ELEVENTH SCHEDULE (Provisions for securing Allowance of Rebates to Selected Traffics corresponding to Rate-relief of certain Companies.)

part II – in the House of Commons at on 1 February 1929.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , New Forest and Christchurch

I beg to move, in page 128, to leave out from the word "shall" in line 25 to the end of line 32, and to insert instead thereof the words: by equal monthly instalments beginning on the fifteenth day of November, nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, pay to the fund in respect of every year sums equal in the aggregate to the estimated rate relief of the company in that year; and as soon as thy difference, if any, between the actual rate relief of a company in any year and the estimated rate relief of the company in that year has been ascertained, a sum equal to the difference shall be paid by way of adjustment out of the fund to the company or by the company to the fund, as the case may require. The scheme is that there shall be a fund established, to be administered by the Railway Clearing House, and that into that fund there shall be paid certain sums which will go to pay for freight reduction. It says that the matter shall be adjusted every six months, but in practice that would not work. Very often a company or an individual does not know exactly what his rates will be, because there may be appeals and other things outstanding. Therefore, it is proposed by the Amendment that the sum shall be estimated by the Railway Rates Tribunal, and that if any appeals or other matters are outstanding it shall be adjusted as soon as ascertainable.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I understand that the railway clearing house is entirely administered by the railway officials. Will there be, in the administration of this fund, any liaison between the Ministry and the railway clearing house for the purpose of watching the distribution of these monies towards the traffics, or will the Minister merely be able to get the accounts at the end of the period?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , New Forest and Christchurch

If the hon. Member turns to page 134 he will see that the accounts of the fund are to be audited annually by an auditor appointed by the Minister of Transport and that abstracts of the accounts are to be furnished annually to the Minister.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

Perhaps I did not make myself quite clear. I quite understand that point, but the situation is rather different now. The railway clearing house has been a machine for administering railway monies. It is now not merely for administering railway monies, but also for administering these monies which are the result of legislation by this House. Our examination of the national finances here is in the nature of a postmortem examination and in this case, this arrangement appears to me to be something of the same kind. I am not sure whether the Minister's audit will be effective. What Parliament desires in de-rating these freight transport hereditaments is that the money should be passed on, and I am not quite sure that the arrangements proposed here are effective in that respect. What I want to know is if any arrangement is being made for some sort of liaison and supervision over details, so that we may be informed from time to time, if necessary, by answers to questions in the House of Commons, as to how the fund is being administered.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , New Forest and Christchurch

I think the hon. Member may be quite happy in his mind. There will be continuous communication and liaison between the Minister of Transport and the railway clearing house, and I should always be prepared to answer any question in regard to the funds.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , New Forest and Christchurch

I beg to move, in page 131, line 13, to leave out the word "treat," and to insert instead thereof the word "adopt."

This is a drafting Amendment designed to make it clear that the Railway Rates Tribunal shall adopt the certificates of the Minister of Health in England, and those of the Secretary of State in Scotland.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made:

In page 131, leave out from the word "certificates" in line 14 to the word "and" in line 15.—[Colonel Ashley.]

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , New Forest and Christchurch

I beg to move, in page 131, line 33, to leave out the words "altered or revoked" and to insert instead thereof the words "revoked and shall not be altered."

I confess, though I press this Amendment with all seriousness and urgency upon the Committee, that I, as a layman, cannot see any great difference between the two forms of words. I am advised, however, by my expert legal advisers that this alteration in wording is necessary, in order to make it clear that the Tribunal shall not revoke a scheme, because in Clause 109 it is provided that, in the absence of express provision to the contrary, a scheme under the Act may be altered or revoked.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made:

In page 136, line 4, at the end, insert the words:— estimated rate relief means in relation to any company in any year, the sum taken as being the rate relief of the company in the estimate adopted by the tribunal for the purpose of calculating the rebates to be allowed by the companies under the scheme in that year."—[Colonel Ashley.]

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , New Forest and Christchurch

I beg to move, in page 138, line 6, at the end, to insert the words: 19. In making any assessment for rating purposes by reference to the accounts, receipts, or profits of the undertaking carried on by any of the companies, all payments by the company to the fund in accordance with the provisions of this Schedule shall be treated as payments of rates.20. Where rates are payable by any of the companies in respect of the occupation of any part of a freight transport hereditament let out by the company to a tenant but not so as to be capable of separate assessment, then, for the purposes of computing any sum payable by the tenant to the company under any contract made before the commencement of this Act in respect of the rates so paid, payments to the fund by the company in accordance with the provisions of this Schedule in respect of that part of the hereditament shall be treated as payments of rates. This is rather an important Amendment from the point of view of the railway companies. The railway companies are assessed for rates on their profits and in arriving at those profits they are allowed to deduct the amount which they pay in rates. It is obvious that you must allow them, for the purpose of arriving at profits, to calculate the full rates—that is to say at the full amount which they have to pay now, and not the percentage which they will pay after the Bill has come into operation.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

What will the effect of this be in regard to the amount received by the local authorities?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , New Forest and Christchurch

The effect will be to maintain the status quo. The local authorities will get a quarter of the same amount and the railway companies will pay a quarter of the same amount.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. GUINNESS:

I beg to move, in page 138, line 17, at the end, to insert the words: grain, ground or flaked, for livestock or poultry feeding. This Amendment, and the three Amendments which follow it on the Paper are in the nature of interpretations of items in the rather technical list of railway freights. We are anxious to avoid any possible ambiguity. Hitherto there has been no difficulty, because any doubt about interpretation under the provisions had to be resolved by the Minister of Transport, who has been able to settle many points in question. In future, however, if any matter of doubt arises, it will have to go to the Railway Rates Tribunal and considerable delay will be involved. We are, therefore, anxious to shut out any kind of ambiguity. This Amendment proposes to insert the words: grain, ground or flaked, for livestock or poultry feeding, because it is doubtful whether that is covered by the word "meal." I think the Committee will see its importance.

Photo of Mr Robert Tomlinson Mr Robert Tomlinson , Lancaster

How will it be possible to distinguish between oatmeal which is intended for human consumption and oatmeal intended for poultry food? In regard to the words "grain, ground or flaked," is the Minister satisfied that it will not be interpreted as including wheat or oats, and that it must be "grain, ground or flaked," before it can get the allowance?

Mr. GUINNESS:

It is a question of the purpose for which the grain is consigned. If the consignee is a farmer then obviously the grain will be for poultry feeding.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. GUINNESS:

I beg to move, in page 138, line 33, to leave out the words "in bulk."

We find that the pulp has been so apt to blow away that it is generally sent, after being dried, packed in cases.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. GUINNESS:

I beg to move, in line 40, after the word "condensed," to insert the words "or dried."

This and the following Amendment are to ensure that milk carried in owners' own wagons shall get the benefit of the rebate.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made:

In line 40, leave out from the third word "milk," to the end of line 41.—[Mr. Guinness.]

Photo of Miss Arabella Lawrence Miss Arabella Lawrence , East Ham North

I beg to move, in page 139, line 3, to leave out from the word "fuel" to the end of line 9.

12 n

This Amendment raises an extremely important question. The rebate on coal, coke, and patent fuel is confined by this Schedule to coal, coke, and patent fuel shipped to places outside the British Isles, and it does not include coal, coke, and patent fuel shipped coastwise. That is to say, it confines the benefit which it gives to coal which goes outside this country. The whole argument of this part of the Bill is that, by relieving the rates on these various productions, you stimulate enterprise and increase employment. You do, but this part of the Bill, accepting for a moment that the whole provisions of the Bill are wise and that they will have a great effect on employment, stimulates production and increases employment in the foreign districts which use British coal and compete with our own manufacturers. If you take as gospel all that the Government have said with regard to the relief of unemployment and so on, it appears clear that by this Bill you are giving a substantial encouragement to the iron production of Belgium, of Germany, and of France. The coal which goes to those places will go more cheaply, but coal which goes to the British iron and steel trade will remain as it is, and that seems to us to be an absolutely rediculous state of things. Any bounties are bad, but bounties to the foreigner seem to be a perversion of the principle of which this Government is particularly guilty. If the thing was reversed, if you said you would give railway rate remission to coal which goes by rail to our own concerns and refused it to the export trade, I could see some sense in it from a Protectionist point of view. You would stimulate the coal industry, increase the home market, and so forth. But what justification can there be, what advantage is there to the trade of this country, in giving a rebate to coal consumed by the foreigner? I do not think that this twopenny-halfpenny railway rate remission is really going to make a very important difference either to coal or anything else. I do not believe that the whole of this Bill is going to do much for employment, but if this Measure is to encourage employment, as the Government say, I do ask why they should be so considerate of, and kind to, people who are competing against us.

With regard to the last point, why on earth should any coal shipped by our coastwise traffic be expressly excluded from the remission of this rate? The Minister the other day said that the coastwise traffic was a very little thing indeed and was merely a matter of potatoes. Even if it were, they are very respectable people who make their living by shipping potatoes, but he was wrong in saying that there was no particular question of anything outside agricultural produce, because we were supplied with tables showing that these ships do a good deal of business in coal as well as other things. On these two grounds, first of all, that it is unjust to exclude the coastal traffic, and secondly that this rebate can only have the effect of stimulating the trade of our competitors, I move this Amendment.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

Perhaps, Mr. Hope, you will allow me to make a similar point now, though it arises on the next Amendment.

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

I took care to save the next Amendment. It is not cut out.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I thought I might make the point now in order to save discussion when that Amendment comes up. The point is that the Schedule, as drafted, gives a rebate to coal shipped in fishing vessels but not in coastwise ships. It is only a minor point as compared with the one raised the other night, but it seems to us an inequality. The only competitor with the railway in this matter is the coastwise ship, and it must be obvious that the coastwise shipping—

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

That matter, I think, must necessarily be discussed on the later Amendment. It had better, therefore, wait.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

In view of what you have said, Mr. Chairman, I will reserve what I may have to say in answer to the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) on the coastwise point, and I think I can completely satisfy him when we come to his Amendment. The only issue with which I now have to deal, therefore, is the question raised by the hon. Lady the Member for East Ham North (Miss Lawrence), who is no longer in her place. It is, of course, an important question, and although I dealt with it at some length on the Second Reading of the Bill, I think it was, or at any rate in one of the debates on the Bill or on the Estimates, I think I ought to reply to it now that we have reached the place in question in the Schedule. What this Amendment proposes to do, in effect, is to abandon the concentration upon special coal traffics, to which the House has agreed on the special Vote which we discussed at length, and to spread the benefit over all coal.

The Committee will remember that the original proposal of the Government was to give this railway relief for all coal. The reason we changed that was that we had such tremendously strong representations from the coal trade—the mining side of it, not the merchants—that to spread your relief over the whole of the coal would be to give a relatively small rate of relief—I believe it would come down to something like 7 per cent., and in many cases would not benefit the mining industry at all—and that if we were to seek to give the mining industry the greatest advantage and at the same time give the greatest benefit to iron and steel—I suppose the biggest customer of the mining industry, and itself a depressed industry—we should concentrate our railway relief on coal for export and coal for steel works. I think, from the point of view of the mining industry, there is no dispute in this Committee that the concentration is much more valuable to the industry than a general relief would be. It means a 30 per cent. reduction; I do not want to be unduly polemical in this, but over and over again I had received the strongest representations not only from the mineowners but from the miners' leaders, that railway rates are most damaging to the coal industry, and to give a reduction of 30 per cent. must be of very considerable advantage.

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what benefit there will be?

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

It will be a benefit of anything from 7d. to 9d. a ton.

Photo of Mr Rennie Smith Mr Rennie Smith , Penistone

Does the figure which the right hon. Gentleman has just quoted apply to export coal?

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

It is a relief to the man who pays the railway rate. I do not want to get into a long argument as to who shall get the benefit, but if it be at all true that the railway rates which the coalowner has to pay to send his coal to the port where he ships have a damaging effect on the coal trade, then a reduction of 30 per cent. in these rates must be a substantial benefit. But I think there is appreciable agreement in this Committee, and, indeed, in the coal industry on this point, that to give the greatest benefit to coal we ought to maintain the super-concentration which the Committee has already approved, and therefore I need not pursue that point further. The hon. Lady contended that by concentrating all our railway relief on coal for export we were prejudicing the home manufacturer by giving cheap coal to his foreign competitor. However specious that may appear as a theoretical argument, in substance I am sure it has no reality. It is no good making a general statement of that kind without considering where your export coal goes to. A very small fraction. [...]ve ture to say, of the coal exported from this country goes into foreign industry which is competing with this country. It does not go to competing foreign consumers. It does not go to the Ruhr, France and Belgium. Everyone knows that the great foreign steel works are supplied with coal from their own coalfields, and that coal which our foreign competitors are using is not British coal but coal they buy on the spot out of their own coalmines. Where our coal goes to is into the shipping of the whole of the world, that is, all the ships that burn coal. It goes to the railways of all the world and the public utilities of all the world. That is where the great exports of British coal are going, and I am perfectly certain there is no divorce of interests in this matter between the mining industry and the general industries of this country. When we increase our exports of coal, we are not in the least helping foreign competitors, but supplying very largely noncompetitive industries, and railways. We are helping our shipping trade and not injuring the industries of this country in the least. I have not heard from anyone engaged in the basic industries of this country any sort of protest at the action we are taking.

Let me add one word. The hon. Member said we are benefiting foreign steel works, and I have shown we are not, as they are not in fact the people who use British coal, and that we are doing nothing for our own steel works, but she has forgotten this fact. After all, the steel works themselves are being de-rated, the railway freight is being reduced on the raw elements, the ore and the limestone, which are passing into those steel works, and, in addition to that, in the concentration of the coal relief we are not leaving the steel works of this country out. The concentration is not only on export coal, but on all coal and coke which is passing through the steelworks of this country. I hope with that explanation I have satisfied the Committee that what we are doing is the best concentration to benefit the coal industry itself, and we are certainly doing no injustice thereby to any industry in this country.

