Orders of the Day — Government of India Act. – in the House of Commons on 5th May 1920.
Mr. TREVELYAN THOMSON:
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1, a), to leave out the words
is more than sufficient, so far as can be estimated, to enable the undertaking to be carried on without loss"—
and to insert instead thereof the words
would not be authorised if the undertakers were not a local authority.
The House will remember that the object of this Bill is to allow an increase in tramway charges, and the purpose of this particular Clause is to limit the amount of that increase. The Clause is divided into two portions, which differentiate the increase which may take place as between tramway undertakings owned by a local authority, and those owned by a private or public company. The first objection we have to the Clause as it stands is that it makes this differentiation between two classes of public utility undertakings. The House will remember that, on the Electricity Bill, particularly in Committee upstairs, and again on the floor of the House, great stress was laid on the desirability of treating these public utility services, whether they be tramway, electricity, gas, or any other services, on the same basis, whether they are owned by a local authority or by a company. One of the objects of this Amendment is to maintain that principle of equality of treatment. A second object is to delete the provision which is made that the undertaking, if it is owned by a local authority, shall not under any circumstances be worked for profit. The question whether these public utility services should be run merely in the interests of the people as a whole, or whether they should be allowed to make a profit, is one about which there may be a difference of opinion, but I think that probably the House will agree that, in the main, it is undesirable that these services should be run for profit. I submit, however, that that is a matter which should be left to the self-determination, shall I say, of each local authority, dealing with the peculiar circumstances of its own local conditions. However desirable it may be, as a general principle, that public utility services owned by local authorities should not make a profit, I think I am right in suggesting that that principle has not been established, so far, in any Act, and that, therefore, in this case, by a side-wind, a new and fundamental change is being established in the conditions which govern our local authorities. It may be a good principle or it may be a bad one, but I submit that a small measure like
this, dealing with another question, should not be the means of introducing a new and fundamental principle of local government.
I should like to draw the attention of the hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill to one or two cases of hardship which would result if the Bill stands in its present form. In many cases tramway undertakings owned by local authorities have had an up-hill task, and have been worked at a loss to the ratepayers in their initial stages. Then comes a period when the spade-work has been done, and the system has increased and shows signs of making a profit. It is possible under that Clause, as it now stands, that you will prevent those undertakings from recouping the losses which the ratepayers have borne in the past, now that their schemes have come to fruition, and they are able to make a slight profit. Further, you have local authorities whose undertakings go outside their own particular areas, and it is a perfectly sound principle to allow those local authorities who are bearing the burden of capital charges, and taking a risk themselves to make a profit on the outside areas which have not contributed to those capital charges, and which have not in any way undertaken the risks of contributing to the scheme, and if you allow this Clause in its present form you will prohibit them, by too narrow an interpretation of it, from obtaining from those outside sources a return for that which they have not contributed to in any way. To establish a new principle of this kind in such a measure as this is not right, and we ought not to differentiate between profits or income which may be earned by public utility services run by a local authority and those run by a company.
I am sorry I cannot accept the Amendment, and I cannot agree with my hon. Friend that this Bill seeks to establish a new principle. I think he has probably overlooked the fact that it is to be read as one with the Statutory Undertakings (Temporary Increase of Charges) Act, 1919, and it is really a temporary extension and slight modi-
fication of the terms of that Act so far as it relates to tramway undertakings. By Section 1 of the Principal Act, there is a difference drawn between undertakings which are the property of local authorities and those which are the property of private venture companies. That difference is stated in this way:
Where the undertakers are a 'local' authority no modification shall be authorised which would increase the statutory maximum charge by more than 50 per cent., or which is more than sufficient, so far as can be estimated, to enable the undertaking to be carried on without loss.
So that in the year 1918 Parliament decided that for the purpose of the temporary increases which were authorised to meet the abnormal conditions of things to-day, there should be a limitation on the private earning power of municipal undertakings. That is to say, they might not use the extended charging powers given them by the Act for the purpose of making a profit. That is reproduced in the present Bill with this distinction and exception in favour of municipal undertakings, that whereas in the Principal Act no increase could be charged larger than 50 per cent., in the present Bill we propose to omit that limitation and leave the only limitation that, so far as can reasonably be estimated, the increased charging powers granted by Parliament to deal with an abnormal set of circumstances shall not be used for profit earning. In the case of companies in the Principal Act, the provision was that there should be no modification more than sufficient to enable the company, with due care and management, to pay a dividend at a greater rate than three-quarters of the standard or maximum rate of dividend of the undertaking. The very matter to which my hon. Friend called attention is in the principal Act, and it would create hopeless confusion to have something in the Amending Bill absolutely at variance with the Principal Act without repealing the Principal Act, and, really, there is no ground in principle for saying that the abnormal circumstances to-day, which justify increased charges to pay increased wages, should allow them to be made to earn profits for municipal undertakings. Under these circumstances I trust my hon. Friend will not find it necessary to press the Amendment.
The Amendment is opposed, first of all, on the ground that the principle introduced in the Bill is not new. My hon. Friend (Mr. Thomson) suggested that it was. In that respect he was perhaps wrong and the Minister was right, if the Minister regards a principle introduced so late as 1918 as having acquired age enough to enable it to be said that it is not new. But the Parliamentary Secretary went on to oppose the Amendment on the ground that we should not in this Amending Bill alter a principle which is set forth in the Act. Our objection to the Bill as it stands is that it introduces a difference of treatment between undertakings which are public enterprises and undertakings which are private enterprises. He points out that there was a difference in the original Act, that there were limitations imposed in it which are continued in the present Bill. But while the limitation which was imposed upon public enterprises is being continued, the limitation imposed upon private enterprise is being modified, and on that ground alone, without taking the wider ground, we have some reason to claim that if any limitations imposed upon private enterprises can be modified in this Amending Bill, he has no ground for refusing modifications to limitations imposed upon public enterprises.
