I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This Bill is designed to provide methods for enabling private enterprise industries to bring themselves up to date, and to make themselves as highly efficient in the production and in the distribution of their products as is possible. One of the de, fects most obvious to anybody who examines our industries, is the inequality of standard between different industrial units. Some of those units are large enough and progressive enough to provide themselves with all the services essential to modern industrial development and progress—in the fields, for instance, of research, design, statistics, organisation, personnel training, and all those other matters which add so greatly to the efficiency of industry. Other smaller units very often, have not the resources to do these things by their own effort, and in many industries the units which have not those resources, in fact represent a very large proportion of the total output of the industry.
In modern circumstances, the efficiency of the industries of the country is not the concern merely of those whose capital is invested in the industries, or even of those who contribute their work to those industries. The people of the country as a whole are deeply interested, because we simply cannot afford to waste any of our manpower or our other resources, through inefficiency, wherever that inefficiency may be. Indeed, as we all realise now, our standard of living depends upon the efficiency with which we can produce in all the many units of production throughout the country, and the amount of hard work that is put into that production. It was because of the obvious need to do our utmost to increase the productivity of our industries, both in quantity and in quality, that, immediately this Government came into office in the autumn of 1945, we initiated inquiries into the efficiency of those industries, particularly those which supplied consumer goods, and which had, consequently, suffered from concentration or, indeed, in some cases, practical eclipse during the war. We did that in order to get the best possible advice on how we should set about assisting to improve these industries, and helping them, not only to get back to their former prosperity, but to become even more efficient than they had been before.
I should like to remind the House of the composition of the working parties, which were then set up, because I think it has a considerable bearing upon the provisions of this Bill. As to two-thirds of their personnel, those working parties consisted of representatives of the industry that was being inquired into, one-third being employers and one-third employees. The remaining third consisted of persons not directly connected with the industry, but having some professional qualifications in a field which could be particularly helpful to the industry—economists, accountants, engineers, architects, designers. These various qualifications were to be found among the so-called independent members; and they were able, therefore, to give the advantage of their particular technical knowledge to the working party as a whole, and, also, to have regard to the consumers' point of view.
It is, perhaps, surprising to some people, in view of the difficulties that existed, as we know, between the different elements in industry, that, in the great majority of the matters affecting those industries that have been inquired into, the working parties have reached unanimous conclusions—it is really a very remarkable thing—despite the obviously different approaches of different members to the problems which came under examination. Perhaps, when one looks at it a little more closely, it is not so much to be wondered at that these groups of sensible and intelligent men and women, confronted with the detailed facts and difficulties of the various situations in industry, should have agreed on the measures necessary to assist industry to get out of those difficulties. There has certainly never before, so far as I am aware, been such an opportunity for so thorough a review of the circumstances of various industries, and for the examination, too, in many cases, of their counterparts in other countries. As the House will be aware, a number of delegations have gone from the working parties to visit industries in various other countries of the world, particularly the United States of America, but also including Sweden, France and Switzerland, and other countries, so that they might be well informed on the comparative circumstances of those other industries, before arriving at their final recommendations. It is right to say that these working parties have done a great service to industry and to the country, and have produced reports which are really a mine of information, and upon which we can, I hope, base the future progress of the industries that have been inquired into.
Many of the recommendations that have been made in these reports are, of course, already being acted upon either by the industry itself, or by some Government Department, or other body concerned. But, as appears from the reports, there is a need, in many of these industries, for some new type of central body to undertake the execution of the various recommendations, to see to their supervision, and to secure the production of certain common services for the industries, which, as I have mentioned, are sometimes available to large organisations, but not to the smaller organisations.
I want to make it clear that this Bill deals with only one aspect, and that is this general aspect, of the working parties' reports. It does not pretend to deal with all the many detailed recommendations that have been otherwise put forward. Great importance is attached to many of those recommendations and we are seeing to them in other ways, through other channels. All that has been done, and is being done, for instance, to help the cotton industry is a good example of how other recommendations are being followed up. To give one other example, the problem of new machinery for the hosiery industry is a matter of great importance to that industry, which is being followed up through other channels. In following up these other recommendations we have found that organisations such as the Cotton Board have been of the greatest help, and we are confident that similar bodies in other important industries would be equally helpful, both on the general approach and on following up particular lines of action recommended.
Running through the principal reports of the working parties, is a recommendation that some central body should be set up. The suggested composition of that body varies in different cases, as one would expect, according to the incidences of different industries, but in all cases the principle is accepted, that both employers and employees must be represented on the body, and that there should be some element, be it large or small, of outside membership. In practically all cases, it is also recognised that such a body must have some means of financing itself. It is no good creating a body of that kind, setting it up to do a job, and then asking it to rely merely on the voluntary subscriptions of those who are keen on the subject. The essence of the idea put forward is that the organisation should cover the whole industry, and, therefore, everyone should contribute to its support, as was done in the case of the Cotton Board and in some other organisations set up for other purposes. As to the functions which such a body should perform, that, of course, depends upon the particular industry; the suggestions put forward differ, though there are a number of common suggestions which run through the whole of the recommendations.
I have said on earlier occasions that the policy of the Government is to assist, as far as possible, the implementation of the recommendations of the working parties. It is no use, in our view, and I am sure the House will agree, setting up inquiries, and asking distinguished and hard-working people to take part in them, if we are going to disregard the recommendations when they are made. This Bill is designed to produce the organisational structure for industry, which will best accommodate the recommendations of most of the working parties. There may still be some people who fear that this Bill is in some occult way, an introduction of nationalisation of industry. It is, of course, nothing of the sort. If and when we believe it to be in the national interest to bring other industries under national control or ownership, we shall act directly, and not by some ingenious subterfuge. This Bill is designed to reinforce and strengthen private enterprise industries, so that they can make the best possible showing in the national interest. If conditions were such in any industry today, that industrialists were not prepared for this kind of common effort to assist themselves in arriving at the highest possible degree of efficiency, it would, indeed, be a very bad look out for that industry and fur the country. That is certainly not the deduction which is to be drawn from the conclusions arrived at by the leaders of both sides of industry, who have inquired into these matters in the working parties.
Before coming to the detailed provisions of the Bill, I should like to say a word or two about the point which has, perhaps, been exercising the minds of some persons in industry. It has been suggested that these functions, which are proposed by the Bill, for development councils might be carried out by existing trade associations, and that, therefore, the new body is not necessary. Trade associations are, essentially, bodies representing employers only, just as trade unions represent employees only. For the purposes which we have in view, and which the working parties had in view, it is essential, as was pointed out, that both employers and employees should be represented on these development councils. It is, therefore, out of the question for anyone with an up-to-date realisation of the development of relationships in industry to imagine that any body could he acceptable for such a purpose, unless it included both employers and employees. That really emphasises the fact that the development councils will not in any sense supersede trade associations, any more than they will supersede trade unions They will be the forum in which the two bodies will meet, and no doubt much of the work they do will be done through their communications with those other bodies. They will provide a common meeting and deliberating ground for the topics which fall within their ambit, and the bodies of employers and employees will continue as before, to carry out their own particular functions.
It is also generally agreed that it would not be wise or practicable to try to change over the machinery of the joint industrial councils to the purposes which this Bill has in view We are anxious to keep production and development matters separate from negotiations as to wages and conditions of work. For that reason. such matters as wages and conditions of work have been expressly omitted from the list of activities suggested for the development councils, so that they cannot impinge on what is properly the functions of the negotiating bodies as between employers and employees. This is very largely the distinction that was drawn during wartime between the joint production councils and the bodies which were negotiating wages and other matters. It may, however, be very advantageous in some circumstances to have close liaison between the development councils and the joint industrial councils. They may both help in their work, and for that purpose we should make it a practice to appoint two members from the joint industrial council to any development council which is created.
I should next like to deal with the Government's general approach to this problem of the organisation of private enterprise industry. We believe that there must be the greatest degree of flexibility in applying any organisational pattern. Industries differ enormously in their circumstances, and what is advisable for one small and easily defined industry, is, obviously, not necessarily desirable for some other great industry which spreads itself over a great many products. This merely imposes the necessity of the Bill in its present form being an enabling Bill. I do not suggest that all industries will prove suitable to be dealt with under this Bill. That is not our idea at all. Already, as the House knows, other forms of organisation have been developed, in, for instance, the shipbuilding industry, the motorcar industry and so on. The fact remains that there is a large number of industries to which, it seems to us, this flexible form of organisation might well be applicable.
It would, clearly, he out of the question, if we are to make any real and rapid progress in dealing with industry, to do it by means of a separate Bill for each industry. That would be postponing for years the setting up of a central organisation for a number of industries which have already expressed their wishes to have such a body. The process would be far too long drawn out to be effective, and such a suggestion could appeal only to those who would rather see nothing of this kind developed. I can understand that suggestion being made as a form of blocking opposition. But as a practical method, if you want to get on with the job, there is no way of doing it except by an enabling Bill Of course, an enabling Bill must be administered with great care and understanding, and the first point of that understanding is the realisation that to do things by compulsion is far less healthy and less effective than to do them by agreement. Even if agreement takes rather longer—as, of course, it must—it is, in the long run, more effective. Agreement must, wherever possible, be by both sides of the industry, and the majority of both sides.
That is why we have inserted provisions in the Bill for consultations with both parties, employers and employees. If the working parties are any criterion, it should not be difficult to get a degree of agreement which will assure the successful launching of such a development council. It is not our intention to rush into this form of organisation for all industries at the same time, trying to cover the whole complex area of British industry. That is not our idea. But there are certain cases which undoubtedly call for immediate decision such as, for instance, the cotton industry, in which the system has already proved itself. There, the Cotton Board have done a good job indeed, but certain adjustments are required in the light of experience. It is, therefore, proposed to repeal the legislation—which never came into operation—for the setting up of a body of this kind, and to deal with the adjustment of the Cotton Board under an order made under this Bill. We hope that the benefit of the experience which the Cotton Board have had will be of great assistance to other industries which are considering the setting up of a similar council. We shall hope to take, first, those industries where a development council has already been recommended by the working party, and, after consultation with the parties, we shall hope to arrive at an agreed form for the development council, and agreement as to what functions they should have and other matters with which I will deal in a moment.
The House will notice that the list of functions in the First Schedule which can be performed by the development council is a maximum list, subject to one point which I shall mention later. But it does not mean that all those functions will be given to any particular development council. What functions they have, will depend on the needs and desires of the particular industry, and will be a matter for discussion and, I hope, agreement with the two sides of the industry. I cannot, and I do not pretend to, give any undertaking that, in the last resort, in some special case, it may not be necessary to impose a development council by order, without the consent of everybody concerned. I hope very much that that will never be necessary, but if it were so, this House, of course, would have complete cognisance of the fact and control of it, because in every case the order setting up the development council has to be passed by an affirmative Resolution of Parliament. What, I think, is essential is that we should regard our industries as integrated teams of producers, not in the light of isolated units of production, the strongest of which may have all the services necessary, while the weaker cannot have the help which is essential if they are to reach a high level of efficiency.
It is noticeable in the working party reports that the deficiencies that are pointed out are almost solely connected with matters of common interest to the industry as a whole, and not to individual firms as such. Research, education, accountancy methods, salesmanship, and so forth, are all matters in which there is a common interest in industry, and it is in these matters of common interest that the development council will be able to help, though not compel, the individual units in industry. All the powers in the First Schedule of the Bill are powers to promote or undertake activities, but there are no powers to compel anybody to do anything under that Schedule. The only powers of compulsion are those in the actual Clauses of the Bill, dealing with the collection of statistics, the registration of persons in industry, and the collection of a levy, if it is authorised. The Bill provides for a very large measure of cooperation in the matters of common interest which I have mentioned, a co-opration open to all those within industry and it also provides a body with which the Government can work in full partnership—which is of great advantage to the Government. I know from my own experience of the Cotton Board, how invaluable that is when one is trying to make some kind of advance and progress.
There is one obvious danger which I should mention, because I am sure it is in some people's minds. Bodies of this kind, which represent the entire industry, may be liable to try to adopt and encourage restrictive practices for the industry, practices which would be inimical to the consumer and, indeed. to the general national welfare. It is for that reason that their functions in the Schedule are so limited as to exclude any power of imposing restrictions, either on entering into industry or on condition of the sale of goods manufactured, except in the matter of recommending the voluntary adoption of quality and other standards, and certifying marks. If it should become necessary, the Government will take active steps to stop any such encouragement of restrictive practices by a development council, even if it meant amending their powers or adopting other suitable measures which could be taken. It must be quite clear that such purposes are not the object for which development councils are to be set up, but if perchance they should stray into the area of restriction they would be brought back immediately to their proper function. I do not anticipate that anything of that sort will happen, but it is something against which we must guard.
With those general introductory remarks, perhaps I may now rapidly run through the Clauses of the Bill itself. Clause r enables certain named Ministers to set up by Order a development council for any industry, and there is no definition of the term industry, which covers any form of productive activity, but does not cover distribution. It will not be possible, for example, to set up a development council for the wholesale textile or similar distributive trades. The Clause covers any productive enterprise, including agriculture. It enables a council to be set up in order to increase efficiency or production in the industry, to improve OT develop the service which it can render to the community, and to render such service more economically. The functions of a development council for this purpose are as set out in the First Schedule. They are the maximum function, and will not necessarily, each of them, apply to every development council.
It may be asked why so many Ministers are named. The answer is that all the Ministers named are responsible for some form of production. The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Minister of Supply, the Minister of Food, the Minister of Works, the Admiralty, the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Minister of Fuel and Power, and the President of the Board of Trade are all responsible for some area of production. Within the area for which they are responsible, they will be able to apply the Bill. Subsection (3) makes provision for consultation with organisations representing employers and employees.
Under Clause 2, provisions are made for the constitution and membership of the development councils. The provisions lay down that in selecting members under Subsection (3) they shall come from three categories—persons representing employers, persons representing employees, and other persons being independent of those two elements. There is no definition of the number of members from each group specified. That is a matter which is left for negotiation according to the different industries. Clause 3 contains the provision that a development council may provide a register of persons carrying on business in the industry, but there is no power to restrict registration. It merely gives the council the power to ascertain who is operating within that industrial field. If we are to have any kind of development council which can raise a levy it is obviously necessary that they should know who are the constituents of the industry.
Clause 4 deals with the question of levies. It enables power to be given to a development council to collect a levy to meet its expenses, either from the persons carrying on business in the industry, or persons dealing with any material used in the industry. That is because it is sometimes more convenient to raise a levy on raw material, as, for instance, cotton, than it is on the direct processes of the raw material as it passes through the industry. The order has to set out the maximum that can be raised by way of levy, but that does not mean that the development council have to collect that maximum when the time comes. If I am asked to state the likely amount of the levy, I can only cite the example of the cotton industry, in which a levy of £100,000 a year, is about one-tenth of 1 per cent. of the value of the industry's output.
That may be so, but I am only giving that as a measure, so that the House may know the figures which we have in mind. If the development council wants more money, it can always apply for an amending order to raise the levy. It is probably wiser to start not too ambitiously, and to see how things work out, rather than to jump straight away into a very ambitious scheme.
May I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman if he will bear in mind that the most up-to-date of our competitors intend to spend about two per cent. of their net sales, and that if we are to make headway I think that we shall want something higher than the figure suggested.
I am aware that numbers of large industries spend very large proportions of their incomes on this wise purpose, but I think that it would be a mistake to try to launch these development councils on too grand a scale. The thing is to get them soundly launched, and to let them direct their own way and find out how great a service they can render, and if they require higher rates of levy, and the industry would like it later on, that can be put up. Clause 5 deals with the restriction on disclosure of information obtained by members of the staff. Its purpose is to see that particular information supplied by a firm is kept confidential, and does not get out to competitors or to persons who may misuse it.
Since a development council may cover an industry which is highly developed and another not so highly developed, are we to understand that no information which the development council may get from one firm will be passed to another firm, irrespective of how advantageous to the second firm it may be?
No particular information will be passed over without the permission of the first firm, but general conclusions drawn from statistical information, may be circulated throughout the whole industry. It is exactly the same as with a census. Particular figures are not published, but the general conclusions drawn from those figures are published. What an industry wants to know are the general lines of conclusion, and not the particular statistics of an individual firm.
I did not have statistics in my mind. To be perfectly frank Are trade secrets enjoyed by one firm not to be disclosed irrespective of how advantageous they may he to other firms?
No. The only power which a development council will have for asking for disclosure of anything is with regard to statistics. They cannot ask for a trade secret. It would obviously be quite wrong to do that, while we have the present structure of industry. It will be only possible to get disclosure of facts of that kind if that is agreed to by the person in possession of them. There can be no disclosure otherwise.
Clause 7 deals with reports and accounts of development councils. These have to be rendered annually to the Minister responsible, and he has to lay them before Parliament. Clause 8 deals with amendments of the orders setting up development councils, and allows them to be operated or dissolved if a development council wishes to cease. Subsection (3) lays down that at a date not later than the expiration of three years from the coming into effect of a development council order, and at five yearly intervals thereafter, the Board or Minister concerned shall consult the council and the organisation of employers and employees on whether the council should continue in being, and, if so, whether variations should be made. That is inserted in order to make certain that we do not get a useless council, which merely clutters up the ground continuing in existence. If it is no good, we will be able to get rid of it, and, therefore, this periodical review has to take place compulsorily under the Bill to see that we do not get useless bodies continuing in office.
Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us what led him to incorporate independent members in the development council? I can well understand that when an inquiry into an industry is being made, it is a good thing to have independent members, but surely these independent members, it they are members for several years, will, in fact, become experts in the industry, and so lose the one thing for which an independent member is valued—that he knows nothing about it.
There are two reasons First, a number of working parties have recommended it. After examining the whole conclusions themselves, it likely arose out of their own experience. We can imagine them saying, "We are a jolly good body and we have done good work. We should like to see a body like ourselves continuing in industry." Secondly, it is similar to what happens when the directors of a company want to get someone with a different type of experience, someone who is not permanently and wholly devoted to the industry. It may be a good engineer, who is associated with quite a different type of industry but whose knowledge would be a great advantage in assisting engineering development. It may be a designer or an accountant, who has experience of some analogous industry. I am sure persons of that kind can be of great assistance in helping to spread experience between different industries. Particularly where a chairman is concerned I think that every working party suggested that he should be an independent person.
There is nothing wrong with an independent being accepted, so long as he is not representative of, elected by or appointed by one of the associations concerned in the industry.
Under the Bill independent members must be persons
as to whom the Board or Minister concerned is satisfied that they have no such financial or industrial interest as is likely to affect them in the discharge of their functions as members of the council.
[An HON. MEMBER: "What about consumers?"] A consumer can be an independent person from several points of view. We could put in a distributor or a wholesaler, because he has no interest in the manufacture or production of the goods of that particular industry. He is interested only in distribution and, therefore, there is nothing to prevent him, as a distributor, being an independent member.
I was dealing with Clause 9, which is a matter outside development councils in the sense that there may be certain industries in which a development council will not be required, but which, on the other hand, would like to have the means of collecting a levy for research, for development, for design or for export as we have already found in a number of cases. In those cases, under this Clause it will be possible, without setting up a development council, to make provision within the industry, for a levy to support either scientific research, the promotion of export trade or the improvement of de- sign. I will not go into the details of how the matters are to be arranged, but they are set out in the Clause.
Under Clause 10, there are provisions for the disposal of certain accumulated funds and surpluses from cerain wartime organisations which were set up when exports were being encouraged, in the early stages of the war. Power is given to distribute those in the cause of advancing this general principle. Under Clause 11, legal power is given to do what has already been done in the Supplementary Estimate—to make a grant to the Council of Industrial Design, and to make grants to associated bodies of various kinds which have as their purpose the encouragement of design in any industry. It is rather similar power to the power exercised as regards the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. I do not think I need trouble the House with any of the other provisions except to mention again the Clause which deals with the repeal of the Cotton Industry (Reorganisation) Act. This Act will no longer be required. It has never come into operation and in any case its functions will be replaced by an order made under this Bill. I have I hope covered the main points. I have no doubt that hon. Members will have questions to ask. which the Parliamentary Secretary wil1 attempt to answer, when he replies.
In conclusion, I should like to say that I believe that the provisions with which I have dealt, properly administered, win prove of great value to the industries of this country. They are not novel in their conception; they have been anticipated by the structure of the Cotton Board which is undoubtedly proving of great value. What we are seeking to do by this Bill is to make similar conveniences and advantages available for other industries, leaving it to Parliament to judge in each case, as it will have to, when each order comes up for affirmative approval. In the light of the actual treatment of the proposal, when it is submitted, it will be seen whether Parliament considers it desirable to consent to the adoption of the scheme for a particular industry—a scheme which will come up, of course, after having been formulated following full discussions on both sides of the in dustry. I feel that this is the least we can do to assist in carrying out the fundamental and organisational proposals which have ben put forward by the working parties, and those reports in my view have been submitted after a most meticulous examination of all the problems of the industries concerned. It is because of our anxiety to get ahead and make rapid progress towards efficiency in all this wide field of private enterprise in dustry, that I ask the House today to grant a Second Reading to this Bill, and I hope to speed its passage thereafter.
It is always a great pleasure in this House to hear a skilful Parliamentary performance, and particularly one by the right hon. and learned Gentleman in an emollient mood. We have listened to a very sober recital of the advantages of the Bill according to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but he has, with his customary skill, concealed the weakness of his case, skated over those things which go too far and generally has been in a mood of sweet reasonableness—apparently. Of course, no one in any part of the House would cavil at the objects which the Bill has set and the terms, however magisterial, in which the objectives are defined.
The general object of the development councils is to increase the efficiency and productivity of their particular industries, and to enable them to render better and more economic services to the community. We would all say "Bravo" to that object, particularly if we were prepared to forget certain things that are happening at the present moment, but I must say that if the Government have any discernible qualities, those of a sense of timing and a sense of irony are certainly not among them. A week or two ago they were exhorting all sides of industry to produce more, and they actually issued the first economic White Paper—which ended by adjuring everybody to put their backs into it and produce more—on the very day that the first drastic coal cuts in industry were announced, making any exhortations futile. Now, this very week has been chosen to produce the present Bill, and it seems to me to be a most infelicitous moment. We should feel a great deal happier if the Government could show us a single instance where they could manage their own business, with even reasonable competence, before they embark on Measures to teach other people how to manage theirs. Nevertheless, as I have said, the objectives are unexceptionable and we can all endorse them, but having said that—and I always go as far as I can with the right hon. and learned Gentleman—I must add that it is at this point that I depart very sharply from him. When we come to the nature of the legislation, and the methods to be pursued, that is the point at which we join issue with the Government.
