hughes-Young, Michael Mills, Stratton Shaw, M.
Hulbert, Sir Norman Montgomery, Fergus Shepherd, William
Hurd, Sir Anthony More, Jasper (Ludlow) Simon, Sir Jocelyn
Hutchison, Michael Clark Morgan, William Skeet, T. H. H.
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Morrison, John Smithers, Peter
Jackson, John Mott-Radciyffe, Sir Charles Stevens, Geoffrey
James, David Nabarro, Gerald Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Neave, Airey Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Jennings, J. C. Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Studholme, Sir Henry
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Nugent, Sir Richard Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green) Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Joseph, Sir Keith
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Osborne, Cyril (Louth) Teeling, William
Kerby, Capt. Henry Page, John (Harrow, West) Temple, John M.
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Partridge, E. Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Kershaw, Anthony Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Kimball, Marcus Peel, John Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Kirk, Peter Percival, Ian Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Lagden, Godfrey Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Langford-Holt, J. Pilkington, Sir Richard Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Leavey, J. A. Pitman, I. J. Turner, Colin
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Pitt, Miss Edith Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Pott, Percivall Tweedsmuir, Lady
Lindsay, Martin Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch van Straubenzee, W. R.
Linstead, Sir Hugh Price, David (Eastleigh) Vane, W. M. F.
Litchfield, Capt. John Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.) Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Prior, J. M. L. Vickers, Miss Joan
Longbottom, Charles Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Longden, Gilbert Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Loveys, Walter H. Proudfoot, Wilfred Wall, Patrick
Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Quennell, Miss J. M. Ward, Dame Irene
Lucas-tooth, Sir Hugh Ramsden, James Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
MacArthur, Ian Rawlinson, Peter Watts, James
McLaren, Martin Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Webster, David
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Rees, Hugh Welts, John ([...]aidstone)
McMaster, Stanley R. Rees-Davies, W. R. Whitelaw, William
Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold(Bromley) Renton, David Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Ridadale, Julian Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Maddan, Martin Rippon, Geoffrey Wise, A. R.
Maginnis, John E. Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Maitland, Sir John Robson Brown, Sir William Woodnutt, Mark
Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Woollam, John
Marten, Neil Roots, William Worsley, Marcus
Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Russell, Ronald TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan Mr. Peel and Mr. Noble.
NOES
Abse, Leo Cronin, John George, LadyMeganLloyd (C'rm'rth'n)
Ainstey, William Crosland, Anthony Ginsburg, David
Albu, Austen Crossman. R. H. S. Gooch, E. G.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Cullen, Mrs. Alice Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.
Awbery, Stan Darling, George Gourlay, Harry
Bacon, Miss Alice Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Greenwood, Anthony
Baird, John Davies, Harold (Leek) Grey, Charles
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, w.) Davies, Ifor (Gower) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Griffiths, W. (Exchange)
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonahire, E.) Deer, George Gunter, Ray
Benson, Sir George de Freltas, Geoffrey Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
Blyton, William Delargy, Hugh Hamilton, William (West Fife)
Boardman, H. Diamond, John Hannan, William
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Dodds, Norman Hart, Mrs. Judith
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Donnelly, Desmond Hayman, F. H.
Bowles, Frank Driberg, Tom Herbison, Miss Margaret
Boyden, James Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Hewitson, Capt. M.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Hill, J. (Midlothian)
Brockway, A. Fenner Edelman, Maurice Hilton, A. V.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Holman, Percy
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Holt, Arthur
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Evans, Albert Houghton, Douglas
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Fernyhough, E. Hoy, dames H.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Finch, Harold Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Callaghan, James Fitch, Alan Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Fletcher, Eric Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Chetwynd, George Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Hunter, A. E.
Clife, Michael Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Collick, Percy Forman, J. C. Hynd, John (Attercliffe)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Irving, Sydney (Dartford)
Janner, Sir Barnett Moyle, Arthur Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Mulley, Frederick Spriggs, Leslie
Jeger, George Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Steele, Thomas
Jenkins, Roy (Stechtord) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Phillp (Derby, S.) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Oliver, G. H. Stonehouse, John
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Oram, A. E. Stones, William
Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Oswald, Thomas Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Owen, Will Swain, Thomas
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Padley, W. E. Swingler, Stephen
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Paget, R. T. Sylvester, George
Kelley, Richard Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Symonds, J. B.
Kenyon, Clifford parglter, G. A. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Parker, John (Dagenham) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
King, Dr. Horace Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.) Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Lawson, George Pavitt, Laurence Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Ledger, Ron Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Peart, Frederick Thornton, Ernest
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Pentland, Norman Tomney, Frank
Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Popplewell, Ernest Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Prentice, R. E. Wade, Donald
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Price. J. T. (Westhoughton) Wainwright, Edwin
Lipton, Marcus Probert, Arthur Warbey, William
Loughlin, Charles Proctor, W. T. Watkins, Tudor
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson pursey, Cmdr. Harry Waltzman, David
McCann, John Randall, Harry Wells, Percy (Faversham)
MacColl, James Rankin, John Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
McInnes, James Reid, William White, Mrs. Eirene
McKay, John (Wallsend) Reynolds, G. W. Whitlock, William
MoLeavy, Frank Rhodes, H. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wilkins, W. A.
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigs) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernaevon) Willey, Frederick
Manuel, A. C. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Mapp, Charles Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Marsh, Richard
Mason, Roy Ross, William Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Mayhew, Christopher Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Winterbottom, R. E.
Mellish, R. J. Silverman, Julius (Aston) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Mendelson, J. J. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Woof, Robert
Millan, Bruce Skefington, Arthur Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Milne, Edward J. Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Zilliacus, K.
Mitchison, G. R. Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Monslow, Walter Small, William TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Moody, A. S. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Mr. Howell and Mr. Redhead.
Morris, John Sorensen, R. W.
Mr. G. Thomas

On a point of order, Mr. Blackburn. In view of the shift system that has been adopted by the party opposite, would it be for the convenience of the Committee if the Chief Patronage Secretary now told us when the next shift is coming on?

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. F. Blackburn)

The hon. Member knows the rules of the Committee well enough to know that that is not a point of order.

Mr. Houghton

I beg to move, in page 2, line 15, at end to insert: subject to an affirmative resolution of both Houses of Parliament". This Amendment has a bearing upon the one we have just been discussing. As I read it, Clause 1 (7), provides that although the Treasury may decide the appointed day, it is to be done by order made by Statutory Instrument. I take it from that that the Statutory Instrument that the Treasury would have to present to the House would be subject to what is called the negative procedure—that was to say, it would be open to hon.

Members to pray for the annulment of the Statutory Instrument.

Whether I am right about that or not, we wish, by this Amendment, to pro-vide for the positive procedure, which requires an affirmative Resolution of both Houses of Parliament. That means a specific act of approval, of decision, rather than a Statutory Instrument which will be open to a Prayer for annulment.

We believe that the power to decide the appointed day is being taken out of the hands of the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland jointly, and being put in the hands of this anonymous body called the Treasury, and that the House may retain control over the actions of the Treasury better by providing for an affirmative Resolution than by any alternative means. It is not a particularly profound question, but it is of some importance, and we are anxious to retain the supremacy of Parliament in a position in which the Treasury may fix the date upon which certain taxation shall come into operation. The appointed day is not being fixed by the Bill. The Act will say nothing about the appointed day, except that the Treasury may fix it and follow the prescribed procedure in so doing.

I agree with my hon. Friends who, in the debate that we have just concluded, said that it is desirable for the House to guard carefully against more and more power going into the hands of what is called the Treasury. Although there is apparently a statutory body known as the Treasury, we know that in fact all its operations take place internally, and that not until they are challenged in some way in the House does a Minister take responsibility for them.

We know that it is the Government's intention to fix the appointed day somewhere near 3rd July of this year, and we think that when the Government do so fix the day they should ask the House for an affirmative Resolution to implement the provisions of the Bill. There is one great advantage about this procedure on this Bill at this time, namely, that by the time the affirmative Resolution is ready to be debated in the House we shall know what the Chancellor of the Exchequer is proposing about taxation generally. We shall have seen the shape of the Budget, and we shall have seen the Finance Bill. In fact, we shall have been discussing it for some time before the appointed day, if it is fixed at about 3rd July. I submit that the House would then be in a much better position to decide whether the imposition of this form of poll tax was appropriate in the light of the Chancellor's proposals on taxation generally.

In our earlier debates on the Bill there were many complaints that we are being asked to assent to an increase in flat-rate taxation without knowing what the Chancellor proposes to do in other directions, and it is important that we should know. If the House has before it a Bill which proposes to ease the burden of general taxation in certain directions and to substitute the alternative of a flat-rate tax on the whole community the House is entitled to know all the circumstances in which it is being done, and not to have to decide it merely on a Vote on Account, in the absence of any disclosure by the Chancellor of his Budget proposals.

The Government should join with us in reinforcing the supremacy of the House of Commons on a matter of taxa- tion, and they should be willing to substitute our proposal for an affirmative Resolution. It will not take up much more of the time of the House to do this than to have a Prayer against a Statutory Instrument—if a Prayer is possible. We shall look for enlightenment on that point to the Economic Secretary. If the Statutory Instrument is not subject to the negative procedure and cannot be prayed against, that is all the more reason for accepting the Amendment.

If a Prayer for the annulment of the Statutory Instrument is possible under the Bill as it stands, however, I submit that it would still be far better to have a debate on an affirmative Resolution than on a Prayer to annul a Statutory Instrument. Let this House positively and decisively assent to what is being done and not be put in the humiliating position of having to pray against something which the Treasury is doing.

In those circumstances, I hope that the force of what I have submitted will appeal to the Economic Secretary.

9.45 p.m.

Dr. King

I suggest to the Committee that this is a non-party point in the midst of a very real party struggle which will take place all night. Indeed, I would expect some of the active Tory back benchers to support the Amendment. I remember that, when we were in power, time and again back benchers of the Tory Party insisted that if it were necessary to make an important Regulation or Order it should be made under the affirmative procedure. If my memory serves me rightly, one of the most active of those back benchers was the present Minister of Pensions and National Insurance, and I think that it would be in keeping with political consistency if during this debate he leapt to the support of the Amendment.

I remember that the late Sir Herbert Williams, whose politics were abhorrent to us on this side of the Committee, had one consistent quality. Again and again, he vindicated the right of an elected Member of Parliament to call into question any Regulation or Order which a Minister was carrying out under an Act.

This is the simple issue on the Amendment. Under the negative procedure the Instrument lies on the Table for forty days and the Opposition have to pray against it. It is possible—indeed the fear has grown up in British public life, expressed, as everyone will remember, quite emphatically and eloquently in the book "The New Despotism" some years ago—that Ministers will take unto themselves more power than they should, and will sneak Instruments through the House if those Instruments fall under the negative procedure. But if the Minister is compelled by the enabling Act to come to the House and propose the Instrument, defend it, and explain it, under the affirmative procedure, there is much less chance of Parliament losing its historic task of being a watch-dog to protect the people against the Executive.

In Bill after Bill which comes before the House, and sometimes in Standing Committee, Amendment after Amendment is proposed by back bench Members, often Conservative Members, which would compel the Government to use the affirmative rather than the negative procedure. I appeal to hon. Gentlemen and to the Minister. This is outside the main party tussle which is taking place this evening. The Instrument about which we are talking is sufficiently important to be brought to the House by affirmative Resolution, defended and explained. I hope, therefore, that the Committee will accept the Amendment. We can then get back to the real battle.

Mr. Tudor Watkins (Brecon and Radnor)

I support the Amendment, but for a different reason from that given by my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King). I want the Treasury to have an opportunity to have consultations beforehand. It will take a long time for the Treasury to do it in Wales because there is no representative of the Treasury there, unless there is to be the new appointment of a Junior Lord for Wales.

My experience is that when proposals are made for devolutionary power for Wales the answer always is, "We can go so far, but then we must get in touch with the Treasury on the matter". The Minister would be more guarded if he had to move an affirmative Resolution himself, unless he tried to get it "on the nod" and woe betide him if he tried to do that in respect of the provisions in this Bill.

If a representative of the Treasury wishes to consult an authority in Wales he goes to the Welsh Board of Health which represents the Minister of Health. The Treasury does not know all about health matters, and so the Minister of Health would have to be consulted and would have to go to Wales to consult the Welsh Board of Health. If an affirmative Resolution is passed the Treasury would have to consult the development association and executive council and it is important that these people be consulted. There have been a number of demonstrations against the National Health Service Bill and particularly with reference to the contributions, and therefore the Treasury should be careful to have an affirmative Resolution rather than the negative procedure in that respect. I suggest that an affirmative Resolution would be much more in keeping with what my hon. Friends have said, and I hope that the Minister will accept the Amendment.

Mr. G. Thomas

I rise to support this Amendment with greater confidence than I have supported any Amendment which we have discussed tonight. I feel that the sheer common sense behind this Amendment is bound to appeal to the Economic Secretary, and I am not disappointed at seeing a change in the Minister who is to reply because we have had nothing but negatives from the Government Front Bench up to now. We are putting a good constructive case on this Bill. The whole history of the House of Commons is one of hon. Members from both sides taking care to watch that Parliament controls expenditure and that the House of Commons is master of its own affairs.

It is clear that respect for Parliament is not the monopoly of hon. Members on either side of the Committee. I realise that hon. Members opposite love the House of Commons as much as we do and the longer we are Members of the House the more that feeling gets into our blood. We do not like to see the power of the House of Commons whittled away by the action of any Government. My hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King) referred to those palmy days when the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance, who was then a back bench Opposition Member, used to keep us until the small hours of the morning listening to his speeches, which seemed endless. The right hon. Gentleman was never more eloquent than when he was demanding that the Labour Government of the day should not take power to themselves but require—

Sir Arthur Vere Harvey (Macclesfield)

rose

Mr. Thomas

One moment. The wrong "fish" has risen to the bait. The right hon. Gentleman used to insist that we should have an affirmative Resolution.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Will the hon. Member agree that my right hon. Friend was well justified in what he did because the Attorney-General of that day kept saying, "We are the masters now" and there was every reason to oppose as we did?

Mr. Thomas

It is not for me to talk about people who are in another place. He is welcome to be in that place. I would rather be in this place, but he speaks from the other side in another place.

Sir A. V. Harvey

He is an independent.

Mr. Thomas

I have learned that all independents lean that way.

I was trying to make the point that the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance, whose ability I have never questioned and whose assiduity I have always recognised, is a great asset to his party. It would be wrong to judge him by his present attitude. The right hon. Gentleman is a man of great energy and foresight. He was absolutely right when he insisted that this House must have the power to cast its decision in an affirmative way on propositions of this sort. Why should the House have that power? First, this is a House of experts. I am not saying that the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Sir A. V. Harvey) is an expert in anything, but there are hon. Members on both sides of the Committee who are experts. There are experts on finance on this side. I think of my hon. Friend the Member for Bosworth (Mr. Wyatt) as an expert on finance. I think of the economists that both sides of the Committee can produce—

The Temporary Chairman

Order. We are all enjoying the speech, but it scarcely links up with the Amendment.

Mr. Thomas

Mr. Blackburn, this is the first time—and I am very grateful to you —that the Chair has announced that it has been enjoying a speech of mine.

Why should the House be put into the impossible position of having to pray against acts of the Government? All that would mean would be keeping the Government up at night. Hon. Members know that Prayers always come at the end of the other business when hon. Members are tired and jaded. They cannot bring to their work minds as fresh as they ought to be. The right hon. Gentleman knows that he was always in that state when he had to address the House, but he got over his difficulties

I think my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) who opened for us on this Amendment has given good reason—which I support—for the Committee taking care that the Government do not push themselves too far. I ask hon. Members opposite—especially the newcomers, those who came in at the last election—to be very careful on a question of this sort because it is the power of the House of Commons they are throwing away and they were sent here to protect it. Hon. Members opposite are the custodians of the liberty of the people as much as we are. They should be fighting on a question such as this to protect the rights of the public.

10.0 p.m.

I regret having to take the time of the Committee on this subject, but unfortunately there is not an hon. Member representing a Welsh constituency on the other side who is here to speak for the Welsh people. It is this side of the Committee that has had to do all the fighting tonight on this important Measure. However, as I realise that another ship will soon be coming in, I will conclude. I ask the Economic Secretary to realise that this is his big chance to do the big thing, to do an honourable thing, and to restore to the House that authority to which it is rightly entitled. I support the Amendment.

Mr. Loughlin

I cannot follow my hon. Friends in their arguments on procedure, but this Clause is significant from another angle. You will recall, Mr. Blackburn, that the Financial Secretary has already admitted that this is a Treasury Bill and has nothing at all to do with the Health Service. It is very important to recognise that there is no question of its being anything other than a method of imposing taxation prior to the Budget proposals.

If it is a Treasury Bill, concerned solely with extracting tax of one kind or another, and has no other bearing on the Health Service, it is essential that there should be the opportunity of further examination by both Houses of Parliament following the next Budget proposals. If it is a tax Measure, introduced prior to the Budget on a pretext of some sort—and I shall not go into the arguments advanced as a pretext—and we then find that the money extracted is to be used for purposes other than those which were stated, the procedure of affirmative Resolution is essential.

Mr. MacColl

As my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King) said, with a Bill so keenly and hardly contested as is this one, it is good that we should pause for a moment to consider the very important principle of constitutional control of expenditure. This arises, not only in cases of actual imposition of taxation, but in a number of Parliamentary fields that are in many ways comparable.

I have not briefed myself in advance, but my recollection is that this point arose over housing subsidies. In the original Bill for reducing housing subsidies there was a proposal that the Minister of Housing should be able to make the reduction.

My recollection is that in its original form that appeared as a negative Resolution, and that in the Committee there was a considerable debate on the question whether or not it should not be an affirmative Resolution. The Minister accepted the argument that, as the reduction of the subsidy would impose a charge upon local authorities and increase their outlay, it was right and proper that it should be done by affirmative Resolution and not by a negative Resolution. In almost all cases, so far as I remember where this principle has been raised, that has been accepted as being the right practice.

I cannot understand at all why, in this Bill, which certainly imposes a charge, the same principle should not be adopted. It is very difficult to see a case here for having a negative Resolution, because the principle behind it is the same. The principle is that if this Bill comes into operation the charges placed upon the public will be increased. In other words, it is imposing a charge on the people which it is essentially the duty of the House of Commons to watch most carefully, and I should have thought that it was a perfectly reasonable request that the Government should come to the House before they are ready to impose these charges.

I anticipate that the argument might be made that, if the Bill is passed and becomes an Act of Parliament, the House will have already agreed to the imposition of the charges, and that, therefore, the analogy with other charges is unfair, but that is not really what is happening, because the timing of the introduction of this Bill is vital to the amount which people are to pay.

Nobody can state in advance when they come to make their estimate of the expenditure for the future—whether it be a private employer trying to estimate what his charges for labour will be, whether it is an employee going through his family 'budget to see what is left from his wages for the year, or whether it be a public body like a local authority, which has the same problem in estimating the cost of its labour and its staff—it cannot be estimated how much that is going to cost for the year until it is known when the Act is to come into force.

