I have been given to understand, Mr. Young, that you were proposing to take together this Amendment and the next three—(1) in page 16, line 11, to leave out the words "body of persons, whether incorporated or not," and to insert instead thereof the words "public company"; (2) to leave out the words "body of persons, whether incorporated or not," and to insert instead thereof the words "company or corporation"; and (3) to leave out the words "whether incorporated or not."
The Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Luton (Dr. Burgin) and two of his political colleagues—in page 16, line 11, to leave out the words "body of persons, whether incorporated or not," and to insert instead thereof the words "company or corporation"—is somewhat different from the others, and, with a slight alteration, I think I might be prepared to accept it. I should not like any Ruling to prevent my taking that course.
It is a little difficult to understand precisely what is the meaning of Sub-section (1) of Clause 18 as it is drafted, and I gather from the last remark of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he himself is becoming a little doubtful as to what exactly the Sub-section means. It reads as follows:
The special commissioners may cause to be served upon any body of persons, whether incorporated or not, a notice requiring them to deliver to those commissioners within a specified time a copy, certified in such manner as may be specified, of the whole of, or any specified class of entries in, any register containing the names of the holders of any securities issued by them.
It seems to me that the whole of this Sub-section turns upon the meaning of a body of persons, and how a body of persons which has not at any rate some corporate existence can issue shares, or, if it does issue shares, can be in a position to make such a return as the right hon. Gentleman obviously requires. I can understand a corporation, a company, or an incorporated body—which would probably include either a company, or a corporation, or a body incorporated by Royal Charter which has the right to issue securities—being in a position to render a list of those securities to the Special Commissioners if they so desire, but I am very puzzled when the right hon. Gentleman says:
any body of persons whether incorporated or not.
There are, I believe, in the City, certain bodies known as issuing houses, which underwrite loans and take certain responsibilities for issuing Government loans to the public. In many cases, I understand, such bodies are not incorporated, and are not companies in any sense of the word, and I very much doubt whether, if a notice of the type described in this Sub-section were served on one of these issuing houses, they would be in a position to supply this information. I do not see how the right hon. Gentleman can possibly hope to obtain the information that he wishes to get, namely, as I understand this Sub-section, information as to who are the holders of specific securities issued by a definite body, whether a corporation, a public company,
a private company, or even a body incorporated by Royal Charter. I cannot understand how he is going to get that information from any body except the body whose shares are actually held, and which has a register of shareholders or stock-holders. Each of these bodies is obliged to keep a stock or share register, and can supply the necessary information, but when the right hon. Gentleman speaks of
a body of persons whether incorporated or not,
who on earth does he think he is going to deal with? I do not think it would be possible to ask for this information from trustees, because they do not issue securities, but conceivably, under this Clause as it is drafted, the Special Commissioners might send a request to a, house that issued securities, for information as to what had happened to those securities. They, however, would not know, because they do not keep a register of the shares when once they have been sold. I feel that this Clause, objectionable as it is in many ways, is purely nonsensical and could not possibly be put into operation. I conclude that the right hon. Gentleman's object is to get information as to shares issued by private companies, about which we shall have more to say at a later stage. Otherwise, I cannot see whom he wishes to get at. Under the Clause as it stands, he has power to require trustees to give particulars of shares that they hold in trust for the benefit of other people. He has power to ask the secretary of any company to give him information about holdings. But I am extraordinarily doubtful what power he wants to take, or why he wishes to take it, and we are entitled to a full explanation as to the exact effect if it is granted. It is too vague to put into an Act of Parliament.
The right hon. Gentleman has said that he is not a lawyer. He may believe that certain words in an Act of Parliament will bear a meaning which is quite suitable, but the courts of law have frequently placed on words in an Act of Parliament a meaning which was not in the mind of the Minister or of the House of Commons, and it has caused the utmost confusion in the law subsequently. When you come to deal with a Finance Act, an Act which affects not only the money but the business and the activities of hundreds of thousands of His Majesty's subjects, it is up to us to see that no language is inserted which is not absolutely clear, so that there can be no reasonable doubt as to how the judges will interpret it. We cannot attempt to foretell what the judges may do, but it is our business to simplify the language and make it as clear as we can, so that any possibility of litigation arising out of a phrase like "any body of persons, whether incorporated or not" may be reduced to a minimum.
This is one of a number of Amendments on the Paper in the names of the hon. and gallant Gentleman and the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench. Their next Amendment is to leave out the words "body of persons whether incorporated or not" and to insert the words "public company." The main point of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's speech was that there should be no necessity for including the words "whether incorporated or not." I gather that he has no objection to leaving in the word "incorporated." The reason why the words "or not" were inserted is this. This power, of course, can only apply to a body of persons who own a register of securities, and it was thought possible that there might be some body of persons holding a register of securities who would not come within the legal interpretation of an incorporated body and the words "or not" were put in as a precaution. It may be an unnecessary precaution, and I am not very particular about them, and I am prepared to leave out the words "body of persons, whether incorporated or not" and to substitute the words "body corporate." That is following a phrase in Clause 11. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will be satisfied with what I now offer, he will probably be willing to withdraw his Amendment.
I should like to ask what we are doing here. Let me read the first three lines:
The special commissioners may cause to be served upon any body of persons, whether incorporated or not, a notice requiring them to deliver"—
What is the Clause driving at? I am quite at a loss to understand precisely
what it means. We should be allowed to know exactly the motive underlying it before we deal with the Amendments. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman gives vent to some expression of impatience, but we are entitled to know what the Clause driving at before we can deal with the details. Presumably it is cast in order to, allow the revenue authorities to check the returns for Surtax. Is it a fact that any companies which have to lodge a register have refused to any clerk of the Revenue Department permission to make a copy? Why, therefore, do we have this Clause, which compels these companies that lodge registers at Somerset House on payment of a small fee to send in a return of their shares, instead of our being satisfied by a clerk from the revenue calling to make a copy of it? I gather from the Chancellor that there are certain companies which do not lodge registers there. I understand that statutory companies and companies which hold a charter are not compelled to lodge these returns. The Clause, if I understand it rightly, is by a side wind going to compel railway companies and chartered companies, like the Chartered Bank of India, to lodge their list of proprietors on payment of a prescribed fee so that the Inland Revenue authorities can say, "Look at these names. Mr. Snooks has sent in a return for Sur-tax. Let us see if he has included a certain amount of money which he holds as shares in these statutory companies?" It is a petty, trumpery way of getting at Sur-tax returns. What is more, if you are going to allow the Revenue authorities under the first three lines of the Clause to get in these returns, see how the Chancellor of the Exchequer will stultify himself. What is he going to do about the bonds to bearer of the 5 per cent. War Loan, or, say, the new Reparations loan? This clause won't catch them.
I will, of course, obey the Chairman's Ruling. The point I am making is to show that the first three lines are petty and trumpery, and will not carry the revenue to the length which the Chancellor wants to go. I warn the Committee and the country that if these three lines are imported into our legislation, even with the words which are proposed by my hon. Friend, sooner or later it will be found that you will not get the information as to Surtax which you require, and the country will have to adopt a further Clause to broaden out the oppressively inquisitional policy now laid down by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
For this reason, if I can go on at a later period and deal with the general aspect of the question, I will confine myself to saying that. I think if we allow the Clause, even as proposed to be amended by the words suggested by the hon. Member for Luton (Dr. Burgin), we should have a very full explanation of where this Clause takes us before we accept the gift which the Chancellor offers us to omit the words:
body of persons, whether incorporated or not
and to insert the words "company or corporation." I warn my hon. Friends behind me that there is a trap in this Clause, and we ought not to go very much further until we have had it thoroughly well examined by every Member on this side.
The arguments advanced by the hon. and gallant Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne) on the Amendment standing in his name and that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) are very much the same in principle as those underlying the Amendment standing in the names of myself and some of my hon. Friends, which, I understand, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with slight modification, is prepared to accept.
As far as my friends and I are concerned, not only do we accept the forms of words which the Chancellor has suggested, but they seem in all the circumstances more apt than the words which appear on the Order Paper, that is if the object of the Clause means what I believe it means. What I say is without prejudice to any argument I may feel called upon to advance later on the Clause. I should like to address myself to one point raised in the discussion between the hon. and gallant Member for Oxford and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because I am not at all sure that there may not be a little misunderstanding as to what is meant by the term "issue." I have been at some pains to look into this matter, because it seems to me that the draftsman of the Clause has not had a completely clear conception of the technical meaning of that term. I think the cases make it clear, and they will be familiar to the Attorney-General, that the term "issue" can only be applicable to a body corporate, whether it be a company under the Companies Act or a chartered company, or any other kind of body corporate. In these circumstances, the use of the term "issue" should not be in reference to a body of persons which is unincorporated. I do not believe that the term "issuing house" would be covered here, because it is quite the usual thing to refer to a business firm in the City as an issuing house when it is not a house which acts for the purpose of making an issue, but only acts as the agent for those who are issuing. In view of what the Chancellor said, I do not wish to labour the point any further than to say that, as I understand it, the term "body corporate" is wider than the term first proposed, and includes chartered companies, and even municipalities.
I want to raise a point with reference to the Amendment and to the Chancellor's suggested alteration. Should I be in order in pursuing it on these lines, seeing that the Chancellor's suggested alteration is not before the Committee? May we be allowed to speak on that? The Clause says that the special commissioners may cause a notice to be served upon any body of persons and, if the new words are inserted, it would be "company or corporation." The notice requires them to deliver a copy of the entries, according to the last words of Sub-section (1), "issued by them." I venture to say that that Subsection (1) in actual practice would not be welcome, and I will tell the Chancellor why. Take the case of certain classes of businesses, such as the banks—one of the "Big Five," which is a company or corporation. Many companies and corporations take a block of shares from some registered company, whether it be a railway or any other commercial undertaking, and put them into their vaults, and issue against these securities deposit receipts. I will illustrate the point by giving one particular example, which is a very big one. The Westminster Bank in London has in its vaults thousands of shares of the Canadian Pacific Railway of Canada, and against them they issue receipts.
On that point of Order. If we are to be ruled out from discussing this question now on the Amendment suggested by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, shall we have an opportunity of discussing it again? I was under the impression that we were to discuss both Amendments, including that suggested by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but if we are to confine ourselves to the Amendment which has actually been moved, then we must ask to be at liberty to discuss the other Amendment when it is moved.
The only Amendment before the Committee is that which liars been moved by the hon. and gallant Member for Oxford. The Chancellor of the Exchequer suggested that the words "of persons whether incorporated or not" should come out, and the word "corporate" should be inserted. In the meantime, we are dealing with the question of incorporated or not incorporated.
May I put this point? This Amendment happens to cover the type of business with which I am familiar, and I happen to know all the technicalities of the case. It is a real point of substance, and, if the Clause is passed, even with the Chancellor's words, it may be unworkable, and we shall have passed a Clause which is sheer nonsense. I want to try and stop that. Would you, Mr. Young, tell me when I can raise this point of the deposited receipts and securities? On which Amendment can I raise it—on the Amendment itself or on the Motion, "That the Clause stand part"? Would it be in order then?
The Westminster Bank, being a corporate body, will have certain duties placed upon it which it cannot perform. I should like to be allowed to continue my illustration. This is a very common thing and happens every day. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company of Canada has many millions of capital, and the Westminster Bank, for the convenience of its clients, has many thousands of shares in its vaults, and against these shares it issues Westminster Bank certificates. These certificates are so numerous that there is a market for them. They differ slightly in price from the ordinary Canadian Pacific shares and they command a market. The Westminster Bank does this sort of thing for the convenience of clients, and it appeals very largely to foreign holders, because the Westminster Bank collects the dividends and carries out other services for them.
I think that every hon. Member will agree that the real difficulty is the use of the word "incorporated" and the words "issuing-house." If we could know exactly what "issuing-house" means—perhaps the Chancellor of the Exchequer could give a definition later on—it would clear up the matter.
In reply to the query put by the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir J. Withers), I think that the explanation was given rightly by the hon. and gallant Member for North - East Bethnal Green (Major Nathan). The issuing-house, I understand, is not the house which issues the shares.
I am replying to the point which was put by the hon. Member for Cambridge University. I was saying that the issuing house acts as an agent of the company. It is not the issuing house which issues the shares; it is the company which issues the shares. The issuing house does not have a register of the shareholders. That can only be in the custody of the company or the corporation. That, I think is the correct construction to be placed upon the words "issuing house."
I wish to raise a point which arises out of the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne). I would ask whether the word "incorporated" is not the best word to fit in here? I do not propose to touch upon the Amendment which the Chancellor of the Exchequer foreshadowed just now as an Amendment which he might be able to accept in lieu of the Amendment which is upon the Paper, but which is not going to be moved by hon. Members below the Gangway. When that Amendment is brought forward, I shall desire to discuss it. I have listened with great care and attention to the speeches on this Amendment. What really amazed me was that, after the extraordinarily clear explanation by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Oxford as to why these words should be brought in, the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not refer at all to the Amendment, but passed on to some other Amendment. That fact immediately caused me to think that probably the words we propose are best. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer leaves a thing alone, there is likely to be something pretty good in it.
I am desirous in this case of getting inserted only those words which will most efficiently represent the opinion of the House of Commons. The words proposed on this side of the Committee would show that the intention of the Committee was that any body of persons, whether incorporated or joined together in a company, should come under this particular Sub-section. I am convinced that whatever promise or semi-promise there may be with regard to the future, we shall be well advised to accept the words in our Amendments. They are clear and good English. Do the Government object to them? They have not given any reply as far as this Amendment is concerned. I ask them to say what objection they have to this extremely simple word which we wish to insert in this Amendment which, I think, will carry out the meaning of the Committee as a whole. For that reason, I do say that I shall be sorry if this Amendment is dropped and if we do not get a chance to put it into the Bill. I think it would help to clarify the Clause, and that is one of the main objects of this Committee.
Here, again, I think we ought to have a clear understanding where this is leading. The type of company or corporation Which you have just mentioned would include a bank, as my hon. Friend has pointed out, in regard to the Canadian Pacific shares. I hope hon. Gentlemen on my side of the House will realise where this Clause is taking them. If a bank, as is very often the case, holds large numbers, perhaps thousands, of shares in its name, under this Clause the revenue authorities in future will be able to go to that bank and do what I believe has never been done before, namely, compel the bank to give the list of customers of the thousands of shares.
But if you put in the word "corporate," you then get a bank covered. If we accept the words that the Chairman has used, we get a bank included, and henceforth no bank will be able to retain—[Interruption.]
I have listened most intently to the discussion of this Clause, but I must confess, with the best will in the world, that I am unable to understand its meaning and why this particular word is better than the other words. I think the Committee ought thoroughly to understand the change and why it is being made. I hope the learned Attorney-General will give an explanation of this change before it is made.
I. quite agree with my hon. Friend above the Gangway in his appeal for some attempt to be made to clarify the reasons as to why these new words have to be adopted. Earlier in the evening on another Amendment in which some of us did not join, we were told that a proposed form of words was better, but we were not told really why they were better. We were told that the Chancellor of the Exchequer could not accept the Amendment, but he would accept the next Amendment if an Amendment to it was put in. In the first place, it is most confusing to the Committee as a whole that on an occasion such as this we should have a manuscript Amendment, or something which virtually is a manuscript Amendment. I think my hon. Friend below the Gangway is perfectly justified in objecting. It has been extraordinarily difficult to follow through the various speeches which we have heard the different varieties of the use of the words "corporation," "corporate," or "incorporate" and other words of that kind. May I ask the Government, for the sake of clarity, that some expression should be given as to what is really meant on this occasion. That is all that is wanted. Let the Government through the Law Officer—and I see he is dying to be at it—give us a simple explanation of what is actually meant by the words as now accepted.
We have never had that clear explanation, and I think it is only due to the Committee that before we accept the form of words, which, as has been pointed out by a considerable number of Members, must affect the welfare of thousands of big industries in this country, we should know precisely and exactly where we stand. I am the last person in the world to say anything to prolong the agony of this discussion, and I can only say that I am making a request to the Government which, in their own interest they will be wise to carry out. If the Attorney-General would give us a simple explanation of this matter it would be particularly valuable from the purely legal point of view. It would also be very interesting to know how he is able to accept half an Amendment from the benches below the Gangway. It looks as if this Amendment has been used as a sort of stepping stone from the half way house below the Gangway to the full position of hon. Members opposite.
That is what I am endeavouring to do. I was trying to find out exactly what the Amendment means, because so far we have had no explanation at all. I suspect that it has only one object in view and that is the increased incorporation of certain bodies in different parts of this House.
When you were putting the question just now, Mr. Chairman, I ventured to point out that the word "of" should also come out, and you requested me to allow you to conduct the business of the Committee. May I point out respectfully that the Amendment if carried in its present form will mean nonsense, because you have put the question to leave out the words:
persons whether incorporated or not.
I read out the words exactly as they were sent to me, and I pointed out to the Committee that the word "body" was not proposed to be left out. I am not responsible in any way for what the hon. Member understands.
It is either my accent or the hearing of hon. Members, but I put the Question to leave out the words:
of persons whether incorporated or not
and to insert the word
I beg to move, in page 16, line 13, after the word "time, to insert the words "being not less than twenty-one days."
I am not particular as to the number of days. The whole point is that when you get a body corporate which is required to furnish a copy of the register within a specified time that the specified time should be something which is not less than a reasonable period. The request may come at a time when the Stock Exchange is closed and it may be a matter of great inconvenience to produce the copy within a very short period. This information, I presume, is wanted for the purposes of revenue proceedings——
I beg to move, in page 16, to leave out from the word "copy" in line 13, to the word "any" in line 15, and to insert instead thereof the word "of."
The effect of this Amendment is quite clear. My reason for moving this Amendment is to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he means by the words:
any specified class of entries.
If you take a big public company like a railway company the number of entries in the register is perfectly enormous. They run into many hundreds of thousands of names. What does the Chancellor of the Exchequer mean by "any specified class of entries." Does he want all the entries beginning with "J" or all the entries in the name of Smith. If they have to take out the definite class of people who own stock of over £5,000 it is going to take an enormous amount of work and trouble on the part of clerks and accountants. The Government are entitled to have a copy of the register but if they are going to ask for any specified class of entry to be taken out it will mean an enormous amount of labour to these companies and it is a task which I do not think they should be asked to fulfil. If the Inland Revenue had permission to go through the register themselves they could pick out such names as they required. That is the business of Somerset House. I do not see why we should impose on the taxpayer the duty which is really the duty of the Inland Revenue. When the Inland Revenue have got a copy of the register any investigations which they wish to make they can make for themselves. This is an attempt to push on to the taxpayer more of the work of the Inland Revenue.