Let me deal first of all with the nature of the legislation. The right hon. Gentleman put up a very polite, bland and urbane excuse for this method of legislation. I recognise, as do all hon. Members, the great difficulties which attend the framing of legislation which has to deal with a confusing variety of problems and to cover the complex and interlocking nature of modern industry. It is, in fact. impossible to apply a single remedy or a single Act of Parliament, so that it is applicable to the almost infinite variations of the problem, and in some cases no legislation is really needed at all. There are, of course, two ways of dealing with a heterogeneous problem such as this. The first is by the constitutional and democratic method of making clear-cut and clearly-defined legislation where necessary so that it can solve a problem or a group of problems which may prove intractable to other methods. This is, as I shall show later, the type of legislation which is used to set up wages councils. It is a precise method and gives the greatest Parliamentary control, and surely, if we believe in the sovereignty of Parliament and parliamentary control, tins point should be among the first preoccupations or hon. Members in all parts of the House. This process of thought narrows the area of uncertainty, and points a keen and sharp instrument for a special and particular purpose.
I entirely reject the right hon. and learned Gentleman's argument that this type of legislation of a rather ad hoc nature is inapplicable to the present problems. They can be grouped, and it would be perfectly possible to introduce specific legislation to deal with the groups of problems instead of asking for these unlimited powers. It must be acknowledged, of course, that this method involves the Ministers in certain processes of thought which are always rather tiresome. It also involves them in paying close attention to the problems of a number of different industries, in thinking long and deeply about how they are to be assisted and the means to be adopted if they are required to foster a better organisation, and in deciding then, and only then, whether a number of Bills to fit the varying nature of the problems are indeed required. Naturally, where the Government have determined, as in cotton, to give financial assistance to an industry on a large scale, legislation of the kind I have mentioned is no doubt necessary, but it differs entirely from those cases where industries have trade hoards, wages councils and voluntary organisations. I will return to that point later.
Whatever the arguments may be, the Government have not chosen this precise, constitutional and democratic method. They have chosen the other—the idle, perfunctory method of this Bill. The Government say, "Since we must produce Bills, and since we produce very little else, do not let us think precisely. That would waste time. Let us seek rather the widest and least defined of powers which could be issued and applied to almost anything, and when we have obtained these powers from a shaken but still docile Parliamentary majority, let us see afterwards what we are going to do with them."
The Government say, "If anyone objects to the unlimited nature of these powers, we can always reply, as we did over the Goods and Services Bill, that the powers will not be used in that way. We have all these things, but we are very sensible people, and very sensible managers. Look at the production drive and how it is going today. We shall know just how much discretion to mix with the potion." But that is no kind of answer at all. The truth is that this Bill is the very worst type of delegated legislation, and I do not think that these statutory development councils are the right means of organisation to help industry where that is necessary. Nor,
as I have said before, do I think that any general remedy can be found within the framework of a single Act of Parliament without taking these almost unlimited powers which I do not think should be taken. I have said that this Bill could hardly seek wider or less defined powers, and if hon. Members doubt the justice of that phrase let them study three things in the Measure itself. I am afraid that I must trespass on the patience of the House by quoting two. First, Clause 8 (2) says:
At the request of the development council provision may be made by an amending order under this Section for assigning to the council functions for whose exercise by the council it appears to the Board or Minister concerned to be expedient to provide for any of the purposes mentioned in Subsection (1) of Section one of this Act, being functions of a kind similar to those specified in the First Schedule to this Act or such as appear to the Board or Minister concerned to be capable of being conveniently exercised in association with functions of a kind specified in that Schedule which have been assigned to the council or are to be assigned to them by the amending order.
That Clause is the most extreme example of an "overcoat" Clause which I have ever seen in my short experience of Parliamentary life. One has to read it in conjunction with Clause 1 (4), which says:
A development council order may provide for any incidental or supplementary matters for which it appears to the Board or Minister concerned to be necessary or expedient to provide.
Those are the two Clauses in the Bill to which I referred, and nothing could he wider.
There is a third matter, to which I will refer later on. It concerns the First Schedule. Study of that Schedule will show that the functions there set out embrace almost all the activities of any industry, except the function to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has referred, that of turning itself into a cartel —and except, of course, that of making a profit. That is a rather significant omission, but we all know how naughty it is today to try to make a profit, however glad the Chancellor of the Exchequer may be to take it away afterwards. The area of uncertainty, which is now a regular feature of the present Government's policy, will be spread far and wide, while we shall be left largely in the dark about the Government's intentions. The description of the Bill should be amended to read something like this: "A Bill to legislate first over the widest possible field, and to start thinking afterwards." It appears to us on this side of the House that, if unamended, the Bill can carry Socialism in one form, with all the attendant mismanagement that that means, into any of the industries of the country. It is true that the Bill does not provide for State ownership or for compensation—or confiscation as it has now become—but it provides for unlimited State interference, or, if you like, intervention, with the slimmest and dimmest Parliamentary control.
I come to that point later on The point I am making at the moment is that the Minister will be able, under these provisions, to place himself virtually in control of these development councils. That is where he gets his finger into the pie. I have dealt with the general nature of this legislation, which I say is delegated legislation of the worst kind. Enormous powers are sought. The right hon. and learned Gentleman tries to calm cur fears about the immense range of these powers by saying that they will he used with discretion. That argument is very poor, and unworthy of him.
Now, let me pass from the general nature of the Bill in order to examine it in greater detail. I want to impress upon the House with all the force that I can, that the Bill raises a fundamental question of the utmost importance to industry. The fundamental question is whether we are to abandon the voluntary method of negotiation, and undermine the voluntary organisations which exist in this field, in favour of State machinery such as the development councils. I noticed that the right hon. and learned Gentleman skated very quickly over this point. He only said something which is quite obvious to all of us, that in dealing with industry you must deal with some body other than a trade association. He entirely evaded the point. I am on quite a different point. I am saying that these statutory bodies will tend to overload and overlap the voluntary organisations which exist in industry, such as those organisations representing trade unions and employers. This part of my subject falls into two parts. The first is the overlapping and overlaying of the functions of other Ministers, notably the Minister of Labour. I
cannot believe that much thought has been given to this subject, but if there has been a departmental battle, it is obvious that the Minister of Labour has lost it all down the line. We must turn to the First Schedule for illustrations of my point. Paragraph 2 uses these words, among others:
Promoting … inquiry … as to labour utilisation.
That surely cuts across the province of the Ministry of Labour. Paragraph 3 relates to industrial pyschology. Paragraph 8 is concerned with promoting technical training. What does the Minister of Labour think of those paragraphs? There is even worse in paragraph 9, which cuts straight across the relations between trade unions and employers' federations, and other joint negotiating bodies. Then, look at paragraph 10:
Promoting or undertaking research into the incidence, prevention and cure of industrial diseases
This relates to a continuing and necessary piece of research which we can, at no time, afford to neglect; but is the development council the right medium? How far does the inclusion of this paragraph in the Schedule mean that the work of the development council cuts across the activities of bodies both national and international which are now functioning in this field?
I cannot do so offhand, but I think it is within the knowledge of the House that there are bodies like the I.L.O which deal with these matters. Paragraph 12 also cuts straight across the functions of the Ministry of Labour. I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will recognise the justice of my remarks when I say that if, when I was Minister of Production in the Coalition Government, I had framed any such Schedule as this, it would have provoked a most violent and characteristic reaction from the Minister of Labour, now Foreign Secretary. I assure the House of my belief, that if the Foreign Secretary were now Minister of Labour, the Bill would never have seen the light of day. All these matters fall within the jurisdiction of the Minister of Labour and National Service.
I beg the hon. Member's pardon. There is certainly another Ministry concerned there. In individual industries, many of the matters fall within the jurisdiction of the joint machinery of employers and workers under which the terms and conditions of employment in various industries are negotiated. Well tried and highly organised machinery already exists, not only for dealing with these matters in individual industries between the two sides, but also to secure that the two sides have the necessary contact with the Ministry of Labour. The setting up of statutory development councils with terms of reference which bring them into the field of labour on so large a scale, can only lead to overlapping and a conflict of jurisdiction among Government Departments.
Even more serious is the duplication of machinery and of jurisdiction which will arise in individual industries. That is again a point over which the right hon. and learned Gentleman very wisely skated quickly. He made a genuflexion over the difficulties by saying that he would, where it was desired, see that two members of the Joint Industrial Council were appointed to the development councils. That argument only serves to show that he realises there is a great danger of duplication and that, in fact, duplication must take place. The appearance of these statutory bodies will tend to break up the whole system of voluntary organisation.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman know that the development councils are to be composed of one-third representatives of the employers and one-third of the operatives in the industry; and will not these people be careful of the needs of the industry and refuse to allow themselves to be intimidated by the other one-third?
These are statutory bodies, and the independent members will be subject to all kinds of Ministerial control—here I am rather anticipating my later argument. These independent members will be introduced into the statutory bodies which will, undoubtedly, abrogate the functions now exercised by the trade unions on the one hand and the employers' federations on the other. That is my sincere opinion.
I turn aside for one moment to consider what this machinery is to do, and to what numbers of those employed in industry it applies. First, there is the voluntary joint negotiating machinery set up by the employers' organisations and trade unions themselves. Secondly, there is the statutory machinery which is a development or evolution of the trade boards now known as wages councils, which applies to those industries where the negotiating machinery between employers and employees was considered to be inefficient and where wages were deemed to be particularly low. I remind the House that in the original Act setting up the trade boards, a public inquiry had to be held to determine whether those two conditions obtained. That has been altered by the Wages Councils Act of 1945, but the Minister has still to satisfy himself that those two conditions obtain before he sets up a wages council. So, the public inquiry has now been dispensed with. There are 52 of these wages councils in existence, and there are other similar bodies, with which the House will be familiar, which have been set up under special Acts of Parliament such as the Catering Wages Board and the Road Hauliers Wages Board and so forth.
According to the figures with which I have been supplied, voluntary machinery covers about 12,500,000 persons employed in industry. Joint negotiating machinery other than the joint industrial council covers about 7,500,000. These are cases in which there is no written charter between the trade unions and the employers' organisations. Then there are industries, employing 5 million workers, with written charters, covering the joint industrial councils. That makes up the 12,500,000 covered by voluntary organisation. Then there is the statutory machinery which I have already mentioned covering about 3,500,000. The total covered by these arrangements, the bulk of which are voluntary, is therefore about 16,000,000, and I suggest to the House that the present proposal for setting up development councils, is entirely redundant as far as labour questions are concerned.
Labour utilisation here really means the better application of the machinery to secure better use of the labour available. It has nothing whatever to do with the right hon. Gentleman's interpretation, and I suggest that he is going much too far.
All the things I have mentioned deal directly with labour questions, but if hon. Members imagine— [Interruption.] I think I am entitled to be heard, I am speaking with the greatest sincerity, and I shall be only too glad to be proved wrong. If, I say, hon. Members, particularly those who have been trade union officials, imagine that development councils can be set up to deal with all this paraphernalia set out in the First Schedule, without encroaching upon the field of wages and conditions, they will prove to be utterly wrong. It is impossible to cover these matters without overlaying and overlapping the machinery that exists. It is impossible and hon. Members will one day remember what I have said.
I now turn to the question of training and entering into industry and how these bodies overlap. These subjects have been discussed continuously by both the Federation and the T.U.C. through the Joint Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Labour and internationally at the I.L.O. conferences. Indeed, the Joint Consultative Committee in December, 1945, issued a report both to the organisations of employers and to trade unions throughout the country laying down the standards on these matters. I cannot see how the development councils can be prevented from abrogating these functions in the process of time. The President of the Board of Trade shelters to some extent behind a statement that none of these councils will be formed except after consultation with industry.
That is in Clause 1 of the Bill, but it does not carry us nearly far enough. In fact, he made things worse by saying in a very charming voice, that he hoped he would never have to use compulsion, but that he must tell the House that if people did not come along quietly, there existed behind his emollient phrases, this power which he proposed to apply. It was, however, better for people to come along quietly than for him to impose those powers on them afterwards. We can follow him as far as that, but can we have a definite assurance that the Government will consider an amendment to the Bill, stating that these councils will not be set up unless, after consultation, the Minister is satisfied that there is a majority of the industry in favour?
I imagine that in these cases the Minister would consult the working parties which have been set up under his own aegis. On the working parties there are a certain number of employers and a certain number of representatives of the trade unions, and all I am asking is that the Minister should be satisfied that a majority of the two sides of the industry are in favour of setting up a development council, because if they are not, I can tell him straight away that they will not work, and everybody with practical knowledge of these matters knows that that is true. He says that the development councils which he proposes to set up ab initio under this Bill have in fact—it is one of his own arguments—fulfilled the condition which I now ask he should apply in other directions. He said that the working parties had unanimously recommended these development councils in certain cases. Therefore, we know that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, however difficult he may find it to ascertain a majority, is still able to ascertain unanimity. I am asking whether we can have an assurance that a majority will be ascertained before these statutory bodies are imposed on industry.
I want now to record my opinion in no uncertain terms that by transferring these labour questions from the machinery built up partly under the Ministry of Labour, and more generally by voluntary bodies, to the new statutory machinery of development councils, the prestige and efficiency of voluntary negotiating bodies, in which both sides of industry have implicit confidence today. will be needlessly thrown away. Is there any hon. Member, trade unionist or employer, who really thinks that this is the time to start setting aside voluntary organisation? I cannot say how strongly I feel that these statutory development councils are the thin end of the wedge, and that eventually the negotiating machinery, in which we have great pride on both sides of industry, will be overthrown by this new and ill-thought-out legislation. I remind hon. Members of what the present Foreign Secretary, when he was Minister of Labour, said in the House on the Wages Councils Bill, on 16th January, 1945. Referring to the voluntary machinery, he spoke of
the most priceless thing in this country, something which has carried us through the war witnout loss of our liberties, the great voluntary system of negotiation in the industries of this country.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th January, 1945; Vol. 407, c. 71]
There are one or two less important points with wish I wish to deal.
If the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) wishes to interrupt me, let him rise to his feet. I turn now to the question of the so-called independent members. To earn the title "independent," members must have
no such financial or industrial interest as is likely to affect them in the discharge of their functions.
Expressed in less elegant language, the qualification is that the member knows nothing whatever about the industry in which he is about to perform the duties of schoolmaster and adviser. [Interruption.] I know how distasteful it is to hon. Members opposite if I expose some of the weaknesses of the Bill. They must get accustomed to understanding that there are two sides to these questions, however distressing that may be to them. There is another curious provision as regards independent members. Just at the time when the new Companies Bill seeks to prevent compensation for loss of office, I think quite properly, or gratuities being paid to directors of joint stock companies on retirement, the Bill gives the Minister and the councils the right to pay gratuities and pensions to the retiring members. This is yet another piece of patronage given to a Minister over an undefined area, and of course, it is a very powerful weapon to prevent the independent members from becoming too independent. This is one of the means by which Ministers are seeking to influence in the direction in which they wish the deliberations of these councils. I can see the reason for the chairman being appointed by the Minister from outside the industry, even if it does mean perpetuating the system under which the Government consider it right to appoint the Adjutant-General as chairman of the Linoleum Board. I quite agree that we have swallowed some of these things, but I see little except disadvantage—
I said that I did not mind the perpetuation of a system by which the Adjutant-General becomes chairman of the Linoleum Board. It emphasises that the chief qualification of independent members must be that they know nothing of the industry concerned. I see little but disadvantage in the appointment of other so-called independent members. In the first place, it gives the Minister virtual control, if he chooses to exercise it, over the development councils where the two sides of the industry are not in agreement. Secondly, the development councils, when they are set up, will have to spend, as working parties have done, the first six months or year of their operations in teaching the independent members the simple facts about the industry, without which obviously no recommendations can be made. These development councils will, furthermore, place a very severe strain on the personnel of other industries from which, according to the terms of reference, the independent members have to be drawn. Industrial relations have been governed by bodies representing employers and trade unions, without the introduction of independent members, for a very long time, and I think this machinery should not be altered.
There are two more subjects to which I wish to refer. The first is scientific research. I yield to none in my advocacy of scientific research and development as an aid to industrial prosperity, and the Government are now beginning to recognise that. Here, as in other places, they acknowledge its importance. I welcome that heartily, but I must turn aside for one moment to give the House an example—and this is entirely within my own experience—of how the Government's protestations on research worked out in practice. My own company, which I think I may claim has always been in the forefront of industrial research and development, is attempting to expand its fundamental research, particularly in those aspects of nuclear physics which may have application to peaceful use. The company owns a large country house near Reading, suitable for a research station. The property was requisitioned during the war and it has been virtually empty—one or two people at the most have been in it—for nine months. For nine months we have tried to get it released, and have had to look on at the usual battledore and shuttlecock between Government Departments, and still we cannot get our own unoccupied property back. Of course, when we do get it back, the usual battle over licences will begin. This property has been unoccupied for nine months, it is required for research, and we cannot get it released. I mention this to show how the Government promote research. I suggst that they set up a development council of their own to co-ordinate the activities of requisitioning Departments, and if they believe in this machinery, they will find the battledore and shuttlecock can be cut down by months and months. I would like to see a little more practical approach to the question of research and fewer protestations.
The last subject to which I want to refer is the levy. It has some significance in relation to research and development. Suppose that there are a hundred firms in an industry, and 75 of them are progressive and spend a large amount of money on research, and suppose that there are 25 backward firms. Under this Bill, as framed, a levy could be raised from the 75 firms in order to set up research and development for the 25 firms. This is what I think would commonly be called an injustice, and something which puts a penalty upon efficiency. I very much fear that the effect of these proposals will be the opposite of what the Government think. The tendency will be created for people to sit back and wait until the research can be paid for under these arrangements by the industry as a whole. I think that these provisions are extremely dangerous and not beneficial, because research is the last subject which should be regimented and centralised in the way proposed. This part of the subject has not been thought out at all in this Bill and the provisions are harmful.
Lastly, there is the matter of principle involved in this right of imposing a levy. There used to be an old constitutional slogan: "No taxation without representation." In the process of time, it is quite true that we have given representation to many who are not taxed at all or are very lightly taxed, but that does not detract from that old slogan. Under this Bill it is possible for a council to impose a levy on unwilling members of an industry. There is far too little recourse to Parliament which is one of the few remaining rights left to the taxpayers in this kind of matter. I trust that this part of the Bill can be amended, so that a levy will not be imposed unless a substantial majority in the industry is in favour of it.
Would the right hon. Member be a little more precise about one point which is troubling me? He has used some phrase like "direct contact between industry and the Government." Would he say more precisely if he feels this might be done by means of trade associations, joint industrial councils, or what?
My general approach would be to use the existing machinery, which is the Joint Industrial Councils plus the other voluntary organisations, and, in the case of the wages councils, the statu- troy bodies. If any of those are felt to be inadequate to the purpose, or not to cover a wide enough field from the point of view of either side of industry, the right way to approach the subject is to try to evolve from those bodies something which would operate adequately over the whole field. That is my point of view, and I would not try to replace them by this new fangled statutory development council.
To sum up, this Bill represents delegated legislation of the worst type. It overcomes the difficulties inherent in the varied nature of the problem by seeking unlimited, overriding, enabling powers—and the right hon. and learned Gentleman admitted that. That can be seen in the First Schedule and in Clauses 8 and 1 (4). The whole Bill pays only lip-service, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman has emphasised that fact, to the principle of consultation. Secondly, it is designed—that is not the right word—it will have the effect of destroying the voluntary machinery for negotiation between the two sides of industry. Thirdly, many of the paragraphs in the First Schedule give eight Ministers and Ministries powers to cut across the functions of the Ministry of Labour. Fourthly, the independent members other than the chairmen appear to be redundant. Fifthly, the Bill sets up a new bureaucracy, widens the range of patronage to the Government and gives power for the retiring members of the council to be paid pensions and gratuities. Sixthly. it gives the council power to impose taxes on members of an industry whether they like it or not, and violates the principle of "No taxation without representation." Lastly, it is an insidious means of giving eight Ministers overriding powers to control and regiment any industry in the country over the heads of either the trade unions or the employers' federations. For all these reasons, we propose to vote against the Bill.
I wish to take up one point emphasised by the right hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton)— the question of independent members. Was the right hon. Gentleman being quite open in his objections to the appointment of independent members? Let us take the case of some trade associations Let us for the sake of argument take the Electric Lamp Manu- facturers' Association, in which the right hon. Gentleman is interested. Let us consider the method of operation of this particular body as an example, and see why they would object to an independent member on one of these bodies poking his nose into this particular association's activities—
I am sure this is a very interesting line, which the hon. Member always likes to pursue, but it is quite without application to the particular argument. I was talking of a body on which the employers and the trade unions were represented. The particular body he is talking about is only an employers' body. What he is saying, although it may be of general interest elsewhere, has no reference whatever to the argument I was advancing.
I must interrupt the hon. Member again. I know quite well that he is trying to introduce personal matters into this discussion, but I may say straight away that I have never advanced that point at all. I was talking of independent members where employers and employed are already represented. If the hon. Member will confine himself to the points I made, and not try to demolish the points I did not make, we shall get on better.
I understood the right hon. Gentleman to make the point that he did not like the appointment of independent members. He advanced one reason, but I have the impression that it was a manufactured reason and that the real reason for his objection was something far more —
I do not know whether that was the suggestion, but perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow the hon. Gentleman to develop his argument in his own way and we shall then see what he has to say.
I do not think I am making imputations. Let us leave what the right hon. Gentleman said, and examine the operations of some trade associations in this country, of which the Electric Lamp Manufacturers' Association is one. Let us see why this particular association might object to independent members on the new body which might be set up for that section of the electrical industry. The Electric Lamp Manufacturers' Association, if it is not a cartel, is almost a cartel. They have not done a great deal of research in this country. They meet together and decide the selling prices of lamps. They fix the discount to the retailers and to the wholesalers, and they have never disclosed the manufacturing costs. In fact they never disclosed them to the Ministry during the war. They rejected any effort at costing. It will not have escaped the House that the question of costing is mentioned here. I have no doubt that it has not escaped the attention of the right hon. Member for Aldershot. The Electric Lamp Manufacturers' Association rejected costing. It is rather significant that they maintained their prices throughout the war, and that instead of increasing them when costs began to go up at the end of the war, for some mysterious reason—which may have been due to pressure from the Ministry of Supply—they reduced their prices to the public by 20 per cent. It is on the cards that an association like this might be very reluctant to have independent members poking their noses into operations of this description. I can well understand it.