Some of us feel that the Government are committing themselves to a difference of treatment between those undertakings which are carried on by local authorities and those carried on by private undertakings, which we think they should not do. There seems no reason at all why public enterprise should be cramped in the way it will be cramped by the limitations imposed in this Bill. After all, the local authorities are the children of Parliament. We brought them into being. We are continually imposing upon them responsibilities and duties and asking them to carry out undertakings, and it seems an extraordinary thing that when we come to deal with a measure in which they are very largely concerned we should impose limitations upon their enterprise which we do not impose upon the enterprise of private individuals. The Parliamentary Secretary told us that the limitation which is established under this Clause was in the original Act. It is that the charges are not to be reduced to an amount more than sufficient to enable the undertaking to be carried on without loss. The Act was dealing with the situation created by the war, which necessitated some increase in charges. At that time the war was still being carried on, and the House was working under great emergencies and was not able to give the consideration to matters that they can give now. Therefore they did no doubt impose a rough and ready limitation upon both classes of enterprise. It said, to private enterprise, "you shall not increase your charges to an extent more than will enable you to carry on without loss.' It said to private enterprise, "you shall not increase your charges to an extent which will enable you to pay more than three-quarters of your maximum rate of dividend." That limitation is entirely removed in this Bill.
It continues part of the limitation upon public enterprise, but abrogates the limitation relating to the increase of charges by not more than 50 per cent. That is to say, it benefits the municipal undertaking to that extent.
That is my whole point, that there is a modification of the limitations imposed upon private enterprises. There is no similar modification of the limitation imposed upon public enterprises. My hon. Friend's objection to our Amendment is that we are interfering with the original Bill. My answer is that it is he who is interfering with the original Bill. If this Bill had simply carried forward the provision of the original Bill and continued the limitation upon private enterprise, as it does upon public enterprise, we should not have put down our Amendment, but when you are revising your terms, revise them all round, and do not establish this vicious differentiation between those enterprises which are carried on by the public spirit of localities and those which are carried on for the purpose of private gain. Those grounds on which we support the Amendment have not been met We consider that the Government is establishing and perpetuating a very vicious principle in dealing with public undertakings on an entirely different basis from that on which you deal with private undertakings. We are continually being told that public enterprises cannot be carried on at a profit. Comparisons are drawn between public and private undertakings, and we are told, "Look at the public undertakings. They are never successful. There is never any profit made," and here we find the Government actually putting in a limitation and preventing them. We are told this is only a temporary measure, but things which are temporary have a very great habit of becoming permanent, and when we come to deal with the permanent increase of charges we have no assurance at all, rather to the contrary, that this same principle will not continue to be applied there, and comparisons will be made between private and public undertakings, always to the disadvantage of the public, and this is due to limitations imposed upon it by a measure passed by this House. We feel that our contention has not been met, and that the grounds on which it is opposed are grounds that do not apply, and we shall have no option but to divide against it unless we get some explanation or some assurance from the Parliamentary Secretary.
I have only read the Bill since I came into the House, but it seems to me that the hon. Member does not fully understand the effect of the Clause to which he objects. The Clause says in paragraph (a) that where the undertakers are a local authority, they shall not be authorised to make a charge which is more than sufficient to enable the undertaking to be carried on without loss. The other paragraph to which he objects says that a private undertaking shall not be allowed to make any charge which is more than sufficient to provide, with due care and management, for interest on loan capital and for a reasonable return on share capital. I fail to see any difference between the two. In the first place, the local authority has to spend a certain sum out of capital on its undertaking. It borrows that amount of money and pays interest on it, and, as I read the Clause, the local authority would be able to receive interest on its capital and the interest which it had agreed to pay. There is no difference between a local authority receiving interest on its capital and a private company being allowed to receive interest on its capital so far as is reasonable. It is true that the local authority practically has all debentures, while a private company has debentures and share capital, but it is capital all the same. In one case the local authority is allowed the interest which it has agreed to pay, and it gets a return on its capital, and in the case of a private company it is allowed to pay interest on its debentures and preference shares and a reasonable return on the remainder of its capital.
There is this difference to be taken into account. The interest paid by a municipality is paid to the investors who advanced the money to the municipality to commence a municipal tramway undertaking, and who are receiving for that money a set dividend such as they would obtain were they undertaking a public company. So far as this Clause goes, it does not permit a municipality making anything in the way of profit whereby they can assist in promoting other municipal undertakings. It must keep entirely within the tramway undertaking, whereas in the case of a public company the profits that can be made by the company can be used in starting auxiliary companies to compete with the municipal tramways undertakings.
No. The Clause says, "Interest on loan capital and a reasonable return on share capital." Reasonable return on share capital does not mean such return as will give a reasonable dividend to the shareholders and a balance over to do something else.
The right hon. Gentleman and I differ on that point. He knows perfectly well that quite a number of companies do work in that way, by not merely paying a dividend to their shareholders, but by setting aside a fund for the development of their business and for starting auxiliary businesses as well.
As a rule, private tramway companies have resulted in a loss. I have never heard of any profit beyond what they pay to their shareholders.
