Orders of the Day — Agricultural Marketing Acts.

– in the House of Commons on 26th July 1935.

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The following Notices of Motion appeared on the Order Paper: That the Amendments of the Bacon Marketing Scheme, 1933, which were presented to this House on the 22nd day of July 1935, be approved.That the Bacon Development Scheme, 1935, made under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1933, a draft of which was presented to this House on the 22nd day of July 1935, be approved."—[Mr. Elliot.]

1.11 p.m.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I beg to move, That the Amendments of the Bacon Marketing Scheme, 1933, which were presented to this House on the 22nd day of July, 1935, be approved. There are two Amendments to the marketing scheme which have to be dealt with before we are able to move the Motion approving the Development Scheme, which is to come before the House later.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

On a point of Order. As these two Amendments are closely connected, may we not deal with both of them together and if necessary a division could be taken on each of them afterwards, without further discussion?

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

If that course be agreeable to the House, it would obviously be to the general convenience.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I am indebted to the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) for his suggestion, and I shall be only too pleased to discuss these two Amendments together, especially as the second Amendment is not one of substance. It is intended to bring the scheme into relation with the Act of 1933 and I am advised by my legal advisers that it is necessary in order to avoid any possibility of legal dispute. But it does not confer upon the Bacon Board any powers which that Board has not at present. I am advised that a challenge might be made in the courts because the wording is not exactly the same in the two cases. The first Amendment, however, is of more substance and it is only fair to give the House a short explanation of it. It is to provide that if for any reason an order were made by the Minister under section 2 of the Act of 1933 restricting the amount of home production that that should be shared equally by farmers producing pigs for sale themselves to bacon factories and for processors producing their own pigs. It will be seen that this cannot come into force at all unless there is an order by the Minister under section 2 of the Act of 1933. I do not contemplate making any such order because if made it would have to come before the House and it would require an affirmative Resolution of this House and also an affirmative Resolution in another place. The House will see that there will be full opportunity for review of the conditions which were producing such an Order, and therefore it is merely a potential power which is being given here and not a power on which there is any intention or indeed any possibility of acting without further review by this House.

It is also true that the Co-operative movement drew attention to that paragraph of the Amendment dealing with bacon produced from the curers' own pigs on the ground that it would prevent the co-operative societies from increasing the supply of bacon pigs produced on their own farms and that it would operate unfairly on the societies whose capital abroad had been injuriously affected by the quantitative regulation of imports. This objection led to a public inquiry being held at which the objection was not strongly pressed, and the inquiry did not sustain the objection. I cannot now, except very briefly, refer to the second business on the paper, which is part of the development scheme, and which in its turn, I believe, is acceptable to the Co-operative movement, and therefore they wish to take the rough with the smooth.

The Amendment here is put forward by the Bacon Marketing Board and is a concession to the pig producers by the curers; that is to say, they are saying, "If for any reason there should be limitation, it shall apply to us who produce and cure pigs as well as to you who only produce pigs." These are rather hypothetical points, and I am sorry to have to trouble the House with them. This is a small and technical but real point, and the other is technical only, and I think it would be more to the advantage of the House if we could dispose quite briefly of the two Amendments and proceed to the consideration of the development scheme itself, which raises issues of interest upon which I am sure hon. Members in various parts of the House would like to speak.

1.18 p.m.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

I think the very modest speech of the Minister is comparable at first glance to the two modest Amendments on the Order Paper, but I am not sure that the Amendments are as modest as the right hon. Gentleman would have the House believe. In fact, I think these two Amendments are absolutely fundamental and involve fundamental changes in the bacon marketing scheme and the prospective development scheme. The second Amendment definitely concedes the power to the bacon boards to determine not only kinds, varieties, and grades of bacon which may be sold, but to determine the quantities of bacon of any description which may be sold. Previously the boards have had no power to deal with quantity, and it was only the passing of the 1933 Act which altered the situation with regard to quantity.

Although the House is very thinly occupied, I think those who are sufficiently interested to be present ought to know the full possibilities of these two Amendments. The Amendment to Proviso 38 (1, b) definitely grants a power to bacon boards to restrict the output of home produce. Previously they only had the power to determine kinds, qualities, and grades, so that if the second Amendment is carried, the first Amendment comes into existence, and as the home output expands, with decreasing imports, then every existing producer will be able to increase his output proportionately. On the face of it, the first Amendment seems fair, namely, that whatever expansion there may be should be allocated proportionately over the whole of the existing producers, but something deeper than that is involved. This power, once conceded to the bacon boards, will be able to hit at the quantity of bacon which in future years can be produced in this country, and this House ought to hesitate before it gives that power, not to a body which is in existence to serve a public purpose and need, but to the Bacon Marketing Board, which consists wholly of producers.

We are giving to people who are in business for the purpose of making a profit, and incidentally providing a service, the power to restrict the quantity of an article which forms a part of the daily diet of a very large number of people in this country, and I shall be interested to see what the attitude of the National Liberal party will be to this question, should there be any National Liberal Member in the House apart from the Home Secretary, or of the Liberals who are not National Liberals, or in fact of all those supporters of the free flow of economic courses and so forth. I think this power is a very important one. To grant, first of all, to the right hon. Gentleman the power to decrease the imports of bacon, and then to concede to a bacon board consisting wholly of producers, with no representatives of the consumers or the general public, the power to fix the quantity that shall be produced at home, is really to concede a power that ought to be given to no less a body than either a public institution or at least a public utility society, where conditions would definitely be laid down and obligations entered into.

I understand that there is ample justification for the bacon board seeking this power, for I gather that Mr. Marsh, of Messrs. Marsh and Baxter, who are the biggest people in the country in this trade, is chairman of the board. They have very powerful influence with the board, and if they can persuade the bacon board first, the Minister second, and the House third to give them this almighty power to restrict the output of home produce, I shall have nothing but admiration for their ability. This Amendment will mean, when connected up with the development scheme which we shall deal with later, that in future every pig or bacon producer in the country will have a guaranteed market, guaranteed prices, because this board will determine the output, which incidentally will determine the prices, and guaranteed perpetual profits, and no persons in future will be able to produce except those who are producing at the moment.