For instance, they might not like it at the moment if the glass supplies for the lamp industry were to be investigated. I wonder whether an independent member would not. start asking questions why some of the independent lamp manufacturers who are not in the ring, find it difficult to get glass bulbs when the only manufacturers who make them are in the ring. Why is it that these independent manufacturers are not getting all the glass bulbs they want?
The hon Member was dealing with the question of independent members. An hon. Member is entitled to make his speech in his own way, and is responsible for what he says.
Would the hon. Gentleman name any concern in this country which is able at the present time to carry all the supplies of glassware it would wish in order to carry on its business?
Because the glass manufacturers of this country, including the members of E.L.M.A., are so hopelessly inefficient, as compared with their competitors in America, they cannot supply all the glass. The example I was quoting was of an independent lamp manufacturer, whose factory is shut clown in an area of unemployment due to the fact that he cannot get bulbs, and the only source from which he can get bulbs is his ring competitor, namely, E.L.M.A. I am suggesting that this Bill has been brought forward to set up independent members on the organisation proposed in the Bill, so that these things can be looked at. It is to the public interest to see that they do not happen in the future. Not only do we want organisations to promote research, but we want the public to know the facts for once, so that the free wind of public opinion can blow through some of these boardroom doors which have remained shut so long. I know it is very awkward for some hon. and right hon. Gentleman opposite who have kept these things secret for so long, that hon. Members on this side of the House should have had the sense to allow hon. Members to be elected on this side of the House for once who know something about these things.
I leave that particular point because there are one or two other matters in which I should like to touch. Strange as it may seem, I have sympathy with some of the points put forward by the right hon. Member for Aldershot. I have some sympathy with him, but not entirely, because the eloquent speech of my right hon. and learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade has convinced me that, with regard to one or two views I had, I may have been barking up the wrong tree.
It is true that a large part of British industry could benefit by greater activity in the fields enumerated in the Schedule. There, we are probably completely in agreement, but I wonder whether the method chosen is the right one. Could not they be re-formed—I trust my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary will mark that I said "reformed"—with trade associations together with trade anions? Trade associations at the present moment generally represent only employers. The distributor interests, generally, are not represented on these trade associations, neither is the consumer interest represented. I wonder whether a trade association could by some reorganisation have distribution and consumer interests properly represented, to make sure that the small manufacturer is adequately represented? I realise that my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade put forward the most persuasive reasons why that should not be done, but I would like the Parliamentary Secretary, when he replies, to enlarge upon that to some extent. I feel that we have far too little managerial talent in this country, and that the setting up of these new tripartite bodies may point, to some extent, to waste of managerial and trade union time. It is only a query in my mind, but it might be advantageous if it were examined.
There is another point which will arise when we come to the question of the small manufacturers, and that is whether you use the machinery of existing trade associations, or set up these new tripartite bodies. As one with some practical experience of the operation of this, I have in mind that the real grass roots of industry, the small manufacturer, the man who really works on the job and knows it, is not touched by these vast high level organisations. Officials of Ministries can, and do, deal with the chief executives of big manufacturers, but let us remember that before the war, there were only about 1,000 companies in this country with more than 1,000 employees. There are some 40,000 small manufacturers. My constituency is a remarkable example of a cross-section of these. Take out two or three manufacturers in Elland and Brighouse in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and the rest, honest-to-God, small manufacturers, have never heard of the Regional Council. of the Ministry of Supply, or of the Board of Trade. It is impossible for officials to go anywhere near them. That is the great defect of whatever organisation is set up. Whether you have trade associations re-formed as I have suggested, whether you have these new tripartite organisations, will they get down to these people?
I want to recommend to my right hon. and learned Friend one good maxim: that if you want to get results, you have to make calls. Let me quote the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research to show what I mean. Here you have an admirable Government body, set up to do research for industry but, good as it is, that body has never got down to the small manufacturer. I have suggested several times that the D.S.I.R. should put technical commercial men on the road to call on the small manufacturers, talk to them, and make them aware of what is being done. No matter how this Bill is operated, if you are to get down to the real background, the real roots of British industry, the small manufacturer—who, in many cases is antagonistic to research; scientific and engineering research have never been sold to him yet—you will never do it by writing to him, by holding highbrow technical lectures in London or in the main towns of the country. You will only do it by arguing this matter out with the man on the spot. When your technical commercial salesman first calls, he will probably be thrown out on his ear, but he will have to find, as every salesman has to do, ways and means to get in and sell his product. In this case, it is science and research and developmental engineering.
I am sure this has to be done, and am convinced that whatever kind of organisation we set up, unless it is taken to the consumer, it will not be used. That is one reason why I am not happy about this proposal. I am not happy about it for a different reason from that of the right hon. Member for Aldershot. If I were a small manufacturer—and I have a lot to do with a small manufacturing company—I would object to the compulsory levy, because I would feel that it would organise me out of business, instead of competing me out of business. Also organisations such as those of the right hon. Member for Aldershot have considerable advantages over the small manufacturers. I do not blame him, and I do not mind if he competes me out of business. But I would mind if he organised me out of business, by an organisation for which I have to help pay. Unless I can get the benefits of this research, for which I have to pay, the benefits go to the big company, which is put in a better position to organise me out of business. In other words, the benefits of the research, which have to be paid for by everyone in the industry, are going to the big companies, the dominant dozen in the industry, the people who already use their organisation, and dominate the position in trade associations, but can organise a small competitor out of business. If we do not see that the benefits of this work go right down to the small manufacturer, and is sold to him, the big man will be benefited to the detriment of the small man.
The Bill sets out to do a lot of things. It provides pools of research, but how are we to get the people in industry to drink from them? Nothing is said about that. I suppose we have to fall back on what the President of the Board of Trade said—that it depends very much on how the Bill is operated. There I agree with him. We have to do the research, but we ought to make sure that the people in industry know about it, and provide persons with degrees to enable this information to come into the factories. There could be one man with a B. Sc. degree in a factory, or, where there are a number of factories, one such man for a small group. In my constituency there are several small manufacturers. It may be that not one could afford a man with a B. Sc. degree on the staff, but, possibly, five could afford to engage him. In practice, the present arrangement is that the big manufacturer can afford to have such people going backward and forward between the research establishment, and his own establishment. Subconsciously, the research establishment does the work that the big company wants to be done. Unless we can get qualified men attached to small factories, we shall not get an adequate flow of knowledge from the research establishments into the small manufacturer's premises.
As to this proposed dichotomy between production and distribution, I was surprised to hear the President say that when the research organisations are set up, they will apply to production problems only, and not to distribution problems. If there is anything in this country that needs research, it is distribution. Over the last century, for every pound spent on research into production problems, I do not suppose twopence has been spent on distribution. The skilled industrial manufacturer solves many of his production problems in the sales field, and many of his sales problems in the factory. This is a wellknown practice, and to draw a line between distribution and production is a thoroughly bad thing. I hope the President will have another look at this point. Perhaps he will deal with distribution in some way later on. I believe distribution and production ought always to work hand in glove, and be closely geared one to the other.
I think my hon. Friend misunderstood my right hon. and learned Friend's reference to distribution. What he said was that there was not to be a development council for distribution as an industry. But there is nothing to stop a development council for a particular industry inquiring into problems of distribution, such as my hon. Friend has mentioned. If my hon. Friend looks at the First Schedule, he will see paragraph 5 which specifically refers to the
production and marketing of standard products.
I am much obliged to my hon. Friend. I have read the Bill, and it was because I had read it that I was surprised to hear the President say what I thought he said. I hope that when the President comes to operate the Bill, and to appoint people, he will see that they are not all trade unionists, or production people, but that someone with knowledge of distribution will be appointed, so that we can get closer collaboration between production and distribution in each one of the councils which are set up. If that is done, I think it will mean that we shall get some very good results from the operation of the Bill.
It is always a pleasure to listen to the hon. Member for Elland (Mr. Cobb). He is one of the pillars of the modern "managerial revolution" and he has an outstanding record in management. I think, however, that for the first part of his speech he ought to have read his Bible a little better. There
is a fine passage in Ecclesiasticus which says:
Speak to thy friend: peradventure he did it not: and if he did it, that he do it not again.
Over the Electric Light Lamp Manufacturers, and over my right hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) I think he has been extremely unfair. I know he did not intend it, but he was. Surely the issue is this. Industrialists and the right hon. Member for Aldershot among them are saying, "We are perfectly prepared to throw open our books and information to the development council consisting of representatives of the trade unions and even, I imagine, to representatives of consumers. We have no secrets of which we are ashamed. All that the right hon. Gentleman for Aldershot in fact complained about was the unnecessary presence of the independent member who was in effect capable of being a Government stooge. It was to his presence that he objected, not to the information being available outside the board room doors.
I speak in three capacities. First, as an ex-Director of Organisation and Methods of the Treasury. It seems to me that this Bill is really applying the idea of "organisation and methods" which have been adopted by the Civil Service at the request of this House, to industry generally. In passing, let me say that my experience is that the Civil Service has adopted the idea of organisation and methods very well. Let me also pay a tribute to the President of the Board of Trade in that since my departure, the O. & M.—Organisation and Method Section—at the Board of Trade—has progressed enormously. I attribute that largely and gratefully to his personal interest and practical support.
I am, however, sorry not to see the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer backing the Bill, because I think if it had been referred to the Chancellor then the Treasury's O. and M. Section would have put this Bill right and in many respects. It seems to me that this Bill violates the one principal and cardinal factor upon which successful organisation and methods work can be conducted. I see the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) in his seat opposite. I know from personal experience that both in industrial consultants and in the O. and M. Departments of the Civil Service the application of brain and infinite capacity for taking pains to problems of human effort whether in matters of organisation or of method yields colossal dividends in material benefits, and also, because after all we are all human beings, in spiritual benefits as well. But the very strength of the Treasury O. and M. Division, and the very strength of the consultant in a business, is that it is a free association in what is a most delicate and personal relationship.
There are three parties in any O. and M. work. There is the O. and M. worker, there is the management, which carries the responsibility, and, finally, there is the staff, who have to carry out the changes. At present any one of these three can walk out of that relation as freely as they contracted it, and it is the very essence of it, just as happiness in matrimony depends upon a relationship which is freely and willingly formed, and not upon something which is forced. So in the O. and M. relationship. Force by the Crown in its Legislature, in its judicature in deciding issues and in its Executive in supervising and in imposing penalties causes the free relationship to be vitiated and willing co-operation to be undermined. I say that the very presence of these three forces within an Act produces the very condition under which organisation and methods as now proposed must fail. I am quite convinced that the right hon. and learned Gentleman's only chance of succeeding is by operating organisation and methods voluntarily and willingly. I am sure that he could succeed using persuasion rather than force. I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether the President of the Board of Trade is really so despondent about his own ability, as a Cabinet Minister, whether he really fears that with his position, with the traditions of his Department, with all the knowledge and all the information he and his Department can get under his Statistics Bill, that he cannot successfully act as a catalyst to bring these three parties together voluntarily and so allow industry to work this 'Bill voluntarily, and relieve them from the certain failure which will come if he seeks to operate under duress.
May I next speak in my capacity as a citizen? It seems to me that the Ministry of Labour has been very wise in avoiding and in continuing to avoid direct responsibility for agreement between employer and worker over wages. The President of the Board of Trade would have done well to learn wisdom from that example and to have sidestepped the responsibility for efficiency of management in this country. I advise him this because, let us face it, the moment this Bill is passed, anybody who likes to get out of their own responsibility, whether as a manager or as a trade unionist, can with justification "pass the buck" by saying, "If we are doing wrong, surely it is up to the Government to get their own development council going and solve this. They have taken on the responsibility for solving this problem. Let them get on with it"
Then may I next speak as an employer in the printing industry? That industry is one which has been extremely happy in its relationships, and has been so happy over a long period. Both sides of the industry, employers and employees, face a great problem at the present time. The problem is, how, voluntarily, can we make the transition from a period of unstable employment during which both sides agreed on restrictive practices, or connived at them, in order to make employment go round to a new period where there is no longer need to make the work go round. How can the two sides adjust past agreements to a new world in which there is the intention, and the high probability, of providing stable employment. Perhaps I might give instances of the sort of problem with which a development council in the printing industry will inevitably be faced and the Provinces, there is a most difficult problem within the field called in this Bill "labour utilisation." Whereas the printing machine minder in the country is supposed to be able to work not only a cylinder machine, but a platen machine, in London he is supposed to be able to work only one or the other and to be unable to work at all unless his own personal "feeder" leeds his sheets. I would make it quite clear that it is not really the case that the London minder is less experienced or able than the provincial minder. But nevertheless the position is that if a firm has two printing machines, one a cylinder and the other a platen then if the opposite people are absent through sickness or other cause. work on both those machines comes to a stop although at least one would be made to work in the provinces.
Similarly, take the question of entry to the printing industry There is the whole question of apprenticeship. A most pressing problem for a development council and remitted to them under paragraphs 11 and 8 of the First Schedule. Then there is the most difficult question of working pace. In the past deliberate restrictive practices by the trade unions in the printing industry have kept down working pace below that of other nations. It has no doubt been justifiable; at any rate it has been agreed to by the employers for conditions of under employment. But we have not and will not have those conditions but new conditions I believe firmly that the printing industry can face these new conditions and solve those and other difficulties. It has got a good spirit between employers and trade unions. The two parties if left to negotiate under the conditions of free will under which that spirit has won such outstanding progress and success will come to an arrangement but the educative processes will work only slowly. But submit those two to a situation in which the independent chairman and the independent member if they side with one side or the other, can virtually force agreement on the third and it will be like bringing the two sides together in battle.
I ask trade unionists, because I am sincere in this, whether they know what they are letting themselves in for? I ask them to realise what will happen. This Bill can be used, by increasing the levy, as a form of duress to get employers to do what the trade union members and the independent members wish done. Similarly if the Government and the independent members side with the employers, then the development council can similarly force the hand of the trade unions, because I see that under Paragraph 2 of the First Schedule, one of the functions which are to be allowed to development councils is not only
promoting inquiry as to labour utilisation,
the conduct of experimental establishments and of tests on a commercial scale.
I maintain that if a development council really desired to take over an existing works or form a new works and run it as a blackleg concern, to force the unions to do what the unions did not want, the trade union would indeed be on the spot, with the whole force of the Government and employers against it. I think it is wholly
wrong that industrial relations in this country, which have a fine record behind them, should be suddenly submitted to this brand new procedure, which makes each party capable of being subject to duress. It is negotiation under duress, and as every trade unionist knows that will not get anyone anywhere.
Finally, I am surprised at the President of the Board of Trade for failing to apply his own principles. He is a man of great sincerity. He says he wishes to proceed by agreement. Let him proceed by agreement. As I say, willing relationship is the basis of all organisation and methods work, and no such work is really acceptable or successful unless it is founded on free relationship. Secondly, let him not gratuitously and dangerously accept direct responsibility for the efficiency of industry in this country. Finally, let him not inject these new procedures of duress into employer-employee negotiations but let him leave it to the two sides and to the joint industrial councils, and above all to the joint production committees of factories. That is where the good work goes on.
I conclude with one small proverb which was mentioned by the hon. Member for Elland. It is that one man can take a horse to the water but twenty men cannot make him drink. If the President of the Board of Trade is to take to the water not a horse but Britishers, either employers or labour trade unionists, and force their noses into the pool, he will not only get no drinking but he will find such a mud and such a stink in the pool, that any hope of their drinking voluntarily later will have disappeared. I ask him to take this Bill away, to wash it in its own muddy waters, and to drown it or to let us have it back in quite different but much better form.
I speak in this Debate as one who has been for almost the whole of his working life, in one capacity or another, in the field of industrial organisation, and who, therefore, has had a long and extremely close interest in the subject as a whole. I noticed with some interest not merely the case which as made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton), but the very fact that he was selected to lead for the Opposition in this matter. It seems to me that this Bill is primarily about small-scale industries. My hon. Friend the Member for Elland (Mr. Cobb) pointed out, I think with the general approval of the House, that we tend to think too much in terms of the factories employing a couple of thousand people, which, in point of fact, employ only a comparatively small proportion of the working population. Conversely, we tend to neglect, in our view. the small man.
The President of the Board of Trade, in the review which he had to make of the economic life of the country, made no such mistake. One of his first acts was to set up working parties principally in industries where the unit of manufacturing tends, on the whole, to be small. Since the working parties, for the most part, were in these industries, and since this Bill, so to speak, springs out of the working parties, it is clear that the intention is that a development council shall cover that sort of industry. Therefore, one would have thought that the Opposition would have selected as spokesman one of the many hon. Members whom they have, who has had direct experience of industry of this kind. Instead, the. objections to the Bill are voiced by a right hon. Gentleman who, I think, would not deny the charge that almost the whole of his industrial experience has been in big business—with a very big capital B and another big capital B. It seems to me that what the right hon. Gentleman was putting forward was not so much the case of industry against the Bill—I do not think that case would be a very strong one—but the case of big business, which is a very strong one. It is a strong case for the reasons given by my hon. Friend the Member for Elland, that the one thing which big business does not want is that small business should become efficient and, hence, cease to be the prey of big business which can knock it about all over the place.
The right hon. Member for Aldershot began his speech very generously, I thought, with a tribute to what he called "a great Parliamentary performance" on the part of the President of the Board of Trade. I hope he will forgive me if I say, with great humility, that I thought that his own performance fell very much short of that description. I worked in factories during the war. Most of them were very indirectly under the control of the Government Department then operated by the right hon. Gentleman. We used to conjure with his name in those days, as the name almost of an archangel. His name used to strike terror throughout that section of industry in which I worked. When one came as a new Member to this House, one expected to find that whenever the right hon. Gentleman gave vent to some opinion on industry it would be based upon the cold hard facts of the situation. Yet it seems to me that never have I heard, during my short acquaintance with this House, a thinner case more thinly put than that of the right hon. Gentleman. In particular, never have I known a case which seemed to carry with it—and I do not want to impute any motives—not merely less power to convince others, but less evidence of being convinced oneself. The right hon. Gentleman built up all sorts of bogeys in connection with what might happen under this Bill and the terrible things which the President of the Board of Trade might do. I think that if one got him alone, perhaps over a cup of coffee, and said, "Do you really believe all these nasty things will happen?" he would say, "No, I don't."
Out of my own little experience of industrial organisation, I want to say a few words very strongly and most sincerely in support of this Measure. The act of the President of the Board of Trade in setting up the working parties was nothing short of an inspiration. The reports which the working parties have produced, whilst not uniformly good, are of a very high standard in general. As he himself said, they have been a mine of information. They have acted as a great stimulus in the industries which they have covered. One looks forward to the operation of the development councils with the expectation that they will carry that stimulus still further forward on practical grounds.
There was one thing which the President of the Board of Trade said with which I did not completely agree when he dealt with the question why there should be set up special bodies for this purpose, and why this work should not be left to the trade associations. I thought that, with that kindness of heart and gentleness of speech for which he is so justly renowned, and for which he earned a tribute from the opposite side of the House, he let the trade associations down very lightly indeed. There is a very short answer to the question, "Why should not we let the job be done by them?" That short answer is, "What stopped them from doing it before?" They have had endless time to get on with this job. The trouble is that they have been so busy subsidising inefficiency, that they have had no time to encourage efficiency. They have been so busy protecting the high-cost producer against that law of supply and demand which they always laud so loudly that they have had no time to reduce costs or to do anything about a reduction in costs. They have been so busy with political work—including price rings, cartelisation, and arrangements of that sort—that they have had no time to get down to their real responsibilities, and to see that their industries were so organised as to give efficient service to their community.
Before the hon. Gentleman leaves that point, I would like him to study that bit in Ecclesiasticus to which I previously referred. This is a pure ex parte statement. The trade association is not necessarily or even to his knowledge, behaving badly. I think the mere willingness of trade associations to enter into partnership with labour to improve organisation and methods is sufficient evidence that these alleged bad things do not exist. They are canards.
I would like to say, in reply to the hon. Gentleman, that what I was saying follows the advice from Ecclesiasticus. It is true that that can be carried to any degree to which Members of Parliament accept responsibility, but the hon. Gentleman himself spoke of a restrictionist attitude of particular associations, as well as of other bodies, and I am sure that he would not dissent from the view that a great deal—far too much—of the time and energy of the people in trade associations has been taken up by purely political or neo-political, restrictionist and negative activities, rather than the positive activities laid down for the development councils in this Bill.
May I quote one example which conies actually from the mouth of the accused himself? The hon. Gentleman will have read, as I did, the White Paper published in May last year by the Minister of Supply and containing reports by the British Iron and Steel Federation and the Joint Iron Council to the Ministry of Supply, and will have read there of the enormous machinery and interlocking trade associations that there are in the iron and steel trades. If I remember rightly, the 1,079 firms in those trades are linked together in no fewer than 36 trade associations—16 national and 20 local—and yet that report, written not by a Socialist, not by a Minister or by a Government Department, but by the Joint Iron Council itself, pays testimony to the complete failure of these trade associations, for example, to do anything worth while about the standardisation of the end product, which, especially in that trade, and especially in the direction of ingot moulds, is the most crucial need of the industry. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman must know that this applies to a great number of trade associations.
I would like to ask the hon. Gentleman if he would admit that restrictionist practices can be good, and, secondly, if he has read the recent report from the Committee set up by the present President of the Board on the price regulation of the Association for Radio Valves, in which it was found that, on going into the whole thing, and all these allegations which have been made, there was no evidence for them?
In regard to the second point, let me say that there are differences between these associations. The association connected with radio valves is a comparatively new one, and it has not the traditions of those older trade associations, which, in the past, have been restrictionist. On the first point, I say with respect that I could not disagree with the hon. Gentleman more. The question whether one thinks that these restrictionist activities in industry are good or bad depends upon what we believe to be the function of industry. If we believe the function of industry to be to provide profits or work at high wages for workers, then I agree that these activities can sometimes be good, but, in my view, the function of industry is to provide for the community goods and services of the best quality and at the cheapest prices, and, in that view, restrictionist activities can never be right.