If the Amendment were carried it would have precisely the opposite effect to that which the hon. and gallant Member apparently wants to secure. If the words that he proposes to leave out were deleted the Special Commissioners would have to ask for a complete copy of the register. The reason for the inclusion in the Clause of the words "as may be specified" is that the Commissioners need not ask for a complete copy, but for any particular part of it which might be of service for the purpose that they have in view. It must be remembered that this power is sought in order to check the income for Super-tax. It would be obviously absurd for the Special Commissioners to ask a railway company, which might have a hundred thousand registered shareholders, to give a complete copy of the register of holdings. It is very unlikely that the Special Commissioners would use their powers to ask for returns of holdings beyond a certain amount. The purpose of the words of the Clause is to lessen the trouble of the companies and not to increase it. After this explanation I hope that the hon. and gallant Member will not press the Amendment.
I think the words of the Clause are extremely clumsy, and between now and Report they should be improved. Why does the Clause not refer to "any specified section" instead of "any specified class"? A company might have debenture, preference and deferred "classes" of shareholders. The Clause is confusing classes or types of securities with a section of the register so far as it refers to names. I do not know at what the Chancellor of the Exchequer is aiming. He wants to get a section of the register which contains all the names beginning with, say, the letter "B."
Then does he mean that he wants a section of pages out of the register with a certain number of names? In that case the word "class" is not applicable. I suggest that what the right hon. Gentleman means is a specified section of the names. I suggest that the words should be "specified section" instead of "specified class," or they might, be changed to "entries of specified classes of securities." In any case the right hon. Gentleman should tell us exactly what he means. Up to the present his explanation has left us entirely in confusion.
Frankly, I confess to have been surprised and disappointed at the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has told us for the first time in this debate upon this Clause what is the object operating in his mind as to this Clause. He has told us in terms that his object is to check the Surtax returns. In other words this is an inquisitorial Clause of the Bill. It is a Clause which is designed to give, and will have the effect of giving, to the Inland Revenue Special Commissioners certain powers which so far, over a period of almost 100 years, Parliament has denied to them. Never once in the whole course of fiscal legislation in this country has it been suggested by any Government that the taxpayer should be called upon to disclose his books to the Inland Revenue. Even to-day, though most companies present their accounts to the Tax Inspector, there is no obligation upon them to do so, and were they to refuse to do so the tax inspector is powerless to compel production. What has happened in this country in the past, in contrast to what has happened in Continental countries where there has been a heavy Income Tax imposed, has been, speaking broadly, that here the taxpayer has run with and not against the taxing authorities.
I regard this Clause as of serious import, because it erects a barrier between the Inland Revenue authorities and the taxpayer, and it means that the Inland Revenue Commissioners are authorised by Act of Parliament to say, not, "I accept your return as being prima facie a correct return," but "I refuse to accept your return as being anything but prima facie a false return." In considering the Amendment before the Committee it is material to hear in mind the position of the special commissioners as things are. In the first place, let it not be forgotten that the taxpayer, when he puts his signature to an income Tax or Sur-tax return, is making a declaration in respect of which, if it be false, he is liable to all the penalties for perjury. It is perhaps too little recognised, and it is well that it should be known, that an Income Tax or Sur-tax return has about it all the solemnity of an affidavit. Throughout the length and breadth of the land in all sorts of legal proceedings, and proceedings in which it is desired to impress upon a man the solemnity of his actions, either affidavits or statutory declarations are accepted, as a matter of course, as prima facie evidence of the facts to which they purport to relate. Here, for the first time, in this taxing Measure it is proposed to take the contrary view.
Let the Committee remember the penalties under the Act relating to perjury and under the Income Tax Acts, to which anyone is liable for making a false return. He may have to pay triple duty, not merely on the tax which he has evaded, but on the whole of the tax for which he is liable. I do not believe that except here and there and now and then there is
any wilful refusal to make accurate returns. Just consider where this proposal takes us. If the words "of the whole of the register" are left as they stand, you will have this very odd situation as pointed out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the special commissioners may ask for the complete register of any company however large, and there are some companies within my knowledge in which the number of shareholders is 170,000, and I am now informed of another one in which the number is little short of 300,000. The right hon. Gentleman said that the object is to check the Sur-tax returns. I have already indicated the checks now in existence which seem not only ample but effective for this purpose. If the right hon. Gentleman refers to Table 63 in the 72nd Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, he will observe that the total number of Surtax taxpayers in this country is just over 95,000; whereas in the case of one particular company it may be necessary under this proposal to ask for a return of 290,000 names involving an enormous amount of work, involving the power on the part of the Inland Revenue to investigate the details of every one of those entries, and unnecessarily involving a vast expenditure upon additional staff either by the Inland Revenue or by the companies who have to make these copies. "But," the Chancellor of the Exchequer says, "We may not want to ask for a copy of the whole register. We may only wish to ask for a specified class of entries in any register." What does that mean? Look at the last words of the Clause.
'Entry' means, in relation to any register, so much thereof as relates to the securities held by any one person.
Under the provision, as it stands in the Bill, the special commissioners have only two alternatives before them. They can either ask for a copy of the whole register, or they can ask for a specified class of entries. In the first place, they get the 298,000 names, or it may be more in some cases, with all the particulars, involving all the waste of unproductive labour that would be involved in making those returns, or they ask for particulars as regards an individual. I wonder if the Chancellor of the Exchequer has ever considered how this will actually work out in practice. Let me tell him—I think it will surprise him—how, if I understand it correctly, as I have taken
care to try to do, I believe it will work out. I will use no names except my own. I believe that under this Bill, unless the Special Commissioners ask for the whole of the return, which I am assuming for the moment they will not do, they can only ask for the register as far as it relates to the securities held by any one person, and I assume for the moment that that refers to myself.
Assume that the Special Commissioners have reason to believe—they have no grounds or evidence of it—that my Super-tax return is incorrect, and they may think, though they have no grounds for it at all, that I hold shares in, let me say, the British-American Tobacco Company. I have in fact no shares in that company. I say that in case an inquiry should be made under this Clause. The Special Commissioners send a notice to the Company, and they say, "Under Section 18 of the Finance Act we ask you to make us a return of the entry in relation to your register in so far as it relates to the securities held by Nathan." The registrar of the British-American Tobacco Company says to himself and his colleagues, "I have had an inquiry from the Special Commissioners under Section 18 about Nathan, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the object of that Section was to prevent false Super-tax returns. There is something rather funny about that, but they have asked for it, and they must have it." He sends for a clerk to make out the entry so far as it relates to the securities held by Nathan. There is no right under this Bill to ask for any class of securities. [Interruption.] Sub-section (1) of the Clause says that the Special Commissioners may cause to be served a notice to deliver a copy of the whole of any register containing the names of the holders of any securities issued by them, or any specified class of entries. What does "entry" mean?
'entry' means in relation to any register so much thereof as relates to the securities held by any one person.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer shakes his head. I do him the justice of believing that he is trying to follow my point, and he will do me the justice of believing that I am not speaking just for
the sake of occupying the time of the Committee, but that this is a point which I believe requires to be cleared up. In other words, unless the whole register is to be asked for, what are to be asked for are particulars, it may be in regard to several classes of shares, but particulars with regard to an individual, and they have to choose between saying to the company, "Produce a copy of your whole register," or, "Produce a copy of your register so far as it relates, in all your classes of shares or debentures, to Nathan." I am not speaking without having sought very eminent advice on this point, and if the Chancellor of the Exchequer will seek the advice of the Attorney-General, he will find, I believe, that the interpretation that I am giving, however much it may not be meant, is the only interpretation which will be given by a court of justice to the words to which I have directed the attention of the Committee. I have occasion to be concerned in matters of this kind in every-day life, and we are told time after time in the law courts, "It does not matter what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in the House of Commons, we are here to interpret the actual words that Parliament has enshrined in the Statute Book."
I am always willing to accept the views of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but, having given this matter the study which I have, I feel that I have no alternative save to ask him with the utmost respect to make further inquiries into the matter. The point which I wish to impress upon the attention of the Committee, because I think that it is vital, is this. I was putting the case of myself and the American Tobacco Company. Immediately it gets round in any company like the American Tobacco Company that certain inquiries are being made, and notices are being served about Nathan, they begin to talk inside the office; letters are written, and they pass through the letter book and are seen by all kinds and grades of clerks and officials of the company. It gets round to one's personal friends. You do not hear a whisper yourself; it does not come to you, but it comes to other people. They hear that inquiry is being made about Nathan's holdings, and it goes round that there is something fishy about my Super-tax return. It goes down to my constituency. They hear something rather odd about me, and a question is asked at a meeting; a question has only to be asked at a meeting to be believed by half the constituency, however ill-founded it may be. Some inquiry is made, and it is found that an office boy in the American Tobacco Company saw a letter written by the Inland Revenue about Nathan.
You find your circle of political, professional and social friends easing off from you, and you do not know what it is about, but it is because the Special Commissioners have made inquiries. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite laugh, but I am sure that they will do me the justice of following the point which I am putting. There is nothing more valuable and important to a man who is in Parliamentary life, in however humble a capacity, or who is in professional or social life, than that his reputation should be maintained. The reason I oppose this Clause is because I believe that it will strike—I will not say a deliberate blow—but it will strike, or will be capable of striking, a damaging blow at the reputation of those who know nothing about what is going on, who are unable to defend themselves, and who will only be in a position to deny the implications which may turn out to be false when it is too late.
On a point of Order. I did not hear the Amendment put and whether it was put from the Chair or not I am not sure, but I understand that it is intended to call on the next Amendment which stands in my name, and if that is so this Amendment should, of course, be put in such a form as to safeguard my Amendment.
I have very great sympathy with the remarks made and the points so ably put by the hon. and gallant Member for North-East Bethnal Green (Major Nathan). This is a very important Clause. I wish to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is meant by the words:
certified in such manner as may be specified.
Are we to understand that a certain form is to be sent out to these companies by the Commissioners of Income Tax, asking for particulars of the shareholdings in their companies of any individual, whoever he may be? The Clause gives the Commissioners the power to try to find out from the companies concerned something which they think they have not found out by the direct requests which they have made to the individual taxpayer. If the Commissioners do not think that an individual taxpayer has made a proper return—though they may have no reason at all for the assumption, may only think they would like to find out a little more—they can say to the company, "Under Clause 18 of the Finance Act of 1930 we have power to ask you to give this information." This particular Clause would produce a condition of things which would put a premium against an individual having all his money in one company, because, as the hon. and gallant Member has already reminded us, such a demand on the part of the Commissioners would immediately create suspicion amongst the whole staff of the company from whom the return was asked. Without, any reason at all, it may be, the Commissioners would, in effect, be accusing this particular individual of sending in a false return of Income Tax.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer hag told us that he is inserting this Clause because he suspects that certain people are not making proper returns for Super-tax, but here he is not putting the onus on the individual, he is not saying to the individual, "Let me know the number of shares which you hold in these various companies," but is asking somebody else to supply that information. He is asking the company for the information, is saying to the company, "You are to be responsible for giving us this information because, in our estimation, somebody else is not playing the game." It is possible that companies may have to set up special staffs in order to supply the returns which are requested. As the hon. and gallant Member for North-East Bethnal Green has said, this is a most inquisitorial Clause, and one which ought to be resisted as much as possible on all sides of the House, because we are really giving the Commissioners powers which they ought not to have. At the present moment the Commissioners have a perfect right to ask an individual to prove that his return is correct if they suspect that he has not made a proper return, but it is not fair to say to a company which has had nothing to do with the return made out, "You must give us the information we want behind the back of the individual who has sent in this return."
At the present time, we are trying to get back to a condition of more employment in this country and to increase the prosperity of our trade. Do you suppose, Mr. Dunnico, that an inquisitorial Clause of this kind which is going to increase the cost of the staff of those companies which have to get out those returns in a manner specified later on in the Bill that nobody seems to understand is one which will not inflict hardship upon those companies? When those returns, have been checked and have been found to be correct, what happens? Exactly what has been described by the hon. and gallant Member for North East Bethnal Green, namely, that a suspicion has been aroused in every company in which that particular individual holds shares. The secretary of the company is responsible for making those returns, and he is liable to a penalty of £50 if he does not give all the information required. I think it is a very serious matter to give new powers of this kind to the Commissioners, and I hope the Committee will see fit to accept this Amendment.
In support of my view that this Clause will work unfairly, I would like to mention a case which was brought to my notice of an individual who was liable to Surtax, who held some ordinary shares in Messrs. Lever Brothers, and who was asked to give full particulars of his investments. He did so, and a few days later he had notice about some other shares which he held in Lever Brothers, but it turned out that they were held in joint names for other people. That is a case that came to my notice, and it shows that, in regard to the Surtax, the Special Commissioners have all the powers which they require. In this case Lever Brothers were asked to produce a different category of shares, and this individual was asked to reconcile the ordinary shares which he had returned with the preference shares in his name. I think that shows that the powers which are now asked for are not required.
I have another special reason for opposing this Clause. As a member of the Royal Commission which considered this question, I had the privilege of investigating the powers of the Special Commissioners, and I came away filled with admiration of the way in which they discharged a very difficult task. I think we owe them a deep debt of gratitude, although I do not disguise the fact that there are certain individuals who try to avoid the payment of a tax which they ought to pay. It seems to me, speaking from recent experience, and having had the opportunity of probing into their affairs, that the powers which they already have are sufficient. While I should not be prepared to deny them any powers that they could really show to be necessary, I do not think that these particular words are justified, and, therefore, if the question is pressed to a Division, I shall certainly vote against them.
There are two or three objections that I want to urge against this Clause. I do not think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer appreciates the point made by the Mover of the Amendment. It is one thing to ask for something which is a copy, but it is another thing to put upon a body corporate the duty of selecting. The Chancellor of the Exchequer indicated, I thought—I could not hear him very well—that it was intended to ask for a return of all holders of more than a certain amount. Suppose that a railway company with 280,000 shareholders is asked to make a return of all shareholders holding more than 1,000 shares. As we know, a shareholder's name may be entered in a great number of places in the register, and you put upon some secretary or clerk the obligation of going through an endless list of names for the purpose of picking out those who hold a certain number of shares. If he makes a mistake and omits one, he becomes liable to a penalty of £50 because he has not made a true return. If it were merely a matter of making a copy, I suppose that what would be done in practice would be to photograph the register, which could be done with absolute accuracy and a considerable amount of speed; but once you put upon the body corporate the duty of selecting, you are putting upon them a very serious obligation, and one which entails a great deal of expense and trouble.
The Committee will notice that there is no limit whatever to the number of times that this register may be asked for. As we know, the register of a big company must be constantly changing. On a Monday a request may be made for a copy of the register, and the following week the Commissioners would be entitled to ask for another copy if they thought fit. They can ask for it as often as they like. Think of the expense. I have calculated that it would cost about £70,000 to get a copy of the register of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company, which has some 280,000 shareholders. It is going to be a very expensive matter. The Commissioners can ask for these copies as often as they like, and, unless they ask for them pretty constantly, one does not see how they are going to keep in very close touch with these matters. There are a great many large companies in the country, and, if this Clause is going to be effective, it will be terribly expensive in its operation.
I do not quite follow the criticism of the hon. and gallant Member for North-East Bethnal Green (Major Nathan). He suggested that an inquiry could be made about a particular person, but I am not quite sure about that. I do not pretend to know what a "specified class of entries" is, or what it means, but I can quite understand that, if a railway or any other company were asked to make a return about Mr. So-and-So of So-and-So, they might say that that was not a class of entries and decline to give the answer. But suppose that the company were asked to make a return of all shares held by anybody of the name of Nathan, that clearly would be a class, and they would be bound to do it.
The hon. and learned Gentleman is speaking as a lawyer. May I, as a layman, put this point to him? Will he explain to the Committee what is meant by the interpretation in Sub-section (5), which reads as follows:
In this section the expression 'security' includes shares, stock, debentures and debenture stock and the expression 'entry' means, in relation to any register, so much thereof as relates to the securities held by any one person.
What is the meaning of the words "any one person," if they have not the meaning put upon them by my hon. and gallant Friend?
That is an entry. The statement in the register "H. L. Nathan, 1,000 shares," is an entry, but I cannot, for my part, see that it is a class of entries. I think, however, that the hon. and gallant Member's point remains good in this way: If a railway company were asked to make a return of all shares held by people of the name of H. L. Nathan, that would be a class. I do not think, if they specify a particular person or address, that is a class, but the Commissioners have only to make it "persons of the name of H. L. Nathan" and that becomes a class. I may be wrong. It really indicates the difficulty of interpreting these Clauses. [Interruption.] Lawyers like these doubtful Clauses. It is the one thing that keeps them alive.
We constantly get rather ragged in the courts by judges saying, "Why cannot somebody in the House of Commons point out how difficult it is to interpret the words of this or that Clause?" I do not envy the court which has to interpret these words "specified class of entries." If what the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated is the real object, you are putting on the companies a very onerous burden. I should not like to have the duty put upon me of going to a register of two or three hundred thousand names and selecting those of a particular shareholder at the rate of 5s. a hundred. It is going to put very great expense on the company. You may have done it one week and you may be called upon to do it the next week, and again the third week. There is no limit to the number of occasions on which this can be done. If it is done to get some small amount of Super-tax out of a particular individual, at a very great cost to the State, the Clause is not really going to help the Exchequer and it is putting a burden on companies which ought not to be put upon them without great consideration, and at the same time it is setting up a form of back-door inquisition which is contrary to the whole spirit of the Income Tax Acts. You cannot call upon an individual to produce his securities on oath. If you do not go that far, why should you go behind his back and get the information from the company? There is this curious point, that the entry is limited to securities held by any one person. That excludes joint entries. Can this Clause be evaded by a man entering his own shareholdings in his own name and that of his wife? Certainly trustee entries are excluded. May I point out another thing which is not germane to the Amendment. We have now adopted the expression "body corporate" and the word "then" ought to be altered to "it" in the third line of the Clause.