Therefore, the date when the Act comes into force is not just an administrative move, but a vital part of the whole business of how much we are to collect from people in the way of taxation. If it is right, and I think the Government will accept it as an argument, in a normal case in which the Government imposes a charge that it is made by way of affirmative Resolution, I imagine that they would not challenge that as being a reasonable and normal practice, which I hope they will adopt. There is no reason why they should not do it in this case, because everybody will want to know the date when this Act will come into force.

There is another important aspect of it, and that is that in the case of a Statutory Instrument by the negative procedure, the Statutory Instrument comes into force on the date when it is made and not on the date when it is ultimately approved by the House. Therefore, in view of what conceivably might happen, I should have thought that from the Government's point of view it would be an undesirable thing that the Bill should be brought into force by Statutory Instrument. That might happen at the end of July. The forty sitting days do not run into the long Recess. Therefore, there would be no question of a Prayer against the Statutory Instrument during the long Recess. The House might be recalled in October. The forty days might then begin to run. Then a Prayer might be tabled against the Statutory Instrument. It might be carried. That has happened in the past. It has happened with this Government and it happened with the Labour Government.

What would happen if the Prayer were carried? Would the charges be validly imposed up to the moment when the Prayer was carried and the Statutory Instrument was annulled? Would they then cease to be valid, in which case the Government would presumably have to announce that the stamps were all wrong? New stamps would have to be introduced. Employers would have to start putting different stamps on cards. Eventually a further Statutory Instrument might be laid. The Government might get that through the House. Then they would be able to go back to the original stamps.

That would be a fantastic situation. It is wholly unnecessary. Not only is it undesirable from the point of view of good Parliamentary procedure, but administratively it might lead to extraordinarily foolish results. Everyone would be satisfied with an affirmative Resolution. The Government would know where they were. They would come to the House and their proposals would be either accepted or rejected. There would be no doubt about it. They could go straight ahead with their plan. It would also conform to the basic principle which has been recognised in the case of changes in such matters as housing subsidies, namely that the affirmative procedure is the right practice. That would seem to be a much more reasonable thing to do than to have the risks of nullification by Prayer some time after the Order is made and the uncertainties which would follow from that.

I may be doing the Government an injustice. Perhaps the Economic Secretary will accept this proposal.

Mr. Ellis Smith

He would have risen before now if he intended to accept it.

Mr. MacColl

I thought that the Economic Secretary was so transfixed by my argument that he did not want to interrupt the flow of my words. Perhaps I misunderstood the expression on his face. It may have been just benevolence. I hope that he will accept the Amendment, because it would meet everyone's point of view. It would affirm the authority of the House of Commons over taxation and would provide for smooth administration of the introduction of the Measure if it unfortunately ever is put into operation.

Mr. W. Hamilton

I had hoped that the spokesman for the Treasury would have risen long before now. He might have expedited the business if he had done so. We can only presume that he has not risen so far because he intends to reject the Amendment. I hope that is not so, because we on this side and many hon. Members opposite are very surprised that the Government should seek to adopt the negative procedure of the Statutory Instrument. My hon. Friends and I have a vivid recollection of the days when the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance, the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke), the Joint Under-Secretary of State to the Home Department and many more were active in opposition.

Mr. Ellis Smith

And Lord Hailsham.

Mr. Hamilton

Yes, and Lord Hail-sham. Many hon. Members opposite violently opposed this kind of procedure when they were in opposition. The arguments were very much on their side then, and they are on ours now. The House must be very jealous of the control it exercises over the Executive, and particularly over the Treasury.

10.15 p.m.

It would be serious if this taxation by stealth, for that is what it would amount to, made a very great inroad into the sovereignty of the House of Commons. We all know from our experience that it is quite impossible for all hon. Members to keep track of every Statutory Instrument which is laid. The virtue of our Amendment would be that the onus of presentation would lie with the Treasury. The Treasury would have to adopt the positive procedure and defend its case on the Floor of the House. Since the onus would then be on the Government to defend their case, there would be an adequate safeguard for the sovereignty of the House.

I hope that the Economic Secretary will accept the tone and tenor of the argument and the spirit in which it has been put from this side of the Committee. This is probably the least controversial Amendment which has been put so far in the debate.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Anthony Barber)

As the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) said, the purpose of the Amendment is to ensure that the Order appointing the day on which the increased rates of contribution come into effect shall be subject to affirmative Resolution of both Houses of Parliament. He asked me to say something about the nature of the particular Order referred to in subsection (7).

The Order is of a kind made by Statutory Instrument which does not give rise to debate. For reasons which I shall explain in a moment, there is nothing novel about this whatever. Indeed, if the Amendment were passed we should have yet another debate on the matters which we have discussed at considerable length in Committee of Ways and Means and again on Second Reading of the Bill.

The Government have already explained that the new rates are to become effective as from 3rd July, and I should have thought, with respect, that there was really very little point in having yet another debate on this particular matter.

Mr. Houghton

Why is the date not in the Bill?

Mr. Barber

For the simple reason that, in order to implement the provisions of the Bill, a great amount of administrative work, the printing of stamps, distribution to post offices, and so on is necessary, and, therefore, while it is our firm intention that the new rates shall be effective as from 3rd July, we thought it best to do it in this way which is, if I may adopt the phrase of my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary, hallowed by precedent.

The hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King) said that this was not a party matter. He is absolutely right in saying that. The method of procedure which is proposed in the Bill is a perfectly normal one and, as I have just indicated, it is from the administrative point of view absolutely essential. Having regard to the administrative difficulties, it would really be quite unrealistic and unreasonable to expect that a date should be put into the Bill.

This is not a matter involving great issues of policy. All that this particular part of Clause 1 does is to make provisions concerning the date of commencement. The hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl), if I understood him aright, suggested that in some way the Statutory Instrument would impose a charge. With respect, I suggest that the charge is imposed by virtue of the Bill itself. If one looks carefully at the wording of subsection (7), it will be seen that all we are concerned with is the appointed day.

Mr. MacColl

I tried to anticipate that answer of the Economic Secretary and to explain why I did not agree that it was adequate. The date when the charge comes into operation affects the total sum collected in the form of taxation. It is, therefore, not merely an administrative sleight of hand. It is a fundamental point, because the date affects the whole question of how much is to be taken from the people. It cannot be regarded merely as confirming something.

Mr. Barber

I could understand that argument if my right hon. Friend had not already indicated that the date was to be 3rd July.

Mr. MacColl

But the right hon. Gentleman may say, "I may not have my stamps ready and, therefore, I will not be in a position to proceed on 3rd July". If it was known that the date was to be 3rd July, the decent thing would have been to put it in the Bill. That is the matter which creates uncertainty.

Mr. Barber

This has always been the position. If the hon. Gentleman refers to earlier Acts concerning National Health Service contributions, he will see that the same procedure was adopted for exactly the same reason, namely, that, while it is possible to give a date, as we have done in this case, which, providing there are no unforeseen eventualities, will be the date on which the new rates come into force, it is obviously reasonable from a legal point of view not to incorporate that date in a Statute but to leave it to be fixed by means of a Statutory Instrument.

Mr. Houghton

That means that neither the House nor the Committee will have the opportunity of debating or of changing the date on which the new contributions should begin. This is an extraordinary situation. We may feel that the new contributions should begin, if at all, on 3rd September or 3rd October, or 3rd January next year. We have no means of debating that. Although this is very convenient from an administrative point of view, it is a deprivation of the rights of hon. Members.

Mr. Barber

One of the reasons why my right hon. Friend mentioned the date 3rd July was so that the House should know where it stood and so that everyone who took a different view about what should be the operative date could express that view on Second Reading. There is nothing novel in this method of doing things. It has been done before in similar Acts, and I believe that it is the most sensible arrangement.

Perhaps I might refer to one matter mentioned by my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary. In passing, he referred to one Junior Lord of the Treasury signing the Statutory Instrument. The Committee should perhaps know that it is signed by two.

Having explained the reasons for this way of dealing with the appointed day, I hope that the Opposition will not feel it necessary to press the Amendment. This does not concern a great issue of policy. It concerns only the commencement provisions. If the Opposition feel that they must press the matter to a Division, I advise the Committee to reject the Amendment.

Mr. Ross

Some of the words used by the Economic Secretary stirred the dust of considerable Parliamentary battles through which I sat when we were on that side of the Committee. My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) will remember them very well. There was an oblique reference in a speech of the Home Secretary the other day, when we were debating certain incidents, to the number of times the Closure had been moved by the Labour Government. He would not allow me or anyone else to intervene to make the relevant point that at the time the rules of the House concerning debates on Statutory Instruments were very different from what they are now. We deliberately selected these words concerning the affirmative procedure in the Amendment for the reason that under the affirmative procedure it is incumbent upon the Government to come before the House of Commons and justify their actions.

We might have selected the negative procedure. In the days to which reference has been made about the Labour Government moving the Closure, there was no time limit under the negative procedure. We started at the usual hour of ten o'clock and went right on until one, two, three or four o'clock, on and on, night after night. Under the method which the Economic Secretary has now explained, however, it is to be done purely by Statutory Instrument which is not debatable. Not a single defender of democracy arose on the Government side to protest. It is no wonder that the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance went out of the Chamber a short while ago. He was the man who in the past proclaimed that this kind of thing was the death of democracy.

Mr. Barber

I find it difficult to believe that my right hon. Friend, or, indeed, any of my right hon. or hon. Friends, in the days when the Conservatives were in opposition, ever pressed for the affirmative procedure in the case of something which was no more than a commencement provision. I know of no instance. I do not know whether the hon. Member knows of any.

Mr. Ross

I know from experience in my own county. At that time, we had a distinguished Member of Parliament representing North Ayrshire. For quite a long time, he was Deputy-Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means. We knew him as Sir Charles MacAndrew. We know him now as Lord MacAndrew. I knew him locally as just another Member of Parliament at and between election times attacking the Labour Government. He did what many other hon. Members on the Conservative side did. He went around the country with bundles of Statutory Instruments and said, "This is how the wicked Labour Government are legislating. We do not even get a chance to debate decisions."

Let not the Economic Secretary think that all those matters that were raised even under the negative procedure were matters of great importance. If the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance were here, he would admit at once that on many of those Orders, which were concerned with relatively unimportant matters—the contents of jellies, or cheese, for example—he kept the House up night after night. We remember the names of the people who did it with him. There was the late Sir Herbert Williams, the Torquay Williams, and the others who, were mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas). The implication was that that was a procedure that should not be approved and it was one which, we were led to understand, would end as soon as the businesslike and freedom-loving party opposite returned to power.

The Minister of Pensions and National Insurance is himself one of the biggest sinners in this kind of thing. Not a week passes without yet another Statutory Instrument coming from his Ministry related purely and simply to a Bill that he is introducing. The Economic Secretary may remember that his right hon. Friend produced a handful of these Statutory Instruments one night about five or six months ago. The file of Statutory Instruments is much larger now. The Economic Secretary should consider what would have happened had he gone even as far as to give us the negative procedure. Under that procedure, we are now allowed only from ten o'clock until half-past eleven—an hour and a half. Thus, we do not even need the Chief Whip to come in an apply the Closure. It is applied by a Standing Order of the House.

10.30 p.m.

Let us look at what has happened in the House over the last fortnight. There are many such Statutory Instruments which I am sure hon. Members opposite would like to have discussed, but because of the state of Government business we just cannot get time to discuss them. There is a very important one on skimmed milk, interesting to agricultural Members opposite—[HON. MEMBERS: "Where are they?"]—as well as to those on this side. Those hon. Members opposite will be as conspicuous by their absence the night when we go into the Lobby in defence of the farmers as they are tonight.

Here we have a position where we shall not even be given an opportunity to debate the actual date. The Economic Secretary says "It is not really important; the Minister has told us what the date is going to be." This is rather a dictatorial attitude to legislation—"The Minister has spoken."

We began today with a very important aspect which many of us on this side of the Committee wanted to debate and amend. We were told that it was none of the business of the Committee and that we could not amend it because it was not in the Bill. That was the Preamble to the Bill. We were placed in a very difficult position.

But this is equally difficult. We cannot debate the date because it is not in the Bill. It is not any ancient routine which has removed the date. It is a deliberate decision by the Government—by the Treasury in this case. My hon. Friends will now appreciate that we have had a confession from the Government Front Bench that this is purely and simply a Treasury Bill.

If the date had been in the Bill we could have debated it. The Economic Secretary says that we have had debates before, that we have already had a debate on this and that, and that it would just have meant a repetition of a debate. He does not show very much confidence in the Chair, because when a Statutory Instrument is debated one can discuss only what is in it. It is a very narrow debate indeed. To say that on a Statutory Instrument we could have a wide-ranging debate shows a complete lack of knowledge of Parliamentary procedure and confidence in the Chair to uphold the procedure. That disturbs me when it comes from a Minister.

If the date had been in the Bill we could not only have debated it but, possibly, could have amended it. Since we have been given the expected date as some time in July, if it came before us as part of an order, even one based on the negative procedure—not the affirmative procedure, as we suggest—we should be able to debate it and start on this new tax in the light of all the knowledge that had been put before us by the Chancellor of the Exchequer when discussing his Budget. Thus, the House would have been in a better position then properly to appreciate the Government's difficulties and proposals. But we are being denied that by the way the Government have framed the subsection.

The hon. Gentleman said, "We do this because of administrative difficulties". I am not yet persuaded about that. What does he mean by that? The only thing I can see is that the Government would not have been able to carry on with the administration until such time as the Bill had been passed. The only help it can be to leave it out is that the House, they hope, will not decide the matter.

Mr. Willis

Yes. It is sharp practice. That is the only reason. This is a disgusting procedure.

Mr. Ross

Did the hon. Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. F. Harris) suggest that my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) has just come in? Had the hon. Member been here himself—and I admit he has been here some time, but not lately—he would have appreciated that my hon. Friend was here, and not only here but addressing himself to this Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear".] Since we started discussion of this Bill in Committee we have had only one effort from that side of the Committee.

Mr. Frederic Harris (Croydon, North-West)

I appreciated the hon. Member's giving way. [Interruption.] I am talking to the hon. Member.

Mr. Ross

To the Chair.

Mr. Harris

I am sorry. I mean the Chair. I have been in the Committee most of the evening and afternoon, only going out for necessary business. When the hon. Member got up to speak there were only six Members on his side of the Committee, and the hon. Member is so talkative.

Mr. Ross

The hon. Member is quite wrong. He is being very unfair to himself. I can assure him that if he had been here we should not have missed him, because at one time he would have been the only person here on that side of the Committee—apart from those on the Front Bench. For a long, long time the Tory Party of the United Kingdom, of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, England and Wales was represented by three Scottish Members, all of them Old Etonians. [An HON. MEMBER: "And two were asleep."]

I refused to be sidetracked by the hon. Member's interruption. This is indeed an important matter. What does the hon. Gentleman really mean by this administrative convenience which he pleads in justification for taking away what we think are our Parliamentary rights? All I can suggest is that it is an insurance against a breakdown. Although the Government say now, 3rd July, and they hope it will be 3rd July, they recognise that they are placing upon the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance a tremendous task of scrapping stamps which are themselves new and have not yet been used—they start using them in the first week in April—and producing a new lot, they hope, some time in the first week in July. I do not think the Economic Secretary has persuaded my hon. Friends. [HON MEMBERS: "He has not."] He has certainly not persuaded me.

I think now for the first time this afternoon we have a number reaching double figures of Conservative Members present. We can see some of them who were with us in Parliament between 1945 and 1950 who probably still hold dear the argument they used to proclaim about the evils of delegated legislation. Let them add their voices to ours and demand or ask of, or plead with, the Economic Secretary that he should change his mind and accept this Amendment.

Mr. Marsh

I start by apologising for not having been here for the whole of the Minister's speech. When he got up to reply I was called away to another meeting, having sat here some long time—and there are few Members on that side who are in a position to judge whether I was here or not—hoping against hope that at some stage we should have some degree of co-operation with the Government side of the Committee. When I did not get it down here I went upstairs to get it for some time elsewhere.

Having returned, I am surprised that the Economic Secretary has been able to answer the debate so quickly, because this is a very important matter on which hon. Members on both sides of the Committee should have much to say. There are two issues—that in relation to the Bill, its drafting and its introduction and, secondly, the fundamental constitutional issue of the method of dealing with legislation.

There have been constant complaints in recent years—understandable, reasonable and important complaints—that there has been a tendency for authority in legislation to shift from the Floor of the House to the Executive. Yet in this instance Parliament is not to take the decision itself; the decision is to be taken for Parliament, and Parliament is to have the right to say "Yes" or "No". This is not good Parliamentary government or a good way of doing things. If we are to place before the people legislation of this nature, which is a destruction of the basic principles of some of our social services, then every facet of that legislation should be generated from the Floor of the House and not handed to Parliament from elsewhere.

To place Parliament in the position in which it has to say "Yes" or "No" to a Treasury instruction is to turn the whole process of Parliament into a negation of democracy. Hon. Members opposite have long posed as the guardians of the rights of Parliamentary democracy. None of us on this side of the Committee has believed them, but some on the other side have believed them. I am surprised that they are not prepared to give way on this issue or even to show any interest in it. Hon. Members who were present heard the Economic Secretary give his point of view, but he can hardly be described as an unbiased, objective witness because it is from the Treasury that the Regulations will emerge.

Mr. Godfrey Lagden (Hornchurch)

I am delighted to hear that the hon. Member had such a co-operative meeting upstairs. What is worrying us is whether we are to see the senior members of the Labour Party on the Front Bench tonight or whether the co-operative meeting upstairs has overcome them.

Mr. Marsh

I am sure that when they arrive they will have much more pleasant faces that had some hon. Members on the Government benches yesterday afternoon. Nor will they say such rude things in the newspapers as some hon. Members opposite have said about their hon. Friends.

I very much regret that hon. Members opposite have shown such a lack of interest in the fundamental principle which is being considered in the Amendment. What is needed in Western democracy today is not just propaganda but a demonstration that Parliamentary democracy means government by Parliament and not government by regulation with the right of Parliament merely to say "Yes" or "No" in the limited time allowed for it.

10.45 p.m.

Last year I had the good fortune to introduce a Bill seeking to lay down minimum standards of health, safety and welfare for office workers. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad that hon. Members opposite applaud. I am sorry that they did not vote for the Second Reading of that Bill. The Bill which was then introduced was faced at its inception with certain difficulties. The real problem which faced me was that I was trying to draft legislation without the assistance of Government Parliamentary draftsmen who, with their experience and expertise, would have been able to draft it in its proper form. Consequently, I had no alternative but to draft it as an enabling Bill. Every feature of the Bill was to be introduced by regulation, and hon. Members opposite who did not have the nerve to stand up and say, "We are opposed to regulations which might improve conditions for office workers and might prove expensive to their employers" based all their case against the Bill on objections to delegated legislation. They said that it was quite wrong that Parliament should be presented with a long list of things ending with the words, "The Secretary of State shall make regulations".