What the right hon. Gentleman meant when he suggested that we were not extending the power and that Parliament would always have the right to intervene, if it thought fit, if a scheme went beyond the point that was deemed wise, I do not understand. The words of this Amendment are perfectly clear. It is proposed to eliminate all the words of Section 38 (1, b), and to add a new paragraph (b): the quantity of bacon of any description which may be sold". Clearly that gives the power to the Bacon Marketing Board to determine how much bacon shall be sold in any given period.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I do not want to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but I found that I had to spend a considerable time in hard thought upon the two sections before I was assured of their exact bearing. If the hon. Member will look at the proposed Amendment to Section 38, he will see that under their existing powers: The Board may regulate sales of bacon … by determining …. then it is proposed in paragraph (b) to say: The quantity of bacon of any description which may be sold. That power exists already.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

Yes, but only if Parliament has given that power.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

The power only comes into action now if Parliament gives it, and there is no difference between the present law, which states that it can only come into force if Parliament gives power, and the law as it will be if this Amendment is accepted. In both cases Parliament will have to give the power by an affirmative resolution.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

The right hon. Gentleman only confirms the point I was making. In the marketing scheme as it now exists the Board has the power to determine the kind, varieties, grades and so forth and: If and when authorised by Act of Parliament and subject to the provisions thereof the quantity … so that Parliament must be consulted and power must be granted before the Board can have the power to determine quantities for the first time.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

No. As this is a point to which I have given a great deal of consideration, I would like to put it to the House as it appears to me. The words "if and when authorised by Act of Parliament" had to be inserted because the Act of 1933 was not yet law. That authorisation has since been given by the Act of 1933 "subject to the provisions thereof". The Act of Parliament which is referred to in the old paragraph (b) is the Act of 1933, which makes it possible for regulation of quantity to take place "subject to the provisions thereof", which means subject to an affirmative order voted by both Houses of Parliament. That is the present safeguard which the consumers and the public have, and it remains untouched by the Amendment which I am asking the House to accept. This is only a provisional power, and the present scheme is subject to the provisions of the Act of 1933. I think that the hon. Gentleman was a little confused, as I was, by the words "if and when authorised by Act of Parliament", because it might well appear that a special Act of Parliament had to be passed to authorise it. It is not so. The Act of Parliament which was envisaged there, and which has since been passed, is the Act of 1933. The safeguard of the House and of the public is an affirmative order under that Act, and that order has still to be passed under the Amendment which is now proposed.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

If the right hon. Gentleman's interpretation is the proper one—and he has at his disposal all the legal experts in the various departments—I should like to know why the Amendment is moved to-day. If ultimately the Bacon Board desire to utilise the power to fix quantities, they will have to come to Parliament for an affirmative order before they can continue. It seems to be that even without this Amendment the Bacon Board could at any time proceed to Parliament to ask for an affirmative order which would enable paragraph (b) of Section 38 to come into existence. What is the point of this Amendment if subsequently, before quantities can be determined by the Bacon Board, it will still have to come to Parliament for an affirmative order?

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

That is precisely the question I asked my legal advisers when they put these Amendments before me. I asked whether this made any effective change, and they said, "No". I said, "Why, then, should we bring this before Parliament?" They said, "Because this scheme was passed before the Act of 1933 was passed". During the passage of that Act certain modifications in wording, but not in principle, were made, and the words which concern us here are that if such a limitation of quantity were to be made, the Board must prescribe the method of determination. It is merely a technical point that if a regulation is to be made, the Board shall really set out, so that all can see, the principle by which it was proceeding to apply this regulation. My legal advisers said that the words of Section 38 as they stand in paragraph (b) do not enjoin the Board to prescribe the method of determination. They merely lay down that the Board may regulate sales of bacon by determining the quantity of bacon which may be sold; but, they say, Parliament also laid down that the Board must prescribe a method of determination, that is to say, must set out clearly the method by which it proposes to do it, thus giving an additional safeguard to the consumer and to the House. My advisers then said that because the scheme does not in set terms enjoin the Board to do this, therefore such determination might be challenged in a court of law. It is in order to remove this difficulty that we ask for the Amendment to be incorporated in the scheme.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

I hope that every hon. Member in the House will now be perfectly clear on that point. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that I am. I understand now that the Amendment is moved to-day? If ultimately the Board are determining the quantities of bacon to be sold, they have to prescribe a method of determining the limitation, so that it is not so much the quantities with which we are dealing, as the method of prescribing the quantity.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

That is perfectly clear. But the principle of what I am saying remains. If we accept this Amendment we are accepting the handing over of powers to a producers' board to determine the output of a commodity which is in daily use in almost every home, and to determine also that in future only existing producers will be able to produce the commodity, to expand the output of which the right hon. Gentleman has applied every known method. Once this power to fix a particular quantity for a particular period is given only existing producers will be able to produce bacon in future. What we are doing to-day—or going half-way to doing: the right hon. Gentleman will agree that it needs only one more affirmation—is to grant a prescriptive perpetual right to existing producers of a certain commodity to produce that commodity, giving power to the Board to declare that no person not at present producing that commodity may ever be permitted to do so. It may be that for the sake of organisation and efficiency these powers are necessary under a national scheme, but I have yet to be persuaded that such powers ought to be granted to bodies of people who are in existence for profit and to whom service is secondary.

There is nothing in the schemes, nor has the right hon. Gentleman said anything, about limiting profits. They can limit the quantities to as low a figure as they like and increase their profits as high as they like. They are not like a public utility society, upon whom conditions are laid and whose profits are restricted. They will have the same power as the sugar factories have to exploit the situation, the same freedom as the hop producers have to exploit the power conceded to them. I do not think we ought to concede such powers. If there were consumers' representatives with power to prevent excessive profits being secured I could understand the position. The first thing that we on these benches stand for is an efficient system, but not efficiency under a scheme which gives a comparatively small number of people a prescriptive right in perpetuity to produce commodities for a guaranteed market, with a guaranteed price and with profits as high as they care to make them.

