Transfer to Exchequer of Parts of Assets of Currency Note Redemption Account.

Orders of the Day — Ways and Means. – in the House of Commons on 2nd May 1928.

Alert me about debates like this

13. "That such part of the assets belonging to the Currency Note Redemption Account as is, in the opinion of the Treasury, having regard to the market value of those assets, in excess of the requirements of the Account shall, as the Treasury determines, be realised and the proceeds thereof paid into the Exchequer."

Third Resolution read a Second time.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

I beg to move, in line 3, to leave out the words "of a polarisation not exceeding ninety-eight degrees."

I have another Amendment—In line 5, at the end, to insert the words:

"Sugar, which when tested by the polariscope indicates a polarisation exceeding ninety-eight degrees the cwt7s.0d.

and proportionately lower duties for sugars of lower polarisation."

May I, Mr. Speaker, ask your guidance whether it will be convenient to have the Debate on both Amendments, and to have two Divisions?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Perhaps the hon. Member will help me in the matter. I thought that the two dealt with the same point, and were part of one proposal.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

I do not think it is very vital. The first Amendment fixes the polarisation above 98 degrees instead of limiting it to 98 degrees, and the second reduces the general rate of tax from 11s. 8d. to 7s.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

It would be better to discuss the two together, under the circumstances, and I will see later on whether two Divisions are desirable.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

I am sure the House will regret that, partly as a result of his great mental effort yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been prevented from being present because he has a temperature. It is a very great pity, although we sympathise with him in his indisposition, that he is not here to hear the case with regard to the taxation of a food commodity, which he himself has referred to, again and again, as being one of the most de- serving of favourable treatment by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The next thing I want to say is that there is bound up in the whole structure of the Budget this question of the imposition of the Exchequer upon sugar. The Chancellor has claimed that, if there is any additional burden upon the rural communities at all because of other parts of his Budget scheme, there would be considerable relief given to the agricultural worker and rural residents by reason of his proposed manipulation of the Sugar Duty. The Chancellor last night removed one source of grievance to the rural worker, but so far from being given a further relief, the view is held that the rural worker is to have another grievance in the way the Sugar Duty is being manipulated. What I am going to say on this point is not my own view. In fact, I shall probably dissent from it, but the trade papers have already been saying that, if there is a special preference given to imported raw sugar, in the manner suggested by the Chancellor, a preference which the Chancellor himself admits is purposely for the benefit of the British refiners, then it will be more difficult for the factories of the new subsidised beet-sugar industry to maintain their present production and the number of employed; therefore, there will be some detriment to the rural worker. It is well, although that may not be my view, that we should present the Chancellor with the opinion of many who are writing about the matter, and who are experts in the trade.

4.0 p.m.

I want to examine in little more detail what is the actual effect of the Chancellor's proposal to deal with the Sugar Duty this year only by way of remitting a farthing per pound on imported raw sugar. No one can deny that, because of the policy adopted in the past with regard to home grown beet-sugar, the refiners have suffered a severe handicap, but whether the way in which to deal with that situation is to indulge in a further measure of what is real Protection, is very much to be doubted. According to some of the best informed people in the sugar market, it will give to the British sugar refining industry the possibility of moving much more rapidly towards a monopoly of a very considerable number of grades of sugar which are used for home consumption. A Mincing-lane broker wrote a letter to the "Times" on 18th April. He said: The third result must be to hand over the virtually unlimited control of the British sugar market to the British refiners. The British refiners, among whom one famous firm, as is well known, holds a markedly dominating position, have long protested and campaigned against the various discriminations to which the State Subsidy to the beet sugar industry and the preference given to Empire planters have subjected them. I am not concerned to dispute their case. But I feel entitled to point out that to offer them, or rather to force upon them, the monopoly—for that in effect is what it amounts to—of the entire British sugar market is a more than adequate compensation for whatever disabilities they may have laboured under in the past. Moreover, I think it is apposite to point out that the principal interests engaged, in the British sugar refining industry did not fail to take adequate measures to avail themselves of whatever advantages might accrue from the subsidy to homegrown beet sugar. Anyone who has examined the balance sheets that have to be laid before this House will have observed that the balance sheet of one particular factory at Bury, a director of which is also a director of a very large sugar refining company, Tate and Lyle, and in which, I understand, the shareholders of that particular company hold large interests, produced, with the aid of the subsidy, the most favourable financial result of any of the factories in the production of sugar from home-grown beet up to a limited degree of polarisation, finishing the process in the old-established refineries. So that from the financial results on that side, there hardly seems to be a very strong case for giving these people a special benefit at the present time.

I want to point out, too, that it means really a direct protection, which is likely to lead in the long run—and I should like the Financial Secretary particularly to answer this point—to a general increase in the price of sugar, and, therefore, in raising, and not reducing, the price to the consumer. I think it is fairly well recognised, that if you give a very substantial preference of this kind to imported raw sugar for the benefit of the British refiners, then you will certainly have a very considerable reaction upon the importation of the finished article, refined sugar. I believe that, as a fact, a considerable volume of the sugar we now import fully refined will be diverted elsewhere. There will be a reaction upon the general production of refined sugar in other countries, and, ultimately, the price of sugar will actually rise, and, so far from giving a benefit to the consumer from this point of view, the ultimate effect will be that you will handicap the consumer generally.

The next point I want to put is, that although the public has been informed since the introduction of the Budget that, in fact, the British sugar refiners have reduced their wholesale prices by ¼d. a lb., and that the retailers of sugar, forced as, indeed, they always are in the case of sugar, which never shows any real profit in a retail transaction, have also reduced their prices by ¼d. a lb. That, in fact, is no great concession to the consumer, as the House will understand when I give full details. But, before I come to that question, may I say it is rather a serious matter to find that since the advent of the right hon. Gentleman the present Chancellor of the Exchequer to office, we have had further and further departures from the old tradition of keeping as secret as possible the proposals to be made in the Budget upon Budget day. It is, of course, only fair to say that, in dealing with fairly technical questions, I suppose whoever may occupy the Treasury for the time being, is almost forced to have more or less technical consultation with the people who may be able to advise him on the matter. I give that point, but in this particular case it has been perfectly plain that there are people in the trade who knew a very long time in advance what was going to happen when the Budget was opened, and, in fact, that has resulted, to a very large extent, in the reduction of price which has taken place since the introduction of the Budget having previously been discounted by a general rise in price.

On this question as to whether it was known beforehand, I have a whole bundle of newspaper cuttings dealing with the sugar industry generally, but I do not want to weary the House with a lot of details. It is plain, however, from those cuttings, that so long ago as early in March it was not only known to individual firms, but it was common knowledge what was going to happen in the Budget, and we also observed that there were, quite clearly, very close consultations between sections of the trade as to what should be the degree of polarisation—where the frontier line should be drawn in the proposal. Members who are interested in Dominion affairs will have observed that, many weeks ago, there appeared in the press a statement that the Queensland sugar industry had withdrawn from the British Empire Sugar Federation as a protest against their decision. An examination of what has taken place since makes it plain that this was on the ground that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was being urged to fix the frontier line at 98 degrees polarisation, but, as a matter of fact, the machinery of production in Queensland only permitted production at 99 degrees and it was only at a late date that a compromise was effected so that the Chancellor came with a proposal which gave relief up to 99 degrees. Bearing in mind these facts I want it to he remembered that there was much knowledge of what was going to happen. Anyone who turns to the "Times Review of Trade" in 1927—I think it was in February—will find that review said that in October, 1927, the British sugar refiners were able to make purchases upon the Cuban raw market of the largest quantity of Cuban raw that had ever been made in the history of the trade, and at a remarkably low figure—11s. 7½d. a cwt. In the same review, attention was drawn to the fact that the whole position of the Cuban raw market was very different from what had been the case in the previous years, when prices had been offered as high as 16s.

If the purchase of very large quantities of raw material was confined to that time, we could not say very much about it, but I think it is quite obvious to those who observe the market, that further large purchases were made at a later stage, when the price for Cuban raw was still between 11s. 9d. and 12s., and, if my information be correct, I should say that the purchases on the Cuban raw market by the people concerned were as heavy at that time as had been the case in the previous quarter. What effect did that have? The effect was that the market, which had first moved gradually to 12s., because of the heavy buying of the British sugar refining industry, I suppose, was relieved very largely of what had been regarded as surplus stocks of Cuban raw, reacted accordingly, and jumped from 12s. to 13s. 6d. As soon as that happened, British sugar refiners began to raise their prices in the home market, and if hon. Members look up the returns between February and April, and bear in mind that these large quantities of raw sugar had been purchased at this very low rate, they will find that the price gradually rises from 28s. 9d. for refined up to 30s. 9d., or just 2s.—an amount which showed an intelligent anticipation of what the Budget relief would be. I ought to say, however, in perfect fairness, that a few days before the Budget there was a slight fall of 6d. in the wholesale price of British refined. So all the Tory papers to-day are broadcasting to the consumer that they have in fact got a relief of ¼d. when in fact the trade itself had discounted that to the extent of at least 1s. 6d. per cwt. or nearly ¼d. a lb. It can be seen fairly plainly that as there comes to be a reaction upon the importation of foreign refined sugar by the impetus given to imported raw for British manufacture, and as these very large stocks of imported raw are gradually liquidated by the British refiner, nobody can anticipate anything but a rise in the general sugar prices.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

In the meantime, they have got ¼d. reduction.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

That reminds me very much of the sugar bait used yesterday to get Marmaduke into his cage. As soon as they got him there they backed him up. As soon as the stocks of raw sugar which have been obtained in the circumstances I have given to the House to-day are exhausted, I am persuaded that the consumer will lose all the advantage which he might hope to gain from the manipulation of the Budget. That is the story of how things really have worked, and I am waiting to hear from the Financial Secretary how far I have given the House a really correct and authentic statement of the trade and market manipulation.

We are also concerned in a much larger issue, and that is a plea for a general reduction in the rate of the tax upon a very important food commodity and a very im- portant raw material for many of our other food industries. I do not intend to speak at great length on that side of the issue. I leave that to my hon. Friend who is going to second the Amendment, but may I say that, to my mind, it is a very great pity that in the first Budget in which the present Chancellor of the Exchequer has been able to obtain a surplus, he should not have been able to afford any real and effective relief that can be passed on to the consumer. The position of the working-class people in this country has undoubtedly depreciated very steadily during the period of Tory Government in the last five or six years. We have had various statement made as to the position, but I have the official return of wage reductions. In 1921, which, I agree, was not wholly a Tory Government but also a Coalition Government, wage reductions were at the rate of £6,061,000 per week. In 1922 they were at the rate of £4,210,000 per week, and in 1923, £370,000. In 1924 there was an increase of £553,000 per week; in 1925 there was a reduction of £78,000 per week, and in 1926 a small increase of £37,000. The Ministry of Labour Gazette for April last reports the net weekly decrease for 1927 as £357,800.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Anthony Gadie Lieut-Colonel Anthony Gadie , Bradford Central

Are these dates 31st March or 31st December?

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

They are for the calendar year. The point is that, during the whole of that period, with the exception of the year 1924, and a very small increase in 1926, there have been wholesale declines in the wages of the workers of the country. What are we going to do to improve that position? The Chancellor has at last paid some attention to what has been said so often from this side of the House with regard to the burdens upon productive industry, and proposes, in another part of his Budget, to deal with that in a certain way; but many of us believe that while we must bring some relief to productive industry from the burden of rates, though not in the same way that he proposes to do it, that even that will be no final solution of the problem of poverty, caused so largely by the unemployment from which our workers suffer.

His proposals will not deal with the essential problem of maintaining and in- creasing the general rate of consumption side by side with the constantly increasing rate of production. We believe that we must use every endeavour, by raising wages and by reducing the taxation upon necessary commodities, to make the purchasing power of the workers greater. We have to create an effective demand on the part of the great masses of our people for those goods and services which mass production and modern inventions are increasing so much. One of the ways in which to secure that reasonable measure of stability and prosperity about which the Prime Minister talked at the last General Election is so to arrange our finances and our burden of taxation that the purchasing power of the mass of the people is kept at a reasonable level in relation to the increasing powers of production. We believe that to reduce taxes upon essential commodities is one important way in which to bring them within reach of the consumer, and what was done by my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) in the Budget of 1924 is one of the most effective ways in which to find the solution of our difficulties. It is from that point of view that we are drawing attention not only to the unsoundness of the manner in which the Chancellor has manipulated the Sugar Duties in this Budget, but to his failure to bring about that reduction of taxation to which the workers are entitled and which we are now proposing in this Amendment.

Photo of Mr William Mackinder Mr William Mackinder , Shipley

I beg to second the Amendment.

Like my hon. Friend who moved it, I regret that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not present, because I would like to remind him, and perhaps the Financial Secretary will do so when he gets his temperature down, that in 1926 he said in this House, speaking of the policy of himself, I suppose, and the Tory party: Our policy is not to increase, but wherever possible to decrease, and ultimately to abolish entirely the taxes on food. Ultimately to abolish! If the Tory party go on abolishing food taxes at this rate, neither hon. Members opposite nor myself can expect to be in this House if we live to be 100 when they are entirely done away with. I much prefer the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) set out to abolish the food taxes. He did it to a much greater extent than the present Chancellor has done. All we have in the present Budget are one or two very nebulous promises. We are to have a possible something if everybody is good. They say "God is good and the devil is not so bad when you get to know him," and if everything turns out well, and if everybody is good, we may get some relief in 18 months' time. We are also to get a reduction of ¼ per lb. on sugar. I believe my hon. Friend the Member for the Hillsborough Division of Sheffield said it had come down. I do not know whether it has or not. [HON. MEMBERS: "It has!"] But my hon. Friend also showed that before they brought the price down they had first put it up, and the Financial Secretary ought to reply to that allegation.

My hon. Friend has stated definitely that for a certain period before the reduction took place the sugar refiners were evidently aware of what was going on and increased the price of sugar, and then, in response to the appeal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, they very, very generously took off what they had already put on. I think the Financial Secretary ought to inquire into that. It is a very grave statement, and if it be a true statement it is very evident that the fulfilment of this promise to abolish the taxes on food is going to take quite a long time. I prefer the course which was taken by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley, who did not reduce the taxes by a miserable ¼d., leaving it as a matter of opinion whether that ¼d. reduction will ever get into the pockets of the working people. Personally, I am of the definite opinion that it is a free present to the refiners, and as a, man who has known what it means to live lean and to count the spoonfuls of sugar that go into the tea I should prefer that when a workman takes a cup of tea he should not have to consider whether he can afford to put one or one and a half spoonfuls of sugar in it. Hon. Members opposite may not realise what a very important thing a reduction of 1d. or 1½d. per lb. on sugar means to the working class; but, if they do not know, there are millions of working people who do know, as a result of the action of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley. Last year the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon) asked for a reduction in the Sugar Duty, not for the consumers—I was present when he made his speech—but in the interest of the refiners. At that time the Chancellor of the Exchequer said—I am not giving his exact words, but quoting from memory—that if financial conditions were favourable he would be very pleased to accede to that request. A year has elapsed since then, and he has now granted the request by giving a subsidy, not to the consumers—I wish to strengthen that point by repeating it—but to the refiners. It is not a reduction which is worth having.

A few minutes ago it struck me that while the Chancellor of the Exchequer is raising nearly £800,000,000 this year not a farthing, practically, is going in relief of the taxation borne by the working class. I hope the Chancellor is proud of that fact. I am of the opinion that one of the best methods of increasing the demand for any commodity is to bring its price within the reach of the working class. I have been getting some statistics of the consumption of sugar, and I find that from 1911 to 1924 the highest consumption per year was 33,500,000 lb. in 1913. In 1925, in the year in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley's Budget worked, the consumption went up from 30,000,000 lb. in the previous year to 33,250,000 lb., a rise of 3,000,000 lb. That shows that a reduction in price does mean an increase in consumption. I would remind hon. Members opposite that sugar is a very important food for children. It is a very regrettable thing when, through lack of money, anyone has to forbid to children this food which is so necessary for them, and one result of the Budget of my right hon. Friend was to increase the consumption of sugar by 3,000,000 lb. in one year, giving us the highest consumption for 15 years. That reduction also assisted the subsidiary trades, the manufacture of jams and sweets, helping production in that way.

Last night the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) when he raised the question of oil cake production, said the loss that industry would incur as a result of the Oil Duty would be more than counterbalanced by what manufacturers would gain by a reduction of their rates. Will the Financial Secretary tell us why the sugar industry has been singled out for two reliefs? Or are the sugar refiners not to get any relief of rates? Are they going to be excluded on the ground that they are not a productive industry? I hope he is getting information on that point, because I would like him to tell us why this industry is being singled out for relief in two directions and why the cotton trade and the coal trade are being left out. If it is right to give £3,000,000 in relief to one industry in order to help it, an industry which is not so badly off as some other industries, why have they not given some relief to the cotton trade, or the iron or shipbuilding trade, or even the woollen trade, in which I am somewhat distantly interested? It appears to me that the industry which can make the most noise in this House will get the most assistance, especially if the members of it are supporters of the party opposite—[Interruption]—or friends of the Government. Of course, if the Government are particularly strong they will do nothing, but if the people who are appealing to them are sufficiently strong they will give a little. We had an example of that last night. I believe we ought to have a general reduction in the cost of living. The man with the small income has to pay more than his share in rates, in proportion to his income, and has to pay more than his share in rent; and in the case of sugar, the bigger his family the more he has to pay in duty. I suggest seriously to the party opposite that if there is one duty which ought to be entirely removed it is the Sugar Duty. It is the duty which presses most hardly on the people with big families. On those grounds I beg to second the Amendment.

Major DAVIES:

Listening to the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment, one would imagine that the Chancellor had been trying to add to the taxes on the working class, and I could not help wondering, when listening to their diatribes, what they would have said if that had really been the case. In certain respects the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Mackinder) holds views which I echo heartily. He said that sugar was one of the most important articles of diet. I fully agree, and the more sugar that is eaten the better it is for my pocket. Incidentally, while the hon. Member was advertising sugar I felt he might also have included milk, because that would have added to my interest in his proposal. Everybody knows that the two outstanding tests of prosperity in a country to-day are, firstly, the consumption of sugar, and, secondly, the consumption of motor cars. Do hon. Members opposite suggest that because there are certain changes made in taxation for revenue and other purposes, you can ignore the normal law of supply and demand? Surely hon. Members opposite under these conditions cannot be justified in describing every act of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as "juggling with our taxation." It is obvious that if you take off or put on taxation you are going to affect to that extent the consumption of the article concerned. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment referred to the Cuban production, and its effect on the world price of sugar, but he carefully avoided mentioning the chief factor which now affects the Cuban sugar market, and that is the action of the Cuban Government in connection with sugar restriction; but I do not propose here to enter into that question.

The Seconder of the Amendment asked why sugar had been selected for a dual advantage, one direct and another indirect. The answer is fairly simple to those who have followed our sugar legislation and it is that in our anxiety, which is shared by hon. Members opposite, to assist in establishing a new industry, the sugar beet industry, which was primarily for the benefit of agriculture as a whole regardless of whether it was the farmer, labourer, or the man who erected the sugar factory—in fostering this policy which was intended to encourage and build up a new kind of arable cultivation it was found that our home sugar-refining industry was being unfairly affected. During past years it has become more and more obvious that that was a burden pressing unfairly on our sugar refining industry although the policy adopted by the Government has been a great advantage to the agricultural industry. It seems to me that that is the obvious reply to the question put by the Seconder of this Amendment. Instead of pouring out vials of wrath on the head of the Chancellor of the Exchequer because he has only given a ¼d. per lb. to the consumers of this country, I think we should all be thankful for the small mercies that all the consumers of sugar will receive however small they may be, and we hope as the general financial condition of the country improves, that next year we may he able to achieve the ideal which the Chancellor set forth in his Budget speech last year, and that is to see in the flesh what we now look forward to in the spirit, namely, what hon. Members opposite call a free breakfast table.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I think I had better deal first of all with the criticisms made by the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Mackinder) and afterwards with the questions raised by the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander). What are the facts? The sugar refining industry in this country, which used to find employment for a large number of men, has fallen on bad days. I will give to the House the figures relating to this industry in order that hon. Members may be able to judge what has happened. Employment in the sugar refining industry has fallen considerably, and a large number of men have been thrown out of work. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is due to the policy of your Government!"] No, it is not due to the policy of the Government at all. In 1920, 785,000 tons of sugar were refined in this country. In 1926, the total was 788,000 tons and 880,000 in 1927, which shows a little advance. For the same period for imported sugar that was not refined here the volume jumped from 181,000 tons in 1920 to 712,000 tons in 1926 and 561,000 in 1927. That means last year was not a good sugar crop.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

Will the Financial Secretary give us the figure for imported refined sugar in 1913?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I do not know that the figure would be germane if I had it, and I do not think it is fair to ask me to give a figure of that description at a moment's notice. During the period of 1920–1926 we find there has been an enormous increase in imported refined sugar from 181,000 tons to 712,000 tons in 1926, a very large and growing importation of refined sugar. 1927 was a bad crop year. I will now consider the effect on employment. In London the figures in 1924 were 4,746; in 1927, 3,713. In Liverpool in 1924 the figures were 3,109 and in 1927, 2,869. On the Clyde the figures were 1,279 in 1924 and in 1927, 653. There has been a reduce- tion of 25 per cent. in sugar refining employment since 1924. When a reduction of this kind in employment takes place it must pull down with it employment in the ancillary trades such as coal, chemicals, jute bags, engineering and transport. Our view is that by reducing the Sugar Duty to the extent of 2s. 4d. on raw sugar so that it may be refined here, there may ultimately be an increase of 600,000 tons of sugar refined in these Islands. What does that mean? To refine three tons of sugar you require one ton of coal, and you cannot refine sugar without using coal. If you are refining 600,000 tons more sugar in this country you must require about 180,000 tons more coal. Besides this, the coal has to be transported and this increase in volume of refined sugar also brings more business to the jute mills. It is estimated that the refining of 600,000 extra tons of sugar will require 6,000,000 more jute bags. [Interruption.] I do not think that is anything to sneer at.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I think it is sneering when we are told that the policy of the Government in regard to sugar production is simply for putting money into the pockets of tile capitalists. It is quite true that we are hoping to increase the trade of refiners, but the money comes back again to the workers in the form of wages by more employment.

Photo of Mr William Mackinder Mr William Mackinder , Shipley

Will the Financial Secretary say definitely why it is that this particular trade has been singled out to have two distinct reductions in regard to its expenses? Every argument which the hon. Gentleman has used in favour of sugar could be used in favour of the cotton industry or any other industry. Why has this particular trade been selected for relief?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

The reason we are giving this relief to the sugar industry is that employment in it has fallen very badly. We seek to increase employment. The arguments which have been advanced against our policy have not been economic arguments, but sneering arguments. The hon. Member for Shipley said that the price of sugar had not come down in consequence of the reduction of the duty promised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he went so far as to say that he did not think it would come down in price by ¼d. per pound. The reply to that argument is that the price of sugar has come down by ¼d. per pound, and the policy of the Government is causing more people to be employed in the sugar refining industry. The hon. Member for Hillsborough advocates a, reduction of the Sugar Duty by ½d., but I am sure that would defeat our ends. I cannot think that the hon. Member for Hillsborough, who is as learned as any hon. Member in the House upon economic matters, could have made such a proposal in ignorance, and he must see that by his Amendment there has been no extra remission of duty on raw sugar.

What happens? If there is no remission of duty on raw sugar, no fresh employment can be given to the men who are seeking employment in that industry. We have obtained by the method of this duty a remission of a quarter of a penny per pound. The proposal put forward in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Hillsborough would mean a loss of £8,000,000 to the Revenue, while the proposal we have made will only cost £2,900,000, and gives ¼d. a pound reduction on the price of sugar. That is a very cheap advantage, and a great benefit to our working people.

Some question has been raised as to whether the refiners themselves have or have not altered the prices. I have here the Ministry of Labour's average retail prices for granulated sugar, and, as the hon. Member for Shipley has put the question to me, perhaps it will be helpful if I give the figures. It must be remembered that the price of raw sugar is a world price, which goes up and down in the course of the year, and over which we have no control in this country. Notwithstanding, however, these variations of wholesale prices, there have been no great variations in the retail prices, and, of late, every variation has been downward. I make no complaint about the figure for 1924 so far as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) is concerned; it was not his fault, and I am not referring to it in that spirit. In 1924, the lowest average retail price of granulated sugar was 4¼d. per lb.; in 1927 it was 3¾d in 1928 3½d., while, after the Budget statement, it dropped further, and is now 3¼d. Does not that show that any variation of price which may have taken place during the past few years has been for the benefit of the consumer?