Hon. Members opposite said, "We have no complaint against regulations that the Secretary of State may make. We are on the side of office workers provided we do not have to vote in the Lobbies on their behalf." Their spirit was with the office workers, even if their feet were elsewhere. Their strong objection was to government by regulation and delegated legislation. Yet, when we now come to deal with a Bill which involves a similar principle, apparently they no longer feel very strongly about it.

I suggest that there is only one difference between the two situations. When one is dealing with an issue which seeks to improve the conditions of 3½ million people, hon. Members are opposed to delegated legislation, but when one deals with propositions which seek to shift the burden of the cost of National Health services from the shoulders of those most able to bear the burden to the shoulders of those least able to afford it, it does not matter whether or not it is delegated legislation. As has been said so often by hon. Members opposite, all things are equal to some of them but some things happen to be more equal than others.

There is another problem. I believe that the Bill contains fundamental changes of approach to the social services. This has been a matter of argument on both sides of the Committee and the House throughout debates on the National Health Service. Hon. Members opposite have suggested that no fundamental principle is involved. They have placed a great deal of reliance on the fact that the Labour Government in 1951 introduced legislation which they claim to be comparable but which they and we know bears no comparison at all. This legislation involves a fundamental difference of approach and strikes at the very basis of the social services.

If this is so, I come back to a point which I made earlier in another connection. It is that the issue should be ventilated to the greatest degree in order that people may know what is happening in the House of Commons where hon. Members opposite are concerned. I am convinced that if hon. Members opposite had gone to the electorate at the last General Election and had said that this was what they had in mind, instead of making speeches on television about how the good old British pound was doing so well abroad—

Mr. Willis

It is not doing very well. anyway.

Mr. Marsh

—if hon. Members opposite had told the electorate that they would be asking Parliament, within fifteen months of the election, to introduce increased Health Service charges because the economy was in such difficulty, this country would not have had visited upon it the greatest tragedy since the Black Death.

Mr. Loughlin

Does my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Marsh) agree that at the General Election part of the case of hon. Members opposite was that hon. Members on this side of the Committee believed in controls and in the view that Whitehall knew best? Yet is not that the attitude which they are now taking?

The Deputy-Chairman (Major Sir William Anstruther-Gray)

Order. What we are discussing is the Amendment.

Mr. Loughlin

On a point of order. The point I was making was that this is precisely the type of legislation to which hon. Members opposite appended the title "Whitehall knows best."

The Deputy-Chairman

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Marsh

I would not want, and my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) would not want, to leave the Clause. That is the last thing we want to do. [Laughter.] I am sorry that hon. Members opposite regard this issue as a matter for such hilarity. The last thing we want to do is to divert attention from this important issue. There is some truth in my hon. Friend's suggestion. The Bumble philosophy that someone knows best is the sort of attitude which is prepared to accept a situation in which Parliament itself is dictated to by Government Departments in this way.

I was pointing out the need to ensure that this issue receives the maximum ventilation so that the people can have every opportunity to know exactly what is involved. It may be said that there will be discussion on a negative Resolution.

Mr. Houghton

The position is far worse than my hon. Friend imagines. I was under the same mistaken impression, but the Economic Secretary has told us that, when the Statutory Instrument is laid, it will not be debatable, so that the machinery of the Bill will be set in motion as soon as two Junior Lords of the Treasury, neither of whom amounts to a senior Minister, put their hands to the inkwell.

Mr. Marsh

I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton), because I could not have believed that the position would be as bad as that. It might be a good idea for the Economic Secretary to make a speech on this matter, because if we cannot debate the issue, it seems rather pointless to put the provision in the Bill.

I wind up, because I do not want to keep the Committee—[HON. MEMBERS: "Go on."]—and several of my hon. Friends wish to speak and there are later Amendments and we all want to get home tonight, or tomorrow night, or sometime—

Mr. G. Thomas

Not on Sunday.

Mr. Marsh

—before Parliament rises for the Easter Recess.

Any legislation which involves major changes of Government policy should be determined by Parliament, and it should be Parliament which puts forward the suggestions and the views from the beginning. It is fundamentally bad to have the Executive passing on to Parliament its views and its regulations. Now, we understand, Parliament is not even to have the opportunity to express an opinion. It is essential that anything which can be done to delay the Bill should be done. It is an abominable little Bill—it is a small Bill in size, but enormous in its ramifications. It will be understood by many people in the country only after a long time.

For all those reasons, I hope that hon. Members opposite will appreciate that they do not have to take the completely negative attitude towards the Bill which they have adopted, and that they ought to be prepared to co-operate with hon. Members on this side of the Committee not only in abolishing the Bill, but in realising that the purpose of Parliament is to enact legislation and not to act as a rubber stamp.

Mr. Lipton

I have been deeply moved by the arguments which have been put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Marsh). It is astonishing that Parliament should be so willing—as it apparently is—to hand over to the Executive the right of determining an issue such as this. I am surprised that the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower), who claims to be a believer in democracy, has remained silent while such important principles are being discussed. It is true that in the course of the remarks made by my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich there was an intervention by the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Lagden). It had nothing at all to do with the Bill, but I was hoping that when my hon. Friend sat down we would have the benefit of a contribution from the hon. Member for Hornchurch. It is only because he did not rise to his feet that I presumed to take part in the discussion.

We are living in critical days, Sir William. The cause of democracy is not so well advocated as it should be. We in this Committee—on this side, at any rate—are trying to ensure that the voice of the people should have some influence. The Economic Secretary, I know, is a gentleman of honour and repute. I hope that he will not put a blot on his own escutcheon tonight by not responding in some degree to the argument put by my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich.

It is true that my hon. Friend has not been in the House very long, but he has been fortified in his advocacy I am sure, by the very recent contact that he has had with his constituents. I hope that the Economic Secretary has also, in the not remote past, consulted his constituents. I wonder whether he has tried recently to find out what they are thinking about this Bill. If he took the trouble to do so, I have a feeling—

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. The hon. Gentleman is going very wide. We are dealing with one Amendment now, not the whole Bill.

Mr. Lipton

I know, Sir William. But this is a very important Amendment and, in effect, it concentrates the issue we are trying to argue. It is the issue of democracy versus dictatorship. I suspect that instructions have been issued by the Economic Secretary, or his associates, that no Member on the Government benches shall take part in this discussion.

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. That argument does not arise on this Amendment.

Mr. Lipton

In my respectful submission, Sir William, it is very suspicious that no hon. Member on the Government side has sought to take part in this discussion.

11.0 p.m.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Several hon. Members opposite have already spoken.

Mr. Lipton

Yes, but their assiduity to the cause of democracy has not lasted very long. I should like to hear what the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) has to say on the subject. The hon. Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. F. Harris) made an intervention, but it did not last for very long. I should like to hear him develop his argument.

Mr. F. Harris

Does the hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) happen to know what Amendment he is talking to?

Hon. Members

Answer.

Mr. Lipton

It is not for me to extricate the Government from the difficulty in which they find themselves at present.

Mr. George Brown (Belper)

Even if it were, my hon. Friend could not do so.

Mr. Lipton

If my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) wants to intervene, I shall gladly give way to him.

Mr. Brown

What I said was that even if it was for my hon. Friend to do so, he could not.

Mr. Nabarro

Very flatulent tonight.

Mr. Lipton

I am obliged to my right hon. Friend, and note with interest that the hon. Member for Kidderminster, who wants to make an intervention, is apparently not capable of standing up to do so. If he wishes to remain sedentary it is not for me to quarrel with his decision.

Mr. Nabarro

"Seated", not "sedentary".

Mr. Lipton

I seriously suggest that we are here concerned with a fundamental question of principle.

Hon. Members

What is it?

Mr. Marsh

On a point of order. Is it in order for hon. Members opposite to suggest that my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) does not know what he is talking about?

The Deputy-Chairman

It would be much better if the hon. Member would continue his speech and confine it to the terms of the Amendment that we ale now debating.

Mr. Willis

Is it not a reflection upon the Chair to suggest that my hon. Friend is not talking to the Amendment?

The Deputy-Chairman

The Committee will be aware that on more than one occasion I have invited the hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) to direct his remarks more closely to the Amendment.

Mr. Lipton

I am very much obliged to you, Sir William, for protecting me against the various interventions which seem to throw some doubt upon the value of the contribution that I am seeking to make. Nevertheless, what I was trying to argue was that here is a very serious —

Division No. 72.] AYES [11.6 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Bullard, Denys Deedes, W. F.
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Bullus, Wing Commander Eric de Ferranti, Basil
Allason, James Butler, Rt. Hn. R.A.(Saffron Walden) Digby, Simon Wingfield
Balniel, Lord Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.
Barber, Anthony Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Doughty, Charles
Barlow, Sir John Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Drayson, G. B.
Barter, John Channon, H. P. G. Eden, John
Batsford, Brian Chataway, Christopher Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Elliott, R. W. (N 'wc' stle-upon-Tyne, N)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Clark, William (Nottingham S.) Errington, Sir Eric
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.
Berkeley, Humphry Cleaver, Leonard Farey-Jones, F. W.
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) Cooper, A. E. Farr, John
Biggs-Davison, John Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Fell, Anthony
Bingham, R. M. Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Finlay, Graeme
Bishop, F. P. Cordle, John Fisher, Nigel
Black, Sir Cyril Costain, A. P. Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Bossom, Clive Coulson, J. M. Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)
Bourne-Arton, A. Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)
Box, Donald Craddock, Sir Beresford Freeth, Denzil
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Critchley, Julian Gammans, Lady
Boyle, Sir Edward Crosthwalte-Eyre, Col. O. E. Gardner, Edward
Braine, Bernard Cunningham, Knox Gibson-Watt, David
Brewls, John Curran, Charles Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. SirWalter Currie, G. B. H. Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Dalkeith, Earl of Goodhart, Philip
Brooman-White, R. Dance, James Goodhew, Victor
Mr. Gower

We are very interested in the hon. Member's views on the Amendment, and would like to know what he has to say about it.

Mr. Lipton

If I were subjected to fewer interruptions I should be able to develop my arguments a little more consecutively that I have been able to do so far.

We are living in very difficult times—

The Deputy-Chairman

I invite the hon. Member to take note that the Amendment being discussed is, in page 2, line 15, at end insert: subject to an affirmative resolution of both Houses of Parliament". If the hon. Member is not capable of addressing his remarks to that point it would be better if he resumed his seat.

Mr. Lipton

In those circumstances, Sir William, I of course accept your guidance in this matter. I invite the Committee to accept the arguments which have been put forward by the Opposition in this case in the absence of any concrete evidence submitted by hon. Members opposite that what we are trying to do is not in accordance with the public interest.

Mr. Redmayne

rose in his place, and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 251, Noes 205.

Gower, Raymond Linstead, Sir Hugh Renton, David
Grant, Rt. Hon. William Litchfield, Capt. John Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Ridsdale, Julian
Green, Alan Longbottom, Charles Rippon, Geoffrey
Gresham Cooke, R. Loveys, Walter H. Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Grosvenor. Lt.-Col. R. G. Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Gurden, Harold Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Roots, William
Hall, John (Wycombe) MacArthur, Ian Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) McLaren, martin Russell, Ronald
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Scott-Hopkins, James
Harris, Reader (Heston) McMaster, Stanley R. Seymour, Leslie
Harrison, Brian (Malden) Macmillan,Rt. Hn. Harold(Bromley) Sharples, Richard
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Shaw, M.
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Shepherd, William
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Maddan, Martin Simon, Sir Jocelyn
Hastings, Stephen Maginnis, John E. Skeet, T. H. H.
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Maitland, Sir John Smithers, Peter
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Stevens, Geoffrey
Hendry, Forbes Marten, Neil Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Hiley, Joseph Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Studholme, Sir Henry
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Mawby, Ray Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Hirst, Geoffrey Mills, Stratton Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Hooking, Philip N. Montgomery, Fergus Teeling, William
Holland, Philip More, Jasper (Ludlow) Temple, John M.
Hollingworth, John Morgan, William Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Hopkins, Alan Morrison, John Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Hornby, R. P. Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia Nabarro, Gerald Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Howard, Hon. G. R. Hon. Ives) Neave, Airy Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Noble, Michael Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Hughes Hailett, Vice-Admiral John Nugent, Sir Richard Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Hughes-young, Michael Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Tweedsmuir, Lady
Hulbert, Sir Norman Orr-Ewing, C. Ian van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hutchison, Michael Clark Osborne, Cyril (Louth) Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Page, John (Harrow, West) Vickers, Miss Joan
Jackson, John Partridge, E. Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Jennings, J. C. Percival, Ian Wall, Patrick
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Ward, Dame Irene
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pilkington, Sir Richard Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Pitman, I. J. Watts, James
Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green) Pitt, Miss Edith Webster, David
Joseph, Sir Keith Pott, Percivall Wells, John (Maidstone)
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Whitelaw, William
Kerby, Capt. Henry Price, David (Eastleigh) Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Kershaw, Anthony prior, J. M. L. Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Kimball, Marcus Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Kirk, Peter Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Lagden, Godfrey Proudfoot, Wilfred Woodhouse, C. M.
Langford-Holt, J. Quennell, Miss J. M. Woodnutt, Mark
Leavey, J. A. Rameden, James Woollam, John
Rawlinson, Peter Worsley, Marcus
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Rees, Hugh TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Lindsay, Martin Rees-Davies, W. R. Mr. Chichester-Clark and Mr. Peel.
NOES
Abse, Leo Corbet, Mrs. Freda Fitch, Alan
Ainsley, William Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Fletcher, Eric
Albu, Austen Crosland, Anthony Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Crossman, R. H. S. Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)
Awbery, Stan Cullen, Mrs. Alice Forman, J. C.
Bacon, Miss Alice Darling, George Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)
Baird, John Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Davies, Harold (Leek) George, LadyMeganLloyd (C 'rm' rth' n)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Davies, Ifor (Gower) Ginsburg, David
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.) Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon, P. C.
Blyton, William Deer, George Gourlay, Harry
Boardman, H. de Freitas, Geoffrey Greenwood, Anthony
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Delargy, Hugh Grey, Charles
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Diamond, John Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly)
Bowles, Frank Dodds, Norman Griffiths, W. (Exchange)
Boyden, James Donnelly, Desmond Gunter, Ray
Brockway, A. Fenner Driberg, Tom Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
Broughton, Dr. A, D. D.
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Hamilton, William (West Fife)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Edelman, Maurice Hannan, William
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Edwards, Robert ((Bilston) Hart. Mrs. Judith
Callaghan, James Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Hayman, F. H.
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Evans, Albert Herbison, Miss Margaret
Chetwynd, George Fernyhough, E. Hill, J. (Midlothian)
Collick, Percy Finch, Harold Hilton, A. V.
Holman, Percy Mendelson, J. J. Sorensen, R. W.
Holt, Arthur Millan, Bruce Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Houghton, Douglas Milne, Edward J. Spriggs, Leslie
Howell, Charles A. Mitchison, G. R. Steele, Thomas
Hoy, James H. Monslow, Walter Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Morris, John Stonehouse, John
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Mulley, Frederick Stones, William
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Hunter, A. E. Oram, A. E. Swain, Thomas
Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Oswald, Thomas Swingter, Stephen
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Owen, Will Sylvester, George
Janner, Sir Barnett Padley, W. E. Symonds, J. B.
Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Paget, R. T. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Jager, George Pargiter, G. A. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Parker, John (Dagenham) Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.) Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Jones, Rt. Hn. A, Creeeh(Wakefield) Pavitt, Laurence Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Thornton, Ernest
Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Peart, Frederick Tourney, Frank
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Pentland, Norman Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Jonas, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Plummer, Sir Leslie Wade, Donald
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Popplewell, Ernest Wainwright, Edwin
Kelley, Richard Prentice, R. E. Warbey, William
Kenyon, Clifford Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Watkins, Tudor
King, Dr. Horace Probert, Arthur Weitzman, David
Lawson, George proctor, W. T. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Ledger, Ron Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Randall, Harry White, Mrs. Eirene
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Rankin, John Whitlock, William
Lever, Harold (Cheatham) Redhead, E. C. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Reynolds, G. W. Wilkins, W. A.
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Rhodes, H. Willey, Frederick
Lipton, Marcus Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Williams, Ll. (Abertiliery)
Loughlin, Charles Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Mabon, Or. J. Dickson Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
McCann, John Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
MacColl, James Ross, William Winterbottom, R. E.
McInnes, James
McKay, John (Wallsend) Silverman, Julius (Aston) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Woof, Robert
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Skeffington, Arthur Yates, victor (Ladywood)
Manuel, A. C. Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Zilliacus, K.
Marsh, Richard Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Mason, Roy Small, William TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mayhew, Christopher Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Mr. Cronin and Mr. Sydney Irving
Mellish, R. J. Snow, Julian

Question put accordingly, That those words be there inserted:—

Division No. 73.] AYES [11.17 p.m.
Abse, Leo Davies, Harold (Leek) Gunter, Ray
Ainsley, William Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Coine valley)
Albu, Austen Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Hamilton, William (West Fife)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Deer, George Hannan, William
Awbery, Stan de Freitas, Geoffrey Hart, Mrs. Judith
Bacon, Miss Alice Delargy, Hugh Hayman, F. H.
Baird, John Diamond, John Herbison, Miss Margaret
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Dodds, Norman Hill, J. (Midlothian)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Donnelly, Desmond Hilton, A. V.
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.) Driberg, Tom Holman, Percy
Blyton, William Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Houghton, Douglas
Boardman, H. Edelman, Maurice Howell, Charles A.
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hoy, James H.
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Bowles, Frank Evans, Albert Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Boyden, James Fernyhough, E. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Brockway, A. Fenner Finch, Harold Hunter, A. E.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Fitch, Alan Hynd, John (Attercliffe)
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Fletcher, Eric Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Janner, Sir Barnett
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas
Callaghan, James Forman, J. C. Jeger, George
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Jenkins, Roy (Steehford)
Chetwynd, George Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Collick, Percy George, LadyMeganLloyd (C 'rm' rth' n) Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creeeh(Wakefield)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Ginsburg, David Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)
Crosland, Anthony Gourley, Harry Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Crossman, R. H. S. Greenwood, Anthony Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Grey, Charles Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Darling, George Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly) Kelley, Richard
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Kenyon, Clifford

The Committee divided: Ayes 203, Noes 254.