I have said all this in defence of the Bill, and I recognise that it has great value. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will appreciate what I have to say in criticism of these proposals is tempered by my very lively appreciation of the value, in general terms, which this Bill will be to the industrial community. These development councils are, undoubtedly, going to be good things in themselves, but I am just a little afraid that they are being added to a large number of other agencies all ploughing their own furrow in the field of industrial management or the organisation of in dustrial efficiency. without co-ordination and in substitution of a general overall plan. The hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman), with whom I have been crossing swords on industrial matters, and for whose views on industrial questions I have a great respect, pleaded with the President to leave scientific management and the organisation of industrial efficiency to industry itself. I say that, because there is a terrible shortage of skilled personnel, to which, I think the hon. Gentleman assented, the one thing that we cannot afford to do is to have this personnel dissipated in a lot of little enclaves, all with separate organisations, and all of whom are doing some work which overlaps the work of other organisations, and wastes, to a very large extent, much of the activity of this personnel.
The one thing I am afraid of is, that a great deal of redundancy of work will take place as between the development council for one industry and the development councils for other industries, if there is to be no overall planning and co-ordinating body. For example, the problems of an industry and of another industry which supplies the raw materials to the first industry, cannot often be separated from each other. There is the problem, for example, of the boot and shoe trade, which is in part, the problem of the leather trade as well, and the same thing applies as between engineering and steel, and as between furniture making and wood, and so on. There is also the case of textile machinery and textiles. Here, we have very close links, but we may have a development council in textiles and another development council in textile machinery each going their own way. It is significant, and, I think, a little disturbing, that the only point of contact between an industry and that industry which supplies it with its raw materials which is laid down in the Bill is in Clause 4 (1), in which the development council for an industry is empowered to make a levy upon the people manufacturing materials for that industry, without, of necessity, giving any representation to that materials industry.
Then, of course, we may have industries which are in a different case regarding their raw materials, but which have common problems of marketing and distribution, and I will quote, as a very simple instance, cups and saucers made of earthenware, on the one hand, and cups and saucers made of plastic compounds on the other. The marketing and distribution of these products is precisely the same problem but, when looked at by one development council for the plastics industry and by another one for the earthenware industry, there may be a great deal of overlapping. There has been already from these Benches considerable reference to what is the most interesting and significant part of the Bill —the First Schedule, which lays down 19 functions, some or all of which the development council is to take over. I would like to point out that no fewer than 12 of these 19 functions are functions which apply, either totally or substantially, over the whole field of industry, or, at least, over a large number of industries: these are Nos.1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 17 and 18. Take No. 17 as a good example. It instructs the development council to promote
The improvement of accounting and costing practice and uniformity therein, including in particular the formulation of standard costings.
This is a technique which applies no matter whether you sell escalators or elephants, laundry service or liver pills, You will find that all the development councils will waste a great deal of work in giving what is a common service and in formulating what are, in fact, common techniques. If we look at No. 3 in the Schedule, which is concerned with promoting research into matters affecting industrial psychology, we find that that is a common thing, and 90 per cent. of it or more is common to all industry. In applying that to any industry, we are going to get overlapping between the development councils and bodies outside, to which I shall make some reference in a moment.
The same applies to the second of the 19 functions, which includes the very important factor of labour utilisation, a term which the right hon. Member for Aldershot completely failed to understand. Labour utilisation in that part of industry concerned with ancillary departments—managerial, and so on—is common to all industry. A wages office is the same wages office whether it is in a coalmine or in a furniture factory. Personnel management is a common technique. Progress chasing is a common technique, as is storekeeping. All these things are common to many industries. The real place to go for labour utilisation in industry is in the ancillary, rather than in the operative, departments. We have stood far too long over the fitter on the bench or the girl on the spinning machine with a stop watch in our hand, and have, without question, let all sorts of other people run round the factory with papers in one hand and a slide-rule in the other, and nobody asking them what they were doing, and without a check as to whether their labour was actually being utilised or not.
If I may intrude a personal note, I can remember a few occasions on which I have had the unpleasant task of assessing very quickly the efficiency of a factory. One thing that I did was to go to some place in the middle of the factory where two gangways crossed, and stop all the citizens who were rushing by with papers, drawings and slide-rules. I asked each of them who they were and where they were going. Sometimes I received very rude answers. But, when I sorted out those answers, I discovered that while most of them knew who they were, and a few knew where they were going, only a very few knew why. I also found that people were rushing about because the stores were at one end of the factory and the job to be done at the other, that drawings and tools were elsewhere, and that there was not a proper internal telephone service, and so on. It is that sort of thing which is common to all industries, and in studying it there will be not only overlapping between one development council and another, but between development councils and outside bodies. There is the Organisation and Methods Division to which the hon. Member for Bath referred, and in which, notwithstanding his own modesty on the subject, he did very great work during the war. They have evolved some magnifi- cent new techniques, and those techniques are not bruited abroad; they are kept within the Government service. In fact, I am not at all sure that they are passed all round the Government service as they should be.
My right hon. and learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade has set up an efficiency service which is doing a good job. But his officers have no entrée; they can only advise when they are asked, and, of course, it is only the efficient people who ask, and the inefficient who do not. There are all sorts of other bodies, learned institutions, professional associations, and so on. I am very anxious that there shall not be this overlapping between one development council and another, and between them as a whole and bodies outside, and that we shall not think of this Bill as carrying out industrial organisation in toto, but only as one step towards the wider and more effective planning of industry, which is what the nation really needs.
When speaking on any Measure brought forward by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, one is rather hampered by the absence of feeble humour from his make-up and his several other qualities, which are not universal in all men, and thus one hesitates to differ from him. However, I think that the proposal before us has to be regarded on its merits, without any regard to the charm and blandishments of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. It may, perhaps, be a sort of qualification that I, personally, have no, got those attributes possessed by several hon. Members who have spoken already. There is, I think, always room for the inquiring child to criticise the emperor's new clothes, and I should like to consider whence comes this Measure.
In 1945, after the industry of this country had had a most exhausting five or six years of war, the President of the Board of Trade proceeded to appoint working parties. I am not aware that they have been of service to industry, although, naturally many people who serve on them have a belief that they do serve some purpose. It is human nature, when one starts on an enterprise of that kind, not to admit that it is not wanted and could be done without. That has always been the case in any committee or sub-committee with which I have been associated. Therefore, I am not at all surprised to find that these working parties have made various recommendations in respect of the different industries, and, on account of that, this Bill falls short. The President of the Board of Trade has really advanced no argument for it, other than that. It is a remarkable thing that one or two hon. Gentlemen on the Benches opposite, the hon. Member for Elland (Mr. Cobb) and the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo), who speak with much authority, are highly critical of the provisions of this Bill. In fact, it comes to this, that, if their criticisms are justified, the bad in the Bill is so great as to make it not worth pursuing, because the defects which they mention are vital.
I was very impressed by the desire of the hon. Member for Elland to investigate the affairs of large cartels, to break their powers, and to stand up for the thousand or so small manufacturers in his constituency. If he would go into the Division Lobby against this Bill, which has the opposite effect, I should he glad to go with him. Does it never occur to people who want to plan and improve our industry, that the backbone of it is the rather unscientific, uncosted small manufacturer, who does not reduce his costing to a level which a skilled cost accountant would approve, and who does not evoke efficiency experts, but, strange to say, is very often able to treat his workmen well, to supply goods at a price which gives a headache to the combines, and, I regret to say, can trade at a profit and, when he dies, leaves a substantial fortune? That, I suppose, may be regarded by some people as a demerit; by others, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I should think, a merit, for such a man pays his quota in taxes while he lives and when he dies.
This Bill will give very large powers indeed to the respective Ministers. I want to say one or two words about the alleged checks in the Bill. These schemes have to be passed affirmatively by both Houses of Parliament, and they have to be produced after consultation with the respective interests. As those things are. likely to be continually quoted, I think it as well to deal with them in very short detail. First, they have to be approved by this House. What is that worth as a safeguard? During this Parliament, I have repeatedly heard the most damning criticisms by Back Benchers opposite of proposals which have been brought forward.
But do they follow their consciences and go into the Lobby against the proposals? No, they know their place and keep it. Those who have offered severe criticism of this Bill will either abstain or vote for it. Therefore, a Resolution of this House is no check. I would also point out that a few months ago the Minister of Fuel and Power uttered dire threats as to what would happen in another place if it dared to thwart the will of the people. It is very unlikely that any responsible person there would provoke a constitutional crisis for the sake of voting against such a Resolution.
Then there is the question of consultation with which much play has been made. In judging words like "consultation" it will not do to rely on the English dictionary. Words acquire what lawyers call a meaning of a term of art, and the word "consultation" enjoys that advantage. It was defined by the Minister of Health some seven or eight months ago. He was charged with not having had proper consultation with various interests prior to the introduction of the National Health Bill, and he defended himself with considerable vigour, pointing out that he had consulted a great many—20 in all—but that consultation did not mean negotiation. That is to say, he intimated to these various bodies what he proposed to do, but he left it at that, and declined to bargain with them. One might say that Adolf Hitler was misjudged by people who talked about the rape of Austria. There is no doubt he entered Austria, but he had a consultation with Herr Schuschnigg before doing so.
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that consultation and negotiation are the same thing? If so, and he is taken with appendicitis tonight, he will consult his doctor, but will he also negotiate with his doctor as to whether his appendix should be removed or not?
If I consult my doctor or my solicitor, I do not necessarily take his advice, and that would be the narrow answer to that question. The more practical answer is the one I have given. It is not for me to argue with my betters, and I respectfully adopt the definition of the Minister of Health, that consultation means a dictate, a statement by the Government of what they are going to do, and not a negotiation. These various safeguards are worthless. They mean that the Minister can set up these bodies, the industry will be in fetters and, according to hon. Members opposite who should know, not very useful or constructive fetters. I am one of those old-fashioned people who think that people can manage their own businesses better than other people can do it for them, and that to set up another body to formulate another plan, even if it is an overall plan, is not in the least likely to help trade recovery or assist manufacturers or industrialists. A very true word was uttered a week or two ago in this House by my colleague the hon. Member for King's Norton (Mr. Blackburn) when he pointed out the perils of bureaucracy. The truth is that powers of this kind must involve bureaucracy. There must be a bureaucracy if we are to have a regimented and ordered State. For my part, I have a direct mandate from my constituency, as I particularly stated in my Election address that I was determined to oppose schemes for planning and regulating everything and everybody. I have not heard from the President of the Board or anybody else in this Debate any promise of any advantage that is to be enjoyed by the country or by industry from this Measure.
I am taking a different line from that which has been taken by every Member who has spoken so far, with the exception of my right hon. and learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade, in that I welcome the Bill. I have had a very wide experience of and in a very complicated industry—the building industry—and I think the bodies such as are proposed in the Bill will be of immense value. I, therefore, give them a very warm welcome. I cannot conceive of any organisation better suited to meet the needs of expanding industry. We are being out-moded and out-stepped by machine development, and we are barely able to keep in touch with things which are going on. Is there any hon. Member who knows how industry is progressing? They may be familiar with some branch of their own industries, but they are not familiar with industry generally, and unless we have regional bodies such as these, which can keep in touch with scientific laboratory research and advise industry generally, how shall we get to know? We shall never be able to do so if we rely on any individual.
I listened to one Member after another deriding this Bill and making my flesh creep. I was glad when the lights went on at 4 o'clock, because I was afraid of the many stories which had been told to me of the terrible tragedies which would overtake industry and our life generally. When the facts came out, I was a little relieved. We have a large number of bodies dealing with industry today and playing a part in our economic life. Many of them do not function as they should. Many are more bureaucratic than stimulating. If the proposed body does the work which it is intended to do and tackles it in a big way, it will be stimulating instead of bureaucratic. It is so easy to pass to the other fellow; I believe it is generally called "passing the buck." It is so easy to pass the job to someone else, and, when it is not satisfactorily performed, to make a row about it. I am certain that a body of this kind will have a different idea and a different purpose altogether. If the development councils performed their task with energy, drive and imagination they should accomplish work of vast value to the organisation of industry and, of course, to the wellbeing of the people.
I do not propose to talk very long because there are so many others who want to speak, but I would like to speak from a different angle from that from which this subject has already been approached. I am not concerned with the mere fact of an adjustment here and there between one contractor and another, or a little manufacturer and another. I want to deal with the position of industry generally. As an old craftsman, I am tragically aware of the machine development that has taken place and of the inroads which have been made on craftsmanship. The work that used to be performed by craftsmen is no longer necessary, because it is performed by machines. The craftsman has to continue adapting himself to changing conditions. Every industry has been subjected to amazing mechanical progress, especially the huge basic industries like mining, agriculture, textiles, iron and steel, engineering, building and shipbuilding.
All these industries have been subjected to enormous changes during my own lifetime, and there will be a good many more affected before we get much further. If they are left to chance, who can grasp the significance of the developments which will take place, or the wizardry of inventions that may come along tomorrow, next week, or next month, as the case may be? Who is fully conscious of the implications of developments in land, sea and air transport, and the conquest of speed, and the annihilation of distance? In this age in which we live difficulties are being overcome every day, and we are proud to look to some of these. Developments—perhaps not too intelligently. There was a song made famous by an old music hall star, which went something like this:
E don't know where 'e are.
I think there are still a large number of people who do not know where they are. Owing to the amazing development of industry we have not been able to see exactly what has happened. We have not the foggiest notion of the immense capacity of the resources and powers that this country has with all its machinery.
By setting up the development councils I think we can encourage scientific research in industry and rid it of obsolete machinery. I think this marks the first real step, the first comprehensive approach towards the organisation of production and distribution, and to social progress. While we are making a comprehensive inquiry into the economy of our country, plans should be made for research by scientists, and every industry should be asked to respond. That has not yet been done. We have never yet asked industry, as industry, to respond to a particular plan and to a target. We have generalised for quite a number of industries, and said we would like this, that and the other. Today, we are praising our friends of the mining industry for the extra effort they have put in to provide the means of keeping ourselves warm. But I could not blame the miners who might ask, "Why cannot we have more clothes? Why cannot we have more food?" We cannot ask one section of industry to work hard in order to provide warmth and comfort for another section while neglecting many of their human needs. I think the miners are quite entitled to ask for those extra comforts.
Today, some industries are swollen, both in personnel and equipment, while others are below their requirements in those regards. I think the vigorous application of priorities is required, and required urgently. At the present time our economy is unbalanced. I am not one of those who say they know everything there is to know on God's earth— even in my own country. Who can look at our industry today and say it is balanced? Why are we in certain difficulties today? There must be some very definite reason. Yet we are just passively passing on some accident which took place last year, or the year before, associating it with our mining difficulties, without necessarily examining it to see whether it is the reason or not. It is said that we are short of workers. It is said we want a million more workers in industry. Just fancy that. We want a million workers; and some bright people are saying we ought to bring in a lot of foreigners. That is their answer to the problem, without any examination of the present state of industry, as to whether it is balanced or unbalanced. If in any given industry a certain number of vacancies are offered but are not filled, there is sure to be someone who says, "We must have another million workers in industry. Let us bring in some foreigners." But they obviously have never examined the problem.
I now want to put forward a point of view on that aspect which may compel some consideration. It is said that we are short of workers. We are short of skilled building workers, textile workers, foundry workers, brick labourers, and manual workers generally. Undoubtedly, there is a very grievous shortage in essential industries. But no emphasis has yet been given to sorting out the problem. I am satisfied there are tremendous reserves available if we did but examine the position. Let hon. Members think of the people they know. How many people does any hon. or right hon. Member know who are engaged upon productive work, or engaged in essential distributive work? Hon. Members must know thousands of people, and if they asked those people whether their jobs were really necessary they would get answers which hon. Members would not expect. For years past, the trend has been to neglect and degrade the manual labourer, upon whose work the whole of society depends. That has been a mistake. The work of the miner, the agricultural worker, the textile operative, and the navvy making our roads and railroads, has not been elevated. They have been looked at in an adverse way. Take the work of the dustman. Fancy a dustman being elevated in society to being someone whom people could look up to and respect. The same is true of the sewer-man. Yet the dustman and the sewer-man are absolutely essential to our lives.
Quarrymen, brickmakers, furnacemen and foundrymen—any number of people engaged in our basic industries—have been neglected. Some of them have been wretchedly paid, cruelly exploited and socially ostracised. Yet they are essential for the maintenance of everything that makes our civilisation possible. They minister to all our requirements, yet they have not been elevated. Youngsters have been taught to avoid manual labour like the plague. Mothers and fathers who have worked in an industry have said to their sons, "You shan't go into that industry if I have anything to do with it. You get a good regular office job, and come home at six o'clock; a job where they have a superannuation scheme." All these things will have to be inquired into if we are to get industry managed properly. I know about these questions which arise, because I have experienced them. But the manual worker has been neglected. When we look round our industries today we wonder where the men will come from. I say, unhesitatingly, there are any amount of people employed on unnecessary work.
During the period When I was in an office I remember we had a paper salvage drive. A story was told of a man who went to the secretary of a department and said, "We have had some old papers filed away for years and years—some of them are over 25 years old. Do we really need to keep them, now that there is a paper shortage? Ought they not to be handed in for salvage?" The answer was, "Certainly, hand them in for salvage, but take copies of them before you do it." Sometimes, simply because in 20 years' time somebody may get 15 bob more than they would have done had a correct record not been kept, they are prepared to spend £15 in keeping files. That sort of work is absolutely unnecessary in a healthy community. I would like this aspect of the problem looked into more carefully. Children have been encouraged to go into offices, banks and the new luxury trades, and to do anything other than a socially necessary job of work.
I say that without a plan much of our structure is top heavy and lopsided with unessential services, and it is impossible to maintain manpower for our vital industries. The development councils can, if they get down to it thoroughly on the practical side, perform a wonderful job of liberation. This question will have to be inquired into by the development councils. What industry can do it? What manufacturer can do it? I ask the question because it seems to me to be so impossible for any employers or group of employers to tackle the problems of the industry with which they are associated. It must be done by somebody outside, and to have independent people on the development councils seems to me to be the right idea, even though there may be some little difficulty, perhaps, later on, in finding out exactly how they should perform their task.
The workers—I want to emphasise this —have never been taken into full consultation. We have been made to realise, at incredible cost, and after severe hardship and many tribulations, that the manual workers are men and women of creative ability. We did not know who the lorry drivers were until they ceased to work. We were unaware of the dockers until they came out on strike. We were unaware of the miners until we found that we had not enough coal. We were unaware of these people, and we have not looked to their creative work to help in getting a balance in industry. These men and women have been kept for years in uncertainty, and so we have discouraged people from going into those jobs, and people have, consequently, been induced to go into unessential and unproductive work. The working people know the secrets of work. They have had no security of tenure of employment, and have known both employment and unemployment. Give them an opportunity of making a dignified life, and I think we shall have an enormous reservoir of human ability at our disposal. The manual labourer is the man who, if given the opportunity of seeing a vision of a full life, will respond.
But we must begin reorganisation at the bottom. We do not want to begin at the top. Workers do not want people coming down from head office in motor cars and telling them what is necessary. We must begin right down in the home, right down in the mine, right down in the factory and in the mill, in the places where the people work. It is the people there who are going to count. I want our country to be a strong and powerful country. I want our people to take advantage of all the machine development, and of all the scientific development that has been accomplished, and can yet be accomplished. But this cannot be done unless we have some organisation such as is here suggested now, and I congratulate the President of the Board of Trade on bringing forward this Bill; and I congratulate the Government, too. I believe that if this is properly worked the floodgates of opportunity will be opened for production, and that then the miserable conditions in which we are now will disappear. But we must try to divert labour from unproductive into productive industries.
We were all most interested in the very excellent speech of the President of the Board of Trade in introducing this Bill. He interested me particularly, because he laid such stress on the success of the Cotton Board, which, I gather, is the basis on which all these development councils are to be set up. I happen to have been connected with the Cotton Board. It will be remembered that it was formed in the early days of 1940. It was made up of three whole-time executive members; and the remaining nine members were from different portions of the cotton industry: there was one raw cotton buyer, a spinner, a weaver, a finisher, a merchant, and two of the operatives' representatives. Eleven of the 12 members were experts from different parts of the industry. I was elected as a full-time member to represent the merchanting interest. It will be remembered that the Board was formed because the cotton industry had found itself in very low water, due largely to the competition from the Eastern countries. Rightly or wrongly, the industry asked the Government for help and guidance just before the war. Within a few months of the beginning of the war the Cotton Board was formed, with the good will of everyone in the industry. That is most important. Any development council must have the good will of everyone concerned with it. In spite of that universal good will in that trade, there were teething troubles, over which I need not spare any time. One of the difficulties of forming and carrying on a development council of this kind is to get the right men, and to get the right men to work together. I can assure those now at the Board of Trade, that the Cotton Board is in better hands, and is working very much more smoothly now than it was in its earliest days. When a proposed development council is imposed on any industry, they run the great risk in the early days of riot getting the right set up. If they do not get the right set up that can be very dangerous, indeed.
It has been said from time to time, arid repeatedly in the Debate today, that the working people of each industry know remarkably little about the other parts of the industry in which they are directly concerned—the office part, and, possibly, the selling part. If it is any consolation, I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that it was astonishing to me to see how little one member of the Cotton Board knew about the working of another part of the industry. It was astonishing how little the spinner knew of the work of the merchant, and of how little the cotton buyer knew of that of the weaver. People may be only two steps away from each other in the industry, but it is astonishing how far apart they can be in knowledge.
Let me assure the President of the Board of Trade that, because the Cotton Board has, after certain vicissitudes, been successful, it by no means follows that it can be taken for granted that every other hoard will work as well in its industry as the Cotton Board has in the cotton industry, which is a complicated industry with a great many capable men. It is possible that other industries may not be able to put up such good teams, and there may not be such good will. I gather that the development councils are going to be closely based on the Cotton Board. I pointed out a few minutes ago that there was only one independent member of the Cotton Board. I gather from the Bill that in the proposed development councils one-third of the number will he independent. The Bill does not lay down any definite number but it rather goes to suggest that councils shall consist, as to one-third of experts one-third of the workers, and another equal section of independants.
I think the hon. Gentleman will recall that my right hon. and learned Friend did point out in the course of his speech that it might be only the chairman. It does not necessarily follow that in most cases there will be three independent members.
I quite appreciate that point, and I noted it most carefully at the time. The fact remains, as the Bill stands, that it is probable, judging from the makeup of some of the working parties, that there will he three equal groups. Personally, I should like to see no more than one independent member who could be the chairman. I hope that when the Minister replies, he will deal with that question, because I feel that many independent members would be a serious drawback.