There is, I think, a certain amount of misapprehension in the minds of the Committee about the Clause, and some misapprehension as to the existing powers and the way in which they are used. It is, unfortunately, the fact that there are certain people who send in their tax returns, and occasionally forget to put in all their holdings. The result of such delinquency is that the other taxpayers have to bear the burden. Therefore, all sections of the House are clearly desirous of doing everything in their power to see that the revenue authorities have reasonable powers to see that the returns sent in are accurate and full. At the present time the position is that every taxpayer can be called upon to furnish a full and detailed list of the securities he possesses. That power is given under Section 22 of the Finance Act, 1922. What happens is that the authorities get returns sent in simply showing the gross sum of the interest on investments, and they want each particular investment shown and exactly how much is received from it. There is at the present time a most useful check on these returns which is availed of as a matter of everyday practice, and which results in a great many inaccuracies and forgotten information being brought to light. Broadly speaking, the returns of public companies registered at Somerset House can be inspected and the Inland Revenue authorities exercise their powers under Section 22 of the Finance Act, 1922, by getting the taxpayer to return a full and detailed list of securities while, at the same time, having a staff whose duty it is to investigate from time to time at Somerset House, and very often find ing a discrepancy between the returns at Somerset House and the returns shown by the taxpayer on his list.
At the present moment there is this inadequacy which we want to remedy. The difficulty is, first, that the registers at Somerset House do not extend to debentures, and there is no means of finding out from Somerset House the details in regard to debentures or debenture stocks. Secondly—and perhaps more seriously—with regard to statutory companies, these are not required to keep registers at Somerset House at all. Consequently with regard to them there is a very big gap, and the Inland Revenue authorities therefore desire, in regard to debentures in all companies and with regard to holdings in statutory companies, to be armed with exactly the same powers as they possess to-day in regard to the ordinary taxpayers whose holdings are registered at Somerset House. That is the position which this Clause is designed to meet.
One or two objections have been raised in regard to the terminology of the Clause. I think the Committee has, to a certain, but not unreasonable, extent, to trust the Inland Revenue authorities to exercise their powers reasonably. On the whole, I think all sections of the Committee will agree—and we have had testimonials paid to them—that they do try fairly to exercise their powers. The natural course is not to require the full and complete register, but extracts from the registers, so that you may keep down their work, and ask them to confine themselves to the apparently larger interests, so that they need not be fogged up by whole masses of entries applying to small people with regard to whose returns there is really no point in checking. Therefore, in this Clause we give power to apply for either the whole or any specified class of entries. I entirely agree with what the last speaker said, that obviously if you ask for a return for the individual you are not asking for a specified class of entry. Possibly, again, I think I would agree that if you could imagine the Revenue authorities being so foolish as to make the request for all persons whose names appeared, that would not be a specified class, but we must assume that the Inland Revenue authorities will act with a modicum of common sense and will, in selecting classes, specify classes by reason of the fact that the classes they want are the larger holders in order that they may check the returns.
That really deals with the main objection to the Clause. This power is not a new power. With regard to debenture holders and holders of debenture stock, there already exists, under Section 73 of the Companies Act, 1929, similar power. Any shareholder in a company has the right to require, or a debenture holder may on payment of a fee obtain, a copy of the company's register of debentures. Under the Local Loans Act, 1875, there is power also to obtain a copy of the register of securities issued by local authorities. So that that power already exists. It is suggested that the fee is inadequate, but the fee is the same as is provided under Section 43 of the recent Rating and Valuation Act. We are really following precedent in keeping to the fee which the last Government selected as being proper. Therefore, for that reason I hope that the Committee will realise the reasonableness of the position.
The learned Attorney-General is dealing broadly with objections expressed with regard to the matter by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. If the hon. and learned Gentleman had been in the Committee when the Chancellor of the Exchequer put in the words "body corporate" he would realise that something has happened to which he has not referred. A body corporate is a bank, and hitherto the Revenue has not compelled the banks to disclose the business of their customers. This Clause, with the words "body corporate" put in, will have this effect. Is the Attorney-General going to compel corporate bodies like banks to disclose what securities they hold for their customers?
The hon. Member, if he looks at the Clause, will see that the register, of which we are going to ask for a copy, is a register containing the names of the holders of any securities issued by them. I was here when the Chancellor of the Exchequer pointed out that the issuing house does not issue securities in the ordinary way. A bank holding securities for customers does not issue those securities.
If the hon. Member will allow me, it does not. There may be exceptional cases where a bank issues equivalent securities, but that is a different matter altogether. If I am asked to say whether the bank has to disclose details relating to its customers' business, it is clear that, anyone reading the Clause will see that it is not the case, and that it relates exclusively to registers containing securities issued by them. Therefore, the point which the hon. Member has in mind is one about which he need not really concern himself either by warning me or the Committee.
The effect of this Clause will be that there will be numbers of people who are perfectly honest taxpayers but who do not wish to have their affairs disclosed, by means of a condition of this kind, behind their backs, who will say to their bank, "We will put our shares into the name of the London and Middlesex Bank"—to use a fictitious name. The bank will thereupon appear as the holder of so many hundred thousand shares, say, in the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. The Revenue goes to the London, Midland and Scottish Railway for a copy of the register and finds that the London and Middlesex Bank holds perhaps 5,000,000 shares in its own name. The right hon. Gentleman will at once be checkmated and his Clause will not be worth the paper upon which it is printed.
Of course, that is the case. This Clause gives the Chancellor and the revenue authorities more power than they have at present. It extends with regard to debentures and debenture stock and statutory companies the power that already exists with regard to ordinary companies, but does not exist with regard to statutory companies and debenture stocks. I quite agree that the Clause does not go the whole way. It only justifies the register being produced in regard to shares issued by the particular company.
And therefore not those held in trust by the bank. [Interruption.] But it is our privilege to scrutinise legislation in order that it shall contain no flaws. The share-register of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway will contain the name of the London and Middlesex Bank holding 50,000 or 500,000 shares which are held in trust for the customers of the bank. Unless the hon. and learned Attorney-General tells me here and now that he is not going to compel the London and Middlesex Bank to disclose to the revenue for whom these shares are being held in a lump sum on the register, then I say this Clause is a trap and not worth the paper it is written on; it is merely the sly prelude of later inquisitional methods.
May I also point out with regard to what the hon. and learned Attorney-General has said that it does not meet the chief objection that has been urged. He has referred to these people who, through carelessness or otherwise, do not return the whole list of their securities. Everyone will understand the desire of the Inland Revenue authorities to be able to find out what amount of Income Tax is due from people, and will agree that proper and reasonable facilities ought to be enjoyed by the Inland Revenue authorities for that purpose. The Inland Revenue authorities have got, first of all, the list furnished by the Income Taxpayers themselves, and then the register or ordinary shareholders and preference shareholders which they can consult through their files at Somerset House in order to check—not a complete check, but a very useful one—the returns given for Income Tax purposes. The trouble is that where these powers are incomplete is that they have not the same facilities in the case of debenture holders and with regard to statutory companies. There might be a good and a legitimate case to give the Inland Revenue authorities powers with regard to debentures and statutory companies analogous to what they already possess in regard to other shares. But what is really asked are powers of a different kind, both in regard to debentures and statutory companies and also in regard to existing shareholders. At present, they can go to Somerset House and get a complete list of shareholders, but, if I am right, they cannot demand a specified class of entries as defined by the last Sub-section with regard to existing preference and ordinary shares. They are asking for power to ask for a specified class of entry to be got out from a very long list of shareholders, whether the ordinary shares or debentures. It is a new thing and may be very burden- some. We are all apt to grumble at the Inland Revenue authorities, but they have their difficulties and on the whole are reasonable people. No one wants to increase their difficulties. But when all is said and done they are only mortal, and if the onus of getting their information is placed upon someone else the temptation to get their information at a cheap rate is very great indeed. In addition, if they make a perfectly natural and human mistake they are not liable to a fine of £50 a day. If it is less trouble to a company to furnish a list as a whole instead of making a copy of a certain class of entry, then let the company have the choice. The Inland Revenue should not have the power to demand it. We object to this compulsory power, which is quite a new demand on the part of the Commissioners.
The learned Attorney-General dealt with this matter in a very attractive way but left the objections which have been raised quite unanswered and because he dealt with it in a very attractive manner it is important that the Committee should realise the great advance in the powers of the Revenue authorities which this rather innocent looking provision involves. The Attorney-General treated this matter as though it was a slight and necessary extension of the powers which the Commissioners ought to possess. That is altogether misleading. The Special Commissioners in respect of this matter have no powers at all beyond an ordinary member of the public, and when the Attorney General says that there are just a few gaps which it is highly necessary to close and that this is but a small extension of the powers which they now possess, that is not strictly accurate. Under cover of a rather attractive manner of presenting the case the Attorney-General is disguising the fact that this is quite a revolutionary proposal which is being introduced. The record is at Somerset House and may be inspected, and the powers which are given the Special Commissioners by the Finance Act of 1922 may be properly used in that regard But what is now being asked for is that instead of that merely accidental matter there should be delivered into the hands of the Revenue authorities so far-reaching a power as the power enshrined here. It is by no means a slight extension of existing powers, but is entirely revolutionary.
The learned Attorney-General quoted the Companies Act of 1929, Section 3, Sub-sections (1) to (5). What analogy that bears to this power I cannot see. Sub-section (2) of Section 73 says:
Every registered holder of debentures and every holder of shares in a company may require a copy of the register of the holders of debentures of the company, or any part thereof, on payment of sixpence of every hundred words required to be copied.
How that can be brought to support the claim that the Special Commissioners shall have power to go to any particular company and say, "We desire a specified class of entries to be given by you, I cannot conceive. It has not the slightest relevance to it. Therefore, the position remains in this way so far as that is concerned: most serious objections have been raised by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North-East Bethnal Green (Major Nathan) and by other hon. Members to what is, after all, a revolutionary Clause, an inquisitorial Clause and a Clause which this Committee ought by no means to accept. The defence put forward by the Attorney-General, attractive as it may be in its form, suggesting that this is merely a slight extension, has no real bearing on the facts.
My second point is this: Anybody who resists a Clause of this nature would in certain quarters be open to the criticism that he is protecting the tax evader. I am certain that in every quarter of the House there is not the smallest desire to assist anyone in any way to evade a just and proper duty. But what it is important the Committee should realise—and I think they do realise after this debate—is that you must not, in order to hit the tax evader, hit, and hit very hardly, a large number of innocent citizens and innocent taxpayers, and that by attempting to deal with one evil you may possibly do very much greater injury. The whole point of the matter is this: This Clause is a Clause which seeks to give to the Special Commissioners power, the like of which they have never had. It is not enough to say that they have certain powers now under the Finance Act and other Statutes, and that this is a small extension. In reality it is one of the most far-reaching proposals which this Committee has ever had to consider with regard to the power of the Commissioners.
With regard to the construction of the Clause, I am sorry to differ from the Attorney-General, but I cannot, with very great respect to him, agree that the legal interpretation of the Clause which he has given is really quite sound. It is very difficult indeed to say exactly what the words mean. Yet it is very important that we should seek to realise what is the true meaning of the words before we part with them. The governing words are the words in Sub-section (5), and I ask what earthly meaning they can have other than put upon them by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North-East Bethnal Green? The words are:
'Entry' means, in relation to any register, so much thereof as relates to the securities held by any one person.
What in the world is the point of those words unless they do really refer to "one person"? That is to say, what the Clause seeks to do is to give some power to the Special Commissioners to obtain entries relating to one individual—leaving aside the nature of the entries for the moment. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, no doubt, will differ from me, but what I am seeking to show is that the insertion of a, precise definition in Sub-section (5) of "entry," as the part of the register relating to the securities "held by any one person," is the governing fact. As my hon. and gallant Friend says that it gives power to go to a company and ask about the entry of any one person and to my mind that governs the whole of the rest of the words. If we go back to Sub-section (1) we find the words "a copy of the whole of any register." That is quite plain, and the only other matter there mentioned is "or any specified class of entries in any register." It is quite clear that there will be power to say either, "Let us have the whole of the register" or "Let us have a specified class of entries in the register," and the word "entries," although here it is in the plural, means
so much thereof as relates to the securities held by any one person.
The fact that it is in the plural makes no difference at all.
Of course. Then you do not need these words at all. If that is the right interpretation—and it is very interesting to know what is passing in other people's minds about it—it would be quite enough to say, "any specified class of securities" and stop there. But if those other words are put in, and if a special definition of "entry" is given, then at any rate, putting it on the lowest possible ground, my hon. and gallant Friend is entitled to say that in the minds of 99 persons out of 100 the Clause bears the meaning which he gave to it. It is very important indeed that there should be no ambiguity about the matter, and I submit that the interpretation is governed at all stages by these words "securities held by any one person." The points made by my hon. and gallant Friend as to the dangers of a Clause like this cannot be over-emphasised. It is a very serious Clause and I hope that the Committee will reject it.
It seems to me that nobody on the Committee would object if there were a Clause in the Bill, giving the Special Commissioners the same powers with regard to debenture stock and statutory companies, as they already have of inspection. What is objected to, first of all, is putting upon public companies the necessity of doing something which the tax collecting authority ought to do, and secondly, of doing that same thing with regard to a particular class of entries, which must mean a great deal more highly skilled work than merely copying down the whole of anything in a register. I think the learned Attorney-General was wrong in his interpretation of the effect of this Clause when he said that what we wanted was to demand a class of larger holdings. I do not see why that should be so at all, because it seems to me to affect a man's Super-tax return even if he has quite a small holding in a company. A small holding of £500 may just top a certain limit of Super-tax. As the hon. and learned Member for East Nottingham (Mr. Birkett) pointed out in regard to the word "entry," if one remembers the provisions of the Interpretation Act, 1889, the singular word includes the plural, and where we read the word "entry" we have to read the word "entries." We are here giving the Commissioners power to demand a specified class of entries; that is, a specified class of "securities held by any one person." That is all the power that is being given, because the word "entry" is quite clearly defined in the Clause, and that, I submit, must be the reading that the Courts would bold of this Clause. In this case it would be far better, because of the discrimination against individual persons, if this Clause could be withdrawn, and if we could give the Special Commissioners power to go and search in this respect as in any other, without telling anybody for whose name they might be looking. It is a most dangerous principle to be introduced that a demand may be made with respect to one particular person by the Inland Revenue Department. Those of us who have envelopes sent us by the Income Tax authorities know that they are all most carefully and properly marked "Private and confidential," and it is that idea of getting the taxpayer acting with the Commissioners and not having his affairs broadcast at large that is helping the Inland Revenue authorities. If you get this principle by which they may go behind a man's back and publish to the world possibly false information against him, you are introducing a new factor. Therefore, I hope these words will be cut out.
Surely the learned Attorney-General is not going to leave matters in the position in which they stood when the hon. and learned Member for East Nottingham (Mr. Birkett) sat down. I have rarely heard a speech more precisely directed to the object under debate, more harmoniously attuned to the character of Committee discussion, than the excellent statement which he has made. It seemed to me that there could hardly be a more damaging speech from the point of view of the Attorney-General himself. Not only were his facts traversed, not only was his legal authority impugned, and even controverted, but these sharp arrows were planted in his person by his distinguished legal successor in his old primacy on the Liberal benches. I congratulate the Liberal party on having so rapidly filled the gap. I do not often quote Latin to the Committee, but I will say on this occasion:
Uno avulso, non deficit alter.
On the removal of one, another is not wanting. Someone has taken the hon. and learned Gentleman's place who, although not possessing the advantages of official information, has been able to answer him in fact and law and leave him sprawling, a pitiable object. Is he going to sit there silent? You cannot carry on very long in the House of Commons by failing to answer important, serious and difficult questions. The Chancellor of the Exchequer for two hours to-day refused to answer a question which nothing in the public interest withheld him from answering, the answer to which he knew perfectly well. He refused to answer, but sat there stone-walling the discussion.
In the same way the Attorney-General, bankrupt in argument, scores off, if I may use a fairly popular expression, in a way which we rarely see one Member deal with another in these debates, and he thinks that he is going to get out of it by sitting there smiling. I am glad to see him smile. I have several times been minded to say to those who take part in these Budget debates, "Cheer up!" and it would be a great thing if he smiled and took a buoyant and happy view of life. In spite of all the awful things he may have done, there is no need to go about as if he had seen Banquo's ghost. But this is not a laughing matter; this is not a moment to smile. Having been selected by the Socialist party to give them the strong legal and intellectual guidance which they so particularly require, the hon. and learned Gentleman makes an exhibition of himself and is put on the broad of his back by the hon. and learned Gentleman below the Gangway, and sits still, without making the slightest attempt at a Parliamentary answer. The only contribution of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a capacious yawn.
There is another serious aspect to this Clause. It is typical of half-a-dozen that are put into this Bill. The Chancellor is coming forward to demand £50,000,000 or £60,000,000, it may be, of additional revenue from a small class of the taxpayers, a class which he has deliberately narrowed to the smallest possible capacity. The British direct taxpayers are without their equal in the world. No country produces revenue as we have done. Now, added to this very heavy burden, which the right hon. Gentleman argues the necessities of the case demand, are a whole series of petty, vexatious inquisitorial points designed, in my judgment, not to add to the revenue, but to gratify the feelings of personal irritation and spite which the Chancellor has against this class. In the end this may be a very dangerous policy. An enormous revenue is raised by the direct taxpayer. Any one who knows the workings of the Inland Revenue knows perfectly well that the success of any Budget we have seen in recent times or that we may see in the immediate future depends for its yield of revenue on the good will and the loyal co-operation of the mass of the taxpayers. You may devise this dodge and that inquisition; you may invent this new process and stiffen up that particular guard; but if in the process of doing that you have rendered the heavy new burdens odious to the great mass of those taxpayers, believe me for every pound that you save you will lose ten.