Mr. GREENWOOD:

I am not sure that anyone of us is convinced by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. We object to this policy of concentration in respect to this part of Schedule 11. In fact, we dissent from the whole policy of concentration as it is applied in this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman's case appears to be that he thinks it best for the coal industry, and that it is not harming anybody else. That is an extremely feeble ground on which to put it, because if there is any purpose in reducing the freights on coal in any industry like iron and steel, it is that it is effective. This new interest in the mining industry is a matter of which I am taking note. I am glad to think the Government are now interested in the mining industry. The right hon. Gentleman said that this is going to mean a reduction of 7d. to 9d. It might not be as much if spread over all industry, but, in practice, to every manufacturing industry in this country, fuel is an important item in the cost of production. It is true that it is a specially important item in the case of iron and steel, but we have never yet had it proved to us that the reduction in the cost of production of iron and steel, as the result of the selection of iron and steel for special privileges with regard to coal freights, will enable the British manufacturer to get out of the difficulty in which he is placed to-day. The competition which he is having today does not arise merely out of the difference which can be obliterated if you reduce the cost of production of the iron and steel commodity—not at all. If it does not enable the British manufacturer to deal primarily with foreign imports, it does not do anything to help industry.

My submission is that the problem is an entirely different one, but I cannot develop it to-day. If that be so, this is a waste of money. You might just as well have spread the relief of lower coal charges to other industries where the reduction of the cost of production by a relatively small amount might have had appreciable results. As to the reduction of the cost of coal for export not injuring the home manufacturer, I believe that the 7d. or 9d. with regard to foreign coal will prove, not helpful to the British coal industry, but disastrous. I will try and explain why. If hon. Members will cast their minds back to 1925, when a large sum of money was devoted to subsidising the coal industry, they will find that, so far as the export of coal was concerned, the industry gained practically no advantage. The advantage passed over to the foreign consumer, and all that the subsidy did was to intensify the competition between British and foreign coal. The result of it was—and this is almost undeniable—that the 1925 subsidy was a subsidy to the foreign consumers. The effect of this subsidy will be precisely the same. I am told, on good authority, that very large contracts for the export of coal have been lost by a difference of a few pence per ton less than this alleged relief. This scheme will intensify the competition that is destroying the coal industry in every country in the world. There is not a prosperous coal industry in the world to-day, and that has arisen almost entirely because of the tremendous competitive struggle that has gone on; and the handing over of a new weapon to intensify it will have the same results as the subsidy of 1925.

The President of the Board of Trade said that we must have regard to the destination of the coal for export. That is true. I agree with him that the bulk of our coal export does not go to foreign iron and steel firms, but that it goes very largely to shipping, railways and public utilities; indeed, to the basic industries of the world, the most important industries of the world. If you do anything to assist shipping, railways, and public utilities in any country, you assist all other industries which depend upon them. That supports our contention more than that of the right hon. Gentleman. It can be shown that the economic effects of subsidising, to the extent of so many pence per ton, the shipping, railway and other utility services of other countries will be far more advantageous to foreign industries in the aggregate than it would be if you were to concentrate on some particular manufacturing industry. The statement of the President of the Board of Trade confirms me in the view that this is really a disastrous Measure, and I am certain that there will be no real effect on competition abroad. Even if the effect be not very substantial, even if as the result of subsidising export coal there were no effect at all to the detriment of British trade, the result would be, to intensify competition still further.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

If the hon. Gentleman is right, surely his policy would be to put an embargo on the export of any British coal at all.

Mr. GREENWOOD:

I do not see that that follows in the least. If my argument means anything, it, means an international arrangement about coal, and that is the view held by many large coal-owners in this country. The result of my argument is that where coal is subsidised as it is done in Poland, or as it is being done in this country, it is naturally bound to make the situation worse, and cannot make it better. The point I have reached in my argument is this. If you do anything which will assist any foreign competitor, you will intensify the competition which exists to-day between the British manufacturers and the foreign manufacturers. I am not satisfied that this will be of very great benefit to industry in this country, or that it will set any more men to work. On these grounds, we are entitled to hold that, insofar as there is any advantage to be obtained out of this method of reducing coal prices, that advantage should be shared by all. I do not accept the view that you get the best economic results by trying to concentrate the advantage in some artificial manner, because, if you spread the advantage over the whole body of the public and the consumers, it can be shown that you are more likely to have beneficial economic results as a consequence, than if you pour it into channels where it will, like water poured into sand, be completely lost. This is a waste of public money in much the same way as are other parts of the Bill.

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

I am sorry that I was not present at the beginning of the speech of the President of the Board of Trade, but I heard sufficient to lead me to the belief that what the President meant was that this rate relief was one of the remedies of the Government for the coal industry. As a matter of fact, he said that the Government by this relief were doing the best they could for the coal industry. If this is the best that the Government can do for the industry, God help the industry! It is a poor remedy, and about as effective as a doctor treating a man with a broken leg by giving him castor oil.

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

I think I ought to point out that the only question is whether all coal should be relieved, or only certain descriptions of coal.

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

I am dealing with the freight relief for export coal and coal for iron and steel. I understand that is what is wrapped up in this Amendment. The Government have not given this freight relief to all coal, but only to coal carried over public railways. We have had two months' experience of this freight relief, which came into force on 1st December last year. Will the President of the Board of Trade tell us what that experience teaches? When the Government brought forward these remedies we were led to believe that the freight relief and the rate relief would help the coal industry and be the means of re-starting some of the collieries which were idle. Has the freight relief for export coal and for coal for iron and steel reduced prices, because unless it has done so it cannot help us either in the export trade or in the iron and steel trade. I submit to the President that this freight relief has not resulted in any decrease in the prices of iron and steel or in the price of export coal, and therefore I want to ask "Where has the money gone?"

I was reading in a Northern newspaper only a few days ago that there has been a dispute between iron and steel manufacturers and coalowners as to who should have this money. The iron and steel manufacturers asserted that they were getting no benefit from this freight relief, and that all the money was going into the pockets of the coalowners. Two months having elapsed, the President cannot say the Government had not had time to judge of the effects, and unless he can show that there has been some relief for iron and steel and some reduction in the price of export trade then we are justified in saying that this freight relief has meant nothing to the coal industry. I was rather interested in the President's statement about export coal, because the only coal which is at present in competition with British coal is Polish coal, and a reduction of 6d., 7d. or 9d. a ton on the price of our export coal—even if it did take place—would not be sufficient to enable British coal to meet that competition. The President twitted the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood) as to whether he would be prepared to place an embargo on the export of all foreign coal, but that is a different matter altogether from the contention of the Government that they are providing a remedy for the troubles of the coal industry by securing a reduction in the price of export coal. Only recently it was reported that Poland had defeated this country in competition for a contract for coal for the Norwegian railways, Poland's price being 5s. a ton less. How, then, can a reduction 6d. or 7d. or 9d. a ton—if it did take place, and it has not—in the price of our export coal help us to meet conpetition from that quarter? I deny the Government's contention that this freight relief is a remedy for the troubles in the coal industry, and therefore it is idle for the President to say that the Government are doing their best for the coal trade.

Photo of Mr Rennie Smith Mr Rennie Smith , Penistone

It would be of considerable help to the Committee if the President of the Board of Trade could give us some figures showing the effect of this freight reduction on the iron and steel industry during the past two months. I understand that the foundation of the argument of the Government that they are helping industry is that the assistance provided under this Bill will effect a reduction in the price of the final commodities. As this Schedule has now been in operation for a couple of months, will the President give us figures showing the prices of main commodities as they were just before the freight relief was applied and as they are at the present time, in order that we may have a practical demonstration of the effect of freight reduction on the price of British iron and steel goods? It has been indicated that there is a good deal of suspicion— I will put it no higher than that—that this relief will be dissipated without producing any real effect on the problem engaging the Government, that is to say, the problem of the reduction of prices.

I did not rise to speak about the effect of this Schedule on the iron and steel industry at home so much as to make one or two comments on its effect on the export coal trade. The Minister said that whilst the iron and steel trade would benefit to the extent of a 30 per cent. reduction in freightage, he could not say, or at all events he did not say, what would be the effect on export coal. A number of persons and societies have endeavoured to ascertain the effect of the reduced freights upon the price of British coal and the figures they give vary from 4d. to 6d. or 7d. or 9d. a ton. Let us take the middle position, and say the effect will be to give an opportunity, at all events, for a reduction of the prices of British coal for export by 6d. per ton. It would be interesting if the President would give us the actual prices of British coal at the end of November, say, and at the latest date for which he has the figures, in order that we may check-up what has happened in the two months.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

The hon. Member must not assume that my argument was that I desire to lower the price of the coal we sell abroad. I wish British coalowners and British miners to get the best possible price which they can get from the Continent.

Photo of Mr Rennie Smith Mr Rennie Smith , Penistone

That is an interesting comment, but I understand the theory of this Bill to be that the Government are seeking to assist British industry, and I draw the conclusion from the arguments used that the Government consider that the best way to assist industry is to bring down the British price of coal.

Photo of Mr Rennie Smith Mr Rennie Smith , Penistone

I do not understand why there should be any differentiation between the home trade and the foreign trade. Assuming that this Measure is creating an opportunity for a reduction of the price of British coal abroad by 6d. per ton, what is going to be the practical effect of that on the British coal mining industry and what will be its effect upon other industries? During the last few years the export coal trade has not only had an opportunity of reducing prices by sixpence per ton, but it has been able to bring down the price by as much as five shillings per ton. From this, it will be seen that we have had a very good opportunity of judging the effect on the British coal industry of a substantial reduction in the price. The President of the Board of Trade knows very well that even in the face of that large reduction in the price the export of British coal has not substantially increased during the period when the price has gone down by five shillings per ton. Consequently, the coal-owners have been forced to abandon that policy, bcause they have discovered that the Government policy put forward in 1925 and 1926 was fallacious. Therefore, it has been shown that, no matter how much the price is brought down, you cannot improve the British coal market on the Continent of Europe, and, therefore, the reduction of sixpence per ton which is now suggested is hardly likely to make any appreciable difference in the trade.

I suggest in face of these facts that the Government are now encouraging a policy which has already proved fallacious. I think, if the President of the Board of Trade will turn his attention to bringing about more efficient organisation of the coal industry along the lines which we have advocated so often that they have almost become stale, he will be assisting the coal mining industry in a much better way. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that this cheap coal is not going to the Ruhr. It is an admitted fact that the export of British coal does influence the whole of the major industries on the Continent of Europe. Take, for example, the case of textiles. If the price of British coal can be reduced by sixpence per ton, does the right hon. Gentleman think that that will produce no direct effect on the textile industries of the Continent of Europe? I wish the President of the Board of Trade would furnish us with the figures of the actual use of British coal in the textile industries on the Continent of Europe. What the Government are now proposing is to benefit all kinds of small industries on the Continent of Europe from which our British industries are to be excluded. We oppose this proposal on the ground that it is strengthening the worst side of the settlement of the trouble in the coal industry which was proposed in 1926 and that it will not assist the revival of the coal industry.

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Middlesbrough East

A proposal like that which we are now discussing brings us up against a curious unreality. This is the sort of proposal that enables us to understand why employers and trade unionists read the Parliamentary debates and it makes some of us feel that the word "politician" has become a grim joke in this country. We have a condition of affairs which is almost a nightmare. At the present moment, we have 1,500,000 people on the dole, and trade unionists are asking the Government what they propose to do in the face of a situation like that. The Prince of Wales has been round the coal mining areas; he has told us how terrible the whole situation is, and he thinks that something must be done. Everybody is suggesting that something must be done. We have been told that the best brains of the country as typified by the President of the Board of Trade, are being devoted to this question in order to find out what can be done.

What are the Government proposing under this Bill? They are proposing to give a subsidy in the case of coal which is sent abroad in order to enable foreign industries which are in competition with our own manufacturers to buy cheap coal. That is really a grim joke. It is almost an insult to the industries of this country, and what is now suggested is almost incredible; in fact, it is the reductio ad absurdum of Safeguarding. We are now being asked to provide money through the British taxpayer in order to provide cheap coal for export, and we are asked to subsidise those countries who are now in open competition with us in regard to trade.

Not one word has been said as to why we have so many people on the dole. It is largely due to the financial policy pursued by this Government which has produced most terrible results. The very conditions which have been complained of were prophesied before that financial policy was entered upon. The particular Clause which we are now discussing seems to me to be a sort of pill which is intended to cure an earthquake. That is the sort of remedy put forward by the Government to deal with a situation in which people are actually starving. It seems to me that we are getting more and more theoretical. The more the policy of the Government is put into operation the worse things get, and at a time when industry has been reduced to this condition the Government administer as a remedy a lowering medicine, namely, an extra dose of foreign competition. I only wish the President of the Board of Trade would visit some of those areas engaged in the iron and steel trade—

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I had the pleasure of visiting a large steel works in the hon. Member's constituency during the Recess.

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Middlesbrough East

Under those circumstances, I cannot understand why the right hon. Gentleman uses arguments like those which he has been putting forward to-day. I want to put another point of view. Here we have a very large amount of money being spent on raw coal, but there is not a word in anything that the Minister has said to indicate that we are doing anything to use any of the money that will be spent under this Clause in order to treat our coal more scientifically.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

The question now before the Committee is merely the question whether the money should be given in respect of all coal, or only of coal that is shipped abroad.

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Middlesbrough East

I agree that I was getting rather near to the bounds of order, but really the conditions in the North-Eastern iron and steel area are desperate. Everyone in the Committee knows that the condition of that area is a terrible problem which comes before us constantly, and things like this only make matters worse. We have proved the uselessness of the subsidy method over and over again, and our bitterest lesson upon it was in 1926. This is a dose of the same medicine, which will only make things worse. We ought to put aside the subsidy method and go to the root of the matter, and see if it cannot be altered.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Whitehaven

Can the hon. Lady name any single foreign industry on the Continent that is competing with our iron and steel industry and which uses British coal?