The first Amendment determines that once an increase in home production has been decided upon the expansion shall be pro rata, farm by farm or producer by producer. On the face of it that seems fair, but the right hon. Gentleman knows as well as anyone else that it will not be fair to a very large consumers' society in this country. The Co-operative Wholesale Society are responsible for the supply of bacon to 7,000,000 persons. They were unable to obtain supplies in this country, and had to invest the savings of the working class members of co-operative societies in Denmark, where they produce the kind and the quality of bacon which is required. The right hon. Gentleman has imposed restrictions upon imports from Denmark, and 40 per cent. of the imports of co-operative society bacon from Denmark have been cut off. Co-operative society funds have, therefore, been endangered by these import restrictions, and the co-operative societies quite rightly say, "If you close down our factories by cutting off our imports we are entitled to expect that if there is any expansion of output in this country the Co-operative Wholesale Society shall be permitted to produce a quantity equivalent to that which they are prevented from importing from Denmark, where it has been cured in their own factories."

Photo of Mr Maurice Petherick Mr Maurice Petherick , Penryn and Falmouth

Why could not the co-operative societies, instead of investing money in Denmark, simply buy from Denmark?

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

The hon. Member puts a perfectly proper question. The Danish people invited the co-operative societies to invest money in bacon-curing factories. The Danish people knew that they themselves had the skill, that they knew how to produce bacon of the quality and kind that the English consumer wants. The co-operative society knew they had 7,000,000 members whose needs must be catered for and felt that the most convenient thing for them to do, in the absence of bacon-curing facilities in Denmark, was to invest co-operative society money in Denmark to cure the bacon which was to hand there. If English producers had produced the right type and the right quality for the needs of our own market the co-operative society would have readily established bacon-curing factories in this country. They only acted as they did because British producers of bacon were indifferent, and never tried to meet the needs of the market here. The Co-operative Wholesale Society went over to Denmark to do what could not be done in this country.

If the right hon. Gentleman is justified in cutting off 107,000 cwt. of bacon previously imported by the co-operative societies and hopes to increase output in this country, clearly the Co-operative Wholesale Society ought to be permitted to produce here the same quantity of bacon as they were importing, but once these Amendments have been made only existing producers at home will be able to expand, and there will be no compensation for the loss of capital invested abroad by co-operative members. These two Amendments go two-thirds of the way to establishing perpetual monopolies in private hands, with no restriction on the profits to be made and no safeguards for the consumers, despite the right hon. Gentleman's investigation committees, and so on. Although we on these benches want to see the pig and bacon side of the agricultural industry as efficient as it can be made, we cannot feel justified in conceding power to bodies of producers to limit production, to fix prices and to settle their own profits—giving them, in short, the right in perpetuity to exploit the community here.

1.43 p.m.

Photo of Captain Richard Evans Captain Richard Evans , Carmarthen

On more than one occasion I have expressed my detestation of the whole bacon scheme. I feel that it is not on right foundations and have more than once crossed swords over it with the Minister, but as that scheme has been accepted I think it is necessary to embark upon the Development Board. What I am anxious about, however, is that this Development Board should not be endowed with tyrannous powers. The whole organisation of bacon production is in danger of becoming a close corporation, a fusion of vested interests, and what I am afraid of, as the representative of an agricultural constituency, and having received frequent representations from West Wales

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER:

I did understand orginally that we were going to discuss both schemes together, but neither the Minister nor the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) has spoken of the second, and in the circumstances I think we had better dispose of the bacon scheme first and then deal with development.

Photo of Captain Richard Evans Captain Richard Evans , Carmarthen

I also thought that the Amendments would have been first disposed of and the larger issues then discussed, but so much latitude was given to the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) that I thought it had been tacitly agreed that we should embark on the larger discussion.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I think that what both the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) and I had in mind was that we should deal with the Amendments to the scheme, which are two in number, together, that we should dispose of them, and then discuss the somewhat larger issue of the development scheme, about which we should be very ready to hear the remarks of the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. R. T. Evans).

1.45 p.m.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

I do not want to prolong the debate unduly, but, notwithstanding the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman that the approval of the Amendments will only be provisional, they involve the opinion of the House upon the principle which is contained in the proposals. It is upon that matter that I wish to say a few words. During the passage of the 1931 Act through this House, I resisted all the time a very large number of Amendments which would have had the effect of conferring upon the producers power to limit quantity, and there is no power of that kind in the 1931 Act because of that profound objection on my part. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would agree that I have not been a captious critic of his proposals, but I am satisfied that the experience of the last four years abundantly justifies the apprehension which led to my opposition. It is not right that a producers' board should be equipped with power to limit the production of other producers. If that is to be done at all, it should be by a board which has no interest in production; by, as we suggested, an agricultural commission—no matter what you call it—that has no special interest in the matter.

There are other objections equally important in this matter of the method of approach. We recognise that if you are to have an organised and orderly market scheme you must have reasonable information as to forthcoming supplies because you must be able to deal with the market in an orderly and sensible way. That is a quite different scheme from what is now proposed. It would be quite proper for the appropriate board to have quarterly or monthly returns as to supplies which were likely to be forthcoming. The purpose of the power of quantitative restriction, for that is what this is, is not to facilitate the better supplying of the needs of the market; the design behind it is to sustain prices. We take the view that although it is necessary to have a managed price system and to have stability in prices, you should not seek to attain your purpose by the power to impose a shortage. That is the wrong way to set about it. You have no right to impose a shortage. What will actually happen? If there is a programme to increase production by five per cent. or whatever it is, existing producers would be entitled to increase their production by that percentage. There are, perhaps, 120,000 producers. It is anyhow a very large number, and is somewhere round about that figure, and they are all subject to ordinary human mortality. Suppose a man dies who produces 100 pigs a quarter, or it may be only 20, what is going to happen? That supply disappears. Another man gets tired and goes in for market gardening or does something else—

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

He is more likely to become a millionaire.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

I expect that my hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) will put me right in this matter. Suppose a man, because of financial or family trouble, should not produce the same number of pigs next year as he produced this: what is going to happen to his percentage of pigs? Is it to be lost? What are the Board going to do about it? Is that man going to his neighbour, to say: "I am entitled to produce 50 pigs next month, but I do not want to produce 50 pigs. I would rather do something else. You are entitled to produce 40 pigs. If you like to buy my right to produce 50 pigs, I will take so much for it." I see an hon. Member shaking his head, but I am sure that that is what will happen. We shall see wholesale transactions going on everywhere. People will be selling rights not to produce pigs, and the same absurdity will arise as has already sprung up in the United States. It is not a sensible way of dealing with the matter.