We see that this Bill enables eight different Ministers to appoint development councils in any direction they wish. That seems to give far too wide a power. I notice that the Minister of Agriculture and his Parliamentary Secretary have been listening to this Debate for some time, and I hope that we may hear tonight whether they intend to apply the provisions of this Bill in their spheres. I entirely agree that certain development councils may do a great deal of good, but each industry should be encouraged to try and work out its own difficulties before anything from above is imposed on it as a kind of umbrella. We have seen great organisation in time of war, with industries working closer together, and this ought to be encouraged and fostered. The Bill frightens me as it stands and savours too much of an octopus with enormous tentacles spreading in every direction. I think that certain development councils are needed and needed badly, but where they are needed they should be imposed by individual Bills. There should be no hurry to impose them, because the system has not yet been proved to warrant introduction in this wholesale way.
Mr. Shephard. Hon. Members may be surprised that I have called two Members following from the same side of the House, but I would point out that we have had speeches from he Government side lasting 20, 24 and 20 minutes, making a total of 64 minutes, and speeches from the Opposition side lasting 14, 10 and 5 minutes, making a total of 29 minutes, and, therefore, I think there must be fairness in the allocation of time also.
I wish to look at this Bill through the eyes of an industrialist who will be affected. I am engaged in the hosiery industry. We have had a working party for that industry, and in due course we shall presumably have a development council. The hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks) said that this was a good Bill. I think it is a thoroughly bad and mischievous Bill. It sets up a rigid and cumbersome machine involving a waste of time and money, and it is very doubtful indeed whether it will make any contribution to greater efficiency or productivity. What it is bound to do is to perpetuate permanent control over those industries where development councils are set up. I was always a little suspicious that this was what would happen. When the President of the Board of Trade set up his working parties, I thought that there was a little more in it than mere efficiency of industry. I thought he was after closer control over industry, and I think we all realise that by this Bill he has achieved his object.
I wish to make reference to one or two parts of the Bill which I consider to be important. Clause 1 (3) deals with the question of consultation, which has been raised by many Members during the Debate. I am told that in the talks which the President of the Board of Trade had with the Federation of British Industries, he gave a verbal assurance that a development council would not be imposed on an industry without substantial agreement from both sides. I wish to ask the Parliamentary Secretary—and I ask him to answer now—whether it is the intention to impose a development council on an unwilling industry?
I think that my tight hon. and learned Friend made that plain this afternoon. While admitting there are inherent dangers in imposing a development council on an unwilling industry, be could not accept the suggestion that there should never at any time be an imposition of that kind when it might be deemed necessary in the national interest. We much prefer to get it by agreement, and we think we shall probably get it by agreement in most cases.
I am glad to have that assurance. There is no assurance, however, in the Bill, and I would imagine it to be more likely that a Minister, having made up his mind to have a development council, will go through this farce of consultation and whether there is agreement or not, will go ahead with it. Clause 2 (2) lays down that all members must be appointed by the Board or the Minister concerned. It is obvious that the Minister must nominate independent members, and no doubt the trade unions will be asked to submit the names of those they wish to be nominated as representing the workers, but I should like to know what procedure is to be adopted with regard to employers. Is the Minister going to approach the employers' associations and ask for a list of the people they wish to be their representatives, or are they to be nominated arbitrarily?
I now wish to refer to the question of payment under Clause 2 (6). Are we to understand that all these jobs are to be fully paid and full-time? If that is so how can the Minister possibly find persons with experience of the industry concerned able to devote their whole-time services to a development council? Surely, those who are engaged in industry will hardly be prepared to give up their businesses to serve full-time, and it would seem that the choice will be limited to the failures or those who have retired. Under Clause 2 (3), it is left to Minister to decide the number of persons in each category to represent the employers, workers and outside people. There is no guarantee here of any fair representation of the employers. I am sure that the Minister will see the workers are adequately represented, and I have no doubt that the independent members will be carefully vetted, particularly in regard to their political sympathies. Is it intended that the representatives of the employers shall be in the minority? It is easy, if the Minister so wishes, to compose a development council in such a way that they are in a minority, but they are the owners of the industry, and although ownership counts for little in these days, they are also the trustees for those who have invested their savings in the undertakings.
But more important still, I am sorry to see that management is not to be represented on these development councils. The employers are the only category with practical and technical knowledge of the problems involved in the list set out in the First Schedule. How can it be suggested that independent people, with no knowledge of the particular industry, can make a contribution to the problems involved? I am sorry to say that there are few workers who understand the intricate workings of industry—
Well, the President of the Board of Trade himself said it some time ago, and I have a good deal of experience of this matter. In my own works, I have a consultation committee, and I encourage my workers to the utmost to take an interest in my industry. But it is difficult, because they have not had the training. I am not saying this in a deprecatory way—
No, certainly not, but I do not think scientists are envisaged as people to be co-opted. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Because I presume that the independent persons are to be representative of the consumer interests, and not come from any particular technical side. What worries me is that if the independent persons and the workers are in the majority, experience as represented by employers will have to give way to theory.
In my opinion, there is a much simpler solution to this problem. Give the existing trade organisations the opportunity of implementing the recommendations of their own working parties. Let each industry set up its own body, and the President of the Board of Trade or Minister concerned appoint to it a high grade civil servant. Let that civil servant live in the area in which the industry is situated. Let him remain there, divorced, as much as possible, from Whitehall, so that he can 'absorb the realistic atmosphere of the industry. Let him spend his whole time studying that particular industry. He will then gain practical knowledge, and know the problems and difficulties of the industry and be able to advise the Minister accordingly. The President of the Board of Trade has frequently talked of the Government coming in as a third partner. That, to my mind, is the way in which it can best be done.
I do not wish to detain the House long, as it would not be fair, but in answer to the hon. Member for Newark (Mr. Shephard) may I say that when the taxpayer is called upon to subsidise the re-equipment of industry he should be given representation on the council which is set up to deal with that industry? The problems following the recent war are very peculiar, and must be taken into account in the endeavour to find out whether we can even do without these councils. Before the first world war the scientific problems were mainly on the chemical side. The Germans solved those problems and when war broke out we were concerned with the development of dyes, optical glass, glass for the routine testing of steel, photographic equipment, and pharmaceutical wares. It was only in the 1920's that we set up research associations to go into chemical problems, and in the first two years of the recent war we were dashing about with our gasmasks. Again, it was the Germans who found a new technique. When their tanks came rushing through France and Belgium we realised, for the first time, that our problems were not now chemical, but physical and mechanical.
In the textile trades, to which I have the honour to belong, the position was something like this: In the cotton industry creaseless fabrics were discovered; in the woollen industry non-shrinkable wool was discovered; viscose and acetate rayon were developed; developments were made with groundnut protein fibre. Anyone who has anything to do with research knows that its cost is not more than one-eighth or one-tenth of the cost of putting that research into practical application. Between the wars, private manufacturers came in to support research organisations. In the woollen trade, the maximum income in 1939 was £38,000, and in the cotton trade it was 80,000. To do what is required today, to put the knowledge we have of pure research into practical use, £800,000 is wanted for the cotton trade, and £390,000 for the woollen trade. If we do not get it we shall not succeed. How will it be done through the development councils? I do not think that the present proposals go far enough; I think it will he a question of too little and too late. The influence of German mechanisation has put Switzerland in the forefront. The need today in our textile industries is for re-equipment. Can it be done for the textile industry, which will have development councils with no more behind them than £100,000 in 12 months? I do not think it can.
The power of pure research should not be stifled, although it need not have the prominence that it has had in the past as against mechanics. Why not have a development council to serve the whole of the textile trade in the matter of pure research and mechanics? The hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) said that some industries were vitally concerned one with another, and unless there is a resilience with flexibility and understanding between one industry and another on these councils, they cannot possibly succeed in their endeavours. If there were smaller councils with a larger over-riding council to co-ordinate the pure research and the mechanical side of all textile industries these problems could be considered together The smaller councils could decide the particular problems concerned with their own branch of the industry, and the over-riding council could deal also with the ancillary trades and services.
I congratulate the President, of the Board of Trade on the standard he has set for industrial design. If industrial design were given its chance in the development of textile machinery during the next 10 years, it would change the lives of the people in Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Midlands. In the past, the machine has been the juggernaut of the textile worker. The trade unions in Lancashire would tell you that the majority of the claims for compensation are due to "stretching." The Swiss and the Americans have got in front of us in the design of machines. There is then a great opportunity for industrial design in the new field of textile machinery.
I would like the Minister to answer some of these questions when he comes to reply. How does the Bill link up with S.R. & O 1614 of January of last year and with the grants from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and again with the £1 for£1 grants from the Council of Industrial Design' Will the development councils link up with the art schools and the training of industrial designers? Can he say what has happened to the proposed college for the training of industrial designers? Will it be possible for an industry to remove the chairman of a development council? I believe that if we can go forward with these councils on the right lines we need have no fear of competition from Switzerland, America or anywhere else in the textile world.
In Clause 1, the Minister of Agriculture is given power to make an order establishing a development council. We have already an Agricultural Improvement Council, which sits at the Ministry of Agriculture, drawn from farmers, farm workers and technicians. It has branches in every county under the war agricultural executive committees, and they are called technical development committees. The employers and workers are represented on those committees, and, as a team, they have enabled agriculture to make great advances in the application of science and better technique, since they were formed in 1041. There is also at the Ministry of Agriculture a body called the Council of Agriculture. There are a Council for England and another for Wales. They also bring together the three partners in the agricultural industry—the landowners, the farmers and the farmworkers. Under the Agriculture Bill, now before the House, these two councils are to be abolished. I and some of my friends in the farming industry are wondering what the intention of the Minister of Agriculture is under this Bill. Does he mean to set up yet another council in addition to the Agricultural Improvement Council?
We must be careful to guard against the danger of overloading agriculture, or any industry, with too many committees. Many of my farmer and farmworker friends are sitting two days a week on committees, some of them engaged in useful work; but a good deal of it is paper work. I am reluctant to see so many of the best men in the agricultural industry—and no doubt this also applies to urban industries—being expected to devote an undue amount of their working life to sitting on committees advising other people how to run their businesses. That is a danger, and I would ask the President of the Board of Trade to throw a little light on that point.
Most of the objections to this Bill seem to come under two headings. One, the objection to the detailed proposals, and, two, the objection to the nature of the enabling Act which gives certain powers to the Government. I would like to deal, first of all, with the need for the Bill. We have heard so often from hon. Members opposite the need for the workers to work. It is true also that we should have more manpower, but that will only be a temporary solution to our problem. The real solution to the problem which we have to solve is efficiency and more efficiency in industry. This Bill is the first step in that direction. That must be realised and accepted by hon. Members opposite, who belong to a party which under the Coalition Government accepted that Government's White Paper on full employment.
I am hesitant today to mention the fact that we are entering an era of full employment. but, in general principle, the Government are following out a policy based on full employment economics. That means that no longer do the old theories of classical economy apply in industry No longer will the inefficient producer be shaken out of an industry by his more efficient competitors. If we succeed in ironing out the slumps, there will be no easy way in which to get rid of the inefficient producer in industry. It is vital, indeed, that the worker should not be subjected to this sort of thing from which he suffered in the past. The fact remains that we have to take further steps to achieve efficiency in industry by all means
This matter was considered before the war, and the right hon. Member for Bromley (Mr H. Macmillan) was a very strong advocate of some form of Industrial Reorganisation Enabling Act. He said in his book "The Middle Way"—and I hope hon. Members opposite are not tired of having it quoted at them:
I submit that if the case for enabling power for the cotton industry succeeds, there an be no valid objection to making the same powers available to other industries.
There is no Clause in this Bill which was not contained in the 1939 Cotton Industry (Re-organisation) Act, and the drafting is very similar. When the Bill was introduced with much eloquence by the former President of the Board of Trade, the right hon. Member for West Bristol (Mr. Stanley), he produced an unanswerable series of arguments for the need to get efficiency into the cotton industry We know that the cotton industry does require that, and already steps are being taken to meet the need, but it applies no less to many other industries in this country. I suggest that this Bill, which I most heartily welcome, is a step in the right direction. It does not impose a fixed pattern which would be set on each industry; what it does do is it gives to the Government the power to take the necessary steps to encourage efficiency, because it is vital that we should do this now.
It is not a matter that we can treat lightly nor one with which we can deal leisurely over the years, introducing one Bill at a time. It is something that has to be done very rapidly, and this Government, unlike previous Governments, do pay attention to the reports of inquiries which they set up. If a previous Government had paid attention in 1923 to the Sankey Commission we should not be in the disastrous position we are in today with regard to coal. I suggest that it is vital that we should accept recommendations of the working parties, which by and large have recommended that certain action should be taken by the Government. We feel that those proposals are best met by the present Bill before the House.
I would just refer to one point made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton), who complained of the appointment of outside members to serve on the board. He said that it would take them a year to learn their job. This objection coming from a member of a party which is probably the largest group from which companies draw their guinea pig directors seemed to me as irrelevant and uncalled for as were many of the irrelevant objections which he made to the Bill There was one other objection which he made when he attempted to conjure up the bogey that the Government, the President of the Board of Trade and the development councils would spoil and interfere in industrial relations. The good employer, the efficient industry like some of the big monopolies have given a lead on this, and they have shown that it is possible to develop working conditions and improve conditions in factories by the proper utilisation of labour far ahead of any statutory provisions. I do hope that one of the gains that will come from this Bill will be an improvement of conditions in industry for the workers. Naturally it will be done in consultation with the Ministry of Labour, and at the same time the fullest use will be made of the existing organisations, particularly the joint industrial council
In conclusion, I should like to add one small criticism to my remarks. I should like to emphasise the points which were made by the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) in regard to the need for a certain amount of co-ordination. Some of us on this side of the House have some doubts as to the efficacy of the Board of Trade to control, direct and assist, as it must do, the activities of a large number of development councils. I hope they will give consideration to that problem. For instance some of the services which are recommended for the development councils have much in common. There is market research which might very well be done by some national organisation such as Retro. I do not wish to detain the House any longer. I should like to welcome this Bill because it is absolutely necessary in times when it is vital that we should increase the efficiency of our industry, and I hope that the House will give it a Second Reading
The hon. and gallant Gentleman the junior Member for Preston (Wing-Commander Shackleton) referred largely to the cotton industry as did the two speakers before him. I want to refer to the two principal Leicester industries, hosiery and hoots. The first claim that we make for our industries is that they are by no means inefficient and I think that the working parties' reports will bear that out. When the President of the Board of Trade was introducing the Bill I took some notes. He said first of all that the private companies now had an opportunity to bring themselves up to date. Many of the private companies, which are our smaller industries, resent that. We think we are up to date and results prove we are. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that there were three partners in industry—capital, labour and the consumer—and that a very great increase in efficiency was necessary. That is quite true, and I want to turn to this point, that while working parties have been investigating the contributions made by capital, my friends in the two industries I have mentioned have believed that it is high time that some working party made an investigation into the efficiency of the second factor, namely. labour. I am not talking about the contribution which labour makes at the bench, but rather the trade union side.
What does the hon. Gentleman mean by the efficiency of labour? Does he mean efficiency in the workshop or efficiency in trade unionism in the negotiating side?
If the hon. and gallant Member will allow me to make my own speech I will proceed Clause 2 (2) says that:
A development council shall consist of.
(b) persons capable of representing the interests of workers in the industry.
I think that is the crux of the whole Bill from a practical point of view, because, unless there are trade union leaders elected who are able to carry the workers with them, that Clause is going to be worth nothing. Our experience on both sides of the House, as revealed by strikes at the present time, shows that the weakness in the trade union organisation is exactly that there are no persons or group of persons who can speak for the workers.
If the hon. Gentleman would allow me to finish, I am going to bring that in. In the Leicester boot trade under the existing conciliation boards we have had no strikes since 1894. Why bring this Bill in to try to do a job which has been efficiently done for the last 50 years, and find jobs for the boys to have it done? My point is—and I am sure the President of the Board of Trade will agree—that every unofficial strike since 1940 has been the result of the so-called leaders not being able to speak for the workers whom they represent. I think we are all agreed on that. [Hors. MEMBERS: "No"] Oh, yes. There has been no official strike since 1940, and every strike we have had has been an unofficial one, where the nominal leaders have not been able to speak for the men they are supposed to lead. The weakness of the position, as I see it, is that once a trade union leader—and we have a trade union leader sitting opposite—is put in a position of authority, and once lie has learned what can and cannot be done, he is all the time looking over his shoulder to see if the next fellow, who is jealous of his position, is going to cause an unofficial strike and so put him out of his job.
I understand that the hon. Gentleman holds the trade union official responsible for unofficial strikes. In view of that, does he not give that official some credit for the fact that no unofficial strike has taken place, as he has admitted, for several years now? What is the explanation of that?
The country does not care two hoots whether it is an official or an unofficial strike. The evil is the same. What I want to emphasise is the very practical point that as soon as we have a trade union leader with great experience he becomes anxious because of the responsibility put upon him. He is always looking behind him for the gentleman who will jerk him out of his job.
The hon. Gentleman is repeatedly saying that he is sure that I agree with him, but I should like to say very emphatically that with regard to the two trades he has mentioned I entirely disagree. He has given two specific instances of industries in which the trade unions have exercised an admirable control and restraint upon their members. In both cases, the trade unions concerned are headed by men who are real statesmen in industry, a fact which is constantly being brought home to me by the employers in those industries.
Indeed I am, but, with regard to those, we say that the organisation which we have already has worked in the boot trade since 1894 with great satisfaction, and we ask, Why scrap it and superimpose something else which will cost a lot of money and involve loss of unnecessary labour?
The hon. Gentleman asks, "Why scrap it?" There is no proposal to scrap anything at all, and if he will read the report of the working party he will see the arguments in favour of such a body as is proposed.
May I say that what we feel in the industry—of which I have some knowledge—is that this Bill is largely unnecessary as far as our two industries are concerned. It will tend to weaken organisations that have done a good job in the past, and we would much rather go on with the voluntary organisations that have stood the test of time than have this thing thrust upon us. I should like to conclude by repeating the main criticism, that as the experienced trade unionist becomes more and more a statesman he also falls more and more out of step with the men behind him. I do not think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will find the men to do the job he is asking them to do under paragraph (b) and which is so vital to the industry. If he does not the whole thing will break down.
I will not detain the House unnecessarily, but I want to refer to the remarks made earlier this afternoon by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton). Towards the end of his speech I tried to persuade him to say what alternative he had to suggest to the proposals contained in this Bill. I think it will be generally agreed that some forward movement is needed, whether it be by the older voluntary bodies or by the statutory organisations that it is proposed to set up. The right hon. Gentleman contented himself with saying that there should De direct contact between industry and the Government. Let us analyse that and see precisely what it means, because the right hon. Gentleman was very woolly on the subject. In the first place, it may be said that the J.I. Cs. would do this work but they have hitherto been regarded as dealing with wages and conditions which are Ministry of Labour questions and not with Board of Trade matters at all. I feel, therefore, that we are driven to assume that what the right hon. Gentleman had in mind was the trade associations: if he meant trade associations it would rest with them to bring in the workers. They would be the prime movers and they would ask the trade unions to come in with them.
Where is that going to lead? It will be the employers, on their own initiative, who will be doing this, and the trade unionists will be put in a subsidiary position. In other words, we shall not be having anything like the proposed national approach to the subject—the tripartite approach which is envisaged and recommended in every single working party report. The right hon. Gentleman seems to disregard the fact that in the case of cotton, pottery, hosiery, footwear, furniture, jewellery and silverware—I think those are the reports that have so far come in—every single working party has recommended some form of tripartite organisation. I think that that is one of the main arguments in favour of a Bill of this kind.
I should like here to quote from a report of the F.B.I. which was issued in October, 1944, and which envisaged just this kind
of thing. It went through a list of functions which had to be fulfilled. I have not time to read them now, but they include the very things contained in the First Schedule to this Bill. What did the report say? It said:
Unless industry sets up a suitable organisation the Government will be compelled by pressure of circumstances to devise methods of its own.
That is exactly what the right hon. and learned Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade is doing. What has been done by these industries in the 18 months since V J-Day? Hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House have risen one after the other to say, "We do not like it," but I ask them, "What have you done to implement these recommendations of the F.B.I.?" In case any hon. Gentleman should say so in reply, I agree right away that the F.B.I. is mainly concerned with the engineering industry, but I believe nevertheless that the line which the Opposition have been taking in this Debate is mainly based on this report.
I should like to say a word about the question of nationalisation which has been set up as a kind of bogy by the right hon. Gentleman. It is just another example of putting forward capitalist theory instead of facing practical reality. Let us see precisely what the position is. Why were these working parties set up? They were set up because my right hon. and learned Friend wished to secure greater efficiency in industries which he himself said were not to be nationalised. And what did the working parties report, since my right hon. and learned Friend has said this afternoon that the Government will have very great regard to what the working parties put in their reports? In every instance the working parties have reported against nationalisation and have expressed themselves in favour of setting up a tripartite body to carry on the excellent work which they have themselves been doing. That seems to me to be the crux of the matter.
I wish to say a word about a point that has been raised in respect of employers who wish to have control over the development councils because it will be they who will have to pay a levy I see clearly the point made by the right hon. Member for Aldershot when he used the words, "No taxation without representation." But this again is very largely theory. Let us see what in practice will really happen. The levy will be exceedingly small. The maximum figure will he laid down in a Board of Lade Order and the Board of Trade are, after all, the fathers of industry and they will obviously have regard to the kind of levy that the industry can pay. Moreover, and this is a very substantial argument, the object of the levy is not to increase the cost of production but to reduce it by means of greater efficiency.
The line that has been adopted by the right hon. Member was essentially an employer's line, an old-fashioned line, a line which I trusted had gone once for all as a result of the election of this party as a Government. It is no longer for employers to say: "This is our industry. We intend to do what we will with our own." It is a very different case today. Industry must be conducted henceforth in the national interest. The day of national co-operation has come. I believe there is to be a real partnership in industry between employers and workers. Only thus shall we go forward as a great industrial nation. Because I believe the Bill is to implement that policy I hope it will receive a Second Reading by a very substantial majority.
There are some points that worry me about the Bill, and the first of them will strike at the very foundation of the proposals of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. It is that working parties do not fully represent the people in the industries concerned. In my Sheffield cutlery industries, I was approached and was told by some constituent firms that they were called to meetings but were very busy. They were getting on with export work and doing all they possibly could, and they could not attend some of those meetings. People who did attend were brought into very active and open discussion with regard to the working parties. Without any ill desire on the part of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, there has been, I believe, an atmosphere of hesitation in industry. It started when the Government set out to nationalise certain industries, and the feeling was that industry was to be brought up to date. Owners of businesses really began to wonder whether they owned those industries and businesses or not.