Municipal undertakings are usually quoted in rather a bad manner in comparison with undertakings run by public companies. This particular Clause, if it were carried, would place a municipal undertaking in such a position that public companies would still be quoted against them to the disparagement of municipal undertakings. Take the municipal tramway undertaking of Glasgow. That undertaking, after clearing off its debts, has been making many thousands a year and paying that to the public good. According to this Clause, that is to stop. This Clause would prevent the municipal authorities of Glasgow from charging such fares as would enable them to pay any money into the municipality. If there is a loss that loss comes out of the rates, but if a municipal undertaking is worked at a magnificent profit, as in the case of the Glasgow tramways, which has been quoted all over the world as being one of the finest and most profitable systems to be found anywhere, this Clause, if carried, would prohibit the Glasgow municipality from charging such fares as would enable it to pay £50,000 or £60,000 a year profits, which were made during the War, into the common fund of Glasgow. The common fund of Glasgow has been used, not in the interests of the tramcars, not in the interests of any other municipal undertaking, but in the interests of the welfare of the whole municipality of Glasgow, and in many cases people who never use the cars, benefit from the profits made by the Glasgow municipal tramways. This Clause is a continuance of a Clause already contained in the original Act and may be really temporary, but there is no reason why, if there is a bad Clause in the original Act, we should perpetuate that evil in this Bill. If it is bad in the first Act, let us wipe it out of the second Bill, and then amend the principal Act. To come forward and say that because such and such a Clause exists in the principal Act it is to be put into this Bill and we ought to do nothing with regard to the removal of it, is taking up a peculiar position. We want municipalities to be placed upon a fair footing and in a sound financial position, as has been the case in Glasgow for many years past. We want this Clause eliminated so that municipal tramways may be allowed to run in as good a condition, and under as good laws, and with as much right to charge fares as you are giving to the public companies throughout the country.
My hon. Friends have rendered a useful public service by drawing attention to this matter. I do not mean any disrespect to the Par- liamentary Secretary, whose ability has been so rapidly proved in this House, but it is a growing practice that Ministers do not come down to this House when Bills which they are promoting are being discussed. I am sure my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary will not misunderstand me when I say that it is lacking in respect to this House that the Minister of Transport, who is one of the worst attenders, and who does not even attend to answer questions during the day, does not do the House the courtesy to attend even when a Bill which he is promoting is being discussed on Report. I hope these remarks will be noted for what they are worth, and will receive some attention from the right hon. Gentleman.
The point we are discussing is a dispute between people who believe in municipal enterprise and people who do not. That is what it amounts to. I was in some doubt on the matter until I heard the explanation, but I was in no doubt after hearing the speech of the right hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury). He is an enemy of municipal transport. He always has been; and, of course, he opposes this Amendment because he sees in this Bill another nail in the coffin of the municipal tramways. I have taken a great interest in, and have had, not a direct, but a filial connection with the tramway system in London. Recently we had a discussion as to whether the local authorities should be allowed to put obstacles in the way of the completion of the tramway system of London. I see the Minister of Transport is now in his place, and I apologise for what I have said. The right hon. Baronet succeeded in destroying the proposal of the London County Council to lay down a proper network of connected tramways. One of the things that was said was that the County Council tramways were charged with a great part, if not all, the cost of street improvements. Is that going to be allowed for? Is that one of the charges which they will be allowed to set off against any increased fares which they may charge? The Government has taken the line of giving a preference to private promoters of transport as against municipal tramways. The private promoter of transport performs a very useful public service, but primarily he has to consider the interests of his shareholders. A public authority takes a very much wider view and a view far more in the public interests than a private promoter. The case of the London County Council is a case in point. Had they been permitted many years ago to extend their tramway system into all the outlying parts of London, there is no doubt that the housing question would not have reached the acute stage of disorder and discomfort which it has reached to-day. My hon. Friends in bringing forward this matter on behalf of municipalities have performed a very useful service, and I hope they will see their way to press the matter to a Division unless the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to make some concession to what appears to be the general desire of the House.
I am afraid that I did not sufficiently elucidate the point in what I said earlier. There is nothing contained in the Act of 1918 or the present Bill which has the slightest intention or has the effect of doing anything detrimental to municipal undertakings. If so, I should stand here with very great reluctance, having spent a good deal of my public life in the service of a municipality. Look at the position prior to the Act of 1918. Municipal tramway undertakings as well as private adventure undertakings had limited charging powers. Neither of them could, within those powers, keep themselves in a solvent position. They, therefore, came to the House in 1918 to ask for the right to charge the public, whom we ought not to forget in our discussion, higher fares than the statutory
fares. Parliament, in its wisdom, said that for a temporary period they might have the right to charge increased fares above their statutory maximum, but that there ought to be some protection to the public, and in granting the powers they imposed the obligation (1) that fares should not be increased by more than 50 per cent.—by this Bill we are asking the House to remove that handicap upon municipal undertakings—and (2) that the public ought not to be charged extra fares above the statutory limit for the purpose of making a profit for some other purpose. That is a principle which is maintained in the present Bill. Both Bills are intended to help municipal undertakings to carry on their businesses in this abnormal time of difficulty. To say that there is anything in either the Act or this Bill which seeks to differentiate adversely against the municipal undertakings and in favour of the private companies is not quite correct. What we are inviting the House to do by this Bill is further to relieve municipal undertakings from their difficulties and to enable them to have something out of which they may meet these charges that are put upon them by the very necessary demands made for increased wages by their staff. I trust, therefore, that my hon. Friend will not divide on this Amendment.
