Health Resorts And Watering Places Bill
Older for Second Reading read
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
During the long period of my membership of this House, the fortune of the ballot has never before been kind to me. It is a consolation, however, that in the last Parliament in which I shall be privileged to sit, I am favoured with an opportunity of presenting for Second Reading a measure which is not only non-party in character and principle, but has the support of hon. Members on both sides of the House, as well as many municipalities all over the country. Shortly, the objects of the Bill are to empower borough councils and urban district councils in England and Wales to expend not more than a penny rate in advertising the advantages of their borough or district, or any part thereof, as a watering place or health resort. Ireland in this matter is in advance of other parts of the United Kingdom, inasmuch as in 1909 she secured an Act which is identical with the Bill I now submit. During the passage of the Irish Bill through the House of Lords, the Earl of Onslow said:—
This, in my opinion, was not only a correct and logical anticipation, but the Bill now before the House follows as a natural result. In England and Wales, Aberystwyth, Blackpool, Hove, and South-port have, in a limited degree, power to expend money for advertising purposes. The necessity for the Bill can hardly be overestimated. Health resorts being almost entirely dependent upon visitors, and having to compete with similar places abroad, surely we ought to have the power to make more widely known the advantages of the health resorts of our own country! A time when so much is heard of self-government, are we not justified in saying that if the power sought is given to the local authorities, the best and safest check against any abuse will be the local ratepayers themselves? I desire to emphasise the fact that the Bill compels no authority to do anything it does not desire. It does-not necessitate the spending of any ratepayers' money, unless, through their elected representatives, it is thought necessary and desirable. Already many towns have by voluntary effort endeavoured to carry out this work."If your Lordships decide to give this Bill a Second Reading, and pass it into law, I confess I do not see how it will be possible cither for me in your Lordships' House or for the Local Legislative Committee in the other House to refuse to allow English watering places and seaside resorts to have the same powers in the way of advertising."
But it has not proved either sufficient or satisfactory. In, therefore, asking the favourable consideration of the House for this Bill, let me express the hope that the Government will afford the necessary facilities for its speedy passage into law as expressed in the requisition signed by 175 hon. Members of this House, and presented to the President of the Local Government Board.
In rising to second the Motion for the Second Reading of the Bill moved by the hon. Member opposite, I should like to assure the House that I am perfectly disinterested and impartial in this matter, because the city which I have the privilege to represent in this House has enjoyed so long a pre-eminent position for its hydropathic establishments in the world that it has no need for advertisement and adventitious aids. But there are less fortunate communities which consider, as I think with great reason, that if the power proposed in this Bill were conferred upon them, the power of advertising not merely in England, but in some cases abroad, the amenities and advantages of their respective localities, they would increase to a very considerable extent the number of annual visitors to those localities and consequently their own material prosperity. I know there are sceptics who doubt the use of advertisement in any shape or form and who regard money spent, especially by public bodies, on advertisement as so much money wasted. I think that argument can be met, and, if I may say so, squashed once and for all. Let me take, in the first place, the instance of Switzerland. Switzerland exists for the tourist and lives by the tourist, and that cardinal fact is recognised to the full by the Swiss Government, who annually spend very large sums of money in advertising the amenities of Switzerland throughout the length and breadth of Europe, with the result that they reap a very large harvest indeed from that expenditure in the shape of hundreds and thousands of English and German, Italian, and people of all nationalities who flock to Switzerland in summer to indulge in the very perilous pastime of gathering edelweiss, and who flock there in winter to indulge in the still more questionable and still more uncomfortable delights of winter sports.But to come nearer home. Take the case of the Great Western Railway, which is a very remarkable case. They have by advertisement of what they themselves have called the "Cornish Riviera" beguiled a very large number of the more guileless of my fellow countrymen into believing that they will find among the fishing villages on the Cornish coast perennial sun, sumptuous casinos, with their attendant pleasures, turquoise blue seas, luxurious cooking and other delights, which I dare not name to the House, but which hon. Members opposite always associate with their Easter holidays; and they have been so successful that they are able to run a train de luxe, the Cornish Riveria express, down to the coast daily. I offer that as a striking example of the value and use of advertisement. I do not think it is possible to find, if I wanted to find, a stronger instance than the instance of Messrs. Thomas Cook and Son, who annually induce a very large number of those highly cultured people who live on the slopes of Hampstead and Brixton Rise to go, at considerable inconvenience and considerable expense, to Amiens, Rouen, and Chartres to study Gothic architecture, and to visit the Chateaux on the Loire and the birthplace of William the Conqueror at Falaux, when, owing to these people's ignorance, due to the want of advertisement and enterprise on our part they never take the trouble to visit examples of English Gothic architecture equally fine, or to visit historic sights, equally interesting, to be found nearer home. I think from the point of view of home attractions I may claim to have made my case. If we come down to the position of the municipalities, not only is there a very general desire now to avail themselves of the proposed powers, but a very large number of municipalities, as the hon. Member opposite remarked, already do exercise these powers to a limited extent under what I venture to think are absurd restrictions. If you were to think what municipalities or towns were most progressive or go ahead in England at the present moment, you would at once think of towns—I leave out my own Constituency, of course—like Buxton, Blackpool, Brighton, and Hove, Margate, and Dunoon. All those places do enjoy a certain power of advertisement, but a power which is hampered and confined by very absurd restrictions. I should like at once to meet what I believe to be the one argument which contains any force at all against the proposals in this Bill. I have read with great care and attention the account of the deputation which waited on the late President of the Local Government Board and the various discussions that have taken place in some of the town councils on this question, and I find there is one argument, and one alone, worthy of the consideration of the House, and that argument is, that if you confer these powers upon the municipalities you will be encouraging unworthy rivalry. In itself, of course, that would be a serious matter if these towns who wish to have these powers conferred upon them really thought that they were being prejudiced and affected by other English health resorts and watering places. But that is not the case. The big health resorts and watering places do not want to attract visitors and tourists from one another, but they want to check and stem, and staunch, that annual flow of people seeking relaxation and pleasure across the Channel at different times of the year. We find that huge sums of money are spent by people on the holidays, when they spend more profusely and generously than at any other periods, going abroad to enrich French hotel-keepers and German shopkeepers, and incidentally to fill the national exchequer of those neighbouring countries. I suggest that in a rivalry between English watering places and foreign watering places, the English watering places ought to be put on a footing of equality and be enabled to compete fairly with the foreigners who, as everyone knows, perpetually advertise their wares to a very great extent indeed. I would remind the House this is not a case like the competition of armaments between two great nations in which there is unlimited power of spending money on one side in order to defeat the other side, because this Bill and those who framed it have taken this argument into very careful consideration, and in order to prevent any form of extravagance, they have put a definite limit of a one-penny rate on the amount of money that may be spent in advertisement. I should like to say one word about the absurd restrictions under which places like Blackpool, Buxton, Brighton and other places are suffering. In many places they are only allowed to spend, for the very laudable purpose of self-advertisement, what they derive in profits from the letting of their chairs, or baths. I call attention to the absurdity of such a position as that. What does it mean? It means that these places, which have relaxing climates and get the largest numbers of invalids and decrepit people, who need chairs and baths, are accorded greater freedom in advertisement and allowed a larger sum of money to advertise their less reputable wares at the expense of these healthier resorts which have bracing climates and attract a more athletic race than those who are content with chairs and baths. I suggest that in the interests of general public health that in itself is an absurd and ridiculous restriction. If you are going to have advertising at all, let us have it frankly acknowledged by the Legislature, and let us have it put into order. Instances have occurred in which municipal treasurers have been induced to exercise their ingenuity in order to devise subterfuges by which this absence of the power to spend money on advertisement may be circumvented, and I think that is an undesirable feature of local government. But I rest my claim for the consideration of this Bill on far wider and more general grounds. The municipalities of the country have spoken with no uncertain voice in this matter, and if they desire to have this power in the interests of their ratepayers, they are entitled to have it. This power is optional and permissive. There is nothing compulsory about it, and I believe it will be exercised with great wisdom, and it will only be brought into force by those municipalities who, acting on behalf and as the representatives of the ratepayers who elect them, consider that it is good business from the point of view of those ratepayers. I know that the Front Bench opposite regard local authorities with a great deal of suspicion, but I think this is a small power in regard to which they are certainly entitled to be given a limited responsibility, and this Bill does not propose to do more than that. I call the attention of the House to the very modest and unpretentious scope of the Bill itself. This measure is supported by members of all nationalities and all parties, and we are simply asking for a power to be conferred upon English municipalities which has already been conferred upon Irish municipalities. I would remind the House that this Bill has been introduced with the sanction and the unanimous approval of two of the most important bodies concerned, namely, the body represented by the hon. Member opposite, the Association of Urban District Councils, and that equally important body, the Association of Municipal Corporations.