King, Dr. Horace Pavitt, Laurence Swain, Thomas
Lawson, George Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Swingler, Stephen
Ledger, Ron Peart, Frederick Sylvester, George
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Pentland, Norman Symonds, J. B.
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Plummer, Sir Leslie Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Popplewell, Ernest Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Lever, L. M (Ardwick) Prentice, R. E. Thomas, George (Cardiff. W.)
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Lipton, Marcus Probert, Arthur Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Loughlin, Charles Proctor, W. T. Thornton, Ernest
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Tomney, Frank
McCann, John Randall, Harry Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
MacColl, James Rankin, John Wade, Donald
McKay, John (Wallsend) Redhead, E. C. Wainwright, Edwin
MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Reynolds, G. W. Warbey, William
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Rhodes, H. Watkins, Tudor
Manuel, A. C. Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Weitzman, David
Marsh, Richard Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Mason, Roy Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Mayhew, Christopher Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.) white, Mrs. Eirene
Mellish, R. J. Rose, William Whitlock, William
Mendelson, J. J. Silverman, Julius (Aston) Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Millan, Bruce Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Wilkins, W. A.
Milne, Edward J. Skeffington, Arthur Willey, Frederick
Mitchison, G. R. Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Monslow, Walter Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Morris, John Small, William Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Mulley, Frederick Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Snow, Julian Winterbottom, R. E.
Oram, A. E. Sorensen, R. W. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Oswald, Thomas Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Woof, Robert
Owen, Will Spriggs, Leslie Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Padley, W. E. Steele, Thomas Zilliacus, K.
Paget, R. T. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Parglter, G. A. Stonehouse, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Parker, John (Dagenham) Stones, William Mr. Cronin and Mr. Sydney Irvine
Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
NOES
Agnew, Sir Peter Coulson, J. M. Hall, John (Wycombe)
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Allason, James Craddock, Sir Beresford Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)
Atkins, Humphrey Critchley, Julian Harris, Reader (Heston)
Balniel, Lord Crosthwalte-Eyre, Col. O. E. Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Barber, Anthony Cunningham, Knox Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Barlow, Sir John Curran, Charles Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macciesf'd)
Barter, John Currie, G. B. H. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Batsford, Brian Dalkeith, Earl of Hastings, Stephen
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Dance, James Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Deedes, W. F. Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) de Ferranti, Basil Hendry, Forbes
Berkeley, Humphry Digby, Simon Wingfield Hicks Beach, Maj. W.
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Hiley, Joseph
Biggs-Davison, John Doughty, Charles Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Bingham, R. M. Drayson, G. B. Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)
Bishop, F. P. du Cann, Edward Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Black, Sir Cyril Eden, John Hirst, Geoffrey
Bossom, Clive Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hooking, Philip N.
Bourne-Arton, A. Elliott, R.W. (N 'wc'stle-upon-Tyne, N.) Holland, Philip
Box, Donald Errington, Sir Eric Hollingworth, John
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hopkins, Alan
Boyle, Sir Edward Farey-Jones, F. W. Hornby, R. P.
Bralne, Bernard Farr, John Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia
Brewls, John Fell, Anthony Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Finlay, Graeme Howard, John (Southampton, Test)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Fisher, Nigel Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John
Brooman-White, R. Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Hughes-Young, Michael
Bullard, Denys Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Hulbert, Sir Norman
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Hutchison, Michael Clark
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Freeth, Denzil Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Gammons. Lady Jackson, John
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Gardner, Edward Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Gibson-Watt, David Jennings, J. C.
Channon, H. P. G. Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)
Chataway, Christopher Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Goodhart, Philip Johnson Smith, Geoffrey
Clark, William (Nottingham S.) Goodhew, Victor Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Gower, Raymond Joseph, Sir Keith
Cleaver, Leonard Grant, Rt. Hon. William Kerans, Cdr. J. S.
Cooper, A. E. Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. Kerby, Capt. Henry
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Green, Alan Kershaw, Anthony
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Gresham Cooke, R. Kimball, Marcus
Cordle, John Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Kirk, Peter
Costain, A. P. Gurden, Harold Lagden, Godfrey
Langford-Holt, J. Partridge, E. Studholme, Sir Henry
Leavey, J. A. Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Peel, John Tapsell, Peter
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Percival, Ian Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Lindsay, Martin Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Linstead, Sir Hugh Pilkington, Sir Richard Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Litchfield, Capt. John Pitman, I. J. Teeling, William
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Pitt, Miss Edith Temple, John M.
Longbottom, Charles Pott, Percivall Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Loveys, Walter H. Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Price, David (Eastleigh) Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Prior, J. M. L. Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
MacArthur, Ian Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
McLaren, Martin Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Proudfoot, Wilfred Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
McMaster, Stanley R. Quennell, Miss J. M. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Ramsden, James van Straubenzee, W. R.
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Rawlinson, Peter Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Maddan, Martin Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Vickers, Miss Joan
Maginnis, John E. Rees, Hugh Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Maitland, Sir John Rees-Davies, W. R. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Renton, David Wall, Patrick
Marten, Neil Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Ward, Dame Irene
Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Ridsdale, Julian Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Rippon, Geoffrey
Mawby, Ray Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Watts, James
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Webster, David
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Roots, William Wells, John (Maidstone)
Mills, Stratton Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Whitelaw, William
Montgomery, Fergus Russell, Ronald Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
More, Jasper (Ludlow) Scott-Hopkins, James Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Morgan, William Seymour, Leslie Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Morrison. John Sharples, Richard Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Shaw, M. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Nabarro, Gerald Shepherd, William Woodhouse, C. M.
Neave, Airey Simon, Sir Jocelyn Woodnutt, Mark
Nugent, Sir Richard Skeet, T. H. H. Woollam, John
Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Smithers, Peter Worsley, Marcus
Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Stevens, Geoffrey
Osborne, Cyril (Louth) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Page, John (Harrow, West) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm Mr. Chichester-Clark and Mr. Noble.
Mr. G. Brown

Sir William—

Mr. Ellis Smith

On a point of order, Sir William. Many of my hon. Friends, and hon. Members opposite, have now sat here for seven hours. I submit to you, Sir William, and to the Patronage Secretary, that before any other Motion is accepted, we ought to take the Motion "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." Those of us who have taken a keen interest in the proceedings have many points of view which arise and on which we should like to get official pronouncements before we proceed to consider any other Motion. Will you rule on that, Sir William, in accordance with Parliamentary practice? I hope that while you are ruling, the Patronage Secretary will also consider it.

The Deputy-Chairman

I am obliged to the hon. Member for what he has said, but I had, in fact, called the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown).

Mr. G. Brown

I was about to ask you, Sir William, whether this would be a convenient moment—it is now 11.30, seven hours after we started our labours —to move "That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again."

Nobody is alleging that we have not made very good progress today. The whole of the first page of Amendments has been dealt with. There have been discussions which nobody has suggested have been in any way not related to the Bill.

Mr. John Wells (Maidstone)

On a point of order. The right hon. Gentleman says that we have made good progress, but he has not been in his place—[Interruption.]

The Deputy-Chairman

That is not a point of order for the Chair to deal with.

Mr. Brown

Nobody, as I understand, has suggested that the arguments have not been all the way through addressed to the points of the Bill. They have been constructive.

I gather, Sir William, that if we were to go on, which, I suggest, we should not, we would now come to the Motion, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." That Motion, on Clause 1, embraces the whole principle of the Bill and, clearly, we should be on it for a very long time.

Mr. Nabarro

Two hours will be enough for hon. Members opposite.

Hon. Members

No.

11.30 p.m.

Mr. Brown

We got into trouble once before when the Chief Patronage Secretary was thought to be giving instructions to somebody else in the Chair, Sir William. I am sure that he will not fall into the trap by himself receiving instructions from the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro). This is clearly a most important part of the Bill—indeed, the most important—and this cannot—at any rate, should not—and I am sure with your presence in the Chair, Sir William, will not be ridden over with absolute disregard for the rights of Parliament by people who think that as long as we have two hours of talk that is enough. This is a very important Clause.

It seems to me, therefore, that this is really the moment to ask the Government what their intentions are. The Leader of the House is notably missing tonight, as he was when we got into trouble the other night. But we have with us the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I could not be counted among his greatest admirers, but, even so. I would not want him to sit up all night here dealing with things that can be dealt with in the proper light of day simply because nobody suggested that it was a good time to go home.

I suggest that as we have got this far—we have completed the first page of Amendments—it really would be sensible for the Government to say "So far so good. We are moving along amicably." If we are kept here beyond this time, everybody knows that the hon. Member for Kidderminister will be even more liable to blow up, tempers will rise and hon. Members will erupt, and it really is not good for Parliament that that should happen. The Government will gain nothing from it. Ministers who are already grappling with problems which are much too large for them will be that much more jaded. [Interruption.]

Hon. Members

Order. Ask Jelly-bones.

Mr. Brown

I am very flattered that the occupants of the Treasury Bench should be having such a discussion. On the other hand, I rather doubt that it is with the Treasury junior Ministers that the Chancellor needs to consult on my proposal. He probably needs to persuade his right hon. Friend the Chief Patronage Secretary.

We are all united on this. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Judging by the way hands and arms are raised and waved opposite, there must be some bookies' runners on the Government benches. We are all united on this issue—[Laughter]—and, in case hon. Members opposite have not read the tape. on other issues too. On this issue we feel that if the Government want to drive an important Bill like this, touching so many people, through the night, we will match them, but their desire to drive it through the night seems to us to be rather peculiar. It seems to us that it would be very sensible—there are many precedents for this; many Governments in the past have been wise about this—to say, "As we have got this far, let us now call it a day and go go home". Or they might want to say "Let us just go a wee bit farther, and then we will call it a day".

Anyhow, I should like to move the Motion in order that the Government may have a chance and so that the Chancellor may have one of his very few chances to act as a Minister with a Department of his own. He may now actually act as though he were indeed the Leader of the House. I ask him to show his liberality, about which once he boasted, and his real consideration for the Bill and for Members by giving us now an indication of the Government's intentions.

I beg to move, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

I listened with the closest attention — [HON MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—

Mr. Jack Jones (Rotherham)

Liberace.

Mr. Lloyd

—to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, the very reasonable and constructive speech of the right hon. Gentleman. I, unlike him, have been in the Committee for many hours today listening to the discussion, and there have been many interesting arguments put forward. I say at once that I pay tribute to the ingenuity of the Opposition in the various arguments they have produced, and I really did think that the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) had the sense of the Committee more than the right hon.

Gentleman, as I think that to accept this Motion would be interfering with the continuity of the debate.

We have had discussion of the various Amendments moved to the Clause, and I should have thought it much better for the Committee to proceed to discuss the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill", and then just see where we are. I would hope that the right hon. Gentleman will withdraw his Motion. I think that it is interfering with the continuity of the debate. I think that his hon. Friend has much more the sense of the Committee than the right hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South has been here much more than the right hon. Gentleman, so one would expect him to know the sense of the Committee better. Therefore, I hope that we really may progress by proceeding with the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill".

Mr. G. Brown

Just before I respond to the appeal of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, I would ask him to clarify what he said. I understood him to say, "Let us go on with the Question, 'That the Clause stand part of the Bill", and then see where we are". Those words. when used by the Leader of the House, have a very special meaning, of course. May I ask the Chancellor whether he meant what he said? If he means that when we have dealt with the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill", he will then be amenable to such a Motion as this—which is what is always meant when the Leader of the House uses those words—I shall be rather more interested in what he suggests. Would he like to clarify the meaning of what he said?

Mr. Lloyd

I think I meant exactly what I said. I do not quite know at what hour we shall be seeing where we are. I think I should like to see the debate on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill", and then see where we are.

Mr. G. Thomas

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has put me in a great deal of difficulty. He is deliberately attempting to divide this side of the Committee. The right hon. and learned Gentleman referred to one of my hon.

Friends for whom I have a profound respect. My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) has been in the Committee much longer than I have, I believe. When did you come in?

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. Hon. Members must address the Chair. Then it would not have been necessary for the hon. Member to ask me that question.

Mr. Thomas

Sir William, I apologise to you. I know the answer to that question.

However, we have been in this Chamber for a long time, as the Chancellor himself knows. The Chancellor, unlike most of his right hon. and hon. Friends, has been here, except when he went out for his meal, and he took a long time over that. He knows the care with which we have been following every line of the Amendments, and he knows that our speeches have been constructive, but that he cannot expect them to be constructive if we are to go on after the hour of midnight. I think that it is unreasonable to ask this Committee, night after night, to sit so late, at the request of the Government, pushing through business. I believe the Government are being unreasonable. We all know that the last Underground train will be going in a few minutes.

Mr. F. Harris

Will the hon. Member remember that a number of his colleagues in the Labour Party have booked seats on a plane in the early hours of the morning and that we must make the debate last until then?

Mr. Thomas

I am sorry, Sir William, that you are being troubled by these trivial interruptions.

I submit to the Chancellor that he ought to be as reasonable with us as we have been with him. He knows that tonight other considerations have been going on in other parts of the building. I understand that hon. Members opposite have had the Colonial Secretary to entertain them. We all know that when the House sits late it is not only hon. Members who are involved. All sorts of people are involved, and there are crises in other parts of the building, too. Other people have to get home. It is unreasonable for the second time this week for the Government to keep us here until this hour. [HON. MEMBERS: "Then go home."] Hon. Members who are waving their hands and shouting do not carry the authority that the Chancellor carries. I am addressing my remarks not to those who remain silent when they ought to be outspoken and who vote blindly, following their leaders like sheep.

During the deliberations we have not heard what Welsh Conservative Members feel on this question. It is not too much to ask whether they are not prepared even now to address the Committee. We all know that there is a danger that after midnight the level of the discussion will fall a little. In the small hours we often have frayed tempers. [HON. MEMBERS: "No"] The hon. Member for St. Ives (Mr. G. R. Howard) apparently disagrees. Perhaps he has not been here in the small hours.

I was addressing the Chancellor and the Patronage Secretary, who looks so happy beside him—and I am sorry to interrupt their conversation. The Chancellor should realise that we want to keep clear thinking and that he will do best to accept the Motion.

Mr. M. Foot

I will address myself directly to the arguments which the Chancellor has presented to the Committee in response to the Motion. I acknowledge at once that it was one of the most powerful speeches I have ever heard from the Chancellor. The other day in the debate on economic affairs some of us thought that he had not done himself justice, whereas others thought that he had done himself justice.

I think it is the unanimous view on both sides of the Committee that tonight he was at the peak of his form. Seldom have I heard him present a case so powerfully—and he was all the more formidable because he had a very weak case to present. He presented two arguments. He said, first, that he had listened to the whole debate. Although he had to leave the Chamber for dinner, which we all understand, we accept that he has listened to the debate. That is a powerful argument why he should continue his instruction. But we should like him to be in full possession of his faculties when he listens to the further debate. If his first argument is that he has been listening to the debate and deriving instruction from it, then there is no reason why he should not derive equal instruction on another occasion. I see that the Patronage Secretary is leaving the Chamber. Nobody has ever accused him of ever having listened to a debate.

11.45 p.m.

The second argument presented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer is that if we accepted the Motion now we should be interfering with the continuity of debate. But the Government are always ready to interfere with the continuity of debate. What happened with the White Fish and Herring Industry Bill? They interfered with the continuity of debate there. They were prepared at one stage to say, "We think that it would be better to take this Bill on another occasion." On the Land Drainage Bill they interfered with the continuity of debate. If I may mention even the sorer subject of the Consolidated Fund Bill—and I would not have dared to mention it if the Chief Whip had not left the Chamber—they were quite prepared to interfere with the continuity of debate, not on one but on two occasions.

I think, therefore, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he made his speech on this subject, was not well acquainted with the procedure, generously accepted by hon. Members opposite in recent weeks, in that they have very often interfered with the continuity of debate. These, therefore, are the only two arguments that the right hon. Gentleman has presented on why we should continue with the discussion. Nobody can say that they are very substantial arguments, even though they were presented with all the fire, eloquence and dynamism we have come to expect from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

There is another reason, and even a more powerful reason than that advanced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), and I have the immodesty to think that some of my arguments are more powerful on other subjects as well as this. Anyone who has studied the votes must have seen how hon. Members opposite are wilting. Their figures are going down. I understand—although I suspect anything that is told me through the usual channels—the reason for this, unless it is the case that forty or fifty hon. Members opposite are being persuaded by the arguments that we are presenting. If that is the case, it is all the more reason why the Chancellor should wish to bring the proceedings to as early a close as possible.

What is the reason why the hon. Members opposite to whom I have referred were not present at the last two or three Divisions? It is, I am told, that some of them have been allowed to go home. We are told that they are arranging this kind of thing in batches of thirty or forty who are allowed to go off and engage in whatever activities they wish to engage in elsewhere at this time of night and come back later. One of the troubles is that we on this side of the Committee have not been told which batch goes next. We do not know whether we are to lose the services of the Chancellor of the Exchequer later on. When is his time off?

What about the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro)? When will he be allowed out? It is a great difficulty, therefore, and a great infringement of the hope that we had of examining these matters properly if we are never to know on each and every Clause whether we are to have the services in debate of people like the hon. Member for Kidderminster, who has always been so eager, as we have been reminded in debate, to be present whenever questions of taxation are discussed in this Chamber.

Mr. Nabarro

Is the hon. Member suggesting that I have been missing at any time since 3.30 this afternoon, save only for the very important function of attending the 1922 Committee, which is at least as important as the controversies that are going on over the Labour Party's defence policy which took the hon. Member away from this Committee for no less than four and a half hours?

Mr. Foot

Everyone knows that there are occasionally some other activities which go on in the House and which it is necessary for hon. Members to attend. It happens on this side and apparently, according to the testimony of the hon. Member for Kidderminster, it happens on that, so I do not think that anybody can make much point out of that.

Mr. Nabarro

Why the hell do you make the point?

Hon. Members

Order.

Mr. Lipton

On a point of order. I thought that I heard some extreme and immoderate language used just now, Sir William, and I was wondering whether you considered such language appropriate to the Mother of Parliaments.

The Deputy-Chairman

I am not very clear about what language was used, for there was so much noise.

Mr. Jack Jones

He said "hell."

The Deputy-Chairman

But I know that the Committee should apply itself to the Question before it, which is whether I report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)

On a point of order. All of us heard the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) say, "Why the hell are you raising that point?", and the question my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) wanted to put was whether that was in order, since the hon. Member was presumably addressing the Chair.

The Deputy-Chairman

If such a remark was made, it is to be deprecated. The hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) will know what he said, and I have no doubt that he will withdraw it if that was the case.

Mr. Nabarro

The fact is that I said in an undertone—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—to my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) something which I did not intend to be heard in the Committee, but in view of your Ruling, Sir William, I unreservedly withdraw.

Mr. Foot

I am sorry if, quite unaccountably, I provoked the hon. Member into using language which did not accord with the soft accents which he generally employs in the Chamber. Indeed, I did not refer to his activities in the earlier part of the evening. What I was concerned about were his activities in the future part. I asked whether he was to be included among those who have been sent off by the Chief Whip to have a few hours' sleep, but if he tells me that he will be here for the rest of the night, that is an alternative reason why we should accept this Motion.

My chief appeal is to the Government. I say this seriously to the Government, because they have dealt with the business of the House in a manner which gets all of us into some difficulties, but gets them into the biggest difficulties of all. It was said by Disraeli, I think, that, like all weak governments, they resort to strong measures. The Government must be thinking—or the Chief Whip who does their thinking for them must be thinking —that if only they are tough, if only they can show that they can take it, if only they can show how often they can clamp on the Closure and drive it through, they will be showing signs of strength. In fact, it will be the very opposite. They will show not their wisdom but their obstinacy.

I do not think that it is any good appealing to the Chief Whip in this respect, for we have tried that before. However, hon. Members on this side of the Committee, for what reasons I have not been able to discern precisely, seem to think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself is not quite a lost soul in this respect and that he might be able to bring his influence on his right hon. Friend to show some magnamimity and wisdom in the conduct of the affairs of the Committee and show some sign of strength in the Government by showing that they are prepared to take action which on the surface might appear to be weak.