|Division No. 102.]||AYES||[5.2 p.m.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Broad, Thomas Tucker||Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Brown, Captain D. C.||Davies, Sir William H. (Bristol, S.)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Bruton, Sir James||Dean, Lieut.-Commander P. T.|
|Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.||Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Denniss, Edmund R. B. (Oldham)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Dixon, Captain Herbert|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Doyle, N. Grattan|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Butcher, Sir John George||Duncannon, Viscount|
|Barker, Major Robert H.||Campbell, J. D. C.||Edge, Captain William|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar||Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)|
|Barrie, Hugh Thorn. (Lon'derry, N.)||Carew, Charles Robert S.||Edwards, John H. (Glam., Neath)|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Casey, T. W.||Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.|
|Benn, Com. lan H. (Greenwich)||Cayzer. Major Herbert Robin||Falle, Major Sir Bertram G.|
|Bennett, Thomas Jewell||Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Farquharson, Major A. C.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Clough, Robert||Fell, Sir Arthur|
|Bird, Sir A. (Wolverhampton, West)||Coats, Sir Stuart||FitzRoy, Captain Hon. E. A.|
|Blair, Major Reginald||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Flannery, Sir James Fortescue|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel D. F.||Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Ford, Patrick Johnston|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Foreman, Henry|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith||Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Forrest, Walter|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Cope, Major Wm.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Brassey, Major H. L. C.||Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mld)||Gange, E. Stanley|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Camb'dge)|
|Britton, G. B.||Curzon, Commander Viscount||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||M'Donald, Dr. Bouverie F. P.||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)|
|Glyn, Major Ralph||McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)||Rodger, A. K.|
|Goff, Sir R. Park||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Gould, James C.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood)|
|Goulding, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward A.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.|
|Grant, James A.||Macquisten, F. A.||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Scott, Sir Samuel (St. Marylebone)|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Seager, Sir William|
|Gwynne, Rupert S.||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Simm, M. T.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Martin, Captain A. E.||Smithers, Sir Alfred W.|
|Hanna, George Boyle||Matthews, David||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Hanson, Sir Charles Augustin||Meysey-Thompson, Lieut.-Col. E. C.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. F.|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Middlebrook, Sir William||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Harris, Sir Henry Percy||Mildmay, Colonel Rt. Hon. F. B.||Stephenson, Colonel H. K.|
|Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston)||Mitchell, William Lane||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Sykes, Colonel Sir A. J. (Knutsford)|
|Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Morison, Thomas Brash||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Morris, Richard||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Morrison, Hugh||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)|
|Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G.||Mosley, Oswald||Tickler, Thomas George|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Murray, Lt.-Col. C. D. (Edinburgh)||Townley, Maximilian G.|
|Hope, H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn'n, W.)||Murray, Major William (Dumfries)||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Hope, J. D. (Berwick & Haddington)||Nail, Major Joseph||Turton, E. R.|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Neal, Arthur||Waddington, R.|
|Hotchkin, Captain Stafford Vere||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)|
|Houston, Robert p.||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.|
|Howard, Major S. G.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Hudson, R. M.||Nield, Sir Herbert||Warren, Lieut.-Col. Sir Alfred H.|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Oman, Charles William C.||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Palmer, Major Godfrey Mark||Whitla, Sir William|
|Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Pearce, Sir William||Wigan, Brig.-Gen. John Tyson|
|Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Jodrell, Neville Paul||Perkins, Walter Frank||Wilson, Lieut.-Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Johnstone, Joseph||Perring, William George||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|King, Commander Henry Douglas||Pollock, Sir Ernest M.||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Preston, W. R.||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Pulley, Charles Thornton||Wood, Major S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)||Purchase, H. G.||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Lindsay, William Arthur||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Remer, J. R.||Younger, Sir George|
|Lorden, John William||Remnant, Colonel Sir James F.|
|Loseby, Captain C. E.||Renwick, George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Lynn, R. J.||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Dudley ward.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)||Hartshorn, Vernon||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hayday, Arthur||Sexton, James|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hayward, Major Evan||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Hirst, G. H.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Hogge,-James Myles||Spoor, B. C.|
|Briant, Frank||Irving, Dan||Swan, J. E.|
|Bromfield, William||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Cape, Thomas||Kenyon, Barnet||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Tootill, Robert|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Dawes, James Arthur||MacVeagh, Jeremias||Wignall, James|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Malone, Lieut.-Col. C. L. (Leyton, E.)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Finney, Samuel||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness and Ross)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Myers, Thomas||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Palmer, Charles Frederick (Wrekin)||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Rae, H. Norman||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Rendall, Athelstan||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hallas, Eldred||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)||Major Barnes and Mr. T. Thomson.|
The Amendment on which we have just divided rested on a fairly broad basis of principle. That cannot be said for this Amendment, but this Amendment is of a great deal more importance than probably is indicated on its face. It deals with increase of charges to be made in prospective tramway undertakings, but it is really linked up closely with a very much larger question—the increase of charges upon railway undertakings. The real importance of this Bill is that in many important particulars it will establish a precedent for dealing with railway undertakings and the charges on such when those matters come before the House. We know that by references to some of the things said by the Minister of Transport on the Second Reading and by the Parliamentary Secretary in Committee. The Minister of Transport was asked a question as to the interpretation of the phrase "a reasonable return on capital," and he said:
As to what reasonable return was … I should very much regret if I had at this stage to interpret that. We took the wording which for better or worse—I think it was inevitable—the House adopted in dealing with the Bill put forward by the London Combine."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th April, 1920, Vol. 127, Col. 1458.]
That was a railway Bill. So in dealing with this Bill for tramway undertakings the principle of return on capital was one which was lifted out of a railway Bill, and that shows the connection which this measure has with railway undertakings. Then this is a temporary measure dealing with a certain period of time, and when the Minister was dealing with the question of time and dealing with the date at which this Bill will expire he gave as his reason for selecting that date:
We take the same date that the similar provision lapses for railway charges. That was fixed at a time in order to enable the railways to promote, if they wished, private Bills to increase their charging powers, and then is the time for this House in dealing with these private Bills to exercise the control which it ought to exercise."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th April, 1920, Vol. 127, Col. 1457.]
So this is a Bill which deals with tramway undertakings and embodies a principle taken from a railway Bill and covering the period at the end of which
both railway and tramway undertakings emergency charges will come to an end and the whole matter will come before this House for revision. I think these quotations establish a very close connection between this measure and the very much greater measures dealing with railway matters that we shall have to consider. It is extremely important that the House should scrutinise very closely the terms with respect to charges and returns on capital which are in this Bill. As far as my knowledge goes, the Amendment is not antagonistic to the intentions of the Government. It makes clear what seems to me to be in their mind. Subsection (1, b) provides that there shall be a reasonable return on share capital,
regard being had to the pre-War financial condition of the company and its prospective development.