I agree that the lower we can get the price of sugar for the people the better we like it. It goes without saying that, no matter what party may be in power, the first object of statesmanship is to reduce the burden of food costs to the working people. It is only a question of what can be done. It is no use saying that it should be done; the question is what can be done, what is it going to cost, and where is the money coming from? Everyone, of course, objects to the burden of taxation. I think it is only fair to the sugar refiners that I should read two letters, in view of what has been said. Here is a letter from the British Sugar Refiners' Association, of 7 and 8, Idol Lane, E.C., dated the 18th April, 1928, and addressed to Sir Francis Floud, the Chairman of the Board of Customs. It was written in good faith, and accepted in good faith. It reads as follows: Dear Sir,—Following on Sir Leonard Lyle's conversation with you this morning, I am instructed to state that the whole of the British Sugar Refiners are prepared to give an undertaking to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reduce the gross price of their standard granulated sugars on the morning after the Budget by 2s. 4½d. per cwt."— I may interpolate that that is ½d. more per cwt. than they are getting in the reduction of duty— and not to raise it again for three months. Further, the British refiners give an undertaking that the normal difference between the prices of raw and refined sugar will be reduced by the full equivalent of the duty reduction, namely, 2s. 4d. per cwt. I am, Yours faithfully, Alex C. Cumming, Acting Chairman. The other letter is from Messrs. Tate and Lyle, Limited, of 21, Mincing Lane, E.C. It was dated the 17th April, and reads as follows: Dear Sir Francis,—In reply to the question which you put to me to-day, my firm is prepared to give the Chancellor an undertaking to reduce the gross price of its standard granulated sugar on the morning after the Budget by 2s. 4½d. per cwt., and not to raise it again for three months. Further, it will give an undertaking that the normal difference between the prices of raw and refined sugar will be reduced by the full equivalent of the duty reduction, namely, 2s. 4d. per cwt. The undertaking is, of course, subject to the present proposals becoming law.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

Were these two firms given preferential information as to the intentions of the Government? Did they know the proposals of the Budget before they were stated in this House?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

If the hon. Gentleman wishes to imply that they were given an advantage over any other firms, I do not think that that is the case. I would remind him that the gentleman who signed the first letter, namely, Mr. Cumming, is one of the vice-chairmen of the British Sugar Refiners' Association, which represents all the firms. There was no question of one firm knowing more quickly than another, but the Association had to be taken into the confidence of the Government; and, after all, British firms are honourable people who wish to help the country, and we were really asking for information which was needed of them for the public benefit.

Photo of Mr Robert Morrison Mr Robert Morrison , Tottenham North

Was the form of these two letters suggested to the people who wrote them by the Chancellor of the Exchequer? I ask this in view of the fact that both the letters contain the same guarantee not to increase the price for three months.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

Although I have no authority for saying so, and I do not know, I should think it is likely that the Chancellor of the Exchequer said to them, "You will have to give the Government an undertaking to put down the price of sugar by ¼d. per lb. before we shall offer you this remission, and the undertaking must be of such a kind that there is no shadow of doubt as to what it means." I do not think there is any reason why the Chancellor of the Exchequer should not have suggested the terms of the undertaking that he wanted—an unequivocal letter which would be fully understandable and not capable of being read in any other way.

Photo of Mr Robert Morrison Mr Robert Morrison , Tottenham North

What I was asking was whether the suggestion as to the definite statement which is contained in both letters that there would be no increase for three months was the suggestion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

That I could not say; I was not present when the interview took place; I do not know.

I think I have a very poor case to answer. We may get a sneer; we may get a certain number of unkind statements made about those engaged in the sugar industry and. about what is being done for this or that industry. We can assess all that for what it is worth, and the country will assess it for what it is worth, but the fact remains, and hon. Gentlemen opposite will have to take it into consideration when they make their speeches to their constituents, that here is an honest genuine attempt by the Government—[Interruption]—I hear a sneer again, but we answer those gibes by facts. Here are the facts. The Government are convinced that here is an opportunity of putting the sugar refining industry on its feet again. It may be that the firms concerned will prosper by it, and, if so, so much the better. I would rather see firms prospering than not prospering. No firm can prosper unless its working people have employment. This policy means that sooner or later we shall get 600,000 tons more sugar refined in Britain, and that a corresponding amount of employment will be given to the men employed in the refineries as well as what will be given to coal men, chemical men, engineering men and transport men; and if, in addition, we are able to bring down the price of sugar, as we have, by ¼d. per lb., we have deserved well of our fellow countrymen, and our case is one that we can well stand up for.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

I look forward, during the protracted Debates on the Budget, to a time similar to that which we often enjoyed when the late Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade had to defend the position in regard to safeguarding. The hon. Gentleman is a not unworthy successor of that hon. Gentleman, who, by his innocence and affability, provided constant entertainment and endeared himself to all Members of the House. The hon. Gentleman began by saying that he was going to make the best answer that he could. If the reply that he has given is the best that he is able to give, the case in support of the proposed duty is extraordinarily weak. In the absence of any knowledge by which he was able to refute the facts and arguments which have been put forward by my hon. Friends on this side, he resorted time after time to saying that the only argument that we could give was a sneer. He has not touched a single one of the points that were raised by my hon. Friends who submitted this Amendment. Some of his statements have been of the most audacious character, and others have been contradictory of one another. For instance, at one Point the hon. Gentleman said, when he was dealing with the benefit that this remission was likely to be to the refiners, that that was the one and single object in view. Then, having forgotten what he had said, a moment later he said that this proposal had two objects, the one being to help the refiners and the other to reduce the price of sugar.

Amongst the audacious statements that he has made, none is more ridiculous than his twice repeated statement that this remission of duty is going to increase the volume of British refined sugar by 600,000 tons. There are two replies to that. The first is that, if it succeeds in doing that, it stops the importation of every pound of foreign refined sugar into this country. Has any Protective duty that was ever imposed, in this country or any other, ever succeeded in excluding foreign imports altogether? There is a second answer. The hon. Gentleman says that he is going to increase the volume of British refined sugar by 600,000 tons. He must he wholly ignorant of the volume of refined sugar which is turned out in British refineries to-day, and he must be equally ignorant of the capacity of British refining plants. As a matter of fact, they turned out last year between 800,000 and 900,000 tons of sugar, and their total capacity, when they are working to the fullest extent, is only 1,000,000,000 tons. [Interruption.] Therefore, if the effect of this remission of duty upon foreign imported refined sugar—

HON. MEMBERS:

One million tons, not 1,000,000,000!

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

If the right hon. Gentleman is going to mislead us with figures like that, we shall never know where we are.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

The hon. Gentleman's statement was made in ignorance, and was unsupported by a single fact. The statement which I have made is absolutely accurate—

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

A thousand million tons?

Photo of Mr William Mackinder Mr William Mackinder , Shipley

That was an error, obviously.

5.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

A million tons. The hon. Gentleman seems to delight in interrupting someone who is speaking; I hope he is not seeking to emulate the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Those are the facts, and, if this remission of duty on the raw material enabled them to work their plant to the fullest possible extent, they could only turn out 300,000 tons more of refined sugar. The hon. Gentleman read two letters which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had received from sugar refiners, giving an undertaking that the price of sugar would be reduced by, I think he said, 2s. 4½d. per cwt.—that is to say, ½d. more than the reduction of duty—and that that reduction would be maintained for three months. It was the easiest thing in the world to give that undertaking. Why? Because they had been buying Cuban yaws for some months and they have now a stock which it will take them three months to work off. They are making an enormous profit out of this stock which they bought at an exceptional and almost unprecedentedly cheap rate. Therefore, the whole of the undertaking which they had given is so much bunkum and so much dust thrown into the eyes of the people of this country.

Then the hon. Gentleman went into some detail about the way in which this sugar ramp had been conducted. The hon. Member said that the British sugar refiners are honourable men and that they are not men who would take advantage of any private or secret information which might have been given to them. I do not ask him to give an answer now, but I would put a question for somebody else to answer. If they did not know, how dots it happen that, as soon as ever the Chancellor of the Exchequer entered into negotiation with the sugar refiners, the stock market in sugar shares began to rise, and that in a few weeks' time the shares of one of these sugar refining companies rose by over 50 per cent.—from 28s. to 44s.? Millions have been added to the stock exchange values of the shares of the sugar refining companies because of the knowledge—I do not know how it leaked out—that leaked out that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was going to make this concession to the British sugar relining industry. Then, again, if the British sugar refining industry was in need of assistance there was, under the provisions of the safeguarding procedure, an opportunity for it to be assisted. Why was the present course adopted? If, as the hon. Member says, the industry had been declining because of the severity of foreign come petition, why was it that the sugar refining industry did not apply to the Board of Trade for an inquiry under the procedure of the Safeguarding of Industries Act? If their case be what the hon. Member says it is, they could have established a case under every one of the five heads of the White Paper. Why, as a matter of fact—

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

The hon. Member says that food is excluded under the Safeguarding procedure. That may be a sufficient answer. I imagine that there is some pledge of the Prime Minister which excludes food, but which in itself is a concession that every duty which is imposed under the Safeguarding procedure increases the cost of the commodity.

But the hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is quite wrong in regard to the effects of the importation of foreign refined sugar upon the industry in this country. Why did not his statisticians and his advisers supply him with information of the actual proportion of imported foreign refined sugar at different periods, say, during the last 16 or 18 years? I will give some figures. In 1912, 47 per cent. of the refined sugar consumed in this country was foreign sugar. In 1927, the proportion had dropped down to 29 per cent.

A word about employment in this industry. The hon. Gentleman says that the employment in the British sugar refining industry has fallen off, hut he says nothing at all about the increase in employment in the beet-sugar factories. If the hon. Member will consult the figures supplied by the Minister of Labour, he will find that there has been a large increase in employment in the production of sugar in this country in recent years, and that the number of people employed in the British beet-sugar refining industry is more than the fall in the number of people employed in the old-established British refining industry. Therefore, that part of the hon. Member's case falls to the ground. What we are losing on the swings he is gaining on the roundabouts. I think that that about exhausts all that need be said by way of reply to the hon. Gentleman's—I was going to say speech—remarks. I do not know whether his speech is worthy of the few minutes I have devoted to it. I must confess that I had a very considerable amount of sympathy with him when he was trying to state his case. It was perfectly evident that he was not equal to his job, and the best that I can wish him is that he will improve as he goes along.

Photo of Sir Basil Peto Sir Basil Peto , Barnstaple

We are accustomed to get from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) speeches which include a largo amount of vinegar, and sometimes vitriol, but in his speech this afternoon be has not hesitated to descend to positive abuse and rudeness. I was perfectly satisfied with the speech from the Treasury Bench. Why should the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley think that his speech is a conclusive and categorical answer to the speeches made from this side? Certainly, it is a speech which admits of a very complete answer itself. The right hon. Gentleman began by referring to the duty which we are now discussing as the imposition of a duty. First of all, I would like to say that we are not imposing any new duty. We are removing a part of an old duty. We are taking, and we have taken, steps, which have proved to be effective, to secure that this reduction of the tax is handed on to the consumer. We are therefore reducing the cost of what is a necessary part of the people's food.

The right hon. Gentleman, among other points which he ridiculed in the speech to which he was replying, pointed out how impossible it was for an increase in the refining of sugar in this country extending to 600,000 tons a year to take place in our miserable refineries, which only have a total capacity of 1,000,000 a year. As a manufacturer, may I give him an answer to his interesting conundrum? Quite apart from the effects of working longer time or double shifts, which I know is not a procedure which commends itself in any way to the party to which he belongs, there is such a thing as increasing the size of a factory to meet a new demand, employing more people in that factory, and putting down more plant for refining a larger part of the total consumption of refined sugar in this country. But that shows the limited outlook of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman cannot even envisage a state of things in industry in this country which would involve the expansion of the refineries. The right hon. Gentleman then went on to ask why had we adopted this procedure of reducing in the Finance Act of the year existing duties on commodities instead of adopting the principle, or leaving the trade to adopt the principle, of appealing for the setting up of a Committee under the safeguarding of industries procedure. He was given one answer by way of interruption from this side. I would like to give another. The complete answer is that when there is an existing duty and you want to change it, the obvious way of doing so, and the one in accordance with all the precedents under which we have legislated in these matters of tea, sugar and other duties of that kind, is by the Budget Resolutions to reduce, increase, or alter those existing taxes The procedure of the safeguarding of industries would be wholly inapplicable. It would be like taking a Nasmyth hammer to crack a perfectly simple nut.

There is only one other point that the right hon. Gentleman made. He said, why were we proposing to increase employment in the refining industry? What were we dissatisfied about? He said that if we did not get it on the swings we should get it on the roundabouts. He said that we had increased employment in the sugar beet refining industry in this country, and so he asked, what were we grousing about? Never mind if the people engaged in the refineries at the ports are all out of a job, and if employment in the City of Greenock is what it is, what does it matter if somebody else is employed somewhere else? That is not our outlook on this side of the House. We want more people employed in the British sugar-beet industry, and we are also going to get more people employed in the refining of imported sugar. That is the difference between the right hon. Gentleman's outlook and ours, and what he thinks is a complete answer to the arguments which have been advanced from the Treasury Bench is a complete condemnation of the paucity of ideas and the limited outlook of him anti his party.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Resolution."

The House divided: Ayes, 236; Noes, 115.

Division No. 99.]AYES.[5.14 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelBrown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.{Berks, Newb'y)Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)
Albery, Irving JamesBuchan, JohnDavies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Buckingham, Sir H.Davies, Dr. Vernon
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)Burman, J. B.Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardDawson, Sir Philip
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Campbell, E. T.Drewe, C.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W,Carver, Major W. H.Duckworth, John
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)Cautley, Sir Henry S.Eden, Captain Anthony
Atholl, Duchess ofCayzer, Sir C. (Chester. City)Edge, Sir William
Atkinson, C.Cazalet, Captain Victor A.Edmondson, Major A. J.
Balniel, LordCecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Edwards. J. Hugh (Accrington)
Barnett, Major Sir RichardChamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)Elliot, Major Walter E.
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonChamberlain. Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Ellis, R. G.
Bennett, A. J.Chapman, Sir S.England, Colonel A.
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-Charteris, Brigadier-General J.Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)
Berry, Sir GeorgeChilcott, Sir WardenEverard, W. Lindsay
Bethel, A.Christie, J. A.Falle, Sir Bertram G.
Betterton, Henry B.Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Fermoy, Lord
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)Clarry, Reginald GeorgeFielden, E. B.
Blades, Sir George RowlandClayton, G. C.Forestler-Walker, Sir L.
Blundell, F. N.Cobb, Sir CyrilFoster, Sir Harry S.
Boothby, R. J. G.Cohen, Major J. BrunelFraser, Captain Ian
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftColfox, Major Wm. PhillipsFrece, Sir Walter de
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartConway, Sir W. MartinGadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.Cooper, A. DuffGalbraith, J. F. W,
Boyd-Carpenter, Major Sir A. B.Couper, J. B.Ganzoni, Sir John
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveCralg, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Gates, Percy
Briggs, J HaroldCrooke. J. Smedley (Deritend)Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton
Brittain, Sir HarryCrookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)Glyn, Major H. G. C.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Cunliffe, Sir HerbertGoff, Sir Park
Broun-Lindsay, Major H.Curzon, Captain ViscountGrace, John
Brown, Col. D. C. {N'th'l'd., Hexham)Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.
Greene, W. P. CrawfordMcDonnell, Colonel Hon. AngusSandon, Lord
Grotrian, H. BrentMacIntyre, IanSavery, S. S.
Gunston, Captain D. W.McLean, Major A.Shepperson, E. W.
Hacking, Douglas H.Macmillan, Captain H.Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Hamilton, Sir GeorgeMacnaghten, Hon. Sir MalcolmSinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)
Hammersley, S. S.Macquisten, F. A.Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Hanbury, C.Makins, Brigadier-General E.Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryMalone, Major P. B.Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Harland, A.Manningham-Buller, Sir MervynSmithers, Waldron
Harrison, G. J. C.Margesson, Captain D.Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Hartington, Marquess ofMarriott, Sir J. A. R.Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Mason, Colonel Glyn K.Sprot, Sir Alexander
Haslam, Henry C.Meller, R. J.Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)Storry-Deans, R.
Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxford, Henley)Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.Strauss, E. A.
Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir VivianMoore, Sir Newton J.Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Henn, Sir Sydney H.Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)Styles, Captain H. Walter
Hills, Major John WalterMorrison-Bell, Sir Arthur CliveSueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Murchison, Sir KennethSugden, Sir Wilfrid
Hopkins, J. W. W.Neville, Sir Reginald J.Templeton, W. P.
Hopkinson. Sir A (Eng. Universities)Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir HerbertThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.Nuttall, EllisThomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)Oakley, T.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)Oman, Sir Charles William C.Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Hume, Sir G. H.Pennefather, Sir JohnWaddington, R.
Hurd, Percy A.Penny, Frederick GeorgeWallace, Captain D. E.
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Perkins, Colonel E. K.Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Iveagh, Countess ofPeto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Warrender, Sir Victor
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. CuthbertPeto, G. (Somerset, Frome)Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Jephcott, A. R.Pilcher, G.Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Joynson-Hicks Rt Hon. Sir WilliamPilditcn, Sir PhilipWatts, Dr. T.
Kindersley, Major Guy M.Pownall, Sir AsshetonWells, S. R.
King, Commodore Henry DouglasPreston, WilliamWhite, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementPrice, Major C. W. M.Wiggins, William Martin
Knox, Sir AlfredRamsden, E.Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Remnant, Sir JamesWilliams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipRice, Sir FrederickWilliams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)Windsor, Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)Withers, John James
Loder, J. de V.Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)Wolmer, Viscount
Long, Major EricRopner, Major L.Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Lougher, LewisRuggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Lowe, Sir Francis WilliamRussell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Lucas-Tooth. Sir Hugh VereSamuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard HarmanSandeman, N. StewartMajor Sir George Hennessy and
Lumley, L. R.Sanderson, Sir FrankMajor the Marquess of Titchfield.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West)Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Palin, John Henry
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Griffith, F. KingsleyParkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Baker, WalterHall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Potts, John S.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Hardie, George D.Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Barr, J.Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonRiley, Ben
Batey, JosephHayday, ArthurRitson, J.
Beckett, John (Gateshead)Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)Rose, Frank H.
Briant, FrankJenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)
Broad, F. A.John, William (Rhondda, West)Saklatvala, Shapurji
Bromley, J.Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Salter, Dr. Alfred
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Scrymgeour, E.
Buchanan, G.Kelly, W. T.Scurr, John
Cape, ThomasKirkwood, D.Sexton, James
Charleton, H. C.Lansbury, GeorgeShaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Cluse, W. S.Lawrence, SusanShepherd, Arthur Lewis
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Lee, F.Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Compton, JosephLindley, F. W.Shinwell, E.
Connolly, M.Livingstone, A. M.Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Cove, W. G.Lowth, T.Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Dalton, HughLunn, WilliamStesser, Sir Henry H.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)Smillie, Robert
Day, HarryMackinder, W.Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Dennison, R.Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Snell, Harry
Duncan, C.Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)March, S.Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Gardner, J. P.Maxton, JamesStamford, T. W.
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.Mitchell. E. Rosslyn (Paisley)Stephen, Campbell
Gillett, George M.Morris, R. H.Sutton, J. E.
Gosling, HarryMorrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Murnin, H.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Greenall, T.Naylor, T. E.Thurtle, Ernest
Greenwood, A, (Nelson and Colne)Oliver, George HaroldTinker, John Joseph
Tomlinson, R. P.Wellock, WilfredWindsor, Walter
Townend, A. E.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.Wright, W.
Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Viant, S. P.Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. Whiteley and Mr. A. Barnes.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

I beg to move, in line 5, at the end, to insert the words:

"Sugar, which when tested by the polariscope indicates a polarisation exceeding ninety-eight degreesthe cwt.7s.0d.
and proportionately lower duties for sugars of lower polarisation."

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The House divided: Ayes, 129; Noes, 239.

Division No. 100.]AYES.[5.24 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Hayday, ArthurSexton, James
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Attlee, clement RichardHudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Baker, WaiterHutchison, sir Robert (Montrose)Shinwell, E.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Barr, J.John, William (Rhondda, West)Simon, Rt. Hon Sir John
Batey, JosephJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Beckett, John (Gateshead)Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Kelly, W. T.Smillie, Robert
Briant, FrankKirkwood, D.Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)
Broad, F. A.Lansbury, GeorgeSnell, Harry
Bromley, J.Lawrence, SusanSnowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Lee, F.Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Buchanan, G.Lindley, F. W.Stamford, T. W.
Cape, ThomasLivingstone, A. M.Stephen, Campbell
Charleton, H. C.Lowth, T.Strauss, E. A.
Cluse, W. S.Lunn, WilliamSutton, J. E.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Compton, JosephMackinder, W.Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Connolly, M.Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Cove, W. G.March, S.Thurtle, Ernest
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Maxton, JamesTinker, John Joseph
Crawfurd, H. E.Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)Tomlinson, R. P.
Dalton, HughMorris, R. H.Townend, A. E.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Day, HarryMurnin, H.Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Dennison, R.Naylor, T. E.Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Duncan, C.Oliver, George HaroldWatts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Edge, Sir WilliamOwen, Major G.Wellock, Wilfred
Edwards, John H. (Accrington)Palin, John HenryWestwood, J.
Gardner, J. P.Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.Pethick-Lawrence, F. wWhiteley, W.
Gillett, George M.Potts, John SWiggins, William Martin
Gosling, HarryRichardson, R. (Ho'ghton-le-Spring)Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Riley, BenWilliams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Greenall, T.Ritson, J.Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)Windsor, Walter
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Rose, Frank H.Wright, W.
Griffith, F. KingsleyRunciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Saklatvala, ShapurjiTELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Salter, Dr. AlfredMr. Charles Edwards and Mr. A.
Hardie, George D.Scrymgeour, EBarnes.
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonScurr, John
NOES.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut-ColonelBennett, A. J.Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive
Albery, Irving JamesBentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-Briggs, J. Harold
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Berry, Sir GeorgeBrittain, Sir Harry
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)Bethel, A.Brocklebank, C. E. R.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Betterton, Henry B.Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Birchall, Major J. DearmanBroun-Lindsay, Major H.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Blades, Sir George RowlandBrown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)
Atholl, Duchess ofBlundell, F. N.Buchan, John
Atkinson, C.Boothby, R. J. G.Buckingham, Sir H.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Bourne, Captain Robert CroftBurman, J. B.
Balniel, LordBowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartCadogan, Major Hon. Edward
Barnett, Major Sir RichardBowyer, Capt. G. E. W.Campbell, E. T.
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonBoyd-Carpenter, Major Sir A. B.Carver, Major W. H.
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Harrison, G. J. C.Pennefather, Sir John
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Hartington, Marquess ofPenny, Frederick George
Cazalet, Captain victor A.Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Cecil. Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Alton)Haslam, Henry C.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Henderson, Capt. R.R. (Oxf'd, Henley)Pilcher, G.
Chapman, Sir S.Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir VivianPilditch. Sir Philip
Charteris, Brigadier-General J.Henn, Sir Sydney H.Pownall, Sir Assheton
Chilcott, Sir WardenHennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Preston, William
Christie, J. A.Hills, Major John WallerPrice, Major C. W. M.
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Ramsden, E.
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeHopkins, J. W. W.Remnant, Sir James
Clayton, G. C.Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)Rice, Sir Frederick
Cobb, Sir CyrilHopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Cohen, Major J. BruneiHoward-Bury, Colonel C. K.Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsHudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)
Conway, Sir W. MartinHudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)Ropner, Major L.
Cooper, A. DuffHume, Sir G. H.Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Couper, J. B.Hurd, Percy A.Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Iveagh, Countess ofSandeman, N. Stewart
Crooks, J. Smedley (Deritend)James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon CuthbertSanderson, Sir Frank
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Jephcott, A. R.Sandon, Lord
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir WilliamSavery, S. S.
Cunliffe, Sir HerbertKindersley, Major G. M.Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)
Curzon, Captain ViscountKing, Commodore Henry DouglasShepperson, E. W.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementSimms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Knox, Sir AlfredSinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)Lamb, J. Q.Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Davies, Dr. VernonLane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipSmith-Carington, Neville W.
Dawson, Sir PhilipLloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)Smithers, Waldron
Drewe, c.Locker-Lampson. G. (Wood Green)Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Duckworth, JohnLoder, J. de v.Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Eden, Captain AnthonyLong, Major EricSprot, Sir Alexander
Edmondson, Major A. J.Lougher, LewisStanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Elliot, Major Walter E.Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh VereStuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Ellis, R. G.Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard HarmanStyles, Captain H. Walter
England, Colonel A.Lumley, L. R,Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)McDonnell, Colonel Hon. AngusSugden, Sir Wilfred
Everard, W. LindsayMacintyre, IanTempleton, W. P.
Falle, Sir Bertram G.McLean, Major A.Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Fermoy, LordMacmillan, Captain H.Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Fielden, E. B.Macnaghten, Hon. Sir MalcolmThomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Forestier-Walker, Sir L.Macquisten, F. A.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Foster, Sir Harry SMaitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Fraser, Captain IanMakins, Brigadier-General E.Waddington, R.
Frece, Sir Walter deMalone, Major P. B.Wallace, Captain D. E.
Gadie, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyManningham-Buller, Sir MervynWard, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Galbraith, J. F. W.Margesson, Captain D.Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Ganzoni, Sir JohnMarriott, Sir J. A. R.Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Gates, PercyMason, Colonel Glyn K.Watts, Dr. T.
Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew HamiltonMeller, R. J.Wayland, Sir William A.
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMoyer, Sir FrankWells, S. R.
Glyn, Major R. G. C.Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple
Goff, Sir ParkMonsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Grace, JohnMoore, Sir Newton J.Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Greene, W. P. CrawfordMorrison-Bell, Sir Arthur CliveWindsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Grotrian, H. BrentMurchison, Sir KennethWithers, John James
Gunston, Captain D. W.Nail, Colonel Sir JosephWolmer, Viscount
Hacking, Douglas H.Neville, Sir Reginald J.Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Hamilton, Sir GeorgeNewman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Worthington-Evant, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Hammersley, S. S.Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert
Hanbury, C.Nuttall, EllisTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryOakley, T.Major the Marquess of Titchfield
Harland, A.Oman. Sir Charles William C.and Sir Victor Warrender.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

The House divided: Ayes, 253; Noes, 105.