It may be advisable that I should at once state the view which I desire to lay before the House on this Bill. If there were one thing more than another that would be likely to commend this Bill, it would be the fact that it has been introduced by the hon. Member for Derby (Sir T. Roe), and that this is the first occasion on which he has asked the House to sanction a legislative measure. I do not think, however, that the considerations on the other side have been considered by hon. Members who so-readily have approved of this Bill, or by the very numerous local authorities which have given their support to its principle. As some one must play the part of advocatus diaboli—although I have no-doubt the hon Baronet, the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), will play his accustomed rôle in that capacity—I should like to lay before the House, in order that they may be present to hon. Members who take part in this Debate, some considerations which appear to me exceedingly cogent, and to which public attention has hitherto hardly been called at all. Let me first point out what has been the history of this matter. In the year 1879 the Corporation of Blackpool came to Parliament and obtained powers to spend as much as a twopenny rate on advertising Blackpool. In the following years there were, I believe, one or two similar cases, but they were not of very great importance.Ever since 1884 Committees of the House of Commons have steadily refused to sanction such powers to any corporation or local authority. In 1909 Parliament passed a Bill giving such rights to health and pleasure resorts in Ireland. In 1912 Brighton came forward with a similar proposal, and Parliament allowed the Corporation of Brighton to spend any sums which might be derived from the profits from the letting of chairs or selling programmes upon advertising Brighton. In 1913 similar powers were given to Aberystwyth, Hove, and South-port, and that is about as far as the matter has gone. This year similar powers were applied for from St. Anne's-on-Sea, Weymouth, York, and Porthcawl. The position then is that Parliament has refused to grant the power to levy a rate for advertising, except to Blackpool and, perhaps, one or two other places; while, comparatively recently, powers have been given in the case of three or four authorities to spend on advertising the profit derived by the sale of programmes and the letting of chairs at their concerts. Each local authority when it considers this matter from its own point of view is naturally disposed to consider its own case in isolation. The people of Yarmouth naturally think if Yarmouth were advertised more freely than now more people would come to Yarmouth. The people of Lowestoft think that if Lowestoft were advertised more freely more people would come there, and the people of Whitby, Scarborough, and other localities think the same. In any of these localities, whenever the question is asked, "Would it not be a good thing to advertise our town?" naturally the reply is, "Yes, it would be," and each town considers its own case in isolation. If every town were in competition with every other town in advertising its attractions, and if they were equally able to advertise their attractions, the result would be that they would be left in the same position as now. [HON. MEMBERS: "No., no."] That, as a matter of fact, would occur except in the relations between the smaller towns and the larger ones. Let us imagine this Bill passed into law, and I have little doubt the House of Commons will give it a Second Reading. Hitherto the opposition has gone by default, and hon. Members have come down to the House willing to vote for this Bill, having heard only the arguments in favour of it and not against it. Let us imagine this Bill in operation, and what will occur? Take the south coast of England. Suppose, for example, Bexhill levies a penny rate to advertise Bexhill. Immediately the other towns in keen competition with that town, such as Bognor, will say, "Bexhill is advertising, and we must advertise," and they will be obliged to levy a penny rate. Then, when the larger towns see these smaller localities advertising, they will say, "These places are advertising against us, and we must advertise against them." Then Eastbourne, St. Leonards, and Hastings will come forward and spend their penny rate in competitive advertising. Brighton, with its £1,000,000 rate-able value, will come forward and say, "Here are all the newspapers full of advertisements for St. Leonards, Eastbourne, and other localities, and therefore we must levy our penny rate."
What about Saltburn?
The hon. Member for Derby and others say there is no compulsion in this Bill—that it is an entirely optional measure—that the matter will be within the discretion of the localities, and that unless the town-council wishes to levy this rate and to-spend this money it will not do so. I submit to the House that is not a proper representation of the facts. We all of us know how keen the competition of one health resort against another is, and once this system begins there will be no option about it. Every locality will be compelled in self-defence to spend up to the maximum that is allowed by the Act, not in-order to improve its position, but in order to preserve its position. When recently I was in the United States, I happened to come across some of the magazines of the Western country, and they are filled with competitive advertisements, page-after page, of attractions of the various counties of the West. Here is one of these magazines, and on this page at which I happen to open it I see advertised "'Sunny Stanislaus." We are told that 136 per cent. may be earned by farming in that county, and that it is "the kingdom of the small farmer." They urge, "Write to us at once. Address: Secretary, Stanislaus County Board of Trade, Modesto, California." Then on the next page there is an advertisement of Monterey County, California, and so on. Page after page of this magazine is filled with advertisements in keen competition-with one another, and no county can stop putting them in these newspapers and magazines.
May I ask if in the States they are limited in the amount they may spend on advertisements or if they can spend an unlimited amount?
I cannot say. Some of these advertisements are inserted by the Board of Trade, which we should call the Chamber of Commerce. The funds are raised voluntarily. Others are inserted by the Board of Supervisors, and in others again the only reference given is that application should be made to the County Court. The fact remains that once this system of competitive advertising begins, and if it is encouraged, you cannot stop it. It is precisely like the competition in armaments. One nation says, "If only we had two more battleships our power would be enormously increased." They build two battleships, and straightaway the neighbouring nations say that because such and such a country has built these battleships they must build too, and in the course of a few years the relative positions of the various countries is the same, and all of them are wasting vast sums of money with no result. If Parliament enabled local authorities to spend their money on competitive advertisements, I venture to say that in five years from now they would all find themselves compelled to spend their penny rates, and not one of them would be able to stop doing it for fear of the rivalry of its neighbours. You would find public opinion in these localities saying, "Why did Parliament ever launch us on this career of competitive advertising? What an unfortunate thing it was that in the year 1914 foresight did not lead the House of Commons to say, 'we will not encourage these localities to spend their money in this fashion.'"
May I say that if the right hon. Gentleman will move the rejection of the Bill, I will second it.
I do not think that duty devolves upon me. I am sure it will be performed with his customary skill and effectiveness by the hon. Baronet. Next it would be found that in the smaller localities the penny rate would be quite inadequate. The smaller the place the less the sum that would be at its disposal. There are many places which would have a sum at their disposal of only £50 or £60. I gave the illustration of Bexhill, which would have £500 to spend. Hastings would have £1,750, Eastbourne £1,850, and Brighton £3,650, whilst Littlehampton would have to struggle along on an expenditure of £200.
How would Saltburn come out?
I have no information with regard to Saltburn and Redcar, although I dare say their views may be in favour of this Bill, but they are places of such great natural charm that I should hardly think it would be necessary for them to advertise. It would be very soon found that these sums were inadequate. I already notice in some newspaper articles indications of this. The Mayor of Yarmouth, for instance, expresses the opinion that a penny rate is quite inadequate, and strongly supports the Bill. This advertising, he says, would be of the greatest value in Yarmouth, but a penny rate is quite inadequate for the purpose, and the town should press for a considerably larger sum. I was speaking just now of effect on the smaller towns, and to my mind it would be positively disastrous that with these little torpedo boats, so to speak, at their disposal, they should come into competition with the big battleships of the large health resorts.
The right hon. Gentleman must not forget that their charm is that they are so small.
Then why advertise? If the hon. Member says their smallness is a virtue, and if he does not want large numbers of visitors to come to these places, why, then, leave them alone. This Bill would almost make it impossible for new health resorts, places that are just coming into existence, with perhaps only a single hotel, to struggle into existence at all. It is hard enough now for them gradually to collect a body of people who come there year after year, but if in their earlier struggles they are to be met with the constant competitive advertisements of the large health resorts, then their position will be far more difficult than it is now. Furthermore, is it possible to limit this advertising to health resorts and pleasure towns, as is proposed in the Bill? I find that in the Ellesmere Port and Whitby Urban Council Bill, a private Bill introduced this year, there is a Clause to this effect:—
The Bristol Corporation, in their Bill of this year, have introduced this Clause:—"The council may apply any moneys received under this part of the Act towards payment of the cost of advertising the advantages of the district as a manufacturing centre, and also sites for factories and works by handbooks or leaflets, or by the insertion of advertisements in newspapers, or otherwise, as they may see fit."