Those are words introduced by the Minister of Transport, who said:
We have added to the Clause something which I thought was a safeguard, that regard should be had to the pre-War return upon the capital.
My Amendment is to carry out what the Minister desires. I should be quite sure that I was interpreting the intentions of the Government if it were not that in this matter the Government is speaking with two voices. There is the voice of the Minster of Transport and there is the voice of his Parliamentary Secretary. In reading what the Minister said on the Second Reading, and what the Parliamentary Secretary said in Committee, it appears to me that they express entirely opposite views. We are very fortunate in having both the Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary here, for it will clear up the doubt. In one of Dickens' books there was a famous firm called Spenlow and Jorkins, and the difficulty in dealing with that firm was that you never could get the partners together. Mr. Spenlow said one thing and Mr. Jorkins said another, and each of them referred you to the other. This afternoon we are fortunate in having the entire firm here.
Members who were present at the Second Reading Debate will remember that the hon. and gallant Member for New-castle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) set out very boldly, and, as it seemed to some Members, very brutally, what he conceived to be the position of the railway undertakings in this country. He said they were statutory undertakings under
statutory limitations, that the country had brought them into this condition, that if the House did not sanction an increase in their charges all the undertakings would become insolvent, that they would then be in the market and could be brought up by the State at a break-up price, and that the only way out for the undertakings was for the House to help them by allowing them to increase their charges. The hon. and gallant Member thought that that was a thing the House would not do. The Minister of Transport, in his reply, met that point in a way which gave general satisfaction to the House. It had been suggested that the object of the Bill was to increase the value of the property, so that the promoters might benefit thereby, and the Minister of Transport said significantly, "There is no foundation whatever for that." Later on, he used the words I have already quoted, namely, that he had introduced a safeguard into the Bill, bearing in mind that there was a bargain between the companies and the State, and he did not mean to allow the companies to improve that bargain—
I have put that (safeguard) in because I do not wish to let it go from this House that the reasonable return should be taken on general lines, regardless of the pre-War return on capital and regardless of the pre-War financial position of the company.
So that, so far as the Minister is concerned, his position is this—he does not wish this Bill to benefit transport undertakings so as to put them in a better position than that they were in before the War, and any increase in charges must take into account their pre-War condition. That, I think, is on the lines of the policy of the Government during the War. It limited undertakings to their pre-War profits. The year 1913 was taken as the basis and their returns were not allowed to exceed the figures of that year. But when this Bill came into Committee and this Clause was being discussed, the Parliamentary Secretary took quite a different line. The attention of the Committee was drawn then, as this afternoon, to the provision with regard to private undertakings that was in the Bill which this present Bill is amending. That Bill limited the increase of charges to such a rate as would not give them more than three-quarters of their pre-War dividend. The Parliamentary Secretary drew attention to that provision and went on to say that to limit the amount to three-quarters of their standard rate
of dividend or their pre-War rate of dividend was not doing justice to the shareholders in the company.
I was quoting the exact words in the Statue of 1918—
Three-quarters of the standard or maximum rate of dividend.
The "three-quarters" applies to both.
This is a measure amending the 1918 Statute. The 1918 Statute put a limit of three-quarters. This Bill removes that limitation, and I do not think anyone will object to that. But the Parliamentary Secretary went on to say, "or their pre-War rate."
I gather now that the words "three-quarters" should have been in there. If one goes on to read the context it does not convey that view:
Money is worth less to them, as it is to everyone else, and therefore it is thought right that there should be careful consideration given as to what return there should be on the capital.
I submit that on the face of that the interpretation is that, as the sovereign is worth 8s. 4d. to-day, the shareholder getting 20s. to-day is really getting only what would have been 8s. 4d. before the War, and, further, that it would be a fair thing to increase the return on capital to-day so that the real value might approximate to pre-War conditions. That was the impression conveyed to my mind after reading those words of the Parliamentary Secretary. If he says that that was not so, and that there is no intention of increasing the rate of dividend upon capital so as to allow for the fall in value of the money, I see no reason why he should not accept my Amendment, which precisely provides for that. Some of us are a little suspicious of the words, "regard being had." We remember the Debate on the Acquisition of Land Bill, when we were contending that valuation should be on the basis of assessment and the words, "on the basis of" were contested by the Government and the words, "regard being had," were put in their place. I would like the Minister to let us know clearly whether it is the intention under this Bill to improve the pre-War financial condition, in other words, to allow a
greater return to be provided on share capital than was actually paid before the War. The Amendment provides that capital expended on works brought into use before 1913 would receive the same return that it was getting before the War. That would still leave a reasonable return on capital to be provided for by expenditure since the War, and it would also allow to be taken into account natural growth and development. There are undertakings which may have been commenced just before the War, and on which there was no return being made on account of their having been only just brought into use. On the grounds I have stated I commend the Amendment to the House. The last portion of the Amendment provides that when these undertakings come to the House for sanction to make permanent charges, whatever is done under this Bill is not either to advantage or to prejudice them, which is, I think, fair.
I have listened with great attention to the ingenious speech of my hon. and gallant Friend. Let me say at once that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and myself, notwithstanding the very careful dissection of our respective speeches, are unable to discover where we differ except in the language used. We certainly are not conscious of differing in the slightest degree in the meaning which we attach to this Bill. I think it would be very difficult for my hon. Friend when he reads his own speech to-morrow to find out exactly what it was that he desired the House to do at this moment. What is the position? Certain tramway undertakings, both municipal and company-owned, were approached for the purpose of giving larger wages to their employees. A Whitley Council composed of representatives of employers of both classes and of the men made representations to the Ministry of Transport that without increased charging powers they were quite unable to meet what was a reasonable demand by the workmen, and the Ministry of Transport undertook therefore to bring in this Bill to amend the Act of 1918 in certain particulars. So far as the company undertakings are concerned, the Act of 1918 has said that their increased charging powers might not be used for the purpose of producing more than three-fourths of their standard or pre-War dividend. One of the questions which the Minister had to consider was whether it was reasonable and fair in the year 1920, when there had been a substantial decrease in the purchasing value of money, that there should be that limitation of three-fourths of their pre-War or standard dividend applied to the companies. He came to the conclusion that it was not right. He could, if he wished, have inserted a provision that it should not be larger than the pre-War dividend, and if he had wished that I have not the slightest doubt that the Parliamentary draughtsman would have been able to find words to that effect, but they are not these words.