That is the wrong way to get the best out of the owners of individual businesses. They did a first-class job of work during the war and brought us to victory by their maximum production efforts. I put forward my view with some reserve, because the right hon. and learned Gentleman is in a far better position to know the exact situation. I have had a pretty good experience of the working parties in Sheffield. Whatever their reports to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, they did not in many instances properly represent the state of affairs in that industry. I listened carefully to his speech. He put the matter clearly. I take it that the Bill was very largely brought about by the recommendations of the working parties, but I do not believe that the working parties represent the major portion of the people employed in the industry.
No doubt the hon. Member is aware that members of the working parties were appointed on the nomination of employers' federations on the one hand and trade unions on the other. I do not know what better way we could choose to make them representative.
That looks all right on the face of it, and I give the right hon. and learned Gentleman full marks for putting over very clearly, and making so simple, the point that it has been agreed by the employers and the workers. The industries were first of all rather threatened —if I may use a strong expression without any suggestion of offence—that if they did not take action then something violent would happen. It was rather taking the big stick to industry. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will not repudiate this. The whole atmosphere of this Measure is coloured with his political views. It is taking control from the directors and the managements of particular industries and placing it in the hands of councils. To whom do these businesses belong? To the Government, or to the people who own them and have their capital invested in them?
The hon. Gentleman is asking me the question. There is no provision whatever in this Bill that takes any control out of the hands of directors and puts it into the hands of councils.
If that is so, I should say that the substratum of the Bill has gone completely. If it is not for the purpose of making recommendations and suggestions for the carrying on of industry, what on earth is the good of the Bill at all?
The Government are taking power to levy industry, which will be forced to pay. If we do not pay, the Chancellor may have power to send us to gaol. We have got to pay. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, with his great legal mind, cannot just wangle and worm round that one. I do not want to get beyond the rules of Order but I feel that my point of view cannot be rebutted so easily as that. Industry has to supply to the proposed councils certain information. The Minister was questioned from the Benches here when he made his speech as to the kind of information that had to be supplied to those councils. Was it to be passed on from one competitive firm to another? I see great danger in that sort of thing.
Let us have the thing in proper perspective. It is no use telling the country that everything in the garden is lovely; it is not. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am very pleased to hear those cheers; if hon. Members will come to Sheffield, where there is no coal, they will get some more. There is in the minds of many people in this country a feeling of suspicion and an atmosphere of apprehension. What is behind this Bill? Now that the Government have perhaps spent their nationalisation power for the time being, are they going to exercise control in another form? Are they bringing in this Bill in order to get information from industries, with the suggestion the right hon. and learned Gentleman that it has been asked for in the working party reports, and are these councils going to be properly representative of labour and capital with an independent chairman? In a free country, before the Government have any right to take or to exercise any control over any man's or any company's business, they ought to come out into the open and say so, and not do it in this roundabout way. But they come to this House in a plausible manner, and to every objection that is raised they say, "It has been called for; the working party recommended it." The right hon. Gentleman told my hon. Friend a short time ago that the employers and employees in his industry in Leicester have asked for it, but I suggest that in many cases the working parties are not truly representative of the particular industry.
I listened with great respect to the hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks), who has a great knowledge of industry. I have been here some years with him, and I respect his views. He said that there was a tendency in the country in the last few years for parents to tell their boys not to go into industry, but to get a white-collar job, an office job, a bank job and so on. Then he said that we are now faced with a shortage of manpower. I would like to ask the President of the Board of Trade, and the Government, how many white-collar workers they are bringing into existence in the Civil Service today. They are taking out of productive industry and putting into the Civil Service so many people that the Government will be destroyed by it.
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member for Hallam (Mr. Jennings) into the morass into which he has thrown himself with his usual vigour. I will pass at once to one of the criticisms of this Bill which I do not think has been made in the Debate so tar. It is about the power of these development councils to demand statistics. I am in favour of getting all the information we possibly can, but I think there is a danger of asking for the same kind of statistics too often, and I am afraid there may be some duplication between what is asked for under this Bill and the census of production which is now to be taken. So I would ask the President of the Board of Trade or the Parliamentary Secretary, to make clear that provision will be made to avoid such duplication. I know that the manufacturer is overburdened with forms and has been for a very long time, and we want to do nothing to add to that burden.
I wish to make one or two general points about the Bill and then I will sit down. It has been the constant plea of hon. Members on the opposite side of the House that we should not yet set up these development councils but should leave it to the industries themselves to try and sort things out for themselves, and see how far they can get with joint industrial councils and the rest. It seems to me that we have been trying just that for a great many years, that we have had to wait a very long time for improvement, and that it has not been forthcoming. Now the situation has become really urgent
Take training, for instance, which is to be part of the job of the development councils. Far too often in the past a man or woman has learnt a job simply by watching somebody else. A person has learnt weaving by watching a skilled weaver, but I think many hon. Members will agree that that is not necessarily the best way of learning, because a skilled weaver is not necessarily a good teacher It has been the habit in the woollen and worsted industry to learn that way, but DOW one or two firms are beginning proper training schemes. Three months ago ! went to see a firm in Leeds where they have a first class training scheme, with machines set apart for the trainees, regular courses of lectures and so forth, trying to give each person who comes into the industry an idea of every process and of the place each process has in the industry. That sort of thing needs to be tremendously stimulated, and I believe the development councils will do it very well.
I am a little more doubtful about the possibilities of success in some of the other aims they have, for example in the standardisation of certain products. We must be very careful about standardisation; we do not want too much of it in the West Riding industry, certainly, though there are some spheres in which standardisation is essential—in little things like nuts and bolts, for example. A great variety of nuts and bolts are used on looms; there are the Northrop type, the Whitworth type, and several others, with the result that it a tuner wants to get hold of a nut he cannot just reach into a box, but must go scraping round the mill to find the exact type, involving a considerable waste of time. We want to see these things standardised, but I think the development councils and the President of the Board of Trade himself will strike snags in their efforts to get standardisation. I remember that not so very long ago some technical experts recommended to a very famous firm of loom makers that they should make some changes in the type of loom they produced. But the head of the firm rejected the proposal not on the ground that the changes would not be beneficial. but that they would interfere with his trade in old spare parts. He had a sort of vested interest in selling spare parts for the old loom. I am afraid the development councils will run up against objections of that kind, and I am a little doubtful whether, in their present form, they have sufficient powers to overcome them. I am not quite clear just how much control the councils really have.
Turning to conditions, we were left a little vague by the statement of the President of the Board of Trade as to how far the development councils are to be concerned with that subject. In the woollen and worsted industries at the present time two of the many things that are bad about the conditions of working are lighting and the general drabness of the mills. There are still bad employers in that industry who do not realise the necessity for good lighting and bright surroundings to work in. On the other hand, there are good employers who not only, realise it, but who are trying to do something about it. Their problem is that if they want to put in new types of lighting, or to redecorate the walls, they are unable at the present time to get either the lighting equipment or supplies of paint. What these good employers require is not exhortations from the development councils, but a spot of priority to help them get the supplies they need. Perhaps it is the intention of the President of the Board of Trade to give the development councils power to allocate priorities. If that is so, it will be a very good thing indeed, but it is something which needs to be done urgently and quickly, and that applies not only to lighting and colour.
Another great trouble in our industry in Yorkshire, and in many other industries in the country, is that it is housed in many instances in very old buildings. I went round a firm in my constituency, towards the end of last year, where the owner, the master, told me that the building was so rickety that he could only run the cards at half speed. It is no good telling such a man that his firm is inefficient, when the only way to make it efficient is to get new buildings. What is needed is some body in each industry which can give priority, which can say, "This mill needs completely rebuilding," or, "This mill is good enough as it stands," or "This mill can be improved with special machinery"—some body which is looking at the industry as a whole and giving priority for new building, new machinery, new equipment of all kinds. If the development councils are to have that power, I think the Bill is a good one, but I am a little bit afraid that, although the Bill is well intentioned, it is too leisurely. The situation, as far as our industry in Yorkshire is concerned, is really urgent. We are desperately short of labour, particularly in the spinning section, and furthermore, in about a year, a year and a half, or two years, we shall face the end of the sellers' market and there will be fierce competition from abroad. If we are to find the remedy to both those problems, to get the labour back now and be ready in two years' time to face competition from abroad, we have got to take more drastic action than seems to be possible under this Bill.
I am glad to have an opportunity of saying precisely why I consider this to be a bad Measure. It is evident that the intentions of this Bill are common ground between the two sides of the House. I do not think that any hon. Member who has spoken today has seriously denied that practically every one of the functions in the First Schedule are desirable objectives. Where hon. Members on this side join issue with the Government is the means by which those functions are to be implanted on industry. I was very interested in the speeches from the Government Benches of the hon. Member for Elland (Mr. Cobb) and the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo). Both those hon. Members spoke with knowledge and considerable experience of labour relationships and of the general principles underlying the intentions behind the Bill, but in their speeches I thought I detected, behind their political allegiance, doubts as to whether this statutory approach is desirable and is necessarily the wisest course.
I believe we should be well advised to consider whether working parties set up at a particular time for a particular purpose, during what the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Maltalieu) expressed as a time of sellers' market, are necessarily a yardstick by which to set up some comparable machinery at a time when we are fast approaching a buyers' market. The very standardisation of their approach to this problem is something which fills me with some alarm. I cannot believe that every time we are confronted with an in- dustrial problem, whether of integration or of introducing a whole series of admirable reforms such as are suggested in this Bill, it is necessary to set up entirely fresh machinery. There seems to be a feeling on the following lines, "Re-organisation is necessary, there is no other means of re-organisation in this particular field, and we can only bring this about if we set up a statutory body, the development council."
For some considerable period now we have found by experience, gradually and progressively, on the part of both trade unions and trade associations, that joint industrial councils are proving their worth, and are bodies which, with additional functions and a wider scope of endeavour, could well be used to implement the intentions behind this Bill. I do not believe that to enforce matters of this sort will necessarily bring any sound results. For some years now I have watched the working of this sort of thing on quite low levels, the working of pit production committees, where matters affecting the welfare of the people taking part in those committees are slowly thrashed out on the soundest level—the bottom rung, where practical work is done—and though a great deal of nonsense is talked and time is taken up by dealing with rather irrelevant matters, nevertheless the germ of a sound idea very often appears, and in due course has practical effect. I do not discount the work which that type of body has done, and I do not discount the work which the joint industrial councils are capable of doing.
I believe that the Government should discard their theoretical approach to many of these problems, and have confidence in the good intentions of industry—there are, of course, bad industrialists as there are bad trade unionists—and that on the whole industry is anxious to avail itself of the opportunities which we hope in due course will lie ahead, industry needs to carry out a great many of these improvements, but industrialists, like trade unionists or, indeed, anybody connected with industry, are more able and more likely to give these things practical effect if it is done on a voluntary basis.
I do not say this because I want the purposes of this Measure to be avoided. I do not think they should be avoided, because they are developments that need to be put in hand and are things that would be to the general benefit of the industry, but I cannot bring myself to believe that the sanction of the State is required for their implementation.' I believe we have to go on trusting people, trusting to the good intentions of the industrialists and the trade unionists, trusting to the experience and the record in a great many industries of joint consultation on all sorts of levels, with the guidance and authority behind them of the Board of Trade and the various Government Departments interested, to bring about these reforms, and to do so in a way that will ensure the enthusiasm and the full support of the people who, in the last resort, have to make a success of it.
I am not all that anxious to see independent members serving on these bodies. If we are to get results, it must be on a very practical basis, and unless the independent members become so submerged in the industry that they become practical men, I believe their contribution will be a very limited one. I would be much happier to see a bridge between the two sides of industry—not a tripartite body but between trade associations and trade unionists on a joint basis approaching this problem with the same intentions and a common endeavour. It is in this way that we should get better results rather than by the powers inherent in this Bill.
The President of the Board of Trade is so able and so persuasive. As I listened to his speech I began to wonder if there was anything to be frightened about in this Bill and if the doubts and uncertainties I have had during the last few weeks were unfounded. But gradually as his speech developed the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman spoke and the way he avoided the points which had caused me concern confirmed the views in my mind, and I shall divide against the Second Reading of this Bill.
I rise to give my full approval to the Bill introduced by the President of the Board of Trade and to assure him that he has behind him the majority of the trade unionists of this country. I want to give the reasons why the trade unions will approve the establishment of development councils, but before doing so I would like to answer the right hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton), who showed great concern for the trade union move- ment and the present negotiating machinery, and was of the opinion that this Bill would destroy the machinery now operating so well. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that this Bill will neither undermine nor overlap any existing machinery now operated by the trade union movement. In fact this Bill will supplement what the trade unions are now doing. I say to him quite candidly that today industry is no longer the sole concern of the industrialists. It has now become the concern of the nation, and therefore, the concern of Parliament.
An hon. Member opposite made an attack upon the trade unionists for lack of control in not stopping strikes. We know that strikes have taken place unofficially, but the hon. Member does not know how many strikes have been prevented by the trade union officials and movement. In answer to a Question in the House one day this week we were informed that last year 4,000,000 days were lost through industrial disputes, whereas in the year following the previous war, when no negotiating machinery was operating, 40,000,000 days were lost.
I welcome this Bill, which, I believe, will be a forward step for the industrial movement. One hundred and forty years ago we had the first Factory Act, 6n years ago the Mines Act, in 1906 the Workmen's Compensation Act, and now we have this Bill and we support it because of what is mentioned in the Schedule. The functions which will be given to the development councils appeal to trade unionists. There will be both industrial and technical training for the industrial worker. In the past this has been almost entirely neglected. A few advanced employers have encouraged their young men to go to night school and technical classes, paid their fees and fares and done everything possible for them, but they have been the exceptions.
Under this Bill, technical education will be a part of the function of the development councils. Next it appeals to the trade unionists because it will secure better and safer conditions. I have seen industrial accidents. I have seen men carried to hospital and to the mortuary. This Bill will not compensate men for accidents in industry, but will prevent accidents happening in industry. In 1945 there were 851 fatal factory accidents in this country, and 239,000 non-fatal accidents. Many of those were preventable. There were 994 convictions in the courts, so it is evident that a large number of them were preventable. These councils will prevent accidents in the future, and they will provide amenities for the worker. In the past there have been no amenities. I was in a works where there was no cloakroom in which to hang up wet clothes on arrival in the morning. There was no canteen, and I had to go to a corner of the shop to eat my food. There have been improvements, but there is room for more. These development councils will promote research into the cause, incidence, and prevention of industrial diseases.
The fact that panels dealing with a number of industrial diseases and their prevention have been set up has been mentioned in this Debate. I worked in a factory in 1911 where one of my colleagues died an agonised death from an industrial disease which was not scheduled. An inquiry was forced by a trade union, and, as a result, the disease was scheduled, so I am glad that the councils to be set up under this Bill will go into the question of industrial diseases and try to get them scheduled. If we want an increase in our productive capacity, these things must be done, and so I hope the Bill will be passed. The right hon. Member for Aldershot said that if we could assure him that the majority of the people in the industry would agree with this Bill, he would support it. I can assure him now, quite confidently, that all the trade unionists stand behind this Bill, and as they are the majority in industry, 'he ought to support the Bill, too.
I want to contribute only briefly to this discussion because time is short. As a small specialist manufacturer I want to make one or two remarks to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. I shall follow the line taken by the hon. Member for Elland (Mr. Cobb), who referred in the second part of his speech to the fact that the small manufacturer in business will not get very much out of this Bill. I support that view, and I hope we shall receive from the Parliamentary Secretary, when he replies, some reassurances as to how the Bill will be applied to the small industries as well as to the big ones
I do not propose to deal with the body of the Bill generally, to which I have the strongest objections, as many of my hon. Friends have spoken on this point, but I shall deal with a matter which arises in the First Schedule. It lays down the purposes which the development councils are to carry out. Paragraph 5 says that one of the duties is:
Promoting the production and marketing of standard products.
I think there will be a grave danger in the operation of the Bill, when it becomes law, if we tend to direct the production of the country generally on standard lines. That would be a great pity. I believe that our great reputation in the world today—and I say this from my own experience in my own trade, which has been built up on specialised manufacture, in the main—is due not to big producers, but to the man with brains, and work-people of the quality which has made our country famous throughout the world. If we are to encourage only standard products, what is to be done for the man who makes a small specialised line, which cannot be regarded as a standard product? The Bill ignores the very valuable fact that we have highly specialised products in almost every line, textiles, engineering, and so on.
In paragraph 6 it states that one of the duties of the development councill will be:
Promoting the better definition of trade descriptions and consistency in the use thereof
I make the suggestion here that the first duties of the development council will the Board of Trade itself. Probably it is within the recollection of the Parliamentary Secretary that just before Christmas we had an argument as to whether horsehair was wool. I hope that the putting of this paragraph into the Schedule means that his Department has turned over a new leaf, and that in future it will pursue an immaculate course. Paragraph II says:
Promoting or undertaking arrangements for encouraging the entry of persons into the industry.
This is one of the most useful objects anyone could have today. One of the biggest problems of a manufacturer is to attract young people into industry, and to make them realise that the welfare, wealth, and rising standard of living which
we want to see in this country, are dependent on our power to produce consumer goods. Amongst our young people there seems to be a feeling that any job is better than working in a factory. I can quote from my own experience the case of a teacher who said to a class of school children, "If that is all the good you are, you will only be good enough to go into a factory." That should not be the psychological attitude at all; it should be that the producer is worth more than the parasite. That spirit should be inculcated by means of our educational curriculum, in addition to the advertisements which the manufacturer has to put out to try to attract young people into factories.
I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to reply to this point. Some 12 months ago we had a Debate on a Statutory Rule and Order on industrial research. That Order gave the Board of Trade authority to raise £500,000 in any industry for the purpose of industrial research. Is that Order now to be dropped, does it lapse, does this Bill supersede it, or is it a part of the Bill?
Following the hon. Member for Central Aberdeen and Kincardine (Mr. Spence), I find that my task is indeed light, because throughout the latter part of his speech he argued in favour of the Bill in almost every respect. In fact the only respect in which he was not in favour of the Bill was on the question of standardisation.
I said that I would not deal with the structure of the Bill, to which I objected, but that if these councils were set up, these were the things they should do. I am against the Bill, and I shall vote against it.
I understand that hon. Members opposite intend to vote against the Bill. Each hon. Member in succession has made that clear, but no one has given any reason for doing so I was not expecting the hon. Member to do so when his Front Bench had failed to give a lead.
It seems to be agreed by both sides of the House that no objection can be taken to the general objects. which are outlined in the Explanatory Memorandum. They are:
to increase the efficiency and productivity of their industries and to enable them to
render better and more economical service to the community.
Although I desire to support the Bill in a general way, I feel that it fails to go anything like far enough in securing those most desirable objectives. Many speeches have been made about the powers contained in the Bill, and about the control that the Bill will thrust upon industry. That argument is without foundation. The only power in the Bill is to ask questions and to get answers, and, it may be, sometimes even to get a rude answer.
In the very large number of items included in the First Schedule is
2 Promoting or undertaking inquiry as to materials…
All those kinds of functions arise purely on the basis of asking questions and publishing the results. That is not adequate for the very reason touched upon by the hon. Member for Hallam (Mr. Jennings), in his interesting and forceful speech. He used words to indicate that the Government did not allow the owners of businesses to know whether they were really the owners or not, and that owners of businesses were becoming disturbed as to whether they could do just as they liked with their own businesses. The sooner we make it perfectly clear that owners of businesses are not, in this age, and in the state of the country today, entitled to do just as they like with their own business, the sooner will this country get back on to its feet. They should treat themselves as trustees of those assets, with an obligation to use them in the best interests of their workpeople, and of the community as a whole, and not satisfy any individual desire to treat them just as they think fit at the moment.
The hon. Member also said, I believe, "We do not want any interference, we think we are all right," in reference to the smaller businesses. That indicates my point. That is just the trouble. The owners of smaller businesses, on the whole, think that they are just right, that they are perfectly entitled to do what they like with their businesses. How, in that frame of mind, are those business owners going to pay any attention to the Board of Trade, or to a particular development council, when they are asking questions the answers to which are to be published?
I do not think that that is adequate. I would suggest that the First Schedule
be increased in two respects. In paragraph 7 of the Schedule, these words appear:
Undertaking the certification of produ ts …
I would like to see added "undertaking the certification of efficiency". I would like it to be clearly established that it is part of the duty of a development council not only to make inquiries as to the efficiency of a particular unit in an industry, but also to publish the results in the form that there should be established a register, on which all firms who desired could go with a view to becoming adjudged efficient. When they became adjudged efficient they would be entitled to put on their notepaper a little stamp to that effect. That is quite a common procedure in business today. Firms have all sorts of little stamps on their notepaper, certifying a variety of things—that they belong to a trade association, that they adopt the ex-Servicemen's scheme, etc.
That would be purely voluntary. I do not suggest for one moment that any benefit can be obtained by forcing firms to do what they are not prepared to do. Every benefit can be obtained by encouraging firms to realise their own inefficiency, and persuading them to take the right steps to alter that inefficiency. A register should be established and firms should invite the Board of Trade—which has the machinery at its disposal in the form of the production efficiency service—or industrial consultants to investigate their organisation and establish their efficiency. I would go even further and suggest that where returns from individual 'firms indicate that the standard of efficiency is deplorably low, those firms should be invited—not compelled—to call in either the production efficiency service of the Board of Trade, or some practitioner in this field, to advise them on the extent to which they could improve their efficiency.
I do not think that the powers in the Bill, which are more or less negligible, will be sufficient to achieve what is desired. Inefficiency is at its greatest not amongst the large, competent firms, who are able to employ people to see that the organisation is efficiently run, but in the much smaller firms who do not realise the extent of their inefficiency. Another thing which I would like to see added to the First Schedule would be words intimating that one of the functions should be the promotion of industrial democracy. I cannot see that the meaning behind those words can be read into what is already there. One is very concerned today with incentives in industry. I am glad to see, for that reason, that the third paragraph of the First Schedule recognises the need to promote research into matters affecting industrial psychology. I am assuming that incentives will be covered by that.
So far as industrial democracy is concerned, it is absolutely vital today that we should improve the relationship between employer and employee and establish the right of an employee, by hard work, to go the whole way up the ladder to the very top. At present the employee cannot do that. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) will agree that members of boards of nearly every company are drawn from a certain section and that below that there is a complete vacuum. Underneath that vacuum, we find the ordinary worker. However capable he may have shown himself in his particular trade, business or technique, he finds he can go so far and no further. That knowledge kills his incentive. It is claimed that there is complete democracy in the Army because every soldier carries a field marshal's baton in his knapsack. That may, or may not, be so. What I want to see is the time when we can claim that the chairman's hammer is carried in the tool kit of every workman.