"The corporation may pay or contribute towards the cost of advertising and making more generally known the advantages of the city and port of Bristol, and may apply for that purpose the borough fund and borough rate, and the dock revenue, in such proportions as the council may from time to time determine."
Is the Local Government Board opposing that Clause in the Bristol Bill?
I believe the Ellesmere Clause has already been cut out by the Committee. The Bristol Clause still has to be considered, but the Local Government Board certainly will not support it. No doubt, great benefit would be obtained by these two places through advertising their advantages for commercial and manufacturing purposes, but if "very town in the country advertises its advantages for factories, or the advantages of its ports for traders, you would have a vast expenditure upon these purposes, and, in the end, no result achieved. You cannot consider any particular case in isolation. What is good for one is good for all, and what is done by one will be done, and must be done, by all, once you set this competition going.
What about Blackpool?
The only advantage will be to the Press, which will receive a great revenue from advertisements, and to the poster industry, which will also be considerably aided. If we take health resorts alone, a penny rate would bring in about £50,000 a year, to be spent in advertising for the larger towns. I have not gone into the amount for all towns, but for the fifty larger ones the rate would bring in £50,000 a year, an average of £1,000 each. But then the average is misleading, because, in some cases, the yield will be two or three times as much, and in the smaller towns, it will be very much less. £50,000 would be spent for a limited number of health resorts; but, if you extend it to the general advantages of towns, as I think you must, for the purposes of manufacturing, and the establishment of industry, and of ports for the purpose of commerce, of course, the sum to be spent will be very much larger. Therefore, I have not the smallest doubt that to-morrow I shall be indignantly denounced by the Press as standing in the way of a most desirable and necessary improvement, and as showing a degree of obscurantist opposition to a most desirable reform, which the Liberal papers will say should not be expected from a Liberal Minister, and which the Conservative papers will say can only be expected from a Liberal Minister. That leaves me quite unmoved. I suggest that, if at all, these funds should be provided by hotel keepers, and by boarding-house keepers—by the persons who let apartments and who will reap the benefit from it. You should not impose the charge upon the ratepayers of these localities, many of whom do not desire to have their places advertised, but all of whom would be compelled to support it in the interests of the town, for the sake of local patriotism, as soon as its neighbours began to advertise their rival health resorts.I believe that these localities would do far better in competition with foreign places to spend the penny rate on improving their towns, on providing better amusements, better concert halls and theatres, better opportunities for bathing and games, more commodious and attractive shelters on their sea-fronts, and so forth. People go to places abroad, not because places abroad advertise in English papers, but because they prefer foreign places, when they get there. They like foreign places because they are brighter, more attractive, have better music, and very frequently the weather is more reliable. No amount of advertising will get over these facts. What the local authorities can do in order to make headway in competition with foreign resorts is to spend their money in making their places as bright, attractive, amusing, and as agreeable as they can, and so much money as is diverted from these purposes and devoted to competitive advertising is money which, in my view, is wrongly expended. These are the considerations which I would lay before the House. I anticipate that they will meet with exceedingly little approval, because most of the Members who are here have been requested by the municipalities and health resorts in their constituencies to support this Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] Well, many of them have been. Hitherto the question has, to a large extent, been allowed to go by default. I am obliged to admit the position is to some extent prejudiced by the action of Parliament in the past, giving certain powers thirty years ago to Blackpool, and, more recently, to Ireland. Therefore I cannot give to this Bill the strong opposition which I would do if the case were open and had not been to some extent prejudiced by these precedents. But I cannot refrain from expressing my view that it would have an unfortunate result if the provisions which have regrettably been allowed in these eases were to become universal, and, for my own part, I cannot see my way to give the measure now before the House any support.
I always try to be perfectly frank with the House of Commons, and I hope I shall be so to-day. I cannot claim to be disinterested in this matter of legislation. I cannot claim to be without prejudice and partial affection. At the same time there are occasions when private profit and public expediency go together, and I venture to think that after the speech which we have just had from the President of the Local Government Board it is well to recall to the House for a moment the conditions of modern business. His speech has been what "Punch" used to call a "Prehistoric Peep." He seems to imagine that advertisement is undertaken by private firms and public corporations solely for the benefit of the newspaper proprietors. Why advertisement, I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman, is the soul and essence of modern business. If the newspaper Press or hoardings are used for the purpose of advertisement it is in order that trade and business may be extended among all sorts and conditions of people. The President of the Local Government Board said that if all the towns in the country were to advertise one against the other the result would be just the same, and he used the unhappy illustration of the competition in armaments. The competition in armaments, everybody admits, whatever its necessity is essentially wasteful; at the end of it the money might as well have been poured into the sea. I am not going to deal in detail with the justification for it. But in regard to the advertisements of towns whatever their purpose new business is created, a new demand for labour, new profits, and a new wage fund. The right hon. Gentleman spoke with bated breath of an expenditure of £50,000 by the watering places of the country. Why there are private firms which think nothing of that for their own single contract! The result of course is, when these towns advertise, to increase the business that they in common enjoy. Their trade and traffic is in visitors and tourists, and the whole of the people of the health resorts live upon their tourist traffic. It is not only the hotel keeper and those who keep boarding houses. The right hon. Gentleman recommended that they should be the only people upon whom such an expenditure should fall, but there is hardly a person living in a health resort who does not, directly or indirectly, benefit from the increase in the traffic on which the town lives.He does not understand either that the conditions under which advertising takes place have entirely altered in recent days. It is done not in competition, but in conference. A great federation has been formed of the whole of the health resorts of the country. They have appointed a committee to take into consideration what shall be the common enterprise, to which; their funds shall be devoted. Therefore the idea that the big town will smother the small town, and that the whole of the rate of such a place as Brighton will be used to compete in advertising with towns of smaller rateable value which are also at the same game, is not justified in the least by what we know to be the facts of the case. Let me point out to the right hon. Gentleman that towns derive an actual profit from the proceeds of their advertising. He seems to think that it is sufficient to provide attractions and do nothing more, but what is the good, in these days, of spending the money upon increasing the recreations and enlarging the amenities of any particular place unless they are made known to the public? I will take the familiar case of Margate. Margate actually makes a profit out of its amusements, and has been able to relieve the ratepayers of no less than 4d. in the £ by what it derives from spending money on giving those who go to that seaside place the sort of enjoyment they seek. The right hon. Gentleman will say that Margate has no special powers under Statute. No, but they complain that they are now debarred from using powers that have been given in other cases, and that their resources are crippled from the want of the very prerogative that this Bill seeks to confer. The right hon. Gentleman knows that it is hoped to attract a certain amount of actual traffic from abroad. I believe that for every twenty people who go abroad to seek their pleasure during the holiday season, only one foreigner comes to this country. It is hoped by judicious publicity, not only here but also abroad, to bring something like an equivalent number from foreign parts here to spend their money and to enjoy their holidays. 1.0 P.M. My Noble Friend (Lord Alexander Thynne), who made such a very clear and excellent speech in seconding the Bill, pointed to the example of what Switzerland has done to attract tourists. Switzerland does not stand alone. Italy, who owns its own railways, also spends large sums for the same purpose. In fact, there is hardly a foreign country where the national Government does not participate in expenditure of this sort. The paradox is that in this country, where the art and science of advertisement are very much better understood than they are in any foreign country, local authorities are prevented by our action from enjoying the same opportunities and exercising the same powers. For these reasons, in order to give our towns a fair chance against foreign competition, it is right and proper that the powers proposed by this Bill should be conferred upon them. I cannot understand how the right hon. Gentleman thinks that any injury can be inflicted upon any community by giving it the liberty of expenditure which it seeks in this way. The local authorities are elected not for life, but for a certain term of years. If they are extravagant in the expenditure for such a purpose as this, they will be called to account by the ratepayers, and a ratepayers' meeting will soon decide whether the expenditure has been justified or not. The proof lies in the statistics—I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that they are carefully kept—in the number of visitors that the town attracts, and in the amount of money which is retained by those who live in the town out of what is brought into it. Supposing the result is unsatisfactory, then the expenditure would be discontinued. The right hon. Gentleman made a most unhappy citation from an American magazine. If there is one country in the world that knows what advertising means, it is the United States, and if they have set an example in the matter it is pretty sure to be a good one. [HON. MEMBERS: "Question!"] He was wrong in his facts, because in most cases that expenditure is undertaken by boards of trade and not by any public authority. The difficulty is that whereas the boards of trade in America are able to draw upon the business resources of the whole State or, at least, of the country with the affairs of which they deal, in this country the board of trade or chamber of commerce in the particular town has only a limited number of members, and although the town itself wishes to participate, it is not allowed to do so. I have no hesitation in saying, with no narrow or insular prejudice, that it would be a good deal better for all sorts and conditions of people if they were to spend more of their holidays at home enjoying the amenities of their own holiday resorts. I am not sure it would not be better for Members of this House who appear to spend a good deal of their holidays in the South of France. We know that the "South of France" is a euphemistic term for Monte Carlo. If the money which is spent at Monte Carlo and other places of that sort were spent on the amusements of our watering places, probably not only those who enjoy them would be benefited in health and vitality, but the ratepayers also in the particular towns would have the same relief which is now given in the example I quoted, and the local burdens would be considerably lightened. There is one place in the country that is able to do without rates through possessing a great centre of sport. I believe it would be possible, in many watering places of the country, largely to diminish the demand note and largely to decrease local expenditure if they were able to advertise their attractions in the way that is made possible under this Bill. What we ask is simply that the voice of the people shall prevail. How a Member belonging to this Government can come down to this House to-day and seek to prevent the people exercising their will in a small and simple matter of this kind, with every safeguard that the general law imposes, I do not understand. The right hon. Gentleman has been the head of a great business Department, and I am sure he knows, from his Post Office experience, the value of organised publicity. It is only under due restrictions that we ask the House to assent to this Bill, and, having made my confession of personal interest, which I do not think debars me from speaking or voting according to the Rules of the House, I earnestly commend this Bill to its support.