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Middlesbrough East

In reply to that question I can only quote the words of the President of the Board of Trade himself. He says that this would subsidise indirectly our iron and steel industries, which obviously are using our own coal; but it is also used by foreign railways and shipping and similar undertakings. Iron and steel have to be carried on railways; textile goods have to be carried on railways; and this question is particularly important in those areas because they are so far from the coal. One of the continued complaints of the German iron and steel industry has been that they are so far from supplies of coal, and that transport is, therefore, one of their problems, and one of the reasons for the superiority of the iron and steel industry in this country is that it is so near to its coal supplies. [Interruption.] I realise that this must hurt hon. Members, and it is a shame to rub it in with salt like this, but I am just pointing it out. The big problem of those industries abroad is that they are so far from the sea, and, therefore, their transport charges are so high that the Gorman Government, before the War, arranged special subsidies for their iron and steel industries. That also is one reason for the de-nationalisation of the railways under the Dawes plan. Now, when that is the problem of the German iron and steel industry, we are subsidising their railways by cheap coal.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I rise to point out to the hon. Lady that she may be in very great danger, because, while she shows a great anxiety to instruct the President of the Board of Trade about industry, she may be giving a Vote in a moment which will be entirely against the iron and steel industry in Middlesbrough. If she had paid attention to the Amendment, instead of rambling round the Continent, she would have found that this Amendment is one to leave out from the word "fuel" to the end of line 9, and, if I may be allowed to read lines 7, 8 and 9, the hon. Lady will see the point of my argument. Included in the fuels which are to get the relief are the following: Coal, coke, and patent fuel, delivered to iron or steel works which consist wholly or mainly of blast furnaces, puddling furnaces, steel furnaces, or rolling mills. I do not think I need say any more, but I am sure that the hon. Lady will be on dangerous ground if she votes for the omission of these words.

Photo of Mr Henry Charleton Mr Henry Charleton , Leeds South

This is the first time that I have spoken on this Bill, and I should not have risen but for an interjection by the President of the Board of Trade when my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. Rennie Smith) was speaking. The right hon. Gentleman said that it was not his desire to reduce the price of export coal, but that our collieries should get the very best prices abroad. My mind went back immediately to the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in which he pointed out how cumulative would be the effect of de-rating, and I would ask the President of the Board of Trade to be good enough to give me a reply on this point. I agree that the few pence involved will make no difference abroad, if the information that I have is correct. A friend of mine, who comes from a coal district in Yorkshire, was travelling in Europe last spring, and on his return he told me that one of the British consuls, in Riga or somewhere in that neighbourhood, was getting Yorkshire house coal for 27s. a ton. The same coal in the Yorkshire villages where it is mined is costing about 40s. a ton. I would ask seriously what the effect of a few pence can be if to-day we are dumping coal on the Continent for which the British consumer here is paying, and I would like to ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the real position.

Photo of Mr William Kelly Mr William Kelly , Rochdale

I desire to support this Amendment, even despite what has been said by the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown). If the Amendment be carried, it will not take away from those fuels which the hon. Member mentioned anything that the Government intend to give them. It only takes away their preferential position as against other industries. [Interruption.] I am asked to say that to Messrs. Tweeddale and Smalley. I do, because under this definition I imagine the interpretation would be—[Interruption.] I am not responsible for the interjection, but, it having been made, I will deal with it. The particular firm referred to would not be covered by this preference, and would not get it. Supporters of the Government appear to imagine that the advantage of this rebate is going to be given to engineering firms who use iron and steel in the manufacture of machinery, but it is not going to apply to intermediate processes. I am amazed at the view which appears to be held by supporters of the Government as to what the intention is. I suggest that, if this rebate is to be given, it should be given on coal, coke and patent fuel whether it be shipped abroad or used in this country. If it is taken coastwise, and the ship coals in this country, it is not advantaged by this rebate; but, if the same ship coals abroad, then it is going to have an advantage, if there be any advantage in it, by employing labour in other countries for the purpose of coaling there. The same thing will apply in the case of fishing vessels—

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

The hon. Member is now anticipating the next Amendment on the Paper, which deals with fishing vessels.

Photo of Mr William Kelly Mr William Kelly , Rochdale

With all respect, the first paragraph of this part of the Schedule reads: Coal, coke and patent fuel, shipped to places outside the British Islands, or as bunkers for ships proceeding to places outside those Islands, or as bunkers for fishing vessels, but not including coal, coke or fuel shipped coastwise. I am dealing with the reference to fishing vessels in that paragraph, and I submit that I am in order in so doing. If those fishing vessels take their coal abroad and if they go coastwise—

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

The hon. Gentleman must not pursue his argument in regard to coal shipped coastwise. The next Amendment deals with that matter and that is the appropriate time to raise the question of coal shipped coastwise. The Amendment to which I refer stands in the name of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy)—in page 139, to leave out from the word "vessels" to the end of line 6.

Photo of Mr William Kelly Mr William Kelly , Rochdale

I hope I am not doing anything to prevent the hon. and gallant Gentleman putting his Amendment when the time comes.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

If the hon. Member insists in dealing with the subject of the next Amendment, he will, in fact, prevent the hon. and gallant Gentleman from moving that Amendment.

Photo of Mr William Kelly Mr William Kelly , Rochdale

I will take your advice, Captain Bourne, and will not pursue the matter. I hope it is recognised by the Committee that the advantage, if advantage there be, in this proposal is that those who take their coal to other countries, those who will take that coal aboard ships other than fishing vessels now or for use on other occasions, will get any advantage that comes from the rebate, but, if they take it aboard in this country, then the advantage is not to be their's. With regard to the second part of Part III of the Schedule as to the iron and steel works, I can see that there is going to be considerable difficulty in the definition of those works. The paragraph states: Iron or steel works which consist wholly or mainly of blast furnaces, puddling furnaces, steel furnaces, or rolling mills. I am wondering as to the position of the establishments that are engaged in the manufacture of machinery.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

I think the hon. Member is again anticipating an Amendment which is on the Paper. That Amendment is in the name of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood). It raises the question of the industrial use of coal. There is also a subsequent Amendment in the name of the Minister of Transport which raises the specific question of the particular industries that are going to get relief. The hon. Gentleman must not anticipate future Amendments in this way.

Photo of Mr William Kelly Mr William Kelly , Rochdale

I accept your Ruling, Captain Bourne, and I shall not anticipate other Amendments. I hold that if this is to the advantage of industry, it is definitely limited to the coal which is shipped abroad, but it should apply to the coal, coke and patent fuel which is utilised in this country.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Whitehaven

I do not want to keep hon. Members from their lunch, but I do think that this Amendment is an extremely important one. From a purely party point of view I hope that hon. Members opposite will press it to a Division. I ventured to ask the hon. Lady the Member for East Middlesbrough (Miss Wilkinson) to name a single industry abroad which competed with our own and which would receive any benefit under this proposal. I think hon. Members who sat through the early part of her speech and then heard the very thin explanation which she gave in answer to my question, realised that she was on those theoretical grounds at the beginning of her speech, which she subsequently deprecated so much on our side. It is extremely interesting to note, sitting as I do for one of these depressed areas in this country which has blast furnaces and steel mills, that hon. Members opposite are opposing an attempt to grant any relief or any sort of reduction of freight on coal destined for those furnaces. I earnestly hope that the next time the hon. Lady comes to my constituency, or anywhere in those parts, she will not forget her speech this afternoon. I recommend the hon. Gentleman the Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) to ask his colleague the hon. Gentleman the Member for Workington (Mr. Cape) what he thinks about this speech. It is not the first occasion on which the view expressed by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Rochdale has differed seriously from the opinions held by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Workington. I hope he will have it out with him in the Lobby afterwards.

Mr. GREENWOOD:

Is it suggested that by this Amendment we are excluding iron and steel?

1 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Whitehaven

The matter was put very clearly by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown). He pointed out that the effect on the Amendment would be to exclude from the benefit of the freight relief coal and coke destined for blast furnaces at home.

Mr. GREENWOOD:

It is perfectly clear that the selected traffics are be coal, coke and patent fuel, wherever they go. That would mean all coal, coke and patent fuel, however produced, whatever they are used for, and whatever their destination is to be. That is our proposal. This is not a restricting Amendment. It is an enlarging Amendment. It enlarges the scope of the relief.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I do not want the hon. Member to lead his party into the Division Lobby under any misapprehensions. My hon. Friend is perfectly right in saying that the passing of this Amendment would gravely prejudice the iron and steel industry. At present, the relief on coal freights is concentrated on coal for bunkers and export, and on coal going to iron and steel works. The result is that these special traffics will get a rail freight relief of, roughly, 30 per cent. But the result of carrying the Amendment in support of which my hon. Friend is going to lead his friends into the Lobby—or he hopes he will do so— will be to dissipate the whole of that relief. The fact is that there is —4,000,000 to go round. That is being divided among certain selected rail traffic, coal for export and bunkers, and coal for steel works. The result of dividing it among that smaller amount of traffic will be to give a 30 per cent. rebate, but, if that money is divided among all the coal traffic of the country, it will give only a 7 per cent. rebate. The difference between 7 per cent. and 30 per cent., if my arithmetic is correct, is 23 per cent. Therefore, you are, in fact, prejudicing the iron and steel industry to that extent.

Mr. GREENWOOD:

The right hon. Gentleman is not going to put us in that position. Our purpose is to include within this scheme all coal on the same terms as is now being given to a concentrated number of industries. If this be carried, the responsibility lies with the Government to do the same for all industries as they are doing for iron and steel.

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Middlesbrough East

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me why, in selecting certain industries for rebate, he selects that particular industry, namely, export coal, which is going to give an advantage to those people abroad who are competing with our industry?

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

If the hon. Lady had done me the honour of listening to my speech, or had listened to my speeches on previous occasions, she would have heard me attempt to prove that you would do nothing of the sort. She has been entirely unable to prove whore British export of coal goes into a foreign industry, and, if her argument is correct, her whole policy ought to be directed to preventing any British coal going abroad at all. My hon. Friend would not like that, and neither should I. What governs the price of export coal is competitive prices in the foreign markets, and nothing is being done here which will have the effect of lowering prices. As a matter of fact, since this was introduced export prices have gone up.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Whitehaven

This is an important point. Now we have got into the interesting position that the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood) and the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Miss Wilkinson) are at cross purposes. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne says he wants to give all coal under the terms of the Amendment equal rebates whatever its destination. He wants to bring all coal and coke up to the level contemplated for coal for iron and steel. In other words, to give a rebate of 30 per cent. That means that he will want to give equally all coal for export 30 per cent. How can he reconcile that, as one of the effects of the Amendment, with the objection of the hon. Member for Middlesbrough?

Mr. GREENWOOD:

I do not want anything out of this. I think this scheme is a foolhardy one. We have always held on these benches that we do not agree with selecting certain hereditaments for assistance, and we do not agree with selecting certain traffics for special assistance. What relief is to be given should be given to all hereditaments and all traffics. The meaning of the Amendment is precisely that. It is a continuance of a perfectly legitimate and consistent policy on which I have spoken on innumerable occasions during the last few weeks. What we are asking for is the abolition of the selective principle and for equal treatment for all coal. If you will have your scheme, if you will do it in this way, we are asking that it should apply to all coal, coke and patent fuel, and if the right hon. Gentleman thinks it is important that iron and steel should have this 30 per cent, well and good. The responsibility lies upon the Government of treating all coal in the same way.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Whitehaven

Why did you vote against relief being given to the breweries?

Mr. GREENWOOD:

I tried to make my attitude clear when the Debate was on. It would not be in order to reply to the question at the moment. Hon. Members opposite appear to be trying to make party capital out of this. That is the whole purpose of the Debate. This little question, which seems to be worrying hon. Members opposite, was started by the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown), who, no doubt, had a party political motive as well. Hon. Members are not going to put us into this position of saying that, if we vote for the Amendment, we are voting for less money going to iron and steel. If the speech of the hon. Member opposite really had any meaning at all it was that we are to be pilloried in our constituencies because, on his interpretation, we want less relief for our people in the iron and steel trade than for other industries. My reply is that that is a deliberate misinterpretation of our motive in bringing this Amendment before the House, and the responsibility, if the Amendment were carried, for any such disastrous results in the iron and steel industry would lie at the door of the Government, because, if it is desirable, the responsibility clearly rests upon the Government to provide the money. Our answer is perfectly clear, and on that I am prepared to take my stand in the Division Lobby.

Photo of Major Charles Price Major Charles Price , Pembrokeshire

The hon. Member's argument that those who framed the Amendment are not responsible for its effect is one that we have never heard in the House before. Undoubtedly the effect of the Clause is to concentrate upon the depressed coal-exporting industry of South Wales and the steel industry of the country the greatest amount of help that can possibly be given them under the Bill in respect of railway rates and shipping relief. It will be an extraordinary position if those who represent the export coal trade in South Wales go into the Lobby in support of the Amendment, and it will be most interesting to hear what their arguments are.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

I have been very much interested in the arguments used from the various sides of the House. I, and some of my colleagues, represent men who are working in blast furnaces and in the iron and steel trade, and we shall have no hesitation in voting for the Amendment. It is plain to anyone who knows anything about the industrial situation that, if you give a preferential treatment to the raw material that goes to other countries, it gives the foreigner a bigger opportunity to manufacture the article, and the competition will be much keener than it is at present. That is as plain as the nose on one's face. The object of the Government's proposition is to give certain rebates and facilities for the purpose of exporting coal and coke and certain raw materials. The raw materials are going to foreign countries to enter into competition with our iron and steel products.

Photo of Major Charles Price Major Charles Price , Pembrokeshire

Does the hon. Member object to our sending coal abroad?

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

No, but I object to giving them preferential treatment. That is done in more cases than one. In

regard to materials sent abroad, the railway companies give preferential treatment to foreign countries which enter into serious competition with us. This Amendment will not affect it in the slightest degree. It will not affect any industry. It gives facilities to all industries, and not to the particular ones you are talking about. The giving of subsidies to all the raw materials exported from this country to Germany, Belgium, France, or any other country that comes into competition with our iron and steel industry will have a detrimental effect on our iron and steel industry.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'but' in line 5, stand part of the Schedule."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 170; Noes, 60.