Division No. 101.]AYES.[5.32 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelAtholl, Duchess ofBentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-
Albery, Irving JamesAtkinson, C.Berry, Sir George
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyBethel, A.
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)Balfour, George (Hampstead)Betterton, Henry B.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Balniel, LordBirchall, Major J. Dearman
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Barnett, Major Sir RichardBird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.Bellairs, Commander CarlyonBird, sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Bennett, A. J.Blades, Sir George Rowland
Blundell, F. N.Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnNewman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Boothby, R. J. G.Glyn, Major R. G. C.Nicholson, O. (Westminster)
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftGoff Sir ParkNield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartGrace, JohnNuttall, Ellis
Boyd-Carpenter, Major Sir A. B.Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.Oakley, T.
Briant, FrankGreene, W. P. CrawfordOman, Sir Charles William C.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveGrotrian, H. BrentOwen, Major G.
Briggs, J. HaroldGunston, Captain D. W.Pennefather, Sir John
Brittain, Sir HarryHacking, Douglas H.Penny, Frederick George
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Hamilton, Sir GeorgePerkins, Colonel E. K.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Hammersley, S. S.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstapie)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H.Hanbury, C.Peto, G. (Somerset, Frame)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPilcher, G.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Harland, A.Pilditch, Sir Philip
Buchan, JohnHarrison, G. J. C.Pownall, Sir Assheton
Buckingham, Sir H.Hartington, Marquess ofPreston, William
Burman, J. B.Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Price, Major C. W. M.
Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardHaslam, Henry C.Ramsden, E.
Campbell, E. T,Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Remnant, Sir James
Carver, Major W. H.Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)Rice, Sir Frederick
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir VivianRichardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Henn, Sir Sydney H.Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)Hills, Major John WallerRopner, Major L.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Chapman, Sir S.Hopkins, J. W. W.Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Charteris, Brigadier-General J.Hopkinson. Sir A. (Eng. Universities)Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Chilcott, Sir WardenHopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Sandeman, N. Stewart
Christie, J. A.Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.Sanderson, Sir Frank
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Sandon, Lord
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeHudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)Savery, S. S.
Clayton, G. C.Hume, Sir G. H.Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)
Cobb, Sir CyrilHurd, Percy A.Shepperson, E. W.
Cohen, Major J. BruneiHurst, Gerald B.Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsHutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)
Conway, Sir W. MartinInskip, Sir Thomas Walker HSlaney, Major P. Kenyon
Cooper, A. DuffIveagh, Countess ofSmith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Couper, J. B.James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. CuthbertSmith-Carington, Neville W.
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Jephcott, A. R.Smithers, Waldron
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir WilliamSomerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Kindersley, Major G. M.Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Crawfurd, H. E.King, Commodore Henry DouglasSprot, Sir Alexander
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementStanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Knox, Sir AlfredStrauss, E. A.
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)Lamb, J. Q.Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Cunliffe, Sir HerbertLane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Styles, Captain H. Walter
Curzon, Captain viscountLloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Loder, J. de V.Templeton, W. P.
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)Long, Major EricThorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Davies, Dr. VernonLougher, LewisThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh VereThomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Dawson, Sir PhilipLuce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard HarmanTitchfield, Major the Marquess of
Dixey, A. C.Lumley, L. R.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Drewe, C.Macintyre, IanTurton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Duckworth, JohnMcLean, Major A.Waddington, R.
Eden, Captain AnthonyMacmillan, Captain H.Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Edge, Sir WilliamMacnaghten, Hon. Sir MalcolmWarrender, Sir Victor
Edmondson, Major A. J.Macpherson Rt. Hon. James I.Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Edwards. J. Hugh (Accrington)Macquisten, F. A.Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Elliot, Major Walter E.Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)Watts, Dr. T.
Ellis, R. G.Makins, Brigadier-General E.Wayland, Sir William A.
England, Colonel A.Malone, Major P. B.Wells, S. R.
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s M.)Manningham-Buller, Sir MervynWhite, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
Everard, W. LindsayMargesson, Captain D.Wiggins, William Martin
Falle, Sir Bertram G.Marriott, Sir J. A. R.Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Fenby, T. D.Mason, Colonel Glyn K.Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Fermoy, LordMeller, R. J.Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Fielden, E. B.Merriman, Sir F. BoydWindsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Forestier-Walker, Sir L.Meyer, Sir FrankWithers, John James
Forrest, W.Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)Wolmer, Viscount
Foster, Sir Harry S.Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Fraser, Captain IanMoore, Sir Newton J.Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Frece, Sir Walter deMorrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Galbraith, J. F. W.Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur CliveTELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Ganzoni, Sir JohnMurchison, Sir KennethCaptain Bowyer and Captain
Gates, PercyNail, Colonel Sir JosephWallace.
Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew HamiltonNeville, Sir Reginald J.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West)Ammon, Charles GeorgeBarker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff, Cannock)Attlee, Clement RichardBarr, J
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Baker, WalterBatey, Joseph
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph MShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Broad, F. A.Kirkwood, D.Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Brown, James (Ayr and Butt)Lansbury, GeorgeSlesser, Sir Henry H.
Buchanan, G.Lawrence, SusanSmillie, Robert
Cape, ThomasLee, F.Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Charleton, H. C.Lindley, F. WSmith, Rennie (Penistone)
Cluse, W. S.Lowth, T.Snell, Harry
Compton, JosephLunn, WilliamSnowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Connolly, M.MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Cove, W. G.Mackinder, W.Stamford, T. W.
Dalton, HughMalone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Stephen, Campbell
Day, HarryMarch, S.Sutton, J. E.
Dennison, R.Maxton, JamesThomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Duncan, C.Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)Thorne, W. (West Ham. Plaistow)
Gardner, J. P.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Thurtle, Ernest
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M,Murnin, H.Tinker, John Joseph
Gosling, HarryNaylor, T. E.Townend, A. E.
Greenall, T.Oliver, George HaroldTrevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Palin, John HenryViant, S. P.
Grenfell, D. Ft. (Glamorgan)Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Potts, John S.Wellock, Wilfred
Hardie, George D.Richardson, R. (Houghton-te-Spring)Westwood, J.
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonRiley, SenWheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Hayday, ArthurRobinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)Rose, Frank H.Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Saklatvala, ShapurjiWilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)Scrymgeour, E.Windsor, Walter
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Scurr, JohnWright, W.
John, William (Rhondda, West)Sexton, JamesYoung, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Shiels, Dr. DrummondTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Kelly, W. T.Shinwell, [...]Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. Charles
Edwards.

Sixth Resolution read a Second time.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I beg to move, in line 50, to leave out the word "dealer" and to insert instead thereof the word "distiller."

This is really an Amendment to deal with a typist's or printer's mistake. We have the word "dealer" where we ought to have the word "distiller."

Mr. RUNCIMAN:

May I ask whether the Financial Secretary intends to explain to the Committee his scheme of drawbacks? He has given no assurance to the Committee that these drawbacks do not, in fact, become a bounty to certain trades in the export of manufactured goods.

Photo of Mr James Hope Mr James Hope , Sheffield Central

The remarks of the right hon. Gentleman would be relevant to the Question "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution." We must first deal with the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution, as amended."

Mr. RUNCIMAN:

Now is the opportunity for the Financial Secretary to explain to the House exactly what is meant by this drawback scale. I have no doubt that, with his usual lucidity and industry, he has been able to clear up what is a very tangled business for the ordinary Member of Parliament. I hope he will allow the House to know what exactly is meant by these drawbacks. Are they applied to all manufactures and industries which are users of sugar? He has made a great plea as to the effect which the encouragement of the sugar refining industry will have on the employment of some thousands of people, but he knows that the number of people who are employed in the sugar using industries are not numbered by thousands but by hundreds of thousands. Has he succeeded in his drawback scale in giving the full advantage to these various industries in their export trade? I presume that he will give us some satisfaction on that point. I would like to ask this question: Is it not possible by the scale of drawbacks actually to give a bounty to some of these export trades?

The House has not been told in the earlier discussion or during the present stage of the proceedings how far this scale of drawbacks exactly fills the gap which is made by the imposition of these duties. It will be observed that the reduction in the duty works out, roughly, in the retail price, if it ever reaches the retailer, to about ¼d. a pound. The main alteration which has been made in the scale of duties is a reduction of the duty on raw sugar imported into this country, leaving the duty on refined sugar made abroad at the old high level, so that it does, in effect, give a protective advantage to the refiner at home. That is the declared object of the Government. In giving that protection to the refiner at home, is he giving to the user of sugar the full advantage which is given to the refiner, or will he explain to the House how far in these various scales of duty not only on molasses and the products of sugar but on all those other products in which sugar forms a part allowance has been made so that there may be no disadvantage imposed upon the sugar-using industries which require these materials for the conduct of their trade in competition with manufacturers abroad? I hope he will be able to give a full and clear statement to the House as to what is meant by this very long and complicated Resolution.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Owing to the fact that a manuscript Amendment to amend one word in the middle of a very long Resolution was moved so quickly by the Financial Secretary, I was not able to understand its meaning. I would like to ask the Financial Secretary in relation to his Amendment, how he can have a distiller of yeast. The Resolution, as amended, will give a drawback on molasses delivered to "a licensed distiller for use in the manufacture of spirits of yeast."

The Resolution will surely have to be amended at some later stage. To speak of a licensed distiller in relation to the manufacture of spirits or yeast seems incomprehensible. There must have been some further typographical error which has crept into the manuscript Amendment.

I wish to support my right hon. Friend the Member for Swansea West (Mr. Runciman) and to remind the House of an extraordinary incident that occurred yesterday in connection with this farthing reduction in the Sugar Duty and the question of drawbacks. The Chancellor of the Exchequer—I am very sorry that he is not here and I am also very sorry for the reason—in speaking yesterday told us that when he dropped the kerosene duty he had no intention of reimposing the farthing reduction in the Sugar Duty because he had entered into an agreement with the refiners. Then he stopped and said: "There is the question of the working class families who deserve this relief." I think that remarkable slip by the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave away the whole of the Government plan which they had intended to conceal from the country. The accusation I make is this, and it is well known, that the consumer will not receive the benefit of this farthing reduction and that the refiners will. They are the great business interests which the present Government are ever so anxious to protect.

Are we quite sure that there is no bounty also being given to the export trades? There is something to be said for a bounty in certain eases, but this House ought to deal with such a question with its eyes open and with full knowledge of the facts. If you want to help the export trade by a bounty—it is arguable whether it is sound to do so or not—let us know exactly what we are doing. If there is no bounty, I should like to know in what way are the calculations made to allow the exact drawback for what will otherwise be a tax on material used. This is of importance to the City of Hull, where we have very large sweet factories engaged in a very important export trade and I should be glad of some information from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

In order to bring the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Member for Swansea West to a definite point—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—My right hon. Friend made a request, and I think the House will agree that it was a very reasonable request, that we should have an explanation on general lines of the meaning of these drawbacks. In order to clear up the point I would ask the Financial Secretary to direct his attention to the table which deals with the rate or amount of drawback in connection with certain degrees of polarisation, where it states that drawbacks shall be allowed on sugar produced from material on which the full duties of Customs have been paid.

Where the rate of duty paid was 11s. 8d. the cwt. a drawback at the rate of 11s. 8d. the cwt. is allowed. That seems to be reasonable. You get a corresponding drawback. Where a rate of duty less than 11s. 8d. the cwt. was paid, a drawback at the rate of 9s. 4d. the cwt. is allowed. What are the kinds of sugar on which a rate of duty less than 11s. 8d. the cwt. is paid? If there are any number of them, do they all pay the same rate of duty? Is the same rate of drawback paid to all of them? If the answer to the first part of my question is that there are a number of prices for rates of duty, then you may in some cases be giving a benefit to the exporter, and in other cases you may be penalising him. In Section (b) "Drawbacks on molasses" reference is made to Molasses (including sugar and all extracts front sugar which cannot be completely tested by the polariscope). The degree of polarisation is determined by an instrument which measures accurately the angle through which the plane of polarisation has rotated when it is passed through media consisting of certain organic substances which are stereo-active. What are the extracts of the sugar which do not respond to this test exactly? We have, it appears, a large class of articles which cannot be tested by the polariscope, and I should like to know the methods of testing them which are as good and as scientificaly accurate as the polariscope itself.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I can assure the right hon. Member for Swansea West (Mr. Runciman) and the hon. and gallant Member for Hull (Lieut.-Commander Ken-worthy) that the drawbacks do not give a bounty. The drawbacks are mathematically accurate in each case. In order that there may be no mistake, perhaps I had better read a definition of the drawbacks: The new schedule of drawbacks shows the rates which will be payable in future, these rates being calculated by reference to the new rates of duty in the same way as the old rates of drawback were calculated by reference to the old rates of duty. In the case of molasses produced in a British refinery, an alteration of the steps of the drawback scale is proposed. The old scale of drawbacks was one of three steps, different rates being payable on molasses containing (a) not more than 50 per cent. of sweetening matter, (b) more than 50 per cent. and less than 70 per cent. and (c) 70 per cent. or more. These steps wore rather steep, the difference between the rates of drawback, for example, on (a) and (b) being altogether out of proportion to the difference between molasses at 50 per cent. and molasses at 51 per cent. The point has not hitherto been of importance, as since 1903 refiners have worked in bond and molasses delivered by them in circumstances which otherwise would have entitled them to drawback have been delivered duty free under the law. In future, however, when the refiners will work out of bond, drawback must be paid on their molasses, and it is proposed to reduce the steepness of the scale by breaking the three steps into five, namely: (a) 50 per cent. of sweetening matter and under, (b) 50 per cent. to 60 cent., (c) 60 per cent. to 70 per cent., (d) 70 per cent, to 80 per cent., (e) more than 80 per cent. With regard to the suggestion of the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull that there has been a terrible mistake in paragraph (B)—Drawbacks on Molasses—in the Fourth Resolution, the suggestion is ridiculous. There has been a clerical error in putting the word "dealer" instead of "distiller." It should read "licensed distiller." it is purely a literal error.

6.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

There is a company called the Distillers Company in the hon. and gallant Member's own constituency, which is a large manufacturer of yeast. I believe that the great company which makes yeast both here and in America is a distillery company.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House cloth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

I would like some information as to the amount of money involved here. I understand that this proposal will give some slight advantage to British films, and I want to know to what the advantage will amount. It will be seen that the Resolution deals with the definition of British films according to the Cinema, tograph Films Act of 1927. I have since had a look at that Act. I wish to know what length of film is expected to benefit from this concession. How many British films satisfy the definitions passed by this House by a majority? I hope that not too many are so-called War films, but that the majority are genuine travel films or films of scenery within the Empire.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I can give the hon. and gallant Gentleman a rough answer to all his questions. The amount will not be more than £350—a trifling amount. The length of films to obtain Empire preference in 1927 was 23,400 feet, as against 5,460,000 feet of films imported. The matter is a trifling matter. I do not wish to occupy the attention of the House long and trespass on its time.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

If it is not worth bothering about it is not worth putting into the Budget.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

The amount is £350, which is a small amount in comparison with other figures with which we are dealing.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

I wish to protest against the statement of the Financial Secretary. For the hon. Gentleman to suggest that discussion of this matter is a waste of the time of the House is an abuse of the privilege of the Commons for which the Commons have fought throughout the centuries.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I do not think the hon. and gallant Gentleman needs a great amount of protection from me, but such as he needs he will have; he can be sure of that.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House cloth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Assheton Pownall Lieut-Colonel Sir Assheton Pownall , Lewisham East

Before this Resolution is agreed to there is one suggestion that I want to make. This duty on i3ritish wines was first imposed by the Budget of last year. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in introducing it, said he thought it might have a stimulating effect on the sales of these wines. Happening to have some special knowledge of this subject, not from the point of view of a consumer, I criticised this proposal last year, and said that while I welcomed the taxation of British wines for the first time, the duty might very well have been put at a higher figure than the is a gallon which was then imposed. I do not say that the proposal in this year's Budget is a result of the hint that I gave, but I am very glad to see that the duty has been raised to 1s. 6d. a gallon on these wines. So far from that hurting the trade, the shares of the company particularly concerned rose several shillings per share on Wednesday last, and the shareholders apparently are very glad that the duty has not been made higher. I happen to know a little of the alcoholic content of these wines, and I say that they are still let off very lightly in comparison with wines from the Dominions. My right hon. Friend yesterday made a concession in the case of another liquid, not drinkable, amounting to several millions of pounds. Presumably he will want to find sources of revenue to replace the loss resulting from that concession. I suggest that a further increase of 1s. per gallon on these British wines is still possible. That would bring in well over £100,000 a year, and these British wines would still be in a position to compete strongly with the wines coming from the Dominions. I put that forward as a suggestion for the future.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

The speech of the hon. Member who has just spoken justifies us in pressing the Financial Secretary for an explanation as to why these British wines should have a special advantage over Empire wines.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Assheton Pownall Lieut-Colonel Sir Assheton Pownall , Lewisham East

That statement is a distortion of what I said. I said that these British wines would still have considerable advantage over the Dominion wines.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

In other words, the hon. and gallant Member wants to reduce the advantage. This is rather a complicated question, and I hope that the Financial Secretary will make it clear. I understand that the grapes are imported in the form of pulp in order to evade the duty on imported wines. Is that the correct position? A new industry has come into existence in the last two years. If this duty is imposed only to prevent the Excise Duty on this wine being evaded, then of course a case has been made out, but when the hon. and gallant Gentleman says that as a result of the duty being increased there has been a boom in the shares of the company concerned, I want some further explanation. I understand that in the past this was very much in the nature of an illegal trade. By putting on a duty on a small scale the Government are legalising the creation of a wine trade in this country. If it be correct that those in this trade are getting a very large advantage in duty over Empire and foreign wines, the position ought to be made quite clear.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

What is the meaning of the word "sweets" which appears in this Resolution? It is rather confusing. Are there two sorts of wines produced? Before the House passes this Resolution we might have some exposure of the growth of this industry, for we know very little about it. I understand that in Saxon times wine was generally produced in this country from grapes grown on British soil, even as far north as Scotland. What the wine was like I do not know. It is obvious that the wine referred to in this Resolution is not wine produced from British grown grapes. We have heard that the pulp is imported. I do not see why this sort of wine should have any kind of preference at all, and I agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman who first raised this question. It is a curious trade, to put it no higher. I do not want to attack a British industry, but when wine is made in a country where it is impossible to grow grapes and vines, it cannot be an industry that, is really based on a solid foundation. I was surprised to hear the statement about the shares of a particular company. Apparently the only reason why the industry has grown is that it has a great advantage over the Colonial and foreign wine imports. I do not see why it should have that advantage. In other words there is a protected industry growing up in this country—the making of wines from imported materials and their passing as British wines. Of course they are nothing of the kind; they are made from materials imported from France. If the industry grows on its own merits without artificial protection, well and good, but I do not think that the House should foster the introduction of an alcoholic drink by what really corresponds to a fiscal advantage.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst

If my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary has the information, will he tell the House how many gallons of this British wine are manufactured in this country during the year?

Photo of Sir George Gillett Sir George Gillett , Finsbury

Arising out of the remarks of the hon. and gallant Member who began this Debate, I am trying to decide as to how it was that the shares of the company referred to went up after it was discovered that an additional 6d. in Duty was to be imposed on the industry. Does it mean that those in the industry were expecting a much heavier increase of Duty and were relieved to find that the increase was as small as 6d. a gallon? We have heard this afternoon that other industries have been consulted regarding taxation which is to he imposed on them. Was this British wine industry consulted, and did those who are concerned expect a much heavier increase of Duty, and were consequently relieved when they found that the increase was so small?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

The quantity of wine produced was roughly as follows: In 1924, 1,500,000 gallons; in 1925, 1,750,000 gallons; in 1926, 1,800,000 gallons; and in 1927, 2,500,000 gallons. I cannot say anything about the rise in share values, because I do not know anything about it. I have not heard the price of the shares of the company to which he refers. The duty put on last year was a duty of 1s., but the ingredients used in the making of this wine also bear a duty which is calculated to amount to 6d., and which brings the total duty up to 1s. 6d. per gallon. The question was asked why the duty was not made higher. It has been urged that the duty on British wines should be the same as the duty on Empire wines, but very little British wine is made above 27 degrees, and if any higher duty were imposed than is proposed, it would be reduced in strength below that figure, and we should lose the extra duty. All that can be done, therefore, is to raise the duty in the mariner which we have proposed. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) asked me what "sweets" were. I think the hon. and gallant Member knows the custom of making elderberry wine, raspberry wine, rhubarb wine, mead and so forth. These wines are made in the homes of the people of sugar and fruit, and they are wines technically known as "sweets."

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

What are the products made from which do not come under that definition? What are these British wines made from?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I think that was explained by another hon. Member opposite who spoke and who referred to the fact that these wines were made from imported fruits. They are fermented here and sold as British wines in various shapes.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

What about these liqueurs made from apples?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I cannot say anything about them. I have never heard of them. I have here, however, a definition of this expression "sweets" which appeared in the Finance Act of 1909–1910. The expression 'sweets' means any liquor which is made from fruit and sugar, or from fruit or sugar mixed with any other material, and which has undergone a process of fermentation in the manufacture thereof, and includes British wines, made wines, mead, and metheglin; The hon. and gallant Gentleman asked about apples. Of course an apple is a fruit, but if it has not undergone a process of fermentation it would not come under the Act.

Question, "That this House cloth agree with the Committee in the saw Resolution," put, and agreed to.

Seventh Resolution read a Second time.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

With regard to the Amendments on the Paper in connection with this Resolution, the first one, which is in the name of the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Crawfurd), in line 4, to leave out the words "(other than a flint)," seems to involve an additional charge which cannot be done on the Report stage. With regard to the other Amendments on the Paper, I should like to suit the convenience of the House, and my suggestion is that the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Mr. Harris), in line 4, to leave out the word "six-pence" and insert the words "one penny," should now be taken as the basis of a general discussion on the whole proposal, and that we might then take the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander), in line 7, at the end, to add the words, "but shall not include a mechanical lighter attached to a miner's safety-lamp."

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

I submitted these Amendments for the specific purpose of excluding from the operations of the duty a particular type of lighter. All the other Amendments m my name are consequential upon that one proposal, and I ask if it would not be possible to have a discussion on that specific point.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. Member will see my difficulty. He proposes by his first Amendment to leave out the words "other than a flint." Would not that bring another class of lighters into taxation?

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

With all respect, Mr. Speaker, I do not think so. I think this does not refer to a flint lighter, but to a flint, which may be a component part of a lighter. If I may submit it to you, however, the effective Amendment of this series is the one which proposes in line 6, to leave out the word "or" and insert the word "and." The other Amendments are consequential upon that.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Yes, but taking the first Amendment by itself, does it not clearly bring in flint lighters?