As a warm and hearty supporter of this measure, I should like to commence by offering my thanks to my hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Sir Thomas Roe) for having made such excellent use of his success in the ballot by introducing this Bill. If one may be allowed to say so, his wonderful vitality and vigour are in themselves a standing advertisement of the House of Commons as a health resort. I should like to say a few words with regard to the very extraordinary speech which fell from the President of the Local Government Board. As an ardent admirer of my right hon. Friend's great talents, I confess that I listened to his speech with the greatest dismay, because I have never heard a more hopelessly out-of-date or obscurantist speech. I would advise him to leave a speech of that character to the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), and I can assure him that the hon. Baronet does it much better, and is always ready to do it on every occasion. I hope we shall not have in future any more speeches of that kind coming from the Treasury Bench. But as a supporter of the Bill I listened with great pleasure to the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. Harry Lawson) and I listened with the greater pleasure because there were occasional flashes of his earlier and more liberal manner.In the history which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Herbert Samuel) gave with regard to the Bill he mentioned two very significant facts. He said that very many years ago Blackpool secured the advantage of spending money in advertising the attractions of the town. We see now in modern Blackpool what advertisement can do to help seaside places to advertise their attractions. Blackpool is almost painfully full during August and September, and ever since it started advertising it has gone forward by leaps and bounds. Then the right hon. Gentleman mentioned that at present seaside places are limited in their expenditure. Certain places are allowed to spend money in advertising, but they are only allowed to spend it where the proceeds come from the sales of programmes and the letting of chairs. What a ridiculous restriction is that. These chairs are let and programmes sold at open-air concerts. Supposing you had a very wet summer when concerts were not very successful, when very few chairs were let and very few programmes sold, the money available during the next season for advertising would be very much restricted. If ever advertising was necessary it would be necessary during the next year in order to try and recoup the loss which had been made during the bad summer. Then the right hon. Gentleman drew a very dismal picture of some places being spoilt by over advertising, and quiet places being ruined by attracting a large number of visitors. I think he said there were some places which would advertise and which would find that the advertising did not very much benefit them. Members of these local bodies are, after all, business men, and they are responsible to the ratepayers who elect them to these councils and it is not very likely the council will spend money against the wish of the ratepayers in such advertisements. I could not help feeling all through the right hon. Member's speech there ran the theory, which I think is too prevalent in the Local Government Board, that all foresight and business common sense is to be found in Whitehall or closely adjacent to it, and that these popularly elected bodies cannot be depended upon to manage with discretion and foresight the business of their locality. This Bill is supported by two very powerful associations, the Urban District Councils Association and the Association of Municipal Corporations. They have supported this measure on previous occasions and have passed resolutions in favour of it for many years. Many chambers of commerce connected with these health resorts and watering places have passed resolutions strongly in favour of the Bill I had the honour of representing in this House for four years the Isle of Wight. There the visitors are a matter of the most vital concern to the island, and there is hardly a single elector who is not strongly in favour of this measure in the Isle of Wight. The hon. Member opposite who now represents the Isle of Wight is a warm supporter of the Bill, and a large section of my Constituents in North-West Devon are very much interested in attracting visitors. They all strongly support the Bill. Some time ago an advertising association was got up in order to try and advertise the attractions of the Isle of Wight as a pleasure resort. That association was well supported for a certain time by a section of the population, and they spent money to very great advantage and attracted a very large number of visitors. But after a time it was felt that it was unfair that the whole cost of this advertising should fall upon a few generous individuals who were ready to spend their money, and it was felt that where visitors were attracted, and where their presence greatly helped the whole community, it was only wise and right that the whole community should be made to contribute to that expenditure. We have been told that a very large expenditure will have to be met under the Bill. The Bill is severely limited. It limits the expenditure to a penny rate, and I ask the House under all these conditions, and remembering how vital is the interest of attracting visitors to a large number of health resorts and watering places, and having regard to the almost unanimous wish of the district councils in all these important localities, to read the Bill a second time by a large majority.
My hon. Friend (Mr. Harry Lawson) told us that one firm often spends £50,000 in advertising some particular branch of its industry. No doubt that is quite true. They very often, no doubt, spend a great deal more, but why do they do it? In order to take business away from their rivals, and in order to sell their particular article in competition with other makers of that article in this country. Exactly the same sort of thing would result if the Isle of Wight advertised against Brighton, or Brighton advertised against Blackpool. One or the other would take the visitors which, without the advertisement, would probably have been spread over them both. You cannot get more than a certain number of people to travel. You might induce a certain number of English people who are in the habit of going abroad to stay in England, but I do not believe that. I believe there is a very great charm in being able to say to your friend, "I spent my holidays abroad; you only spent them at Blackpool," or some kind of place like that or even the Isle of Wight. However much advertisement is given to English places, it will not counteract that charm. I am often asked, "Where did you go during the Recess?" I said, "I remained in England. I have not been out of England since 1873." I am looked on as an extraordinary phenomenon, with whom it is not worth discussing the question any more. I think I am confirmed in my belief that, however much you may advertise a place, you will not induce people who go abroad to remain in England. Then there comes the question whether you are going to get foreigners to come over to England. I doubt very much whether that is going to be so, and at any rate where the locality has only a limited rate it will not be able to spend very large sums of money in advertising in foreign papers. My hon. Friend also said that the idea that in Brighton, with its rateable value of £1,000,000, and therefore with a very much larger sum to spend, a penny rate would not matter, because there would be some sort of trade union entered into between various health resorts and watering places that they should not interfere one with the other. I accept that coming from my hon. Friend, but I did not know it.
I did not say "interfere," but there would be a committee to arrange for common enterprise and an agreed scale.