We want to enter a protest against this method of doing it, without in any way wishing to raise a protest against building up a system of orderly marketing, which must have proper reasonable statistics. There is also the case of the co-operative societies. I do not speak for one society or another society. I am not holding a brief for anyone in particular. Suppose they say, "We are more efficent in this business than any one else. Next year we shall produce 500 pigs instead of 100." Several other people will have to produce a smaller number. It means a permanent handicap upon efficiency if you stereotype the expansion to five per cent., or whatever the percentage may be, whilst behind the scenes the producer can go to somebody else and give them something for not producing. He may not otherwise be able to obtain the expansion which he, as an efficient producer, is able to make use of. You are stereotyping inefficiency while you are prejudicing efficiency by this method. All that is wanted is that your board should be informed of the supplies likely to be coming forward. They can be informed, quarterly or monthly, or whatever it is. I have no doubt that the supplies likely to be forthcoming will increase. They may increase five per cent. or ten per cent.

Another reason why this method is adopted is that those concerned have not yet made up their minds to approach the only rational way of dealing with the import question, which is our socialist method. I am sure that the arbitrary reduction of quantities is not right. You should have an import board, working as to quantities, regulated by the needs of the market in alliance with your home market, and supplied with the proper statistics so that they may be able to provide accordingly. If the statistics are a quarter in advance, let them be a quarter in advance, or whatever may be the time necessary for a businesslike way of doing it. The association, in feeding the market, between two organisations of that kind is all that is required as far as this side of the question is concerned.

In this case there is a better reason that in any other field why that method should be adopted. We import about five times as much as we produce, so that there is immense room for expansion, and, therefore, there is no reason why any part of the country that is particularly flourishing should be limited in its expansion to 5 per cent., or 10 per cent. for that matter, whereas there may be another part of the country which is not prepared to go in for expansion, or may even want to go back; and it is absurd to impose upon a part of the country which is efficient and doing well the necessity for going behind the scenes and buying quotas from somebody else who is inefficient and cannot do the job. We ought to give elbow-room to efficiency. If any part of the country is prepared to send to the Board in advance details showing that its supplies during the next quarter will be so much more, I should be very glad; that is what we ought to encourage; and it would be perfectly possible, with a decent statistical department, to arrange for market supplies in conjunction with an import organisation. In my submission, too, that is the only proper way in which we shall ever arrive at a reasonable price arrangement.

This method has one other vice. Necessarily it cannot take any account of the consumer's end, and nobody knows better

than the right hon. Gentleman that in the long run all these schemes stand or fall by the willingness of the market to take the supplies. You must, therefore, have a body in living touch with the consumer's end, and having powers of control over prices and distribution charges sufficient to maintain demand. A body of the kind now proposed, with arbitrary powers which a producers' body, anyhow, ought not to have, will be entirely divorced from this other end of the business. This kind of regulation and organisation and direction should be in the hands of a body which is not interested, but which carries out the policy of the National Government on behalf of the Minister. It should not be in the hands, of interested parties. That is the real point behind our objection, apart from my machinery objection, and I am sure that sooner or later this method of approach to the achievement of orderly marketing will give rise to so many disputes and wrong impressions that it will be very likely to prejudice the whole idea of a decently organised marketing system. We see many of them already, and I am sure they will be intensified if we allow the board to be endowed with these powers.

Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 111; Noes, 31.

Division No. 301.]AYES.[2.0 p.m.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)Ganzoni, Sir JohnMoss, Captain H. J.
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)Gluckstein, Louis HalleMunro, Patrick
Aske, Sir Robert WilliamGoldie, Noel B.Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.Goodman, Colonel Albert W.Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Bernays, RobertGraham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)Penny, Sir George
Bossom, A. C.Grattan-Doyle, Sir NicholasPercy, Lord Eustace
Bower, Commander Robert TattonHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPetherick, M.
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)
Broadbent, Colonel JohnHeilgers, Captain F. F. A.Power, Sir John Cecil
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Horsbrugh, FlorenceRalkes, Henry V. A. M.
Brown, Rt. Hon. Ernest (Leith)Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.Ramsay T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Browne, Captain A. C.Hume, Sir George HopwoodRhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Burnett, John GeorgeJackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)Rickards, George William
Butt, Sir AlfredJames, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.Rosbotham, Sir Thomas
Campbell, Sir Edward Tatwell (Brmly)Kirkpatrick, William M.Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Caporn, Arthur CecilKerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univ.)Runge, Norah Cecil
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeLaw, Sir AlfredRussell, R. J. (Eddisbury)
Conant, R. J. E.Leckie, J. A.Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Cooke, DouglasLeighton, Major B. E. P.Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Copeland, IdaLevy, ThomasSamuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney)
Craddock, Sir Reginald HenryLlewellin, Major John J.Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Crookshank, Capt, H. C. (Gainsb'ro)Lovat-Fraser, James AlexanderSinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)
Cross, R. H.MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Bassetlaw)Somervell, Sir Donald
Crossley, A. C.McKeag, WilliamSomerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel BernardMcLean, Major Sir AlanSotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Doran, EdwardMagnay, ThomasStones, James
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)Makins, Brigadier-General ErnestStrauss, Edward A.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. WalterMargesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Ellis, Sir R. GeoffreyMarsden, Commander ArthurSugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Essenhigh, Reginald ClareMayhew, Lieut.-Colonel JohnSutcliffe, Harold
Fuller, Captain A. G.Mellor, Sir J. S. P.Tate, Mavis Constance
Thorp, Linton TheodoreWatt, Major George Steven H.Womersley, Sir Walter
Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)Wills, Wilfrid D.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Waterhouse, Captain CharlesWilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertl'd)Mr. Blindell and Captain Hope.
NOES.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. ChristopherGreenwood, Rt. Hon. ArthurMallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Banfield, John WilliamGrenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, GeorgeGrundy, Thomas W.Rathbone, Eleanor
Daggar, GeorgeHamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)Rea, Sir Walter
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)Healy, CahirSmith, Tom (Normanton)
Dobbie, WilliamJanner, BarnettThorne, William James
Edwards, Sir CharlesJohn, WilliamTinker, John Joseph
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)Lansbury, Rt. Hon. GeorgeWilliams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)Lunn, William
Gardner, Benjamin WalterMcEntee, Valentine L.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. Groves and Mr. Paling.