I will not detain the House for very long. I wanted to take part in this Debate in order to support the Minister and to stress the need for development councils. That need is supported by the report of the working party on boots and shoes. I have listened attentively throughout this Debate, and in my view very few of the speeches have actually been devoted to the industry about which hon. Members were speaking. In my industry—the boot and shoe industry—we have tried leaving this question to the industry itself, and it has failed. Let me take for a moment this idea of leaving it to the industry and see how it is possible, if at all. The machinery part of our industry is in pawn to the Americans, and the only way in which the boot and shoe industry can get back on to its feet, and be able to develop its own machinery, is by the introduction of these development councils and by scientific research. There was research in this industry in 1919, and it had a Government grant. It has had one ever since, and, in 1944, it had a Government grant of £4,000. The Government are actually, therefore, paying towards this, and there is nothing new in it. It is true that the trade itself has also contributed, in the same way as it will do under these reforms, but what does that mean? The British United Shoe Machinery Co., Ltd., also has a scientific development committee, and they are expending £135,000, but the development committee belonging to the industry rules out specifically any investigation regarding machinery. It will be found that it is laid down in their report that any investigation shall leave alone the question of machinery. Let us see what that means.
The American shareholders holding in the boot and shoe industry's machinery company is £2,185,390, and the amount held by British shareholders is £574,571. There is a tremendous difference between those figures, and one can understand why it is that there is only one machinery company in the boot and shoe industry and that that company is owned by America or at least, for all practical purposes. The British United Company owns between 80 and 90 per cent. of the machines and the rest are owned by the Singer Company, which is American controlled. These are facts which the working party brought out, and they make quite clear that the company, therefore, exercises a virtual monopoly over the industry. That information is given on page 15 of the report.
The working part made it perfectly clear that unless the industry begins to take an interest in the manufacture and development of machines, there will come a time when, because we are unable to get these machines except from another country, and if it suits that country, we shall not be able to have the improvements we need, and that, secondly, Britain's boot and shoe manufacturing industry is now at the feet of America.
I think the President of the Board of Trade will find little satisfaction in the Debate that we have had today, because the volume of criticism of the proposals which has come both from this side of the House and the other must, I think, have been a surprise to him. Very few hon. Members have given complete and unqualified approval to this Bill The only hon. Member who did so, was, I think, the hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks), and he. I think, was under a complete illusion as to the purposes of the Bill, and imagined that the redistribution of our labour force could be achieved by its means. Indeed, each hon. Member who has spoken has found fit to criticism the important aspects of this Measure. The criticism has not been upon the minor points, but upon the very basis of the Bill, and that is something which should cause the President of the Board of Trade some anxiety.
These proposals have been commended to us by virtue of the recommendations of the working parties. The President of the Board of Trade has paid a tribute, and, in some considerable measure, a very justified tribute, to the work which has been done by these bodies. I would not go so far as did one hon. Member in acclaiming the idea of the working parties as an inspiration on the part of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. They have, it is true, told a lot of people what most people in the industry already knew. They have presented a picture, and I have no doubt that, in that direction, they have performed a very useful function. Some of them have even told us what we already know. For instance, the hosiery working party gave us the following momentous information in its report:
Few things occupy a more permanent place in our national life at the present time than stockings.
That was information known to most of us before this elaborate inquiry was made. It is not my intention to criticise in any detail the working parties, but I feel that many of the recommendations—in fact, nearly all of them—fail in that they all lay down a set of circumstances and a set of recommendations which will put our industries on their feet only with the expenditure of a good deal of time and capital.
What this country is facing is not the problem of how by immense mechanisation and re-equipment it can put itself in order, but how it can get production from the existing capacity. Under the present state of affairs, there is no opportunity or prospect of our being able to afford huge expenditure, either in terms of money or labour, for re-equipping our industries. Moreover, there has been a tendency to accept the reports of these working parties as gospel when they have been dealing with industries which are in an abnormal condition. In the main, the working parties' reports deal with industries which have been contracted, and, in many instances, a wrong balance and a wrong deduction may be drawn.
When considering the question of the relationship between industry and industry, it is important to bear in mind that, at the present time, there is a greater need for Government direction than obtains in the normal course of business. Owing to shortages, it is necessary to allocate priorities and quotas, and to restrict entry of those things which operate in an economy under present circumstances, but which do not necessarily operate in an economy under normal circumstances. Therefore, there should be some caution about rushing into the acceptance of recommendations which are based upon an abnormal state of affairs. No desire for the establishment of a stable economy should lead us to attempt to perform by Government regulation what can be performed by normal economic processes. That may be a doctrine which hon. Members opposite are not prepared to accept, but it is one to which we on this side of the House strongly adhere.
I want to contest the view put forward by hon. Members opposite that our industrialists are incompetent. This view is far too often expressed by hon. Members opposite. Those who criticise our industrialists should remember that those very industrialists have raised this country to a very high standard of living. They have made it possible for a small island, which normally would support a population one-fifth of its size, to attain a position of pre-eminence in the world and to enjoy a standard of living higher than any other country in Europe. That has been due, in the main, to the energies and enterprise of our industrialists. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the workers?"] Yes, I readily include the workers who, in the main, have a much higher standard of skill and devotion to duty than any other workers in the world. I have said in this House before that one. of our best assets is the stability of the workers in this country and the manner in which they perform their jobs. However, I do not want to go into that aspect at present. The question which activates the minds of my hon. Friends and myself is whether, under the new dispensation, it will be possible to maintain the standard of living which has been built up by these condemned industrialists. That is the question which many of us are thinking about today, and to which we are by no means certain of the answer. The condemnation of industrialists in this country is grossly unfair because, on the whole, those industries which are described as bad have been the victims of circumstances beyond their control.
Reference has been made time and time again this afternoon to the cotton industry. No single endeavour on the part of industrialists would have avoided the catastrophe which overcame the cotton industry. It was due to the industrialisation of other countries and the loss of overseas markets. No amount of ingenuity OT enterprise would have saved that situation. What is more, a good deal of decay which set into our industries during this century was due to the fact that we held on to a policy of free imports long after our economy had been able to stand it. It is to the lasting discredit of hon. Members opposite who supported that policy, not because they believed in it but because a policy of protection was the policy of the Tory Party. Many industrialists today feel that the introduction of this Bill is rather ironical. They feel that a Bill for the reorganisation of the Government might be more appropriate Indeed, it is remarkable that the Government are introducing this Bill to organise others in the midst of incredible chaos of their own making.
Numerous hon. Members on this side of the House have said that the objects of this Bill are beyond dispute, and I support those views. The Tory Party is as anxious as any other party to see ordered progress in industry and the maintenance of good standards, whether they be of products or of working conditions. Those are common objectives, I hope, of all political parties in this country. But where we join issue is on the means by which this aim is to be achieved, and we say that this Bill, as at present presented to the House, is the most unlikely way of realising that objective. I think the House was surprised to hear the statement of the President of the Board of Trade that he would use compulsion in putting this Bill into operation. We take the view that if compulsion is used, the objects of this Bill are entirely defeated. The smooth and efficient working of this Bill cannot go hand in hand with compulsion; there has to be a choice between destroying good will through compulsion and some other means of organising industry around these lines.
The President of the Board of Trade has said that we are to have consultation. Now, "consultation" is a word which can mean anything or nothing, and I am afraid that industry is coming to the view that it really means nothing. It is no satisfaction to industry to be called to an office in Whitehall and told that the Minister has decided to do this, that or the other. That is not what industry regards as consultation. But it is the kind of thing that is happening, and has happened in the past few months. Therefore, we say the suggestion that there is to be consultation is in no way satisfactory to industry. If there is not to be satisfactory consultation, and if we are not to get the co-operation of industry, these development councils will, of necessity, fail. There can be no question whatsoever hut that if the element of compulsion enters into it, the element of good, of these councils being of service to the community, is driven out. Neither industrialists nor bodies of trade unionists can be forced to co-operate in an organisation of this kind if they feel they are being forced along the line.
I am surprised that the Government are prepared to sacrifice the substance of good will for the shadow of compulsion. I am certain that that view is entirely wrong, and will not produce the results which even the Government wish to attain. It would be foolish and churlish to condemn the element of compulsion without having some suggestions as to the means by which the same results can be obtained. Hon. Members on this side of the House have today indicated to the President of the Board of Trade how these results could be obtained. They have pointed out, in a manner which I think was perfectly clear, that the proper course in these circumstances would be to develop the existing machinery We have already seen that a large number of people in industry—16 million—are covered by joint industrial councils; and that an extension of that machinery is extremely desirable in order to implement these ideas. I am surprised that the Minister has forsaken the possibility of developing these organisations along these lines, but is prepared instead to come to this House and to say, "I want compulsory powers to force people to do what I wish them to do." Surely, there can be no question that the development of the joint industrial councils, and other organisations, can lead to the establishment of a pattern similar to the one which is aimed at in this Bill? Surely, it is perfectly possible to get industry together, and to get them to formulate their own plans, to make suggestions to the Minister, and, if necessary, to incorporate the existing joint industrial councils organisation in some more comprehensive plan? That could he done without disturbing the existing organisations at all.
It is surprising that the Minister of Labour has seen fit to agree to the proposals which are laid down in this Bill. Its proposals cut definitely across the existing field of the Minister of Labour. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) said, had the present Foreign Secretary been Minister of Labour, this Bill, in its present form, would not have seen the light of day. There is no question, I think, that, the field of the Minister of Labour is being cut across by the regulations which are laid down here. The field of voluntary and statutory machinery covers 16 million of our workers, and that, surely, would have been the base on which to work; that would have been the base on which the voluntary principle could have succeeded.
We are opposed to this Measure because it is a very vicious example of delegated legislation. If industries are important, there is every reason why the Government should have thought fit to have brought a Bill to this House in respect of each industry. Each industry could have been the subject of a separate Bill. There is no reason why there should have been this delegated legislation in this instance. The Bill requires that we take out of their jobs men of exceptional ability. There is no doubt that that is so. I suggest that we are doing a disservice to industry by taking those men out. I do not feel that there is anything in this Bill which can commend it to the House, and, therefore, we shall go into the Lobby against it.
The hon. Member for Bucklow (Mr. W. Shepherd) referred to the fact that there has been criticism of the Measure before the House from all sides of the House. He went on to say that, apart from my hon. Friend the Member for East Woolwich (Mr. G. Hicks), every Member who had spoken had been critical. I suppose —I have not the experience in these matters that many hon. Gentlemen have—that it is the purpose of a Second Reading Debate on any Bill that there should be criticism made, some of it—which is only to be expected —coming from the Opposition, some of it coming from the Government side of the House, and designed to be helpful and constructive. That is the kind of criticism that we have had tonight. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman was referring to such criticism as we had from this side of the House of the Government for not proposing to give to the development councils more power than, in fact, we are giving them. I suggest that it would be misrepresenting that kind of criticism to pretend that it was criticism directed against the purpose of this Bill.
There have been criticisms from the Opposition. That was to be expected— although I have noticed some significant absenteeism. The Opposition criticism has varied from the speech of the right hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton), a speech which, I must confess, at times left me puzzled as to what the right hon. Gentleman meant exactly, to the reasoned and enlightened and constructively critical speech of the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman), whose intervention in these Debates is always most interesting and, to a very great extent, helpful.
The hon. Member for Bucklow, who wound up from the Opposition side, to my mind made a very large part of the case for this Bill when he referred to the decay which took place in so many of our great industries in the years between the two wars. He said, excusing the industrialists, that it was wrong and unfair of Government supporters to attempt to place the blame on industrialists for what took place, because it was beyond the power of any single industrialist to do anything about it. It is precisely because we realise that in a great number of cases a single
industrialist, particularly a small industrialist, will be unable to do anything about it, that we want development councils which will make it possible for him to combine with others like himself to do this very necessary job. The hon. Member attempted to tell the House just what are these Whitehall consultations. As a matter of fact he gave a complete travesty of them, as many hon. Members opposite know, because they have been in my office for these consultations. I suggest that he is badly briefed on that subject. I would invite him to consult some of the many trade associations who come to the Board of Trade day by day to consult both the officials and Ministers about aspects of their industries, and he will find the picture he drew is a most unfair one. The hon. Member referred to the speech of my right hon. and learned Friend, and said that he could not understand the references to possible compulsion on industry to form development councils. He professed to quote what my right hon. and learned Friend said. I will tell him what my right hon. and learned Friend said, and I also endeavoured to make it clear in a subsequent intervention. He said:
I cannot of course give any undertaking that in the last resort, in some special case,"—
hon. Members will note the qualification—
it may not be necessary to impose a development council by order, but if that should ever occur, which I hope it will not, then this House will have full cognisance of the matter, because in all cases an Affirmative Resolution will be required approving the Order.
That is very different from suggesting that compulsion is something which is going to be lightly applied. It will not be lightly applied, because it would be an extremely foolish thing from the Government point of view. If any one of the parties composing the development council decided not to play, what could you do about it? Suppose the employers said that they would not co-operate. You would find it very difficult to get any kind of council to work, and we realise that as well as anyone else, and that is why my right hon. and learned Friend said that he hoped in every case we should set up these development councils by agreement. That is the obvious and sensible thing to do. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aldershot referred to skating over things which go too far. That is, no
doubt, a sporting term, but it puzzles me. I do not know how you can skate over things which go too far; presumably you come to the end and fall over the precipice, but I think that the right hon. Gentleman knows more about that than I do.
Together with other hon. Members who spoke subsequently, the right hon. Gentleman accepted the objects to which the development councils will be invited to turn their attention. He must do that, of course. As a man who has experience in British industry, he knows perfectly well of the need for a great deal of reorganisation in all aspects of industry at the present time. What he criticises, of course, is the method by which we propose to achieve the object. May I point out to the House—and I am sure this is very relevant—that in a report of the Federation of British Industries, issued in 1944, It was recommended that functions of this kind were necessary, that this kind of thing ought to be done, and that if industry was not prepared to do it itself, it would have to be done for industry. Industry has not done it itself, and therefore, we are acting in accordance with the report of the Federation of British Industries, and doing it for industry.
Then we heard from the right hon. Gentleman, from the hon. Member for Bucklow, and several other hon. Members, that, even granted everything else, the method by which we were proposing to legislate was wrong. I take it that the criticism is of our having this general enabling Bill to give the power to set up development councils to a number of Ministers by orders which would be subject to affirmative Resolution of the House. But having heard my right hon. and learned Friend, I am surprised that anybody should suggest that it would be possible for us, in any one or more of the many industries which may at some subsequent date require development council procedure, to proceed by way of a separate Bill for every one of them. I can only suggest that those who argue for such a procedure are really arguing that these things should not happen at all. It is not much good to an industry which at the present time is in danger of decay to know that in, perhaps, ten years' time a Bill might go through the House making it possible for it to have a development council.
On a point of detail, the right hon. Gentleman referred to Clause 8 (2) as an overcoat provision, and criticised the powers that are conferred upon the Board of Trade, ox the Ministry concerned, as being open to abuse. May I point out that it is expressly stated that an amending order, amending the original order setting up the development council, can, in the terms of the Bill, be brought to this House only at the request of the development council itself, and is then subject to affirmative Resolution procedure, which gives the House a first-rate safeguard. In the first place, it is only when the development council, consisting not of the Government or of representatives of the Government, but of representatives of the employers and the workers, plus an unspecified number of independent members, probably fewer rather than more, has decided to ask for some amended powers that the order comes before the House, and when it comes before the House it is subject to affirmative Resolution. On the other point of detail which the right hon. Gentleman made, concerning Clause 1 (4), which reads:
A development council may provide for any incidental or supplementary matters for which it appears to the Board or Minister concerned to be necessary or expedient to provide.
I suggest that there the safeguards are to be found in the preceding and succeeding Subsections. Subsection (3) says that:
Before making a development council order the Board or Minister concerned shall consult any organisation appearing to them or him to be representative of substantial numbers of persons…
and Subsection (5) says that the order has to be approved by a Resolution of each House of Parliament. We are tied down by the fact that an amending order cannot be made without an affirmative Resolution of both Houses of Parliament.
With regard to the First Schedule, the right hon. Gentleman made great play with the number of functions which are conferred upon the Board or upon the Minister responsible under that Schedule. Nineteen different functions may be assigned to a development council, but not necessarily will be so assigned. The power is in the Bill, if it is deemed necessary to make an order assigning these functions to a development council. The right hon. Gentleman and subsequent speakers, referring to some of these functions, said, "These are already being tackled, in some cases, by other Government Departments, and, in other cases, by voluntary organisations" There is nothing in the Bill to prevent these functions from being continued to he administered by other Government Departments or by voluntary organisations. It will be the purpose of a development council, where practical, to use the existing agencies. It would be most improvident and unpractical of them to do anything else. To suggest that we are getting, as a result of this Schedule, an unnecessary duplication is to ascribe to the development councils far less intelligence than, I am sure, they will have.
Then there is a phrase which I did not understand at all. The right hon. Gentleman spoke about "independent representatives on development councils being subject to Ministerial control" I think that it is very wrong of him to suggest that the kind of people who will be invited by the Minister to take seats on responsible bodies such as these councils are intended to be the stooges of the Minister. That is quite untrue. Then we come to the next rather puzzling Point—
It is beyond question that these bodies consist partly of employers' representatives and partly of workers' representatives, with independent members nominated by the Minister, and the Minister has power to pay them remuneration and pensions. I did not say that they would be the stooges of the Government, but they are enabled to turn them into stooges whenever the Minister wishes.
I prefer to believe that the people who will be appointed by the Ministers to these boards will be independent. May I point out that it is not the Minister who will have the power to pay the pensions or salaries of the representatives on the board or council; it is the development council themselves, so that if they are to be the stooges of anybody, they will be the stooges of themselves.
May I get back to the very interesting figures which the right hon. Gentleman spent some valuable minutes in giving us about voluntary and compulsory wage negotiating machinery? I was puzzled, because there is nothing in this Bill to give the slightest indication that there will be any concern on the part of a development council—there cannot be in any case—with wage and negotiating machinery. Why he felt it necessary to spend so much valuable time in discussing something which is so hopelessly irrelevant, I do not understand.
I cannot attempt to correct the hon. Gentleman's understanding—that would take too long. I am sorry that he did not take the point that once we set up development councils over such a wide field as this, they cannot perform the functions prescribed to them by the Government without entering the field of wages, hours and working conditions—and he knows that very well.
It will probably give the right hon. Gentleman some joy when I confess to him that I am unable to follow his reasoning. I have a certain amount of experience in industry from, perhaps, a different end to that of the right hon. Gentleman, but I will quote him a single example. He cannot really controvert that during the war we had very valuable instruments in our factories generally known as production committees, which were expressly excluded from the discussions on wages, and I know of no single case—and I was constantly in touch with them during the war—where these production committees went outside their terms of reference in that respect. In any case as the right hon. Gentleman and I know only too well both sides of industry, the employers' side and the trade union side, who will be represented on the development councils, are far too jealous of their existing negotiating machinery in regard to wages and conditions to allow development councils to usurp their functions.
The right hon. Gentleman asked for an undertaking that we will accept an Amendment to the effect that councils will not be set up unless majorities in the industry agree to them. One hon. Member on this side of the House interjected with the request to know how we were going to ascertain what was a majority view in the industry. I, too, should like to know the answer to that. How would the right hon. Gentleman ascertain whether a majority of those in the industry, including both workers and employers, are in agreement as to the necessity for a development council. I am quite sure that the answer to that has already been made by the hon. Gentleman for Bucklow—that it would be futile to try to impose these organisations simply because an unwilling industry did not want them.
I do not want to be facetious about this. I understand that the hon. Gentleman's argument is that we cannot ascertain whether an industry is in favour of these proposals or not. Therefore, we may take it that compulsion will always be applied because the views of the industry cannot be ascertained.
No. What I was saying was a statement of fact. It is perfectly easy to ascertain, if, in fact a majority is in favour of a development council, but it is not so easy to prove that a majority is not in favour of a council. [Laughter.] I will try to explain to hon. Members what I mean. If we go to the representative organisations of the workers and they say "Yes," and we then go to the representative organisations of the employers and they say, "Yes," then we can say that we have a majority in the industry—that is the organised people in the industry—in favour of the proposals. If we go to the representatives of the employers and they say "No," and to the representatives of the workers and they say "Yes," who is in the majority?
I want now to say a few words about the very reasoned arguments put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Elland (Mr. Cobb), who speaks with great authority on this subject and whose interventions will always be welcome. While accepting the general purpose of the Bill, and, in fact, most of the Clauses in it, he pleaded for a reform—and he asked me to note the underlying word "Reform" —of the trades associations, that is, the trades associations plus the distributives', consumers' and perhaps the workers' interests, who would do this job as well perhaps as the development councils. In the first place, I doubt very much whether any trade association concerned would accept an addition to their ranks for any purpose of distributive, consumer, and workers' interests. They are rather jealous and I suppose quite rightly so—of their peculiar functions. If they were willing, however, I am quite sure that it is far better, despite such difficulties as have been mentioned, when we are trying something which is relatively new, to create for the purpose special machinery with well defined functions, and let it get on with the job, co-operating by all means with trade associations, trade unions and consumers associations—but do let us have these organisations for the job.
Then he stressed—and I entirely agree with him, as I am sure do all hon. Members—the need for getting these ideas down to the small industries and the small manufacturers, and he said how difficult it was to do it through any kind of organisation. As I say, I agree entirely, and I think it is precisely this type of organisation that is more likely to get down to the small manufacturer he has in mind than the existing organisations which, for years, have had the opportunity to do so if they would. My hon. Friend said that they did not, which is the strongest argument in favour of the kind of organisation which we are proposing to create.
My hon. Friend also brought forward an argument with which I must confess I entirely disagree. He said that money will be expended on research, that there will be a levy which will be applied to every section of the industry, but that the benefits will go to the big men and ultimately work to the detriment of the small man. My view is that at the present time there are a number of fairly big people in industry able and prepared to spend money on research. They are obtaining the benefit, and it is because the small man cannot afford to do this and there is no organisation to do it for him that he is denied the benefits which go to the big people. I would hope that the development corporations, having made it their business to levy all sections of the industry for the purpose, would then see that the benefits of research are conveyed to everybody in the industry who has taken part in securing them. I am reminded that in the case of the textile industry there is an admirable example of research which is available to all concerned, big and small.