How long would that last? When it is found that Brighton is spending a considerable amount of money on advertising and getting no benefit, would not the argument be immediately advanced that this is an age of advertising, and you must advertise largely? Perhaps it will be said there is some sort of agreement. Then says Brighton, "We cannot submit to an agreement which takes away from us the advantage that we have of being able to advertise very largely," and perhaps taking a whole page in the paper which my hon. Friend represents so well, to the advantage of my hon. Friend but to the disadvantage of the locality. May I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on having made a very sound speech on the subject of individualism? I gather that there is still hope for the right hon. Gentleman and for the party he represents. If many more speeches of that kind are made from that Front Bench, I shall be under the painful necessity of sitting behind him, for he has in this case expressed my own opinion on the matter. May I put forward what seems to me a very plain and common-sense view upon this matter? First of all, with regard to the advantages which these localities will gain, I have dealt to a certain extent with that, but may I point out that at the present moment there is as to these health resorts and watering-places no definition in the Bill of what is the nature of a watering place. I do not see the hon. Member for Lincoln in his place, but if he were here, I would ask him whether a watering place is one of the places to which he goes. If it is, I presume that the attractions would not be water only. However that may be, may I point out that already there are very large advertisements inserted in the newspapers in what I shall call praise of these various localities. My hon. Friend is a man distinguished for his sound common sense, and he represents a health resort, if I may call it so. He pointed out that Skegness has been made by adver- tisements, and he pictured the gentleman in a bath chair with gout who, after he has arrived on the sands at Skegness, gets out of the bath chair and puts the attendant into it. Quite so, but who put that advertisement in? The Great Northern Railway Company, in their desire to do good, have out of their own pocket, made Skegness a most successful watering place in that locality. Why should the people of Skegness put their hands into their own pockets, in order to spend money advertising the place when the Great Northern Railway Company are prepared to do it for them? It appears to me absolutely absurd that such a course should be taken.Let me point out, also, that the locality as a whole would not benefit, even if advertisements were published and were successful. The right hon. Gentleman said that the people who really would benefit would be hotel proprietors, lodging-house keepers, tradesmen, and possibly the ground landlord, but, if he had any of the "loot," I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Members opposite would oppose any benefit to him. These are the only people who would benefit by it. What about retired Civil servants, retired tradesmen, or retired business men, who go to a place in order to take a house for, say, fourteen years, and who have to pay rent. In very many cases he is not a man of very great means, and he has to look about to see how he is going to live, and what his expenses will be. He finds that the rates are so-and-so, and he says, "This is a quiet place, and I can make both ends meet if I go and live there." But some enterprising mayor who, it may be, has got an hotel, thinks he would like the ratepayers' money to advertise his own business, and he does so, with the result that the retired man has to pay increased rates in respect of the advertising which is successful. If that ratepayer takes a stroll along the sea front he is confronted with a noisy and howling mob, and he certainly is not benefited in any way. If the business people in any particular locality want to advertise their trade and improve it, why should they not do as the Great Northern Railway Company does—pay for it out of their own pocket? You do not find the railway companies coming down here and saying, "We ought to have our facilities advertised, and the expense provided for by the public." If they advertise the different localities through which they run, they do it for themselves.
They have got a monopoly.
If my hon. Friend thinks that, he must have been asleep during the last ten or twenty years. What about electric trams? What about municipally-aided trams? What about motor omnibuses? I think if my hon. Friend goes to the Great Eastern Railway, he will find that they have not anything at all approaching a monopoly. Perhaps my hon. Friend will assist us to obtain one, in which case I shall be very much obliged to him. I do not say that there is very much harm in it, but this is one of the foolish little Bills in respect of which, as the hon. Baronet said, a town clerk writes and asks a Member to support it. I find that when a town clerk writes to ask us to support a Bill we ought to do the reverse, because he has not taken a broad view of the Bill in question. He thinks it will do something to improve his town, or to give more power and influence to the municipality he represents, and he is, therefore, most anxious that the Bill should pass. I do not agree with him in that way. Neither do I agree with the hon. Member who thinks that because the House of Commons, in a moment of insanity, allowed Ireland this; privilege—(An HON. MEMBER: "That is the culprit.") I suppose the hon. Member is going to support this Bill. I do not think that we must consider Ireland at present, because all sorts of strange legislation is always allowed to Ireland, and the only result of it is that Ireland docs not want to remain in this Parliament. Therefore, I think that the case of Ireland in this matter is an extremely bad illustration. I hope that after the very masterly speech of the President of the Local Government Board we shall hear no more of this Bill, and all I can say is that, if he will allow me, I tender to him my respectful thanks for his most excellent speech. As he would not move the rejection of the Bill, a proposal which I would have been glad to second, may I ask him if ho will tell against it?
I have not been sent here by any town clerk to plead for or against this Bill. I do not suppose that the seaside places in my Constituency will ever avail themselves of what is proposed to be authorised by the Bill. I am very much connected with an association which has for its object the federating of the seaside resorts of this country. I do not support this Bill from the point of view of my Constituency, but simply because I think that it is a good thing for this country. This federation which has been referred to by the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Harry Lawson) is a federation of large and small resorts, and represents a rateable value of something like £11,000,000. I come here to ask on behalf of that federation that they may have this small facility. They recognise the value of advertising. Whatever may be said about jealousy I think that any such idea is swept away by the fact that you have these large and small resorts all acting together in this matter. We have now got six or seven advertising boards in this country federated together for the purpose of advertising resorts in various districts, including South Wales, North Devon, and Cumberland. All these people do not advertise for the sake of benefiting newspapers, poster printers, and paper makers. They know very well as business men that there is value got for the money spent. What business man today does not know the value of advertising? He does not do it for the fun of the thing, but he knows that he will get back a great deal more than he spends by advertising, as long as he does it judiciously and well. Of course he must know how to go about it. It is no good advertising once in three or four weeks. It must be done regularly and with judgment.This Bill simply asks that these business men in these municipalities should have the power, if they like, to spend a rate of up to 1d. in advertising their districts. It is a very small thing to ask the House of Commons to do. These men are quite as good business men as the House of Commons and know what they want for their localities better than this House does. I was surprised to hear the hon. Baronet say something with regard to foreign travellers. One of the objects of the federation is to do something to attract the foreign traveller to this country, and we desire to have this small power to spend some of the money levied by municipalities upon advertisement abroad. You give power at present to the various municipalities to provide various attractions. Margate has spent £65,000 on certain attractions, and, having done, that, is not allowed to advertise on the Continent or anywhere else. The argument brought forward against this Bill in this House is so trivial that it is really not worth considering. I was surprised to hear the President of the Local Government Board say that he has not read some of the literature which my society has been sending out. Another matter of great importance is that I want to guard the health of the people. People at present are crowded together in these holiday resorts in August and September. We want to give these different places power to make known that they will get better value in May, June, and July. I am told that in Blackpool a pound in June goes further than thirty shillings in August, and it would be to the general advantage to have the holidays spread over a large portion of the year in these seaside resorts. They cannot do that without advertisement. I am not representing these seaside resorts, but as a business man, I am trying to do what is best for the country. Personally I would enable a rate of twopence to be levied for this purpose, because I think that we should get better value for it; but we are only asking now for power to spend a penny, and I hope that the House of Commons will be with us in desiring to grant this facility.
I rise to support the Second Reading of this Bill. The hon. Baronet (Sir Frederick Banbury), after 41 years' of study and thought in England, has come to the conclusion that he can get a free advertisement, which apparently he has done this morning, in the House of Commons, by talking about a certain railway. On that point alone I agree with him. I have not been asked by the municipal authorities of my Constituency to speak of that constituency as a health resort, and therefore I am entirely a free agent. We have heard a certain amount about competition. I think that competition is a very good thing when carried to a certain extent, and you cannot expect to carry competition very far if you limit the rate to a penny. You will find that the towns will not advertise unless they are paid for their advertisement. It stands to reason that the reason people flock abroad is because the municipal authorities abroad elect to advertise their places as health resorts and places of amusement. A very good instance in point is the Avonmouth Docks at Bristol, where they could not let their berths, because they did not properly advertise them. If they properly advertised them, they would then have been able to compete with Liverpool and elsewhere. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that the expenditure of the rate should be met by a general rate out of the private pockets of the hotel-keepers, the shopkeepers, and the tradesmen of the place. I am now going to advance a very line Radical argument: Why should these people be the only ones to pay the rates? When the wicked landlord receives all the profit, why should not he, too, have to pay? The right hon. Gentleman the worthy Baronet seems to be always trying to Pun in double harness where cases of municipal reform are concerned, and the poor coachman who elects to bring in a Bill to help municipal reform will find that he has a team of very bad jibbers to drive.