Resolved, That the Amendment of the Bacon Marketing Scheme, 1933, which were presented to this House on the 22nd day of July, 1935, be approved.

2.7 p.m.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I beg to move, That the Bacon Development Scheme, 1935, made under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1933, a draft of which was presented to this House on the 22nd day of July, 1935, be approved. It might be for the convenience of the House if I explained the proposal which now comes before them. It is the sanctioning of the development scheme under the Marketing Act of 1933. The development scheme arises out of the Lane-Fox Commission's Report, which drew attention to the very points which have just been stressed by hon. Members opposite, the desirability of bringing the bacon industry of Great Britain up to date and also the necessity for having a certain representation of the general public on any body that is set up. The arguments of hon. Members opposite upon the previous Motion indicated that a certain representation of the general public should take place when these new bodies were being brought into existence, and this scheme provides for that. The scheme of the Development Board provides for four representatives from each of the Boards and three representatives to be appointed by the Minister and, therefore, I think, goes a long way to meet the objections made in various parts of the House that the interests of the general public were not being sufficiently considered. The hon. Member for Carmarthenshire (Mr. R. T. Evans) indicated that, while having misgivings about the scheme as a whole, he was prepared to allow these developments to proceed but that he thought that they would need to be exercised in a cautious and not in a tyrannical manner. I think that will be found to be so. I think the representatives appointed by the Minister will bring in an element which will be very valuable in the development of the industry. We have found in negotiations before that outside representation has often succeeded in reconciling the interests of two bodies which otherwise might have been very much opposed to each other.

There is a danger, of course, in all these matters of over-organisation, and my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) is undoubtedly a protagonist of the non-planner. We have had to move between the Charybdis of chaos and the Scylla of over-organisation and all that one can say is that, when a scheme is criticised from one quarter on the ground that it is not doing enough and from another on the ground that it is doing too much, it is possible that the happy medium is somewhere in between. The work of the development scheme can only be tested in practice. It it does not work, it will not be continued. The two Boards have delegated powers, but only delegated powers. The powers will remain so long as the resolution delegating them remains in force and, if the scheme works inefficiently, no doubt the powers will be rescinded and the scheme will not remain in force. I do not think it necessary to go in great detail into the matter because the necessity for an organised industry with improved modern methods of factory construction and the like are common to all of us. The only point that is raised by hon. Members opposite, as to whether societies in which they are interested, like the co-operative society, will receive reasonable treatment under the scheme is, I think, met to a considerable extent by the fact that we are going to work in the spirit of the Lane-Fox commission, which specially laid down in one of its most important paragraphs that We think that consideration should be given to curers who in the interest of both pig producers and the bacon industry as a whole are prepared to transfer factory accommodation from foreign countries to the United Kingdom, and specially to those who are also in a position to sell the bacon that they produce direct to the consumer. It would be in a spirit of fair play to all who desire to welcome recruits to an industry who would bring capital and efficient organisation to bear that we should hope that the Development Board would operate and I do not think it is necessary to do more than refer to the great difference between this country and Denmark and to the fact that we have over 600 curers of whom only seven are handling a through-put of more than a thousand pigs a week, whereas in Denmark there are 80 factories with an average through-put of about 2,000 pigs a week. It seems to me in those circumstances that it is desirable that somebody representing both producers and curers and the general public should survey the situation, because to the producers themselves an inefficient process is the greatest disadvantage. It leads to high costs, to waste and to a lower return to them for their products. I look to the Development Board as a sign of the interest of the producers themselves in the technical efficiency of the processing end of the organisation. It is admittedly an experiment but one which has much hope in it, and I commend it to the House.

2.14 p.m.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

I wish the right hon. Gentleman could have told the House that the development scheme embodied the statement that he made with regard to transferring factories from foreign countries to this country. After all, once the scheme is in action, it is, left to the Board to determine what shall or shall not happen. I should prefer that we had it in black and white before we hand over powers to interested persons such as we are about to confer upon them. The House ought to remember that this is the first scheme of its kind, and it is almost equivalent to a revolution in economics. The right hon. Gentleman is asking the House to accept a development scheme which grants full power to certain selected individuals to determine what the factory capacity for the bacon-curing industry in this country shall be. We have just passed two amendments to the Marketing Acts which partially conceded the power to restrict output. There is already the power to restrict imports of bacon. We have witnessed the results. There is a general decrease in the bacon consumption of this country, because people cannot afford to buy it, and this development scheme is the natural consequence of the breakdown of the pig marketing scheme. The constitution of this Board originally was three members of the Pigs Board, three members of the Bacon Board and three impartial members, making nine in all; but it is now four members of the Pigs Board, four members of the Bacon Board and three impartial members. Eight to three is a fairly weighted balance on the side of the producers, and it seems to me that the Board ought not to be so heavily weighted in favour of producers and against consumers.

This development scheme confers powers on the Board to license all bacon factories, and no other bacon factory after the appointed date will be able to produce bacon at all. They can close down factories, prevent new factories being erected, determine the conditions of such factories that remain and who shall have compensation or not. They are all-powerful on this body of three to eight—three representing 40,000,000 consumers, and eight representing 600 bacon factory owners.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I think the factory owners would be delighted if they thought that all producers represented bacon factory owners. The interests are by no means identical.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

The Board has power to close down such factories as they regard as being in unsuitable geographical areas, or if they are inefficient or do not comply with any of the conditions which they think ought to exist in a bacon factory. It is obvious that the Marsh and Baxter people, who are all-powerful in the bacon world, will secure for themselves a monopoly once this scheme goes through. I have referred before to what we have witnessed already with hops, and what the factory owners did with sugar taking, at least 50 or 60 per cent. of the sums which we thought were available for the beet farmers. The factory owners walked away with it, and, unless we are careful, these people will also walk away with any benefits that filter through to the producers of pigs, that is, the farming element as distinct from the factory element who are going to utilise the raw material for the manufacture of bacon. The Board are able to lay down conditions as to whether a factory shall remain in existence or not, having regard to existing or prospective consumption, and if the premises do not meet with the approval, or are regarded as not being efficiently equipped, they can put them out of existence. They can refuse a licence if a licence previously granted has been revoked. It is true there are powers of appeal to arbitration and so forth, but the consumer really has got no power.