The right hon. Gentleman said the Attorney-General had left a gap on these benches which has been admirably filled by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Nottingham (Mr. Birkett), but he himself left a gap on these benches, and I am not going to say that gap can be filled. The right hon. Gentleman has been described as an unsinkable politician; he always manages to fill his own gaps, wherever they are. Nobody can take his place. But I rise not for the purpose of replying to that point, but in order to bring the debate back to the point of substance made by the hon. and gallant Member for North East Bethnal Green (Major Nathan). We ought to have a reply from the Government on that point. The right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) really is unsinkable. He mentioned the sum of £60,000,000. I wonder he dare ever let that figure cross his lips. I recall a back bench member rising at 2 o'clock one morning in the session of 1927 to say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was taking £60,000,000 from the taxpayers. He and the learned Attorney General of that day denied the interpretation put upon the proceeding by the back bench member, but it was found that the ex- perts on the Treasury bench were wrong and that the layman was right.
We are entitled to know whether the Government are doing in this Clause what they say they are doing. As a layman I have been made profoundly uneasy by the course of this discussion. Further, we are entitled to ask whether the powers which the Government are asking for are excessive powers. As I read Clause 18 I think the Attorney-General has fallen into a false emphasis. Compare Sub-section (1) with Sub-section (5). The real antithesis is not between the whole of the register and a class of securities, but between the whole of the register and a class of persons, a single class.
The Attorney-General says "No." Perhaps he will tell us why. I hope he will answer a simple layman's question in a simple manner and say whether the antithesis is not between the whole of the register and one person. Why do the drafting authorities want Sub-section (5)? If that Sub-section has no reference to one person why do they give an interpretation of the word "entry" construed in terms of securities and not in terms of persons? This is a very important point which has not been met by the Attorney-General. We have to choose between the opinion of three eminent K.C.'s who hold varying opinions, and there seems to me to be a far larger measure of agreement between the honourable and learned Member for Altrincham (Mr. Atkinson) and the hon. and learned Member for East Nottingham (Mr. Birkett) than between the two eminent authorities who have been named, and the Attorney-General, on the point that Sub-section (5) must have some relation to persons rather than to securities. Surely if the Clause really gives the Government power to do what is claimed by the Attorney-General, that is, to deal with a certain class of securities, it ought to say so without any regard whatever to persons.
Let us consider for a moment what is intended if the interpretation really means one person. We have been told that the register contains the names of 280,000 persons. Supposing you have for every person on the register an entry of 20 words, you have 5,600,000 words, and if the register has 200 to a page it will be 28,000 pages in length. Consider the amount of research involved for one person. If that be so, then I am bound to agree with the hon. and gallant Member for North East Bethnal Green (Major Nathan) that this is not the kind of power which Parliament should sanction in order to deal with tax evasion, and if the Government really require more power to deal with tax evasion they should ask for it in a direct manner. If, on the other hand, the Attorney General's construction is accurate, I think we are entitled to ask for a simple and straightforward answer as to why the Government construe the word "entry" as applying to one person. If we get an answer to that question then we shall be in a better position to make up our minds. Personally, I feel that these words are very dangerous.
I am glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) that I have got a smiling countenance to-day, but as I listened to the right hon. Gentleman's persiflage I could not help smiling. I will not repeat the right hon. Gentleman's Latin quotations, but when I was listening to them I was reminded of the old Latin phrase Timeo Danaos. I find myself in a certain amount of agreement on this point with the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Altrincham (Mr. Atkinson). It is not very difficult to understand the meaning of the words
of the whole of, or any specified class of entries.
The specified class must consist of a number of units which have to be paid for at the rate of 5s. in respect of each 100 entries. Take, for example, Sub-section (5) which defines what "security" means:
In this section the expression 'security' includes shares, stork, debentures and debenture stock.
To make the point clear the following words are added:
and the expression 'entry' means, in relation to any register so much thereof as relates to the securities held by any one person.
You ask for a specified class if you ask for the name of some particular person.
The Attorney-General in one part of his speech substi-
tuted, for the word "entries" in Sub-section (1), the expression "a specified class of units," "units" being the plural of "unit." So far, it is easy to understand, but I want to ask the Attorney-General what is the plural of the word "entry" lower down. There is a definition of "entry," but not of "entries." Let us try to substitute for the word "entries" in Sub-section (1) the definition given lower down. Sub-section (5) reads:
so much thereof as relates to the securities held by any one person.
What is the plural of that? Does it mean so much as relates to the securities held by any two persons? I really do not know what is meant now by the expression. I suggest that it is entirely ungrammatical, and will require re-wording by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Attorney-General. The Attorney-General is not usually lacking in clarity, but I do not know yet what this means or how it is going to work.
The word "class" necessarily imports the plural. You cannot speak of a class of one unit; you get the idea of plurality from the word "class." I agree that whether you speak of "entry" or "entries" is a matter of no importance. It has been said, and rightly, that the one would in-chide the other. But it is manifest from the words "class of entries" that you must be dealing with something which is not a mere unit, but a plural.
There are three things that appear to be quite clear. The first is that no Member of the Committee wishes in any way to hinder the very legitimate object of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in preventing tax evasion. The second is that there appears to be fairly unanimous agreement that the Clause is inquisitorial and in some directions almost revolutionary. The third is that there is distinct disagreement amongst those to whom the Committee naturally look for legal guidance in the very difficult phraseology and the Clause. I do not think, after this long Debate, there are many laymen who can honestly say they can make up their minds as to who is right, the Attorney-General or the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for East Nottingham (Mr. Birkett). Furthermore a Clause of this kind should in no case be introduced unless there is very strong justification for it. I would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is really not looking for his tax evasion in the wrong place. I can hardly conceive that to any person in his senses who deliberately wanted to evade taxation would do it by means of shares or debentures registered in his name—evidence against him, I suppose, for all time, at any time liable to discovery. There is no need, nor is it reasonable to mention the many other methods by which shareholders could own other kinds of shares where that kind of evidence would not be available. I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will not postpone the Clause and give it further consideration? He cannot fairly ask the Committee to come to a decision on it this evening.
I, like others on this side, am seriously troubled to find a meaning for the words "specified class of entry." I have listened with the greatest attention to the explanations that the Attorney-General has given, and I have followed them as far as I can, but I still cannot find a meaning. An entry is something that relates to an individual. Entries, presumably, would mean something that related to more than one individual. The mere fact that there is a difference of opinion as to the meaning of the plural of a singular which is defined shows that we are in some difficulty. Let me see if I can really follow it. The special commissioners are to have power to ask for a copy of the whole of the register. The Attorney-General says there is not the slightest difficulty when that happens. If the special commissioners ask for the copy of an entry, there is clearly no difficulty, because the word "entry" is defined. An entry is everything relating to a given person, but what is a class of entry? You cannot have a class of one person. The word "class" could be substituted by the word "number." I want to ask the Attorney-General whether line 15 would, in his view, be exactly the same if the word "number" were inserted instead of the word "class"?
So it is not the whole register, or any specified number of entries in the register. That is not the point. Therefore it means something more than mere plurality. What does it mean? If the special commissioners are to ask for the entries relating to A, B and C, that would be entries relating to specified persons. Is that what it means? Unlike the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) I have had three shots with the arrow but have not hit the mark. It does not relate, then, to several entries relating to the same person, it does not relate to entries relating to different persons, and it does not relate to a separate number of entries. I confess that I should not like to leave the Clause there not knowing in the least what it does mean.
We are really passing from one difficulty to another. I have listened to the very interesting speech just made, and I understood the Attorney-General to say that the Revenue authorities could ask for the whole register or specify a class of entries, which means the kind of people who own, say, 500 but not exceeding 1,000 shares. That is an illustration. Each one owns different kinds of shares. Apparently the authorities have got those two alternatives only—the register or the class. Supposing the authorities have some doubt in regard to a particular individual, are they debarred from asking for a list of the holdings of that individual? Is that so? Is it confined either to the whole register or to a class, or have they the power to ask for the holding of a particular individual?
I am loth to make confusion worse confounded and I only propose to deal with the construction of the Clause. With the arguments which have been advanced from this side of the House against the policy of the Clause I am in complete agreement. I do not desire to add one word to the very cogent arguments adduced against it. Let us look for a moment at the construction of the Clause. As I read it, it fails
of its purpose because while it gives powers to the Commissioners to demand a copy of the whole register or of a specified class of entries, they are to have no power to demand an entry relating to one particular holding which may be suspect. It is a cumbrous and expensive way, if this inquisition is to be chosen at all, to make an inquiry and gather information as to the holding of an individual taxpayer, that the Commissioners have to elect either to have a complete copy of the whole register or a specified class. That is the first objection. When one takes the wording of the Clause, if a Clause of this kind at all is desirable—which I stoutly contest—then it ought to be a business-like Clause. There is no means by which the holding of a particular shareholder in a company can be ascertained otherwise than by the cumbrous method of obtaining a copy of the whole register or a copy of a specified class of holding. The Attorney-General in an endeavour to throw light upon the Clause, which is as obscure as any Clause can be, referred to Sub-section (5) and he threw a new light—if light it can be called—upon it by stating that an entry in his view means, as the Clause says,
in relation to any register, so much thereof as relates to the securities held by any one person.
He expressed the view that the 5s. per hundred entries was to be 5s. possibly in respect of 400 entries, because "entry" was an omnibus word which involved a search into four different registers of the companies—the share register, the stock register, the debenture register and the debenture stock register, all of which had to be paid for as one. A good many views have been expressed as to the inadequacy of the fee of 5s. per hundred entries.
If it is to be five shillings for every 400 entries, the matter becomes even more burdensome than it appears at first sight, and, it is an intolerable burden to throw upon a limited company to maintain a staff even at such a pitiable remuneration. A large staff is to be employed to be at the call of the Commissioners from time to time, nay, from day to day, to supply such information as the Commissioners want, at the rate of five shillings for every 400 entries. Apart altogether from the policy of the Clause, to which I am entirely antagonistic, as are many hon. Members on this side of the Committee, I submit that it is an unworkable Clause, and that it does not attain the end desired by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and those who are advising him in this matter. The sooner it is dropped the better.
Although the speech of my hon. and learned friend the Member for Holborn (Mr. S. Bevan) was, to some extent, reassuring as to the position, yet there are many of us who would like to know whether this Clause gives to the Revenue authorities the power to make inquisitorial inquiries behind the back of an individual taxpayer without his knowing anything about the matter? That is a question in regard to which we have not had a clear answer from the learned Attorney-General. The hon. and gallant Member for North-East Bethnal Green (Major Nathan), earlier in the evening, gave a distinct and vivid picture of what might happen to an individual if he were pursued in this way. It is worthy of note that the learned Attorney-General, when he came to reply, did not deny that that kind of thing might happen. He merely said that he hoped that the Revenue authorities would not be so foolish as to conduct such an inquiry. That is no reply. It is no reason why the Committee should give to the Revenue authorities such large and revolutionary powers. We want a further assurance from the Government that they do not intend to use, or do not require such powers, and that they will, if necessary, insert words which will protect the individual from being pursued in this way. There is no need to pursue the individual in the way suggested. Surely, it is a most un-English way of doing things. If the Revenue authorities suspect that an individual has made a false return they can tackle him directly. They can write to him and ask him for evidence relating to his return. I believe that in certain cases they call upon the individual to produce his share certificates as evidence. Therefore, it is not very difficult for them to tackle the individual and make him responsible. To proceed by making an inquiry behind his back is an action which the Committee, I am sure, does not desire to see taken. Cannot the learned Attorney-General undertake to put a further provision in the Clause, or to agree to the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne), and leave out the reference to these specified portions of the register altogether?
It is not often that I trouble the Committee, but I wish to remind hon. members opposite that this Clause, or the intention of the Clause, is only a matter of common justice. Every wage earner who earns over £3 a week has to suffer these inquisitions into his means. The authorities do not take his word. Employers have to make returns; they are under penalties, if they fail to make returns, the Income Tax authorities and I welcome this Clause because it is doing justice to all classes.
I wish to raise what I think is an important point arising out of the remark by the learned Attorney-General earlier in the evening on this question. We have followed the Chancellor in putting in the words "body corporate," which term, I presume, includes a bank. Now the learned Attorney-General said that the Special Commissioners, following the words of the Clause, may "serve a notice" regarding certain securities. I want to call attention to the last words of that Subsection "issued by them." He said that that meant the registered company, or the parent company, who issued the securities. About two hours ago I put forward a typical case—and there are many others—of the Westminster Bank, one of the big five banks of London, which takes over a large block of Canadian Pacific Railway shares, and issues against them Westminster Bank certificates. [Interruption.] I should be grateful to have the attention of the learned Attorney-General, because I am putting this point to him and I am venturing to differ from him. The practice of the Westminster Bank has for many years been to take into their treasury a block of Canadian Pacific shares and to issue against them Westminster Bank certificates. They do so for the convenience of their clients and it happens to be an acceptable arrangement to a good many foreign holders. The Westminster Bank is a "body corporate," and these securities are "issued by them," and bear on their face the name of the people to whom they are issued. By signing an open form of transfer at the bank they can be turned into various securities. I hope that the Attorney-General will tell me whether the Special Commissioners may serve a notice on the Westminster Bank asking them to give a return of the Canadian Pacific shares—taking this as a typical case—held by them.
In the case of the Inland Revenue authorities requiring particulars of the holdings of 10,000 shares it may be that one shareholder has bought 200 shares at one time and 800 at another. These two entries may be several thousands apart on the register, and the search will entail a great deal of time and labour. It is most unfair to make the secretary of a company liable to these heavy penalties in the case of a mistake. If the Special Commissioners require particulars of the holding of 10,000 shares, will the copy supplied by the secretary or representative of the company be taken as proof that the individual does in fact hold those shares? The question of nominee shares arises. He may hold these shares in his own name but on behalf of eight or ten other people. Will the entry made by the secretary of a company be taken as proof of the holding of these shares or will the individual have an opportunity of proving that none of them belong to him. In my opinion this Clause is useless and unworkable. It may easily arise that a man has sold his shares cum dividend and that he has sold them before the books are closed. The Income Tax authorities come down upon him for making a false return. What is the position of that man?
How do the Income Tax authorities hope to trace that? I hope that these questions will be answered. The Clause as it stands will only create further difficulties in the carrying on of business. These continual pin-pricks make it more difficult to carry on business and to bring business to London. It is this kind of venomous legislation which is being put upon the backs of what on the whole are the most loyal payers of Income Tax and Super-tax that the world has ever seen. It will force people to take every possible means of getting their shares registered, quite legally, in a way that will enable them to avoid this kind of inquisition. Knowing the character of the British people and the way in which they meet their liabilities, I am sure Chat the cost of working this Clause will be greater than the amount of any evasion of the Tax.
Marquess of HARTINGTON:
I am sorry to detain the Committee, but there are one or two features of the Clause which are still not clear. The Clause is one which will vitally affect the interests of every company in the country, and we ought not to vote on it until we understand quite clearly what we are doing. In the absence of any definition the words "class of entries" to the ordinary layman will mean any particular part of the Register, that is the part of the Register referring to debenture holders or preference shareholders or ordinary shareholders or deferred shareholders. Later in the Clause there is a definition.
'Entry' means so much of any register as relates to the securities held by any one person.
That definition makes it of vital importance that the word "specified" should be quite clearly defined. Otherwise the Special Commissioners will receive powers which will enable them to do the most extraordinary things. In the absence of some definition or limitation of "specified" it seems to me that the Special Commissioners might require a company to furnish particulars of the holdings of, say, the red-headed shareholders, or the bald-headed shareholders, or those shareholders against whom the Commissioners in the past have proceeded in Income Tax cases. The word "specified" might mean anything. I agree with what has been said as to the injustice of compelling companies to make a copy of the registers at the rate of only five shillings for every 400 entries. The Clause might compel a company to make an exhaustive search of registers and to carry out the work of many weeks, and in the end the company's remuneration might amount to a small fraction over a halfpenny. Unless we know what the word "specified" means, it is impossible to pass the Clause in its present form.