I am sure that the congratulations which have been offered to our worthy colleague who represents Derby (Sir Thomas Roe) are only tinged with one regret. That is the allusion which he made, in introducing this Bill, that that might be the last effort which he would make as a Member of this House to appeal for support. We are met to-day to consider a Bill which has been before the House for many years, and I am asked to voice the appeal of the Association of Municipal Corporations to pass this Bill. I have only to mention the fact that these municipal corporations, associated together, represent over 18,000,000 of people, and I may go so far as to say that every town in England and Wales with a population of over 5,000 is found included in the list of the association which to-day I represent. In looking at the number of towns composing that list I find that there are seventy-five with a population of under 10,000; sixty-seven with a population of over 10,000 and under 25,000; sixty-two with a population of between 25,000 and 50,000; fifty-one towns with a population of over 50,000 and up to 100,000; twenty-four towns with a population of between 100,000 and 200,000; and nineteen of the largest cities in the country each with a population of over 200,000. Representatives of these important cities and towns have carefully considered for years the policy which is provided for in this Bill, and they formally, on the 19th of March last, adopted a resolution asking the House to support this Bill which has now been introduced by my hon. Friend. Further, on behalf of the Non-County Boroughs Associations, I had the honour year by year of introducing a Bill, together with my good friend the President of the Urban District Councils Association, but we had the misfortune not to secure a place. So that there has been an organised effort for many years to introduce to the House a measure to regularise this expenditure.I would point out that the Local Government Board, ever watchful for the development of the health of the country, has done splendid work, but it does not possess all the information as to the extent to which the different corporations of the country have en-deavoured to join in advertising the advantages of their localities as health resorts. Because of the absence of ordinary powers, they have had to resort to what may be described as a subterfuge. It is well known that in some places a sum of money has been voted out of the rates as salary to the mayor, in order that he might hand it over to a committee of the corporation to spend on advertising the advantages of their own locality. Again, advantage has been taken in some places where there has been a surplus of what is known as the borough fund, to appropriate a certain amount out of those profits for the purposes which this Bill asks that the House of Commons should regularise by placing it upon the Statute Book. The Local Government Board is ever watchful, and rightly so, of the work done by the municipalities of the country, and we wish the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board every success in the work to which he is now addressing his conspicious abilities; but we hope that in this opportunity which is offered his Department will not maintain that objection which it has for years sturdily presented to the request that has been put forward by the different municipalities over so long a period. The right hon. Gentleman said these powers would not be confined to one place, and numbers of other places would use them. I would point out that there are tens of thousands of artisans in this country who-are not accustomed to travel so frequently as do many of their class, and facilities should be offered to them and opportunities of travelling explained to them. Take the great manufacturing districts of the county of Lancaster. There we have had clubs established and thousands of pounds saved by weekly payments in order that at a given time a holiday may be enjoyed by the members of those clubs. It has been found advantageous to the health of the people that they should get away from their own ordinary localities, and have the advantage of not only seeking health in many seaside places but of seeing something more of the country. There is a demand that will be stimulated legitimately by the expenditure of this money, and certainly will be helpful to the general health and well-being of the population. This question is one that I think may be pressed upon the Department. Allusion was made, and I would venture to emphasise it, by the hon. Member who introduced this Bill, to the fact of a requisition having been forwarded to the President of the Local Government Board, signed by no less than 175 Members of this House, asking the Government to give facilities for the passage of this Bill. I am sure that, as it is the privilege of the Government to meet the general wish of this House, they will see that there is now an opportunity for them to recognise the strong feeling that exists among hon. Members in favour of facilities being given to corporations in England, and to allow them the same advantages as have been conferred by Parliament upon certain places in Ireland, which thus have an unfair advantage over other localities in this country. I think, on these general grounds, we are justified in asking for the Second Reading, and in pressing the Government to give us assistance in harmony with what I hope will be a strong expression of opinion by Members of tin's House in support of the Bill.
I rise to support this Bill because I have the honour of representing a Constituency which practically exists on its beautiful health resorts, where the population nearly doubles in the summer owing to the large influx of strangers who visit the shores of the Isle of Wight. It is felt very strongly that something ought to be done to compete against foreign watering places, which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board said are among the most beautiful. The reason they have such beautiful watering places is because a great part of the improvements and beautifying of those places is effected with money obtained by methods which in England would be illegal—that is to say, they use their profits on gambling. They get a large proportion of the gambling profits, and in that way they are enabled to beautify their resorts. These methods are not allowed in England, and we have felt all the more that it is very necessary, indeed, that municipalities and district councils should have some such powers as those which are provided for in this Bill. It is not a question of the town clerk writing to a Member of this House to support the measure, which has been adopted, amongst others, by the Urban District Councils Association, of which I am vice-president, and which represents no less than G04 urban district councillors out of 800. It is a very powerful body of businesslike men. Year after year, at annual conferences, they have asked for this small piece of permissive legislation and they have not got it. As regards my own Constituency, although we do not ask for the same powers as have been conferred by legislation on Ireland, although we do not ask for Home Rule, and although we are the next most populous island, yet we do ask for this latitude to be allowed us to advertise our watering places. As some hon. Members have observed, urban district councils and local authorities are not fools, and, should it be found that advertising does not pay, the ratepayers' association would very soon protest against the expenditure out of the local rates.I contend that this Bill is much more important for England than for Ireland. Ireland, we all know, is the spoiled child of Parliament, and gets what it wants, or tries very hard to get what it wants, whenever it asks for anything, but there are many more people in England than in Ireland who live entirely by providing amusement and relaxation. After all, providing health and relaxation is as good an industry as any other, and if other industries profit by advertisement, I cannot see any argument for supposing that-watering places should not also profit. All advertisement is competitive and does not prevent people advertising. I should like to see all watering places advertised, I think that the objection raised by the President of the Local Government Board that a town like Blackpool or some other towns might spend more money and swamp the smaller towns by the enormous sum they could raise on their rateable value could be adjustedin Committee. It might be possible to say that no town should raise more than a certain sum for this purpose, whatever the rateable value was. I do not think that is a matter which need be seriously considered. The number of tourists that come to a town benefit everybody. They benefit the tradesmen, the lodging-house keepers and owners, the cab drivers, and also the ground landlords. Therefore all classes are benefited more or less indirectly by what they call a good season at a seaside resort. It seems to me that this is essentially a Bill which ought to be passed, because it allows those people to combine in the form of the local authority to raise a rate and prevents mean and selfish people in the community benefiting by the advertising of voluntary-associations and not subscribing towards them. In the Isle of Wight there are at present two advertising associations, one, the All Island Advertising Association, and the other, the Ryde Advertising Association. Both these bodies are very popular in the island and have a great deal of support, but they are rather in want of funds for the reason that while certain people subscribe certain other people do not. To show the advantage of advertising let me read a short paragraph in the report which came out last week of the Ryde Advertising Association, which collects money voluntarily for the purpose:—
That shows what one small association, with an income of only about £100 per year, can do for the good of the town. It will not be a very heavy charge on the ratepayers, and, as one hon. Gentleman has pointed out, it will only amount to £50,000 per year for the whole of England. In the Constituency which I represent it will only amount to a maximum of a thousand per year, and that includes all the large towns of Ryde, Shanklin, San-down, Ventnor, Bembridge, and the others, which all add so much to the pleasures of life. The rich man when he wants to take amusement in the form of shooting or hunting looks into the "Field," or some other newspaper, and sees the different places advertised and chooses to which he will go. Why should not the poor man do the same and get a choice as to the place to which he will go with his hard-earned holiday money? It has been said that some small watering places and health resorts rely on getting people by being quiet resorts. It is perfectly simple for them as they are not bound to advertise so that I fail to see any argument against the Bill as regards that. One argument brought by the hon. Baronet against the Bill was that it would increase the rates. In a very great many instances it will not. I know a town which has gone down a little bit, a watering place, and it had a great many empty houses, all lodging houses in the old days. Owing to a certain amount of advertising those houses are gradually being filled up, and hon. Members know how immensely that increases the rates if there are a lot of empty houses which means less people among whom to divide the rate. So that for that reason alone I think in a great many instances it will not increase but reduce the rates, because there will be more rateable value on which to levy. I would ask the House to give watering places and health resorts the same facilities and privileges which certain towns already have. If you give such a power to Blackpool why should not other towns have it? Either give it to the other towns or take it away from Blackpool. It is perfectly unfair that one town should have a sort of privileged position like that. It is bad enough to have your visitors taken away by French Government money or Swiss Government money spent in advertising when you are not allowed to do it; but also it is very hard that another watering place should take your visitors away because Parliament, which is supposed to be so just, allows one watering place to advertise and does not allow another. I am very glad to think that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board is not going to oppose the Bill. I attended a deputation to the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor a few months ago and although he would not exactly support it, he promised us he would, so to speak, keep the ring. That means a great deal, because I know Members of the Government are not fond of publicity, and therefore they might not like an Advertising Bill. I think it is a Bill which will do good. It is unanimously supported from all parts of the House, and supported by half the chambers of commerce who have watering-places within their boundaries, or probably more; and it is a Bill that has been brought in year after year, and it is only owing to the unfortunate congestion of Parliament that it has not been brought in sooner. I think it is a long- needed measure of social reform, and I do trust that the House will proceed to pass it."The general work of the association during the year has been carried on with success, and that Ryde is becoming a more popular resort each year is evident from the number of visitors who come to the town. As in former years, the secretary hurl had to reply to an immense number of inquiries from all parts of the United Kingdom and Europe as a result of the advertising which had been done by the association. The new poster had been greatly appreciated, and so many copies had been asked for by the different railway companies and tourist agencies that nearly one-half of the 5,000 copies which were ordered at the beginning of last season had already been distributed. The stock of English guide books had been exhausted and the committee were engaged in supervising the issue of a fresh edition for the coming season. During the year about 1,500 copies of the guide book were cut out in response to applications."