Once this scheme is accepted, I doubt very much whether the Co-operative Wholesale Society will get the justice to which they are entitled, although I hope, after what the right hon. Gentleman said, that something will be done at least to compensate them for the loss of their capital and their factory capacity in Denmark as a result of decreasing imports. It seems a strange thing that a body of people like the Co-operative Wholesale Society, operating exclusively for their members, are denied the right to purchase the number of pigs they want, and, secondly, denied the right, under the terms of this development scheme, to have the factories necessary to meet the demands of their 7,000,000 consumers. The Co-operative Wholesale Society and their retail shops will perforce have to go to Marsh and Baxter or their parallels because they are denied the privilege of serving their own people. It is a tremendous power to put into the hands of a producers' board, and I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Dr. Addison) that if, for the purpose of efficiency in any branch of the agricultural industry, we require to give this power to supervise organisation that in itself is very desirable, the power ought to be given to a public utility society, or some body of persons operating on behalf of the consumers, and not be put into the hands of a body of people in existence for the maximum amount of profit they can derive. We ought to concentrate on maximum output and short prices.

I would have liked to have made reference to one or two other sections of this development scheme—48 and 49 for instance—which gives power over insurance, sales, transport charges, transport arrangement and other things, if the Pigs and Bacon Boards pass a resolution handing over the power to the Development Board. But because this Board is exclusively a producers' board, with powers never given to any similar board in the history of Parliament, we not only doubt the wisdom of the action of the right hon. Gentleman, but are obliged to oppose the development scheme.

2.24 p.m.

Photo of Major Frank Heilgers Major Frank Heilgers , Bury St Edmunds

The Minister spoke of the danger of over-organisation.

Photo of Major Frank Heilgers Major Frank Heilgers , Bury St Edmunds

I am glad to hear that cheer from the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams), because he was absent when the Minister referred to it. Personally, I would like to say that this Development Board is the biggest step forward in the planning of agriculture we have had so far. I do not believe that any marketing scheme can survive unless it has some connecting neutral link, as we have in this Board. Far too much time has been wasted with the Pigs and Bacon Marketing Boards in going backwards and forwards, talking about contracts and forgetting all about organisation.

I have risen because I happen to represent a part of the country where there are more pigs than anywhere else. I happen to have the biggest bacon factory in England in my own constituency. I want to draw attention to two things that this scheme is going to do. The Minister touched on the question of waste, caused by overhead costs. Recently two of our very experienced agriculturists went to Denmark and investigated conditions there. They found that the Danes pay more for their pigs, and sell them for less. There is one reason for that— organisation. The Danes are paying from 13s. to 14s. a score for their pigs, and we, for the same pigs in this country, are only getting from 12s. to 12s. 6d. a score. I think the explanation is that the overhead costs in Denmark are 6s. 3d. a score from the farm to England, and our own factories, when they are negotiating with the Pigs Marketing Board, have always said up to now that their overhead costs were at least twice those of factories in Denmark. That is a very important point which needs the immediate attention of the Development Board. The other unsatisfactory feature of the present situation to which I would draw the attention of the House is the question of grading. There are five grades of pigs at present. In Denmark there are only three, and where we as producers get the worst of the bargain in this country is because we get paid 4d. or 6d. a score less for our Grade B than for our Grade A pigs and yet both Grade A and B realise the same price when sold for bacon.

Those are the two main points I wish to put. I am very glad that the Development Board is going into the matter of education and research. There is very great need for it in the bacon industry. At the biggest pig show the other day in the country the pigs judged as being the first grade and best pigs in the show were found, when they came to be slaughtered, not to be grade A pigs as the best judges in England maintained, but two were Grade B and the other two were Grade D. I hope that the Board will do something in connection with that question. I also hope that the Board will be able to find what we believe to be the missing pound between the consumer and the producer. I think that we have done right to start with pig and bacon marketing boards separately and to allow them to get upon their feet. Anything less would have discouraged the whole scheme. The Lane Fox Report laid it down that we needed a development board, and I believe that not only does the bacon scheme need a development board but every marketing scheme.

2.28 p.m.

Photo of Captain Richard Evans Captain Richard Evans , Carmarthen

There are still a few points which need stressing. The House of Commons, having accepted the principle of limitation of output must, I concede, provide some means of implementing that decision, and I cannot see any other way than by instituting some sort of system of factory licences, but I would call attention to the silent revolution through which we have passed. I am in something of a dilemma, because hon. Members who represent South Wales constituencies have recently been asking the President of the Board of Trade to interfere with a certain concern and to impose upon them a veto to prevent them taking their works to another part of the country, and, therefore, I find it very difficult this afternoon to refuse the request of the Minister for powers to prevent factories being put up because other factories are not working on an economic basis owing to the inadequate supply of pigs. Perhaps the most engaging revolutionist that has ever sat on those benches is the Minister of Agriculture, because he has piloted us through this amazing transformation, and he is giving to a statutory body only inadequately controlled by this House powers to veto private enterprise.

Yet, I believe that there must be some means of implementing this decision, but I want to secure from the Minister a very definite assurance that the Development Board will not be allowed to exercise its powers in a tyrannical way. Since 1933 a company backed by the whole of the agricultural community has been seeking permission to build a bacon factory—this is not the first time I have mentioned it to the Minister—in West Wales. Naturally one would desire that these people should have permission to build a factory, but the fact remains that they will now have to apply for a licence to a body which does not represent opinion in that area, and, with the exception of the nominees of the Government, does not represent the opinion of the consumers. You are endowing this Development Board with the right to say that there shall not be a bacon factory, whereas the whole local opinion is in favour of it. The capital is available on option on the site which has been taken, and all the farmers are favourable, yet we confer powers on that body to veto such a development. I hope that, if we are to give these powers to the Development Board, the Minister will exercise the most rigorous vigilance in preventing their tyrannous application. We have passed through this revolution, and it may be that the extension of these powers to industrial bodies will bring about revolutionary changes in this country which we do not clearly envisage in passing this Measure.

2.31 p.m.