|Division No. 355.]||AYES.||[12.15 a.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hopkin, Daniel||Potts, John S.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Horrabin, J. F.||Price, M. P.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Isaacs, George||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Ammon, Charles George||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Raynes, W. R.|
|Arnott, John||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Richards, R.|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Johnston, Thomas||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Ritson, J.|
|Bellamy, Albert||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Benson, G.||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Romeril, H. G.|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Kelly, W. T.||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Kennedy, Thomas||Rowson, Guy|
|Bowen, J. W.||Kinley, J.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Kirkwood, D.||Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Sanders, W. S.|
|Bromfield, William||Lathan, G.||Sandham, E.|
|Brothers, M.||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Law, A. (Rosendale)||Scurr, John|
|Buchanan, G.||Lawrence, Susan||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Burgess, F. G.||Lawson, John James||Shield, George William|
|Caine, Derwent Hall-||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Leach, W.||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Simmons, C. J.|
|Church, Major A. G.||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Sinkinson, George|
|Clarke, J. S.||Lees, J.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Lindley, Fred W.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Compton, Joseph||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Cove, William G.||Logan, David Gilbert||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Daggar, George||Longbottom, A. W.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Dallas, George||Longden, F.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lunn, William||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Dickson, T.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Sorensen, R.|
|Dukes, C.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Ede, James Chuter||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Edmunds, J. E.||McElwee, A.||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||McEntee, V. L.||Strauss, G. R.|
|Egan, W. H.||MacLaren, Andrew||Sutton, J. E.|
|Freeman, Peter||McShane, John James||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Mansfield, W.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Markham, S. F.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Marley, J.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Gill, T. H.||Marshall, F.||Tout, W. J.|
|Gillett, George M.||Mathers, George||Townend, A. E.|
|Gossling, A. G.||Messer, Fred||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Gould, F.||Middleton, G.||Viant, S. P.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Mills, J. E.||Walker, J.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Milner, Major J.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Montague, Frederick||Watkins, F. C.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Morley, Ralph||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mort, D. L.||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||Moses, J. J. H.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Hardie, George D.||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Muff, G.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Muggeridge, H. T.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Haycock, A. W.||Murnin, Hugh||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Naylor, T. E.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Noel Baker, P. J.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Oldfield, J. R.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Palin, John Henry||Wise, E. F.|
|Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Paling, Wilfrid||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Herriotts, J.||Palmer, E. T.|
|Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Phillips, Dr. Marion||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.|
|Hollins, A.||Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Charles Edwards.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Aske, Sir Robert||Atkinson, C.|
|Albery, Irving James||Atholl, Duchess of||Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W.|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Glassey, A. E.||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Penny, Sir George|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Granville, E.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Blindell, James||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Pybus, Percy John|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Gray, Milner||Ramshotham, H.|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Bracken, B.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Remer, John R.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch't'sy)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Rothschild, J. de|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hartington, Marquess of||Salmon, Major I.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Haslam, Henry C.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Savery, S. S.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cowan, D. M.||Iveagh, Countess of||Smithers, Waldron|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Jones, Sir G. W. K. (Stoke New'gton)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Train, J.|
|Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lung, Major Eric||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Lymington, Viscount||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Edge, Sir William||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Marjoribanks, E. C.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Meller, R. J.||White, H. G.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Womersley, W. J.|
|Ferguson, Sir John||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Fielden, E. B.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Fison, F. G. Clavering||Muirhead, A. J.|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Nathan, Major H. L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Captain Margesson and Captain|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||Wallace.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Division No. 356.]||AYES.||[12.25 a.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Clarke, J. S.||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin, Cent.)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Cluse, W. S.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Compton, Joseph||Groves, Thomas E.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Cove, William G.||Grundy, Thomas W.|
|Arnott, John||Daggar, George||Hall, F. (York. W. R., Normanton)|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Dallas, George||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Dalton, Hugh||Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)|
|Bellamy, Albert||Dickson, T.||Hardie, George D.|
|Benson, G.||Dukes, C.||Harris, Percy A.|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Ede, James Chuter||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Edmunds, J. E.||Haycock, A. W.|
|Bowen, J. W.||Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Hayday, Arthur|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Egan, W. H.||Hayes, John Henry|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Freeman, Peter||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Bromfield, William||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)|
|Brothers, M.||Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Gibbins, Joseph||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)|
|Buchanan, G.||Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Herriotts, J.|
|Burgess, F. G.||Gill, T. H.||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)|
|Caine, Derwent Hall-||Gillett, George M.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Gossling, A. G.||Hollins, A.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Gould, F.||Hopkin, Daniel|
|Church, Major A. G.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Horrabin, J. F.|
|Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Mills, J. E.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Isaacs, George||Milner, Major J.||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Montague, Frederick||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Johnston, Thomas||Morley, Ralph||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Mort, D. L.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Moses, J. J. H.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Sorensen, R.|
|Kennedy, Thomas||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Kinley, J.||Muff, G.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Kirkwood, D.||Muggeridge, H. T.||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Murnin, Hugh||Strauss, G. R.|
|Lathan, G.||Naylor, T. E.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Law, Albert (Bolton)||Noel Baker, P. J.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Law, A. (Rosendale)||Oldfield, J. R.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Lawrence, Susan||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Lawson, John James||Palin, John Henry||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Lawther, W. (Barnard Cattle)||Paling, Wilfrid||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Leach, W.||Palmer, E. T.||Tout, W. J.|
|Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Townend, A. E.|
|Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Phillips, Dr. Marion||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Lees, J.||Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Walker, J.|
|Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Potts, John S.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Lindley, Fred W.||Price, M. P.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Lloyd, C. Ellis||Quibell, D. J. K.||Watson, W. M. (Duntermilne)|
|Logan, David Gilbert||Raynes, W. R.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Longbottom, A. W.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Longden, F.||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Ritson, J.||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Lunn, William||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Westwood, Joseph|
|Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Romeril, H. G.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Rowson, Guy||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|McElwee, A.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|McEntee, V. L.||Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|MacLaren, Andrew||Sanders, W. S.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|McShane, John James||Sandham, E.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Sawyer, G. F.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Mansfield, W.||Scurr, John||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Markham, S. F.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Wise, E. F.|
|Marley, J.||Shield, George William||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Marshall, F.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Mathers, George||Shillaker, J. F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.-|
|Messer, Fred||Simmons, C. J.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.|
|Middleton, G.||Sinkinson, George||Charles Edwards.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Albery, Irving James||Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Atkinson, C.||Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Dawson, Sir Philip||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Duckworth, G. A. V.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Edge, Sir William||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie.|
|Blindell, James||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Elmley, Viscount||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.|
|Bracken, B.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Iveagh, Countess of|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Ferguson, Sir John||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Fielden, E. B.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Fison, F. G. Clavering||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Lane Fox, Cot. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Llewellin, Major J. J.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Long, Major Eric|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Glassey, A. E.||Lymington, Viscount|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Granville, E.||MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M.|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Gray, Milner||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Marjoribanks, E. C.|
|Cowan, D. M.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Meller, R. J.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Morris, Rhys Hopkins|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Train, J.|
|Muirhead, A. J.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Nathan, Major H. L.||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Salmon, Major I.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|O'Connor, T. J.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)||Savery, S. S.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Owen, H. F. (Hereford)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Peake, Capt. Osbert||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||White, H. G.|
|Pybus, Percy John||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||Smithers, Waldron||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Ramsbotham, H.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Rathbone, Eleanor||Southby, Commander A. R. J.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Remer, John R.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'te'y)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Captain Sir George Bowyer and Sir|
|Rothschild, J. de||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||George Penny.|
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I rise for the purpose of asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give us some inkling at this stage of the intentions which the Government have formed with regard to the further course of our business to-night and of their submissions in the matter. [An HON. MEMBER: "Speak up!"] I conclude with the Motion to Report Progress and ask leave to sit again, and I repeat that for the benefit of my hon. Friend who has just returned from the cricket match. We have not found it easy to make progress to-day because the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not made many helpful answers to the arguments that have been used. He prefers to sit there stonewalling the Debate and rising in his place at intervals to move the Closure. Sometimes he has risen when the Chairman has been unable to accept the Closure, thus showing that he has been unable to judge the sense of the Committee with the same instinct and propriety as the Chairman. What does he intend to do? How far does he wish to go? We have disposed of one Clause and made good progress with a second. They will not add to the revenue nor help to solve the financial problems of the country. All they will do is to work out certain special ideas that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his friends have on these subjects. I will give the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity at this stage, before I comment further on the situation, to tell us what his intentions are.
It always makes the thorny path of public business the easier when we are guided by the right hon. Gentleman. I will counsel him, if he is really going to embark on such a lengthy and laborious procedure, to begin his labours—for he is only at the very beginning of them—in rather a better temper than he has just exhibited. The spectacle of rage and malice which was exhibited to us when he rose just now reminds me of an impression I have sometimes seen when walking through a munitions factory and the great glare of a furnace suddenly comes on one.
I cannot conceive any course less calculated to facilitate progress. Some of these Clauses are of great importance and complexity. Others are not of such importance, but they are none the less irritating and have been added needlessly to encumber the financial provisions. The whole attitude which the right hon. Gentleman has adopted is one calculated to delay the course of public business. From beginning to end of this Budget he has tried to ride roughshod over the Rouse. How, I should like to know, could any Opposition receive the kind of announcement he has made to us? After all, we have our Parliamentary rights as well as he and his friends. He is a Minister in a minority Government dependent on the precarious political co-operation he receives from that bench. He uses tones of arrogance which I have never heard employed in a Government in a majority. He says we are to deal with all these clauses.
Take Clause 19 (Provisions as to collection of tax where appeal pending against assessment). That Clause is one of these little, petty pinpricks to the taxpayer at the time when the right hon. Gentleman is casting this heavy new burden on him. Take Clause 20 (Amendment of law relating to summary recovery of income tax) and Clause 21 (Limitation on amount of sur-tax payable in respect of total income of individual dying within year of assessment). That Clause is one on which, I dare say, there will not be very much trouble. Clause 22 (Valuation for purposes of Schedules A and B to be made quinquennially in Great Britain.) [HON. MEMBERS: "Agreed."] Why should you begin saying "Agreed"? After all, we have been told we are sitting all night. We cannot have at one moment violent threats by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ill-use the House and squeals for mercy from his followers. Clause 23 (Provisions for expediting in England valuations and assessments for years of revaluation). This is a most serious and complicated Clause affecting the valuation and its relations to the Treasury valuation. Clause 24 (Parishes for purposes of assessment in England.) That perhaps is not a very lengthy Clause, but look at Clause 25 (Appointment of general commissioners in Scotland.) That raises the Scotch aspect of our affairs. That, I should have thought in the best of circumstances difficult to dispose of by the Scottish Members, who take their Parliamentary duties most seriously and have never been known in this House to lack the capacity to state an important case with due prolixity. That is a Clause which might take some considerable time.
Clause 26 (Annual value of property in London for purposes of income tax.) That is a Clause raising questions of difficulty; and finally there is Clause 27 (Provisions with respect to returns, copies of valuation lists and tax assessments in London.) The right hon. Gentleman intends to keep the Committee all through this hot night in order to secure this immense mass of tangled and complicated business. He is trying to carry his Budget not by argument and reason, not by tactful and careful guidance of the Committee, but by sheer brute force. He has his army marshalled behind him. Their bridges and their boats are burned behind them. They cannot escape for some hours. He is using these unfortunates, with their backs to the wall, as it were, to try to press this immense mass of legislation through. I would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer seriously to consider whether he should proceed in this course of action. After all, there is this present Clause 18, a very important Clause.
Would it not be better to finish that Clause as quickly as possible and then let the House adjourn? What is the reason we are to have this prolonged sitting? A Committee of the House has just reported against these late sittings. Why does the right hon. Gentleman wish to keep us up? We did not put these Clauses down. They are not necessary in any way. They are merely put in in order to make it funny. The right hon. Gentleman proposes that we should sit for all hours of the night on this subject. I am willing to begin this discussion in a most amicable manner, and I have met the right hon. Gentleman in a very fair and friendly manner. If he will wind up his proceedings at Clause 18, which might easily be disposed of in less than an hour or an hour and a half, then we can all return refreshed on Thursday. There is enough material in this great mass of business which he is trying to force through to keep the Committee until three o'clock to-morrow, and in that case another allotted day of Supply is destroyed, because, if the Committee sits until three o'clock, the House can never meet on that day and the Government will have lost the whole of their allotted Supply day. There is a supreme remedy which is provided for Oppositions who are ill-treated in the matter of legislation. I do not know whether the Liberal party will approve of this method of forcing business through. The Finance Bill is a Measure which, from their point of view, has a singular significance, because it is by means of a Finance Bill that a tariff will be carried. No doubt the Government, by overloading the House with petty matters and pressing the debates into all hours of the night, are trying to make a case for a guillotine on the Budget.
With great respect, I thought that an analysis of the motives and the reasons which have actuated the Leader of the House in pressing this business on Parliament were as much within the ambit of your previous tolerance as what I have already said. But I pass from that, simply pointing out that every step which the right hon. Gentleman has taken in the course of the Budget discussions is consistent with a plan leading up to a guillotine closure. We see paragraphs announcing so in his party official organ, indicating that the ordinary procedure of this House may be swept away in order that he and his friends may carry out their healing process.
But the Budget stands by itself, and once a precedent is set up of a guillotine closure, and it is being prepared beforehand by these all-night sittings, then be sure that if the Liberal party were to support such a procedure, they would destroy the main opportunity they would have of preventing the passage of a tariff Bill, which certainly could only be carried under the application of a guillotine closure.
I have pressed the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider his decision, but I gather we are to have no further word from him, and that we are to go on until this vast mass of business has been disposed of. I gather that is so. I did not expect the Chancellor of the Exchequer to answer. If he sets us this hard task, if he forces us to proceed to examine all the details of this Bill, we will not shrink from the task. We will meet him in the discussions, and we will only hope that the contributions which will be made to our legislation will be such as to render it at least innocuous, and that the contribution which we make to the education of the right hon. Gentleman will carry his command of patience and of good temper one step further than it has yet done.
|Division No. 357.]||AYES.||[12.53 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Llewellin, Major J. J.|
|Albery, Irving James||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s. M.)||Long, Major Eric|
|Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W.||Fielden, E. B.||Lymington, Viscount|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Fison, F. G. Clavering||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Ganzoni, Sir John||Marjoribanks, E. C.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.|
|Bracken, B.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Muirhead, A. J.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||O'Connor, T. J.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Peake, Capt. Osbert|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Penny, Sir George|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hartington, Marquess of||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Haslam, Henry C.||Remer, John R.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch't'sy)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Iveagh, Countess of||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut-Colonel E. A.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewert|
|Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Shillaker, J. F.||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Smithers, Waldron||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Somerville, D. G. (Willesdon, East)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert||Captain Wallace and Sir Victor|
|Southby, Commander A. R. J.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Warrender.|
|Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Noel Baker, P. J.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Herriotts, J.||Oldfield, J. R.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Arnott, John||Hollins, A.||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Hopkin, Daniel||Palin, John Henry|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Paling, Wilfrid|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Horrabin, J. F.||Palmer, E. T.|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Bellamy, Albert||Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Phillips, Dr. Marion|
|Benson, G.||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Picton-Turbervill, Edith|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Potts, John S.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Price, M. P.|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Johnston, Thomas||Pybus, Percy John|
|Blindell, James||Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Bowen, J. W.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Raynes, W. R.|
|Bromfield, William||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Brothers, M.||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield)||Kelly, W. T.||Ritson, J.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Kennedy, Thomas||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Buchanan, G.||Kinley, J.||Romeril, H. G.|
|Burgess, F. G.||Kirkwood, D.||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Rothschild, J. de|
|Caine, Derwent Hall-||Lathan, G.||Rowson, Guy|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Law, A. (Rosendale)||Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)|
|Clarke, J. S.||Lawrence, Susan||Sanders, W. S.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawson, John James||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Scurr, John|
|Compton, Joseph||Leach, W.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Cove, William G.||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Shield, George William|
|Daggar, George||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Dallas, George||Lees, J.||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Simmons, C. J.|
|Dickson, T.||Lindley, Fred W.||Sinkinson, George|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Dukes, C.||Logan, David Gilbert||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Ede, James Chuter||Longbottam, A. W.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Edge, Sir William||Longden, F.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Lunn, William||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Egan, W. H.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Elmley, Viscount||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Freeman, Peter||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sorensen, R.|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham. Upton)||McElwee, A.||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||McEntee, V. L.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Gibson H. M. (Lancs. Mossley)||McShane, John James||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe|
|Gill, T. H.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Strauss, G. R.|
|Glassey, A. E.||Mansfield, W.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Gossling, A. G.||Marley, J.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Gould, F.||Marshall, F.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Mathers, George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Messer, Fred||Tout, W. J.|
|Granville, E.||Middleton, G.||Townend, A. E.|
|Gray, Milner||Mills, J. E.||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Milner, Major J.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Montague, Frederick||Watkins, F. C.|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Morley, Ralph||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||Mort, D. L.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Moses, J. J. H.||White, H. G.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Haycock, A. W.||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Hayday, Arthur||Muff, G.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Muggeridge, H. T.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Murnin, Hugh||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Wilson, J. (Oldham)||Wise, E. F.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.|
|Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)||Charles Edwards.|
I beg to move, in page 16, line 13, to leave out the words:
in such manner as may be specified",
and to insert instead thereof the words:
by the signature of a duly authorised agent of that body".
The Amendment I put on the Paper requires alteration to the form in which I now move it, as a result of one of the Amendments made in the earlier part of the Clause. If on this occasion the Chancellor of the Exchequer is also prepared to accept my Amendment, it will not be necessary for me to speak on it. The Clause provides that the copies which are to be furnished at the instance of the Special Commissioners are to be "certified in such manner as may be specified." I suppose that means as specified by the Commissioners. A much more usual and a more convenient course would have been to state the manner in which the copies were to be certified, namely, that they should be certified by the signature of the responsible officer concerned. The Amendment I put down was that they should be certified
by the signature of one of those persons or their duly authorised agent.
These words were put down when we were supposed to be dealing with a body of persons. That body of persons has been altered into a corporate body. I am not one of those who consider it possible by any manner of means that the Special Commissioners are likely to be unreasonable. If they would not act unreasonably, in what other manner, except by the duly authorised agents, will these lists be certified? In what other manner could the Commissioners require them to be certified? I will tell the Financial Secretary one way in which they might be required to be certified if they were peculiarly suspected. They might require them to be notarially certified. That would cost a great deal more than the 5s. a hundred that is the authorised payment under this Clause as it stands and my previous Amendment having been accepted so readily, I think this is also a reasonable one.
I quite appreciate the spirit in which the hon. Gentleman has moved this Amendment, and I quite realise that his only wish is to make the Clause work in the most harmonious way. But in point of fact I think that the words in the Clause as they stand are preferable to the words which the hon. Member has proposed. Even in the modified form in which he has put them forward in the Amendment, I still think that our words are better. The intention of the Clause is that the appropriate officer shall make the certification, and what we think is that the Special Commissioners will be the best judge in each particular case as to who the officer shall be.
There will, of course, be a number of different bodies who will have to make these certificates for corporations, railway companies and companies incorporated under the Companies Act, and in each of these cases somewhat different persons will be the appropriate officers to make the certification. Our opinion is that it would be better to leave it in the hands of the special commissioners to suggest the appropriate officer rather than to attempt to decide in advance, whether in the form of an amendment to the Clause or otherwise.
I would ask the hon. Gentleman why he does not say:
certified by such officer as, in the opinion of the Special Commissioners, is the appropriate officer?
The answer of the hon. Gentleman is that we do not expect the Special Commissioners to do anything unreasonable. Then why give them the power? This is the sort of sloppy legislation that is continually drifting, and giving wide powers because we will not give ourselves the trouble of thinking what powers a public official really ought to have. Never in any previous Parliament have we had so many wide and sloppily-
drawn Clauses giving powers to various classes of people. If the government wants to do the perfectly simple and obviously proper thing, why cannot it say exactly what is meant?
I will preface my remarks by thanking you, Mr. Young, for the honour you have conferred upon me. I take it as a high compliment and apologize to the hon. Baronet, the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), that even for one moment I stepped into his shoes. I would like to reinforce the point that has been put by the noble Lord. The answer of the Financial Secretary has nothing whatever to do with the words of this Clause. The words we are proposing to leave out are "in such manner as may be specified," but his answer is about appropriate officers. Well an "appropriate officer" is not a "manner" whatever else he is. Who is going to do the specifying? The Special Commissioners, I understand the Financial Secretary saying they are the best judges, they may be good judges, but I would not go so far as to say that they are necessarily the best, because that would be taking away the competence of Parliament, which is the best judge.