I think the object of this Debate appears to be twofold. First it is to endeavour to give to municipalities the power to advertise the advantages of their towns, but it appears equally that hon. Members in all parts of the House are anticipating and exercising the powers sought for the municipalities by advertising their favourite seaside resorts which happen to be in their own constituencies. The hon. Gentleman who seconded the Motion (Lord A. Thynne) in a very able speech, in arguing the advantages of advertising, stated the satisfactory results that had accrued to the Great Western Railway Company in the Cornish Riviera, but one could almost find a tinge of regret in the speech at the success of the Great Western Railway Company in happening to carry passengers to Cornwall. Another hon. Member was also careful to explain that as far as he was concerned Ilfracombe and Barnstaple spoke for themselves. The hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. H. Lawson), not to be outdone, made it perfectly clear that the Press wanted an advertisement out of this. At all events, I am too modest to advertise the claims of Derbyshire. I simply say, in congratulating my esteemed colleague upon his success in the ballot, that we do not believe it is because of the good effect of the House of Commons that he is in such vigorous health to-day, but because of the natural advantages and beauty of Derbyshire. But I am somewhat amazed at the unhappy combination between the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) and the President of the Local Government Board. Some of us looked forward with hope to some good things coming from the Local Government Board, and we are somewhat shocked at this unfortunate alliance today. What did the right hon. Gentleman say on Wednesday evening last when speaking on another Motion? He said:—
That was the view of the President of the Local Government Board on Wednesday night, but in his speech now he does none other than simply treat the municipalities as children. If they are under the influence of the local ratepayers, if, as he says, they are restricted by the local opposition, surely they ought in this matter to have the power to say what in their opinion is good for their own particular town. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will remind his right hon. Friend of the inconsistency between his view on Wednesday evening and his change of front on Friday afternoon. The Government themselves have realised the advantages of advertising. For the first time they have taken advantage of the Press to advertise the advantages of the Army. They have gone beyond that. They have advertised the advantages of the telephone. Over and above that, they are using the cinema to advertise the advantages of His Majesty's Service. Surely it is late in the day, when they themselves have at last recognised what all business and commercial institutions have long recognised, for the Government to come down and deny to others advantages of which they are now availing themselves. The right hon. Gentleman says that his opposition to this Bill is based upon his consideration for the small watering places which might be crippled by their low rates. What is the answer to that? He says that the way to deal with the difficulty is to leave the matter to the generosity of the hotel proprietors and amusement caterers. But if you leave it to private enterprise in that way, what chance has the small town? The advantages are then twofold to the large municipalities. 2.0 P.M. I want to put also the disadvantages of the present system to the working classes. In the four seaside resorts, other than Blackpool, where they possess this power, but where they are limited not to a rate but to the profits from chairs, what is the result? At these places there are not the same number of free seats provided as in other places. The poorer people who visit these towns ought to have some consideration instead of being compelled to pay for the chairs. It is a monstrous position from the standpoint of the municipalities themselves. It must be remembered that the ordinary working man and his family do not go to a seaside resort for a fortnight. They do not have rooms or a tent on the front. Very often the woman will be struggling with three or four children. What is worse for these people than to have continuously to pay a penny each for the limited accommodation of a chair? The very fact that the receipts from the chairs form the only means by which the municipality can advertise the advantages of their district is an inducement to penalise the poorer people who visit the town. This Bill does not compel a municipality to do anything. It simply says that if the elected representatives of the people desire a certain thing, Parliament, at any rate, will not interfere. The hon. Baronet, in his usual rôle of opposing all legislation, cited what private enterprise might do, and in giving his illustration he was careful to give a cheap advertisement to his own particular railway company. He said that the Great Northern Railway Company themselves were responsible for popularising Skegness and other places. But supposing the Great Northern Railway Company were not empowered by Act of Parliament to advertise their advantages, and the Great Western Railway Company were, what attitude would the hon. Baronet then take up? That is precisely the position to-day with municipalities. Certain municipalities possess this power, and we who support this Bill say that if the power is already-possessed by some, it should be possessed by all. If it were proposed to compel a municipality to do something which it did not desire to do, there would be a valid objection to the Bill. All we say in this matter is that the local authority themselves should be the judges. I have no hesitation in saying that in recent years hundreds of thousands of the poorer people go to seaside places that never went before. The working classes to-day do avail themselves of this opportunity, for two reasons: Because the advantages of these places are brought more forcibly home to them, and because of the cheap facilities of getting there. It has all been brought about by advertising. Therefore I hope that not only will this Bill be given a Second Reading, but that the Government will not follow up the policy they have adopted to-day by taking a position that is entirely foreign to the principle of the Bill, and that is contrary to the overwhelming opinion of the great mass of the municipalities of this country. I hope they will give such facilities as will enable the municipalities to know, whilst they have been trying to obtain this power, that the House of Commons have at last recognised the equity and justice of the claim. For that reason, Mr. Whitley. I hope, not only will the Bill get a Second Reading and the facilities asked for, but that it will be carried by the unanimous verdict of this House. Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present. House counted, and forty Members being found present—"I think our corporations ought not to be treated as children incapable of managing their own affairs, acting as they do under the eye of the ratepayers and the public, always subjected to keen criticism m their local Press and in' local polities."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th April. 1914, col. 1826.]