Division No. 151.]AYES.[1.15 p.m.
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. CharlesForestier-Walker, Sir L.Malone, Major P. B.
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)Forrest, W.Mnnningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn
Allen, Sir J. SandemanFoster, Sir Harry S.Margesson, Captain D.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Meller, R. J.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Ganzoni, Sir JohnMerriman, Sir F. Boyd
Atkinson, C.Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyGates, PercyMitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)
Barnett, Major Sir RichardGault, Lieut. Col. Andrew HamiltonMonsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMoore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonGoff, Sir ParkMorrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Berry, Sir GeorgeGower, Sir RobertNelson, Sir Frank
Birchall, Major J. DearmanGreenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (Wth's'W, E)Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeGriffith, F. KingsleyO'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Brittain, Sir HarryGuinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Gunston, Captain D. W.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H.Hamilton, Sir GeorgePeto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Power, Sir John Cecil
Buckingham, Sir H.Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPrice, Major C. W. M.
Bullock, Captain M.Harland, A.Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)
Burton, Colonel H. W.Harrison, G. J. C.Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir VivianRopner, Major L.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt.R.(Prtsmth, S.)Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.Rungles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Cazalet, Captain Victor A.Henn, Sir Sydney H.Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Chamberlain. Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Rye, F. G.
Christie, J. A.Hilton, CecilSalmon, Major I
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Hopkins, J. W. W.Sandeman, N. Stewart
Clayton, G. C.Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Cobb, Sir CyrilHudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Sandon, Lord
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir GeorgeHudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)
Colman, N. C. D.Hume, Sir G. H.Shepperson, E. W.
Conway, Sir W. MartinHutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Cope, Major Sir WilliamInskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Couper, J. B.Iveagh, Countess ofSinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst)
Crooks, J. Smedley (Daritend)Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dins. C.)
Croakshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir WilliamSmith-Carington, Neville W.
Davies, Dr. VernonKennedy, A. R. (Preston)Smithers, Waldron
Dawson, Sir PhilipKing, Commodore Henry DouglasSomerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Dixey, A. C.Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementSouthby, Commander A. R. J.
Drewe, C.Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipSpender-Clay, Colonel H.
Edmondson, Major A. J.Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)Sprot, Sir Alexander
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)Loder, J. de V.Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Ellis, R. G.Lougher, LewisStanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithLuce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard HarmanSteel, Major Samuel Strang
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)MacAndrew, Major Charles GlenStott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Everard, W. LindsayMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Fairfax, Captain J. G.McLean, Major A.Styles, Captain H. Walter
Falle, Sir Bertram G.Macquisten, F. A.Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Fielden, E. B.Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-Tusker, R. Inigo
Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.Withers, John James
Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)Watts, Sir ThomasWolmer, Viscount
Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)Wayland, Sir William A.Womersley, W. J.
Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-Wells, S. R.Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Titchfield, Major the Marquess ofWhite, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Tryon, Rt. Hon. George ClementWilliams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Wallace, Captain D. E.Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel GeorgeCaptain Bowyer and Mr. Penny.
Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
NOES.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')John, William (Rhondda, West)Sitch, Charles H.
Amman, Charles GeorgeJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Barnes, A.Jones. T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Stamford, T. W.
Batey, JosephKelly, W. T.Stephen, Campbell
Bellamy, A.Lawrence, SusanSutton, J. E.
Bondfield, MargaretLawson, John JamesThomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Lee, F.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Broad, F. A.Lowth, T.Thurtle, Ernest
Bromley, J.Lunn, WilliamTinker, John Joseph
Buxton, Rt. Hon. NoelMackinder, W.Watts-Morgan. Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Charleton, H. C.Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Wellock, Wilfred
Compton, JosephMorrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Dennison, R.Palin, John HenryWilliams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Gardner, J. P.Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Windsor, Walter
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Potts, John S.Wright, W.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Purcell, A. A.Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Groves, T.Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W, Bromwich)
Hayday, ArthurSexton, JamesTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hirst, G. H.Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.
Hayes.

Photo of Mr James Sexton Mr James Sexton , St Helens

I beg to move, in page 139, to leave out from the word "vessels" In line 5 to the end of line 6.

In the absence of my colleagues whose names are associated with the Amendment I take the opportunity of moving it, and I would plead again with the Minister to see whether he cannot modify the Schedule. This point deals entirely with the carrying of coal. In the maritime service in the discharging and loading operations there are about 400,000 men engaged, and at the lowest estimate I should say that of the 400,000 men 25 per cent. or 30 per cent. are engaged in the coastwise trade in the discharging, loading and sailing of ships. The big bulk of that 25 per cent. or 30 per cent. of men are engaged in connection with sea-borne coal. In the big coaling ports of this country, particularly, an enormous number of men are engaged in this coastwise traffic, and the question of rates is a matter of the utmost importance. The right hon. Gentleman must realise that a lower quotation of rates for the carriage of coal by the railways is bound to affect very seriously the employment of the men engaged in this coastwise traffic, and there is a grave risk that the coastwise shipowners, who have had a very hard struggle to keep not only their financial heads above water but their ships afloat, will be very detrimentally affected. As one who knows something about this question, and who has been intimately associated with it practically for 20 years and officially for a greater number of years, I know what a reduction of rates means. It means that the shipowner in the coastwise trade will be running his ships at a greater loss than some have been running for the past few years. It follows then that the question of wages and hours and conditions of labour will be opened up.

I want to be frank with the Committee and to say that I foresee a movement for the reduction of the wages of dockers, seamen and firemen. It will not stop with the coastal trade. Once the ball has begun rolling, the deep sea trade is bound to follow. That means trouble and division. With the heavy percentage of unemployment—as I said the other day, 33 per cent. of the casual labourers at the docks are unemployed—that would not only mean an intensification of unemployment, but it would also mean a protest by the men themselves against the intermittent nature of their employment. When you consider that the average wage of the men amounts to 35s. or 36s. a week for three days' work, you will see that there is bound to be a protest made. I am very anxious about this matter, particularly in view of the fact that a rapprochement is now being brought about between employers and workmen through a joint national committee which aims at setting up some kind of machinery to keep the industrial peace in this country. No one in this House is more anxious over this than myself. I have had a considerable experience of trade disputes, and in the evening of my life I do not want any more. I appeal to my right hon. Friend to see whether he cannot by some kind of Amendment, such as has been suggested, devise some method which will give to these people the just treatment for which they are asking.

Sir P. CUNLIFFELISTER:

The hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension in moving this Amendment. It deals only with the traffic in coal. It does not deal with the general coastwise traffic at all. This is a matter to which I have given great attention with the Chamber of Shipping. Our proposal is not to include coal shipped coastwise as export coal, and for this reason. The coal which is shipped coastwise—with one exception to which I will come in a, moment—does not enter into competition with any of the coal which will get a rebate. The hon. Gentleman will see that under our scheme we are confining the rebate on coal to coal for steel works and coal for export. The coal which is shipped coastwise is not coal for export for the most part and is not coal for steel works. I am now speaking to the Committee after very full discussions on this subject with the Chamber of Shipping. It is clear that the coal which comes down to the Port of London is coal which is going to gas works and coal for domestic consumption and coal for a hundred and one different kinds of industries which are not affected. Between the shipping industry and the railways, for the great bulk of the coal which is shipped coastwise, there is no sort of competition. The great bulk of the coal which is shipped coastwise is not selected traffic—upon that there is complete agreement—and, therefore, if we were to include coastwise-borne coal generally as export coal, we should not be putting it on an equality, but we should be giving a rebate to that coal, which is not selected traffic, merely because it is carried in a coastwise ship, and we should be refusing a rebate on the same coal when it is carried by rail.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

Why not a rebate on coal for gas companies?

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

That is quite a different matter, and the hon. Member can raise it by putting down an Amendment, but we cannot discuss it here. There is one particular case in which coastwise-borne coal may be a selected traffic, and that is where the coal is carried by train to a port, is then shipped coastwise—we will say to the Port of London—and from the port it is again shipped as bunker coal or as coal for export. That is the only case in which it can be selected traffic. I agree that that is a case that ought to be met. It is a very difficult point to meet. I have discussed it fully with the Chamber of Shipping and the railway companies. It can be done by a rather complicated system of accounts. As the Minister of Transport promised on the Second Reading, we will put down an Amendment on this point. I had not the Amendment ready to put down on the Committee stage, and it will probably be combined with an Amendment dealing with another undertaking which has been given. I give an explicit undertaking that on Report there will be an Amendment down in the name of the Government dealing with the particular case of coastwise-carried coal which is ultimately used for bunker coal or export coal. That is the only case which arises on coastwise shipping in that respect.

Photo of Major-General Sir Robert Hutchison Major-General Sir Robert Hutchison , Montrose District of Burghs

What the right hon. Gentleman has just said with regard to bunker coal which is ultimately sent abroad meets the point which I and my friends on these benches wished to raise.

Photo of Mr John Palin Mr John Palin , Newcastle upon Tyne West

My right hon. Friend has not paid to this matter the attention that he should have done. There would have been no controversy with regard to this had the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of Transport treated this important trade with the same respect with which they have treated the railway companies. I regret to see that to-day the President of the Board of Trade confined his remarks to the Port of London.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

The hon. Gentleman must not misrepresent me in this respect. I cited the Port of London as an example. This exception will apply to coal which is ultimately shipped for export from any port. So far from not having paid any attention to it this is a very difficult matter, and I have for months been negotiating on it.

Photo of Mr John Palin Mr John Palin , Newcastle upon Tyne West

I have read the correspondence, and the right hon. Gentleman does not seem to me to have given the matter proper attention. If there is coal which is selected traffic for iron or steel, it ought to receive the same rebate, and I hope that he will consider the matter again before the Report stage. I do not think we ought to be content with this consideration being reserved for coal that is partly carried on the railway and partly carried coastwise. You can see coal and iron ore and all these things being unloaded at Middlesbrough and other ports. It has been borne coastwise, and it certainly ought to have the same consideration.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

Again I want to enter my protest against what I call the preferential treatment given under the Bill. When I interrupted just now the President of the Board of Trade said "Why do you not put down an Amendment on the point that you are raising?" The reason is simply that the Government have cut out of the Bill all public service undertakings, and any Amendment that I put down would be ruled out of Order. But, I ask, why should not the gas companies and the electricity generating stations get the same treatment as other people in regard to the coal that they use? There are millions of tons of coal coming into the Port of London from the collieries coastwise. You are not going to give them any preference at all. If they had this preference both gas and electricity would be cheaper. I think we are perfectly justified in moving this Amendment, and I hope that my frineds will go into the Lobby in favour of it.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. GREENWOOD:

I beg to move, in page 139, to leave out from the word "to" in line 7, to the end of line 9, and to insert instead thereof the words: any industrial establishment where coal, coke, or patent fuel is used in any process of manufacture or for purposes of transport. The purpose of this Amendment is to extend the list of selected traffics so as to cover industrial coal. It may be argued that there is a case for not permitting domestic coal to receive the benefits of this scheme, but there is a strong case for extending the benefit to industrial establishments that require fuel for their processes of manufacture or for processes of transport. The case for including iron and steel is that it is hoped by that means to confer advantageous results upon that industry. If that be so, we submit the claim that all industries ought to enjoy equally with the iron and steel industry the advantages of this rebate. Large numbers of our industries are in a very serious position, and some relief might be of assistance. I do not place it any higher than that, but in so far as there is any relief to be given to industries by this scheme, our submission is that it should be extended to all industries, and that they should all share equally in the advantages which, it is alleged, will flow from the scheme.

After all, it is very difficult to draw the line. A very strong case can be made for iron and steel on two grounds. The first is that the iron and steel industry is particularly depressed, and the second is that it is a very large consumer of coal and that coal enters largely into the cost of production. But there are other industries which are in very much the same plight—industries that have been severely hit by the prolonged depression. Looking at the matter solely from the point of view of our own industrial advantage, I would rather see the whole of the subsidy confined to British industries than have it dispersed over the field of our foreign competitors. But, whatever is to be done for particular industries in this country at least ought to be extended to all of them. As a practical proposition I do not believe that it is possible to draw a line at any group of industries. I have always held that the basis of the Bill was wrong, and that there ought not to have been a selection of industrial hereditaments for assistance Once that is admitted, there is a powerful case for treating all industries alike.

If that be so, generally, as regards derating, the argument applies with equal force to all industries which use coal, whether for transport purposes or for their manufacturing processes. I am not optimistic enough to believe that the Government will accept this Amendment. The more reasonable we become, the sterner they become and the less likelihood there appears to be of any concessions. But if there be any valid argument in favour of the proposal for assisting a particular industry, that argument applies to all industries, according to the degree in which they are depressed. I see no way of differentiating between them and the least the Government can do is to apply this relief, for what it is worth, to all industries. I should have preferred it if the domestic consumer could have been included, but I have already argued that, from the point of view of industrial advantage, there is a strong case for "concentrating"—a word which the Government have used very frequently in these Debates—the advantage of this part of the scheme on industrial enterprises to the exclusion of domestic coal.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

I support the Amendment. We know that the iron and steel industries are in a bad way, but many engineering firms are also in a bad way and they will get no relief at all in regard to the consumption of coal. There is also the textile industry, in which a very large amount of coal is consumed. That industry will get no relief. A great deal of coke is used for the purpose of melting down the pig-iron that is used for the purpose of making machinery, and there will be no relief in that respect. There are many large engineering firms who have not been making any dividends for a long time, and I do not think the iron and steel industries are suffering any keener competition than the engineering trades. The textile trade, I think, is just as much depressed as the iron and steel industries. If it is necessary to give relief to the heavy iron and steel industries the same privilege ought to be given to the engineering and textile trades.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I appreciate the sweet reasonableness with which this Amendment has been moved, and I hope to reply with equal reasonableness, although I cannot accept the conclusion which the Mover of the Amendment reaches. What we have to decide here is, how are we to apply this railway relief to the best advantage? There can be no great matter of principle involved. The only consideration is this: If we are giving relief in rates to the railway companies, and if the railway companies are going to pass it on, let us have it passed on where, on the whole, the greatest advantage will result. I shall not repeat the arguments which I have addressed to the Committee to show why coal, unquestionably, should be selected. After all, we are out primarily in this matter to help coal. Coal is most depressed; and the whole coal industry is agreed that concentration upon coal for export is the greatest benefit which we can give to coal. The coal industry has particularly asked for that concentration which is now proposed, and it was because of strong representations to that effect that we have changed the original plan.