The hon. Gentleman, the Financial Secretary, was not at all responsive. It is our business to try to get words into these Acts of Parliament to signify our intention. If he means that the appropriate officers are to make the certification, why in the world does he not say so? There is nothing in this Sub-section about any officer at all, appropriate or otherwise. It certainly pays "in such manner as may be specified." I think the certification is going to be done by the Special Commissioners "in such manner"; that might mean that they might quite well say it has to be on foolscap paper instead of typewritten or in handwriting instead of copper-plate, the Financial Secretary is only concerned with that very narrow bureaucratic technique of the people in Government offices, of which I have had very considerable experience, who would not look at a file of papers sent to them because the bow tying them up was on the bottom instead of at the side. That is the sort of thing which is meant by "in such manner". It has nothing to do with people.
Really the Financial Secretary must discriminate between things and persons. He says, "Leave the choice of the appropriate officers to the Special Commissioners," but we do not want to leave it to anyone when we are passing an Act of Parliament. In all the many hours of discussion we have had no one knows in this Committee really what is meant by the Government and lawyers have all given different verdicts, and the laymen have followed not far behind. Let the Financial Secretary be good enough to tell us what is meant by "in like manner." Do not let him talk about officers. I expect his remarks were all out of order on this Amendment, but he has been treated with great latitude by the Chairman. I hope he will explain what it is that the bureaucratic powers who are behind this Clause have in mind.
The extraordinary thing is that in this one Clause there should be in three successive lines the word "specified." We are to have copies delivered within a specified time, certified in such manner as may be specified, of the whole of or any specified class of entries. We have already spent three hours discussing that meaning of the word "specified." I challenge my memory as to whether the word "specified" any such context as this has appeared in legislation. Let me pursue the matter a little further, because there is a procedure of certification under the Companies Act, 1929, and I wish to ask the Financial Secretary whether he has in mind the certification under the Companies' Forms Order of 1929 made by the Board of Trade under date 7th October, 1929, in which several methods, alternative methods, in circumstances to which that order was applicable, are laid down for certification, such as the certification of a true copy by a notary public, or the certification of a true copy on oath by an officer having authority to administer an oath? I do not believe for a minute that that is what the hon. Gentleman has in mind. I think the Financial Secretary overlooks the change that has taken place in the form of this Clause since it first came before the Committee. The Clause now relates only to bodies corporate and the position with regard to all bodies corporate is perfectly well known. They all have their proper officer—their clerk or secretary is the proper person to make a certificate. If the hon. Gentleman will look at Subsection (4), line 22, he will find that it refers to the clerk and secretary of the body in question, or, if there is no clerk or Secretary, the person who performs the duties of clerk or secretary. Why then the use of the words "in such manner as may be specified"?
It seems to me that there are two points we have to consider. One was made by my hon. and gallant Friend below the Gangway. When I asked the learned Attorney-General what was meant by the words "certified in such manner as may be specified," I did not get any reply. I hope that the Financial Secretary will presently tell us exactly what is meant by these words. Do we understand by them that a special form might be provided by the Commissioners and sent to the Companies in a specially arranged way and filled in by them in a specified manner? The other point is this: I suggest that the words should be left out rather than any words be added. If these words were left out, the Clause would read:—
The Special Commissioners may cause to be served upon any corporate body … requiring them to deliver to the Commissioners within a specified time a copy of the whole of, or any specfied class of entries.
We cannot do that now. We must deal with the Amendment as it stands. That being the case, it turns now on the question of the person who shall do the certifying. I would suggest that the secretary or the clerk who is referred to in Sub-section (4), who is to be responsible and who, if he does not do it in a proper manner, is to be fined £50, should be the person to do this certifying. I cannot see why the Financial Secretary should not accept this very reasonable Amendment. All these various concerns have clerks or secretaries who can perfectly well do the certifying for them. I do not see any argument in the remarks of the Financial Secretary that the words that have been suggested should not be accepted. He has brought nothing new forward but has merely, in effect, told the Committee that he thinks the words in the Bill are better than those suggested in the Amendment, without giving any reason.
The hon. Member made a suggestion earlier that I should accept certain alternative words. If he remembers the exact words and will repeat them, I should like to have an opportunity of considering them. I think they were something like "by such an appropriate official as the commissioners shall approve." If he can recall the words, perhaps he will repeat them.
I am afraid I can not recall them. Very likely I can recall some of them. I want the Clause to specify the kind of way in which it can be certified. As long as that is a reasonable way, I do not mind about the form of words. I suggest
by a duly authorised agent of that body recognised as such by the commissioners,
that is, if the Financial Secretary insists on having such words put in. I think, however, my original words are best:
by the signature of one of those persons or their duly authorised agent.
I do not take much real interest in trying to polish up this Clause, because I think the whole Clause is a mistake. It says that it is to be done in a specified way. Why not say how it is to be done? We have had enough in this country of leaving things to be dealt with by bureaucrats, and this is one case which we ought to settle. What is the Financial Secretary's defence? It is that the Special Commissioners will know best who is the person who ought to certify. Are they really the people who know best the individuals in the office of the Southern Railway or any other railway company? Do they know best the employés of the Wakefield Corporation?
: I can probably now satisfy the hon. Member by this form of words, which, I think, meets all the legitimate cases—in place of the words "in such manner as may be specified" to substitute the words "by a duly authorised officer of such body." I think that that meets the suggestion put forward, and if the hon. Member will withdraw his Amendment, I shall be happy to move the appropriate Amendment in the form I have suggested.
I beg to move, in page 16, line 13, to leave out the words:
in such manner as may be specified,
and to insert instead thereof the words:
by a duly authorised officer of such body.
I think the matter is getting clarified, but is not quite clear yet. If the Financial Secretary considers for a moment, he will appreciate that the word "signature" is necessary. I should like to say a word in connection with the Amendment that has now been approved by the Government front Bench, because the Financial Secretary, in spite of the usual benevolence of his methods, seems to have betrayed a disagreeably suspicious nature over this Amendment. He has done the right thing in giving way on this Amendment. The information which it is properly desired by the Special Commissioners to obtain is not in the nature of an ordinary copyist's work. It entails an original piece of work, because it constitutes a correct interpretation of a demand and therefore a selection from an existing list. There is a considerable responsibility in producing that selection. It must be accurate, which is its whole point. The Special Commissioners are desiring to check errors on the part of taxpayers. The whole reason for their making this demand is that they may have accurate information. That accurate information is contained admittedly in the records of the company or body corporate, but its presentation to the Commissioners depends on the ability, accuracy and work of some particular official. If he fails in those respects, then the body corporate for which he is acting will be liable for these heavy penalties of as such as £50 at a time, and the number of times on which they may be fined is apparently unlimited. We are putting on the representative, whoever he may be, of the body corporate, an original work, not a mere copyist's work, and the responsibility for the accuracy attached to it. That shows how important it is that we should have very definitely expressed who is to do the work and in what form it is to be done, and not leave the decision to anyone, not even the present Financial Secretary, in whom we have the most supreme confidence, but who may not be always filling that position. While it is not in Order for me to move a further manuscript Amendment to the form which the Financial Secretary has consented to submit to the Committee, I do not consider it as satisfactory in regard to the word "specified." Everyone believes it means "specified by the Commissioners," but it does not say so.
"Certified" is the word to which I was referring. The Financial Secretary has put forward certain words, but I would ask him to give this matter further consideration, and I am sure he will agree that for grammatical accuracy the word "signature" is desirable as an Amendment to his Amendment, and for those reasons I hope that he will be able to agree that that is a satisfactory and a clearer way of conveying into the Bill what is evidently his intention.
I would like to make one observation on this matter, although I must disagree with my hon. Friend behind me. I think the word "certified" does imply the signature of the duly authorised agent. The word "certification" is generally used in this connection, and I do not think it necessary to have the word "signature." We are entitled to complain of the long time the Financial Secretary has been in arriving at what ought to be a very plain and simple Amendment to this Clause. The matter was very clearly and concisely stated by the hon. Member for Watford (Sir D. Herbert), yet the Financial Secretary has taken nearly an hour in coming to a conclusion on a matter of not very great importance. The Government ought to have more consideration for the Committee than to spend nearly an hour on an Amendment of this character. It is not the way we should expect business to be conducted in this House. It is a matter about which we must make some comment. We have an important Bill, and the Financial Secretary takes three quarters of an hour to come to a conclusion on a very straightforward matter. It ought not to have taken him all that time. He has impeded the progress of the Mil by this long delay. I hope that if the Financial Secretary does not feel equal to dealing with these matters, we shall not any longer be delayed by the Members of the Government in the way we have been.
I would like to remind the right hon. Gentleman of a little verse which I would paraphrase for him. The verse runs
There is no expeditious road
To pack and label men for God,
And save them by the barrel load.
I would paraphrase it in these words:
There is no expeditious road
To pack and label men for tax,
And tax them by the barrel load.
If that is so, then I shall not pursue it, but that seemed to me the cause of having got the concession. In any case, it always seems to me that it is of the utmost importance that all acts of Parliament, especially Finance Acts, should be drafted in a very clear and specific manner. There should be no room for any doubt or any question of interpretation or for other authorities—in this case it is the Commissioners of Income Tax—to amplify and supplement the Act of Parliament. All the powers that are required should be explicitly laid down in the Act of Parliament and should not be left to be specified by the Commissioners or any other body. By doing what we are asked to do to-day, handing over to the Commissioners the power under an act of Parliament of making regulations of a very important nature, we are handing over to them our own responsibility and duty to legislate carefully and with due deliberation without unnecessary hurry and rush.
By leaving to the Commissioners the power to specify first one thing, then another, and then a third, we are, in fact, failing in the work for which we are elected, namely, to legislate carefully and in detail and, therefore, although the concession made by the Financial Secretary is a good one, it does not go far enough, although it does make the Clause more definite than it was before. It is undoubtedly a slight improvement. We were told by the Financial Secretary in an earlier speech that, in fact, the words of the Clause "in such manner as may be specified" really mean "by such persons as may be specified". I should like to ask advice on the matter, because it always seems to me that the interpretation that lawyers put upon words is frequently not the same as the interpretation which those words naturally sand normally bear. I can see no meaning in the words "in such manner as may be specified."
I have been interested in the arguments presented on this side in this matter, but I should like to have some expression of opinion from the front bench opposite regarding the point raised by the hon. and gallant Member for Yeovil (Major Davies), who tried to persuade us that a thing that is put down as specified and not certified has a meaning which the ordinary layman does not understand it to mean. Yet when we ask that it should be made quite plain, and that we should put "signature" in there is complete silence on the part of the Attorney-General who only by a shake of the head signified to those of us who sit here that it would not be necessary to put in the word "signature." His argument was reinforced by the right hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood), but, there again, that is only an expression of opinion by another member of the legal profession. Could not we have something more than a nod? It may be as good as a wink to hon. Members opposite, but we would like a little more argument as to why the word "signature" is not necessary in this Clause which is specific in everything except saying what the Clause means.
I see the Clause begins with "Special Commissioners," and goes on with "specified" several times over, yet when we ask to have it made clear, not for the legal gentlemen who sit in the House but
for the ordinary layman who has to suffer under this Clause eventually, we are told it is quite clear, and that such and such a thing is not necessary; that "specified" means one thing and "certified" another. Could we not have an explanation of just why it is not necessary to put in the word "signature"? I am glad the Financial Secretary has accepted in substance the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend, but it seems to me as a layman that it would be better if we had the word "signature" here. If it is unnecessary, perhaps we will be allowed to have the reasons.
|Division No. 358.]||AYES.||[1.55 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Gill, T. H.||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Glassey, A. E.||Lees, J.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Gossling, A. G.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Gould, F.||Lindley, Fred W.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lloyd, C. Ellis|
|Arnott, John||Granville, E.||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Gray, Milner||Longbottom, A. W.|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Longden, F.|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Groves, Thomas E.||Lunn, William|
|Bellamy, Albert||Grundy, Thomas W.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Benson, G.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||McElwee, A.|
|Bowen, J. W.||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||McEntee, V. L.|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Harris, Percy A.||McShane, John James|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Haycock, A. W.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)|
|Bromfield, William||Hayday, Arthur||Mansfield, W.|
|Brothers, M.||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff. S.)||Marley, J.|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Marshall, F.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Mathers, George|
|Buchanan, G.||Herriotts, J.||Messer, Fred|
|Burgess, F. G.||Hirst, G. H. (York, W. R., Wentworth)||Middleton, G.|
|Caine, Derwent Hall-||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Mills, J. E.|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Hollins, A.||Milner, Major J.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hopkin, Daniel||Montague, Frederick|
|Church, Major A. G.||Horrabin, J. F.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Clarke, J. S.||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Morley, Ralph|
|Cluse, W. S.||Isaacs, George||Morris, Rhys Hopkins|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Mart, D. L.|
|Compton, Joseph||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Moses, J. J. H.|
|Cove, William G.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphllly)||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)|
|Dallas, George||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Muff, G.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Muggeridge, H. T.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Murnin, Hugh|
|Dukes, C.||Kelly, W. T.||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Kennedy, Thomas||Noel Baker, P. J.|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Kinley, J.||Oldfield, J. R.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Kirkwood, D.||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Egan, W. H.||Lathan, G.||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)|
|Elmley, Viscount||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Palin, John Henry|
|Freeman, Peter||Law, A. (Rosendale)||Palmer, E. T.|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Lawrence, Susan||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lancs. Mossley)||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Phillips, Dr. Marion|
|Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Simmons, C. J.||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Potts, John S.||Sinkinson, George||Wallace, H. W.|
|Price, M. P.||Siteh, Charles H.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Quibell, D. J. K.||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Ramsay, T. B. Wlison||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Raynes, W. R.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)||Westwood, Joseph|
|Ritson, J.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)||White, H. G.|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Romeril, H. G.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Sorensen, R.||Williams, David (Swansea. East)|
|Rowson, Guy||Stamford, Thomas W.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)||Stephen, Campbell||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Sander, W. S.||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Sawyer, G. F.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Scurr, John||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Thurtle, Ernest||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Shield, George William||Tinker, John Joseph||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Tout, W. J.|
|Shillaker, J. F.||Townend, A. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Hayes and Mr. Paling.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Hartington, Marquess of||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Long, Major Eric||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Lymington, Viscount||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M.||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Marjoribanks, E. C.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Mulrhead, A. J.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||O'Connor, T. J.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Womersley, W. J.|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Ramsbotham, H.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Salmon, Major I.||Captain Sir George Bowyer and Sir|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||George Penny.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
May I ask whether you, Mr. Young, are going to allow the expression "rabble" to pass as a Parliamentary expression? If it is not Parliamentary, ought not the hon. Member to withdraw it?
I am willing to withdraw it, although it is a perfectly good English word.
I beg to move in page 16, line 19, to leave out the words:
five shillings in respect of each one hundred entries,
and to insert instead thereof the words
sixpence or such less sum as such body of persons may prescribe for every one hundred words or fractional part thereof required to be copied.
In moving this Amendment, my object is that at any rate the Special Commissioners shall have no greater privilege than was granted by the House to the shareholdres of companies under the Companies Act. It was reasonable that the sum of money paid should be sufficient in view of the work entailed in carrying out the orders of the Special Commissioners. I am, like many hon. Members, utterly opposed to this Clause as it stands, but I am trying to look for something in the shape of an Amendment
that will make a bad Clause a little less bad. As the hon. Gentleman has accepted one or two Amendments from this side, perhaps we shall have an early intimation that he is prepared to accept this. This is a very reasonable Amendment. It has not been put down in any way to cause obstruction. Many members, if the Committee were allowed a free vote, would vote against the Clause altogether.
Judging from recent experience, the acceptance of this Amendment would not be likely to shorten the discussion. Apart from that, I cannot accept the Amendment. I think if the hon. Member had been thoroughly conversant with what is likely to happen, and if he had been anxious that the remuneration should be larger, he would not have moved this Amendment, because under it the remuneration is, in a large number of cases, less than it would be if the original words remained. Section 98 of the Companies Act, 1929, provides that any member or other person may require a copy of the register on payment of sixpence, or such less sum as that company may prescribe for every 100 words. The hon. Member has taken the words of his Amendment from that Clause. A Clause in an Act which was passed not long ago by this House—the Rating and Valuation Act, 1925—follows very much the same lines in regard to getting copies of documents. For these reasons, it is a perfectly simple matter. We cannot accept the Amendment.
I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will reconsider this matter. I want to make one observation on his first statement. We are asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider these Amendments on their merits, not on the question of whether after an Amendment has been accepted, discussion has ceased. That is a new method of dealing with Amendments. I do not think the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has any complaint. I have had some experience of accepting Amendments, some five years, and I do not know that I ever complained that after I accepted an Amendment the discussion was continued for a reasonable time afterwards.
With regard to this proposal, I do suggest that the Chancellor should, at any rate, reconsider the amount which is to be paid under Clause 2 at the rate of five shillings in respect of each 100 entries. I suggest that this is a new provision. It is putting, for the first time, an obligation upon not only companies but upon municipal corporations. If we wipe out companies altogether—which would not be an extraordinary thing to do for the present Government; in many respects they have done their best, and they are not very successful at the moment—but if you rule them out altogether, there is still the corporations, and I do not think anyone will say that the town clerks of any of the boroughs would say that the rate of five shillings in respect of each 100 entries was a reasonable amount. I should like to know whether there has been any consideration of this point. Also, dealing with a document of this character is a matter of rather more than simply copying out. People will be under a penalty if it is not a true and proper record of the particular entry, either in the Corporation's book or in the books of a particular company, and I would suggest to the members of the Committee that they should not regard it simply as a copying matter. It is much more than that. The official who could devote himself to this particular task might very well occupy a very considerable portion of his time in dealing with that particular matter.
I would suggest that the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Financial Secretary should look at this matter again and make some suggestion himself as to what is to be done. It is a matter which obviously requires further consideration. I did not quite follow what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said as to how this particular Amendment would work out in practice. I understand that what he said was that in some cases it would not be as good as the Clause which is now before the Committee and that in certain other cases it would be better. All we are endeavouring to urge upon the Committee is that this particular item of remuneration should be improved. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer is able to tell us in what particular respect it can be done we will put our amendment in proper shape.