If the Government were able to accept the Motion, no one would say that they were being weak. They would get credit for their generosity. Some people have said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is the kind of person to whom this kind of appeal might be made. I am not convinced of that, but I am doing my best to believe it.

When I was out of the House, some of my hon. Friends told me that the Chancellor was gaining in stature all the time, that he was growing. Indeed, I was told that several other members of the Government were growing too. When I returned I expected to be confronted with a bunch of veritable Brobdingnags on the Government Front Bench, but there seems to be plenty of room on it. Most of them look as if they are shrivelling. Even the Financial Secretary is but a shadow of his former self, and we do not want to see him in this condition.

Having deal with the only two arguments which the Chancellor presented to us—the only two arguments presented against the Motion, unless he has thought up more—and knowing that we can perfectly well go on with this business on another occasion, and having presented to him the dangers and problems that are bound to arise if we do not know which bunch of Members opposite are to be present in the discussions, I ask the Chancellor to consider the matter again, and to realise that it would have been better not to have started with the Bill, but, having started it, he should try to reveal to the Committee that he has some flexibility.

Flexibility is the word he always uses in talking of such things as the balance of payments. He always contends that we must keep in the middle way, and balance one consideration against the other. That is what he spends his time doing at the Treasury. If he is so clever at walking a tightrope at the Treasury, why does he fall off it here? He should show the magnanimity which would enable the Committee to proceed speedily with the Bill at a proper time of day.

Mr. Mellish

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot). We have heard tonight the best speech the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made for a long time. Indeed, as one of my hon. Friends shouted out, he was a Liberace of the Government Front Bench. It was a wonderful performance and we were impressed. We hope we shall hear more of him.

I want to put one point in support of the Motion. A great number of hon. Members are engaged on Standing Committees, and some of us has been here since 10.30 this morning. There is the Rating and Valuation Bill, and a considerable number—[Interruption.]

Mr. G. Brown

Where are Members opposite going? Is it time for the next shift to come in?

Mr. Mellish

Members of both sides of the Committee are on the Rating and Valuation Bill Standing Committee. It is a very technical Bill and will go on a long while. I myself am on the Standing Committee considering the Licensing Bill, and we have a lot of teetotallers on it. I have been dry all day. Being on that Committee is a very exhausting business, and hon. Members who serve on it have had a tiring day.

We believe that this Motion should be accepted and that the right hon. and learned Gentleman should have a little consideration for some of his hon. Friends. During the week we had a remarkable performance from them. We were up until half past four in the morning on Monday, and I have never seen a better muster of Conservative Members than came to Committee at 10.30 that morning. Some of those Members are here now. I am glad that the Patronage Secretary is back. It is about time he listened to our arguments for going home now. All he need do is to accept the Motion and then we can all go. Hon. Members opposite should remember that if we go on there could be a grave danger of losing today's business, consisting of two Private Members' Bills.

12 m.

We know that Members ballot for the right to introduce these Bills, and are lucky if their numbers are drawn. It would be a tragedy if we so arranged our business that Members lost their chance to introduce their Bills. I gather that one of the Bills down for today is being introduced by a Conservative Member. Hon. Members opposite may say that this is the responsibility of the Opposition, and ask why we do not go home, but we regard the Bill we are now discussing as so important that we are asking for an adjournment of the debate in order that we can discuss it in a much calmer attitude, at the same time making sure that the Private Members' Bills are introduced today.

I was talking about the Bills in Committee upstairs. I am on the Licensing Bill, and can speak only for the Members on that Committee, but there is also the Criminal Justice Bill, and the Members on that Committee have been discussing it for a considerable time Many of them have earned a rest. The Bill is very technical, and the Government are in grave danger in relation to it. It is about time the Patronage Secretary considered some of his hon. Friends who are on that Committee. Another Bill upstairs is the Covent Garden Bill, which is being discussed by a Select Committee. My hon. Friend the Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) has been on that Bill, and I gather that it is taking a great deal of time. Then there is the other important Committee, which is always going on—the Scottish Standing Committee.

My Scottish friends work nearly as hard as London Members, and put up a fair show. I have a great deal of sympathy with them, because they have to make tremendous journeys to reach their constituencies in order to tell their constituents what a bright crowd this Government are. They should be allowed an opportunity to do so. If we go on much longer with this debate our Scottish colleagues and those living in the North of England will not be able to catch their trains. [HON. MEMBERS: "And Welsh Members."] I am sorry; I always forget that Wales is a part of England. I do not regard Wales as being all that important. I am sorry to have to say that.

Mr. G. Thomas

On a point of order. Is it in order, Sir William, for my hon. Friend—who was making a not unreasonable speech up to that point—to be insulting to the Welsh nation, even if it is just past midnight, when I have admitted that things deteriorate?

Mr. J. Griffiths

Insulting not only to the Welsh nation but to the Minister for Welsh Affairs, in his absence.

Mr. Mellish

Anyone who has been on the Licensing Bill and has heard Welsh Members speaking on it will understand how I feel. I have a great affection for Wales and for my Welsh friends, but we have had no contributions from Welsh Members opposite.

Mr. Griffiths

Yes. The hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) spoke for two minutes.

Mr. Mellish

The Patronage Secretary must consider the situation realistically. All those Members who have been on the various Committees which have been sitting this morning have done a stint of about fourteen hours in the House, and that is a fair day. I would remind you, Sir William, that we do not get double time after eight hours. Some members of the public think that we do. That would not be a bad idea.

Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)

I am sure that my hon. Friend does not wish to be less than just to those hon. Members who have spent a great deal of time today on other Select Committees, the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee, trying hard to cut down possible waste in public expenditure, which is highly relevant to the work of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Mellish

I am obliged to my right hon. Friend. It ought to go on record that my right hon. Friend has been doing some work apart from the rest of us—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh"]—as well as the rest of us. I include him in this. I estimate that about 140 hon. Members have been on duty since half-past ten yesterday morning; they ought to be considered. What does the Patronage Secretary think he will gain by keeping this debate going all night? Does he really think that we shall get rid of all the Amendments on the Notice Paper? If so, he is making a mistake. If it goes on and he moves the Closure he will find at the end of the day—[HON. MEMBERS: "Which day?"]—that the Committee will have to accept the Motion to report Progress. Why not do so now while we are all friendly and can even say all kinds of things about Welsh people?

Mr. John Diamond (Gloucester)

Surely my hon. Friend misunderstood what the Chancellor said. He made it perfectly clear that the Closure would not be moved because he is entirely opposed to anything which would terminate the debate.

Mr. Mellish

I have not that same trusting faith in the Chancellor as has my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond). I remember when the right hon. and learned Gentleman was Foreign Secretary and what he did then. The Patronage Secretary started all this row and he is now trying to get some of his own back. The public ought to know about this. He was the only one who was acting in an irresponsible way. Again and again he cut the House down when we were engaged in debating important issues. He was party to an arrangement with the then occupant of the Chair in trying to stop the debate altogether. Only

Division No. 74.] AYES [12.11 a.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Box, Donald
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John
Allason, James Berkeley, Humphry Boyle, Sir Edward
Atkins, Humphrey Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) Braine, Bernard
Balniel, Lord Biggs-Davison, John Brewis, John
Barber, Anthony Bishop, F. P. Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter
Barlow, Sir John Black, Sir Cyril Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry
Barter, John Bossom, Clive Bullard, Denys
Batsford, Brian Bourne-Arton, A. Bullus, Wing Commander Eric

after two hours of fighting like mad were we able to get that debated.

I put it to the Chancellor and the Patronage Secretary that democracy is in great danger while they are fiddling about now that council elections are to take place. [An HON. MEMBER: "Is this in order?"] I am in order. The noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) holds a prominent position in the Committee, but he is not yet Chairman. I make the point that democracy is in danger when debate is cut down like this and when all the organs of the Press except those favourable to the Government are being cut down.

I return to my original theme. If we are not to be allowed to go home now and discuss this matter on another day in the normal way, we shall have to go through tomorrow morning and lose Private Members' Bills, which will upset hon. Members who have had luck in the Ballot—[Interruption]—I am not addressing the hon. Member for Kidderminster. I wish he would not use that sotto voice of his.

Mr. Nabarro

rose

Hon. Members

Sit down.

Mr. Mellish

The hon. Member does not need—

Mr. Nabarro

Speak up.

Mr. Mellish

We want the Patronage Secretary to tell us whether, when we have debated the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," he will move that we report Progress and ask leave to sit again. If so, we can all go on to that Question, and then go home.

Mr. Redmayne

rose in his place, and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 230, Noes 189.

Butler, Rt. Hn. R.A.(Saffron Walden) Hocking, Philip N. Pitman, I. J.
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Holland, Philip Pitt, Miss Edith
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Hollingworth, John Pott, Percivall
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Hopkins, Alan Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Channon, H. P. G. Hornby, R. P. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Chataway, Christopher Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia Prior, J. M. L.
Chichester-Clark, R. Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Proudfoot, Wilfred
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hughes-Young, Michael Quennell, Miss J. M.
Cleaver, Leonard Hutchison, Michael Clark Ramsden, James
Cooper, A. E. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Rawlinson, Peter
Cordle, John Jackson, John Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Costain, A. P. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Rees, Hugh
Coulson, J. M. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Renton, David
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Craddock, Sir Beresford Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Ridsdale, Julian
Critchley, Julian Joseph, Sir Keith Rippon, Geoffrey
Cunningham, Knox Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Curran, Charles Kerby, Capt. Henry Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Currie, G. B. H. Kershaw, Anthony Roots, William
Dalkeith, Earl of Kimball, Marcus Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
d' Avigdor-Goldsmld, Sir Henry Kirk, Peter Russell, Ronald
Deedes, W. F. Lagden, Godfrey Scott-Hopkins, James
de Ferranti, Basil Lambton, Viscount Sharples, Richard
Digby, Simon Wingfield Langford-Holt, J. Shaw, M.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Leavey, J. A. Simon, Sir Jocelyn
Doughty, Charles Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Skeet, T. H. H.
Drayson, G. B. Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Smithers, Peter
du Cann, Edward Lindsay, Martin Stevens, Geoffrey
Eden, John Linstead, Sir Hugh Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Litchfield, Capt. John Studholme, Sir Henry
Elliott, R. W. (N 'wc' stle-upon-Tyne, N.) Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Longbottom, Charles Tapsell, Peter
Farey-Jones, F. W. Loveys, Walter H. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Farr, John Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Fell, Anthony Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Finlay, Graeme MacArthur, Ian Teeling, William
Fisher, Nigel McLaren, Martin Temple, John M.
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) McMaster, Stanley R. Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Freeth, Denzil Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Gammans, Lady Maddan, Martin Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Gardner, Edward Maginnis, John E. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Maitland, Sir John van Straubenzee, W. R.
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Goodhart, Philip Marten, Neil Vickers, Miss Joan
Goodhew, Victor Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Gower, Raymond Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Grant, Rt. Hon. William Mawby, Ray Wall, Patrick
Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Ward, Dame Irene
Green, Alan Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Gresham Cooke, R. Mills, Stratton Watts, James
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Montgomery, Fergus Webster, David
Gurden, Harold More, Jasper (Ludlow) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Morrison, John Whitelaw, William
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Nabarro, Gerald Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Harris, Reader (Heston) Neave, Airey Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Noble, Michael Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Hastings, Stephen Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Woodhouse, C. M.
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Page, John (Harrow, West) Woodnutt, Mark
Hendry, Forbes Partridge, E. Woollam, John
Hiley, Joseph Pearson, Frank (Ciltheroe) Worsley, Marcus
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Peel, John
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Percival, Ian TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Colonel J. H. Harrison and
Hirst, Geoffrey Pilkington, Sir Richard Mr. Gibson-Watt.
NOES
Abse, Leo Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Cullen, Mrs. Alice
Ainsley, William Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)
Albu, Austen Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Davies, Harold (Leek)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Davies, Ifor (Gower)
Awbery, Stan Callaghan, James de Freitas, Geoffrey
Bacon, Miss Alice Castle, Mrs. Barbara Delargy, Hugh
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Chetwynd, George Diamond, John
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.) Ciiffe, Michael Dodds, Norman
Blyton, William Collick, Percy Donnelly, Desmond
Boardman, H. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Driberg, Tom
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Cronin, John Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John
Bowles, Frank Crosland, Anthony Edelman, Maurice
Brockway, A. Fenner Crossman, R. H. S. Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Ledger, Ron Ross, William
Evans, Albert Lee, Frederick (Newton) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Fernyhough, E. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Finch, Harold Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Skeffington, Arthur
Fitch, Alan Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Fletcher, Eric Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Lipton, Marcus Small, William
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Loughlin, Charles Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mason, Dr. J. Dickson Snow, Julian
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh McCann, John Sorensen, R. W.
George, LadyMeganLloyd (C'rm' rth' n) MacColl, James Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Ginsburg, David MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Spriggs, Leslie
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Steele, Thomas
Gourlay, Harry Manuel, A. C. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Greenwood, Anthony Marsh, Richard Stonehouse, John
Grey, Charles Mason, Roy Stones, William
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly) Mayhew, Christopher Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Mellish, R. J. Swain, Thomas
Gunter, Ray Mendelson, J. J. Swingler, Stephen
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Coine Valley) Millan, Bruce Sylvester, George
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Milne, Edward J. Symonds, J. B.
Hannan, William Mitchison, G. R. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Hart, Mrs. Judith Monslow, Walter Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Hayman, F. H. Morris, John Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Herbison, Miss Margaret Mulley, Frederick Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Hill, J. (Midlothian) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Hilton, A. V. Oram, A. E. Thornton, Ernest
Holman, Percy Oswald, Thomas Thorpe, Jeremy
Houghton, Douglas Owen, Will Tomney, Frank
Howell, Charles A. Padley, W. E. Wainwright, Edwin
Hoy, James H. Paget, R. T. Warbey, William
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Pargiter, G. A. Weitzman, David
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Parker, John (Dagenham) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Pvitt, Laurence White, Mrs. Eirene
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Peart, Frederick Whitlock, William
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Pentland, Norman Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Janner, Barnett Plummer, Sir Leslie Wilkins, W. A.
Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Popplewell, Ernest Willey, Frederick
Jeger, George Prentice, R. E. Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Probert, Arthur Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Proctor, W. T. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Winterbottom, R. E.
Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Randall, Harry Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Rankin, John Woof, Robert
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Redhead, E. C. Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Reynolds, G. W. Zilliacus, K.
Kelley, Richard Rhodes, H.
Kenyon, Clifford Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
King, Dr. Horace Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Mr. G. H. R. Rogers and Mr. Lawson.

Question put accordingly, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again:—

Division No. 75.] AYES [12.22 a.m.
Abse, Leo Cullen, Mrs. Alice Gourlay, Harry
Ainsley, William Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Greenwood, Anthony
Albu, Austen Davies, Harold (Leek) Grey, Charles
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Davies, Ifor (Gower) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)
Awbery, Stan de Freitas, Geoffrey Griffiths, W. (Exchange)
Bacon, Miss Alice Delargy, Hugh Gunter, Ray
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Diamond, John Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.) Dodds, Norman Hamilton, William (West Fife)
Blyton, William Donnelly, Desmond Hannan, William
Boardman, H. Driberg, Tom Hart, Mrs. Judith
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S. W.) Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Hayman, F. H.
Bowles, Frank Edelman, Maurice Herbison, Miss Margaret
Brockway, A. Fenner Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hilt, J. (Midlothian)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Hilton, A. V.
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Evans, Albert Holman, Percy
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Beiper) Fernyhough, E. Houghton, Douglas
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Finch, Harold Howell, Charles A.
Callaghan, James Fitch, Alan Hoy, James H.
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Fletcher, Eric Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Chetwynd, George Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Cliffe, Michael Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Collick, Percy Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Hynd, John (Attercliffe)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Cronin, John George, LadyMeganLloyd (C'rm'rth' n) Irving, Sydney (Dartford)
Crosland, Anthony Ginsburg, David Janner, Sir Barnett
Crossman, R. H. S. Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas

The Committee divided: Ayes 189, Noes 230.

Jager, George Oram, A. E. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Oswald, Thomas Stonehouse, John
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Owen, Will Stones, William
Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Padley, W. E. Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Paget, R. T. Swain, Thomas
Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Pargiter, G. A. Swingler, Stephen
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Parker, John (Dagenham) Sylvester, George
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.) Symonds, J. B.
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Pavitt, Laurence Taylor, Barnard (Mansfield)
Kelley, Richard Peart, Frederick Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Kenyon, Clifford Pentland, Norman Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
King, Dr. Horace Plummer, Sir Leslie Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Ledger, Ron Popplewell, Ernest Thomson, G. M. (Dundee. E.)
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Prentice, R. E. Thornton, Ernest
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Thorpe, Jeremy
Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Probert, Arthur Tomney, Frank
Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Proctor, W. T. Wainwright, Edwin
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Warbey, William
Lipton, Marcus Randall, Harry Weitzman, David
Loughlin, Charles Rankin, John Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Redhead, E. C. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
McCann, John Reynolds, G. W. White, Mrs. Eirene
MacColl, James Rhodes, H. Whitlock, William
MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Wilkins, W. A.
Manuel, A. C. Ross, William Willey, Frederick
Marsh, Richard Silverman, Julius (Aston) Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Mason, Roy Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Williams, W. R. (Openehaw)
Mayhew, Christopher Skeffington, Arthur Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Mellish, R. J. Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Mendelson, J. J. Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield) Winterbottom, R. E.
Millan, Bruce Small, William Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Milne, Edward J. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Woof, Robert
Mitchlson, G. R. Snow, Julian Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Monslow, Walter Sorensen, R. W. Zilliacus, K.
Morris, John Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Mulley, Frederick Spriggs, Leslie TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Steele, Thomas Mr. G. H. R. Rogers and Mr. Lawson
NOES
Agnew, Sir Peter Critohley, Julian Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macciesf'd)
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Cunningham, Knox Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Allason, James Curran, Charles Hastings, Stephen
Atkins, Humphrey Currie, G. B. H. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Balniel, Lord Dance, James Hendry, Forbes
Barber, Anthony d' Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hiley, Joseph
Barlow, Sir John Deedes, W. F. Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Barter, John de Ferranti, Basil Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Batsford, Brian Digby, Simon Wingfield Hirst, Geoffrey
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Hocking, Philip N.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Doughty, Charles Holland, Philip
Berkeley, Humphry Drayson, G. B. Hollingworth, John
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) du Cann, Edward Hopkins, Alan
Biggs-Davison, John Eden, John Hornby, R. P.
Bishop, F. P. Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia
Black, Sir Cyril Elliott, R. W. (N 'wc' stle-upon-Tyne, N.) Howard, Hon. C. R. (St. Ives)
Bossom, Clive Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Howard, John (Southampton, Test)
Bourne-Arton, A. Farey-Jones, F. W. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John
Box, Donald Farr, John Hughes-Young, Michael
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Fell, Anthony Hutchison, Michael Clark
Boyle, Sir Edward Finlay, Graeme Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Braine, Bernard Fisher, Nigel Jackson, John
Brawls, John Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Freeth, Denzil Johnson Eric (Blackley)
Bullard, Denys Gammans, Lady Johnson Smith, Geoffrey
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Gardner, Edward Joseph, Sir Keith
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Gibson-Watt, David Kerans, Cdr. J. S.
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Kerby, Capt. Henry
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Kershaw, Anthony
Kimball, Marcus
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Goodhart, Philip Kirk, Peter
Channon, H. P. G. Goodhew, Victor Lagden, Geoffrey
Chataway, Christopher Gower, Raymond
Chichester-Clark, R. Grant, Rt. Hon. William Lang[...]un, Viscount
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. Langford-Holt, J.
Leavey, J. A.
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Green, Alan Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Gresham Cooke, R. Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Cleaver, Leonard Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Lindsay, Martin
Cooper, A. E. Gurden, Harold Linstead, Sir Hugh
Cordle, John Hall, John (Wycombe) Litchfield, Capt. John
Costain, A. P. Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)
Coulson, J. M. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Longbottom, Charles
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Harris, Reader (Heston) Loveys, Walter H.
Craddock, Sir Beresford Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Pott, Percivall Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
MacArthur, Ian Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
McLaren, Martin Price, David (Eastleigh) Teeling, Wil1iam
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Prior, J. M. L. Temple, John M.
McMaster, Stanley R. Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Maddan, Martin Proudfoot, Wilfred Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Maginnis, John E. Quennell, Miss J. M. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Maitland, Sir John Ramsden, James Tweedsmuir, Lady
Manninghan-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Rawlinson, Peter van Straubenzee, W. R.
Marten, Neil Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Mathew, Robert (Haniton) Rees, Hugh Vickers, Miss Joan
Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Renton, David Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Mawby, Ray Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Ridsdale, Julian Wall, Patrick
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Rippon, Geoffrey Ward, Dame Irene
Mills, Stratton Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Montgomery, Fergus Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Watts, James
More, Jasper (Ludlow) Roots, William Webster, David
Morrison, John Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Wells, John (Maidstone)
Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Russell, Ronald Whitelaw, William
Nabarro, Gerald Scott-Hopkins, James Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Neave, Airey Sharples, Richard Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Noble, Michael Shaw, M. Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Simon, Sir Jocelyn Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Skeet. T. H. H. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Page, John (Harrow, West) Smithers, Peter Woodhouse, C. M.
Partridge, E. Stevens, Geoffrey Woodnutt, Mark
Pearson, Frank (Clftheroe) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Woollam, John
Percival, Ian Studhoime, Sir Henry Worsley, Marcus
Pilkington, Sir Richard Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Pitman, I. J. Tapsell, Peter TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Pitt, Miss Edith Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Mr. J. E. B. Hill and Mr. Peel.