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

No, Sir, not flint lighters. The words of the Resolution are: any mechanical lighter or of any component part of any such lighter (other than a flint).

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Surely the Resolution carried in the Committee proposed a tax on any component part of any such lighter other than a flint, and if we strike out the words "ether than a flint" we bring in flints, which cannot be done on the Report stage.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

I respectfully submit that I might allowed to move the Amendment which proposes, in line 6, to leave out the word "or" and to insert instead thereof the word "and."

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Will not that also have the effect of increasing taxation?

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

No, Sir. I submit that if the word "and" be inserted instead of the word "or," it will have the effect of decreasing the number affected.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

I beg to move, in line 6, to leave out the word "or," and to insert instead thereof the word "and."

I must apologise if the Amendments which I have put down have caused some confusion. I would be very glad if the Financial Secretary could early his mind back to the Debate on sugar and the defence which he made of the proposals of the Government with regard to refining sugar. If he does so, I think it will be very difficult indeed for him to resist the proposal. This is an entirely new duty of 6d. on mechanical lighters. Personally, I am opposed to the whole duty. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said the proposal was going to be worth £40,000 to the Revenue, and he defended it on the ground that it would help another revenue-producing duty, namely, the duty on matches. In other words, by taxation you are going to attempt to reduce the importation of mechanical lighters in order that the people shall be compelled to use matches. I have two objections to that course. First, if you are going to tax mechanical lighters in order to make people use matches, why not put a prohibitive duty on matches, in order to make people go back to flint and steel? If people use mechanical lighters in preference to matches, it is obvious that the mechanical lighter is more convenient. I object altogether to this Government or any Government saying to the people of the country, "You shall use this, and you shall not use that form of illuminant."

If for the sake of argument, however, we admit the duty, there is a very strong case indeed for making an exception in the sense of the Amendment on the Paper. The petrol lighter has come into general use in the last few years, but there is another form of lighter. There is a lighter in which a flint is used, and which is used very largely by the poorer classes of people. I have one here, and it will he seen by hon. Members to be a very simple device which produces a spark for lighting a gas jet or a fire. It is not a lethal weapon so hon. Members need not be afraid. It is a great saving in poor households. It is not a new invention. The hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) has been referring to the days of the Saxons, and I think implements of this kind have been in use from very early times in this country. Since the introduction of matches, they have, as I say, been a means of saving in poorer households. We all know that little sympathy is to be expected from the Government in regard to those people who are evil enough to import into this country goods which the people of this country want to use. They can expect nothing from the Government. Their trade has been, to a large extent, destroyed by taxation. Therefore, I expect little sympathy if I quote a case which has been brought to my notice showing the effect of the proposed duty on importation of these articles. Here is a letter in regard to the import duty on these gas-lighters: At the moment of the Chancellor's announcement I had in transit the following quantities, which were partly hold to customers and partly intended for myself for stock, and which did not reach this country in time to enter duty free. He goes on to say that the greater part are to be sold to a particular business which retails articles at 6d. each, and that this particular firm refuses to pay the duty. The reason for their refusal is not far to seek. It is because they sell no article over 6d., and they would now ho called upon to pay that amount in duty alone. To enforce my rights with this firm would almost certainly mean the loss of their custom. In other words, this tax is going to destroy that man's trade entirely. My friends and I have said so often, in regard to these questions, that we cannot see anything wrong in importing articles that consumers in this country want to buy. We believe that it benefits the trade of this country.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

It would be better if these things were made in this country.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

We have tried so hard and so often to put the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon) right, that I despair of ever getting him to see the truth in these matters. In this particular letter the writer points out another great hardship, for he says: You are no doubt aware that the duty was to come into operation on the 28th instant. The Budget speech was made on the 24th April, and this large quantity of these articles was actually in transit when the Budget speech was made—they had been paid for—and when there was no possibility of sending them back, so that the duty had to be paid. Surely, even if the duty is maintained, the importer has a right to be refunded for the duty which he has to pay on those articles which were in transit at the time. But suppose for a moment that we, on this side, were persuaded by the hon. Member for Moseley and believed what he believes with regard to these fiscal matters. He has just said that it would be better if these things were made in this country, and, therefore, I suppose we should have his support if we objected to a proposal that destroyed British trade.

I have here another letter from a firm in London who have produced a gas lighter, which they say definitely they set out to produce to compete with the foreign imported article. The type of lighter which I have just shown to the House is to a large extent imported cheaply, but this British firm, which is so much British that the word "British" is included in the name of the company, has set out to produce an article which competes with the foreign article; and here it is. It is a perfectly simple article. By pressing a button, you make a little glow, and so you can light your gas. May I just read what this company says? The letter states: With a view to fostering home industry, in which British labour is solely employed, many months' experimental work has been spent and eventually an electric gas lighter evolved and patented to compete with the foreign imported flint lighter"— What more could the hon. Member for Moseley want? They are people after his own heart, people he is anxious to help in every way— which has been imported into this country for ninny years free of taxation. This lighter is offered to the public at 9d. each. The first contract was entered into on the 23rd April, 1928, for 100,000 lighters. And then the sale price is given, which it would not be quite fair for me to quote. The letter continues: The proposed tax on this order would amount to £2,500, and the loss, including material, wages, &c., would he approximately "— and then there is a sum of money quoted, which runs into thousands. It goes on: The manufacturing company consists of three partners, whose sole savings, apart from many months' work, have been sunk in the business. If the proposed Excise Duty applies to this electric gas lighter, it will he readily seen that a tax of 6d. on a 9d. selling article must completely close down this new British industry. The hon. Member for Moseley will surely join with me in appealing to the Financial Secretary to remit this quite stupid and silly little tax.

A few minutes ago the Financial Secretary, in the heroic defence which he made against the onslaught of the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden), said two things which we, on this side, welcomed and were delighted to hear. The first was this, that it was the business of any Government to keep the price of commodities as low as possible.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

The food of the people.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

The hon. Member now says the food of the people, but if it is important to keep the food of the people at a low price, surely it is important also to keep at a low price the article which lights the fire which cooks the food of the people. The principle is the same. That was the first thing that the hon. Member said which we welcomed, and the second was an even more remarkable statement. With reference to the proposals in regard to sugar, he gave us a long list of people who were going to benefit and he put into employment. They included transport people, engineers, people engaged in the refining works, colliers, and a variety of other people. If it is desirable to arrange your taxation so as to put certain classes of people into work, surely the corollary is true, that it is undesirable so to arrange your taxation as to put people out of work: and if this proposal goes through, copper workers, tin workers, fine-wire drawers, filament makers, rubber manufacturers, battery manufacturers, cellulose manufacturers, clerical and transport workers, and others will all be put out of work.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

I do not say in large numbers, but the hon. Member for Moseley knows, from the experience of his own city, that a great deal of the industry of this country is made up of small firms and small trades, and the fact that a trade is only a small one is no excuse for treating it badly. It seems to me that from any point of view, either from the point of view of the advantages proposed to he derived from this tax or from that of the disadvantages which I have tried to outline, there is no possible excuse for imposing it. Remembering what the hon. Member said a few minutes ago, and knowing that then he was not sneering but speaking sincerely in his desire to keep things cheap and to keep in employment British workpeople, I have every confidence in moving the Amendment.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

I beg to second the Amendment.

There is always a, danger in starting new taxes. The inevitable result of increasing the Match Duty was to encourage the use of substitutes, and when substitutes come along, then the Chancellor, once started on the slippery slope, starts bringing in a great number of additional articles. It was Glad-stone's boast that he simplified our finances by removing from the purview of the Finance Bill a large number of articles. During the last three years the Government have constantly been adding new articles to the list of things to be taxed, and here we have another example. This is, of course, a form of Protection. It is an attempt to protect the match industry. The match industry is very nearly a monopoly. I believe there is a slight competition, but what with the arrangement with the Swedish match combine, we now have something like a monopoly in the manufacture of matches. Anyone who can still afford to use matches knows the deterioration in quality that has taken place in them, and that is one of the reasons why people are using mechanical lighters. Out in the open air it is very difficult to light your pipe, because the quality of the matches has gone down, and the number of matches in a box is very small, so that people have been encouraged to use mechanical contrivances.

So it is with the frugal housewife. The English workingman's wife is an artist in making two ends meet. She has found in her weekly budget in these hard times that the cost of matches has become a considerable item, and with her usual ingenuity she has taken advantage of this new or rather old-fashioned method of the flint lighter. I think the Government would be well advised to drop this duty. It is a childish, silly, foolish tax, like so many of the ingenious ideas of this Government. I would like to point out that it would be very difficult to trace all the mechanical devices that the inventor will bring on the market in order to produce some form of lighter. You are bound, if you insist on putting on these new imposts to encourage evasion, and as far as I can see this will be a very difficult tax to collect. When does an article come within the definition of this particular Resolution? I should like to know if an electrical contrivance is really within the definition. This is one of the taxes that cause irritation and encourage evasion, and it is just the kind of tax that the Government could very well drop. After all, it is not a revenue duty. It is only to bring in about £40,000, I believe, and that amount is trivial. The only justification for it is that it will strengthen the position of the match combine, and, therefore, I would beg the Minister, in order to get on with the practical work of the Budget, which is to raise revenue, to drop this very foolish tax

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

The definition of the term "mechanical lighter" is: Any mechanical or chemical contrivance which is portable and intended to produce a spark or flame whether by itself or in contact with gas.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

Is it a mechanical lighter if it is attached to a wall, such as an electrical contrivance like that to be found in the Lobby of this House? Would that be liable to taxation?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

You cannot carry that about. What are the facts? In 1924, of the imports of these lighters, we retained 1,750,000 of them, valued at, £16,000. That volume of imports has grown to nearly 4,000,000 in 1927. I have made a calculation, and I find that 900 matches bring in a duty of about 8d. Assume that you get 15 sparks from one of these lighters per day; you are then depriving the Revenue in one year of 3s. The life of a lighter is probably several years, and it thus deprives the Match Revenue of something like from 30s. to £2. For that reason, we cannot allow a breaking through of a tax by this means.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

Why is the tax limited to portable lighters? Why does the hon. Gentleman eliminate the lighters attached to the wall, which equally rob the Revenue?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

We found that it is better to put a tax on the portable lighters because matches are portable. The hon. Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Crawfurd) has put down an Amendment in which he would substitute "mechanical and chemical contrivance" for "mechanical or chemical contrivance," so that he would have only lighters that are both mechanical and chemical; that is to say, he would drop out those which are one or the other. This would defeat the whole object of the tax upon mechanical lighters. Therefore, I must resist the Amendment.

Mr. RUNCIMAN:

This is as bad an example as we could have of a perfectly trivial expedient adopted to defend another duty. The hon. Gentleman has given no information to justify putting a tax on this contrivance in order to protect his revenue, and he does it on the doctrine that, somehow or other, it is the duty of a Minister to, what he calls, defend the revenue, as though the subject was not entitled to buy whatever contrivance he liked. Four million of these lighters were imported during last year, and have been retained here. That means that 4,000,000 people have had this contrivance, which is a rather clever way of carrying about matches in a mechanical form, entirely for their own convenience, and the hon. Gentleman wants to deprive them of that. He does it on the ground that he wants to defend the match revenue. According to that scheme, you might as well try to prevent people drinking substitutes for alcoholic liquor in order to defend the revenue from alcoholic liquor. You might go through the whole list of indirect taxes, and try to force people to consume the taxable articles. I do not know what his chief thought of when he invented this means, but if matches are not to be popular in this country, let us have something that the people do want. There is no reason why we should use matches if something better arises.

There is something else about which we are entitled to some information. On what ground has this new duty been imposed? Has it been done at the request of the match manufacturers? We know that there has been a good deal of conferring in connection with the present Budget with other interests, for it is impossible for the Chancellor to come to the House and recommend duties unless he has had some technical information upon which to go. He has to get it from people to some extent inside the industry. Have the people in the match industry been able to influence the minds of the hon. Gentleman and his chief? If so, let us know. The making and selling of matches in this country now pass through a very few hands. Those who make the matches are under the control of one very large financial group. They operate, not only in this country, but abroad. I am not quite sure that they are even British at one time they certainly were not. What the hon. Gentleman is doing by this arrangement is to add another couple of groups of items to his tariffs in order as he says, to defend the revenue, but he has not given any information to the House as to what revenue has been lost because of the mechanical lighter. I hope the House will devote itself to dealing with the larger sources of revenue, and not bother with these irritating little schemes, which are clever, but unproductive.

Photo of Mr John Hills Mr John Hills , Ripon

The speech of the right hon. Gentleman would have been very reasonable and appropriate if it were not the case that we tax matches. He knows very well that there is a heavy tax on matches, which conforms with all the doctrines of Free Trade. The tax is imposed on British matches and foreign matches alike. Since there is the tax on matches. and since £4,000,000 is derived from it, ought we not to tax substitutes for matches? At present, the Match Tax is 6s. on 10,000 matches. It is 6s. 2d. on imported Twitches, and Cs. on the home-made matches, the twopence extra being a small concession that was given by Mr. Bonar Law when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, to pay for the process which the match makers had to adopt when they had to convert their factories for the making of an exciseable article; because when you have to prevent a taxed article getting into consumption, you have to take certain precautions in your factory. The twopence, therefore, is not a protective increase, and the two duties are therefore the same. So each 10,000 matches that come into the country yield to the Exchequer, by true Free Trade principles, a sum of 6s. Last year 4,000,000 lighters came in. Some of these lighters are claimed to have 100,000 lights. I do not believe 100,000 is possible, but let us divide it by ten; a great many of them claim to have 10,000 lights or more. For each of these lighters that come in therefore, the revenue will lose 6s.

I assure the right hon. Gentleman that there is no sort of Protection in this. It is simply a case that you have a great British industry, that employs very many people, and here you have a heavy tax put on matches and the competitor of matches is not taxed. That is not good for the Revenue or for British trade. The immense majority of these lighters come from foreign countries, and nearly all from one country. Even with the tax of 6d. a lighter, the manufacturer and importer of lighters has an immense protection against matches. If they have anything approaching 10,000 lights each, it is clear that, even with a duty of 6d., they have a tremendous advantage over the matchmaker. This is a small British trade. I want to do no harm to arty British trade, but even with this Duty they will have such a tremendous advantage over the match maker, that I cannot conceive that they will not continue to sell their lighters. After all, the match trade is a very big trade, and a very important trade in this country. It is one which employs many thousands of people, and brings in a large revenue to the Exchequer, and it is only fair in the interests of taxation and of British workers, that this Duty should be imposed. If the amount of Duty were imposed to correspond to the lighting value of these lighters, this 6d. would be multiplied many times over.

Photo of Sir Clement Kinloch-Cooke Sir Clement Kinloch-Cooke , Cardiff East

May I ask the Financial Secretary if the Resolution applies to electrical lighters?

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

The House has listened with great interest to the last speech, because I suppose that the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) must speak with more authority on the match industry than any other Member. In these circumstances, it really would have been very interesting if the hon. and gallant Member, from his inside knowledge, had gone a little further, and replied to questions which were put from below the Gangway, as to whether the industry, in which he is so well versed, has, in fact, approached the Treasury for a protective tax.

Photo of Mr John Hills Mr John Hills , Ripon

Not the industry, but I think the Joint Industrial Council did approach the Chancellor of the Exchequer. That body, as the hon. Gentleman knows, comprises both employers and workers. I think they approached the Chancellor, or probably the chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue, last year.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

Now we have the whole story. This is really a case, not of fortifying the Revenue, as was put by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but of indirect Protection to an industry which, although it is not highly protected, at least has a measure of Protection in the existing taxation. It is easy for the hon. and gallant Member to make light of the protective turn which is given in the present rate of duty. We discussed that matter on the Finance Bill last year, and he was so very anxious to retain the protective turn in the duty that he and I had a debate as to the various conditions of the workers engaged in the match industry in this country and in foreign countries. It is plain, therefore, that he feels there is a protective value in this duty.

Photo of Mr John Hills Mr John Hills , Ripon

I think, generally, that hon. Members opposite—I know, at any rate, that the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) quite frankly admitted that there was no tinge of protective value in this duty at all.

7.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

Surely there is a protective value in the extra 2d. above the 6s. per ten thousand matches tax which was imposed many years ago by Mr. Bonar Law in order to compensate for the expense of setting up the machinery for the bonded warehouses and the like. That extra 2d. has been going on all these years.

Photo of Mr John Hills Mr John Hills , Ripon

It was interest on the capital.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

It will go on as long as the industry is in being. I should say from the figures of production and distribution that it is a very substantial advantage indeed. [HON. MEMBERS: "Do you object to it?"] I object to anything which is of the nature of a tax taken out of the pocket of the taxpayer which, really, does not reach the Treasury. When you have this discriminating duty between the home and the foreign product, then I am persuaded that even with the slight turn given the difference in the discriminating price does not reach the Treasury. It has always been a sound principle of national finance that it is not right to tax a subject in a way in which the yield of the tax does not reach the Treasury for Treasury purposes. The speech of the hon. Member has confirmed me in my intention to support the Amendment. If we were discussing the Match Duty, I should oppose the Match Duty. It is an imposition to tax consumers on so essential a commodity. I opposed it last year and, in the circumstances of taxation of that kind, I think the citizens are entitled to make any alternative arrangements that can reasonably he made in order to escape the burden or to reduce it to a reasonable minimum. But then the Government come along and say, "That is not a reasonable position. If we cannot get you this way, we will get you that way—any way as long as we do not raise the revenue by taxing those who are well able to pay." As long as that is the attitude of the Government, I shall oppose it.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

There are two questions I wish to ask, one of the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) and the other of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. I would ask the former whether, in fact, since the increase from 1,000,000 lighters per year to 4,000,000 lighters per year, employment has gone down in the match trade?

Photo of Mr John Hills Mr John Hills , Ripon

I never like to answer such a question off-hand, but the London factory with which I am concerned is nom only working four days a week. I am not sure what it was working in 1924. I think it was longer, but I would not like to answer off-hand.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I thank the hon. and gallant Member. Perhaps we may be able to continue the discussion on the Finance Bill. I would now ask the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, who talks about defending the Revenue, whether the Revenue from the Match Duty has, in fact, gone down since the increase in lighters or not?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I can remember the figures fairly accurately. In 1926, the revenue was roughly £3,600,000, while the revenue last year was £3,900,000. As we had increased the duty by 20 per cent. we anticipated a revenue of £4,150,000, instead of which we got £3,900,000. Having found that the estimate fell short, we looked round to find what was the cause and found it was the mechanical lighters. The result is the duty which we are now discussing. There has been an enormous increase in the number of lighters imported. They were no fewer than approximately 4,000,000 in 1927. We did not realise the amount we expected to obtain owing to this increase taking place. I have now the exact figures. The revenue from matches in 1926– was, £3,379,000. We added 20 per cent. to the tax, and estimated we ought to have got £4,150,000, instead of which we received £3,954,000.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

It is clear from the figures that the revenue has not gone down, but has gone up. We have had some considerable controversy about this matter. This Match Duty was imposed as a War-time tax, and until last year had never been discussed in detail or at length in the House. The Government had got, out of it over £30,000,000 without 10 minutes' discussion in the House. It was not merely an increase of duty last year, but a rearrangement. The House will remember that it was a rearrangement of the number of matches per box. That rearrangement, though not protective from the point of view of revenue, was protective from the point of view of competition with Sweden. The House knows that, immediately we passed that duty, which the Financial Secretary has attempted to defend, there was an agreement between the Swedish match combine and the British combine, so that the whole of the arguments on which the House passed the Match Duty last year fell to the ground. We can pursue that later by a new Clause on the Finance Bill, and I shall put it down.

The logic of this duty is this: If in a year or two this Government, with their protectionist tendencies, are still in power, we shall have the Financial Secretary to the Treasury coming down to say that the Match Duty is being undermined, that they are getting more revenue but not as much as it ought to be, and that they have been making investigations and have found that it is due to the use of paper spills and, a fresh tax must therefore be put on paper spills. Abstruse calculations will follow about how many paper spills a day are used, and wives will all be inquiring of their husbands, when they light the pipe of peace at home, how many spills they have taken from the mantelpiece and used as they sat comfortably in their chair. It shows how foolish is this sort of indirect taxation on the essentials of the people. It eats away the buying power of the housewife. When a mechanical lighter sold at 3d. is to be taxed 6d., it is imposing a prohibitive tax. This is a bad tax, a futile tax, and the Government have not made out any case for it. The hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) is so hazy as to the effect of the increase of lighters on employment in the industry that the House will agree with the Amendment on the Order Paper, and wipe this duty out of these Budget Resolutions.

Photo of Sir Clement Kinloch-Cooke Sir Clement Kinloch-Cooke , Cardiff East

May I have an answer to my question?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

The hon. Member asked me what is meant by a mechanical lighter. If the means are mechanical and the motive power is electrical, it is taxed.

Photo of Sir George Gillett Sir George Gillett , Finsbury

I want to bring before the House the danger involved in a proposal of this kind, because it has been stated—and there is no dispute—that the match trade is more dominated by a great combine than almost any other trade in the country.

Photo of Mr John Hills Mr John Hills , Ripon

Last year there was formed a British company, the British Match Corporation, and the effect was that the British interests were very largely extended and a British factory that formerly belonged to the Swedish Match Company has its shares now held by the British Match Corporation; the British Match Corporation are British people, so that the effect is exactly the opposite.

Photo of Sir George Gillett Sir George Gillett , Finsbury

The hon. and gallant Member has not answered the question. He does not mean that the British investor is entirely divorced from the Swedish investor. I saw in one of the papers the other day a large account, occupying a good deal of space, of the various interests in the match industry and how they were allied. This industry is a tremendous combine with, at any rate, a working connection between the industry in this country and that in other countries. I want to point out the danger of the Government supporting what is virtually a vast monopoly that has a control of a special industry, because the Government have put a tax on the goods that that industry produces. Why is it that people are buying such large numbers of these goods? Obviously, because they think they can get something cheaper than the matches that are being supplied. Supposing the match industry was left to compete with these lighters, what would happen The match industry would either show it could not compete, which would be nonsense, or on the other hand it would reduce the prices of its matches. I do not know that this has been done. The result may be that the present action of the Chancellor is simply supporting the price of matches. We know very well how much the profits of this great combine are, or rather we know the published profits, though we never know what the real profits of a combine are. All we know is that the result of this imposition is simply to support the large profits that may be made by the match combine in this country.

Hon. Members opposite who believe in competition are simply preventing the ordinary competition which would have brought the price of matches down to the level at which it ought to be. I am the inure surprised that hon. Members opposite are going to support the next recommendation, because obviously, they will be going against the principle which they are always advocating of giving British trade its chance against foreign competition. It seems to me the Minister is making an extraordinarily revolutionary proposal, and that we cannot see where this departure is going to lead us. If the Government are to bolster up an industry whose products have a duty upon them simply because of their interest in that taxation, they are em- barking on a policy of which we cannot see the end. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has introduced many strange financial expedients, but I think this is one of the most extraordinary. Small as is the amount involved in this case, the principle is the most important which has been put forward in this Budget.

Photo of Mr William Kelly Mr William Kelly , Rochdale

I have only one point to raise. It is in reference to a statement made by the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills); the same statement was made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer last year. The statement to which I refer was that the Joint Industrial Council in this industry had approached the Exchequer to ask that such a duty might be imposed. When the statement was made last year I did not have an opportunity of referring to the records of that body until after the Debate, but on looking into the question I found that the statements made during the Debate were not correct. The Joint Industrial Council had a report presented to it by someone well known to the hon. and gallant Member, and when that report was presented suggesting that there should be some taxation the Council approved of it, without too much knowledge, I am afraid, of what had taken place. We are told to-day that the Joint Industrial Council, representative of the employers and the employed, has asked for the imposition of this miserable little duty upon lighters. I cannot believe that even if the employers have been so foolish as to demand this duty, that the workpeople themselves, through their representatives on the Industrial Council, have made such an application. The hon. and gallant. Member said he wished to encourage the match industry, so that employment could be found, but went on to say that despite this duty of 6d. lighters would still be used by the people. If lighters are still used to the extent which he predicts they will be, how is that going to find extra work for the match factories?