The other concentration is on steel. The reason why we concentrate upon steel is, not only because steel is a depressed industry, but also because the steel industry is one of the greatest users of coal of all our industries. Fuel is a far greater cost factor in steel than in any other industry in the land. Therefore, for a certain period of time at any rate, having regard both to its depressed condition and to the fact that coal is such a pre-eminently important factor in its costs, we think that we should get the best advantage for the public generally out of the remission of railway rates by concentrating upon steel. You cannot have it both ways. The amount which the railway companies are to take off is three-quarters of the rates. Therefore, you have a limited sum to deal with, and, if you deal with it in a super-concentrated way, you will give a very big relief wherever you concentrate; but, if you dissipate it over all industries, assuming that to be possible at all, then only a smaller percentage of relief will be possible.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

Give a little more money.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

The hon. Member is now suggesting a subsidy in order to reduce rates all round. I should not be in order in discussing that pro- posal. It is not the proposal of the Amendment. The Amendment proposes that the limited amount available under the Bill, instead of being concentrated on relief of the selected traffics, should be dissipated over all industrial traffics. I do not know precisely what the reduction would be, but I presume it would reduce the relief to something like 8 per cent. as against the 30 per cent. You get much better value by concentrating the relief where the coal trade want it, and also upon steel—where, as I have said, coal is such an important factor—than by giving a relatively small reduction in those industries where fuel costs play a very much smaller part. There is one other consideration. You could not, in fact, administer this scheme satisfactorily on the lines here suggested. With the very big industries and big firms buying direct from a colliery company, or from a single factor, you would know that coal was going to the industry, but, obviously, it would not be fair to give a relief which would be certain to go, I admit, to the very big firms, but which would not go to lots of small firms.

There are quantities of smaller manufacturing firms which order their coal from a merchant, and it is equally used for industrial coal and for household coal of a secondary grade. The result is that a merchant has bought coal, he has it in stock, and when he orders the coal from the colliery he does not know whether he is going to dispose of it as domestic or as industrial coal. Therefore, the rebate could not obtain when that coal is sent from the colliery to the merchant, because we are confining it to industrial coal. The result is that, if you were to try and operate it, you would have, in the case of a small manufacturing buyer, an extraordinarily complicated system of accounts, which I do not think could be made watertight and which would depend upon what every merchant said he had done, in order that the merchant might pay back the rebate when, out of some particular consignment of coal, some part of it had been sent to an industrial user. Therefore, while nothing is impossible in the way of accounting with a vast enough staff, it would be extraordinarily difficult and costly to set up such a system. That is a difficulty, but, on the broad ground that we are giving the best value for our money in the way we propose, I hope that this Amendment will not be pressed.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

I would like to put the argument of the right hon. Gentleman to this one test. Does this scheme, which the Government have embodied in this Schedule, give a preference to the foreign manufacturer as against the British, or does it not?

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

Certainly not. I answered that at length on the last Amendment but one, when the hon. Member was not in the Chamber.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

I am sorry I missed the speech of the right hon. Gentleman and did not hear his argument, but it seems to me quite definite that, if we give a rebate on exports and do not give a rebate to manufacturers using coal in this country, there must be a preference to the foreigner. However, I will not press that point further as it has been dealt with already.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Ellis Sir Geoffrey Ellis , Wakefield

There is one further factor that I should like to mention in addition to what has been said by the President of the Board of Trade. If you desire to benefit the coal using trades by a reduction in the freightage on coal, you must have regard to another source of power that is coming to be used, namely, electricity, to which you refuse any benefit in rate reduction. You have also to remember that a very considerable amount of coal is moved to-day from the pits to the users by means of road transport, and you would to that extent be penalising the road transport by giving this relief. There is yet a further factor, which I think in the future may come into account to some extent, and it is this: The desire of the coal trade certainly is, in so far as it is possible, to get users of coal for industrial purposes to use essentially local markets and collieries, and if you diminish the ability of the local market to compete by giving a particular benefit to a long haul of coal from another district, you are only intensifying the difficulty which already exists in far too great a degree. I think, on the whole, interested as I am in every way in coal, that it is not going to be of benefit to give the relief in the way suggested in the Amendment.

2 p.m.

Photo of Mr Cecil Wilson Mr Cecil Wilson , Sheffield, Attercliffe

I am a little surprised at the arguments of the President of the Board of Trade and agree with much of what the last speaker said. The position seems to me to be very much like this, that where you have got an industry—an iron and steel industry, rolling mills, or anything else—which has been running on coal for power, and that industry, with a desire to keep up-to-date, transfers to electricity, which it buys from an electricity company—it does not matter whether it is a municipality or whether it is a large undertaking such as there is on Tyneside—it is going to get no benefit whatever; and you are, therefore, penalising the industry which, in order to meet foreign competition., has endeavoured to put itself right up to the forefront in efficiency. It has transformed its plant, it has adapted its machinery, and it has done everything possible, both in the way of experiment and otherwise, to bring itself right up-to-date, and you are penalising it because you say that the industry which is still running on coal for power should have this benefit but that the industry which has been brought up-to-date should have no benefit at all.

In the same way, take the developments, such as electrical furnaces, that have taken place in Sheffield and other centres. I will read what the Balfour Committee on Industry and Trade says with regard to iron and steel: The use of the electric furnace was developed particularly in countries possessing hydro-electric sources of power. In this country it received a great stimulus owing to war demands, but it is still limited to special qualities, and electrical steel represents only a small proportion of the total production of steel. They go on to deal with special steels. There is no doubt an immense amount of work being put into the manufacture of special steels, and then they go on to say: In many cases the discovery of such alloys has not only enabled existing requirements to be more adequately met, but has promoted the invention of new uses for the material. That is very true. It is unquestionable—and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade will be the first to admit it—that the very fact of development in that way has enabled us to secure inventions and new manufac- tures of one kind and another which have put us in the forefront of the manufacturing countries of the world in regard to many of these things. But because they are using electrical power, they are to receive no benefit at all under this Bill. Take two mills running side by side, both of them producing the same thing, but one of them running on electrical power and the other on steam power. The up-to-date mill is offered nothing at all, but to the other, which is behind hand, you are giving a very considerable advantage. In another part of this Report they say: Regarding the iron and steel industry itself, there seems no doubt that the efficiency of plant is less uniform in the heavy branches of the British industry than it is in Germany or America. This is primarily a result of the earlier development of the industry in this country, and the survival of plant which is not in accordance with modern designs. They go on to point out that in many directions there has been a very considerable advance, and they conclude: Most of our modern works are, in the same witness's opinion, 'thoroughly up to any world standard.' On the other hand, it has been pointed out that few British works, if any, are modern throughout in equipment and practice, with coking ovens, blast furnaces, steel furnaces, and rolling mills adjacent to one another, and making full use of waste gases. Moreover, there is not infrequently a lack of balance between the productive capacity at different stages, e.g., deficient coking oven or blast furnace capacity,

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

All that surely must be enormously helped by the concentration which I am proposing.

Photo of Mr Cecil Wilson Mr Cecil Wilson , Sheffield, Attercliffe

Yes, helped, but what you are proposing to do is to give the benefit to the inefficient just as much as to the efficient. You have no efficiency test. There is no proposal in this connection for dealing with the test of efficiency and with those works which are really most up-to-date. Instead of that you are penalising them. On the question of fuel consumption, the report says: Although a substantial reduction in fuel consumption has been effected, it is not disputed that the British industry is considerably behind the Continent in regard to the application of methods of fuel economy. … The full application of modern methods of fuel economy is, to a considerable extent, hampered by the lack of balance in plants to which reference has already been made. The President of the Board of Trade referred to the difficulty of dealing with a great number of separate little industries. I think we all appreciate that that must be so, but you can deal with the matter quite effectively if you deal with the large plant. As far as Sheffield is concerned, we are producing for light and power, apart from that which is used by the tramways, about 140,000,000 or 150,000,000 units per annum. It is quite impossible, of course, to take all the various industries with which we are dealing, but it would be quite possible to give your benefit to the corporation electric supply department, or whatever may be equivalent to that in other places, by which it would be able to reduce its price and so benefit all industries together. If you look at it in that way, I think there is a good deal to be said for it, more particularly in the case of those who have taken the trouble to try to bring their equipment right up-to-date.

Photo of Major Charles Price Major Charles Price , Pembrokeshire

I find it somewhat difficult to follow the argument of the hon. Member in regard to the Amendment before the Committee. As far as one could follow, his argument was that electrical works should have cheap coal, but that other industries should not be considered efficient if they are using coal for power. That seems to me to cut right across the Amendment on the Paper. I would ask the hon. Gentleman to remember that electrical and other industries have been receiving a considerable subsidy up to the present from the depressed coal industry, which is producing coal and having to sell it at a price much less than cost. The whole object of the Government in proposing this particular assistance to the coal and steel industries, and confining it to them, is to enable the collieries to reduce, to a certain extent, the overhead charges which are hampering them, especially with regard to the export trade. We feel that any diminution of help which would be bound to result from the extension of the help over a much greater field than that to which it is confined at present would be detrimental to the coal industry, and, therefore, we oppose the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Frank Griffith Mr Frank Griffith , Middlesbrough West

We have got to approach this question, not upon the lines of what could be done if we could remodel this Bill altogether, because many would like to shatter it to bits and remodel it, but we have to consider what would be the effect of passing this Amendment. I daresay if the Bill had a different father and a different mother, it might be a different child, but we are not considering that now. If the Amendment were carried, the effect would not be to give a larger slice of cake to the whole of industry; it would mean that everybody would get so little that really it would be insignificant in its results. After all, we have to deal with these specially selected industries, not as industries arbitrarily selected. They are the industries which in that very valuable document, the Industrial Transference Board's report, are shown as being those in which unemployment in many cases is permanent as long as the present special conditions last, and in the face of that there is a strong reason for giving these heavy industries very special help, and recognising that there is only a certain amount of money. If we had an unlimited amount of money to be distributed, everybody would like to give as much as we could to every industry, and I am bound to say that the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. C. Wilson) made out a very strong case with regard to the subsequent treatment of those industries which are producing power for general purposes. But that is not this Amendment, and it would not be brought about by carrying this Amendment. Speaking on behalf of a district which is vitally interested in the heavy industries referred to, I do hope the Minister will not dissipate the relief.

Photo of Mr Rennie Smith Mr Rennie Smith , Penistone

I hope that the Minister will give this Amendment some further consideration. No one knows better than he does the importance of electricity in connection with the iron and steel industry, and I think he ought to hesitate a long time before he, in effect, penalises what are really the most up-to-date equipments in this country. I suggest that if he cannot consider the whole terms of this Amendment by broadening out the incidence along the lines we are suggesting, he might at least take into account the bearing of the electrical industry on the iron and steel trade. He has been partly arguing, I think, in favour of our Amendment, in that he has said he wants, above all things, to benefit the coal industry. If that is so, there is every reason why he should extend the list of other coal-using industries beyond the confines of the iron and steel trade itself. Certainly the electrical industry and the gas industry, for example, could very well be brought within the orbit.

I want to press the claim of the textile industry on the same grounds that have been argued with regard to the iron and steel trade. I should be the last one to under-value the claim of the iron and steel industry, coming as I do from a constituency which has a good deal of interest in that industry, but I do not think the Committee appreciates the distress there is in the textile industry. Hon. Members know that the mere statement of unemployment by no means gives a fair representation of the actual state of the textile industry in this country. There has been an habitual method employed for many years to obscure the actual distress in the country by keeping people in the first instance working full time in the industry, but giving them half the amount of work they are competent to do, such as running two looms instead of four and sometimes six. That is one of the effective ways in which the real distress in the industry has been masked in the last two or three years. The second method is systematically to apply short-time. If a full statement in regard to the textile industry could be submitted, it would be found that there is a very sound claim for including that industry precisely on the same ground as there is for the iron and steel industry.

Photo of Major Charles Price Major Charles Price , Pembrokeshire

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us what percentage of production costs the coal bears in the textile industry?

Photo of Mr Rennie Smith Mr Rennie Smith , Penistone

I am well aware that the amount of coal used in the textile industry is relatively much less.

Photo of Major Charles Price Major Charles Price , Pembrokeshire

How would it help the textile industry?

Photo of Mr Rennie Smith Mr Rennie Smith , Penistone

It would help them to the extent that any advantage comes from the application of this scheme. I am not claiming that you get the same advantage; obviously, you cannot under the circumstances; but what I am saying is that there is a claim for assistance to the textile industry which is equal to the claims of iron and steel.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Ellis Sir Geoffrey Ellis , Wakefield

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that a great deal of the coal in textile districts comes direct by road transport?

Photo of Mr Rennie Smith Mr Rennie Smith , Penistone

I see the force of that point, but does it not apply to the iron and steel trade? I want to put it to the Minister that he should not take the view that we are asking for this Amendment to be carried within the strict financial limits of this Schedule. The Government have fixed the amount of relief to go to the mining and iron and steel industries to the 75 per cent. relief of rates on the railways. That is their affair and not ours, but I can assure the Minister that if he comes to the conclusion that a larger sum of money would achieve the purpose of the Government, he will find plenty of assistance from this side. We are certainly not arguing a case for broadening and generalising this relief; we are saying that if this thing is valid it can be applied generally with greater efficiency, and it cannot hurt the Government to enlarge the financial basis of this Schedule.