May I say at once in answer to the question of the hon. Gentleman that it is not intended that there shall be an arbitrary rule that in no case and under no circumstances shall the companies be able to earn a somewhat larger dividend than the pre-War of standard dividends. I hope I answer the question with sufficient directness. If the hon. Gentleman will look again at the speech made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport on Second Reading and at the speech which I made in Committee, I think he will see that that point was made clear in both. What my right hon. Friend said and what the Bill says is: " Regard being had to the pre-War financial condition of the company, and its prospective development." That is to say this Bill is not intended to produce a general uplifting in the capital value of these companies, but it is intended to help these companies to meet the increased charges in the cost of labour, materials and working, and it is intended that an impartial tribunal shall consider whether at the same time there ought not to be some improvement, and if so what, in the dividend-earning capacity of the company. How is that to be worked out? I have never mentioned the scheme of this Bill for dealing with this matter. In this we have been guided by the House itself in the Instruction given on the Underground Electric Bill to the Private Bill Committee that was to consider that Bill, namely, that they were to have regard to " a reasonable return on share capital." By no interpretation can that mean that the reasonable return on share capital was necessarily the pre-War return on share capital. It might be less, that is to say, in certain conceivable circumstances it might be less. The chances are very great that it would be more rather than less, but when you say, regard being had to a reasonable return by no interpretation can it be held that that is an inelastic fixing of the pre-War dividend as the amount to be paid.
The Instruction to which the hon. Gentleman has just referred was moved by a private Member and was not moved by the Government.
I think the memory of the right hon. Baronet is quite correct. It was an Instruction given by the unanimous assent of the House to the Private Bill Committee. What is it the Minister suggests here? There are two checks upon charging power. The final check upon charging power is the economic result of war charges. If you get your charge too high you ultimately produce a less return than you would with a lower charge.
Even with a monopoly, but it does not work so effectively with a monopoly. But there is a limit beyond which you do not produce a beneficial financial result by the charge. As well as that, the Minister has requested that there shall be an Advisory Committee. Clause 2 provides that there is to be an Advisory Committee set up consisting of the Light Railway Commissioners and members selected from the panel appointed by the Minister under the Transport Act. They are to consider and advise the Minister upon all these matters, leading up to what shall be the maximum to which an undertaking is to be allowed to charge, and that advice is to receive official responsibility for acceptance or rejection. It may be said that the words "reasonable return on capital" are indefinite. They are indefinite words, but the word "reasonable" is an extremely useful one. It is the word which we have to apply to nearly all problems. We have to try and be reasonable in solving these matters. I hope my hon. Friend will not press this Amendment.
When this matter was discussed on 10th March we tried to get a definite statement from the Minister. In the case of local authorities who own their own tramways, if you put on an extra charge any surplus would go into the hands of the Corporation, and, therefore, as I pointed out, what you lost on the swings you would gain on the roundabouts. When you are dealing with private enterprises what we want to do is to protect the people who use them. You have not told us what the position of those people will be under this Bill as compared with their position in pre-War days. Assume that a private company paid 5 per cent. in pre-War days. Will that be the limit to which they can go now under this Bill, or will they be able to pay 7½ per cent. or 10 per cent.? should like an answer to that question so that we may know where we stand. If you allow them to increase their dividend to 7½ per cent. or 10 per cent. from 5 per cent. we shall go into the division Lobby in support of the Amendment. If you do not say that the profits of private enterprises are to be the same as in pre-War days, then I submit you ought to adopt the suggestion of the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle - under - Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), and if these people cannot carry on their business let them become insolvent so that the local authorities will be able to run the cars on behalf of the community as they do now in other districts. We do not want any camouflage about this. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us if by this Bill you are going to permit companies which paid say 5 per cent. to pay 7½ per cent. or 10 per cent.
Mr. T. THOMSON:
I understood the Parliamentary Secretary to make a very emphatic statement, which was an answer to the question just put by the hon. Gentleman. He said that they were not prepared to say that a reasonable return on capital, regard being had to pre-war returns, would tie the companies down to their pre-war standard. I thought he made it very clear, and that it was an interpretation of the Bill which justified everything that was said by the mover of the Amendment. You could read the Bill with the interpretation that there was a desire to limit the returns so that they should not exceed the pre-war standard. I think the Amendment was put down partly with a view of eliciting what was really behind the mind of the Government in this matter. Unless I misunderstood the Parliamentary Secretary, he made it clear that the Government did not wish by this Bill and by their particular phrasing of this Clause to tie their hands in the future, and they did wish, if necessary, that the companies should receive a dividend which would be in excess of their pre-war rate, and because of that very emphatic statement, which I think has cleared the air considerably, it is necessary, unless some modification should be made, that the matter should be pressed further. It is not merely a question as to what the present Ministry or the House may mean. It depends entirely on the enterpretation which the courts hereafter may put into the reading of this Clause, and we know that the rulings of the courts in many cases have been entirely different from the intention and desire of the Parliament that has passed any particular Act. Therefore, I think it is of importance that we should have defined very clearly in this Bill what the House really means and not throw the consumer to the mercy of the courts, who may have regard to matters which this House would not wish to be considered. I would like to emphasise the point that we must have regard, not merely to the small effect which this Bill will have, but to the precedent which it is setting for the larger question of railways. To-day we are settling a vital principle as to the basis upon which these charges may be made, and upon which the capital values of company undertakings have to be based. Therefore, I hope the Minister can give the House some assurance that passing the Measure in its present form will not leave it open to a company which was getting 5 per cent. before the War to claim under this Clause that a reasonable return on capital is 10 per cent. now.