I quite expected this duty to come along, because I have heard those in charge of the big match combines complain of the use of these lighters. I had a complaint raised against myself for using one of them by a dear friend of the hon. and gallant Member. Now, because there is a fear that people may not use 900 matches, according to the Financial Secretary, this duty is not only to be imposed upon the lighter, but there is to be a duty upon any component part; that is, any little portion of one of these lighters is to have a tax of 6d. imposed upon it. I did not expect that even this Government would descend to that level, and whilst there is little hope that the Government will alter this duty I must say that I feel sure that the people with whom I am concerned in the match industry had never once suggested that they are in favour of the proposal. I support the Amendment.

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Huddersfield

I am glad to have heard the explanations which have been made by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly), because even without the knowledge which he has of the workers in the match industry I had my doubts, if I may say so with respect—and I always listen with respect and esteem to the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) —

Photo of Mr John Hills Mr John Hills , Ripon

A statement which I reciprocate.

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Huddersfield

I desire to be entirely respectful. I had my doubts about the claim that there had been some sort of demand for this particular duty from the workers' representatives on the Joint Industrial Council. My experience in other industries where a Joint Industrial Council is brought into a, discussion is that in every case where the council has been persuaded to give evidence in support of the imposition of taxation which might in the long run be of advantage to that industry, the suggestion has always come in the first case from the employers, or the friends of the employers. Not only is it merely a question of a suggestion from the employers, but there are cases—I cannot say it is so in this particular instance, because I do not know—where employers by extraneous means, by threats regarding wages, and so on, obtain from the workers an agreement to stand in with the Industrial Council in putting forward the sort of suggestion which the hon. and gallant Member tells us was put forward on this occasion. I pass from that, however, to the general question which the Financial Secretary has raised by his defence of this duty. I am inclined to think that if the Chancellor had been present during this dis- cussion we might, though this may be regarded as a very optimistic view, have been more successful than we have been with the Financial Secretary, because I would recall that yesterday we were discussing this very question of defending the revenue on the issue of the duty on kerosene. That duty was imposed because the Chancellor of the Exchequer found it to be necessary to take steps in order to defend the revenue obtained from the Petrol Duty, but the Chancellor discovered that he had not thought out in sufficient detail all the implications of the Kerosene Duty, and I suggest to the Financial Secretary that if more thought had been given to this duty on lighters there might have been a reconsideration of the proposal which is now before us.

I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer. when considering mechanical lighters, has probaly had in mind the sort of instrument which hon. Members carry about in their vest pockets to light their cigarettes. As a matter of fact, that is not the sort of instrument which will mostly be affected by this taxation, but the type of instrument of which a specimen was exhibited to us when this discussion started. In tens of thousands of homes you will find on the fender, or on the hob by the fireside, the kind of instrument which was shown to us, and was seen apparently for the first time by many hon. Members in this House. During the last few years working-class families have been adopting that instrument as a regular part of the household equipment, and there is just as much reason for keeping the duty off that type of weapon, if I may use the term, as there was for keeping the duty off the household stove which burns paraffin oil. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer could yield yesterday on account of the arguments which he expected were to be put forward against the duty on paraffin oil, I cannot see why he cannot yield in this case. But apparently the Financial Secretary cannot yield on his behalf.

All that was said in the earlier part of the discussion about placing a duty on these instruments because they are imported from America or elsewhere has no substance, because it has been admitted by the Financial Secretary, and the admission has been reinforced by the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon, that this particular type of duty, whether upon matches or upon mechanical lighters, is not for the purpose of protection. It does not matter whether the article comes from America or from Germany or is produced here—that is not the subject which is being discussed. All that we ought to have in mind is that the public are finding out by experience that it is to their advantage to have a mechanical lighter in the home, and, unless much better arguments are advanced, we have no right to try to drive people back to the use of matches in order that the workers in match factories may have employment found for them. If the people of this country desire to have lighters of this type they ought to have the right to use them without taxation of this kind, and I still feel that the Financial Secretary ought to give greater heed to our arguments and withdraw the Resolution which is now before the House.

Photo of Mr Charles Duncan Mr Charles Duncan , Clay Cross

It is suggested that the duty upon mechanical lighters will bring in about £40,000 a year, and the duty upon matches will bring in, so we are informed, some £3,900,000. I think the duty on mechanical lighters is not a tax at all. It is a fine imposed upon people who have the audacity to disagree with the present Government and prefer a mechanical lighter to a box of matches. The tax is not put on for revenue at all. It is a novel kind of tax; it is a tax to defend another tax or to defend revenue, and from my point of view it is a thoroughly wrong tax. A duty of this kind could only be defended honestly if the manufacture of matches were a Government monopoly, whereas the effect of this duty is that we are giving private firms or combines, not combines only of manufacturers in this country, but of manufacturers in other countries who are associated with manufacturers in this country, all the power which a Government could exercise if they turned the manufacture of matches into a Government monopoly. That is an arrangement which ought never to be entered into by any Government, and therefore I shall vote against this duty.

Question put, "That the word 'or' stand part of the Resolution,"

The House divided: Ayes, 238; Noes, 133.

Division No. 102.]AYES.[7.31 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelGilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnNail, Colonel Sir Joseph
Albery, Irving JamesGoff, Sir ParkNewton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)Grace, JohnNield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert
Allen, Lieut. Col. Sir William JamesGreaves-Lord, Sir WalterNuttall, Ellis
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Greene, W. P. CrawfordOakley, T.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. JohnO'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Atholl, Duchess ofGrotrian, H. BrentPerkins, Colonel E. K.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Barnett, Major Sir RichardGuinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Gunston, Captain D. W.Philipson, Mabel
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Pilcher, G.
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonHall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)Pilditch, Sir Philip
Bennett, A. J.Hamilton, Sir GeorgePreston, William
Betterton, Henry B.Hammersley, S. S.Price, Major C. W. M.
Birchall, Major J. DearmanHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryRamsden, E.
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)Harland, A.Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)Remnant, Sir James
Blades, Sir George RowlandHaslam, Henry C.Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Blundell, F. N.Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C M.Rice. Sir Frederick
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftHenderson, Capt. R.R. (Oxf'd, Henley)Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartHenderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir VivianRoberts, E. H. G. (Flint)
Brass, Captain W.Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveHenn, Sir Sydney H.Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Briggs, J. HaroldHennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Brittain, Sir HarryHerbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)Rye, F. G.
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Hills, Major John WallerSalmon, Major I.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Samuel, A. M. (Surrey. Farnham)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H.Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Brown. Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)Hope, sir Harry (Forfar)Sandeman, N. Stewart
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)Hopkins, J. W. W.Sanderson, Sir Frank
Buckingham, Sir H.Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Sandon, Lord
Burman, J. B.Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.Savery, S. S.
Burton, Colonel H. W.Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl.(Renfrew, W.)
Butler, Sir GeoffreyHudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)Shepperson, E. W.
Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardHume, Sir G. H.Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Caine, Gordon HallHurst, Gerald B.Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst)
Campbell, E. T.Iliffe, Sir Edward M.Skelton. A. N.
Cassels, J. D.Inskip. Sir Thomas Walker H.Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Iveagh, Countess ofSmith, R. W. (Abcrd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Jephcott. A. R.Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm., W.)Jones, Sir G.W.H. (Stoke New'gton)Sprot, Sir Alexander
Chapman, Sir S.Kindersley, Major Guy M.Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. Westm'eland)
Christie, J. A.King, Commodore Henry DouglasStorry-Deans, R.
Clayton, G. C.Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementStuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Cobb, Sir CyrilLamb, J. O.Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.styles, Captain H. Walter
Cohen. Major J. BrunelLister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipSueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsLittle. Dr. E. GrahamSugden, Sir Wilfrid
Cooper, A. DuffLloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)Tasker, R. Inigo
Cope, Major WilliamLoder, J. de v.Templeton, W. P.
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Long, Major EricThom. Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)Lougher, LewisThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Crookshank. Col. C. de W. (Berwick)Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh VereTinne. J. A.
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard HarmanTitchfield, Major the Marquess of
Culverwell. C. T. (Bristol, West)Lumley, L. R.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Cunliffe, Sir HerbertMacAndrew, Major Charles GlenTurton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Curzon, Captain ViscountMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. p.
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.MacIntyre, IanWaddington, R.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)McLean, Major A.Wallace, Captain D. E.
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)Macmillan, Captain H.Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Davies, Dr. VernonMacnaghten, Hon. Sir MalcolmWarner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Dawson, Sir PhilipMaitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)Warrender, Sir Victor
Drewe, C.Makins, Brigadier-General E.Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Eden, Captain AnthonyMalone, Major P. B.Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Edmondson, Major A. J.Manningham-Buller, Sir MervynWatson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Elliot, Major Walter E.Margesson, Captain D.Watts, Dr. T.
Ellis, R. G.Marriott, Sir J. A. R.Wayland, Sir William A.
Everard, W. LindsayMason, Colonel Glyn K.Wells. S. R.
Fanshawe, Captain G. D.Meller, R. J.Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Fielder. E. B.Meyer, Sir FrankWilliams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Finburgh, S.Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Foster, Sir Harry S.Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Fraser, Captain IanMitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)Withers, John James
Frece, Sir Walter deMitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Wolmer, Viscount
Gadie, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyMonsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.Womersley, W. J.
Galbraith, J. F. W.Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Ganzoni, Sir JohnMorrison, H. (Wilts. Salisbury)Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Gates, Percy.Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive
Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew HamiltonMurchison, Sir KennethTELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Captain Bowyer and Mr. Penny.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Groves, T.Sexton, James
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Ammon, Charles GeorgeHamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Attlee, Clement RichardHurdie, George D.Shinwell, E.
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Harris, Percy A.Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Baker, WalterHartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonSimon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Mayday, ArthurSinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Barnes, A.Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Barr, J.Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Smillie, Robert
Beckett, John (Gateshead)Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Smith, H. B. Lees-(Keighley)
Briant, FrankJohn, William (Rhondda, West)Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Brown, Ernest (Leith)Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Snail, Harry
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Buchanan. G.Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Cape, ThomasKelly, W. T.Stamford, T. W.
Charleton, H. C.Kirkwood, DStephen, Campbell
Cluse, W. S.Lawrence, SusanStewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Compton, JosephLee, F.Strauss, E. A.
Connolly, M.Lindley, F. W.Sutton, J. E.
Cove, W. G.Livingstone, A. M.Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Lowth, T.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Crawfurd, H. E.MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)Thurtle, Ernest
Dalton, HughMackinder, W.Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Tomlinson, R. P.
Day, HarryMarch, S.Townend, A. E.
Dennison, R.Maxton, JamesViant, S. P.
Duckworth. JohnMitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)Wallhead, Richard C.
Duncan, C.Montague, FrederickWatson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Edge, Sir WilliamMorrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Sedwellty)Murnin, H.Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)Oliver, George HaroldWellock, Wilfred
England, Colonel A.Owen. Major G.Westwood, J.
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Forrest, W.Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Wiggins, William Martin
Gardner, J. P.Potts, John S.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.Rees, Sir BeddoeWilliams, T. (York, Don Valley)
George, Rt. Hon. David LloydRichardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Gillett, George M.Riley, BenWright, W.
Gosling, HarryRobinson, Sir T. (Lane, Stretford)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)
Greenall, T.Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Runciman, Rt. Hon. WalterSir Robert Hutchison and Mr.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Salter, Dr. AlfredFenby.
Griffith, F. KingsleyScrymgeour, E.

Motion made, send Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

We have not dealt with all the Customs Amendments.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The Amendment quoted, "That the word 'or' stand part of the Resolution," has been passed, and we now come to the Excise Resolution.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

We understood that the Government were going to accept an Amendment to this Resolution.

Photo of Mr John Potts Mr John Potts , Barnsley

I was also under that impression.

Question put, and agreed to.

Eighth Resolution read a Second time.

Photo of Mr Eugene Ramsden Mr Eugene Ramsden , Bradford North

I beg to move, in line 5, to leave out the word "sixpence" and to insert instead thereof the word "threepence."

It appears to me that we ought not to charge the same duty on goods made in this country as that which is imposed on foreign manufactured goods of this description. It is suggested in other Amendments that one penny should he charged as au Excise tax, but this I consider too low. I hope the Financial Secretary will accept this Amendment, which will encourage British manufacturers to produce more of these lighters, and will thus find more employment for those who work in these factories.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

I beg to second the Amendment.

I do so because I think there ought to be no obstacles placed in the way of making the lighters in this country if it is possible to do so. It seems to me that if a sixpenny tax is put upon these articles of British manufacture, we shall be creating a position of great difficulty for the British producer. I am one of those who believe that we should never use an Excise duty to the detriment of a home industry, and, therefore, I would ask my hon. Friend the Financial Secre- tary whether he cannot meet us in regard to., this suggestion. I think it should be our first economic policy to support the home producer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer the other day spoke with characteristic eloquence about supporting the producer in this country. Here is an opportunity, no doubt a very small one, for the Treasury at least to show sympathy with people who are prepared to supply this particular want. There is no doubt that it is a. public want, because we imported 4,000,000 of these lighters last year, and, if home manufacturers are prepared to supply them, I do not think that we ought to place this particular difficulty in the way of their doing so.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I am sorry to say that I am not in a position to accept this Amendment. In the first place, the production of British lighters can never be other than small, and it is only the more expensive ones that are made to any extent in this country. Therefore, I do not think that a duty of 6d. on British lighters will have any very large adverse influence. Moreover, although the amount involved would not be very large, it might interfere with some of our treaty arrangements. For these reasons I am not able to accept the Amendment.

Photo of Hon. Esmond Harmsworth Hon. Esmond Harmsworth , Isle of Thanet

I suggest that my hon. Friend might have given this Amendment a great deal more consideration. He has not treated it with that consideration which I should have thought he would have shown. It has been shown by my hon. Friends who have brought forward the Amendment that this industry, although very small, is a promising one, and the fact that we imported such a large number of lighters during the past year shows that there is room for great improvement in the home trade. I am very surprised that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury should treat this matter almost with contempt. In view of the very grave importance of the principle here involved, and of the fact that a large number of Members on this side feel very strongly on the matter, I would suggest to my hon. Friend that he might consult the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the question, and that, perhaps, when the matter again comes before the House, he might be prepared to give a more extended reply.

Mr. RUNCIMAN:

Owing to the unfortunate misunderstanding which occurred a few minutes ago, one important point in connection with this Resolution was not dealt with, and that is as to what decision the Government have arrived at in regard to miners' lamps.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I am proposing to call the Amendment. dealing with that matter on this Excise Resolution, as soon as the present Amendment is disposed of, and then there will be an opportunity of dealing with that, point.

Mr. RUNCIMAN:

I hope it will then be made clear by the Government that this duty is going to be imposed upon lighters which are made in this country, as well as upon these imported from abroad. The proposal that has been made by the two hon. Members opposite is plain, straightforward Protection. They are torn between two principles—the principle of defending the Revenue and the principle of giving Protection to a home industry; and, in those circumstances, the hon. Gentleman who is in charge of the Resolutions at this stage has decided to throw over his hon. Friends' principle of Protection, and at all costs to protect the Revenue. I only wish he would do that with regard to all the duties and taxes which he has to impose at one time and another. if he allowed that to be the predominant principle in his taxation system, he would have to abandon altogether Imperial Preference, which does not protect the Revenue, and a large number of Protective taxes which do not protect the Revenue. It is pleasant to find that the hon. Gentleman is now endeavouring to protect the Revenue against his Protectionist friends, and I wish him all strength to his elbow.

Photo of Sir Basil Peto Sir Basil Peto , Barnstaple

With regard to my hon. Friend's closing remark to the effect that some of our treaties would prohibit us from charging a Customs Duty at a higher rate than the Excise Duty, might I ask him if he would point out under what treaty obligation we are prevented from doing that?

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

As the amount is so small, I propose, if it will please my hon. Friends, to give way and accept the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

We are now in a rather peculiar position. In the first place, we have elicited, though only after some cross-examination, the fact that this tax upon mechanical lighters is really to be imposed at the special request of the match trade, as a measure of protection for the match industry. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his Budget speech, said that what was really needed was to fortify the Revenue in respect of matches, which had not reached his anticipated estimate; but now, on pressure from Members below the Gangway who are noted for their purely Protectionist tendencies, the Financial Secretary calmly gives way and permits a preference to the home industry amounting to one-half of the duty. What does that really mean? It means that., in respect of all kinds of mechanical lighters which come within the scope of the duty, a price will be charged to the home consumer which will include a charge which in fact will not reach the Treasury.

If I may use an example, although I hope it is going to be met presently by an exemption to which the Financial Secretary will agree, here is a miner's lamp burning acetylene, and, if this were not to be exempted from the tax, the miner would have to pay at least another 6d. more than he already pays for it. If this article were produced in this country, he would pay exactly the same in the long run as would be paid for the imported article, and, therefore, would be actually paying, on art article which is absolutely necessary for his daily occupation, a tax which in fact would not reach the Treasury. He would, therefore, not only be unfairly taxed, in relation to his capacity to pay, on an article which is really one of his raw materials, but he would also be taxed in such a way that the proceeds would go into the pocket of someone who is working the industry for profit instead of into the Treasury. That is really getting right behind the pledge of the Government which has been given again and again, that they would not introduce Protection by a back door.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his Budget speech, gave as the sole reason for a tax upon mechanical lighters his desire to fortify the revenue, which has been lost owing to the comparative failure of the Match Duty. Now the Financial Secretary calmly gives away what must be at least one-quarter of the estimated revenue from this tax, in the form of a direct subsidy to a British industry. I submit to the hon. Gentleman that that is really playing fast and loose with the House of Commons. The amount of money involved may be comparatively small, but it is not a question of the sum of money involved, but a question of the principle involved. [Interruption.] I can quite understand the views of the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), who for so many years was the shining light of the platform of the Tariff Reform League. [Interruption.] You can encourage British industry in far better ways than by unfairly taxing the consumer in this country. That is our whole case in this matter.

I should be much interested to hear the views of the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) on this matter. I have a very great respect for his views, and I imagine that he must now find himself in a somewhat. difficult position. He practically admits, in spite of his strong fiscal views, that the industry with which he has so much to do, and for which he speaks with so much authority, has pressed the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a Protective duty, not upon its own commodity, but upon a competing commodity of quite another character, and then he finds that his fiscal views are still further injured by a sudden concession by the Financial Secretary in regard to the tax which has been imposed at the behest of the match industry. I think that the concession which is now offered ought certainly not to have been given without the permission of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of his previous statement, and perhaps the Financial Secretary will tell us whether he has the authority of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make that concession. [Interruption.] I think it is usual for the House, when it is dealing with matters of taxation, to know whether the Treasury are really behind any concessions that may be made, and I think we are entitled to ask the hon. Gentleman that question. In any case, I submit that this matter ought to be debated, if hon. Members desire to do so, by moving an Amendment to the Finance Bill, so that it can be properly considered by the Executive and properly announced to the House by the responsible Minister in charge.

I do not wish to cast any reflection at all upon the Financial Secretary in regard to what he has said to-night. I quite understand that he is acting for the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the time being, but I do feel that, when we are dealing with questions of the imposition and remission of taxation, we ought to have an announcement from the Executive officer after full Debate by the House of Commons. I hope, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman will see that he has perhaps committed an error of procedure and that it would have been much wiser to have said to his hon. Friends, if he wanted to meet them, that he would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider the matter in further detail when the Finance Bill was before the House.

8.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Hills Mr John Hills , Ripon

I want to put a few considerations on this question before the House, and especially before my hon. Friend who has just granted this concession. The actual difficulties in regard to mechanical lighters are two. In the first place, the use of mechanical lighters causes a loss of revenue, which the State otherwise would get, and, secondly, it tends to cause unemployment, in the match trade. On the point of revenue I shall say nothing; that is not My concern; but I would respectfully point out to the Financial Secretary that, as far as loss of revenue is concerned, it does not matter whether the lighters are made here or in Germany. If the claim of the makers of lighters is correct, that one lighter is equal to 10,000 matches., that means that each lighter would take the place of one standard gross of matches, on which a duty of Os. is paid, so that the use of a million lighters, whether made here or in Germany, would mean a. loss of £300,000 to the Revenue. I am quite sure that my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury considered that question before he gave the concession, but I will remind him of it. I would suggest that we do not make new friends by throwing over old ones, and that we cannot have a large match industry if it is very heavily taxed. The home-made match maker has no sort of protection, and now you cut across this and give a preference to home-made lighters. That cuts a: Toss a trade where there is no preference at all. The duty on matches is a revenue tax. It is approved even by the hon. Member for Swansea West (Mr. Runciman). It has no sort of protective element in it. You set up against this industry a protected competing industry which, even if you put 6d. on every lighter, has an enormous preference, and now you are to double this preference. I shall not he in order in moving for the increase of this duty; no hon. Member can move that a tax be increased; but I shall raise the question again.

Photo of Mr Thomas Shaw Mr Thomas Shaw , Preston

I intend to go into the Lobby against this proposition. I have always felt that one of the great dangers of a policy of this kind is the danger of every interest seeking to line its own pocket at the expense of the people of the country. I can understand hon. Members who are interested in trade trying to find a way of getting protection, but I have to pay prices for my commodities owing to the policy of men who run protection for their own interests, apart from the interests and desires of the community at large. Once you start this business of protection, you have every interest pressing for protection, not because it needs it, but because it can get more money. It means very often the protection of incapacity against capacity.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

I an: not surprised that the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) has protested against this concession which has been agreed to by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. When this suggestion was first made, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury turned it down and he said it would be against the whole principle of the duty. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer is sleeping in bed in comfortable ignorance of the protectionist games that the Financial Secretary of the Treasury is up to. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a free trader. We know that the Prime Minister, although he is a protectionist, gave a pledge to the House of Commons and to the country that he would not introduce any protective taxation of any form or character apart from the machinery of the safeguarding inquiry. But certain very ingenious hon. Members opposite, finding the Financial Secretary to the Treasury under the influence of the Colonial Secretary and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer away, have evaded the pledge of the Prime Minister. The justification given for this duty was that it was imposed purely for revenue purposes, and to make things quite fair for the match trade, and I think it is not fair to the House of Commons to use what was originally a revenue proposal in order to put on a purely protective tax.

Sir WILLIAM LANE MITCHELL:

On a point of Order, may I call your attention to the fact that the hon. Member for Wandsworth (Mr. Samuel Samuel) has risen four times.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

I beg to move, "That the Debate be now adjourned."

When I look at the Treasury bench, I see a Scotsman in charge and another member of the same race beside him. I think now the hon. Gentleman who is in charge may regret that he did not give the Scotsman a chance to get in. It has been very strange to-day to see the hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury failing in almost every point when it conies to a personal decision. He seemed to be hurt at first and thought that people were sneering at him when they were only making interjections. That seems to have cut into his soul and robbed him of what we previously gave him credit for. In the first place, he took up an attitude and said, "This is to be the tax and no other thing." He was emulating the Chancellor of the Exchequer and he said, "No we cannot accept an amendment," but, when somebody who has power in the Press got up, then the hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary said, "Perhaps the Press may be givng me 'socks' to-morrow, and I will climb down." He has not given consideration to the finance of the nation but just to one interest controlling the Press and the power it can express. It has been held by same hon. Members that we have no right to ask whether what he is doing meets the wishes of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Is not the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer the "boss" of this business? I am sorry he is ill, because we would have a great time on this subject. I have been watching this business, and I think the inefficiency shown on the part of those in charge makes it imperative that we should now adjourn the Debate. I do not think it is fair, after the vacillation we have just seen, to go further and perhaps spoil every chance that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has of recovering from his illness. We want always to fight fair and we want to have the man here who is really responsible.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I do not think I can accept that Motion, and I must ask the supporters of the Government to resist it.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Camberwell Peckham

Would this not be a good moment to give us some information as to whether previous consideration took place in regard to this proposition which was first refused and then acceded to? We want to know whether the Government have any policy at all on these things.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

The Government have accepted the principle that when duties were imposed regard should be had to the principle of preference for Empire Countries. That principle was laid down in the time of the Coalition Ministry in 1917 when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) was Prime Minister. That is the principle that was laid down by them, and we have followed it.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Camberwell Peckham

Would the hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary tell us what he has in mind in regard to the treaties with foreign Powers? He told us when he resisted the Amendment that, he had to consider treaties with other Powers.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

It is a matter of a small amount, but rather than give other parties the opportunity of raising a grievance, it is better that we should have given the reduction that was asked for.