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Middlesbrough East

I wish to refer to the Minister's argument that, if we are to give effective help to the iron and steel industry, we cannot divide this particular small sum of money. He spent the whole of his argument on the principle of selection and said that we must select a particular trade if we are to get the maximum advantages. Coming from an iron and steel constituency, I am naturally anxious that the trade should get something substantial, but our objection to this Schedule is that it does not provide the substantial help that is necessary to get the trade out of the mess in which it is at present. The curious thing is that the Minister's argument destroys a great deal of the argument put forward by the Minister of Health and his Parliamentary Secretary. During the Debates upon the first part of the Bill, we were told that we could not select industries. The hon. Member for Whitehaven (Mr. R. Hudson) said that if we took the attitude that we did on the Schedule, why did we object to the relief to the brewers? If we are to have selection in the distribution of the money in one case, that is, in regard to the rates on railways, why could we not have applied this very principle of selection to the earlier part of the Bill?

The argument of the Minister is that there is only a certain amount of money—from £3,500,000 to £4,000,000—available for distribution, and that if the Amendments of the Opposition were carried, the amount available for distribution would be so small as to be negligible. I agree, but, if that be the case, surely the President of the Board of Trade ought to have impressed this upon his colleagues in the earlier part of the Bill. If the President's arguments are sound, what is left of the arguments of the Minister of Health that we cannot distinguish in regard to derating between perfumery firms, breweries, distilleries and tobacco factories, who do not want de-rating and have said that they do not want it? If the Government had applied this principle earlier, instead of having £3,500,000 to —4,000,000 to distribute under the Schedule, they would have had twice that amount. Therefore, it seems to me that we are getting ourselves into a perfectly hopeless tangle. The objection of the Opposition is to this dissipation of the money, and I am sorry that the President of the Board of Trade is not here to explain the apparent contradiction between what his Department says and what the Ministry of Health says. There is no doubt that this is a money wasting Bill, in the sense that money is going to the people who do not need it, and is going—

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Middlesbrough East

I am pleading for iron and steel, but I object to the Minister saying that we must discriminate in favour of iron and steel, and that we cannot help the rest of the distressed industries because the amount would be so small; while, on the other hand, the other Minister gays that we cannot discriminate between industries, because everybody must be treated alike. The whole thing is built on a contradiction.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

The President of the Board of Trade said that the primary object of this Schedule is to assist the coal and iron industries, and coal especially. We do not quarrel with that; we welcome it, and he has done it as a result of pressure from the mining industry. He could help the coal industry still more, however, if he accepted the Amendment and provided he enlarged the total sum. The responsibility for enlarging the sum is entirely that of the Government. They have the power to enlarge it whenever they like, and, if they refuse to enlarge it, the responsibility for limiting the assistance to the coal industry is theirs. If they adhere to the sum laid down in this Bill, I am not going to quarrel with their proposal to confine its benefits to coal, iron and steel. The Government, however, do not take a very long view of the problem of helping the coal industry. They are responsible for this Bill, which is a logical development of the Eating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act of 1925, and already the draft valuation lists of the new assessments of industrial hereditaments have been published—

Photo of Major Charles Price Major Charles Price , Pembrokeshire

Is it in order for the hon. Member to go into the question of assessments on this Amendment?

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

I should say not, but the hon. Member can hardly have finished his sentence.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

I wish to draw attention to the fact that the President of the Board of Trade said that the primary object is to assist the coal trade. If that be so, why cannot the Government go still further? I asked a question of the Mines Department a few weeks ago, as to the value to the coal trade of the two rebates which were being given, namely, the particular rebate described in the Schedule and the rebate of 75 per cent. of the local rates.

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

Quite obviously, the later point should not be gone into.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

By way of illustration, I think I am justified. The answers I got were that the approximate estimate is 5½d. per ton benefit.

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

An illustration really must illustrate. How can this matter of assessments illustrate the particular point as to whether coal for all industrial establishments is to be included or only coal for the iron and steel trade?

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

If the increased assessments are going to increase the cost of production of the various collieries which are being assisted here, to the extent of 3d. or 4d. or 5d. a ton, then the Government are depriving the collieries of practically the whole of the benefit they are getting under this Schedule.

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

That may be a good point to advance at some other stage, but not an this Amendment.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

Having got my point in, I am quite satisfied.

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

The Committee divided: Ayes, 168; Noes, 65.

Division No. 152.]AYES.[2.27 p.m.
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. CharlesGates, PercyPower, Sir John Cecil
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew HamiltonPrice, Major C. W. M.
Allen, Sir J. SandemanGilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnReid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Goff, Sir ParkReid, D. D. (County Down)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (W'th's'w, E)Rhys, Hon. C. A. U
Atkinson, C.Griffith, F. KingsleyRichardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyGuinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Ropner, Major L.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Gunston, Captain D. W.Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Balniel, LordHamilton, Sir GeorgeRussell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Barnett, Major Sir RichardHamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Salmon, Major I.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenrySandeman, N. Stewart
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonHarland, A.Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Bennett, A. J.Harrison, G. J. C.Sandon, Lord
Bentinck, Lord Henry CavendishHarvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Savery, S. S.
Berry, Sir GeorgeHenderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir VivianShaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)
Birchall, Major J. DearmanHeneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.Shepperson, E. W.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.Henn, Sir Sydney H.Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Brassey, Sir LeonardHennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeHilton, CecilSmith, R.W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Brittain, Sir HarryHoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Smithers Waldron
Broun-Lindsay, Major H.Hopkins, J. W. W.Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Buckingham, Sir H.Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Hume, Sir G. H.Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City )Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Sprot, Sir Alexander
Cazalet, Captain Victor A.Iveagh, Countess ofStanley, Lord (Fylde)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. M. (Ladywood)Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Stanley, Hon O. F. G. (Weatm'eland)
Christie, J. A.Jones, W. N. (Carmarthen)Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir WilliamStott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Clayton, G. C.Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Cobb, Sir CyrilKing, Commodore Henry DouglasStyles, Captain H. Walter
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir GeorgeLister, Cunilffe, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipSugden, Sir Wilfrid
Colman, N. C. D.Livingstone, A. M.Tasker, R. Inigo.
Cope, Major Sir WilliamLoder, J. de V.Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Couper, J. B.Lougher, LewisThomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Crawfurd, H. E.Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard HarmanThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)MacAndrew, Major Charles GlenThomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Davies, Dr. VernonMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Dawson, Sir PhilipMcLean, Major A.Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Dixey, A. C.Macmillan, Captain H.Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Edmondson, Major A. J.Macquisten, F. A.Wallace, Captain D. E.
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Ellis, R. G.Malone, Major P. B.Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)Manningham-Buller, Sir MervynWatts, Sir Thomas
Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithMargesson, Captain D.Wayland, Sir William A.
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Meller, R. J.White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple.
Everard, W. LindsayMerriman, Sir F. BoydWilliams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Fairfax, Captain J. G.Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Falle, Sir Bertram G.Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Fermoy, LordMonsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Fielden, E. B.Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)Withers, John James
Forestier-Walker, Sir L.Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)Womersley, W. J.
Forrest, W.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Foster, Sir Harry S.O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Fraser, Captain IanPercy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Ganzoni, Sir JohnPeto, G. (Somerset, Frome)Mr. Penny and Major the Marquess
of Titchfield.
NOES.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Beckett, John (Gateshead)Brood, F. A.
Ammon, Charles GeorgeBellamy, A.Bromley, C.
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Bondfield, MargaretBuxton, Rt. Hon. Noel
Batey, JosephBowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Charleton, H. C.
Dennison, R.Lee, F.Stephen, Campbell
Duncan, C.Lindley, F. W.Sutton, J. E.
Dunnico, H.Lowth, T.Thomas, Rt. Hon James H. (Darby)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Lunn, WilliamThorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Gardner, J. P.Mackinder, W.Thurtle, Ernest
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Tinker, John Joseph
Greenwood. A. (Nelson and Coins)Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Viant, S. P.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Palin, John HenryWatts-Morgan. Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Grovel, T.Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Wellock, Wilfred
Hayday, ArthurPotts, John S.Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Hayes, John HenryPurcell, A. A.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Hirst, G. H.Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)Windsor, Walter
John, William (Rhondda, West)Shepherd, Arthur LewisWright, W.
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Shinwell, E.Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Kelly, W. T.Sitch, Charles H.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Lawrence, SusanSmith, Rennie (Penistone)Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. A.
Lawson, John JamesStamford, T. W.Barnes.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , New Forest and Christchurch

I beg to move, in page 139, line 9, at the end, to insert the words: or of hammers or presses which produce all or any of the following articles, that is to say, forgings weighing not less than ten hundredweight, blooms, billets, or bars. This Amendment slightly extends the list of iron and steel works to which this section of the Schedule applies. It covers the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for the Hallam Division of Sheffield (Mr. L. W. Smith), and meets, I hope, the wishes of the Sheffield Forge Masters and also the representations made on behalf the Midland Ironmasters in regard to forges which produce various heavy forgings. It has been agreed to, also, with the Iron and Steel Trade Federation, and I hope the Committee will accept it.

Amendment agreed to.

Consequential Amendment made.

Photo of Mr Rennie Smith Mr Rennie Smith , Penistone

I beg to move, in page 139, line 28, at the end, to add the words "unmanufactured grain, consigned direct to millers."

This is a very small Amendment, and I hope, when I have made one or two brief observations upon it, the Minister of Agriculture will see his way to accept it. My proposal relates to the working out of the 10 per cent. reduction of tariff on all food stuffs consigned direct to millers. Of course, all millers will benefit from this tariff, but those millers in the ports where the grain is received will get a distinct advantage over those millers who have their establishments inland for the simple reasons that the millers with their establishments in the provinces would have to pay the cost of transport. For example, the Barnsley Co-operative Society would have to pay, first of all, the railway carriage on the unmanufactured grain from the port of Hull or Liverpool, and after treating the grain they would have to pay carriage when sending the by-products to the farmers. Consequently, they would not get the advantage of this proposal unless they paid the transport charge from the port of shipment. Therefore, the inland milling manufacturers will be placed at a definite disadvantage in comparison with those millers near the ports. I do not think that it is the intention of the Ministry of Agriculture to encourage inland millers to remove their establishments to ports like Liverpool and Hull. I think I have raised a point of substance, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will accept my proposal.

Mr. GUINNESS:

This Amendment would be in conflict with our object in framing the Schedule dealing with agricultural traffic, and it would not afford any security that the relief given would be passed on to the farmer. Of course, it would not discriminate between British and foreign grain, and therefore, if such an Amendment were accepted, a great deal of the benefit would go to the foreign grain and to some extent it would give foreign grain an advantage which it does not possess at the present time in the inland market. I admit that any change of this kind inevitably makes some difference in the relationship and the relative position of different manufacturers, but that is a question which it is very easy to exaggerate. After all, the inland mills will retain a great advantage in so far as they deal in local grain and sell the offal to local farmers. Of course, the port millers will be able to offer more tempting terms, but it only amounts to one-tenth of the railway freight from which the inland millers are in many cases altogether free. If we let in all the foreign grain and grain sent to the inland mills, there would be less money to distribute on agriculture, and for that reason I am obliged to refuse this Amendment.

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Middlesbrough East

I want to remind the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health of a meeting which he addressed in my constituency at which he promised to go very carefully into this matter. I want to know if he has considered this point and what is the result of his consideration. While we have every sympathy with Ministers who desire to get out of awkward places, they must remember that we expect them to fulfil any promises which they make. I am sure the gentleman who put the question to the Parliamentary Secretary will be disappointed unless he has some assurance that the matter which he brought forward has been carefully considered. May I remind the Minister of Transport that this case has been brought forward by the Yorkshire millers, and their point was that this Schedule would operate to the advantage of those mills which imported the cheap foreign grain, while the mills that were using the grain produced by our farmers would not get any advantage. Consequently, the farmers would lose, because the tendency would be for the trade to go to the ports, and they would use foreign grain. It has already been pointed out that the competition in this particular trade is so keen that even to cut prices by such a small charge as is involved in this case might upset the whole trade. Again, I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary, if he is pre pared, to give a considered reply to the question put to him at the meeting to which I referred, and I feel sure that after promising to consider this matter he will do so.

Photo of Mr Rennie Smith Mr Rennie Smith , Penistone

The Minister of Agriculture has admitted the inequity that he will commit if he allows the Bill to go through as it stands at present. I think he understands that the inland millers are just as anxious to help the farmers as the millers at the ports, and the inland millers will give just as much guarantee as the port millers that 100 per cent. of the benefits to be obtained under this Schedule shall pass on to the farmers. The Minister has not the slightest guarantee that 100 per cent. of the benefit will be passed on to the farmer—

Mr. GUINNESS:

It is the farmer who will pay the freights.

Photo of Mr Rennie Smith Mr Rennie Smith , Penistone

What I am trying to present to the Minister is that it is necessary to consider, not merely the inland millers, but the whole organisation of the trade, and that some step ought to be taken to meet the unfair position in which the inland miller will be put as a consequence of the passing of the Schedule in its present form. The Minister says that in the main the inland miller uses local grain, and to that extent the problem does not arise; it only arises in so far as the inland millers use grain from the ports, and I do not think the Minister would argue that to give to the inland millers the concession indicated in my Amendment would be to give a preference to foreign-grown wheat which would overwhelmingly affect the inland markets. I know that this is not an important Amendment, but I would ask the Minister whether he has had representations from the Hull Corn Trade Association, and whether, in view of the fact that the charge involved would be very slight, and that this concession might help him to improve his relations with the farmers of the country, he cannot, at any rate, undertake to reconsider the matter between now and the Report stage.