I should like to reiterate what my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary has said. In inserting this provision, we thought we were giving effect to what the House unanimously decided to do in the case of the London Electric Railways Bill, but we did more than that. We felt that while that Bill was going to a Committee of the House, with an instruction from this House that a reasonable return on capital should be provided, it was impossible for a Committee of this House to deal with the hundreds of cases which would arise under the Tramways Bill, and therefore we have to provide another tribunal, and in adopting the wording of the House, "a reasonable return," we added a safeguard that regard should be had, not, as has been erroneously quoted by certain hon. Members, to the pre-War dividend, but to the pre-War financial condition of the company. Obviously, if you are to stereotype this return as the pre-War return, you may be placing a limitation upon the deliberations of the Committee, and we have endeavoured to provide a tribunal which will command respect and confidence, and we have also provided that the result of the deliberations of that tribunal can only be exercised after the Minister has satisfied himself that they are reasonable, and I would point out that the Minister is amenable to criticism in this House and has to answer for his deeds. If there were any more impartial or surer way of securing that these large dividends which some of my hon. Friends fear will not be granted, I should be glad to put it in.
You have now got housing schemes going on in all parts of the country, and very largely these will be served by company undertakings. If you are going to limit during this short period—because, after all, it is not for all time, but is merely a temporary provision—if you are going to limit by statute the return on capital to the pre-war return of a particular undertaking, you may entirely prevent development. You cannot consider the capital of a concern and say it is very prosperous now and it was very poor before. You have to treat the financial condition of the undertaking as a whole, and we put in a safeguard which we thought was reasonable at the time, that is to say, that if you are going to limit a concern to what it earned before the War, and you have a concern which was not earning anything, at the rate of money to-day, it would stultify the whole housing programme, and that was why we thought, and why the House thought in the case of the London Electric Railway Bill, that you had to leave a certain discretion so that the whole position could be considered. My hon. Friend (Mr. T. Griffiths), who said he wanted to know definitely whether it would be 7 per cent. or 10 per cent., is asking me to say what no one in this House could possibly say to-day. Because we could not refer this Bill to a Committee upstairs, we have proposed, as a safeguard, that the tribunal must have regard to the pre-War financial condition. That is the safeguard I mentioned in my speech on the Second Reading, and we think that that ought to be adequate. We think that there the House has the safeguard that here is a committee which will consider these matters after the best investigations of the accounts possible, and that the Minister must be responsible to this House for giving effect or not giving effect to those recommendations. If he were to pass charges which would bear heavily on the consumer and give an exorbitant rate of dividend on a stock which was not paying anything before, it is at this box that the answer must be given.
The immediate effect of the point under consideration may not be very important, but the principle involved is so important that I think the matter ought not to pass from the House without the House having a a very clear appreciation of what might possibly happen. The purport of the Bill is to enable these companies and undertakings to increase their charges in order to cover the increased cost of running them. It is contemplated that there may be a balance of the increased charges above the increased cost, but the balance might be on the one side or the other. If it is on the profits side, it is said that that might be used in increasing the dividend. That might or might not be a proper thing to do under all the circumstances of the case, but this is quite clear, that if the dividends are increased, the capital value of your undertaking is increased, and in view of the possibility of the Government taking over these concerns in the future, it may mean a very important thing to the taxpayers of the country. If my reading of the position is correct, I think the House ought either to insist upon some such Amendment as has been moved, or that we should have some safeguard of some kind or other to prevent what I have suggested from happening.
I do not think it is possible for it to happen, because these are temporary powers, and one of the objections which would be raised is an objection which I do not think we ought to look over. You are only giving temporary powers, and at the end of the period specified, which I think is February, 1923, these emergency powers lapse, and you could not expect the capital value of an undertaking to rise enormously simply because they had got temporary powers, which lapse automatically in 1923, and which can be refused at any time on the advice of the Advisory Committee. I do not think, therefore, that the fear of the hon. Gentleman is really well founded.
The Amendment is evidently one of the very greatest importance, and does not only cover the case of the trams, but it might be regarded as a precedent for the case of railway charges, and it is obviously, therefore, of first-rate public importance. When the Indemnity Bill was before the House two days ago, the Government prefaced it by a memorandum showing the sum of money which they thought would be saved to the country if the Bill were adopted. I wonder why they did not put in front of this Bill a memorandum showing the sum of money that would accrue to these private enterprises if this Bill were passed. It would have been very interesting. It is said by those who know that millions of pounds are at stake, according to whether or not we adopt the principle embodied in this Amendment, and it is obvious, therefore, that this is of very great public interest. The Minister of Transport said, "If you do not allow these people latitude in their financial arrangements, they will not set up tramways, and so your housing schemes will come to an end." I think that is a very strong argument, but that is not the argument which the right hon. Gentleman used about the municipalities, which are in a much better position to survey the whole field. The municipalities have either to be in the same position or in a worse position than they were before the War. That is what has been decided by the rejection of the Amendment just now. They are to be carried on without loss. If by any chance they made a profit which might have been devoted to some of these housing schemes, it is taken away. It comes to this: that there is one yard measure for the public authority and another yard measure for the private interests, and that is really at the root of the whole Debate to-day. We are concerned with the interests of the consumer in this matter. I do not find that the panel to which the Minister referred has on the face of it the appear- ance of being directly representative of the consumers. The panel, he says, is to have regard to the pre-war financial conditions of the company, but those are very vague words, and it might be that they would say the company was in such a poor way before the War that they must be allowed to make a big dividend in order to pull themselves round now. Surely that is a possible interpretation of the words. We feel, therefore—at least I hope my hon. Friends feel—that we should divide on this Amendment. Really, travel is almost in the nature of a direct tax on the working classes. Nearly everybody has to travel, and it is a direct poll-tax on all working people, and that is the interest we represent here to-day. The Minister says that if we do not like what
has been done by the Ministry, we can move a reduction of his salary in the House of Commons. If we were to attempt to move a reduction of the Minister's salary on the ground that he had improperly allowed a certain rate of dividend to some private company, our efforts would prove absolutely futile. I agree we are here to protect the interests of the community, and the way to do it is to formulate in the Bill adequate protection. This Amendment is the only way to do it, and I hope it will be pressed to a Division. If so, I shall certainly support it in the Lobby.