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

I do not wish to embarrass the hon. Gentleman unfairly, because one has recollections of the very great difficulty of dealing with a series of details in the course of the Budget Resolutions. I should like to be quite clear, if he will make it clear to me, what is the position he now takes up on behalf of the Government. This is the first time, so far as I remember, in the history of British finance in which the Resolutions of the Imperial Conference to which he refers have ever been used for the purpose of securing a lower rate of duty for an article that is made inside this island. I realise, of course, that it, was the Colonial Secretary, who was sitting next to him just now, and has rather unfairly left the House, who gave him this extremely bad point. I do not think hitherto the Resolutions of the Imperial Conference have ever been quoted in the House for the purpose of justifying a lower duty in respect of an article produced in these islands. I may be wrong, hut I do not know of any such instance. Certainly it is not the purpose for which they are usually employed. As the matter really stands, we are entitled to have the final view of the Treasury Bench. I am not in the least quarrelling with the hon. Gentleman because it is his private fiscal opinion, but a Budget is not conducted on the basis of the private fiscal opinions of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. It is conducted in accordance with the formal declarations of the head of the Government, and I think there can be no answer at all to this. Certainly if this suggested concession was given, it may he a very small matter in amount, but whether small or large, it is undoubtedly a clean piece of Protection. It is nothing else at all.

I do not know that it is necessary or probably in order to argue that large question now. It is certain that the Prime Minister has pledged himself in the very plainest, terms to the country that he will not authorise the smallest piece of Protection in our Budgets save within certain limits, which he chose to lay down. It cannot for a moment be suggested that this Amendment to reduce the Excise Duty on mechanical lighters is within the Prime Minister's exceptions. The lapse is quite pardonable, because the matter is trumpery, but the hon. Gentleman will see that it is in flagrant contradiction of the Prime Minister's own solemn assurance to the country. I always believe the Prime Minister meant to stand by his word. Once that is pointed out to the hon. Gentleman I should like to know how he now thinks, on reflection, the matter should be regarded. He indicated, treating the thing for the moment as unimportant., in order to save trouble, that he was prepared to make this concession, but there is rather more in it than that. I should like to know whether on reflection he does not think the right course really is to stand by the proposal that was made in the Budget speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Not the smallest attempt has been made to answer the argument. of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Major Hills), and it now appears that the result of this is going to be something I am sure the hon. Gentleman never intended. You cannot possibly justify a system by which the home trade in matches is to pay the full duty that is also paid on imported goods, and yet a rival of the match trade is to find it has an advantage which the match trade itself is not given. I am certain the hon. Gentleman, whose knowledge of these things we all respect, had not that in mind. I therefore invite him, not in the least with the desire to reproach him, but in order to clear the matter up, to say that upon reflection he proposes to stand by the duty as it was proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Photo of Mr William Kelly Mr William Kelly , Rochdale

Surely we are to have some statement, if not from the hon. Gentleman at least from the Secretary of State for the Dominions, who was sitting here most of the time and prompting the hon. Gentleman to stick to his guns. We have a right to know why the hon. Gentleman at one stage determinedly opposed this proposal, and gave no quarter to those who moved it., and a very few minutes afterwards, after he had been spoken to by one or two people, fell down to the suggestion that had been moved. If the Financial Secretary is not prepared to tell us why he did this, surely the one who is much more the arch conspirator, the Secretary for the Dominions—

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The only Question before the House is, "That the Debate be adjourned."

Photo of Mr William Kelly Mr William Kelly , Rochdale

If the hon. Gentleman is not to tell us why they are reversing their attitude, certainly the Debate should be adjourned until the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Prime Minister can be here.

Photo of Mr Samuel Samuel Mr Samuel Samuel , Wandsworth Putney

It seems to me an absolute waste of time for hon. Members to raise a question of this sort. The Financial Secretary, as everyone knows, represents the Chancellor of the Exchequer. One Minister cannot possibly be in the House all the time, and it has been the custom for the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to conduct the Budget Resolutions. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) raises the question that it never was the intention to introduce Protection, but the Petrol Resolution which was before the House yesterday gives distinct protection to the British producer and I do not know that anyone on that side of the House raised any objection whatever to it. It is simply trying to waste the time of the House. An hon. Member a short time ago produced a miner's lamp.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

We had better dispose of one Question first.

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

Will the hon. Gentleman tell me what course he is proposing to follow, because I do not at all desire to vote for the Adjournment of the Debate if he will tell us he thinks on reflection he had better stand by the Chancellor.

Photo of Mr Samuel Samuel Mr Samuel Samuel , Wandsworth Putney

I have carefully considered what has been said by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. He has not in any way convinced me. I shall stand by my declaration. [HON. MEMBERS: "Which one?"] To accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend below the Gangway, and I shall follow him into the Lobby.

Photo of Mr Joseph Westwood Mr Joseph Westwood , Peebles and Southern

The question is whether or not we should adjourn because of the somersault performed by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. I think that one of the most convincing reasons why we ought to adjourn was the definite statement which was made to the House in favour of resisting the Amendment, namely, that he could not, on behalf of the Government, accept the Amendment on account of international treaties. Are we to understand that the Government are now resisting the Motion that the Debate be adjourned? The Financial Secretary informed the House quite definitely that he could not accept the Amendment because of international treaties and now he has agreed to accept the Amendment. Are we to understand that what he said at first was not the truth, and that it was merely an argument used for the purpose of resisting the Amendment? Quite frankly, I admit that I do not know very much about these international treaties, but I have often read that it only took a match to cause a conflagration in Europe. Evidently from the first statement made by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury it will now only require a mechanical lighter. We were told most seriously that because of international treaties it was impossible for him to give way. I think the House would willingly consent to listen to the Financial Secretary if he would explain how international treaties could keep him from giving a concession 10 minutes or a quarter of an hour ago and that now, in spite of these international treaties, he can give way because of the pressure brought to bear through the intervention of certain newspaper interests in this Debate.

It is playing upon the credulity of this House when the Financial Secretary suggests that on one occasion he cannot give way and that on another, when it is a question of deciding a principle as to whether we should have protection as far as mechanical lighters are concerned, he can give way. I certainly hope that the appeal made by the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) will be accepted even now by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. The hon. Gentleman's Chief only yesterday made a far greater climb down than that which we ask the Financial Secretary to effect at the present moment. We have either to accept his word or reject it, and it is obvious from his action in this matter that we shall never know exactly where he is when he is left in control of affairs in this House. I suggest that we should not allow the business to go on until we receive a definite statement from the Government as to what is to be their attitude with regard to protection in relation to mechanical lighters.

Photo of Mr Thomas Shaw Mr Thomas Shaw , Preston

I hope that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury will recon- sider his latest decision and stick to the first decision. I am supporting the Adjournment of the Debate in order to give him that peace and quiet that he evidently needs in order to consider the matter. I should be the last person in the world to say anything to the hon. Gentleman which would in any way be a reflection upon him, or be, in any shape, rudeness. He has a very difficult task, as every Member of the House knows. There can be no question that he has a responsibility on his shoulders great enough for two pairs of shoulders, and it must be a terrible burden for him. The House, I think, would accept at once a statement from the hon. Gentleman that, under the pressure of circumstances, he had made a little mistake. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I think he has made a mistake. When the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. S. Samuel) accuses the Opposition of wasting the time of the House by proposing this Motion, I am really astounded. It is not the Opposition who first said, "Yes," and then said, "No." It is not the Opposition who said, "I cannot do this because of our treaties with foreign Powers," and then said nothing as to what the treaties are. It is not the Opposition who proposed, first of all, to keep to the Chancellor's declaration and then subsequently to break the word of the Prime Minister. It is not the Opposition who have done these things. It is the Government who have done these things. If there be any waste of time, the blame lies with hon. Gentlemen on the benches opposite. This matter would have been over an hour ago if the hon. Gentleman had kept strictly to the line of the declaration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and to his own initial declaration. To claim that we are the people who are wasting time is really verging on the impertinent.

The fact of the matter is, that the House has come to such a condition on this question that it will be for the good of the Minister himself, it will be for the good of both parties if we can adjourn in order that a little calm consideration can be given to the subject. What is the use of going on discussing the matter when the House has had a solemn assurance that if the proposition be accepted it will lead us into difficulties with foreign nations What is the use of our discussing the matter any further until we know whether that is accurate or not? If it be accurate, then, obviously, the worst thing the House can do is to embroil itself in trouble with various nations simply because somebody wants to make plunder out of a few lighters. This is the worst thing we can do. If it is not true that we should imperil our relationships with foreign nations by accepting the Amendment, what did the hon. Gentleman mean? These things really want clearing up, and I suggest that the best way in which to get them cleared up is to go home in order to give the hon. Gentleman a chance of making his case, of explaining who the nations are with whom we shall be in disagreement if he accepts the proposal, of explaining, if that be not the case, that he has been mistaken, and of explaining how the Prime Minister can say, "No Protection," and how he can say, "Protection," and yet keep strictly within the bounds of decency and good faith with the public. The right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley seemed to be shocked at the very idea that the Government would break a pledge. I shall not be very much shocked, because I have seen them at work. I think it will be better, in order to prevent them from breaking any pledges, in order that the hon. Gentleman may have an opportunity of looking at his brief and coming to a conclusion as to what are the facts of the case, that the Debate should now be adjourned.

Photo of Sir Basil Peto Sir Basil Peto , Barnstaple

The right hon. Gentleman for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) has repeated what the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) has said, that the acceptance by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury of this trifling concession on the matter of lighters manufactured in this country is a breach of the Prime Minister's pledge. That can be clearly answered. The Prime Minister's pledge was that it was not his intention to introduce a general system of Protection into this country, but—I need not quote the rest of it. I know that it related to a general system of Protection, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows that as well as I know it.

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

I am, of course; only speaking from memory, but I have sent for the quotation. However, I have examined this matter, and I am per- fectly confident that the Prime Minister's pledge was that in this Parliament the Government would not introduce any Protective duty except under the Safeguarding of Industries Act.

Photo of Sir Basil Peto Sir Basil Peto , Barnstaple

The pledge was, not to introduce any general system of Protection, but that we were prepared to extend the safeguarding of industries. May I recall what the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. S. Samuel) said? How absurd it is that this objection should be raised by the Opposition, when yesterday this House passed a duty upon imported petrol but no duty whatever upon what is produced in this country. That duty relates to an article of gigantic importance to this country, yet because the Financial Secretary this evening agrees to this trifling discrimination in favour of a tiny industry in this country, we are told that it is a breach of the Prime Minister's pledge. It is the most absurd special pleading that I ever heard. The right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) said what a monstrous thing it was to give protection to this little industry of mechanical lighters in this country, and that by doing something to assist this budding industry we were going to injure an old friend.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The hon. Member is not in order in pursuing that point further. The question before the House is whether the Debate should be adjourned.

Photo of Sir Basil Peto Sir Basil Peto , Barnstaple

I accept your ruling. I was recalling what had been said by the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley, and my point was whether this is such a serious matter that the Debate should be adjourned or whether it is a trifling matter and one for which there are ample precedents in the course of every Debate on the Budget Resolutions and the Finance Bill that I have ever heard. The Treasury never give way in the first instance. The Treasury representative always makes a speech against any Amendment to reduce the proposed taxes, saying that it is impossible, but when they find that it is only a trifling amount of revenue that is involved and that there is no breach of any pledge or of any principle involved, they give way at the last moment-. That is the proper way to give way. The principle of the Treasury is never to be open-handed at first. The representative of the Treasury does not jump up in the first instance and tell any hon. Member who proposes to reduce some item of taxation that he will accept it, but when he sees that it is the wish of a large section of the House and that the concession will do no harm to any pledge or principle, he is perfectly justified in accepting it, in accordance with every precedent that I have known during the last 18 years. There is no justification whatever for the Motion that the Debate be adjourned, except to waste time and to try to put the Government in a difficulty.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

I understand that during my temporary absence from the Chamber, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has been getting himself into further trouble. I warned him very seriously in the early part of the Debate this afternoon, and so long as I remained in the Chamber the admonition appeared to have effect. The hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) appears to have an unusually short memory. He forgets the exciting events of last night. He said that, the Treasury never conceded a demand until they have had, first of all, rejected it. Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a very large concession which had never even been demanded in the House itself.

The point before the House is the narrow one as to whether or not we shall adjourn the Debate. From what I have been told by my friends, I understand that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has agreed to half the Excise Duty upon mechanical lighters. I know something about the official position of the Financial Secretary. It is a well understood thing that the Financial Secretary has no authority whatever, without the authority of his chief, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to accept any Amendments on the Budget. Therefore, the question arises, does the Chancellor of the Exchequer know about this concession? Has the Financial Secretary made this concession entirely upon his own responsibility? As a matter of fact, he has no authority in this matter. The duties of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury are quite well understood and very clearly laid down. He has to explain the financial details and the administrative details. In other words, the technicalities of the various proposals that are put before the Committee or the House by the Treasury. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not given authority for this concession to be made I submit that there is ample justification for the Motion that the Debate be adjourned. I cannot imagine that the Chancellor of the Exchequer can be aware of what the Financial Secretary has done, because he put up this proposal for a duty on mechanical lighters in 'order to fortify the revenue.

I can see the force of the appeal made by the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) who knows a great deal about the match industry-in this country. I can understand his contention that these non-dutiable lighters are in competition, perhaps unfairly, with the match industry. I can quite see, without committing myself, the force of the contention that so long as there is a duty upon matches there is a prima facie case for putting a duty upon mechanical lighters. That illustrates my point. The Chancellor of the Exchequer did not make this proposal for the protection of the match industry. He made it simply, if I may quote one of his military metaphors, "to erect a barrage against the evasion of the Match Duty" by the use of this other method of lighting. I cannot for a moment conceive that the Chancellor of the Exchequer can agree to this concession, because it changes completely the ground upon which he recommended this duty. Therefore I support my hon. Friends in the Motion for the Adjournment of the Debate until we can get the Chancellor of the Exchequer here in order to give us a full explanation. We are all sorry that the Chancellor is feeling so much the effect of his great effort last night. But I am informed that he will be quite well tomorrow; at any rate it was expected that he would be quite well to-morrow and in his place. I am afraid that when he sees what the Financial Secretary has done in his absence, the right hon. Gentleman will have a serious relapse, and instead of suffering, as I understand he is suffering, from a high temperature, I am sure his temperature will go down to freezing point.

Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

I wish to support the Motion for the adjournment of the Debate. When the Mover and Seconder put their case for the Amendment the Finan- cial Secretary said that he could not accept it. The right hon. Member for West. Swansea (Mr. Runciman) complimented the Financial Secretary on the stand that he had taken. We had one other speech from the other side by an hon. Member who admitted that he did not know much about the business. Immediately he had finished the Financial Secretary altered his point of view and agreed to the Amendment. I want to know how it is that the Financial Secretary altered his point of view without any clear lead from the House. Is he afraid of the power of the Press? I recall that a short time ago we had a Motion dealing with the power of the Press. Here is an example of it. There was no argument at all in favour of the Amendment, but the Financial Secretary at once altered his standpoint. In what I am saying there is no personal feeling against the Financial Secretary. My criticism is against the way in which the whole business has been managed.

Photo of Mr John Wheatley Mr John Wheatley , Glasgow Shettleston

I think we have been presented with one of the strongest arguments for the adjournment of the Debate. At the moment we see the Government at the end of the Treasury Bench holding a meeting under extreme difficulties, with a view to arriving at a Government policy; I listened to a speaker on the other side of the House blaming the Opposition for wasting the time of the House. I submit that we have never had a finer example of time wasting during the present Parliament, than we have had during the past two or three days' discussion of this Budget. This is a very serious matter. When introducing his Budget the Chancellor was very emphatic on one point. He was very seldom serious in making his speech; in fact he has made a reputation in the course of these Debates as the champion comedian of Great Britain. But in one of his very serious moments he laid this down: "You must accept this scheme as a whole. You must not pick and choose. You must not accept the parts of it that you like and reject the parts of it that you dislike. The scheme stands or falls as a whole. The Government are pledged to the scheme as a whole, and if part of it is rejected the Government will withdraw the scheme."

It is only a week since that speech was delivered and during, that week the Government themselves have proceeded, to defy the Chancellor's advice. He himself has acquiesced in their action, and they have adopted the policy of picking and choosing what they like of the Budget proposals. First of all they withd,rew the tax on kerosene. The scheme still stands after that has been withdrawn. This afternoon they come forward, obviously without consultation amongst themselves, even without consulting the Chancellor, and they withdraw another part of the scheme whose integrity was said to be inviolable even four days ago. How can the House tolerate being trifled with in this way? Surely the Chancellor of the Exchequer was in earnest when he told us that the Government were determined to treat this scheme as a whole? If he was in earnest, then the Government and the House to-day are in a state of chaos. At the moment we have the Government meeting under the Gallery. The Government are being rushed into a crisis by their Financial Secretary. That is not a dignified position for the House of Commons in discussing this very important Budget.

The Government have displayed their incapacity and incompetence in dealing with their own proposals. Surely they could display a little common sense in dealing with the intelligent proposal before the House. Have they not been trifling with the House? Have we not been told that the future of British industry, and even of Britain itself, depends on the acceptance in their entirety of the proposals of the Budget? Now these proposals, having been broken and dispersed and the Budget scheme torn to shreds in the absence of its parent, surely we ought to adjourn the House, not merely to allow the Under-Secretaries who have run away with the Government, to put their heads together, but in order to give an opportunity to the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself to return to his place at the Treasury Bench and to tell us whether he agrees with the Budget as it stands now. It is very important that we should know and have the guidance of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose followers we are in his appeal for co-operation. We should have his advice and guidance as to what he thinks of the proposals as they are now submitted.

I have never known, either before I entered this House or since, a greater example of chaos and confusion, misunderstanding, incompetence and difficulty, than we have been presented with this evening. Why should we waste further time here? What assurance have we that any part of the Budget will be left when the Government and its supporters inside and outside the House are done with their picking and choosing? Is it not reasonable that the House should adjourn until the Government make up their minds and tell us definitely, "Here are proposals which we advise the House to accept and from which we will not depart." I think it was the last hon. Member who spoke from the other side who said that the practice of the Government was this—that if you pressed them hard enough, they would yield. Perhaps if we press them hard enough they may adjourn the House. We do not know what is their view on the question of Adjournment of the Debate. They have held two meetings since I began to address the House. At what decision have they arrived in their meetings under the Gallery? The House is entitled to know. We have had several examples of how they can change their minds, between the time when they meet in another room, and the time when they come into the House. I understand a third meeting is in progress just now. Are these rival meetings? Are these rival groups of the Conservative party, trying to make up their minds on the Budget proposals? The House is entitled to have a little light—not mechanical light—on this important question. I do not wish to take up one moment of the time of the House unnecessarily, but I submit that the dignity of the House, and even of the Conservative party itself, entitles Members to ask for a Government statement as to what, if any, change in policy has taken place during the past 15 minutes at those meetings which we have watched with such interest.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

Unused as I am to speaking upon great Constitutional issues, I hope my hon. Friends on both sides will listen to me for a few minutes while I give my reasons for supporting the Adjournment Motion. I have read a little of the history of Great Britain—a history of which most of us are proud. [HON. MEMBERS: "Julius Cæsar!"] He is dead, but some of his would-be successors would like to imitate him.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

As far as roads are concerned, they have been forgotten. I happen to be in a quandary as a student of Constitutional history. I never knew of the argument being advanced by a responsible Minister of the Crown that treaties made with foreign Powers constituted any objection to an Amendment to a Budget Resolution. How long has it been the Constitutional practice in Great Britain that foreign Powers have any right to interfere with our Budgets I defy even the Chancellor of the Exchequer to tell us that we have ever accepted the position under any Treaty, that other countries had the right to interfere with our fiscal policy. That is a matter for the Government and Parliament to decide. The Chancellor of the Exchequer laid it down repeatedly that any concession he made was given by the consent and the will of Parliament. I do not pretend to be clever. but I hope I am clean. As far as my historical knowledge goes, and with the small opportunities that I have had for education, I am not aware that the argument has ever been advanced before in a Budget Debate, that simply because somebody may have had conversations abroad with other countries, that fact is to hamstring us in relation to our own finances. We do not want to interfere with other countries, and they must not interfere with us.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I would remind the hon. Member that we are now on a Motion for the Adjournment of the Debate.

9.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

I agree, Sir, and, constitutionally, I believe this is a good argument why the Debate should be adjourned. A new principle has been advanced here this evening, that because somebody committed us to something about which we know nothing, we have to accept. certain things without properly debating them. I think time and opportunity should he given to the Government for clearing the cobwebs from their brains. I know they have had meetings, and the oftener they meet, apparently, the more they disagree. They have told us nothing yet, perhaps because they cannot. They shun the light because their deeds are evil. We ask for an Adjournment so that we may all have an opportunity of knowing where we are. Let us have an authoritative statement as to why the Government are changing their policy day by day. We do not know to whom we are going to listen next. First we get the organ grinder and then we get the monkey. Perhaps later on we shall get the gramophone. But we have a right to know why Amendments to Budget Resolutions are being rejected in one breath and accepted in another. Where do the Government stand, with all their powers of intellect and all the fees they get for writing articles in the newspapers—more than they are worth? With all the brain power and the educational opportunities which they possess, surely some of them can tell us whether the Government has its mind made up. Apparently it has taken some making up, and now it is in a state of disability. We have a right to have our Amendments properly discussed and explained and, on constitutional as well as technical grounds, we demand a statement from the Government as to what they mean by the course they are adopting.

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Huddersfield

I had the privilege of speaking on an Amendment dealing with mechanical lighters not very long ago and that Amendment having been dealt with, I thought we were sufficiently clear of our difficulties to have avoided the sort of crisis into which the Financial Secretary seems to have let the House this evening. Like other hon. Members, I want to know the result of the deliberations of which we have had so much evidence during the last few minutes. I observe that not only the Under-Secretaries who have been deliberating about this matter, I see the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury there, and I have observed consultations with the secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We observed also the Financial Secretary running out very hurriedly. He has now returned, and surely we ought to be able to get from the Government some statement of where they stand in I his matter. One after another of us are rising in our places and putting reasonably the request that we desire the Government to consider, and we get nothing in return, in spite of all these evidences of the efforts of the Government to come to some sort of agreed policy.

I had wondered myself whether perhaps you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, had fully observed the implications of the new position that the Financial Secretary has taken. According to the statements made earlier in the evening, it has been made clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Government's principal supporters were quite clear that there was nothing in connection with the duty, either upon matches or upon mechanical lighters, a protective character. Now clearly, in the Amendment upon which this new decision has been given, a protective tax has been introduced. I cannot press you, Sir, as I am assuming that you have very carefully observed the situation to which we have drifted, but I want to know from the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills), who so emphatically stated earlier that the whole of this taxation had nothing of a protective character about it—[Interruption.] I beg the hon. and gallant Member's pardon, but it seems that I am speaking without knowledge of the whole of the circumstances.

At least, I have the right to protest at the way in which that idea, possessed by the hon. Member for Hulme (Sir J. Nall), whom I see sneering at my point of view. has been set aside, that after all your pledges that there was to be no protective duty introduced on this issue, after all the Prime Minister's pledges that there was to be nothing of a protective character except it should be introduced through the Safeguarding proposals, you have taken this Budget as an opportunity at the last minute, without any carefully thought-out scheme, for giving way I the pressure of the representative of the "Daily Mail" and similar papers, and plunging us into this new type of legislation. We protest vigorously at the process that the Government have adopted. It is scandalous, after the Government have had their chance during the many conferences that have taken place, that they should have permitted us to go on without further light as to their intentions in the matter. I hope we shall have some further attempt by the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, if the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is so much ashamed of the mess into which he has brought things, to clear up the difficulties into which we have drifted and to try and save us from the disgraceful situation into which the hon. Member for Thanet (Mr. Harmsworth) has helped to drive this House.

Mr. RUNCIMAN:

I should like to express my sympathy with the Financial Secretary to the Treasury at the position in which he finds himself. As an old Financial Secretary, I know how difficult it is for the Financial Secretary to take the place of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and indeed the constitutional doctrine enunciated by the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) is, I believe, perfectly valid. It has never been either the custom or the tradition of this House or of the Treasury that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, of his own free will and by his own decision, should be able to give away taxes which had been announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had been introduced on his initiative, and ought, therefore, not to be withdrawn without his sanction. The hon. Gentleman, I gather from what I saw in the process of this discussion, bad not the consent of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for this withdrawal. It is obvious, from the way in which he dealt with it, that he was adhering at first strictly to instructions. I know it is very difficult for him even to adhere strictly to instructions, but under no circumstances, I presume, would the Chancellor of the Exchequer be likely to depute his own function, the old freedom With which he deals with Budget discussions and Budget procedure, to the Financial Secretary. He would at least depute them to one of his colleagues in the Cabinet.