12.30 a.m.

The Deputy-Chairman

The Question is—

Mr. Manuel

On a point of order, Sir William. I have a point of very great importance on which I seek your guidance. I had occasion a very short time ago to go on constituency business to the interview rooms in the basement. I found it very difficult to get in there at all because of sleeping Tories. Every couch is occupied by a member of the Government's forces.

The Deputy-Chairman

That is not a point of order.

Mr. H. Wilson

Further to that point of order, Sir William. Would it not be—

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. I ruled that it was not a point of order for me to deal with. Has the right hon. Gentleman another point of order?

Mr. Wilson

Yes, I have another point of order, Sir William. You will recall—I think that you yourself were in the Chair at the time—an occasion during a previous all-night sitting, I think it was on 17th November, 1955, but no doubt the Chief Patronage Secretary, who was very much involved, will be able to confirm it—

Hon. Members

Where is he now—in the interview room?

Mr. Wilson

On that occasion a point was raised by an hon. Friend of mine—I think it was my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. A. Lewis)—who said that he had had difficulty—

Hon. Members

Where is he? Is he down there, too?

Mr. Wilson

It may not have been my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North, but it was certainly an hon. Friend of mine who on that occasion said that he was prevented from having a normal meeting with one of his constituents. You, Sir William, ordered the Serjeant at Arms to make inquiries and report to you, and you were willing to accept a Motion to report Progress so that the report from the Serjeant at Arms could be considered. In these circumstances, in view of the large number of the public showing a close interest in this Bill and wishing to lobby their Members of Parliament on it, would you reconsider your decision on that point of order?

The Deputy-Chairman

The larger the numbers of the public watching our debate the more important I conceive it that the debate should be properly conducted.

Mr. G. Brown

I raise a point of order, Sir William. If it is true that we cannot get into the rooms made available for us—

Mr. Manuel

There are beds in some of them.

Mr. Brown

—in which to do our business, because some hon. Members —[Interruption.]

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. I hope the Committee will allow the right hon. Gentleman to put his point of order.

Mr. Brown

We are in no hurry, Sir William. The point I was raising with you is, if it is true, as is reported by my hon. Friends, that hon. Members of the Committee are not able to get into the rooms which are available for us to do our business in—[Interruption.] I will take as long as hon. Members like over this point of order. I repeat, we are in no hurry. [HON. MEMBERS: "Start again."] May I start again, Sir William? The point I am trying to raise with you, which the schoolboys below the Gangway are not anxious that you should hear—

Hon. Members

Order.

Mr. Nabarro

Really, that is most improper. On a point of order.

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. a Brown), as I understand it, is on a point of order.

Mr. Nabarro

Further to that point of order—

Hon. Members

Sit down.

Mr. Brown

I have not finished. The point of order is that if it is true, as it is reported by hon. Members of this Committee, that other hon. Members cannot get into the rooms made available for us to do our business in—

Mr. Nabarro

You must go and do your business—

Mr. Brown

They are not only juvenile but literally 5-year-old remarks which are being made. There is a vast public to hear that kind of behaviour. There are the reporters who also hear it. Really, I hope and trust that hon. Members below the Gangway are proud of the level they are managing to reach. My point of order is that if there are rooms—

Mr. Nabarro

You must go and do your business.

The Deputy-Chairman

I invite the Committee to allow the right hon. Gentle- man to make his point of order and allow me to give a Ruling upon it, and allow the Committee to get back to its work.

Mr. Brown

Thank you, Sir William. I repeat, I will raise the point of order again as often as I am prevented from going through with it; just as often. Even though we are a minority in the Committee, we are entitled to our rights. If it is true that Members of the minority, and indeed such Members of the majority as are capable, cannot get into the rooms set aside for them, and if you rule, Sir William, that it is not your duty to protect those hon. Members who have affairs to conduct in those rooms and that it is not your business to arrange that the rooms be cleared so that my hon. Friends and other hon. Members can get into them, then it seems that the minority are without a very important protection which they ought to have.

Are you willing, Sir William, to order —as has been done before; we have precedents for this—that the Serjeant at Arms shall see that those interview rooms are cleared so that my hon. Friends can get into them for the purpose for which they were provided?

The Deputy-Chairman

The right hon. Gentleman can rest assured that note has been taken of what he said. If anything improper is reported, action will be taken to meet the case. Meanwhile, as Chairman of the Committee, I think that we should get on with our work.

Mr. H. Wilson

We are in some difficulty, Sir William. First we were told that we could not raise this matter in Committee and now we are told that notice has been taken of the point. Will you give a Ruling on paragraph 30 of the Manual of Procedure, which was published under the authority of Mr. Speaker and laid on the Table by Mr. Speaker for the use of hon. Members? No one will contest its authority. It refers to the duties of the Serjeant at Arms. I will not weary the Committee by reading them all. It says, The Serjeant at Arms is also by statute (52 Geo. 3, c. 5)"— it goes back to the reign of George III— housekeeper of the House of Commons. I will skip some less relevant parts.

Mr. Nabarro

Read them all.

Mr. Wilson

It says that he is to have a Deputy Serjeant and an Assistant Serjeant. It continues, He sees to the maintenance of order in the lobbies and passages of, and approaches to, the House and may be regarded as representing the. executive authority of the House. On page 255 of the work by the late Mr. Erskine May, of which we have heard much recently, we read that the Serjeant at Arms is responsible for the Committee Rooms of the House. I understand that the Serjeant at Arms is under your direction, Sir William. If a point is raised in the Committee, surely it is not enough that note be taken of it by some unnamed and anonymous individual. I submit, with respect, that we are entitled to ask you to request the Serjeant at Arms to go to the Committee Rooms, which we are told are under his direction as the executive authority of the House.

Mr. Nahum

Interview rooms.

Mr. Wilson

The interview rooms come under the Serjeant at Arms. He should then report to you so that the Committee knows what should be done. Erskine May reads, as housekeeper of the House has charge of all its Committee rooms and other buildings during the sitting of Parliament.

Mr. Nabarro

Further to that point of order. The right hon. Gentleman said that the congestion referred to is taking place in the interview rooms. He based his case on an extract from the Manual of Procedure which states that the Serjeant at Arms shall keep clear the lobbies, passages and approaches to the House. Can it reasonably be contended that an interview room, which is a cul-de-sac, can constitute a lobby, a passage or an approach?

12.45 a.m

The Deputy-Chairman

I think that I am sufficiently seized of the point to give a Ruling. I had hoped that I would be allowed to confine my Rulings to keeping order in the Chamber, but the right hon. Gentleman draws my attention to Erskine May. I think that the Serjeant at Arms will already have heard, as I said a minute or two ago, and taken note of what has been said. I am prepared to go further and to request the Serjeant at Arms to investigate the complaint and to inform the occupant of the Chair in due course. Having given that Ruling, I hope in all seriousness that the Committee will get down to the business.

Mr. Hector Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

Further to that point of order.

The Deputy-Chairman

The hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) will have an opportunity of raising his point of order, if he thinks that he should, after he hears what I have to say. I am in no doubt that I should wait for information before ruling further on this point of order.

Mr. Hughes

Would it not be advisable, Sir William, for the Serjeant at Arms when he goes to investigate the fifty-two recumbent bodies in the interview rooms to take with him a doctor and also a policeman to protect him?

Mr. Manuel

I had spoken only two sentences, Sir William, when you ruled me out. You have now informed the Committee that there was some substance in what I was saying. I want it verified, but the Serjeant at Arms did not hear my complaint. Undoubtedly all the couches outside the interview room were occupied by sleeping persons belonging to the Government side of the Committee, equipped with blankets and pillows, and with their boots off. Furthermore—

The Deputy-Chairman

If the hon. Member has information that would assist the Serjeant at Arms, I hope that he will impart that information without delay but will please allow the Committee to get on with its work.

Mr. Manuel

One of my hon. Friends had one of the interview rooms booked for constituents who were coming in, but he was unable to get in because a bed was already in there. I think that the Patronage Secretary is making these arrangements and that we ought to be protected from that sort of thing.

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. I hope that the Committee will allow me to carry out the course of action I have decided on, and that is to await the report before dealing further with this complaint and that meanwhile we should address ourselves to the business of the Committee, which is the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

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

On a point of order. We are in some difficulty now through the Ruling which you have just given, Sir William. Do I understand that my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) is wrong in reporting to you events that are taking place and that he should go to the Serjeant at Arms and not bring the matter to the Floor of the Committee? That is a very difficult Ruling. I should like a little amplification on whether it is in order that an hon. Member should be told that instead of exercising his duty in protecting his constituents by raising a matter on the Floor of the Committee he is to go about it in a rather hole-and-corner kind of way and talk to Officers of the House? Perhaps the Ruling was a little hasty, Sir William. I hope that my hearing was incorrect and that it is in order for an hon. Member to duly raise this matter on the Floor.

The Deputy-Chairman

I think that the hon. Member and the Committee will have realised that the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire was quite successful in raising his point of order.

Mr. W. Hamilton

On a point of order. A few of my hon. Friends and I have our names attached to later Amendments which will come up for discussion in the morning, and we want to go downstairs to an interview room to discuss them, what we are to say and what our tactics will be, Sir William. Can you tell me what course I should take if, when we get down there, as we will very soon, we find that every room is occupied? What redress do we have?

The Deputy-Chairman

The hon. Member raises a hypothetical case and I am not prepared to deal with it now.

Mr. George Chetwynd (Stockton-on-Tees)

On a point of order. What is the procedure for interrupting the debate on the Motion, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" so that we may hear the report of the Serjeant at Arms? Should not the Committee stand adjourned until we get that report?

The Deputy-Chairman

I think that the hon. Member can rest assured that the Chair will deal with the matter as seems necessary when the report is received.

Mr. Lipton

On a point of order. I raise this point of order because I am dissatisfied with the present situation. Under Standing Order No. 105 (1), I wish to draw attention to the fact that Strangers are present.

The Deputy-Chairman,

pursuant to Standing Order No. 105 (Withdrawal of strangers from the House), put the Question, That Strangers do withdraw:—

Question negatived.

Mr. Houghton

On a point of order. The Amendment in Clause 1, page 2, line 15, at the end to insert: not being earlier than the first day of July, nineteen hundred and sixty-four". has not been selected. When I consulted the Chairman of Ways and Means about this Amendment, his decision was that it was almost a wrecking Amendment. But since then I have made two discoveries. First, a similar Amendment to the 1958 Bill was accepted by the Chair and debated. I have also discovered that in the debate which has just concluded—

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. The hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) is putting me in a difficulty. This Amendment has not been selected and I am not prepared to accept debate on that decision.

The Question before the Committee is, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill".

Mr. Houghton

With respect to you, Sir William, I am sure that you would wish to assist me in my difficulty. I do not know how you are to decide to call an Amendment which has not so far been selected, but it is a matter of substance when the only Amendment dealing with the operative date of the new contributions has not been selected and yet in 1958 a similar Amendment was selected and when, in the debate which has just taken place, we found that the Statutory Instrument provided for in Clause 1 (7) will not be debatable. By this Amendment not being selected, the Committee is deprived of any opportunity of debating the effective date of the new contributions. I submit to you that that is a great disadvantage and that, so far as it lies within your power, Sir William, it should be remedied.

The Deputy-Chairman

It does not lie in my power to do so. We must proceed with the discussion of the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Mellish

On a point of order, Sir William. May I call attention, first of all, to the Amendment which was called earlier and which was defeated: in page 1, line 18, at end to insert but shall cease to have effect on the first day of July, nineteen hundred and sixty-two, unless they are renewed by an affirmative resolution passed by both Houses of Parliament. The words contained in the Amendment referred to now by my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) are also contained in that earlier Amendment, the latter words of which are also in the Amendment which we have just discussed: in page 2, line 15, at end to insert subject to an affirmative resolution of both Houses of Parliament. We were allowed to discuss on this latter Amendment all that we had already discussed in the earlier one, yet the promoter of that earlier Amendment is not now to be allowed to move the Amendment which is the subject of this point of order. If that earlier Amendment, containing the same words, was allowed, why not the other?

The Deputy-Chairman

I cannot entertain argument as to why certain Amendments are not selected.

Mr. H. Wilson

Further to that point of order, Sir William. I am sure that the Committee recognises, as always, that the selection of Amendments is entirely within the discretion of the Chair, but I have known many occasions in discussing Finance Bills where the Chair has always refused to give reasons for selecting Amendments, but where it has been quite usual for it to say that a particular Amendment was out of order. I understand that this particular Amendment was not rejected in the discretionary sense, but was declared to be out of order. Now my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) has produced reasons for suggesting that it is within order. Would it not be fair to reply to that submission?

The Deputy-Chairman

The right hon. Gentleman is not correct. This Amendment was not ruled out of order; it was not selected. Since it has not been selected (by the Chair, I cannot allow debate upon it. I should have thought that the hon. Member for Sowerby could make a great deal of his case on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Stephen Swingler (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

Further to that point of order. The Chairman of Ways and Means, although he does not give reasons why certain Amendments are or are not selected, has always been willing to listen to submissions of substance on the issue. You have just said, Sir William, that it does not lie within your power to reconsider the question of the selection of this Amendment. Could you tell us if there is any means whereby we can get the Chairman of Ways and Means into the Chair, because he does have the power to reconsider his ruling?

The Deputy-Chairman

No. I must stick to the principle that the selection of Amendments is made by the Chair and is not open to debate. If it were otherwise, then in every case when an hon. Member's Amendment was not selected, debate might take place upon it, and the whole purpose of the Standing Order would be frustrated. I invite the Committee to proceed to discuss the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Grant-Ferris

On a point of order, Sir William. I wish to seek your guidance, because my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire. South (Sir P. Agnew) and I have carried out an inspection down below, and we wish to say that there are more Members of the Opposition cluttering up the place than Members of this side of the Committee. Is it not most improper that Members opposite should make accusations without finding out what is really causing the inconvenience?

The Deputy-Chairman

I am obliged to the hon. Member for his information, and I am still waiting for the report from the Serjeant at Arms.

Mr. Loughlin

Further to that point of order, Sir William. The statement made by the hon. Member for Nantwich (Mr. Grant-Ferris) is not true. I checked the number of Members—

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. The hon. Member has used a word that is not permissible. He must use a word other than the word "untrue." I will be grateful if he will withdraw the word "untrue."

1.0 a.m.

Mr. Loughlin

I willingly withdraw that word. All I would say is that the hon. Member's powers of recognition are defective. I checked very carefully before the point of order was raised, and there was one hon. Member from this side of the Committee and fifty-two from the benches opposite.

Sir Peter Agnew (Worcestershire, South)

The officer making the inspection would not be able to take cognisance of party affiliations, but it was easy for those who did make the inspection to identify some hon. Members of the Opposition from the colour of their braces.

Mr. George Jeger (Goole)

It is some time now, Sir William, since the point of order was first raised and you said that you were asking the Serjeant at Arms to make inquiries and an investigation to see exactly what the position was. We have had no report yet. Might it not be that some of the recumbent bodies are not asleep, but in a more serious state—perhaps of decomposition? Might it not be advisable for this sitting to be adjourned, as it would be most inhumane for us to consider the question before us while a most serious situation existed in the rooms below?

The Deputy-Chairman

I am quite confident that I shall be given a report as soon as possible. Meanwhile, there is no reason why the Committee should not continue with its business, which is to consider the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Mr. W. Hamilton

I think that the Deputy Sergeant at Arms has come to make his report. As a matter of fact, I followed him round. There are beds in the rooms downstairs. There is one in Room A; two in Room B, and one in Room C—all occupied by hon. Members opposite. If I want to use any of those rooms I am prevented from doing so. I respectfully suggest that we should now adjourn in order that this business can be cleared up. It looks like a refugee camp down there.

The Deputy-Chairman

I am obliged to the hon. Member for what he has told the Chair. The Question is, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Mr. H. Wilson

On a point of order. In view of the fact that the Deputy Serjeant at Arms is now standing in the place normally reserved for the Leader of the House when he is not present in our debates, would it not be possible for you now to receive his report, Sir William?

The Deputy-Chairman

I now propose to inform the Committee of the report which I have received from the Deputy Serjeant at Arms. There are four empty interview rooms; there are four interview rooms occupied by Members who are working, and there are two interview rooms occupied by Members who are sleeping. Cubicles: there are six empty cubicles; there are eight cubicles occupied by Members who are working and there are two cubicles occupied by Members who are sleeping. In view of that information, I feel that the rights of Members on both sides of the Committee are in safe keeping and we can proceed with our work.