Photo of Mr Maurice Petherick Mr Maurice Petherick , Penryn and Falmouth

I do not often agree with a speaker from the Liberal Benches, but in this case I think that I can say that I do agree with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Mr. R. T. Evans). I do not share the enthusiasm for planning of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Captain Heilgers); some of us would prefer to call it plotting. I also have a great objection, wherever it is possible to avoid them, to the setting up of development boards as a general rule. I remember my right hon. Friend the Minister, when discussing the Order under the Herring Industry Act, asserting that we were not to consider that he set up boards because he liked them, but because he saw no alternative. In certain cases, such as the Bacon and Pig Boards, frankly, I see no alternative either, and I believe that the majority of the House feel as I do. In each case where a measure of control of this nature is contemplated we should look upon the pros and cons with a very keen eye. I certainly do not believe in a general Bill enabling this to be done. All schemes should be definitely ad hoc, but in this particular case it is ad hog, but that does not matter. I wish to make one or two slight criticisms of the proposals in this scheme. I hope that when schemes are brought out in this particular form we can have marginal paragraphs and an index. Here we have a long scheme containing 60 paragraphs and about 18 pages, and it would be of great assistance to the House no doubt if it were possible to have marginal paragraphs and an index. Otherwise, it is almost a model of drafting which might very well be imitated in respect of some of the Bills presented to us for passage through the Houses of Parliament.

Clause 24 is a little unfortunate. It says that the minutes and proceedings of the Board are to be open to inspection by any member of the Pigs and Bacon Boards or by any person authorised by those Boards in writing. I believe that that is going a little too far. It means, practically speaking, that anybody can go to either of those Boards and say, "Please we want to have authority in writing to go and look at the minutes of the Pig Industry Development Board," and it will be very difficult to refuse access to the minutes of the Board. Consequently, it will very often be necessary, after the discussions have proceeded, not to put their findings in the minutes of the Board at all. That would be very unfortunate, because the full discussion and full findings of the Board should appear in the Minute Book.

Paragraph 30 says that the appointed day may not be earlier than the 1st January, 1936. Is there anything to prevent the Board as soon as it is set up granting licences for the erection of new factories before the 1st January, 1936, or have they to wait until that date? May I make one or two suggestions in regard to the three boards, which may be of some value and convenience? Each board is to present an annual report. It will be most helpful to have all the three reports amalgamated in the same volume.

With reference to what the hon. Member for Carmarthen has said, I entirely share his feelings with regard to the regional aspect of this problem. I am very much afraid that the Development Board, when it is set up, may examine the number of factories there are in the country as a whole and say: "We have enough factories," entirely regardless of whether in certain areas where a large number of pigs are produced there is or is not a factory. I do not claim to represent so many pigs, if I may put it that way, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman for Bury St. Edmunds, but Cornwall contains about one-third the largest pig population in the country. We have this year 120,000 contract pigs but we have only three very small factories. Devonshire has 78,000 pigs and about 21 factories. When you come to Staffordshire you find that although it has only 26,000 pigs there are 60 factories. Therefore, Staffordshire produces one-quarter the number of pigs that Cornwall produces and has 20 times the number of factories.

It is a great disadvantage for the Cornish and some of the Welsh farmers to send their pigs to the Midlands, at very considerable expense and at a great loss of weight. I believe that it is estimated that a pig loses on being sent from Cornwall or Devonshire to the Midlands about 5 lbs. in weight. Obviously, that must be a considerable burden on the farmer, who does not get his full price. I hope, therefore, that when the Board is set up it will take a reasonable view of geographical requirements in the various counties, particularly the pig producing areas. In conclusion, I hope that the Board will be set up at the earliest possible moment and that it will be able to engage in its functions as soon as possible. I thank the Minister very much for all that he has done in forwarding the setting up of the Board, which is really needed to co-ordinate the efforts of the two boards which already exist.

2.38 p.m.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

I am one of those who until half-an-hour ago had never voted on any aspect of the agricultural marketing schemes. I do not like this scheme, I have never liked it and I do not think I am ever likely to like it. If I had the power to amend this proposal I would substitute for the Development control board, or whatever it is called, the Control Board in Victoria Street which deals with lunatics, because I think that would be an admirable body to deal with a scheme of this kind. This is one of the first definite occasions that this House has been faced with the fact that we are seeking to make an industry a closed industry. This scheme contains fundamentally, except that it is ad hoc instead of general, the sort of proposal advocated in this House by the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Macmillan). I do not believe that the prosperity of this country in the past was built up on the principle of saying: "You shall not enter this industry unless somebody already in it gives permission." This is going to be one of the challenging issues of our politics in the future. I am definitely opposed to these schemes of control. If I were a Socialist I should vote for all of them, because it is going to put the Socialists in a very convenient position later on to take over the controlled industry and turn it into a purely socialised industry.

This scheme does not meet with any undue enthusiasm among those for whom it is intended. I put on the Order Paper to-day three questions to the Minister of Agriculture. Friday is not a usual day for answers, but the Minister was good enough to send me written answers, and I find that in this country there are 145,185 registered producers of pigs, of whom 63 voted in favour of the scheme and 16 against. Sixty-three, not 63,000! That is democracy up to date.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

There was no challenge of a formal vote, and therefore it is to be assumed that the opinion was unanimous. Anyone who had desired to do so could have challenged a formal vote and it would then have been held. As no formal vote was taken it is unfair for the hon. Member to suggest that this matter was decided by a vote of 63 to 16.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

There are 145,000 registered pig producers. They had a meeting somewhere in London in a hall that would not have held one per cent. of the total number if they had turned up. They were not given a normal opportunity of having the scheme explained to them, and only 79 persons—

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

Does the hon. Member suggest, for instance, that when the Great Western Railway Company, or the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company holds its annual meeting that all the shareholders attend?