Now the Financial Secretary took upon himself, quite suddenly, to depart from the principle which really was the guiding principle of his instructions, namely, that he was not to sacrifice revenue. We all know well that that was what the Financial Secretary was trying to do, and the only defence he made for this duty when he was describing it as a Customs Duty was that it was being imposed for the sole reason of protecting the revenue. It was to protect the revenue on matches that the suggestion was made by the Government, or rather by the match trade, by the employers and the employed in the match trade, to the Government, who accepted it. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is not true!"] That is the statement made by the hon. Gentleman opposite, but it does not matter where the suggestion came from; it came from those who were concerned to the Government. The Government accepted it, and then they bolstered it up with this principle, that they would on no account do anything which would tend to damage, injure, or diminish the revenue which they got from the taxation of matches. Then there suddenly came a right-about-face by the hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary. Under pressure from hon. Members below the Gangway on his own side, and in response to an inquiry made from this side of the House as to what he intended to do, he suddenly announced that he would be a party to halving the duty for Excise purposes to 3d. as protection to the lighters made in this country, and he does that, first of all, without the authority of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and, secondly, against the very principle that he has himself enunciated and, as has been said, I understand, during the last hour in this House, against the principles enunciated by the Prime Minister himself.

I beg hon. Members opposite to listen very carefully to what the Prime Minister did pledge himself. Although I know that sometimes he is not credited with being a great political strategist, he is quite capable of gauging a political situation with great astuteness, and he is a man whose pledge, I am sure, would never be broken, by himself. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I give him credit for that—but I am pointing out, by contrast, that, either by inadvertence, or rashly, or under bad advice, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has broken it. Let me take one of the most important declarations made by him. On October 27th, 1924, the Prime Minister, speaking at York, said: He was not going to let in Protection by the back door. He was never going to introduce it until the country had given a vote for it. There is no mandate for this protective duty, small as it may be, on one article, but it is admitting Protection by the back door, and the Financial Secretary is breaking that pledge. Then, on the same day, in Sheffield, the Prime Minister said: He abided literally by what he had said on the subject of Protection"— Observe that he said "literally." He went on: He would employ the Safeguarding of Industries Act to safeguard the fishing industry, where the grave unemployment was caused by unfair competition, but he would not introduce Protection in this Parliament, nor would he use that Act as a wedge to introduce it. How can the Financial Secretary get over these perfectly plain pledges? If we have reached the stage where pledges of the Prime Minister are to be broken by the Financial Secretary we have reached nothing short of governmental chaos. We shall never know where we are. We have no guiding principle left now, and we do not know that at any moment the Financial Secretary will not transform many of the taxes that have been defended, first in Committee of Ways and Means, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, then on the platform, and lastly in this House. Surely, the best service we can do to the Financial Secretary and the Government is to give them time to reflect. If they have time to reflect, we shall come to an end of this chopping and changing. He has a difficult task enough, and I sympathise with him, but do not let his supporters carry him from one heresy to another, but let him remain the obedient servant of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Photo of Mr James Sexton Mr James Sexton , St Helens

I rise to support the adjournment of the Debate, not in any spirit of obstruction. It is a matter of regret that I see the beautiful word-picture of the Chancellor fading away bit by bit. Personally, I would prefer to see the whole Budget carried, if only to prove its failure to realise its objects. I am candid enough to admit that I would prefer the Financial Secretary to reject the Amendment. I am convinced that the action of those who brought him into this position will so illuminate the minds of the electors at the next General Election, that we shall see a change over this House in the next Parliament. I anticipated at the very beginning of this Budget that confusion would prevail. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) said, the thing is a half-baked monstrosity. What have we been doing all the time I We have been changing frontiers, chemically and otherwise, and now we have the intervention of some other countries of a financial character. I can see the Budget bit by 'bit going to pieces. I do not suppose that even, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer gets this monstrosity through, as he hopes to do, that he will realise his object in gambling on political futures. I want to see the thing go on. I do not want to see it delayed. I want to see the proposals in the Budget taken to their logical conclusion. The right hon. Gentleman, in fact, infers that his plan will not come into operation until October next year and that his term of office ends in October next year—

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I would remind the hon. Gentleman that the question before the House is the adjournment of the Debate, but he is going a little wide.

Photo of Mr James Sexton Mr James Sexton , St Helens

I was saying that I am anxious to see the whole Budget carried out, but that the inference is that unless the Government are returned at the next election it cannot be carried out. That is the right hon. Gentleman's gamble. Therefore, I am disappointed if anything is blocking the way of that very commendable operation taking place. I do want to see the proposals embodied in this Budget thoroughly carried out, not because I think that they will be realised, but because I think that when the time comes, it will not be an adjournment of the Debate that we are asking for, but a complete adjournment of the present Government.

Photo of Mr William Mackinder Mr William Mackinder , Shipley

There are many reasons why we should have an adjournment. I have a very lively recollection of being on the other side in 1924. I want to say to some of the hon. Members opposite, who are accusing us of wasting time, that if they had had the opportunity then, such as the Opposition have now,, not only would we have had Members of Parliament raising their voices in protest, but both the hon. Members opposite and some of the hon. Members below the Gangway would have turned the Government out on a thing like this, let alone moving the Adjournment of the House. I have sat on the other side and I know, and perhaps some of the Members who are saying that we are wasting time have not had the opportunity of sitting here. So far as I am concerned, it is not a waste of time. This is a legitimate opportunity for the Opposition to show that the Government is incapable, and it is the only constitutional method that we have of showing, not only to the House of Commons, but to the country that "dilly-dally" and "shilly-shally" is not the way to manage the Government.

I want to put it to the House that there are two or three very definite and special reasons why the Debate should be adjourned, not only that we should get information, but that the Government should get information. I hope that the hon. Member who represents me in North Bradford (Mr. Ramsden) will be very proud of the action that he has taken in causing this great trouble for the Government. I do not know whether his people will be as proud of it as he is. We ought to get to know why the Government turned round, and we ought to have from the Financial Secretary, if it is possible for him to tell us, a reply to three points that I want to put to him. The hon. Member for North Bradford stated the case fairly from his point of view, hut the significant thing is that, after he had stated his case, the Financial Secretary said that under no consideration, and because of treaties with foreign countries, could he accept the Amendment. There are three points that we ought to ask, and if the Financial Secretary can answer them, it would stop the Opposition continuing that which some hon. Members call a waste of time. Did the Chancellor agree to the reduction of this duty? May I put it another way, perhaps a little more clearly and concisely? Did the Financial Secretary before he came into the House get from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, either at his bedside or otherwise, definite instructions that, if Protection is pleaded hard enough, the appeal must be appeased. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer!"]

The only assumption to which we can come from the refusal of the Financial Secretary to reply is that he had not the consent, nor was it with the knowledge of the Chancellor of the. Exchequer that he accepted the Protectionist proposal of the hon. Member for North Bradford, who, very unfortunately, represents me. [Interruption.] We have got to assume that the Financial Secretary has abused all the theories and principles attaching to his high and honourable office, that without the knowledge and consent of his chief he has done that which he ought not to have done. That is sin number one, of which the Financial Secretary is accused and convicted. I want to ask a second question in all seriousneness, knowing the power of the Press. Was it due to the very strong influence that can be wielded by the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Harmsworth) that he accepted the Amendment after the hon. Member's very weak request? Those who heard the speech will agree with me that I might almost. follow the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden), and say it was not a speech but a few remarks which the hon. Member uttered. As a matter of fact, it is quite true that hon. Members opposite did not expect the Financial Secretary to give way to the very mild, modest, gentlemanly, courteous and nice request of the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet. It was just its modesty, mildness and niceness that made us all quite sure that the Parliamentary Secretary really meant what he said. As a matter of fact, one of the things which I learned as soon as I came into this House was that it is always assumed that a Member of Parliament believes what he says and is going to stick to it. Will the Financial Secretary tell us, was it due to the influence of the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet that he accepted the proposal? There is no answer.

I have only one more point. It is not a very big one, but it is an important one. I think we ought to get an answer from the Government to-morrow, because we cannot get to know to-night as the meetings opposite have been quite abortive. The Financial Secretary stated that the reason he could not accept the Amendment was because of treaties with foreign Powers. This country of ours depends a great deal on treaties with foreign Powers. I think we ought to know what treaty it is that is so important, or, at least, perhaps we ought to reverse that, and ask what treaty it is that is so unimportant?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The Question before the House is the Motion to adjourn the Debate. We cannot go into the merits of the matter on that Motion.

Photo of Mr William Mackinder Mr William Mackinder , Shipley

What I am trying to show is that the House ought to adjourn in order that to-morrow, after a Cabinet meeting, they may give permission to the Financial Secretary to tell us what was this important foreign treaty which prevented him from accepting the Amendment and which then induced him to throw over the Resolution. The point I am trying to put is that the House ought to adjourn, because Members have a right to know what is this comparatively important, unimportant treaty with a foreign country. I think it is extremely necessary that we should adjourn in order that we may know the answer. As a matter of fact, I am concerned not only with what the treaty is, but what the country is. Is it Sweden? No? Anyway, I think the House of Commons has got exceptionally good reasons for adjourning in order that we may find out the answer to these three questions. I feel that nothing less than the Adjournment would satisfy the House and the country, and I can assure hon. Members opposite it is not a desire to waste time but the best interests of the country, the Constitution and the House of Commons which are making us press the Adjournment.

Photo of Mr Edward Fielden Mr Edward Fielden , Manchester Exchange

I very seldom address the House, and I certainly did not intend to address it on this occasion, but as the Motion for the Adjournment has been moved, I feel that I must vote for the Adjournment against the party to which I belong, and that it is incumbent upon me to express my reasons for doing so. The Amendment which was moved appears to me to raise the question of whether it is Protection or whether it is not. I listened to the speeches which were made in favour of the Amendment I admit I had not studied or carefully thought about the position before, hut it did appear to me, when I heard those speeches, that the argument that it was a measure of Protection had some real grounds. I have no feeling at all with regard to what the result of that Amendment being carried would be on the country at large. I have always been in favour of the policy that is received on our side of the House, but I was pledged when I was elected for the constituency which sent me here, that I would only go as far as Safeguarding. As this is a question as to whether this Amendment does not go beyond that, and is not really a small measure of further Protection, I feel I am bound, until my knowledge of the position is greater, to vote for the Motion for the Adjournment.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

I want to join in the demand being made by Members on this side that the House should adjourn. This Debate for the adjournment of the House has now run for about an hour and a half, and it has been said by other Members who have taken part that there have been a number of meetings of members of the opposite party who are in the Government in this House—obviously to make up their minds what they intend to do. During the whole course of this discussion not a single Cabinet Minister has entered this Chamber to find out why the important piece of business that the Government have placed before us in this Session is being held up. No Cabinet Minister has come to the House to take control of this discussion and to make a statement On behalf of the Government. Seated on the Treasury Bench are four Under-Secretaries, a Law Officer of the Crown for Scotland, and several Whips, and underneath the Gallery there are several secretaries of Cabinet Ministers, but not one Member of the Government who could give a Cabinet declaration on behalf of the Government has entered the House throughout this discussion. I suggest that the House is being treated rather lightly; neither the Opposition nor the Members of the House as a whole are being treated with the importance which is their due.

The Financial Secretary has been asked by various Members to answer certain questions. He has reclined upon the Treasury Bench, but not by so much as a nod of the head has he given us any satisfaction. We were informed that the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland was also to represent the Chancellor during the discussion, and he, too, has remained silent. I do not wish to waste time, but I would point out that there has arisen on this financial Debate a question which has once more been thrown into the cockpit of politics, the question of Tariff Reform, Protection, Safeguarding or Free Trade. This issue cannot lightly be brushed aside by a Parliamentary Secretary, but can be dealt with only by a responsible Cabinet Minister. The Financial Secretary is treating us very cavalierly indeed, and the whole Cabinet are insulting the intelligence of the House by absenting themselves when this discussion is going on, and I suggest that the Financial Secretary, the Under-Secretaries who are with him, and the Whips, including the Chief Patronage Secretary of the Treasury, after the number of meetings they have held, ought to confer together now that they have been deserted by the Members of the Cabinet and inform the House that they accept this Motion for the Adjournment.

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

In fiscal matters the Government are at the present time pursuing a somewhat uneasy and unsteady course along the narrow ledge of safeguarding, and it appears that the two hon. Gentlemen who are in charge of this Debate have, like the sons of Levi, taken too much upon them on this occasion. The issue here is a particularly important one for two reasons. In the first, place, we know that within the party opposite and within the Government constant controversy goes on between two powerful forces, the Free Trade forces and the Protectionist forces. The assurance which those who believe in Free Trade have got is that in the Free Trade Chancellor of the Exchequer they have some real safeguard against the abuse of the safeguarding policy. How did the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself express his feelings about the importance of the Free Trade forces within the Conservative party? Speaking on the Second Reading of the Safeguarding of Industries Bill in December, 1925, he said: There were probably, I suppose, at least a million Free Trade votes which were given to the Constitutional cause at the last election in consequence of the very clear declaration of the Prime Minister against a general system of Protection."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th December, 1925; col. 620, Vol. 189.] It is my submission that in the absence of the Free Trade Chancellor of the Exchequer the Protectionist Members of the Government have taken the bit between their teeth—that they and the Financial Secretary of the Treasury, prompted. as we saw by the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, who is the leader of the Protectionist party in the Cabinet, have taken the bit between their teeth and, in the absence of the Chancellor's have adopted a policy which, as I am going to show, out of the Chancellor's own mouth, is contrary to his own convictions and to the policy which he is pursuing at the Treasury. This is what the Chancellor himself said in winding up the Debate on the Second Reading of the Safeguarding of Industries Bill on 9th December, 1925. He referred to the old safeguarding procedure, which was different. He said that in the old safeguarding procedure there were three or four postulates laid down.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I think the hon. Member is going beyond the limits of order on a Motion for the Adjournment of the Debate. He is going into the merits of the subject.

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

I am obliged to you, Mr. Speaker, for your warning and, of course, I shall keep strictly within the terms of your ruling, but the submission which I am making, and which I think you will agree is in order, is that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has departed from the policy which has been laid down by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and, therefore, that we must adjourn the Debate until we have the Chancellor of the Exchequer here to say what his policy is —[Interruption]—or the Prime Minister. The Chancellor himself, in the policy which he laid down, said there were two safeguards against a policy of Protection being pursued by that Government. He declared that as a result of the trade treaty made with Germany at that time it was necessary to adopt a procedure by means of general duties, whereas the previous procedure had been by means of particular duties direct against particular countries, and he said: When we decided to move into the general duties as against the discriminating duties, we thought it also right to revert to the old, traditional, Parliamentary procedure of inviting separate sanction, under all the elaborate restrictions of our financial procedure in each particular case."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th December. 1925; col. 612, Vol. 189.] Then he went on to say: It is because we consider ourselves limited in our Safeguarding policy by ex- ceptional conditions That is an essential condition of our policy, and we have no intention of being placed in a position where it might be supposed in the country that anything like a geenral rule is to be established by industries who claim to come under the Safeguarding of Industries Act. Therefore we have gone out of our way, not only to adopt the financial procedure, but. also"— And this, Mr. Speaker, is the particular point which is very pertinent to this action on the part of the Financial Secretary: to maintain the special procedure of inquiry."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th December, 1925; col. 614, Vol. 189.] The Government have made an alteration in this Treaty which has a protective effect without maintaining the special procedure of inquiry which the Chancellor of the Exchequer clearly laid down in December, 1925, as the policy to be pursued before any protective duty was proposed. Here we have the full financial procedure and in addition the inquiry, and that procedure gives a double security about fiscal change. The extracts I have read show clearly the policy of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is clear that the policy which has been pursued this evening runs directly counter to the policy laid down by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Therefore I submit that it is necessary to adjourn the Debate in order that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should be consulted by the Financial Secretary who has thrown the right hon. Gentleman's policy overboard without any consultation with his chief. Under these circumstances, I think the House should have the benefit of the guidance of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Linlithgowshire

By this time, the demand we have made for the adjournment of the Debate has met with a response in all quarters of the House. I wish to refer to the mishap which has occurred in connection with the Budget proposals. We were informed yesterday that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was so embarrassed and over-burdened with the duties imposed upon him that he was obliged to obtain the able assistance of his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Major Elliot). I am sorry to see the Financial Secretary implicated in this misadventure. I have some hopes that the hon. Member will be extricated shortly, because I have observed within the last few minutes that the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby), who, I understand, is the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has come into the House. No doubt the hon. Member for East Aberdeen has been in close communication with his chief, and he may be able to communicate to this anxious and expectant House the desires of his chief in respect to the violent fluctuations of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

It appears to me that if there is one hon. Member of this House who is more anxious than any other for a speedy adjournment it is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, who has walked up and down, and round about, and has been engaged in mysterious consultations here, there, and everywhere. He has disappeared and reappeared; at the moment, he is absent so far as I can ascertain, and no doubt he is engaged in further consultations with the head of the Government. This misadventure is surely a fitting subject upon which the head of the Government might be consulted by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, and we hope that in the course of a few moments we may witness the spectacle of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, or his able Scottish associate taking his place, at the Treasury Box for the purpose of communicating to the House the desires of his superiors.

We have been told by you, Mr. Speaker, that we cannot discuss the merits of the question and that view we accept. It is precisely because we think the Financial Secretary and his hon. Friends require to discuss the merits of this question that we have moved the Adjournment of the Debate. Surely nothing could be more conclusive in respect of the need for discussing the merits of this question than the fact that the Financial Secretary, early this afternoon, stated definitely and expressly from the Treasury Bench that he could not withdraw a single word he had uttered, and that what he had said was essential to the integrity of the Budget, if the Budget can be regarded as having any integrity Nevertheless, five minutes after making that statement, the Financial Secretary approaches the Box and announces to a surprised House that he is prepared to make a change. Something has been said by hon. Members on these benches —[Interruption]—the Noble Lord the Member for Member for South Battersea (Viscount Curzon) has just returned to the House, and I shall be most willing to resume my seat if there is any chance of the Noble Lord saying anything which will have the effect of depriving us of the uses of this Motion.

I was observing that Members on these Benches had stated, quite justly, that the announcement for which the Financity Secretary was responsible was inspired by the observations of the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Harmsworth). The other day, when the first stages of the Budget were under discussion, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond) said that even the "Daily Mail" welcomed it. The Government have recovered the friendship of the "Daily Mail." Is that why the Financial Secretary responded at once to the blandishments of the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet? Are we to have in the "Daily Mail" to-morrow morning the announcement that the Government were compelled to withdraw their proposals in deference to the wishes of the "Daily Mail"? I should not be surprised to find a pronouncement of that sort tomorrow morning. We have witnessed, 'not only this afternoon but yesterday, a remarkable exhibition of acrobatics on the part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his Financial Secretary, and yet this House was told that the Budget had been carefully thought out. The Minister of Health told the House, when he was unfolding his rating proposals, that every detail had engaged the attention of the Government. The details of this Budget have so engaged the attention of Members of the Government that on two important issues the Government have been compelled to respond to clamour on the opposite Benches. This is what the scintillating brilliance of the eloquence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer has come to. Brick after brick has been withdrawn from this structure—

Photo of Mr Walter Womersley Mr Walter Womersley , Grimsby

What. about your shale miners?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

We cannot discuss the Budget as a whole, or even the previous Amendment. We are dealing now simply with the question of adjournment of the Debate.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Linlithgowshire

I do not propose to discuss the Budget as a whole—that would be highly improper—but brick by brick, and it appears to me that before long there will not be a single brick left to discuss. Meanwhile, I am challenged by an hon. Member below the Gangway in respect of the effect of this misadventure on the shale oil industry. It will not affect the shale oil industry—

Photo of Mr Walter Womersley Mr Walter Womersley , Grimsby

I was referring to the hon. Member's reference to the concession that was made yesterday.

10.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Linlithgowshire

I am precluded from discussing the concessions of yesterday or the withdrawals of yesterday. I am concerned with discussing the withdrawal this afternoon—a withdrawal which in the circumstances was not only injudicious but highly improper from a constitutional standpoint. I understand that we are also precluded from discussing the fiscal issue involved, but, without transgressing the rules, I may perhaps venture to quote what the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself observed when he made his preliminary statement to the House. Referring to this particular duty, he said: Its object, of course, is to preserve the efficiency of the far more important match industry."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th April. 1928; col. 839; Vol. 216.]

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. Member is now, for the third time, attempting to discuss the Budget.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Linlithgowshire

I will leave that aspect of the question alone. I understand, from information that has been conveyed to me, that there has been another change of frontier, or another change of front—I am not quite sure which it is—and that the Government desire to make a statement to the House. In the circumstances it appears to be belated, but it is none the less welcome, and I readily give way.

Photo of Sir Bolton Eyres-Monsell Sir Bolton Eyres-Monsell , Evesham

The House seems to be wasting a good deal of time over what, after all, is really a trivial question. [Interruption.] In the absence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—who is absent, I am sorry to say, through illness, and for no other cause—it seems to be suggested that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury cannot speak for the Treasury. Of course, that is not so; the Financial Secretary to the Treasury does speak, and can speak, for the Treasury. As I have said, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is, unfortunately, absent through illness. When the cat is away the mice will play. [Interruption.] The mice on the other side of the House have had a pretty good innings. I am going to make a suggestion which I think may meet with the general convenience of the House, which, after all, is the principal thing to remember on these occasions. [Interruption.] The country is run, I am glad to say, under the control of the House of Commons. The Opposition wish the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be present during the discussion of the question which is now being raised, and the suggestion that I put forward is this: My hon. Friend the Member for North Bradford (Mr. Ramsden) would also, I understand, wish the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be present, and he would be willing to withdraw his Amendment now and raise it later on the Finance Bill when the Chancellor of the Exchequer is present. If that will suit the general convenience of the House, I would, therefore, suggest that we now take a Division, if a Division be really necessary, on the question which at the moment is before the House. That will dispose of that matter.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

I wish to take exception to some of the things that the right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury has said. If there has been a waste of time as a result of this Debate, it has been, at all events, a great convenience to the embarrassed members of the Government, because it has taken them more than two hours to offer a suggestion to the House which, if it had been made at the beginning, would have saved the House that time. The right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury has said that we have complained of the absence of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We have made no complaint of that whatever. What we did complain about was that the hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, as one of the "mice," has taken advantage of the the absence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to play at assuming an authority which he was not entitled to assume in the absence of that right hon. Gentleman. I have no objection at all to adopting the course which has now been suggested. We certainly have no regrets a the result of this Debate; but I think a good many explanations will be demanded in certain quarters as to why an adjournment of the Debate has become necessary. But, at any rate, that is the quarrel of the Government, and I leave it to them. I will only say that I do not envy the hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury when he next meets the convalescent Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I understood that, the hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie) was rising for the purpose of stating that he withdrew his Motion.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

I rose for the purpose, Mr. Speaker, of putting a question, with your permission.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I cannot allow a question to be put now.

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 247; Noes, 142.