Mr. GUINNESS:

I assure the hon. Member that I have very carefully considered this Amendment, and am satisfied that to accept it would be quite inconsistent with the principles we have adopted. There are innumerable interests which would like to be brought within the benefits of the Schedule, and which we have had to reject because we do not want to spread the butter too thinly. We must limit ourselves to certain agricultural traffics, and we cannot begin to give the benefit of these freight remissions to materials which go to the factories to be manufactured into products for agricultural consumption. If we began with the millers, we should have to go on to the manufacturers of fertilisers and so forth, and it would mean a very large dispersion of the limited resources which we have at our disposal for helping the farmers.

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Middlesbrough East

Would not the argument which the right hon. Gentleman has just put forward have been more ap- propriate if it had been applied when we were giving relief to the brewers and distillers, since it would be much easier to discriminate against them than against these unfortunate millers?

Mr. GUINNESS:

There is no question of discriminating against the millers. We are picking out a very depressed industry, which we believe needs all the help that we can give it. If we are going to cast our net wider, and, with the same resources, give the benefit to a much larger number of industries, obviously we

shall not be able to do so much for that particular industry.

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Middlesbrough East

Does not that argument apply word for word to giving the relief to the brewers and distillers, whose industry is certainly not a depressed industry? If the same thing can be done in the one case, why cannot it be done in the other?

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

The Committee divided: Ayes 67; Noes 169.

Division No. 153.]AYES.[2.51 p.m.
Ammon, Charles GeorgeJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Sitch, Charles H.
Batey, JosephKelly, W. T.Smith, Rennle (Penistone)
Bellamy, A.Lawrence, SusanStamford, T. W.
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-Lawson, John JamesStephen, Campbell
Bondfield, MargaretLee, F.Sutton, J. E.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Lindley, F. W.Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby
Broad, F. A.Lowth, T.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Bromley, J.Lunn, WilliamThurtle, Ernest
Buxton, Rt. Hon. NoelMackinder, W.Tinker, John Joseph
Charleton, H. C.Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Viant, S. P.
Dennison, R.Montague, FrederickWatts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Duncan, C.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Wellock, Wilfred
Dunnico, H.Mosley, Sir OswaldWilkinson, Ellen C.
Gardner, J. P.Palin, John HenryWilliams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercilffer)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coina)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Windsor, Walter
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Ponsonby, ArthurWright, Brig.-General W. D.
Groves, T.Potts, John S.Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hayday, ArthurPurcell, A. A.
Hayes, John HenryRoberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hirst, G. H.Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. A.
Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)Shepherd, Arthur LewisBarnes.
John, William (Rhondda, West)Shinwell, E.
NOES.
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. CharlesCrawfurd, H. E.Harrison, G. J. C.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Davies, Dr. VernonHenderson, Lieut.-Cot, Sir Vivian
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Dawson, Sir PhilipHeneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Atkinson, C.Dixey, A. C.Henn, Sir Sydney H.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyEdmondson, Major A. J.Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)Hilton, Cecil
Balniel, LordEllis, R. G.Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.
Barnett Major Sir RichardErskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithHopkins, J. W. W.
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonEvans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)
Bennett, A. J.Everard, W. LindsayHudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Berry, Sir GeorgeFairfax, Captain J. G.Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.Falle, Sir Bertram G.Hume, Sir G. H.
Brassey, Sir LeonardFielden, E. B.Iveagh, Countess of
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeForestier-Walker, Sir L.Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)
Brittain, Sir HarryForrest, W.Jones, W. N. (Carmarthen)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Foster, Sir Harry S.Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William
Broun-Lindsay, Major H.Fraser, Captain IanKennedy, A. R. (Preston)
Buckingham, Sir H.Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.King, Commodore Henry Douglas
Bullock, Captain M.Gates, PercyLister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew HamiltonLivingstone, A. M.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnLoder, J. de V.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Goff, Sir ParkLougher, Lewis
Christie, J. A.Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (W'th's'w, E.)Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Griffith, F. KingsleyLuce, Major-Gen, Sir Richard Harman
Clayton, G. C.Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen
Cobb, Sir CyrilGunston, Captain D. W.Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir GeorgeHamilton, Sir GeorgeMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Colman, N. C. D.Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)McLean, Major A.
Cope, Major Sir WilliamHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryMacmillan, Captain H.
Couper, J. B.Harland, A.Macquisten, F. A.
Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel.Salmon, Major I.Thomson, F. C (Aberdeen, S.)
Malone, Major P. B.Sandeman, N. StewartThomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Manningham-Buller, Sir MervynSanders, Sir Robert A.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Margesson, Captain D.Sandon, LordTurton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Mason, Colonel Glyn K.Savery, S. S.Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Meller, R. J.Shaw, Lt.-Col. A.D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)Wallace, Captain D. E.
Merriman, Sir F. BoydShepperson, E. W.Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)Sinclair, Cot. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst)Watts, Sir Thomas
Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)Wayland, Sir William A.
Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
Moore, Sir Newton J.Smith-Carington, Neville W.Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)Smithers, WaldronWilliams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)Windsor, Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)Southby, Commander A. R. J.Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Spender-Clay, Colonel H.Withers, John James
Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)Sprot, Sir AlexanderWomersley, W. J.
Power, Sir John CecilStanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Price, Major C. W. M.Steel, Major Samuel StrangWood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Rhys, Hon. C. A. D.Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)
Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)Styles, Captain H. W.
Ropner, Major L.Sugden, Sir WilfridTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Ross, R. D.Tasker, R. Inigo.Mr. Penny and Major the Marquess
Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)of Titchfield.
Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)

Commander WILLIAMS:

I beg to move, in page 139, line 28, at the end, to add the word "Fish." I would deal first with one or two objections that may be made to the inclusion of fish in this Schedule. The first objection which would be probably made is that it would add to the cost of the Bill to give relief to this particular form of freightage. I am not at all sure that this sum is balanced on such a fine basis that it would not be possible to get in this particular addition at this place. If you look at an Amendment which has been passed to-day, you will find that very considerable additions were made by a particular Government Amendment. Very considerable concessions have been made at various stages of the Bill. A good many people were in favour of this concession at an earlier stage, and I do not think that the Government are likely at this stage to rely on such a weak argument as that it would upset the whole balance of the Bill.

The next point which could be raised is that this would not be a direct benefit to the fishermen themselves; it is thought that it might go to the middlemen. I am not at all sure that that argument is as strong as it is sometimes thought to be. There is a certain number, not as many as I would like to see, of co-operative societies selling fish, and the advantage, I am certain, would in many cases go to the fishermen. The Ministry of Fisheries is just as capable of dealing with this matter and seeing that the money goes to the right quarters as they have been in other things. I would not depreciate the ability of the Ministry of Fisheries by saying that they could not quite easily get over the difficulty. Therefore, the question of the middleman is ruled out. The third thing that might be said is that already a considerable amount has been done for the fishing industry. Undoubtedly, they will benefit by not having to pay the Petrol Duty, but they will be no better off than they were before. In other cases, they will benefit in respect to coal, and they will get the advantage of the de-rating of various places where boats are repaired.

These are advantages. But, if you weigh them against the enormous advantages which are given directly to agriculture—and I am simply taking the two branches with which the Ministry is concerned—I think that, on the whole, you have at least as good a case why the fishing industry should come in as you have in respect to any other articles in the Schedule. I realise the great disadvantage of spreading the relief too much; but I believe it would be possible, even at this late stage, to get fish inserted, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider it between now and the Report stage. It is a concession which would be of immense value from many points of view; from the point of view of employment, from the point of encouraging men to continue in these industries and not to flood other industries; and it would be an encouragement to the production of food.

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Middlesbrough East

I would like to urge the right hon. Gentleman who is in charge of this Bill to accept this Amendment, because it would bring in a matter that we have not considered at all, the question of the consumer. It is undoubtedly a fact that the fish that is gathered round the shores of these islands could be made very much cheaper than it is and could be one of the most valuable foods of the working-classes, especially in the distressed areas. One of the difficulties in the way of fish becoming a popular article of food, as it ought to be, is its high cost. When I have raised the matter in the Press and in other ways, I have always had shoals of correspondence from fishermen and trawlowners, who say that the fish is cheap enough when it leaves their hands, but the high cost of transport, especially to the inland industrial towns, makes its price prohibitive when it gets there. When I was chairman of the relief committee for the wives and children of miners during the lockout, I had a large number of fishermen writing to me saying that they would be prepared to send consignments of fish to the mining areas but that they could not afford to pay for the transport, and we had to pay cut of our funds the rail transport from the ports. They are all faced with tremendous distress in many of these industrial areas and the provision of food more cheaply than at present would be extraordinarily valuable.

I know there is the difficulty that the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Torquay (Commander Williams) has pointed out, but if the Food Council is of any use at all, and is not merely a decorative addition to one of the Prime Minister's speeches, you could link it up with the Ministry of Agriculture and see whether you could not give this rebate and thus get cheaper fish food in the industrial areas, and by that means benefit the fishing industry. It has suffered very much from the extraordinarily foolish and short-sighted Russian policy of the Government, and it is about time they did something for this industry, which employs a very large number of people. We have done a great deal to give money to people who do not want it and to give relief to beer and tobacco and spirits, which are not necessities of life. Food is a necessity of life. The working-classes, unfortunately, cannot live on air, thick though it is is many of the industrial areas; therefore I hope the Government will do something to reduce the cost of this very valuable food by giving this rebate, even if they have to take something off the brewers and distillers and give it to the fishing industry. I hope, if the Minister cannot at once accept the Amendment, he will give it very careful consideration, and when we put it down again on Report we shall expect him to accept it.

Photo of Mr Walter Womersley Mr Walter Womersley , Grimsby

The Committee will not expect an Amendment such as this to pass without a word from the Member for Grimsby. I take it that as the Chairman allowed the hon. Lady to mention Russia, he will allow me to say a word on the same subject. The real fault is with the Soviet Government and not with the British Government.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

The hon. Member cannot possibly enter into a discussion with regard to Russia. The hon. Lady only mentioned it in passing as one of the difficulties of the fishing trade. The hon. Member cannot go into the merits of the Government's policy.

Photo of Mr Walter Womersley Mr Walter Womersley , Grimsby

This is an Amendment that is worth some consideration. It is not going to relieve the fishing industry of a great difficulty as regards getting that very necessary and nutritious food from the ports to the poorer classes in the inland towns. No doubt the cost of carriage has a great deal to do with the price of the cheaper grades of fish, because you have to pay the same rate per cwt. on soles worth 2s. a lb. as on small haddocks sold at 1d or l½d. a lb. That is where the difficulty comes in in getting the cheaper fish to the consumers at a very low price. If we could get an abolition of the present system of charging for 1 cwt. whether or not you send 1 cwt., that would help the industry far more than this freight relief. The question of who would get the benefit of this relief is solved by the fact that the passenger rate traffic in connection with fish has to be prepaid; therefore, the sender at the ports having to pay the carriage would undoubtedly get the relief on the freights. It would mean either that the fish salesman would get a little more for his fish, or the sender would be able to despatch it at a cheaper rate. The freight relief would, therefore, be a benefit to the industry. There is one matter which people engaged in the industry cannot understand. Under Part II of the Schedule benefit will be allowed in respect of fertilisers made from fish, or fish sent for the purpose of being used as manure. The people in the trade would like to know how it is that fish sent for the purpose of being used as a fertiliser gets freight relief, while fish sent for human consumption does not. That seems to be rather a difficult question even for me to answer, anxious as I am to defend any action of the Government.

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Middlesbrough East

That must be a difficult task.

Photo of Mr Walter Womersley Mr Walter Womersley , Grimsby

It is never difficult except when it comes up against the fishing industry. In other matters, I am in complete accord with the Government, and at variance with the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Miss Wilkinson). It is hardly possible to expect the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Amendment to-day. In all probability, he has not had the considerations put before him which have been advanced so forcibly by the hon. Member for Torquay (Commander Williams). I hope he will promise to give the matter careful consideration between now and the Report stage, and possibly in the meantime those who represent the industry can make representations to him which might alter his view on the matter.

Mr. GUINNESS:

My hon. Friends who have moved and supported this Amendment are, of course, not responsible for its drafting. They have, no doubt, taken it on trust from the hon. Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Ken-worthy). They might be interested to know that if the Amendment were accepted it would have absolutely no result, because in an earlier part of the Schedule the rebates in paragraph 6 have been definitely allocated, as to the total amount of money available, to the traffics set out in Parts II, III, and IV of the Schedule. If we put in Part V, there would be no money available to give any freight relief.

Commander WILLIAMS:

I would point out that I deliberately did not move to include the words "Part V." I simply moved to add the word "fish." I am sorry if I was not clear.

Mr. GREENWOOD:

It was put from the Chair in the form in which it would have been moved by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Central Hull. That put it perfectly in order, and it was so moved by the hon. and gallant Member for Torquay.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

I did put the Amendment in a form to insert the word "fish" as an addition to Part IV.

Mr. GUINNESS:

As a selected traffic and not as agricultural traffic. Therefore, I ought not to be answerable, because the loss which would be caused by adding another selected traffic would not affect agricultural traffics. I expect that my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade would take exactly the same view that I take, that it would not be reasonable to single out fish and to give it the benefit of this freight relief. The hon. and gallant Member for Torquay (Commander Williams) mentioned that we had made certain Amendments in the Schedule in respect to the selected traffics. In the case of Part II, those Amendments are nothing more than interpretations, and they will not increase the area of benefit in the aggregate. We certainly could not afford to bring in the whole of this very valuable traffic in fish in view of the fact that it would inevitably whittle down very considerably the advantages enjoyed by the depressed industries which have been selected for this benefit.