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

This was not an annual meeting. It was the inauguration of a new company. It is the subscription of the original capital, and there were only 79 persons out of 145,000 who took any part in the inauguration of the scheme. That does not indicate enormous enthusiasm.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I do not wish to interrupt, but it is misrepresenting the position to say that only 79 persons took any part in the inauguration of the scheme. The scheme was the result of the efforts of the two bodies that had canvassed the matter most thoroughly, and the people concerned had had every opportunity through their representative organisations of examining the scheme. The fact that they did not turn up to vote against it, is, I submit, to be regarded as an indication of their being satisfied with the scheme as it had been explained to them.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

If there are 145,000 pig producers, a lot of them do not belong to any organisation, and they are not going to incur the expense of a journey up to London. They have no representatives. They do not belong to the National Farmers' Union.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

Every one of the registered producers belongs to the scheme.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

The right hon. Gentleman said that they were represented at the meeting. If they were represented, they must have delegated somebody to represent them. They do that by the usual practice through membership of some organisation. Obviously, the great mass of them took no part, consciously or otherwise, in this scheme. They said to themselves about the scheme: "Well, this country is going to be regimented, so it does not matter what I think." Let me turn now to those who are better organised to do these things. There is the Registered Bacon Curers organisation. There are only 627 of them. They are the big noises. They are the people who buy the pigs and turn them into bacon. They are the really important people, and a journey up to London and a night spent in London would not dissuade them from turning up at the meeting. I find that of them 53 were in favour and 45 against the scheme, which is to close the industry. Then they had a vote. A formal vote was taken.

I do not understand this voting. There are only 627 of them, but the number voting in favour was 2,242 with 536 against. I suppose they said "hands up," and all the pigs put up four legs. There must, of course, be some explanation of this. Probably they voted on a quota basis but, at any rate, it is not very intelligent. And this is how democracy develops! Everyone has such a lot of votes that they do not register a single one, except the bacon curers, who vote early and often apparently. However, there is a certain amount of perturbation among some of my constituents who are afraid that pickled pork is going to be treated as bacon. Of course, pickled pork is not the same thing as bacon. Imagine the prospect of the great political issue which may be raised at the next election, "Will you vote for the policy that pickled pork shall not be regarded as bacon?" I understand that the pickling of pork is something which you can do without going in for mass production, whereas the production of bacon, to be successful and economic, must be done on a mass scale. I am told that a large number of ordinary butchers do a certain amount of pickling pork at the proper season of the year, and that they are rather perturbed with the prospect of having to get a licence. The prospect is not enhanced by the fact that a licence may be refused on the ground: That the production of bacon in the premises in question appears to the Development Board not to be required having regard to the existing or prospective consumption and the existing or prospective sources of supply of bacon, whether produced in Great Britain or elsewhere. Therefore, whenever an ordinary butcher wants to do a bit of pork pickling he will solemnly have to make his application to the Development Board. There will no doubt be a large procession of stout and handsome gentlemen, all belonging to the bacon section of the industry, applying for pickling permits. The queue will be so extensive that the police will have to be on duty to regulate the traffic so that we shall be able to approach this House in accordance with the terms of the Sessional Order. But I hope that the Government now will give up this tariff dodging, all these elaborate boards which do not organise anything. They have not saved a single penny piece of the stretch between wholesale and retail prices. They are an addition, indeed, to the overhead costs of all the branches of the agricultural industry to which they have been applied, and I hope the time will soon come when we shall realise the folly of the Argentine trade agreement and the Danish trade agreement and that in our Empire trade agreements we shall abandon unrestricted entry in favour of preference, so that in 1936 our hands will be free to put this on a proper protection basis without the necessity of these totally unnecessary boards, which spend all their time in interfering with the people in their daily business.

Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 108; Noes 35.

Division No. 302.]AYES.[2.40 p.m.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)Goldie, Noel B.Percy, Lord Eustace
Albery, Irving JamesGraham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)Petherick, M.
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)Grattan-Doyle, Sir NicholasPower, Sir John Cecil
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPownall, Sir Assheton
Aske, Sir Robert WilliamHaslam, Henry (Horncastle)Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M.Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Blindell, JamesHope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)Remer, John R.
Bossom, A. C.Horsbrugh, FlorenceRhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Bower, Commander Robert TattonHowitt, Dr. Alfred B.Rickards, George William
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Rosbotham, Sir Thomas
Broadbent, Colonel JohnHurst, Sir Gerald B.Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)Runge, Norah Cecil
Brown, Rt. Hon. Ernest (Leith)James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.Russell, R. J. (Eddlsbury)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)Kirkpatrick, William M.Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univ.)Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).
Burgin, Dr. Edward LeslieLeckie, J. A.Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Burnett, John GeorgeLeighton, Major B. E. P.Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)
Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)Levy, ThomasSomervell, Sir Donald
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Caporn, Arthur CecilLlewellin, Major John J.Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Lovat-Fraser, James AlexanderStanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeMacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Bassetlaw)Storey, Samuel
Conant, R. J. E.McKeag, WilliamStrauss, Edward A.
Cooke, DouglasMcLean, Major Sir AlanStuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Copeland, IdaMcLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Craddock, Sir Reginald HenryMagnay, ThomasThomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)Makins, Brigadier-General ErnestWallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Cross, R. H.Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)
Crossley, A. C.Marsden, Commander ArthurWaterhouse, Captain Charles
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel BernardMayhew, Lieut.-Colonel JohnWatt, Major George Steven H.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Mellor, Sir J. S. P.Wills, Wilfrid D.
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)Munro, PatrickWilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. WalterNation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Essenhigh, Reginald ClareNicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Fraser, Captain Sir IanNicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward
Fuller, Captain A. G.North, Edward T.and Sir Walter Womersley.
Gluckstein, Louis HallePenny, Sir George
NOES.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. ChristopherGrenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)Parkinson, John Allen
Atholl, Duchess ofGriffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)Rathbone, Eleanor
Attlee, Rt. Hon. Clement R.Groves, Thomas E.Rea, Sir Walter
Banfield, John WilliamGrundy, Thomas W.Reid, David D. (County Down)
Bernays, RobertHamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)Healy, CahirThorne, William James
Buchanan, GeorgeJanner, BarnettTinker, John Joseph
Daggar, GeorgeLansbury, Rt. Hon. GeorgeWilliams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)Lunn, WilliamWilliams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Dobbie, WilliamMcEntee, Valentine L.
Edwards, Sir CharlesMallalieu, Edward LancelotTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)Mr. John and Mr. Paling.
Gardner, Benjamin WalterOwen, Major Goronwy

Resolved, That the Bacon Development Scheme, 1935, made under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1933, a draft of which was presented to this House on the 22nd day of July, 1935, be approved.