Perhaps the Chancellor of the Exchequer will forgive me if I give one or two figures. The ordinary entry in a share register is esti- mated at about ten words, and ten entries are usually reckoned to be worth sixpence under the section of the Companies' Act to which reference has been made. The Chancellor of the Exchequer leaves out of account the question of joint accounts and trustee holdings which figure very largely in Municipal stocks. In this case the number of words of an entry was from 25 to 30; therefore, 100 entries is going to run to 2,000 or 3,000 words. It is not quite so small a point as the Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to make out. There is another point in the case of allotment sheets and the number of words in an entry is very much larger. One other point I would like to put to the Chancellor of the Exchequer is that there is no provision made for a minimum fee. The whole matter is not as simple as the Chancellor thinks, and I venture to hope that before the Amendment is disposed of we shall have some explanation.
Owing to the remarkable way in which this Clause has been drawn, I frankly confess I do not understand the intended meaning of a specified class of entry. Does it mean going through 1,000 names and selecting a particular class? I remember very well when I was a young man I wrote to the custodian of a certain registry of births or deaths—I am not quite sure which it was—to search within a certain period of time, and I gave the years, to find an entry of a certain birth or death. He looked it up for me, and sent me a certificate. I proposed to send him 3s. 6d. for his certificate, but he said, "No, 3s. 6d. is all right for the certificate, but I am entitled to 1s. for every page I have to turn over to find that particular entry."—[Interruption]—I do not think that any hon. Member would wish to select 100 holders of £1,000 of stock out of a total of some 20,000 or 30,000 names for the niggardly remuneration of 5s. I suggest this wants some kind of alteration. There are such people as law stationers and agents who search registers who have a regular scale of fees. I think that if the Attorney-General will look into it, he will come to the conclusion that some alteration ought to be made in this. I am not prepared at the moment to suggest what it should be. Before the Report stage, something might be done to deal with the question.
I was going to ask if this 5s. in respect of 100 entries applies also in respect of 400 entries. Entry means, in relation to any register, so much thereof as relates to the securities held by any one person. I understand that the person may hold at least four types of shares, and, therefore, the total remuneration in respect of 400 entries is 5s., which is totally inadequate.
I should like to reinforce the point that has already been made, and to direct the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to this matter as one of practical every-day importance in the conduct of business in the City of London. There should not be much ambiguity here. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Attorney-General will turn to the sixth Schedule of the Companies Act, 1929, he will see exactly what is contained in a register. The contents of the register are a number of columns. The first column is for the folio; then there is a separate column for surname, another column for Christian names, another for address, and another for occupation. Thus, there are five columns before we even approach the subject matter of the inquiry. Then there are columns for the number of shares held by existing members at date of return, two columns relating to particulars of shares transferred since the date of the last return by persons who are still members, and two more columns relating to particulars of shares transferred since the date of the last return by persons who have ceased to be members. Then there is another column for remarks. The real subject matter to be dealt with requires therefore an additional six columns.
Let me try to deal with this in terms of number of words. I am thinking not of a single entry, but of the power given by this Bill to call on, say, the Midland Railway with 280,000 shareholders. [An HON. MEMBER,: "Terrible"!] An hon. Member says "Terrible". If he will contemplate the figures, they are astronomical. What does this represent in terms of clerical work and paper? Merely to get down the extract as to the surname, Christian name, address and occupation, will not take less than eight words. The particulars required, if they are referable merely to one particular class of share, as ordinarily understood and not in terms of this Bill, will mean at least a further eight words. That is, 16 words for a single entry relating to a single person. There are to be 100 entries. That is 1,600 words at 6d. for 100 words, or 8s. under the Amendment, but, according to this Bill, 5s.
It goes very much further. There are ordinary shares, deferred shares, preference shares, first debenture stock, second debenture stock, preferred ordinary shares, and all the rest of it. They appear in reference to the register of a single company and to a single Member. That is bad enough. These matters have got to be investigated. It is skilled work, and, if not done skilfully, it imposes on the officials of the company heavy penalties. I am not suggesting that the work cannot be done, but that it can only be done at a very considerable dislocation of the day-to-day business of the company and at a wage which hon. Members opposite, if ascribed to themselves, would rightly describe as sweated wages. Hon. Members opposite were inclined to jeer when I said that the figures were astronomical. Let me take a company with 250,000 shareholders. All those members with one entry for all those shareholders, even if you have only one class of share, will come to 4,000,000 or 5,000,000 words. Has any hon. Member ever thought what it means to set on paper 4,000,000 or 5,000,000 words? I wonder if hon. Members realise the comparable length in a book or a newspaper of that number of words. Unless the rights under this Bill are exercised with so scrupulous a care as to make these powers nugatory, they will involve many companies in keeping a special staff for the purpose of nothing else but making these entries. [An HON. MEMBER: "Never"!] Let me test it. Take a company with 250,000 shareholders; there may well be 30 words in reference to each of them, and that is about 7,500,000 words on an ordinary average number of entries. Say you get 200 words on a page, that will be, say, 35,000 pages of copying. And what is produced at the end? A list for the Special Commissioners. 35,000 pages, and nothing produced at the end of it: How long would it take at trade union hours to produce 35,000 pages copied from a register? I ask the hon. Gentlemen on the front Bench if they have ever seen a company register. If they would look at a company register in one of our great companies, they would see it is not such a simple task for an ordinary clerk to make a copy of the entries one after another, still less if they have to be isolated and selected.
What are the Government doing by this Clause? They are dislocating the business of the company, putting the register out of the use to which it would be put in the ordinary way, putting the company to enormous expense and thereby reducing the profits on which Income Tax will be assessable for the purpose of the revenue. The more this Clause is investigated the more it will be found to be serving no useful purpose to the special commissioners, to be doing a disservice to the Revenue, and involving such a feeling of irritation, annoyance and waste in the ordinary every-day business of life by making people who ought to be producing something, waste their time with making entries, that these offences will not easily be forgotten against this Government.
The Labour party must be feeling pretty well ashamed of themselves for keeping the Committee sitting up all through the night in order that they may sweat and grind down the clerks of this country. We thought that they were angling for the support of the black-coated workingman, but it is now clear what ideas they have of the hours that clerks should work and the wages they should receive. I could hardly follow all the figures given from the Liberal benches, but it is clear that the remuneration proposed by the Government is an insulting pittance compared with the labours that will be imposed on these clerical staffs and the companies engaged on this work. We know the ideas the Labour party has of work. The President of the Board of Education said he must keep the children at school to save the drudgery of minding machines, and the First Commissioner of Works spoke against manual labour. Therefore, machines and manual work are to be avoided, but the clerk is to work all day for this miserable sum. Could anything more clearly reveal the cynicism that has actuated the Government in their treatment of these clerks in this particular way? Of course, they regard no labour as respectable except the labour that votes for them. That is the frank, naked position. It is because these clerks are not among their political supporters that this miserable remuneration is to be paid to them.
That is one hypothesis. The other is more flattering to the Labour party and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is supposed to take charge of the commercial interests of this country. If the clerks are to be paid properly, and are not to have this brutish, blood-sucking blow, then the burden has to be borne by these companies. At the darkest moment in our economic history, this dreary period of dark misfortune over which the right hon. Gentleman presides with such seraphic glee, he has struck another blow at the companies because, if the clerks are to be properly paid, it is quite clear that a burden must be placed on our commercial and limited liability institutions which will add to their difficulties. Which of the two courses should be followed? What are we to say when we give an account of your actions to the electors of the country? Are we to say that you are desirous that the burden should be thrown upon the companies or sweated out of the clerks? You can take your choice. Whichever it is, I am sure that to keep the Committee up to such a time on such a point is trying to screw the last ounce of work out of the clerical staff. I will not say it is an act unworthy of a Labour Government, but there could be no more revealing act of the utter humbug and hypocrisy characterising their whole policy.
It was astonishing to me to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer say that this was quite a trifling matter. I wonder if he realises there is more work in connection with the obtaining of these entries than he imagines. There are not only all these various classes of shares which require the dates as well as the names, but in the case of sales the names of the transferror and transferee. From what one can gather, and from looking into the big registers, it would quite well take an ordinary clerk an hour. If one considers the number of these entries, hon. Members will see what he would get if he were paid on piece-rates when one entry might take an hour. It would be very much more adequate payment to pay by the hundred words than by the entry.
I doubt whether the right hon. Gentleman, after insisting on this Clause standing as it is, can give any enthusiastic support to the work of the Labour Office at Geneva. This is work of a very onerous, difficult and skilled character. My right hon. Friend has pointed out that the word "entry" means, according to the definition Clause,
in relation to any register, so much thereof as relates to the securities held by any one person.
That may include debentures, debenture stock, preference shares, ordinary shares, or preference stock.
I bow to your ruling, but I would like to point out that there is yet another reason for apprehending that the work to be done in connection with the compiling of these registers is of alarming proportions. The shares may very well be split holdings, allottee holdings or nominee holdings and so would only be remunerated at the rate of one person. There is reason to fear that the amount of work that will be necessary in order to compile a copy of the register may reach the astronomical proportions that have been referred to. But when this work is done what is the value of it to be? In the case of a company whose shares are constantly and freely changing hands on the Stock Exchange, the whole face of the register will have undergone transformation by the time the copy is completed, and, therefore, the task will have to be repeated again and again if the inquisition is to be of any value whatever. It will be necessary for companies to employ permanent staffs of underpaid, sweated clerks. The Government may fairly be told that they are aiding and abetting the commission of a crime by encouraging companies either to employ sweated labour, or by going outside the memorandum of association, by employing men they are not empowered to employ by the memorandum. The course upon which the Government are embarking by refusing ordinary humanitarian remuneration to the gentlemen engaged on this difficult task passes my comprehension. That the work will be clerical work of no possible value to the Revenue increases the exasperation that we feel, and intensifies our determination to do what we can for a body of workers who deserve well.
I will put only one perfectly practical point which has not yet been put to the Attorney-General or the Financial Sectretary, and I do not know if they themselves have been through an actual register of a company in order to see the work involved. Let me take a simple, practical case. Supposing they wanted to get a specific class of entry of the type that the Attorney-General mentioned as a possible case, of people having 500 shares or over, and I am not dealing with the question of an entry being possibly in four or five classes of shares; I am taking it of the same class of shares, ordinary shares, preference shares, or whatever category it may be. Some companies in their register amalgamate the holdings that any particular person has got, and, therefore, it will be comparatively easy in cases like that to see whether a person has got 500 shares. Even so you have to turn over an immense amount of leaves in order to see how many people there are of that character who would own 500 shares. The case becomes much more complicated when you come to the case of companies who do not amalgamate their different holdings. They keep an index of the names of the people who possess shares, but the actual entries are very often separated into a large number of different items.
In order, therefore, to try to get at the sort of class desired the person, who is under a penalty of £50 to produce the list of the people who have got 500 shares, has got to go to the index and refer to the individual items. On speculation, so to speak, he has to go through the different items in order to see whether the person comes into the class owning 500 shares or not. That is a very complicated piece of work, and, what is more, it may mean that when he has done it he finds that the person, according to the catalogue, does not come into that category and from that point of view the whole of the work done in that particular case is wasted, and it is not paid for. The thing obviously entails a very large amount of work indeed, and you may not get what you want. If anybody wanted to get round a regulation of this kind, suposing it was a person who owned 500 shares, he could put 300 in his own name and 200 in his wife's and obviously, the information ought to be got at in a different way. Even if you try to get it by this method, it is quite clear that the possible mass of work involved is so great that a payment of 5s. for 100 entries, involving a great deal of work which may be entirely wasted in the process and therefore not renumerated at all, is likely to be grossly insufficient and I would ask the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he has, in fact, communicated with the public companies, and whether they are of opinion that 5s. for 100 entries is what they consider sufficient.
Marquess of HARTINGTON:
This is a point of very real substance. The object of this Clause undoubtedly is to enable the Commissioners to track down any evader. But a shareholders' register contains at least the following particulars: the name of the shareholder, his occupation, the amount of his holding, and the date of the acquisition of the holding. Supposing the Special Commissioners form the opinion that a particular individual was evading taxation in respect of some particular interest on shares which he held. This Clause will not give the Special Commissioners power to go to the company and say, "We want to know——
Marquess of HARTINGTON:
I was just coming to what the Special Commissioners would do in pursuit of their duty and how they would be enabled to save money. If they come to the conclusion that a particular individual is evading taxation, this Clause does not give them power to go to the company and ask for the holding. It does give them power to ask the company to give a list of shareholders in a particular class. The Special Commissioners might ask for one particular class who held not more than 500 shares. They might narrow dawn their demand to shareholders who had residence in a certain district, or had acquired shares after a certain date. I believe the Clause would give the Special Commissioners power to ask for any particular individual. A company might be asked to furnish one name and would be paid at the rate of ½d. There is a serious risk of allowing the Special Commissioners to impose an intolerable burden if the Clause goes through in its present form.
The Committee is entitled to some kind of explanation. I have listened for the last hour to demands from this side of the Committee, but we have had little from the other side. We have had a good deal of discussion as to the sweated labour of clerks. The Committee must be clear on this point. The payment would not be made direct to the clerks, who would be drawing their ordinary wages whether they were doing that kind of work or not. I think the money would be paid to the company, and they should receive a higher rate in accordance with the Amendment. These higher rates should be paid for more reasons than one. The higher rates would be a distinct deterrent to officials in regard to demanding these long and involved lists and large numbers of returns. In some cases the Government are anxious to pour out people's money, but in this case they are very niggardly in paying for what they intend to obtain.
I am reluctant to intervene, but there is a point which has puzzled me in the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer indicated in a somewhat dark and allusive manner that it would be better for the companies if they allowed the words in the Bill to remain; that, in fact, the remuneration in the Bill was more valuable than that proposed by the Amendment. Are there any figures in support of that view? An hon. Member below the gangway referred to the figures of shareholders as "astronomical." What is the number of words in each of the entries in a register? Without that knowledge, we cannot come to a decision. I should be exceedingly grateful if that point could be cleared up. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer's proposal in the Bill is the more generous, it would be futile to try to impose an alteration which would mean less remuneration. If it be the case that the remuneration in the Amendment is more generous—
I am sorry if I have been repeating myself. I have tried to put the point, and it is clear that you at least, Mr. Dunnico, have understood what I have tried to say. If it is inadequate remuneration, we should not sanction a scale which might inflict hardship upon people.
|Division No. 359.]||AYES.||[3.12 a.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Middleton, G.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||Mills, J. E.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Milner, Major J.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Harris, Percy A.||Montague, Frederick|
|Ammon, Charles George||Haycock, A. W.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Arnott, John||Hayday, Arthur||Morley, Ralph|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Hayes, John Henry||Morris, Rhys Hopkins|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Mort, D. L.|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Moses, J. J. H.|
|Bellamy, Albert||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Benson, G.||Herriotts, J.||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Muff, G.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Murnin, Hugh|
|Bowen, J. W.||Hollins, A.||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Hopkin, Daniel||Noel Baker, P. J.|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Horrabin, J. F.||Oldfield, J. R.|
|Bromfield, William||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Brothers, M.||Isaacs, George||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Palin, John Henry|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Palmer, E. T.|
|Burgess, F. G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Caine, Derwent Hall-||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Phillips, Dr. Marion|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Picton-Turbervill, Edith|
|Church, Major A. G.||Kelly, W. T.||Potts, John S.|
|Clarke, J. S.||Kennedy, Thomas||Price, M. P.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kinley, J.||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour.||Kirkwood, D.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Cove, William G.||Lathan, G.||Raynes, W. R.|
|Daggar, George||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Dallas, George||Law, A. (Rosendale)||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lawrence, Susan||Ritson, J.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Dukes, C.||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Romeril, H. G.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Lees, J.||Rowson, Guy|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Lindley, Fred W.||Sanders, W. S.|
|Egan, W. H.||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Freeman, Peter||Logan, David Gilbert||Scurr, John|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Longbottom, A. W.||Shield, George William|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Longden, F.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Gibson H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Gill, T. H.||Lunn, William||Simmons, C. J.|
|Glassey, A. E.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Sinkinson, George|
|Gossling, A. G.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Gould, F.||McElwee, A.||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||McEntee, V. L.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Granville, E.||McShane, John James||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Gray, Milner||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Mansfield, W.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Marley, J.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Marshall, Fred||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Mathers, George||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Messer, Fred||Sorensen, R.|
|Stamford, Thomas W.||Wallace, H. W.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Stephen, Campbell||Watkins, F. C.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Strachey, E. J. St. Loe||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)||Wilson C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Strauss, G. R.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)||Wellock, Wilfred||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Thurtle, Ernest||Westwood, Joseph||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Tinker, John Joseph||White, H. G.|
|Tout, W. J.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.-|
|Townend, A. E.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.||Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. Paling.|
|Vaughan, D. J.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Lamb, Sir J. O.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Long, Major Eric||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Lymington, Viscount||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Colville, Major D. J.||MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M.||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Marjoribanks, E. C.||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Muirhead, A. J.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||O'Connor, T. J.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Ramsbotham, H.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Ross, Major Ronald D.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Captain Sir George Bowyer and|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Salmon, Major I.||Sir George Penny.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Division No. 360.]||AYES.||[3.20 a.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Egan, W. H.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Freeman, Peter||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.|
|Arnott, John||Gibbins, Joseph||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Kelly, W. T.|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Gill, T. H.||Kennedy, Thomas|
|Bellamy, Albert||Gossling, A. G.||Kinley, J.|
|Benson, G.||Gould, F.||Kirkwood, D.|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lathan, G.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Granville, E.||Law, Albert (Bolton)|
|Bowen, J. W.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Law, A. (Rosendale)|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Groves, Thomas E.||Lawrence, Susan|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Grundy, Thomas W.||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)|
|Bromfield, William||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)|
|Brothers, M.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||Lees, J.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Lewis, T. (Southampton)|
|Burgess, F. G.||Harris, Percy A.||Lindley, Fred W.|
|Caine, Derwent Hall-||Haycock, A. W.||Lloyd, C. Ellis|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Hayday, Arthur||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hayes, John Henry||Longbottom, A. W.|
|Church, Major A. G.||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Longden, F.|
|Clarke, J. S.||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Lunn, William|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Herriotts, J.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Compton, Joseph||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Cove, William G.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||McElwee, A.|
|Daggar, George||Hollins, A.||McEntee, V. L.|
|Dallas, George||Hopkin, Daniel||McShane, John James|
|Dalton, Hugh||Horrabin, J. F.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Mansfield, W.|
|Dukes, C.||Isaacs, George||Marley, J.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Marshall, F.|
|Edmunds, J. E.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Mathers, George|
|Messer, Fred||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Middleton, G.||Ritson, J.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Mills, J. E.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Milner, Major J.||Romeril, H. G.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Montague, Frederick||Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Tout, W. J.|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Rowson, Guy||Townend, A. E.|
|Morley, Ralph||Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Sanders, W. S.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Mort, D. L.||Sawyer, G. F.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Moses, J. J. H.||Scurr, John||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline).|
|Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Shield, George William||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Muff, G.||Shillaker, J. F.||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Murnin, Hugh||Simmons, C. J.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Noel Baker, P. J.||Sinkinson, George||White, H. G.|
|Oldfield, J. R.||Sitch, Charles H.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Owen, H. F. (Hereford)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Palin, John Henry||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)||Williams Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Palmer, E. T.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)||Wilson C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Phillips, Dr. Marion||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Potts, John S.||Sorensen, R.||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Price, M. P.||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Quibell, D. J. K.||Stephen, Campbell||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Raynes, W. R.||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Paling.|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Strauss, G. R.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Ross, Major Ronald D.|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Hartington, Marquess of||Salmon, Major I.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Briscoe, Richard George||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Long, Major Eric||Smithers, Waldron|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Lymington, Viscount||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Muirhead, A. J.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Nathan, Major H. L.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||O'Connor, T. J.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Glassey, A. E.||Penny, Sir George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Captain Wallace and Sir Victor|
|Gray, Milner||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||Warrender.|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Ramsbotham, H.|
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I really must ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is not now satisfied that it is quite beyond the compass and power of the Committee to achieve anything like the task which he has prescribed for us? He has placed before us a programme that is quite impossible. I hope he now sees that these Clauses which he has so unnecessarily introduced into the Finance Bill and works of supererogation in which he so delights, are such that, if they are to be examined as they must be, must necessarily lend themselves to protracted debate. These debates have been conducted not only by the Conservative Opposition, but representatives of the Liberal party also have taken a most distinguished part. Consequently we claim that the Opposition on this side of the House, constituting a majority of this assembly, although they may not be able to achieve an actual majority, yet have a moral superiority over the Socialist party which ought to be taken into consideration.