Mr. Wilson

I am sure that the Committee would wish, through you, Sir William, to tender our thanks to the Deputy Serjeant at Arms, but surely this matter cannot be left where it is. We are told that there are empty rooms, but is it not a fact that rules have been approved by the House governing the use of these rooms? We have received copies of the notice, which says: Members are particularly reminded that committee rooms may only be used for meetings in connection with a Parliamentary subject. In view of that, are not these rules being broken?

The Deputy-Chairman

My anxiety as Chairman of the Committee is to see that hon. Members' rights are not being trespassed upon. In view of the fact that there are four rooms which are empty for the use of any hon. Member who requires them, I am satisfied that these rights are being preserved.

Mr. Manuel

I do not know whether there is contained in your report from the Deputy Serjeant at Arms any indication of the number of rooms or cubicles which have beds in them. Certainly rooms are occupied by beds, although someone has got the occupants of the beds out before the Deputy Serjeant at Arms got there. Those rooms are not in a fit state to be used by hon. Members as interview rooms.

The Deputy-Chairman

If the rooms are not in a fit state, I have no doubt that the Officers of the House will proceed to make them in a fit state.

Mr. W. Hamilton

rose

The Deputy-Chairman

I shall allow the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) to raise a point of order in due course, but he must allow me to give what Ruling I think I ought to give. I am satisfied that there are four empty rooms. So if hon. Members require them for an interview there is accommodation.

Mr. Hamilton

Of course there are empty rooms, but my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) has stated that there are beds in some of them. It is true that the beds are empty now, but the smell down there is quite deplorable.

Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn)

On a point of order. [Interruption.]

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. I am endeavouring to hear the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) raise a point of order.

Mrs. Castle

You said. Sir William, that you are satisfied that at this moment there are empty interview rooms and that therefore hon. Members are not having their work interfered with in any way, but there is no guarantee that as the night goes on—as we shall be here for a long time—hon. Members may wish to avail themselves of the working facilities downstairs. In view of that, ought we not to know whether in fact beds have been physically taken into those rooms and the rooms been converted into dormitories? If so, would it be possible to ask those sleeping there to evacuate those rooms so that hon. Members may make emergency use of them? Could we have an instruction conveyed through you to the Serjeant at Arms that no more of these interview rooms are to he used for dormitory purposes?

The Deputy-Chairman

I think that what the hon. Lady has said will be taken note of and that, if any further trouble is reported, action will be taken. Meanwhile let the Committee get down to its work. The Question is "That the Clause stand part of the Bill". Mr. Houghton.

Mr. Houghton

rose

Mr. Manuel

On a point of order. Just one point—

The Deputy-Chairman

I am trying to get the Committee back to its work. A great many points of order have been heard. I have heard the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) more than once. I think that he should allow the Committee to get on with its work.

Mr. Manuel

You might have heard my point of order before you ruled it out.

Mr. Houghton

Although the hour is late, I hope that hon. and right hon. Members opposite will still be in the mood for a little serious discussion. Clause 1 is really the main part of the Bill—it could be said that it is the Bill. There is a Schedule containing particulars of the proposed increased contributions, but that is governed and authorised by the Clause.

Almost every argument against this Bill has already been used, but the strange phenomenon is that the case for this Measure has been allowed to go by default on the benches opposite. I have sat here since 3.30 this afternoon—or yesterday afternoon—and there has not been one speech worthy of the name in defence of the Bill. The few remarks coming from the other side were made by the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower), and we are accustomed to his support of the Government when few, if any, other hon. Members opposite are prepared to defend the Government's actions.

This cannot be said to have been a debate at all. It has been a protest from these benches, but not a debate in the true sense of the word. That is bad for Parliament and it is bad for the Committee. The clash of opinion between men of good will is an indispensable condition of democracy. We have had no sign of that in this Chamber today. There must be some reason for this Bill which hon. Members opposite are prepared to state—

The Temporary Chairman (Sir Herbert Butcher)

We are not discussing the Bill; we are discussing the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill".

Mr. Houghton

I prefaced my remarks, Sir Herbert, by saying that Clause 1 is the Bill, and if I am in error in referring to the Bill instead of to the Clause, I will substitute Clause 1 for the Bill, but my arguments are equally valid. There is nothing in this Bill except Clause 1, and the Schedules accompanying it. It is a great pity that throughout this debate, and throughout the previous debates on this Measure so little has been said by hon. Members opposite to tell us why the Bill should be introduced and why they support it.

What are they afraid of? Do they prefer the anonymity of going into the Lobby when the Division Bell rings while not being prepared to be counted and reported so that their constituents may know their defence of the Bill? Are they ashamed of Clause 1, and of what it does to impose new and additional flat-rate taxation on the whole of the community? I still hope that in this present debate we shall hear from the other side the opposing point of view on the future concept of the social services and the methods by which they shall be financed—because that, is really the issue before us.

As we do not hear the views of hon. Members opposite, we have to turn to our newspapers and to our periodicals to read articles or representations of Conservative opinion on the new look of the social services and the new concept of financing them. The hon. Member for Bournemouth, West (Mr. Eden) is in his place. I know that he has a point of view; he has occasionally—although a long time ago—expressed it in the House. May we not hear from him this evening on the discussion we are having on this Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill"?

What really divides the two sides of the Committee on this Clause is that we on these benches believe that the social services should be, mainly, financed out of general taxation; and particularly so the Health Service. I agree that we have undoubtedly in the past introduced a measure of flat-rate contributions which we could call flat-rate taxation in support of the social services, but the difference is that we believe that this Clause and the Schedule are carrying that principle too far.

1.15 a.m.

I should like to draw the attention of the Committee to some comparisons which have been made between the level of taxation, including National Health Service contributions, on people of low incomes in 1950–1951 and at the present time. I refer especially to some Questions put by my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) to the Chancellor on 21st February. My right hon. Friend asked the Chancellor: …what percentage of income was paid in Income Tax and National Insurance contributions together by a man and a wife and one child with income of £9 a week in 1951–52; and what will be the corresponding percentage from July, 1961, on the assumption of present rates of Income Tax. The Chancellor replied: For 1951–52 a married man with one child under 11 earning £9 a week paid 7.8 per cent. of his income in Income Tax and National Insurance contributions combined. At the present rates of Income Tax and the proposed rates of National Insurance and National Health Service contributions from July, 1961, the percentage would be 6.1. My right hon. Friend then asked a supplementary question: Does not that show that on these levels of income there has been no material reduction in taxation in the last ten years? and the Chancellor replied in what I think was a quite unworthy way. He replied with an answer which was much too slick by half. He said: I think it proves the old adage that it is unwise for an advocate to ask a question in cross-examination unless he knows the answer."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st February, 1961; Vol. 635, col. 288.] My right hon. Friend did know the answer; and so do I. If one is to take the Chancellor literally, the difference in the level of taxation as between 1951–52 and from next July, taking into account the increased National Health Service contributions, would be 1.7 per cent. That is 1.7 per cent. lower from July, 1961, than it was ten years ago.

Let us look somewhat higher up the scale. A married man with no children, getting £1,000 a year ten years ago, paid about £230 in tax. This year it is £150, or a reduction of 35 per cent. in the level of taxation. I repeat, a reduction of 35 per cent. A £2,000 a year man, married with no children, has had a reduction of 22 per cent., and a married man with one child and earning £1,000 a year has had a reduction of 45 per cent., and the man with £2,000 a year has had a 26 per cent. reduction. Yet the Chancellor appears to think that he has played his ace of trumps when he says that the man with £9 a week has had a reduction of 1.7 per cent. in this period.

That, I think, puts the matter in its true perspective. The facts in general terms, and in the specific terms which I have put before the Committee, are that the level of taxation has been substantially reduced in the moderate and higher ranges of income, whereas the amount of Income Tax charged on a £9 a week man ten years ago has been replaced by National Insurance and National Health contributions. In other words, we have taken off his shoulders Income Tax and replaced it with an almost equal amount of burden in the shape of National Insurance contributions. That is a very vivid illustration of the difference of treatment for people at different income levels.

Much has been said about the comparison between the percentage of average wages represened by the combined National Insurance and National Health Service contributions at different stages. I now refer to col. 156 of HANSARD, 15th February, 1961, Writen Answers to Questions, where the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance informed one of my hon. Friends that the percentage of average earnings of the National Insurance contribution in 1948 was 7.2 and in 1957 it was 6.3. He said also that the National Health Service contribution which began at 0.7 per cent. was now 0.9 per cent., and after these increases it would be 1.1 per cent.

For the man on £9 a week, the proportion of his wages taken by the combined National Insurance contribution and National Health Service contribution is 10.5 per cent. That is where the rub is, at the lower level of wages. In relation to the average wage, the difference in percentage contribution for the man on £9 a week is 3 per cent. His contribution is 3 per cent, higher than the contribution of those on the average wage. Three per cent. is 7d. in the £. which is a substantial difference in a total wage of about £9 a week.

Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)

In those very interesting calculations which the hon. Gentleman has made, has he not overlooked the fact that there is practically no one in the country who was earning £9 a week ten years ago who is still earning only £9 a week? Does he not realise that practically everyone earning £9 a week ten years ago is probably earning £12 or £14 now?

Mr. Houghton

What 1 am concerned with is a man earning £9 a week today, whatever he may have been earning ten years ago, or perhaps not earning at all. I quite understand the point the hon. Gentleman makes, but it does not destroy the validity of my argument, that the man on £9 a week today will pay in combined National Insurance and National Health Service contributions 10. per cent, of his wages, whereas the man on the average wage will pay probably 7. per cent., a difference of 3 per cent. This is really the kernel of my argument. The lower-paid people are demonstrably to bear a heavier burden in relation to their resources than the people higher up. Furthermore, the people in the higher ranges of income have had tax reductions far and above anything which the lower-paid people have had by the removal of Income Tax and its replacement by increased National Insurance and National Health Service contributions. That is the point, and I hope I have made it clearly enough for the Committee to grasp it.

We are told that the new thinking, if it be new thinking, behind Tory philosophy on the approach to the financing of the welfare services is that personal taxation is acting as a disincentive to the professional and executive classes, and Conservative opinion believes that if the welfare services are to expand it is reasonable to ask the users to pay rather more of the cost. The first thing about that proposition is that there is no evidence whatever that the present level of personal taxation is a disincentive to the professional and executive classes.

The Temporary Chairman

I hope that the hon. Member will relate his argument to the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill".

Mr. Houghton

Clause 1—[Interruption.]—The noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) will get it from me a lot of times before the Budget debates. The theme I am on now—I hope to get it in order in a moment—must be repeated in the House of Commons time and time again.

What is happening in the Clause is a transfer from general taxation to particular taxation of a flat-rate or poll-tax nature. The pyramid of taxation is being pressed down and spread more widely and more thickly on the lower-income groups. Hon. Members opposite believe that by imposing these increased contributions over the great mass of the people, they will facilitate a reduction in the higher levels of taxation. They justify that reduction on the ground that, unless it is done, the professional and executive men will lose heart in their work. They will not be able to put their backs into it, their brains will not work as well, their energy will be sapped and their enthusiasm will decline unless they get the benefit of reduced taxation and see other people less well off than themselves bearing these increased contributions which the Clause imposes.

This fundamental question of principle, this difference of approach, should be debated not only on Clause 1, but when we reach later stages of the Bill and during the Budget debates, as the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South suggests. We shall be glad to have this matter thrashed out. If, however, hon. Members opposite continue to be as dumb as they are now, what chance is there of having the matter debated in the House? Where will it be debated? Where are all the young, bright Tories who came into the House at the last election? They do not debate things in the House of Commons. They want it on television. Let us have these debates in the House. What have hon. Members opposite come here for if it is not to debate these important questions of principle affecting the future of our welfare services?

The Financial Secretary knows as well as we do on this side that this is an unfair tax which is being imposed by the Clause. When I saw the other day that the total tax relief given on employees' contributions under the National Insurance Scheme amounted to £70 million, it seemed to me that the Chancellor of the Exchequer could not have considered an alternative to the increased contributions which are provided for in the Clause, an alternative which would have been perfectly fair, which would have been graduated according to ability to pay and which would not have been imposed in inverse ratio to ability to pay.

What the Chancellor could have done was to withdraw the tax relief on employees' contributions under the National Insurance Scheme, and he would have had £70 million. Under this idea, the person who paid no Income Tax would pay no increased contributions. The person who paid at the lower rate of Income Tax would pay smaller contributions than those provided for in the Bill. Those in the higher ranges of income would obviously pay higher contributions than those provided for in the Bill. But it would have been perfectly fair.

1.30 a.m.

A man on the standard rate of Income Tax would have paid 93s. extra a year instead of 43s. a year, the increased contributions imposed by the Clause. A man on the lower rate of Income Tax would pay only 27s. instead of the 43s. which is imposed by the Clause. Those exempt from Income Tax would pay nothing extra, but under the Bill they will have to pay extra even though their circumstances do not entitle them to pay Income Tax.

I throw it out as an idea which the right hon. and learned Gentleman might have considered as a fairly painless way of providing the additional income which he believes to be necessary for the National Health Service. It would be general taxation—of course it is general taxation, part and parcel of it—but it is an interesting coincidence that the amount of revenue the Chancellor would get from that source would be a little more than the additional revenue that he is proposing to get by increased contributions.

These are serious considerations to put before the Committee even though the hour is so late. There is no doubt that a great many people will feel aggrieved at being taxed in this way. It is contrary to our concept of direct taxation. It is compulsory taxation. Some people prefer indirect taxation; they prefer to pay as they spend rather than pay as they earn. As has been pointed out on numerous occasions, indirect taxation is tax which is paid when a person voluntarily spends money in a particular direction. More than one cynical Chancellor has pointed out that nobody is bound to drink beer or spirits, to buy a mink coat for anyone or to buy a motor car. There is an element of voluntary taxation in indirect taxation—much as I dislike it, because I believe that direct taxation, graduated and progressive, is by far the fairest means of getting the necessary money for national revenue.

But the contributions under Clause 1 are direct taxation, compulsory taxation, not graduated and not progressive, and, therefore, they bear more hardly on the lower-paid people. In those circumstances we must readjust our position about the Clause standing part of the Bill just as vehemently as we have opposed all the previous stages of the Bill and just as strongly as we shall oppose all subsequent stages of it. I hope that, no matter how late we may sit on any future occasions on the Bill, there will be both the mood and the time to consider some of the iniquities of these proposals and calmly to consider detailed criticisms of and alternatives to the scheme which the Financial Secretary is putting forward.

Mr. Nabarro

I rise to intervene for only a few minutes because I am anxious to ask my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to clarify a technical point in connection with taxation which has been referred to generally by the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton).

Could the Financial Secretary confirm that my interpretation of the position, which I propose to enunciate in the next moment or two, in the context of Income Tax and Surtax is the correct one? The employee's contribution for National Insurance purposes is admitted as a charge when assessing liability to both Income Tax and Surtax. It is my understanding that the National Health Service contribution both under the 1957 Act and under Clause 1 is not so admitted as a charge for purposes of computing liability to Income Tax and Surtax.

If my interpretation of the position is correct and the National Insurance contribution is admitted and the National Health Service contribution is not admitted, would the Financial Secretary give a detailed explanation to the Com- mittee when he replies to this debate as to the reasons for this contradistinction, because there is no doubt at all that, it my interpretation which I have just given is the correct one, it is not generally understood in the country. It may be understood by accountants, but it is not generally understood in the country, and it raises a very wide range of taxation considerations which I must say I shall want to consider, if not necessarily at a later stage of this Bill, at least when we reach the Finance Bill in April or May.

Miss Jennie Lee (Cannock)

Everything I have heard during the discussion of this Clause, including the contribution which has just been made by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro), makes me consider that we have to look very carefully at what we are doing in raising roughly £50 million of taxation in this manner. It is a lot of money. By this Clause we are being asked to agree that an additional burden of £50 million should be transferred to the shoulders of the people who are liable to this insurance tax.

As has been brought out in speeches on both sides of the Committee, there is not only a great deal of confusion outside but there is even a certain amount of doubt and confusion in this Committee itself. How much of the money is for general purposes and how much has been added specifically for health purposes? I have heard all of the arguments for the Clause, but I have heard none which justifies our agreeing to raise in this manner a single penny of the revenue required for the Health Service.

We went through the Second World War. We know the hazards of war. We all pay by direct taxation for the defence of our country. All of us in the Committee in various ways did our best to rebut the enemy during the war. Some suffered the tragedy of the blitz; some lost their lives; the health of some suffered some went to fight and suffered in health, or were severely hurt. But we would not have dreamt of raising taxation according to how the incidents of war affected us.

The incidence of injury and disease hits some more hardly than others. How can we then, in terms of economics, in terms of morality, in terms of any sane way of raising the nation's finances, possibly justify singling out certain members of our community to contribute this additional £50 million? There is no insurance basis here. We do not say to an elderly lady, a young child, to any member of the community not liable to pay tax, "You should be denied any of the benefits of the Health Service".

This is a discriminatory form of taxation—a poll tax. It is not insurance. When we are paying insurance, we know what we pay and for what we pay it. Hon. Members opposite should join us in asking this basic question: are we prepared to agree that any part of the revenue for the Health Service should be raised in this way? In my home country, Scotland, when the children were naughty mother would wag her finger and say, "Give you an inch and you will take a mile." I say to hon Members opposite, "Give you an inch and you will take a mile."

When my hon. Friends agreed, whatever their reasons, that there should be a small addition to the National Insurance stamp set aside specifically for the Health Service, they did not take fully into consideration the nature of hon. Members opposite. It may or may not be the case that a Government formed by my party would have seen to it that there was no additional taxation; I will not deal in speculation. But it is clear from the behaviour of hon. Members opposite that they know that this tax is wrong in principle and that it is doubly wrong that at this hour of the morning we should be dealing not with the Ministry of Health but with the Treasury.

This provision is a temptation of the kind which the Treasury has never been able to resist—the temptation that it is able to get easy money in this way. We understand the reason for the tax; a Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer and his Financial Secretary are under very great pressure from the party supporters to reduce Surtax and not to interfere with profits, whether made from property deals or in capital gains. We know the pressure which hon. Members opposite exert on the Chancellor. We are only doing our duty when we remind the Treasury Bench that we on this side of the Committee exist to impose other pressures.

We are trying to make it plain to hon. Members opposite that it matters to a working man or woman when an extra 10d. is extracted from his or her weekly wages. The total of these tenpences, with the employers' contributions, is £50 million. What guarantee have we that hon. Members opposite will not in the future ask for another £50 million?

Mr. Nabarro

They probably will.

Miss Lee

My hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) has made it clear that there is no logic in the position adopted by hon. Members opposite. I wait to see whether any hon. Member or hon. Lady opposite rises in his or her place to answer my hon. Friend's clear statement. I do not see many hon. Members opposite; I hope that they are not taking up too much space in the interview rooms. My hon. Friend made the clear statement that the Government are trying to transfer taxation. We are not discussing at the moment the total of taxation. We are not even discussing the expansion or contraction of the Health Service. We are on a much narrower Committee point, which is whether we can justify collecting £50 million in the way suggested in the Clause. My hon. Friend has pointed out perfectly fairly that there have been changes in taxation in the last five or ten years. A great deal has been made by hon. Members opposite of the fact that their Government have exempted some lower-wage earners from paying any taxation at all. If the debate did nothing else it would do some good by making it quite clear that the lower-wage earners, although they have had their direct taxation eased, at the same time help to pay taxes. They help by paying indirect taxes, Purchase Tax and now, worst of all, this poll tax.