I think that the hon. Gentleman was possibly right when he said that there was greater need for an inquiry into efficiency in the distributive side of an industry than in the productive side, and I think we would all agree that there is a real need for inquiry in that direction. One of the reasons why we propose to have a census of distribution is in order to find out just what does go on, but as I said in an intervention earlier this evening there is nothing whatever to prevent one of these development councils inquiring into the distributive aspect of a particular industry. It is not proposed to have a development council for distribution as such, but there is no reason why a particular industry should not have the distributive side of its activities inquired into by its development council. Nor is there any reason why there should not be on the development council people with special knowledge of the distributive side of the industry in order that they might help in this respect.
My hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo), who followed soon afterwards, supplied the answer to the point about letting the trade associations do the job by saying, in as many words, "Why did they not do it before?" I am very glad to hear from the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman)—who I am sorry has had to go, but who has indicated his regret to me—that the trade associations are ready to co-operate. Their cooperation will be very welcome, and I should like to say now that in much of the work we are required to do in the Board of Trade, when the officials of the trade associations come along and discuss with us quotas, prices, and all kinds of puzzling things which have to be dealt with at the present time, we find that their assistance and experience is invaluable.
There was a reference by my hon. Friend the Member for Reading to the shortage of skilled management personnel. He rather feared that the creation of development councils, as new bodies, might constitute a further drain upon the scarce, highly-skilled manpower. I agree that we have not that large number of people in this country who can undertake what might be called the high-powered jobs in British industry, but I feel that the very setting-up of development councils may make possible a more economical use of our skilled managerial manpower. I hope that that may be one of the things that development councils Would be able to look at.
My hon. Friend the Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks) has been criticised for making such a vigorous defence of the Bill and for referring, in my opinion quite rightly, to the manpower situation in the country. That is one of those aspects of our total economic situation which are very worrying to those who are concerned about the future. One of the reasons for the setting up of development councils is to make our industries as efficient as they can be, so that the greatest possible use can be made of our available manpower. My hon. Friend was perfectly right to talk about the general manpower situation. I hope that most hon. Members will agree with the point he made about the discouragement in past years of boys and girls from entering manual industry, and the encouragement that has been given to them to go into unproductive employment. I hope his words will be noted in many places.
He said that these development councils, if energetic and far-sighted, could make a great contribution to the development of British industry. I believe that to be profoundly true. It is not intended that the councils shall attempt to run British industry. It is intended that they shall co-ordinate, assist and activate the existing owners of British industry. It has already been admitted today that they need it. It has been admitted by hon. Members that between the two wars many of our great industries decayed. It was admitted in the report of the Federation of British Industries in 1944. Today I referred to that report when the right hon. Member for Aldershot was out of the House. It said that action of this kind was called for.
I would not wish to say anything to offend the hon. Member. What I did say was that I read a quotation to the effect that, in 1944, the Federation of British Industries reported that action similar to that contemplated in the Bill was necessary, not necessarily by the Government. Steps similar to these would have to be taken—co-ordination of research, and so on—and that if industry did not do it the Government would have to do it for them. What I said was, that, since industry had not done it, we were now setting about the problem. Before I leave my hon. Friend the Member for East Woolwich, I would recall that he mentioned taking workers into consultation on such matters as industrial development. His observations commanded a fairly large measure of agreement. Our wartime experience proved the necessity of so doing.
There is another section of the community which hitherto has had less than proper regard in all these matters and in consultations which have taken place, and that is the consuming section of the public as such. By bringing into our boards, working parties and development councils, representatives who are independent, that is to say who are there neither necessarily as workers in that industry nor as employers but as independent people from outside the industry, we are bringing in representatives, more truly than of any other section, of the consumers of the products of that industry. That, I think, goes some way towards answering the point made by the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Sir J. Barlow), who was very critical of the position of the independent members of councils of this kind.
The hon. Member for Newark (Mr. Shephard) argued, if I understood him correctly, that what we are proposing means a permanent control over industry. I do not accept that the powers conferred on development councils under this Bill do in fact constitute a power over industry. As one of my hon. Friends pointed out, the powers are very restricted. They amount in fact to the power to collect statistics and publish the information in a general form, and the power to levy for the purpose of promoting research. There is no power to go poking your nose into industry and telling individual industrialists how to run their businesses. You can advise them, and if they are prepared to accept advice, well and good, but you cannot make them do anything. Neither the development councils nor the Government can make them do anything they do not want to do, and I wish it had been more clearly noticed throughout the Debate that the powers conferred by this Bill upon the development councils are very small indeed.
The answer, of course, is that in the first place the Government may refuse to do anything about it, and in the second place, if the Government are inclined to do something about it, there must still be an affirmative Resolution of both Houses of Parliament. Surely, the safeguard is there, because even without this Bill somebody might come along in the future, ask for something and get it, and I do not see that passing this Bill will make the slightest difference in that direction. Then the hon. Member asked me two specific questions to which I will try to give adequate replies. He asked me how the Ministers will appoint employers' representatives. The practice will be that which is normally followed by Ministers in appointing representatives of employers. He will invite the appropriate association of employers to make nominations. He may not necessarily accept all the nominations sent in by the employers' associations, but in practice I imagine that it would be those who were recommended by the associations who would be taken. So far as the payment of members is concerned, it is envisaged that expenses will be paid to the members of development councils, and that the chairman may have to be paid. Perhaps his job will be such that it will have to be completely full-time, in which case of course he will have to be paid.
I ask the hon. Member not to interrupt, as my time is short. The answer to the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Mallalieu), who spoke about avoiding duplication in the collection of statistics, is to be found in the proviso to Subsection (2) of Clause 3, where it is pointed out that:
Provided that powers conferred on the council under this Subsection shall be qualified, in relation to exercise thereof generally as regards the industry or any section thereof, by provision requiring the previous consent of the Board or Minister concerned to their being so
exercised and approval by the Board or Minister concerned of the form in which the returns or other information will be required to be furnished.
The Minister can thus prevent a council from demanding statistics if the Government are already collecting the same information. That I think is a sensible provision which gets rid of the danger, of duplication of that kind.
One hon. Member asked about the relation between the development councils and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Council of Industrial Design. As I have said previously in connection with other voluntary organisations, development councils will work through, 'and will not supersede, research associations and design centres. Contributions from the councils' research levies to these bodies will count as industrial contributions, and will attract the appropriate Government grants from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in regard to research and from the Board of Trade in regard to design. Finally, the hon. Member for Central Aberdeen and Kincardine (Mr. Spence) asked whether the Defence (Services for Industry) Regulations, which we debated some months ago, and which give power to raise levies for research, would be superseded by the present Bill. The answer is that they will. When those Regulations were debated, it was made clear that the intention was to replace them ultimately by permanent legislation, and this is the permanent legislation.
I conclude by saying that, in bringing forward this Measure, we do so because we know, as is generally known, that the state of British industry is not what it needs to be if British industry is to produce the goods and services to enable us to make up the leeway in our export trade and enable us to give our people the standard of living and the security which we want them to have. A great deal needs to be done by everybody concerned; that has to be recognised by everybody concerned, and I make no reservations in that respect; but the drive must come, in the first instance, and is coming, from the Government. The Government cannot do the physical work, but the Government can make such plans and provide such legislation as will enable other people to go ahead with their jobs. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the coal situation?"] It is most unfair of hon. Members to refer to a situation which has come about through a combination of climatic conditions and many years of failure to do anything for the coal industry. [Interruption.] It is very wrong of hon. Members who, I am quite sure, are as much concerned about the future prosperity of this country as we are, to criticise a Measure designed to assist this country back to prosperity, on grounds as unfair as those indicated by the jibe of an hon. Member who spoke about the coal situation. I know it is the intention of the Opposition to divide. I hope they will divide knowing that they are voting against something which is genuinely inspired by a desire to assist this country back to prosperity.
I have not time to follow the hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade who, I am sorry to say, has just lost his slow bicycle race. I wish to quote a few words from Adam Smith which seem to be a salutary warning about this Bill:
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary.
I ask the House to consider seriously whether it is wise to adopt the principle that an industry ought to think as an industry. To do that is to be on the road to monopoly. There is only one industry in this country which thinks as an industry today, and that is iron and steel, and hon. Members in all parts of the House must ask themselves whether that is a good example—
|Division No. 74.||AYES.||(10.0 p.m|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Gibson, C. W.||Nally, W.|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Neal, H. (Claycross)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.||Goodrich, H. E.||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)|
|Attewell, H. C.||Grey, C. F.||Noel-Buxton, Lady|
|Awbery, S. S.||Grierson, E.||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Griffiths, D. (Rether Valley)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Orbach, M.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)||Paget, R T.|
|Baird, J.||Gunter, R. J.||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)|
|Barton, C.||Guy, W. H.||Parker, J.|
|Battley, J. R.||Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Parkin, B. T.|
|Bechervaise, A. E||Hale, Leslie||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)|
|Belcher, J. W.||Hamilton, Lieut -Col. R||Paton, J. (Norwich)|
|Benson, G.||Hardy, E. A.||Pearson, A|
|Berry, H.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Peart, Capt. T. F.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Piratin, p.|
|Binns, J.||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Platts-Mills, J. F. F.|
|Blackburn, A. R||Herbison, Miss M.||Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Porter, E. (Warrington)|
|Blyton, W. R||Hicks, G.||Porter, G. (Leeds)|
|Boardman, H.||Holman, P.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||House, G.||Randall, H. E.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)||Hoy, J.||Rankin, J.|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Rees-Williams, D. R.|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Reeves, J.|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)||Rhodes, J.|
|Bruce, Maj D. W. T||Hynd, H. (Hackney, G.)||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Buchanan, G.||Irving, W. J.||Rhodes, H.|
|Burke, W. A.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Robens, A.|
|Byers, Frank||Janner, B||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A||Jay, D. P. T.||Roberts, W (Cumberland N.)|
|Chamberlain, R. A||Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Robertson, J, J. (Berwick)|
|Champion, A J||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)||Rogers, G. H. R.|
|Chetwynd G. R||Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)|
|Cluse, W S.||Jones J. H. (Bolton)||Royle, C.|
|Cobb, F A.||Jones, P. Asterley(Hitchin)||Scott-Elliot, W|
|Cocks, F. S||Keenan, W||Segal, Dr S.|
|Coldrick, W||Kendall, W D||Shackleton, Wing.-Cdr. E. A. A.|
|Collick, P.||Kinley, J.||Sharp, Granville|
|Collindridge, F.||Kirby, B. V.||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)|
|Collins, V. J.||Lavers, S.||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Cook, T. F.||Leonard, W.||Silverman, J. (Erdington)|
|Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.||Lever, N. H||Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)|
|Corbet, Mrs F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Levy, B.W||Simmons, C. J.|
|Corlett, Dr. J||Lewis, A. W. J (Upton)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Corvedale Viscount||Lindgran, G. S||Skeffington-Lodge, T. G|
|Cripps, Rt. Hon. Sir S||Longden, F.||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Lyne, A. W.||Smith, C. (Colchester)|
|Daggar, G.||McAllister, G.||Smith Ellis (Stoke)|
|Daines, P.||McEntee V. La T.||Smith, S. H.(Hull, S.W.)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||McGhee, H. G.||Solley, L. J.|
|Davies, Clement (Montgomery)||Mack, J. D.||Soskice, Maj. Sir F|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Mackay, R. W.G. (Hull, N.W)||Stamford, W.|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||McKinlay A. S.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||McLeavy, F.||Symonds, A. L.|
|Deer, G.||Taylor, H B. (Mansfield)|
|Diamond, J||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Dobbie, W.||Mallalieu, J. P. W.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Dodds, N. N.||Mann, Mrs. J.||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Donovan T.||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||Marquand, H. A.||Thurtle, E.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Marshall, F. (Brightside)||Tiffany, S.|
|Edwards, John (Blackburn)||Mathers, G||Titterington, M. F.|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Medland, H. M.||Tolley, L.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Mellish, R. J,||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G|
|Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Messer, F.||Vernon, Maj W. F|
|Evans, John (Ogmore)||Middleton, Mrs. L||Viant, S. P.|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Mikardo, Ian||Wadsworth, G|
|Ewart, R.||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R||Walker, G. H.|
|Fairhurst, F.||Mitchison, Maj. G. R.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||Monslow, W.||Wallace, H. W (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Follick, M.||Moody, A. S.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Foot, M. M.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Weitzman, D.|
|Foster, W. (Wigan)||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Mort, D. L.||West, D. G.|
|Gibbins, J.||Murray, J. D.||White, C F (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W||Williams, W. R. (Heston)||Yates, V. F|
|Wigg, Col. G. E.||Williamson, T||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Wilkes, L.||Willls, E||Zilliacus, K.|
|Wilkins, W. A.||Wilson, J. H|
|Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)||Woodburn, A||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Willey, O G (Cleveland)||Wyatt, W.||Mr. Hannan and Mr. Popplewell.|
|Aitken, Hon. Max||Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R||Harvey Air-Comdre A. V.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Astor, Hon. M.||Haughton, S G.||Pitman, I. J|
|Birch, Nigel||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C||Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)|
|Boles, Lt -Col. D. C. (Wells)||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Prescott, Stanley|
|Bossom, A. C||Hollis, M. C.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Howard, Hon. A.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col W.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hurd, A.||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Renton, D,|
|Carson, E.||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Challen, C||Jennings, R.||Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland|
|Channon, H.||Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. Hon L. W.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Clarke, Col R. S.||Keeling, E. H.||Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Conant, Maj R. J. E.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Shephard, S. (Newark)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Shepherd, W. S (Bucklow)|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C||Low, Brig. A. R. W.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Spence, H. R.|
|Cuthbert, W N.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Digby, S. W.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)||Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)|
|Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Maitland, Comdr J. W.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Drewe, C.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Taylor, C S. (Eastbourne)|
|Eccles, D. M.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Teeling, William|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Marples, A. E.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|Erroll, F. J.||Marsden, Capt. A.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Thorp,. Lt.-Col. R. A. F.|
|Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Maude, J. C.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||Mellor, Sir J.||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)||Molson, A. H. E.||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)||Watt, Sir G. S Harvie|
|Gage, C.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W S. (Cirencester)||Wheatley, Colonel M. J.|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.||Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E.||White, J. B. (Canterbury)|
|Gammans, L. D.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Nicholson, G.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Grant, Lady||Nutting, Anthony|
|Gridley, Sir A.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Grimston, R. V.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Mr. Studholme and|
|Hannon, Sir P (Moseley)||Osborne, C||Major Ramsay.|
|Division No. 75.]||AYES||[10.10 p.m|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)||Cripps, Rt. Hon. Sir S.|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Crossman, R. H. S.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.||Brook, D. (Halifax)||Daggar, G.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Brown, George (Belper)||Daines, P.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Davies, Edward (Burslem)|
|Attewell, H. C.||Bruce Maj. D. W. T.||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Buchanan, G.||Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.)|
|Ayles, W. H.||Burke, W. A.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Byers, Frank||Deer, G.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Diamond, J.|
|Baird, J.||Chamberlain, R. A.||Dobbie, W.|
|Barton, C.||Champion, A. J.||Dodds, N. N.|
|Battley, J. R.||Chetwynd, G. R.||Donovan, T.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Cobb, F. A.||Driberg, T. E. N.|
|Belcher, J. W.||Cocks, F. S.||Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)|
|Benson, G.||Coldrick, W.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Berry, H.||Collick, P.||Edwards, John (Blackburn)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Collindridge, F.||Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)|
|Binns, J.||Collins, V. J.||Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)|
|Blackburn, A. R||Colman, Miss G. M.||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Cook, T. F.||Evans, John (Ogmore)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)|
|Boardman, H.||Corbat, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Ewart, R.|
|Bowden, Flg.-Offr, H. W.||Corlett, Dr. J.||Fairhurst, F.|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Corvedale, Viscount||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)|
|Follick, M.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Royle, C.|
|Foot, M. M||Mackay, R. W. G (Hull, N.W.)||Scott-Elliot, W|
|Foster, W. (Wigan)||McKinlay, A. S.||Segal, Dr S|
|Gaitskell, H. T. N.||McLeavy, F.||Shackleton, Wing.-Cdr. E. A. A|
|Ganley, Mrs C S||Macpherson, T (Romford)||Sharp, Granville|
|Gibbins, J||Mallalieu, J. P. W||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)|
|Gibson, C W||Mann, Mrs J||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Goodrich, H. E.||Manning, Mrs. L (Epping)||Silverman, J (Erdington)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon A (Wakefield)||Marquand, H. A||Silverman, S S (Nelson)|
|Greenwood, A W J (Heywood)||Marshall, F. (Brightside)||Simmons, C. J|
|Grey, C. F.||Mathers, G||Skeffington, A. M|
|Grierson, E||Medland, H. M||Skeffington-Lodge, T C|
|Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Mellish, R. J.||Skinnard, F. W|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J (Llanelly)||Messer, F.||Smith, C (Colchester)|
|Griffiths, W D (Moss Side)||Middleton, Mrs. L||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)|
|Guy, W H.||Mikardo, Ian||Smith, S. H (Hull, S.W.)|
|Haire, John E (Wycombe)||Millington, Wing-Comdr E. R||Solley, L. J.|
|Hale, Leslie||Mitchison, Maj G. R||Soskice, Maj. Sir F.|
|Hamilton, Lieut.-Col R||Monslow, W||Sparks, J. A.|
|Hardy, E. A||Moody, A S.||Stamford, W|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Morgan, Dr. H B||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E)|
|Henderson, A (Kingswinford)||Morris, P (Swansea, W.)||Symonds, A. L.|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Mort, D. L||Taylor, H B (Mansfield)|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Murray, J. D.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Hewitson, Capt. M||Nally, W.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Hicks, G.||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Thomas, D E. (Aberdare)|
|Holman, P.||Nichol, Mrs M. E (Bradford, N.)||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|House, G||Noel-Baker, Capt F E. (Brentford)||Thurtle, E|
|Hoy, J.||Noel-Buxton, Lady||Tiffany, S|
|Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Oldfield, W. H||Titterington, M F.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oliver, G. H||Tolley, L.|
|Hughes, H. D. (W'lvurh"pton, W.)||Orbach, M.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G|
|Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)||Paget, R. T.||Vernon, Maj W F|
|Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)||Viant, S. P|
|Irving, W J.||Parker, J||Wadsworth, G|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon G. A||Parkin, B T.||Walker, G. H.|
|Janner, B||Paton, Mrs, F (Rushcliffe)||Wallace, G D. (Chislehurst)|
|Jay, D P. I||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Wallace, H W (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Jeger, G (Winchester)||Pearson, A||Warbey, W N|
|Jones, D. T (Hartlepools)||Peart, Capt. T F.||Weitzman, D.|
|Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Piratin, P||Wells, W. T (Walsall)|
|Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Platts-Mills, J F. F.||West, D. G.|
|Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield)||White, C. F (Derbyshire. W.)|
|Keenan, W||Porter, E, (Warrington)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon W|
|Kendall, W. D||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Wigg, Col. G. E|
|Kinley, J.||Proctor, W. T||Wilkes, L.|
|Kirby, B. V||Pursey, Cmdr. H||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Layers, S.||Randall, H. E.||Willey, O G. (Cleveland)|
|Lee, F (Hulme)||Rankin, J||Williams, W. R (Heston)|
|Leonard, W||Rees-Williams. D R||Williamson, T|
|Lever, N. H||Reeves, J.||Willis, E.|
|Levy, B. W.||Reid, T (Swindon)||Wilson, J. H.|
|Lewis, A. W. J (Upton)||Rhodes, H.||Woodburn, A|
|Lindgren, G. S||Robens, A.||Wyatt, W.|
|Longden, F.||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)||Yates, V. F.|
|Lyne, A. W.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|McAllister, G.||Roberts, W (Cumberland, N.)||Zilliacus, K.|
|McEnter, V. La. T||Robertson, J J. (Berwick)|
|McGhee, H. G||Rogers, G. H. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mack, J. D||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Mr Hannan and|
|Aitken, Hon. Max||Digby, S. W.||Grimston, R. V|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hannon, Sir P (Moselev)|
|Astor, Hon M.||Dower, E. L. G (Caithness)||Hare, Hon. J H. (Woodbridge)|
|Birch, Nigel||Drayson, G B||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V|
|Boles, Lt -Col D C (Wells)||Drewe, C.||Haughton, S. G|
|Bossom, A C.||Eccles, D M.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hen Sir C|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Hogg, Hon Q.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col W||Erroll, F J||Holds, M. C.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P G T||Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L||Howard, Hon. A,|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Hudson, Rt Hon R S. (Southport)|
|Carson, E||Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||Hurd, A.|
|Challen, C||Fraser, Maj. H. C. P (Stone)||Hutchison, Col J. R. (Glasgow, C.)|
|Channon, H.||Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Jeffreys, General Sir G|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Gage, C.||Jennings, R.|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D||Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. Hon L. W|
|Cooper-Key, E M.||Gammans, L. D.||Keeling, E. H.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col U. (Ludlow)||Glossop, C. W. H||Lancaster, Col. C G.|
|Crookshank, Capt Rt. Hon. H[...]||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col O E||Grant, Lady||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H|
|Cuthbert, W N||Gridley, Sir A||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Low, Brig. A. R. W||Orr-Ewing, I L||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Lucas, Major Sir J.||Osborne, C||Strauss, H. G (English Universities)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M||Studholme, H. G.|
|Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)||Pitman, I. J.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Maitland, Comdr J. W.||Prescott, Stanley||Teeling, William|
|Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|Marlowe, A. A. H||Raikes, H. V.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Marples, A. E.||Rayner, Brig. R.||Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.|
|Marsden, Capt. A||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Renton, D.||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Maude, J. C.||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Mellor, Sir J.||Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Molson, A. H. E.||Ropner, Col. L||Wheatley, Colonel M. J.|
|Morrison, Maj. J G. (Salisbury)||Ross, Sir R D (Londonderry)||White, J. B. (Canterbury)|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. W S. (Cirencester)||Sanderson Sir F||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C E||Shephard, S. (Newark)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Neven-Spence, Sir B||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)||Young, Sir A S L. (Partick)|
|Nicholson, G.||Smith, E P. (Ashford)|
|Noble, Comdr A H P||Smithers, Sir W||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Nutting, Anthony||Spence, H R.||Major Ramsay and|
|O'Neill. Rt Hon. Sir H||Stanley. Rt. Han O||Major Conant.|
Question put, and agreed to.