The right hon. Gentleman is really not going the right way about getting this Budget. When he shows an intention to carry by main force what ought to be a matter of tactful persuasion and shows himself ready to brush aside his political opponents and ram down their throats any amount of work he chooses to set before them, then I think it is still the duty of those who have the guardianship of the traditions of this House in their keeping to allow no scamping of the work, tired though we may be of our labours. Even at this stage, I ask whether he cannot make some concession that would enable us to abridge these discussions. Three hours ago it was suggested that we might have wound up the discusion on Clause 18 within an hour. That would have meant that we should not have done full justice to our clerks whose treatment is such a black spot on the labour of this country. If the right hon. Gentleman feels now that he has seen how bleak is the prospect before him and is willing to make a new proposal, I would suggest to him that we should agree to bring Clause 18 to a close before half past four and terminate our proceedings at that. If met in a similar spirit, we should be bound to be at least as good as our word in the matter. I shall no doubt have an opportunity of dealing further with the matter after we have had the reply of the right hon. Gentleman.
The right hon. Gentleman is apparently in a state of physical exhaustion, and I can quite understand his anxiety to get through, as he did after having boasted of what he was going to do, before the rest of the Committee a few weeks ago. If he had shown the same anxiety to facilitate business 12 hours ago, I might have been more inclined to listen favourably to the appeal which he has made. I shall certainly not accept the offer he has made. The Committee will search the records of this House in vain for a parallel to the slow progress which we have made to-day Not one Clause of importance has been passed. I was justified at the beginning of the sitting in expecting, allowing for reasonable debate, that we should get to the end of Part II. I am not prepared to accept the Motion to report Progress. We shall go on, and if the right hon. Gentleman will make a similar proposal, say, about 12 or one o'clock, then I will consider it.
I think the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer well repays my effort. He began by boasting exultingly and triumphantly that I, personally, and some other of my hon. Friends, were in a state of exhaustion. Even if we do feel tired, we shall not fail to exert ourselves. Really, the right hon. Gentleman would be wise to accept the Motion or to make some concession. He has got heavy work to-morrow—a Cabinet meeting to attend at 11 o'clock at which he is to make a general survey of the great progress made by the Labour Government in dealing with our general economic affairs and also the congestion of Parliamentary burliness. Surely, he ought to be reserving himself for that and have some time for slumber and reflection. As far as we are concerned, we have not the least intention of being led into scamping our public duties merely because of the unsuitable hour at which we are compelled to discuss these matters. The right hon. Gentleman has taunted me with having left the last debate two hours before its conclusion. I did so because I had to wind up the debate on unemployment on that very day, and I say quite frankly that I am not capable of giving my attention to such a matter without having two or three hours' sleep. But the work which the right hon. Gentleman has to do is far more important than that which falls to any private Member in winding up a debate. He has the whole finances of the country in his hand. Even if he himself is ready to be carried away by partisanship and to exhaust himself in the struggle, it is really from our point of view desirable that he should be urged to abate something of his ardour and rancour. As nothing I can say will make any impression, it is really not much use my proceeding any further. If I do so, it is not because I have a real expectation of softening his heart, but because I desire to place clearly on record the reasons why we object to this procedure.
It is our duty as representatives of the Opposition to show that this mood and temper, this procedure, these late hours, will not benefit the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but will lead him at every stage deeper and deeper into the mire. The right hon. Gentleman, if he had acted in a reasonable manner, might have been much farther on in his Budget Bill than he is to-day. In the first place, I do not understand why he does not make some friendly gesture on the merits of this Bill. Why does he insist on carrying all these Clauses through? Why not say, "This Clause will cause a lot of trouble, and so we shall drop it." Why have fifty Clauses in this Bill, many of them trumpery, and insist on all of them? We have a right to be consulted on the merits of the Bill and to help in moulding legislation before Parliament. We are going to insist on our right. The right hon. Gentleman is only the head of a minority. Why does he not treat properly those with almost as many votes behind them as his own party? We recognise that he has to carry on the business of the country and get the money, but subject to that, there is a wide field for give and take and compromise. If he were to adopt that attitude, he would make much more rapid progress. If he imagines that he is going to carry this through by plodding on all the night into the next day and then having another all night sitting on Thursday, he is mistaken. Tomorrow the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be considering the position of business in the House of Commons. A shocking condition of congestion lies before us. There is no greater culprit from the Cabinet point of view—
I am not in the right hon. Gentleman's Cabinet. I say there is no greater culprit than the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I cannot understand why he has deliberately caused this great political failure and deadlock of business. He may imagine that by refusing our Motion to report Progress and carrying on our debate a little longer he will be successful and will make a case for a guillotine or time table Resolution, but I am convinced that the Liberal party will not take a hand in that respect. They will know perfectly well that once a precedent has been set—[Interruption.] If I am dwelling in too much detail on the danger of the guillotine procedure, then I shall leave that point. I have given the right hon. gentleman a very fair chance of reconsidering his attitude before we reach the hour of noon which he mentioned so inconsiderately. I shall give him a further chance in the course of the next two or three hours in order to see whether we cannot reach some more satisfactory conclusion than that which he puts before us.
I would like to make an appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and ask him if he will consider what the country will think of this evening. I would remind him that the Financial Secretary quite recently spent at least an hour of the time of the Committee over an Amendment moved by my hon. Friend behind me and, after the discussion had gone on for over an hour or an hour and a half—[Interruption]—over an hour anyway—the Financial Secretary accepted the gist of the Amendment in slightly altered words. Therefore, the Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot possibly blame us for keeping the debate going, when his own Financial Secretary might have shortened it by an hour by accepting the Amendment which he eventually had to accept. How can we get on with this legislation? We have to do from Clause 19 onwards. They are very important Clauses which we have to make better than they are at the present time. They require a great deal of amendment and thought. How can the country get the best out of Parliament if Parliament is going to sit up all night discussing all sorts of things better discussed by day. Take Clause 22 as an example. [Interruption.] There is nothing out of Order in referring to it at not undue length. Under Clause 22 we are going to bring about a quinquennial valuation of the whole property in Great Britain. That is an important subject which we shall have to deal with at great length. Another important Clause is Clause 26 in which we are going to do away with the whole of the Valuation (Metropolis) Act of 1869, the valuation in London, the assessments in the metropolitan area——
I am not going to do that, but it is very important, because it affects the whole question of valuation—[Interruption]—I can refer to it in that way—[Interruption.]—How can I explain the Clause unless I refer to it, not in great detail, but to state what the Clause states, if I cannot say that this is going to alter the Valuation of the Metropolis Act of 1869, how can I discuss this question? I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has treated us very badly indeed. He has tried to force this Budget through the House without discussion. He has moved the Closure on many occasions and prevented us from having a free opportunity of discussion.
the Closure was moved by the right hon. Gentleman. If I have cast any reflection upon you, I humbly apologise, because that it the last thing that I should have wished. I say that we should now report Progress in order that we may have an opportunity of discussing these important Clauses at a time of day when we feel that we are able to discuss them.
|Division No. 361.]||AYES.||[3.54 a.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Mills, J. E.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Milner, Major J.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Montague, Frederick|
|Alpass, J. H.||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Morgan Dr. H. B.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Haycock, A. W.||Morley, Ralph|
|Arnott, John||Hayday, Arthur||Morris, Rhys Hopkins|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Hayes, John Henry||Mort, D. L.|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Moses, J. J. H.|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Bellamy, Albert||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)|
|Benson, G.||Herriotts, J.||Muff, G.|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Murnin, Hugh|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hollins, A.||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Bowen, J. W.||Hopkin, Daniel||Noel Baker, P. J.|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Horrabin, J. F.||Oldfield, J. R.|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Bromfield, William||Isaacs, George||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Brothers, M.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Palin, John Henry.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Palmer, E. T.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Burgess, F. G.||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Caine, Derwent Hall-||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Phillips, Dr. Marion|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Kelly, W. T.||Picton-Turbervill, Edith|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kennedy, Thomas||Potts, John S.|
|Church, Major A. G.||Kinley, J.||Price, M. P.|
|Clarke, J. S.||Kirkwood, D.||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lathan, G.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Raynes, W. R.|
|Compton, Joseph||Law, A. (Rosendale)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Cove, William G.||Lawrence, Susan||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
|Daggar, George||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Ritson, J.|
|Dallas, George||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Romeril, H. G.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lees, J.||Rowson, Guy|
|Dukes, C.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)|
|Ede, James Chuter||Lindley, Fred W.||Sanders, W. S.|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Logan, David Gilbert||Scurr, John|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Longbottom, A. W.||Shield, George William|
|Egan, W. H.||Longden, F.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Freeman, Peter||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Lunn, William||Simmons, C. J.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Sinkinson, George|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lancs. Mossley)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Gill, T. H.||McElwee, A.||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Glassey, A. E.||McEntee, V. L.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Gossling, A. G.||McShane, John James||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Gould, F.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Mansfield, W.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Granville, E.||Marley, J.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Gray, Milner||Marshall, Fred||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Mathers, George||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Messer, Fred||Sorensen, R.|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Middleton, G.||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Stephen, Campbell||Watkins, F. C.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Strachey, E. J. St. Loe||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Strauss, G. R.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)||Wellock, Wilfred||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Tinker, John Joseph||Westwood, Joseph||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Tout, W. J.||White, H. G.|
|Townend, A. E.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Vaughan, D. J.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)||Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. Paling.|
|Wallace, H. W.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Hartington, Marquess of||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Lamb, Sir J. O.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Long, Major Eric||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Lymington, Viscount||Smithers, Waldron|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M.||Stanley Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Marjoribanks, E. C.||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Muirhead, A. J.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||O'Connor, T. J.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ross, Major Ronald D.||Captain Sir George Bowyer and Sir|
|Sir George Penny.|
|Division No. 362.]||AYES.||[4.2 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Hartington, Marquess of||Salmon, Major I.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxt'd, Henley)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Smith, R. W. (Aherd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Long, Major Eric||Smithers, Waldron|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Lymington, Viscount||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M.||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Marjoribanks, E. C.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Muirhead, A. J.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Elliot, Major Waiter E.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||O'Connor, T. J.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Ramsbotham, H.||Sir George Penny and Sir Victor|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Ross, Major Ronald D.||Warrender.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Benson, G.||Burgess, F. G.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Caine, Derwent Hall-|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Bowen, J. W.||Charleton, H. C.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Broad, Francis Alfred||Church, Major A. G.|
|Arnott, John||Brockway, A. Fenner||Clarke, J. S.|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Bromfield, William||Cluse, W. S.|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Brothers, M.||Cocks, Frederick Seymour|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield)||Compton, Joseph|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Cove, William G.|
|Bellamy, Albert||Buchanan, G.||Daggar, George|
|Dallas, George||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Ritson, J.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Romeril, H. G.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Dukes, C.||Lees, J.||Rowson, Guy|
|Ede, James Chuter||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Lindley, Fred W.||Sanders, W. S.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Logan, David Gilbert||Scurr, John|
|Egan, W. H.||Longbottom, A. W.||Shield, George William|
|Freeman, Peter||Longden, F.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Lunn, William||Simmons, C. J.|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Sinkinson, George|
|Gill, T. H.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Glassey, A. E.||McElwee, A.||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Gossling, A. G.||McEntee, V. L.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Gould, F.||McShane, John James||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Granville, E.||Mansfield, W.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Gray, Milner||Marley, J.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Marshall, F.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Mathers, George||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Messer, Fred||Sorensen, R.|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Middleton, G.||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Mills, J. E.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Milner, Major J.||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Montague, Frederick||Strauss, G. R.|
|Haycock, A. W.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Morley, Ralph||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Mart, D. L.||Tout, W. J.|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Moses, J. J. H.||Townend, A. E.|
|Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Herriotts, J.||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Muff, G.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Hollins, A.||Murnin, Hugh||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Hopkin, Daniel||Nathan, Major H. L.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Horrabin, J. F.||Noel Baker, P. J.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Oldfield, J. R.||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Isaacs, George||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Westwood, Joseph|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||White, H. G.|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Palin, John Henry.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Palmer, E. T.||Williams Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Phillips, Dr. Marion||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Kennedy, Thomas||Potts, John S.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Kinley, J.||Price, M. P.||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Kirkwood, D.||Quibell, D. J. K.||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Lathan, G.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Law, Albert (Bolton)||Raynes, W. R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Law, A. (Rosendale)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Paling.|
|Lawrence, Susan||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
Question, "That those words, as amended, be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
I beg to move, in page 16, line 23, to leave out from the word "with" to the word "shall" in line 25 and to insert instead thereof the words:
the body of persons in question jointly and severally.
Owing to the sweet reasonableness of the Financial Secretary, my task in moving this Amendment will not be such a difficult one, because I understand he is prepared to meet me again, if not to accept the Amendment in the exact words in consequence of the Amendments which have been made in the earlier part of the Clause. In order to introduce it to the Committee, I will just state the intention of my Amendment with which I understand, the Financial Secretary agrees. Sub-section 4 of Clause 18 provides that where the notices, served under this
Clause are not complied with, certain heavy penalties are to be inflicted and where the notice served under this Clause is not complied with the clerk or secretary of the body in question, or if there is no clerk or secretary, the person who performs the duties of clerk or secretary, shall be subject to very heavy penalties. There has been some careless drafting. If the clerk or secretary is subject to a penalty, why not the principal? We should not wish to inflict a penalty upon a wretched employé and not upon the principal, and the Amendment is to leave out the words
the clerk or secretary of the body in question, or, if there is no clerk or secretary, the person who performs the duties of clerk or secretary
and to insert instead words which would include the principal interested in the
corporate body or whatever it was, corporate or not.—[Interruption]. One would almost think that this was a matter upon which the rank and file of the party opposite could take the interest which we take in the Finance Bills brought forward by our Chancellors of the Exchequer, and that this was an occasion when Members of the Socialist party and those who call themselves representatives of Labour would for once have stood up for the employed class, and have seen that a penalty should be borne by the employer and not by the unfortunate employé who is simply acting under his master's orders. After the Financial Secretary has stated his case, I should be prepared to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment provided that the Amendment which the hon. Gentleman proposes to move in its place appears to be satisfactory.
My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is willing to accept the substance of this Amendment, but, as the hon. Gentleman who has moved it has already told the Committee, owing partly to the form of words which have been accepted, not exactly in the form in which he has moved it. The actual form will therefore be slightly different, but I am sure that it will commend itself both to him and to the members of the Committee. I think the best thing to do is to read out the Clause as it would read if the Amendment and the consequential Amendments were adopted. The principal point is to leave out the words "clerk or secretary" and to leave "the body in question" as the one that bears the burden. It would read as follows:
Where a notice served under this section is not complied with, the body in question shall, unless it is proved that it was not reasonably possible to comply with the notice, be liable to a penalty not exceeding fifty pounds, and if after judgment has been given for that penalty the copy still remaining undelivered shall be liable to a further penalty of fifty pounds for every day during which the, default continues.
No words have really been altered in the Sub-section except those necessary to bring about the change.
It may be that we want a little guidance from you, Mr. Young, if we are making a sort of bargain across the floor of the House to deal in a friendly spirit and to meet on a point in this Clause. The point which now arises is this: there are certain penalties. I will not go into the merits of the case, but I am not quite satisfied with what the hon. Gentleman is proposing. The latter part of this Clause proposes certain penalties. The hon. Gentleman tells us that he is not attempting to alter in any way the latter part of this Subsection. But there are Amendments at any rate down on the paper—of course we are in your hands Mr. Chairman—there are several Amendments down on the Paper. [Interruption]——
I was going to say that we are in your hands as to what Amendments are called. The hon. Gentleman has proposed, not intentionally—but he appears to have asked us to consent to this Sub-section in the form in which he has read it. That involves our consenting to its remaining in its present state in regard to penalties. There are several Amendments down on the paper in regard to penalties, and, if I may respectfully say so, in all probability one Clause at any rate dealing in some way with the question of penalty will be called so as to allow a discussion on that point. So far as I am concerned, while I quite agree with the first part of the Clause, I cannot agree necessarily to the whole of the Sub-section as the Hon. Gentleman has read it. Perhaps it may be convenient if the hon. Gentleman, or yourself, Sir, would now read to the Committee the Amendment which the hon. Gentleman proposes to move.