Division No. 103.]AYES[10.8 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelColfox, Major Wm. PhillipsHenderson, Capt. R. R. (Ox f'd, Henley)
Ainsworth, Major CharlesCope, Major WilliamHeneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.
Albery, Irving JamesCraig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Henn, Sir Sydney H.
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool. W. Derby)Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William JamesCrookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)Hills, Major John Walter
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Hilton, Cecil
Apsley, LordCulverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy
Astbury, Lieut-Commander F. W.Cunliffe, Sir HerbertHope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Curzon, Captain viscountHope, Sir Harry (Forfar)
Atholl, Duchess ofDavidson, Major-General Sir J. H.Hopkins, J. W. W.
Atkinson, C.Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Davies, Dr. VernonHoward-Bury, Colonel C. K.
Banks, Reginald MitchellDawson, sir PhilipHudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N).
Barnett, Major Sir RichardDrewe, C.Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whlteh'n)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Eden, Captain AnthonyHume, Sir G. H.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)Edmondson, Major A. J.Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonElliot, Major Walter E.Hurd, Percy A.
Betterton, Henry B.Ellis, R. G.Hurst, Gerald B.
Birchall, Major J. DearmanErskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s. M.)Iliffe, Sir Edward M.
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)Everard, W. LindsayIveagh, Countess of
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)Fanshawe, Captain G. D.Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)
Boothby, R. J. G.Fielden, E. B.James, Lieut-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftFinburgh, S.Jephcott, A. R.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.Forestier-Walker, Sir L.Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Foster, Sir Harry S.Kindersley, Major Guy M.
Brass, Captain W.Fraser, Captain IanKing, Commodore Henry Douglas
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveFrece, Sir Walter deKinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Briggs. J. HaroldGadie, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyLamb, J. O.
Brittain, Sir HarryGalbraith, J. F. W.Lane Fox. Col. Rt. Hon. George R.
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Ganzoni, Sir JohnLister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Gates, PercyLloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H.Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew HamiltonLocker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'f'd., Hexham)Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnLoder, J. de v.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Gaff, Sir ParkLong, Major Eric
Buchan, JohnGrace, JohnLooker, Herbert William
Buckingham, Sir HGraham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Lougher, Lewis
Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir AlanGrattan-Doyle, Sir N.Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Burman, J. B.Greene, W. P. CrawfordLuce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Burton, Colonel H. W.Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. JohnLumley, L. R.
Butler, Sir GeoffreyGrotrian, H. BrentMacAndrew, Major Charles Glen
Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardGuinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus
Campbell, E. T.Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)MacIntyre, Ian
Carver, Major W. H.Hall, Capt. W. D. A. (Brecon & Rad.)McLean, Major A.
Cassels, J. D.Hamilton, Sir GeorgeMacmillan. Captain H.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)Hammersley, S. S.Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm
Cecil. Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryMacquisten, F. A.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Harland, A.Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)
Chapman, Sir S.Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)Makins, Brigadier-General E.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J.Harrison, G. J. C.Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn
Christie, J. A.Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Clayton, G. C.Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon. Totnes)Mason, Colonel Glyn K.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.Haslam, Henry C.Meller, R. J.
Cohen, Major J. BrunelHeadlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Meyer, Sir FrankRoberts, E. H. G. (Flint)Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Milne, J. S. WardlawRoberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)Tinne, J. A.
Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M,Rye, F. G.Waddington, R.
Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)Salmon, Major I.Wallace, Captain D. E.
Moore, Sir Newton J.Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T, C.Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur CliveSandeman, N. StewartWarrender, Sir Victor
Nail, Colonel Sir JosephSanders, Sir Robert A.Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Sanderson, Sir FrankWatson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir HerbertSandon, LordWatts, Dr. I.
Nuttall, EllisSavery, S. S.Wayland, Sir William A.
Oakley, T.Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)Wells, S. R.
O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)Sheffield, Sir BerkeleyWhite, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple.
Oman, Sir Charles William C.Shepperson, E. W.Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Pennefather, Sir JohnSimms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Penny, Frederick GeorgeSinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Perkins. Colonel E. K.Skelton, A. N.Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Slaney, Major P. KonyonWinterton. Rt. Hon. Earl
Philipson, MabelSmith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)Withers, John James
Pitcher, G.Sprot, Sir AlexanderWomersley, W. J.
Pilditch, Sir PhilipStanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Power, Sir John CecilStorry-Deans, R.Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Pownall, Sir AsshetonStuart, Crichton-, Lord C.Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Preston, WilliamStuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)Wragg, Herbert
Price, Major C. W. M.Styles, Captain H. Walter
Ramsden, E.Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray FraserTELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Reid, D. D. (County Down)Sugden, Sir WilfridMajor Sir George Hennessy and
Rice, Sir FrederickTempleton, W. P.Captain Margesson.
Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Salter, Dr. Alfred
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Hardie, George D.Scrymgeour, E.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Harney, E. A.Scurr, John
Ammon, Charles GeorgeHarris, Percy A.Sexton, James
Attlee, Clement RichardHartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonShaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Hayday, ArthurShepherd, Arthur Lewis
Baker, WalterHenderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Shinwell, E.
Barnes, A.Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Barr, J.Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Batey, JosephJohn, William (Rhondda, West)Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Briant, FrankJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Smillie, Robert
Broad, F. A.Jones. T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Smith, H. B. Lees-(Keighley)
Bromfield, WilliamKelly, W. T.Smith, Rennle (Penistone)
Brown, Ernest (Leith)Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.Snell, Harry
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Kirkwood, D.Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Buchanan, G.Lansbury, GeorgeStamford, T. W.
Cape, ThomasLawrence, SusanStephen, Campbell
Charleton, H. C.Lawson, John JamesStewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Cluse, W. S.Lee, F.Strauss, E. A.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Lindley, F. W.Sutton, J. E.
Compton, JosephLowth, T.Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Connolly, M.Lunn, WilliamThorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Cove, W. G.MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)Thurtle, Ernest
Crawford, H. E.Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)Tinker, John Joseph
Dalton, HughMackinder, W.Tomlinson, R. P.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)MacLaren, AndrewTownend, A. E.
Dennison, R.Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Duckworth, JohnMalone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Viant, S. P.
Duncan, C.March, S.Wallhead, Richard C.
Dunnico, H.Maxton, JamesWatson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Edge, Sir WilliamMitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
England, Colonel A.Montague, FrederickWebb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Wellock, Wilfred
Fenby, T. D.Murnin, H.Westwood, J.
Forrest, W.Naylor, T. E.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Gardner, J. P.Oliver, George HaroldWhiteley, W.
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.Palin, John HenryWiggins, William Martin
Gillett, George M.Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Williams, Dr. J, H. (Llanelly)
Gosling, HarryPethick-Lawrence, F. W.Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edln., Cent.)Potts, John S.Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Greenall, T.Rees, Sir BeddoeWindsor. Walter
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coins)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Riley, Ben
Griffith, F. KingsleyRitson, J.TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Groves, T.Robinson, W. C. (Yorks. W. R., Elland)Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. B.
Hall, F. (York., W. R., Normanton)Runciman, Rt. Hon. WalterSmith.
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Saklatvala, Shapurji

Question put, and agreed to.

Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned," put accordingly, and negatived.

Question again proposed, "That the word 'sixpence' stand part of the Resolution."

Photo of Mr Eugene Ramsden Mr Eugene Ramsden , Bradford North

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment, reserving to myself the right to raise it on some later occasion.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

I beg to move, in line 8, at the end, to insert the words: but shall not include a mechanical lighter attached to a miner's safety lamp. I understand the Government are prepared to meet us on this. I only want to ask the Financial Secretary for an assurance that the exception of mechanical lighters attached to these safety lamps will apply both to Customs and Excise.

Photo of Mr John Potts Mr John Potts , Barnsley

I beg to second the Amendment.

This is an important matter as affecting my constituency, because the lighters used in electric mining lamps are manufactured there. As showing that the Government did not think what they were doing when they did it I may point out that the spirit that is consumed in a miner's lamp is at least a gallon a month, and with 1,000,000 lamps in use this is an important matter for the mining industry. Therefore, had the Minister insisted on this matter there is no doubt in my mind that the coalowners and the miners would have joined issue with the Government. However, as the Financial Secretary has met us on the point, I second the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Arthur Samuel Mr Arthur Samuel , Farnham

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the words "attached to," and to insert instead thereof the words "forming part of."

In our opinion the Resolution will not apply to miners' safety lamps, and the Amendment, therefore, appears to be unnecessary. But if it be considered necessary by hon. Gentlemen opposite, we might insert the words: but shall not include a mechanical lighter forming part of a miner's safety lamp. I want to put in a word of caution. I believe the case is already covered, but, if it is not, we will put the matter right at a later stage.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

I think we ought to be quite clear what we are doing. Is this going to apply to the Excise Duty, and is it also to include the Customs Duty we have already passed? No such addition was made in the Customs Duty. We have spent two or three hours discussing whether there should be this differentiation between the home produced article and the imported article, and we dc not want to be landed in the same state again. We ought to have an undertaking from the Minister that this will be rectified when we come to the Finance Bill.

Photo of Mr John Wheatley Mr John Wheatley , Glasgow Shettleston

I think there is another point. It is rather a dangerous way of legislating for the country. We have had an Amendment submitted which, I respectfully submit, even you, Mr. Speaker, with all your ability and experience, had difficulty in reading. It is going to be inserted in the Resolution, and, obviously, it will be in the power of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to interpret it to-morrow in the light of the Government's policy of to-morrow. I do not like to be very severe on an hon. Gentleman who is down at the moment. I want to be generous, but I submit that, his own party having so ignominiously thrown him over during the past ten minutes, we may be forgiven for being cautious in accepting an Amendment without a clear understanding of its contents. I would submit that this question also might be carried over until to-morrow in order that it may be printed, that tile Chancellor of the Exchequer may be consulted, that the Government's policy may be determined, and that the House may have responsible guidance.

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

We must be clear as to what this Amendment means. Does the Financial Secretary mean that the mechanical lighter that is not attached to the miner's safety-lamp is exempt? The electric safety-lamps used by miners have not a mechanical lighter attached to them, but there is a mechanical lighter upon which they place the electric safety-lamp in order to light it. Will that mechanical lighter be exempt?

Photo of Mr Samuel Samuel Mr Samuel Samuel , Wandsworth Putney

If it forms a part of the miner's safety lamp it is covered by our Amendment to the proposed Amendment.

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

That is the very point that I wish to be made clear. Even our Amendment may be misleading by the use of the words, "attached to a miner's safety lamp." These mechanical lighters are not attached to the safety-lamps. They are, as I have explained, lighters upon which the safety-lamps are placed for the purpose of lighting the lamp. Will that mechanical lighter be exempt?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. Member has already spoken.

Photo of Mr John Potts Mr John Potts , Barnsley

On a point of Order.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I would point out to the hon. Member that this Amendment has not the effect of increasing the duty, but of limiting it. The words can be examined and, if need be, changed when we come to the Finance Bill itself.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment agreed to.

Proposed words, as amended, there inserted.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Camberwell Peckham

I beg to move, in line 1, to leave out the words "five years," and to insert instead thereof the words "one year."

After the Ministerial indiscretion on the previous Resolution, we now come to a Resolution which has within it a certain element of comedy. Our Amendment will be dealt with not by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, who has earned his night's rest, but by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade or by the President of the Board of Trade himself. Having had to deplore the absence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the discussion on the last Resolution, we are glad to find that the responsible Cabinet Minister affected by this Resolution is now present. The Amendment which I move, although in form it introduces a period during which the duty shall operate, is intended in substance to challenge the whole policy underlying this very ridiculous fiscal proposal.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I am quite agreeable to that proposition and I think it will be for the convenience of the House that the Debate should be taken in that way, but I must have an understanding with the House that it is generally agreeable to adopt that course.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Camberwell Peckham

If you will allow me, I shall make some general observations on this proposed duty, not limiting myself to the question of time. The President of the Board of Trade, no doubt, will remember that various conditions, which were laid down in the White Paper, had to be satisfied before a commodity was safeguarded, or before an industry secured the advantage of the Safeguarding Duties. Those conditions have often been discussed in this House, and here, in relation to this particular proposal, I propose to take Number 1, and to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he can maintain that this condition is satisfied in this particular case. The one which I quote is the one to the effect that the industry safeguarded "must be one of substantial importance." The right hon. Gentleman will therefore maintain, I expect, that the manufacture of buttons "commonly used for the fastening or decorating of wearing apparel or household linen "—I am quoting from the Resolution—is an industry of substantial importance. It is a curious use of the word "substantial," or curious because it knocks the bottom completely out of this original criterion. If the button industry can be regarded as of substantial importance, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can tell us what industry cannot be so regarded. I should have thought that tombstones were of considerably more importance than buttons. I merely invite the opinion of representatives of the Government as to the interpretation of "substantial" in this connection.

I have had the pleasure of reading the report of the Committee which investigated this matter. The Committee appear to have found their task so difficult that they took longer than similar Committees have ever taken before to arrive at a conclusion. The applicants called a great number of witnesses, and a very large proportion of the evidence was given in camera. I do not know whether we can be told later on why it was necessary for so large a part of the evidence to be given under such confidential conditions. None the less, the inquiry lasted for 19 days, and it appears that in the course of it four classes of buttons were examined. I gather that all these four classes of buttons referred to in the Report are to be safeguarded. If that is not so I shall be glad to know; I shall be glad to know whether any classes of buttons examined by the Committee are not included in the safeguarding Resolution, and if so what. The four main classes of buttons examined by the Committee were, first of all, fancy buttons used in the ladies' trade; trouser buttons, best buttons and coat buttons used in the men's trade; pearl buttons; and, fourthly, linen buttons. Interesting descriptions are given of the conditions of trade under each of these four heads.

The whole purpose of this proposal, under whatever detailed heading you take it, seems to be farcical. In order that we may see on what ground the Government justify it, I would like to know what answer can be given to one or two questions. First of all, with regard to the fancy buttons, I gather that this heading covers an exceedingly wide range of goods, and in view of the very great variety and the continual change in fashion which is taking place, it seems to me difficult to see how our own industry, if it is not really efficient to withstand foreign competition at the moment, can be rendered more efficient by this duty. If it be the case that we are being beaten out of the field in this industry of the manufacture of fancy buttons, what guarantee have we that the safeguarding of the industry will produce such keenness and inventiveness on the part of those carrying on the industry as is needed to meet that situation? What possible ground can there be for hoping that this safeguarding duty will give them the brains and the business acumen which hitherto they have failed to display in competition with foreign manufacturers? With regard to the men's trade, I learn for the first time that the great majority of the buttons 'used upon men's garments are imported from Italy. I had not thought that we were so dependent upon that country, and it is a solemn thought that nearly every button used upon male attire has to be manufactured in Italy. In this country, it appears, only two firms are able to compete with the Italians and one of these firms uses to a great extent what are called in the trade "foreign blacks," a semi-raw material imported from Italy.

I am assured by persons who claim be conversant with the trade that the Italians have so firm a grip upon this item in male attire that it is quite impossible for this one firm, or any others which may struggle into existence under the promise of this safeguarding duty, to compete with the Italians in this matter., I shall be glad to know whether there is, any evidence that we shall be able to make British buttons for British trousers in the future under the stimulus of this duty, when, so far, evidently only one firm has been able to keep its head above water in that gallant adventure. We pass to the third grade, the pearl button, which, except in one or two cases known to my hon. Friends in East London, is not usually found on male attire. [Interruption] I was for the moment thinking of the "Pearly King" who wears more buttons at one time than either the President of the Board of Trade or I would wear in a lifetime on our trousers, and I was passing on to a more substantial point in this connection. With regard to these pearl buttons, the great hulk of our trade is an export trade. We have some very interesting figures in this connection from the Census of Production of 1924. These show that our total production of mother-of-pearl buttons in this country in that year was 240,000 gross of which no less than 214,000 gross were exported. Here is a case where apparently we have already a fairly substantial export trade. The amount of home consumption is less than one-tenth, or round about one-tenth of the production in that year. On what ground is it contended that an industry which is primarily an export industry has need of. Protection of this character?

There are considerable imports from Japan under the heading of "shell buttons" but I learn that a great proportion of that is simply entrepot trade which, in due course, is exported again from this country. I ask the President of the Board of Trade if there is any provision in this Resolution to safe- guard that entrepot trade and to prevent imports of buttons from Japan, or elsewhere, being taxed on the basis of general imports, whereas in fact the great bulk of such imports are re-exported. Assuming there is that safeguard, what is the purpose of putting on the duty when only a very small proportion of the apparent exports are genuine exports at all? Coming to the fourth class of this classification in the Committee's Report, we come to linen buttons, and here I understand the position is that the imports from all quarters are very small. There is no real case for safeguarding at all under this particular heading. There is no evidence of large imports from abroad, and it would appear that there is really a British monopoly, a very comfortably situated monopoly, which can be in no need of protection from a foreign competition which is completely nonexistent.

I am anxious not to use an unparliamentary expression, and so I will not use the word I had in mind, because I think it is on the border line between what might be permissible and what might not, but I think I may say, keeping well within Parliamentary language, though leaving it to be understood that I am only using the weaker word for a far stronger that I may be in order, that I cannot understand why so utterly futile and contemptible a proposal should be brought before the House of Commons when there are much graver questions calling for our attention. Already outside this House I have been asked whether this Parliament cannot find any better use for its time than discussing whether or not buttons shall be taxed. From the Revenue point of view, it is a futile proposal, which will bring in a comparatively small sum, when a very much larger sum could much more easily he obtained by other means. The Protectionist basis of the thing we dispute in principle, and I say further that, even if a good case could be made in certain other industries for these Safeguarding Duties, which I deny, it cannot be made in this particular case. There is no element of proof or of satisfactory argument in the Report of this particular Safeguarding Committee, and I, therefore, hope that, after a Debate not too much out of proportion to the trumpery character of this Resolution, we shall get a Vote of the House to see who is in favour of this foolery and who is not.

Photo of Mr Walter Baker Mr Walter Baker , Bristol East

I beg to second the Amendment.

I do so with apologies to the House, because I have no special knowledge or information with regard to this button industry, but in the fewest possible words I wish to associate myself with the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Mr. Dalton), because I believe that this button industry fails to satisfy the conditions of the Safeguarding Act in that the industry is of extraordinarily small dimensions. If my information is correct, in 1926 it employed no more than 3,629 hands. There is a second point of serious objection to the present proposal, because I am informed that the proposed 33⅓ per cent. duty will not enable any branch of the industry, with the exception of that branch which deals with erinoid buttons, successfully to compete with their competitors overseas. There is no evidence on which an accurate judgment with regard to that particular section of the industry, which has only been in existence for three or four years, can be based.

The main claim to this Duty is that our manufacturers have to compete against low wages overseas. That claim ignores the fact that a large percentage of our imports come from the United States, where it is not true to say that the wages are lower than they are in this country. I submit that the difficulty in the main, is that there has been a change in women's fashions which has led to a great fall in demand. It may be true that the increase in the price of buttons must have an effect upon the price of clothing, but the effect would be so small that even a critic of the scheme can afford to neglect such an item. I still maintain that this proposal is objectionable, first because the industry is of such small dimensions, and secondly because the 33⅗ per cent. duty which is proposed is absolutely inadequate to meet the competition of countries like Japan. I am told that 8 per cent. of the pearl buttons imported into this country come from Japan, and everyone who gives the matter a moment's consideration can see that, if we desire to safeguard the pearl button industry in this country against the competition of Japan, 33⅓ per cent. is an altogether inadequate figure at which to fix the duty.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

I am very glad indeed that this important Resolution, affecting a large number of workpeople, has been included in the Budget Resolutions. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment, and the hon. Gentleman who seconded, did not seem to attach much importance to the fact that there has been a continuous falling off in the opportunities for employment in this trade for a considerable number of years, If the hon. Member read the Report., he would have observed that the first condition upon which the Committee reports, namely, the extent to which employment is affected by the foreign competition against which this industry has to contend, is that the number of persons employed two years ago was 7,000, hut, as the hon. Gentleman who seconded said, they are reduced to-day to 3,629. On this side of the House, we have as much concern for 3,629 workpeople, and increasing their number, as we have in any of the greater industries.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

Does the hon. Gentleman suggest that this is due to abnormal competition?

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

Certainly, the industry has been struggling against abnormal competition for a number of years. The hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment made a statement in support of the findings of the Committee in what he said of the actual operation of foreign competition in the button trade. Although the industry may be very insignificant in the view of hon. Gentlemen opposite, let them consider that in one part of the City of Birmingham very large numbers of workpeople are directly dependent on the success of the enterprise. The introduction of a 33⅓ per cent. duty will mean that a very much greater number of people will be immediately afforded an opportunity of making a livelihood out of the industry.

I do not know whether hon. Members opposite think that the fact that the Committee gave so much attention to this subject and had so many meetings and examined witnesses, sometimes secretly, is against the interests of industry in this country. I think we ought to be very grateful to the Committee for the time and thought expended on examining the merits of this case as being entitled to some measure of safeguarding. As to the fact that the Committee were anxious not to prejudice any branch of the industry whose secrets might be given away, even hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench would not like to prejudice British industry by having its trade secrets given away at a public hearing. This application during the sittings of the Committee was violently opposed by the usual opposition which always presents itself when applications of this kind are being considered. There seems to be in the importing mind in this country a conspiracy against fair play being given to British industry. You had an organised opposition on a carefully devised plan brought into play against this industry having safeguarding. I submit to hon. Gentlemen opposite, all of whom are concerned with the welfare of British enterprise, that in no other country in the world while an application of this kind was proceeding would you have an opposition at the instance of paid advocates fighting against British manufactures in favour of the foreigner who was competing against them.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Were not both sides represented by advocates?

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

This Report indicates, as all previous Reports have indicated in connection with this safeguarding policy, that the snore we examine the conditions of British enterprise in accordance with the present procedure of the Board of Trade, the more is revealed to us the precarious position of many small industries in this country. I am one of those who always holds that, whether an industry is great or small, so long as it employs people in this country it is entitled to the consideration of this House. I should like, apart from the merits of the Resolution, to ask the President of the Board of Trade this one question. Look at the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who talked about the buttons for fastening and decorating and which include press buttons. I am sorry to see that the Committee gave so much time and consideration to the application made to them, not merely on behalf of buttons in all their varieties, but on behalf of the snap fastener has turned down the snap fastener—an ingeniously devised instrument used for certain purposes which no doubt the hon. Member for West Walthamstow (Mr. Crawfurd) knows perfectly well. I should like to know from the President of the Board of Trade how he proposes to draw a line between certain brands of snap fasteners and the fastener button to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer referred in his Budget speech. I think the French expression is bouton pression. My right hon. Friend is very familiar with the particular type of button to which I allude.

All these small trades struggling to maintain their existence in these difficult times have associated themselves together and have been put to all the expense, inconvenience and waste of time of coming before a Committee of the Board of Trade, and I would say again to the President of the Board of Trade, as I have frequently said before, that I hope that in a very short time the whole of this elaborate, tiresome and worrying process of examination will be done away with. Why should we have to go through all this process when the Board, of Trade itself is competent to determine whether a particular industry should be given safeguarding or not? These struggling manufacturers and their workpeople ought not to be subjected to the difficult, worrying and expensive process of these inquiries instead of getting a decision from the Board of Trade on the merits of the case.

I hope the House will adopt this Resolution, and I hope the President will keep in mind when he is advising the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the structure of the Finance Bill that there is a close relationship between the snap fastener of the hon. Member for Walthamstow and the buttons to which this Resolution refers. I hope he will bring the snap fastener under the same kindly umbrella as is now being supplied for the button. The Committee themselves said that they had great difficulty in deciding why the snap fastener should not receive the same consideration as the button. They say, of course, that it is not of the same substantial character as the button. [Interruption.] I am not talking of the quality of the snap fastener itself, but of the magnitude of the industry. Anyhow, it is of equal importance to a great number of work-people that the snap fastener should as nearly as possible get into the same category as the button.

Photo of Mr James Hope Mr James Hope , Sheffield Central

As the snap fastener does not come within the terms of this Resolution, its inclusion cannot be discussed.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

I was making a kindly suggestion and a hopeful suggestion to my right hon. Friend that he would take into consideration the peculiar merits of this case when the Finance Bill is being framed.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

That is exactly what the hon. Member cannot do.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

If I may say so respectfully, I think the President of the Board of Trade is an ingenious and resourceful person, and I am quite certain that if he sets his great mind to it he will find some means of including the snap fastener.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

And I can assure the hon. Member that the occupant of the Chair will find it quite easy to prevent his doing so.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

I am sure hon. Members on this side of the House will support this important Resolution, and I am certain that its acceptance as part of the financial policy of the country will give great satisfaction to a very large number of people now struggling against great difficulties to secure an existence.

11.0 p.m.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

I am glad to hear that the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon), after all these inquiries and safeguarding committees, is satisfied with getting this particular duty. At any rate, it makes the hon. Member feel that we are progressing on the downward path towards tariff reform. I have heard of the Empire hanging on a thread, and now we know that it is hanging on a button. We cannot dispense with buttons, and, after all, we have no duty on safety pins. I notice from the report of the Committee which dealt with buttons that the cost of the inquiry was nearly £500 and a great number of witnesses were called before they made out a case for buttons. The button industry has been suffering from unemployment, but I would like to point out that the depression in that industry is not due to competition but to the vagaries of fashion.

The linen button has gone almost out of use although it suffers from very small competition, and yet it is going to have a duty placed upon it of 33⅓ per cent. The button industry in this country is largely confined to the manufacture of mother-of-pearl buttons, and the British manufacture of this article is not only free from competition but has also a large foreign trade. The cheap pearl button is largely manufactured in Japan for the reason that the material used is a freshwater shell and 80 per cent. of it is wasted in the manufacture of buttons. Obviously, it is much cheaper to import it into Japan. I think the Minister will agree that even a duty of 33⅓ per cent. would not make it possible to manufacture these shell buttons, to give them their correct name, in this country. All that it would mean would be that this essential article of dress would cost so much more to the user, and, although it might yield some revenue, it would not assist in bringing into being in this country a large industry of this character.

Another button which was referred to by the Mover of the