We did not propose to cover fish in the first instance, partly because I am glad to say that it does not compare in the difficulty of its position with that of agricultural produce, and also because we do not believe that any concession of this kind would go to those who actually caught the fish. We considered it very carefully, and especially from the point of view of the inshore fishermen whose sufferings, owing to wrecks and other matters, have been so well put to us by my hon. Friend. To bring them into any such Measure as this, would be impossible. We have done all that we could by bringing bunker coal for fishing boats within the freight relief and by giving in the Budget a concession on petrol which is a more direct benefit to the con- stituents of my hon. and gallant Friend. We do not believe that any rebate would go to the fishermen in the vast majority of cases. The co-operative societies which my hon. Friend mentioned only deal with a very small proportion of our fish supplies. The great volume of fish is sent from ports like Grimsby and Hull, which deal with the fish caught on distant grounds. The fish is not consigned by the fishermen; it is bought at auction by persons who pay the transport charges. The benefit, therefore, of any reduction would not go to the people who caught the fish. For these reasons, and because I believe it would be very hard on agriculture and those other industries affected by the selected traffics if fish were to come in, I cannot agree to deprive those industries of the benefit of this freight relief, to which they are looking forward, for the advantage of the middlemen, and not for the advantage of the men who have actually caught the fish.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Arthur Heneage Lieut-Colonel Sir Arthur Heneage , Louth Borough

What would be the cost to the Exchequer of this 10 per cent. relief to fishermen?

Mr. GUINNESS:

I am afraid that I have not the figures, but it would be a very considerable cost. Ten per cent. of all the fish freights would be very high, because, as the Committee is aware, they do not go by goods train, but by passenger train.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

I do not know if the Committee has observed that on page 137 the Committee has already decided that, except for milk, selected traffics can only mean traffics travelling at goods rates.

Photo of Sir Robert Hamilton Sir Robert Hamilton , Orkney and Shetland

I am sorry that the Minister has not arrived at a more satisfactory conclusion. If there is one thing that would be of assistance to the industry, which is very much in need of assistance, it would be the obtaining of a lower rate of freight over the railways. There are two objects that the fishing industry has in view. One is that the fishermen should get a higher price; and the second is that the market should be extended at home and that the fish should be brought from the ports to the people, and particularly to the poorer people in the distressed area, so that they could buy fish at a lower price. Although the Minister has said that it is quite possible that the whole of the advantage would not be passed on to the consumer, that I think would be the case with a great many of the other articles included, and that is no reason for excluding fish. Though it is true that a large quantity of the fish is sold at auction at the port, that does not affect the fact that a lower freight for the fish when distributed would affect the question of the marketing for the whole of the industry. Therefore I regret that the Minister has not seen his way to give special consideration to the industry, and I shall have to vote in favour of the Amendment.

Photo of Major Charles Price Major Charles Price , Pembrokeshire

On referring to the Schedule of the Bill, I find the following: Selected traffics" means the traffics mentioned in Parts II, III, and IV of this Schedule, but, save as respects milk, does not include any traffics conveyed at passenger train rates. Therefore, so far as fish is concerned, it is not excluded, because it does not travel at passenger rates though it may not travel by goods train. The Ministry should give a little more consideration to this fish traffic. We have an exceedingly long haul from my trawling port before we get to any centres at all. To suggest that if our overhead charges come down, the reduction does not pass to the men who catch the fish, is theoretically rather than practically true. The bigger the market for the fish the more there is for those who catch it. One of the great difficulties in my particular port is that we do not get the full amount of relief under the railway rebates, for the simple reason that our railway stops at the station, and we then have to pay a further toll for hauling from the station to the dockside. Seeing that no relief is given to the dock companies, we have to compete unfavourably with other ports which have a short haul to the dockside. I know that the Minister is exceedingly sympathetic to the agricultural industry, but I hope he will remember that all his sympathy must not be directed to that quarter, and that he is in a dual capacity as Minister for Fisheries as well as Minister for Agriculture. If he turns to the Estimates he will find that the amount spent on fisheries is exceedingly small. The help that we might get from this proposal would be of very great value to a most deserving industry, the members of which, when called upon for service to their country, put nothing between themselves and that service.

Photo of Sir Wilfred Sugden Sir Wilfred Sugden , Hartlepools, The

I want to put in a plea for our fishermen again. I was hoping that my right hon. Friend the Minister would remember these people who are not too audible at election times but take quiescently and gratefully what a Government such as the present gives them. If the right hon. Gentleman cannot give us what the Amendment demands, cannot he give us a rebate on the return of "empties"? In the fishing industry one of the most important matters is that when fish is sent to London and other places, say from Hartlepool in my constituency, heavy charges are made for the returned "empties." If we cannot have a rebate on the cost of transporting fish from one place to another for the purpose of having it smoked or cured or to market—and apparently we are not to have such a rebate—I would ask my right hon. Friend to give us some rebate on the carriage of empties. That will be some little sop at any rate to offer to these gallant fellows who do so much to man our Navy. We rely on the fishing industry for the best sailors we have in our Navy. If their industry is to be throttled out of existence by these Germans and others who are dumping their fish upon us, it is a very serious matter, and the Government, I think, will be very hard-hearted indeed to refuse them the small concession for which they are asking in this case. I know my right hon. Friend the Minister very well, and I pay him this tribute, that when we appeal to him on these matters he is always sympathetic; but, as has been said, the real sympathy is the sympathy of the pocket, and if he can give some practical help to the fishermen of this country in the way I have suggested, I hope he will do so.

Photo of Sir Basil Peto Sir Basil Peto , Barnstaple

Like other hon. Members I have had representations made to me on this matter of the inclusion of fish. I have carefully considered the matter, and I am convinced that the decision announced by the Government is the right one in the interests of all. It is possible to spread the butter so thinly that nobody will get any benefit from it. We are only dealing here with a definite sum of £800,000 which is allocated to certain definite traffics, and, if you include the enormous volume of fish traffic in this country, you will so whittle down the value of the concession that it will be no good to anybody at all. We have had a considerable number of agricultural traffics included, such as manures, foodstuffs, live-stock, milk and potatoes. If you include others you will reduce the value of the rebates which you are now able to give either to certain specific industries or to agriculture. The amount which the fishing industry would get would be absolutely inappreciable, and would do no good whatever, either in reducing the price of fish or increasing the amount which the fishermen would get. There may be a case for further assistance being given to the fishing industry; but this particular proposal would be of no use to it whatever, and would only do a certain amount of harm.

Mr. GUINNESS:

A question has been asked as to what would be the cost of this concession. I understand the fish traffic amounts to £1,500,000 per year, and therefore the cost would be £150,000. But if, as I understand, this is to come under Part IV of the Schedule, in which case it will only apply to fish delivered to iron or steel works which consist wholly or mainly of blast furnaces the figure will be much less.

Question put, "That the word 'Fish' be there added."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 66; Noes, 158.

Division No. 154.]AYES.[3.30 p.m.
Ammon, Charles GeorgeCrawfurd, H. E.Groves, T.
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Dennison, R.Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)
Batey, JosephDuncan, C.Harris, Percy A.
Bellamy, A.Dunnico, H.Hayday, Arthur
Bondfield, MargaretEvans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Hirst, G. H.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Gardner, J. P.Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Broad, F. A.Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)
Bromley, J.Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Kelly, W. T.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. NoelGrenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Lawrence, Susan
Charleton, H. C.Griffith, F. KingsleyLawson, John James
Lea, F.Purcell, A. A.Thurtle, Ernest
Lindley, F. W.Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)Tinker, John Joseph
Lowth, T.Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)Viant, S. P.
Mackinder, W.Shepherd, Arthur LewisWellock, Wilfred
MacLaren, AndrewShinwell, E.Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Montague, FrederickSitch, Charles H.Windsor, Walter
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham. N.)Smith, Rennie (Penistone)Womersley, W. J.
Palin, John HenryStamford, T. W.Wright, Brig-General W. D.
Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Stephen, CampbellYoung, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Ponsonby, ArthurSutton, J. E.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Potts, John S.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. Hayes.
NOES.
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. CharlesGault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew HamiltonPownall, Sir Assheton
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnReid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Goff, Sir ParkRhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (W'th's'w, E.)Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Atkinson, C.Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Ropner, Major L.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyGunston, Captain D. W.Ross, R. D.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Hamilton, Sir GeorgeRuggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Balniel, LordHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryRussell, Alexander west (Tynemouth)
Barnett, Major Sir RichardHarrison, G. J. C.Sandeman, N. Stewart
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonHenderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir VivianSandon, Lord
Bennett, A. J.Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Berry, Sir GeorgeHenn, Sir Sydney H.Savery, S. S.
Birchall, Major J. DearmanHilton, CecilShaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Shepperson, E. W.
Brassey, Sir LeonardHope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst)
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeHopkins, J. W. W.Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Brittain, Sir HarryHopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H.Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Smithers, Waldron
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Buckingham, Sir H.Hume, Sir G. H.Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesIveagh, Countess ofSpender-Clay, Colonel H.
Bullock, Captain M.Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Sprot, Sir Alexander
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Kennedy, A. R. (Preston).Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)King, Commodore Henry DouglasSteel Major Samuel Strang
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipStott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Loder, J. de V.Styles, Captain H. Walter
Christle, J. A.Lougher, LewisTasker, R. Inigo.
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh VereThorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Clayton, G. C.Luce, Mai-Gen. Sir Richard HarmanThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)
Cobb. Sir CyrilMacAndrew, Major Charles GlenThomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W Mitchell-
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir GeorgeMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Cohen Major J. BrunelMacmillan, Captain H.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Colman, N. C. D.Macquisten, F. A.Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Couper, J. B.Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-Vaughan, Morgan. Col. K. P.
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Galnsbro)Malone, Major P. B.Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Davies, Dr. VernonManningham-Buller, Sir MervynWarner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Dawson, Sir PhilipMargesson, Captain D.Wayland, Sir William A.
Dixey, A. C.Mason, Colonel Glyn K.Wells, S. R.
Edmondson, Major A. J.Meller, R. J.White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)Merriman, Sir F. BoydWilliams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Ellis, R. G.Milne, J. S. WardlawWinterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston s.-M.)Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)Withers, John James
Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithMonsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.Wolmer, Viscount
Everard, W. LindsayMoore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Fairfax, Captain J. G.Moore, Sir Newton J.Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Falle, Sir Bertram G.Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Fielden, E. B.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Forestier-Walker, Sir L.O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)
Foster, Sir Harry S.Penny, Frederick George
Fraser, Captain IanPeto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)Major Sir George Hennessy and
Gates, PercyPower, Sir John CecilCaptain Wallace.

It being after half-past Three of the Clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 12th December, successively to put forthwith the Questions on any Amendments moved by the Government of which notice had been given and the Questions necessary tobring the Committee stage to a conclusion.

Question put, "That this Schedule, as amended, be the Eleventh Schedule to the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 164; Noes, 57.

Division No. 155.]AYES.[3.38 p.m.
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. CharlesGoff, Sir ParkReid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)
Ashley. Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (W'th's'w, E)Rhys, Hon. C. A. D.
Atkinson, C.Griffith. F. KingsleyRichardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyGuinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Ropner, Major L.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Gunston, Captain D. W.Ross, R. D.
Balniel, LordHamilton, Sir GeorgeRuggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Barnett, Major Sir RichardHamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenrySandeman, N. Stewart
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonHarris, Percy A.Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Bennett, A. J.Harrison, G. J. C.Sandon, Lord
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Berry, Sir GeorgeHenderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir VivianSavery, S. S.
Birchall, Major J. DearmanHeneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)
Brassey, Sir LeonardHenn, Sir Sydney H.Shepperson, E. W.
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeHilton, CecilSinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)
Brittain, Sir HarryHoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H.Hppkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)Home, Rt. Hon. Sir RobertSmithers, Waldron
Buckingham, Sir H.Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesHudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Bullock, Captain M.Hume, Sir G. H.Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Iveagh, Countess ofSprot, Sir Alexander
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Cecil, Rt Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)King, Commodore Henry DouglasStott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Christie, J. A.Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipStyles, Captain H. Walter
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Loder, J. de V.Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Clayton, G. C.Lougher, LewisTasker, R. Inigo
Cobb, Sir CyrilLucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh VereThorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir GeorgeLuce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard HermanThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Cohen, Major J. BrunelMacAndrew, Major Charles GlenThomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Colman, N. C. D.Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Couper, J. B.Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Tryon, Rt. Hon, George Clement
Crawfurd, H. E.Macmillan, Captain H.Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Galnsbro)Macquisten, F. A.Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Davies, Dr. VernonMaitland, Sir Arthur D. steel-Wallace, Captain D. E.
Dawson, Sir PhilipMalone, Major P. B.Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Dixey A. C.Manningham-Buller, Sir MervynWarner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Edmondson, Major A. J.Margesson, Captain D.Wayland. Sir William A.
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)Mason, Colonel Glyn K.Wells. S. R.
Ellis, R. G.Meller, R. J.White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dalrymple
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)Merriman, Sir F. BoydWilliams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithMilne. J. S. Wardlaw-Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer)Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Everard, W. LindsayMonsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. MWithers, John James
Fairfax, Captain J. G.Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)Wolmer, Viscount
Falle, Sir Bertram G.Moore, Sir Newton J.Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Fleiden, E. B.Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Forestier-Walker, Sir L.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Foster, Sir Harry S.Penny, Frederick GeorgeWorthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Fraser, Captain IanPeto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Gates, PercyPower, Sir John CecilTELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew HamiltonPownall, Sir AsshetonMajor Sir George Hennessy and
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnPrice, Major C. W. M.Captain Bowyer.
NOES.
Amnion, Charles GeorgeJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Batey, JosephKelly, W. T.Shinwell, E.
Bellamy, A.Lawrence, SusanShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Bondfield, MargaretLawson, John JamesSitch, Charles H.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Lee, F.Smith, Rennle (Penistone)
Broad, F. A.Lindley, F. W.Stamford, T. W.
Bromley, J.Lowth, T.Stephen, Campbell
Buxton, Rt. Hon. NoelMackinder, W.Sutton, J. E.
Charleton, H. C.MacLaren, AndrewThorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Dennison, R.Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Thurtle, Ernest
Duncan, C.Montague, FrederickTinker, John Joseph
Dunnico, H.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Viant, S. P.
Gardner, J. P.Palln, John HenryWellock, Wilfred
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Windsor, Walter
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Ponsonby, ArthurYoung, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Groves, T.Potts, John S.
Hayday, ArthurPurcell, A. A.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hirst, G. H.Roberts, Rt. Hon. P. O. (W. Bromwich)Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. Hayes.