|Division No. 103.]||AYES||[6.5 p.m.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. C.||Curzon, Commander Viscount||Hunter-Weston, Lieut.-Gen. Sir A. G.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Davies, Sir William H. (Bristol, S.)||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. A. H.|
|Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.||Dean, Lieut.-Commander P. T.||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Denniss, Edmund R. B. (Oldham)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Dixon, Captain Herbert||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Balfour, Sir R. (Glasgow, Partick)||Doyle, N. Grattan||Jesson, C.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Edge, Captain William||Jodrell, Neville Paul|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Edwards, Major J.(Aberavon)||Johnstone, Joseph|
|Barker, Major Robert H.||Edwards, John H. (Glam., Neath)||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Barrand, A. R.||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||King, Commander Henry Douglas|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar||Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Barrie, Hugh Thom. (Lon'derry, N.)||Falle, Major Sir Bertram G.||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Farquharson, Major A. C.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Fell, Sir Arthur||Lindsay, William Arthur|
|Beck, Sir C. (Essex, Saffron Walden)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Lloyd-Greame, Major P.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Benn, Com. lan H. (Greenwich)||Ford, Patrick Johnstonv||Lonsdale, James Rolston|
|Bennett, Thomas Jewell||Foreman,Henry||Lorden, John William|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Forrest, Walter||Loseby, Captain C. E.|
|Bird, Sir A. (Wolverhampton, West)||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Lynn, R. J.|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel D. F.||France, Gerald Ashburner||M'Donald, Dr. Bouverie F. P.|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Gardiner, James||McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern}|
|Brassey, Major H. L. C.||Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Camb'dge)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Gilbert, James Daniel||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Brown, Captain D. C||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||Maddocks, Henry|
|Bruton, Sir James||Glyn, Major Ralph||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Burn, Col. C R. (Devon, Torquay)||Goff, Sir R. Park||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Gould, James C.||Martin, Captain A. E.|
|Campbell, J. D. G.||Grant, James A.||Matthews, David|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Meysey-Thompson, Lieut.-Col. E. C|
|Carew, Charles Robert S.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.|
|Casey, T. W.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Cayzer, Major Herbert Robin||Hanna, George Boyle||Morris, Richard|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Morrison, Hugh|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Harmsworth, Sir R. L. (Caithness)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.|
|Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Harris, Sir Henry Percy||Murray, Lt.-Col. C. D. (Edinburgh)|
|Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston)||Murray, Major William (Dumfries)|
|Clough, Robert||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Nall, Major Joseph|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hickman, Brig.-Gen. Thomas E.||Neal, Arthur|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Hills, Major John Waller||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.|
|Courthope, Major George L.||Hope, H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn'n, W.)||Oman, Charles William C.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hope, J. D. (Berwick & Haddington)||Palmer, Charles Frederick (Wrekln>|
|Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mid.)||Hotchkin, Captain Stafford Vere||Palmer, Major Godfrey Mark|
|Craik. Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Howard, Major S. G.|
|Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry||Rodger, A. K.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Pearce, Sir William||Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Townley, Maximilian G.|
|Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood)||Turton, E. R.|
|Perkins, Walter Frank||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.|
|Perring, William George||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Warren, Lieut.-Col. Sir Alfred H.|
|Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Seager, Sir William||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Pollock, Sir Ernest M.||Seddon, J. A.||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Preston, W. R.||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)||Whitla, Sir William|
|Prescott, Major W. H.||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Pulley, Charles Thornton||Shortt, Rt. Hon E. (N'castle-on-T.)||Willoughby,Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Purchase, H. G.||Simm, M. T.,||Wilson, Lieut.-Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Rae, H. Norman||Smithers, Sir Alfred W.||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Ratcliffe, Henry Butler||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel N.||Stanier, Captain Sir Beville||Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge & Hyde)|
|Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. F.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Remer, J. R.||Steel, Major S. Strang||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Stephenson, Colonel H. K.||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Renwick, George||Strauss, Edward Anthony||Young, W. (Perth & Kinross. Perth)|
|Richardson, Sir Albion (Camberwell)||Sturrock, J. Leng||Younger, Sir George|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)||Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Dudley Ward.|
|Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. F. D.||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||O'Grady, Captain James|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)||Hallas, Eldred||Roberts, Frederick 0. (W. Bromwich)|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Hartshorn, Vernon||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hayday, Arthur||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hayward, Major Evan||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Hogge, James Myles||Spoor, B. C.|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Holmes, J. Stanley||Swan, J. E.|
|Bromfield, William||Irving, Dan||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Tootill, Robert|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Kenyon, Barnet||Wignall, James|
|Davies, Major D. (Montgomery)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Lunn, William||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Edwards. C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Finney, Samuel||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Mills, John Edmund|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness and Ross)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Myers, Thomas||Major Barnes and Mr. T. Thomson.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Newbould, Alfred Ernest|
Question put, and agreed to.