1.45 a.m.

I hope that hon. Members opposite realise that they have done two things in bringing forward this Measure. The first is to make an exceedingly united Opposition, and we are not always united. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear".] A monolithic party is a dead party, and I am surprised that hon. Members opposite should think that they can face the economic and social problems of our time without arguing together.

Lord Balniel (Hertford)

The hon. Lady says that the Opposition are completely united. Her own statement in debate in the last few weeks was clearly that it was her wish that the contribution should be utterly and totally abolished from the National Health Service. May I ask the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) whether it is his intention to totally and utterly abolish the contribution from the National Health Service?

Mr. Nabarro

Answer.

Miss Lee

That is a very good point. I know that the family of the noble Lord the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel) has slipped back from Liberalism to Conservatism, but I have great hopes that he will climb back again one of these days.

The Government benches have made an absolutely united Opposition against a proposal that another £49 million or £50 million shall be raised in this way. I hope that what will follow this will be equally united recognition on the Opposition benches that in dealing with a Conservative Government it is not advisable to give them the excuse that they are now making use of by quoting a precedent set by this side of the Committee. When the Health Service was started, a modest sum was raised in this fashion as a temporary expedient, and only as a temporary expedient.

Mr. Nabarro

There were temporary resignations, too.

Miss Lee

There were resignations on points of great principle, and now and again there have been members of the hon. Member's party who have also resigned.

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. F. Blackburn)

I think that it would be better if the debate were carried on otherwise than by remarks across the Chamber.

Miss Lee

Thank you, Mr. Blackburn. I think that you will agree with me that, as there has been an interruption, I should be allowed to reply to it. It would be appalling for the British House of Commons if there were not men and women of principle, on both sides of the House, now and again to give testimony, and nothing could more completely sustain the dignity of the House of Commons than that there should be men and women who feel that the House comes before even their own parties. I shall not go into the merits of whether they are right or wrong.

It has been made clear to many of us that the principle behind attempting to raise even a penny towards the cost of the Health Service in this way is wrong. We are a united Opposition in opposing this increase in a poll tax. The service the Government have done us is that we are also a united Opposition in opposing the very principle of a poll tax. In future, we will give the Government—the Opposition of the future—no excuse for further misdeeds, because we will get right back to our basic Socialist principle that the Health Service, like the defence services, should be paid for according to one's ability to pay. Nothing can be more cowardly, more un-British, than deliberately to single out the shoulders of the weakest on which to impose an additional special tax.

Mr. K. Lewis

It has been interesting throughout the debate to hear hon. Members opposite suggest that the contribution charge is a tax. It is much easier to make political propaganda by calling it a tax than by calling it a contribution.

To satisfy myself on the matter, I studied a summary of the proposals of the National Health Service Bill, 1946, brought in when hon. Members opposite were in power. The summary says—from Cmd. 6761—says: If the National Insurance Bill now before Parliament is passed into law, almost everyone will become compulsorily insurable, and after payment of the appropriate contributions will become entitled to the various cash benefits.

The Temporary Chairman

Order. The hon. Member is on the wrong Bill.

Mr. Lewis

I have been in the Chamber during the course of the day and heard a number of hon. Members who have gone a little wide of the subject. Nevertheless, Mr. Blackburn, I will return to the subject we are discussing. It goes on: A proportion of their contributions. and this is applicable to this debate— will be used to help to finance the health services…financed partly from the exchequer, partly from local rates and partly from the national insurance contributions.

Mr. Thomas Swain (Derbyshire, North-East)

On a point of order. Would it not be better if the hon. Member mentioned the Bill under discussion instead of harking back to another Measure?

The Temporary Chairman

That is not a point of order.

Mr. S. Silverman

Further to that point of order

The Temporary Chairman

It cannot be "further to that point of order," for it was not a point of order.

Mr. Silverman

On a new point of order, then I thought I heard you rule, Mr. Blackburn, that the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. K. Lewis) was out of order because he was dealing with the wrong Bill. Is it not, therefore, a de-finance of that Ruling if he continues, in spite of it, to read from the same Bill?

The Temporary Chairman

After I spoke to him, the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford left the insurance part and came back to the question of health contributions.

Mr. Lewis

I have every respect for you, Mr. Blackburn, and am quite prepared to carry out your orders. [Interruption.] I do not require to be kept in order by Members opposite. We have been told by Members opposite that Members on this side of the Committee have been rather slow in taking part in the discussions. I am now trying do so.

In calling this contribution a tax they are simply trying to secure for themselves a propaganda advantage in the country, since, quite clearly, the Explanatory Memorandum to the National Health Service Bill says unequivocally that the contribution, which the party opposite started, was an insurance contribution.

Mr. McCann

During the afternoon, while the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. K. Lewis) was out, some of us tried to discuss this matter. Perhaps I can put the point clearly to him now.

Mr. Lewis

The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. McCann) should not presume to suggest that some of us have not been sitting in this Chamber quite continuously throughout the day. We have been out to eat.

Mr. McCann

I have sat here since the beginning of Question Time. The point was clearly made earlier that the reason we regard this as a tax is that, first, this is a Treasury Bill, and secondly, the whole of the contribution is used to relieve the Treasury from the responsibility of paying towards the National Health Service.

Mr. Lewis

I perfectly understand the point put by the hon. Member. I have been listening to our discussions for the last hour or two, and there have been so many repetitions that I cannot but understand it. But I still do not agree with it. Members opposite may call this a tax in order to secure their own advantage. Here we have a contribution which is compulsory throughout the country on everyone in work, and for that contribution there is given, in return, the National Health Service.

This contribution pays only about one-third of the cost. One hon. Member tried to make a comparison with the Road Fund. He was completely wrong in so doing, because the difference between this contribution and the Road Fund is that whereas the contribution pays for only part of the National Health Service, in the case of the Road Fund the Government did not spend as much money on roads as they collected from the motorists.

Mr. Joseph Slater (Sedgefield)

May we take it that the hon. Member does not agree with his right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who admits that this is a tax?

Mr. Lewis

I do not accept that it is a tax in the normal sense of taxation. It is a contribution for which specific services are given in return. I have already asked the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot)—who made a speech in last week's debate—

Mr. Nabarro

Where is he?

Mr. Lewis

—in which he suggested that if—

Mr. Nabarro

Where is the hon. Member?

The Temporary Chairman

I should be very grateful if the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) would not make those comments.

Mr. Nabarro

On a point of order. Can my hon. Friend ask you where the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) has gone to?

2.0 a.m.

Mr. Lewis

The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale said that if he and his hon. Friends were returned to office he would get rid of the contribution, but he then suggested that he would not get rid of it in the first Budget. I want to know from hon. Members opposite—perhaps the Opposition Front Bench can tell me —which Budget it is to be. Is it to be the second, the third or the fourth Budget —or will they in fact increase the contribution in one Budget and reduce it in the next, and then claim that they have taken it off?

Hon. Members opposite know quite well that they had to do all these things themselves, and that in the last few years we have increased these contributions much less than they did. Meanwhile, the expenditure on the Health Service under this Government is greater by far than it was when hon. Members opposite were in office.

Mr. Nabarro

A good, fighting Tory speech.

Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)

When the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. K. Lewis) rose to speak, we thought that we were going to have a constructive contribution to the debate from an hon. Member opposite, but we were rapidly disappointed. He has completely failed to understand the true purport of the Clause, which is the operative one in the Bill. During the Second Reading debate the Financial Secretary to the Treasury discussed the whole matter in terms of taxation, and explained why this was a Treasury Bill and not one under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Health or the Secretary of State for Scotland. We have had all this testimony to the essentially financial nature of the Measure, and the fact that it is to be considered at all stages in relation to taxation policy.

The hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford, who is now carrying on a conversation with his hon. Friend, is oblivious to this point. I would point out to him that it is usual, after one has made a speech, to listen to the next speech which is made. I would draw his attention not merely to the proceedings of the Committee but also to the comments made in the national Press, by the most reputable newspapers—The Times and the Guardian—to the effect that although the Minister of Health originally announced the whole conspectus of charges, of which we are now discussing only one, the operation had nothing to do with the Health Service, and that it was a financial operation.

In case the hon. Member has been too busy to pay attention to his newspapers each morning, which ordinary conscientious Members always do, I would draw his attention to the leading article in The Times of 2nd February, which first refers to the announcement made by the Minister of Health and says that it should cause no surprise—and we are entirely in agreement on that—and goes on to say: None of the additional charges promises any conspicuous improvement in either the financial efficiency of the service or of the standard of medical and dental care. The operation is largely a matter of bookkeeping intended not so much to restrain the cost of the National Health Service as to restrain the annual increase in the amount borne by the Exchequer". In other words, it is related to the taxation policy of Her Majesty's Government. There was a very interesting addition later in the same article, which said: It is worth wondering, for example, how long it will be before further increases in charges will be made on the basis of budgeting convenience and whether the transfer of the financial burden from progressive taxation to flat rate taxation should be encouraged. It was perfectly plain on the morning after the announcement was made that the leader writer of The Times was under no illusion as to what this was all about. He did not pretend that it was in any way to improve the Health Service, but pointed out that it was a matter of budgeting convenience. Similarly, on the same morning, The Guardian said in a leading article under the heading: "A Tory Bill for Health"—

Mr. Lipton

Before my hon. Friend goes on to read The Guardian article, may I ask if she agrees that it is quite obvious that the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. K. Lewis)—who is no longer in his place—is not one of the "Top People"? Otherwise he would have read the article in The Times.

Mrs. White

Clearly he is not one of the "Top People", and he is also non-U because he has left the Chamber during the speech succeeding his speech.

Mr. A. Lewis

Typical Tory tactics.

The Temporary Chairman

Order. If there were less noise, I am sure it would be much easier for the hon. Member who has the Floor of the Committee to make her points.

Mrs. White

I shall try to draw the attention of the Committee to the comment which was contained in the leading article in The Guardian on the same morning.

Mr. K. Lewis

I understand that the hon. Lady made some comment about my having left the Chamber. I thought she might have waited for a few seconds before saying that, because I simply went to the door in response to a communication from the Official Reporters which was handed to me.

Mrs. White

I am sure we are all delighted to have the hon. Member with us again. There is still much that he has to learn about Clause 1 of the Bill.

Before that interruption, I was about to draw the attention of the Committee to the comment in The Guardian leading article on the morning of 2nd February. It said: Flat-rate contributions are tolerable only while they are kept low enough so as not to press too heavily on the poorer families. The article also said: If the Government wished to raise… We know about the "slow hand-clap" —[Interruption]. I was about to say that the comment of the leading article was: If the Government wished to raise the contributions it should have found some way of relating the amount paid to earnings. The burden of our complaint about this Clause is, as my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) pointed out, that we think it is a most objectionable way of raising the money required for the Health Service. When the Financial Secretary made a speech on Second Reading—[Interruption.]

Miss Lee

On a point of order, Mr. Blackburn, I want to draw your attention to the completely outrageous clowning that is going on by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro), with the specific intention of preventing serious argument.

The Temporary Chairman

I have already appealed to the Committee that there should be less noise so that we might have the opportunity of hearing the speech of the hon. Member—[Interruption]—and I should be very glad if the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro), if he does not intend to take part in the debate or listen to the speeches, would leave the Chamber.

Mrs. White

I was trying to make a critical examination of the reasons given by the Financial Secretary in defence of this Clause. He has attempted to justify the Bill with a seriously reasoned speech, and I think that it is only fair that one should subject that speech to serious critical examination.

The hon. Gentleman gave three main reasons for suggesting that the methods proposed by Her Majesty's Government for raising the money were valid. His first reason was that there had been an increase in the average earnings and that, therefore, the proposed poll tax was not an undue burden. Ample evidence has been adduced that an average is by no means a valid consideration when one is, in fact, introducing a flat-rate contribution. The flat-rate contribution is inequitable in its incidence on those whose wages are well below the average. That point 'has been made so frequently that I shall not pursue it further.

The Financial Secretary's second reason was that in the last four years—since l957—national expenditure has been rising more rapidly than the national income. I should have thought that for the honour of his own party, that has been in Government all this time, the hon. Gentleman would hardly have put forward that argument. He chose 1957 for comparison, but that was the year when we suffered from the backwash of the financial administration of the present Leader of the House.

National expenditure was most savagely cut back then, so that, having been cut back to such a degree as to be a disgrace to the country, it is not really surprising that it Should have risen slightly since then. As for the national income not having risen to keep pace with that expenditure—whose fault is that? It is the fault of the Government. That argument is well below the normal standard of the hon. Gentleman, for Whom I have a considerable regard.

I would call in evidence other commentaries on the matter. The Financial Secretary suggested that we have been spending too large a proportion of the national income on the social services; that as it had reached a stage where it was too large a 'burden, we had to have this iniquitous poll tax to meet that cost.

We have very recently had a survey of the national income by P.E.P. The main purpose has been to explain why the economy has not been expanding so fast as it should. I will not go into that at length now, but I think that it is germane to the matter which we are discussing to point out that this survey went very carefully into the whole question raised by the Financial Secretary of the relationship of the expenditure on the social services and the national income. It pointed out that in the last few years, since the transfer to State provision, the expenditure on the Services we are discussing has not been any larger than it would have been without the National Health Service.

It said that statistics do not show that State provision is noticeably more generous than private provision. There is no evidence that consumption is taking a larger share of national resources than it would if individuals were still making their own provisions, or that the British social services are excessive when compared with those of other wealthy nations.

The Welfare State has not been a burden on the economy in the postwar years, and the reasons for the slow rate of growth must be sought elsewhere. Those are some of the findings of this survey, and I think they answer the Financial Secretary.

He then proceeded to suggest that another reason for these increased contributions was that they were needed if we were to have more hospitals, and so on. We do not quarrel with him on that point. We do not quarrel with the fact that the Government, at long last, are thinking of making additions to the hospital programme which has been so shockingly neglected in recent years. What we complain about is not that, but the method chosen for raising this money. It is a method which we think is inequitable.

The Financial Secretary made great play at one point with the proportion of our taxed income raised by direct or indirect taxation, and I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby gave a most admirable illustration of how the proportion of direct taxation falls upon people at different levels of income and how those on the lower scales have not in the least benefited in the last few years. Again, the Financial Secretary took a particular year for comparisons in the total proportions of our taxed income which came from direct and indirect taxation sources. He mentioned 1951–1952, and compared that year with the present time. But if he had taken a year later, the result would have been different. I would point out that he took a particular year which proved his point, but that he would perhaps not have done so well if he had taken a different year when the figures would have been against his argument.

2.15 a.m.

Sir E. Boyle

Despite certain difficulties which we are experiencing, I have been trying to attend carefully to the speech of the hon. Lady. What she is saying is a little unfair. If I had taken, say, 1950–1951 it would have borne out my point in a worse manner, and not better, because in the last year of the Labour Government taxation was substantially put up.

Mrs. White

I do not think that that proves anything, because one year might have been more in my favour and another more in his favour.

One point which should have been brought to the attention of the Committee is that the Financial Secretary has not been using as his argument for the increase in social services the need to cater for an increasing population. I have been surprised that we have had so little reference in our discussions to a matter which I myself raised on an earlier occasion, the natural increase in expenditure because of the changing nature of our population. In the P.E.P. report to which I have referred, some very striking figures are given of the increased proportion of those under 15 years of age and over 65 years of age. Taking the year 1958 in comparison with 1939, the percentage increase in dependent population over pre-war years is no less than 24 per cent. That is a very considerable increase, and it would account, of course, for the extra expenditure required in the Health Service. There is, therefore, nothing at all in the argument advanced by the Financial Secretary.

Our main objection to the Clause is to the method of financing chosen by the Government. We had supposed that the Government would have done some new thinking on the method of raising the money. We hear a great deal from the Bow Group and elsewhere about the need for people to pay the charges as they use the services—but that would be out of order on this Bill—and there are, of course, other methods for raising the money. We had a very interesting speech from the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd), for instance—

Mr. Lipton

Where is he?

Mrs. White

He has not been present for some little time. He suggested that there should be the equivalent of a pay roll tax. That appears to be the fashionable gambit this year.

The Temporary Chairman

I think the hon. Lady should discuss the Question "That the Clause stand pant of the Bill," without suggesting new methods for raising the money.

Mrs. White

With respect, Mr. Blackburn, this is surely the whole burden of our argument, that we dislike intensely this method of raising the money, and it is therefore up to us who oppose it to make alternative suggestions.

The Temporary Chairman

That may be so, but on this Question we can discuss only what is in the Clause.

Mrs. White

Naturally, I was not proposing to go into all the details of the pay roll tax.

Mr. E. Fernyhough (Jarrow)

On a point of order, Mr. Blackburn. Would your Ruling mean that we may not advance any arguments against this Clause which are not contained within the limits of the Clause and we may not give our reasons for objecting to it?

The Temporary Chairman

The hon. Member may give reasons why he objects to the Clause, but he would not be entitled to put forward a new scheme.

Mr. S. Silverman

Further to that point of order, Mr. Blackburn. Is it not a legitimate part of the argument in objecting to one way of raising money to say that there are better ways of raising it? Is that not relevant?

The Temporary Chairman

Quite clearly that would be in order, but it would not be in order to go into detail.

Mrs. White

With respect, Mr. Blackburn, I was not proposing to go into detail, and, indeed, I do not think that I am competent to do so. The suggested pay roll tax is a comparatively new thing for those of us who are not specialists in economics. I referred to it because it was mentioned earlier in the debate. Also, my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby made a suggestion concerning a possible way of dealing with the employer's contribution which was queried in its detail by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro). I think it was perfectly in order for my hon. Friend to suggest that this was another method by which the Treasury could obtain an equivalent sum, or perhaps even a slightly higher sum in revenue, instead of adopting the method chosen in Clause 1. I suggest, therefore, that it is in order at least to refer to the alternative methods of raising taxation which would not be open to the serious social objections which we find to the proposals in the Clause.

One of the other objections to the Clause is that the increase for employees is considerable whereas the increase for employers is slight. According to the Money Resolution, I understand, we are not able to put down Amendments which would bring this point into the open, but in discussing this Question we should at least be able to refer to the fact that the Clause is increasing the employee's contribution but is not shifting the burden, as it might, on to the employer, which would be an alternative method of tax.

There are wider questions, which I would not wish to go into, whereby we consider that the Government have no business to raise money in this way, because we consider that the money should be part of general taxation. One could easily get into the question of whether there should be a capital gains tax, for example. That would be one of the alternative methods of increasing the revenue from general taxation which would make it unnecessary to raise the money in this way.

There are a number of Amendments to the Schedule which will