After the very forcible speech which has been contributed to this discussion by the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas), who speaks, as we know, with such authority on all questions which concern not merely his own Constituency, but the industrial classes throughout the country, I have but little doubt, in view of the general turn that this Debate has taken, that this Bill will receive a Second Reading. One of the most remarkable features of the Debate, so far, was the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Herbert Samuel). It came as a considerable surprise to me to find that the right hon. Gentleman, a representative of the Progressive party in this country and the head of a great public department, should have displayed, if I may say so, such a want of knowledge of the general trend and development of thought in connection with the general development of business in this country. He apparently proceeded on the remarkable assumption that the public bodies of this country are composed of people who do not know their own business—an accusation which incidentally he extended to most of the great business concerns in every part of the United Kingdom. Some more forcible arguments will have to be employed by the right hon. Gentleman than those which he was able to bring forward on this occasion to induce us to believe that the modern tendency towards advertisement in every business enterprise is wrong, and that those great enterprises and industries could be conducted with equal success and would equally extend their influence in every part of the world if the art of advertisement was unknown. The right hon. Gentleman's speech has been so effectively dealt with by hon. Members who have preceded me, and it is so evident that the right hon. Gentleman has but little support in the line he has adopted, that I hardly think it is necessary for me to proceed any further in criticism of his remarks.From my point of view, I certainly give a very hearty support to this Bill, except perhaps in one particular, to which I should like later to draw attention. I speak as the representative of two important and beautiful health resorts in the county of Somerset, Burnham and Weston-super-Mare. Let me make it plain that I am referring to these towns not in the order of their merit or attractions—they are both in my Constituency—but merely in their alphabetical order! Both of these places, as indeed other of the seaside resorts and watering places in the country, are feeling very seriously the effects of foreign competition. We have noticed that these foreign watering places present their attractions in a most insinuating way, not only in their own country, but in many places in Great Britain. We see the result in that ever-increasing crowd of enthusiasts for foreign travel who leave our shores not now as they used to do only in summer, but in the winter as well. This has produced a marked effect upon the watering places and health resorts of our own country. We have every right to ask that whereas foreign resorts have every opportunity and every facility for advertising their advantages, not only in their own country, but in our country as well, that our health resorts and our watering places should have no hindrances placed upon their desire to put the advantages of their localities before the people. There is one objection which I have to this Bill to which I should like to draw the attention of the hon. Member who moved the Second Reading—that is that, so far as I can see, this Bill empowers the local authorities in England and Wales to levy a rate for the purpose of advertising only health resorts and watering places. In my Constituency is the city of Wells, a city of great historical and archæological interest, possessing a very beautiful cathedral and other buildings of unique attraction. So far as I can see from the way in which this Bill is drawn, if the people of Wells desired to advertise the amenities of the place to attract visitors to the district, they would only be able to do so in respect of the city being a health resort or a watering place. I know that Wells and locality is an extremely healthy and a desirable neighbourhood, but it would be particularly from the point of view of historical and archæological interest of the city, that, if you gave them the desired authority, and the privileges conferred by this Bill, they would desire to advertise throughout the country. There are many other cities situated in the same way, and I should like to ask the hon. Member whether some alteration could not be made in the Bill so as to allow places and cities such as I have described, which, on account of not being strictly enumerated as health resorts or watering places to have an opportunity of availing themselves of the advertisement privileges. I have no doubt these matters could be properly dealt with on the Committee stage of the Bill, and in view of that fact, I certainly will support the Second Reading of this Bill.
I do not want to take up much of the time of the House in discussing this Bill, but I do want to make one or two remarks. I am not unwilling that the House should get as soon as may be to the discussion of the Bill next on the Paper, which, as I understand it, embraces, amongst other things, proposals to abolish or to largely limit the use of hereditary titles. However that may be, this Bill cannot be considered merely as giving an argument either for or against the right of public control by municipalities of the business enterprise of the advertisement of their towns. I had the privilege of coming into the House at the moment, and of hearing the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board. The majority, I hope, in this House, have a very real respect for the thoughtful attitude which he invariably adopts to any proposals which come under his notice, and although I have heard some few strictures passed upon some comments made by the President of the probable effects that might flow from the unlimited use of the powers of this Bill, I have no doubt he will be able in Committee to give very good reasons indeed in justification of the position he assumed. I cannot help feeling—and I hardly claim to represent a seaside constituency—that rapid progress is very anxiously desired by a large majority of the watering places of our coast. As a rule, these places are remarkably well managed, but I feel very strongly with the President—it is a point in his favour that he may very properly commend to our consideration, that there is already in many of these places, a tendency in common phraseology to "over-do the thing." Many of these places are by their very excessive enterprise, practically stranded and hampered by enormous rates, incurred in improving the attractions of their locality. They have done too well and have gone far to defeat the ends they set out to attain; but I should support him if I understood what he said rightly and for this reason. I think we shall have very quickly, or as soon as possible, to take in hand the whole question of advertisement abuse. The enormous development of advertisement in our country now may be blest by those who employ its use, and are forced in self-defence to employ it in the propagation and enforcement of their business. Much advertisement, often considered by advertising vendors to be the best expression of their art will, I am confident, have soon to be controlled by the State, and if the President of the Local Government Board takes this line—and I listened to his argument with close attention—I, and in all probability many others, would give him very sympathetic support. The original proposal is that seaside resorts and watering places should be advertised. There will be persons like my right hon. Friend the Member for one of the Divisions of Lincolnshire, and he or myself may be proposing that advertising facilities given to seaside places should be also given to inland watering places. I might go further, and I may put in a plea for the brine baths of my own town. We have had an hon. Member opposite just now, anxious to widen the scope of this measure so that any town that possesses ancient buildings should be allowed to spend its rates advertising to the public the necessity of inspecting its structures and walking through its narrow streets. There are many persons who find in the contemplation of those old memories of our storied past the very highest enjoyment, as great as do those who sit upon the edge of the sea and throw stones into the water. To push further my argument, may I call the attention of the House to the physical disfigurement of the countryside by all sorts of advertisements. I supported earlier a Bill brought in by an hon. Gentleman no longer associated with us to limit this class of advertisement, and we have done a good deal along these lines by that Act. But let any Member throw his mind back over the last journey he took into or from the country by rail, and recollect how long stretches of the country are often made hideous, or, at least, how their sweet and incomparable beauty has been discounted by the advertisements of some pills, or somebody's salted silk, or some other more weird representation of the ordinary advertisement, or something associated therewith. I say the President of the Local Government Board deserved our support if he goes along lines that will limit this abuse. A Bill of this kind entitles advertising one part of the charms of England at the expense of another. The other point is that if the House be generous enough to extend these powers, framed upon an Irish Bill passed in 1909. I am sure it will be necessary to safeguard them by laying upon somebody the duty of acting as censor to these advertisements, and for this reason, we should have to deal with the truth of advertisements as well as their form of presentation. I am bound to say that even now our railways are guilty of pictorial lies of a skilful character, and anyone who looks at them would be led to believe that the Garden of Eden had been eclipsed by the beauties of "Mudford-by-the-Sea." Things are advertised about the waters of these places, and I am very doubtful whether they can justify what these advertisements state. Therefore, we shall have to safeguard any concessions that we may make under a Bill of this kind in the interests of the public at large. Every year there are many thousands of working folk casting about and looking for a place where they should spend their few hardly earned pounds in holidays, and if they are led astray by clever designs and lying advertisements—
Why does the hon. Member say "lying"?
I know there are large numbers of advertisements of seaside and other resorts that are positively lying advertisements, and claims are made as to the amenities they possess which are as far from the truth as anyone wishing to see unveracity carried to its fullest extent might desire. I would like to see an addition made to this Bill providing that any municipal borough or body of persons making use of the provisions of this Bill should be disqualified for a term of years in their enjoyment of it if the censor, or other body appointed to exercise a censorship over advertisements, decides that they have gone beyond the proper confines of truth and veracity.
I rise cordially to support this Bill. I do so not from any personal reason, but because I believe that it will do the greatest amount of good to our holiday and health resorts. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Torquay!"] Yes, that is perfectly true. I represent a constituency where there are no less than four seaside places, and I am one of those who believe that these health resorts or holiday re-sorts can stand on their merits. I believe it is quite unnecessary that Torquay, Paignton, Brixham, and Teignmouth should have any advertisements which are not strictly accurate. The hon. Member opposite has referred to lying advertisements. I am perfectly willing that my Constituency should be judged as it is and as it has been made by nature.
Only the other night the hon. and gallant Member asked us to preserve his constituency in order that they could catch crabs.
As a matter of fact Start Bay does not happen to be in my Constituency, but that is a totally different question altogether. I advocate this Bill because it is going to benefit those seaside resorts, and I believe it will help those who are in need of help. It will bring more work to the labouring classes who live in those constituencies. It will help many industries and assist all the local cabdrivers, who, unfortunately, in these days require a good deal of assistance. We have heard from the President of the Local Government Board that he thinks it is sufficient for the hotel keepers and the lodging-house keepers to provide the necessary money themselves. I am sure, if it were left to those people, the charms of our seaside resorts would not be adequately advertised to the world. We desire that their advantages shall not only be known in this country, but also abroad, so that we might not only stem the stream of pleasure seekers who go to foreign countries, but also attract from those countries people who would come here and spend their money in our beautiful seaside towns. The right hon. Gentleman said he thought improvements should be made by the borough councils and the urban districts councils on their own responsibility in order to make their places more attractive and up to date. I should like to tell the right hon. Gentleman that in this respect in the West Country we do not stand still. I know that has been done, and done most efficiently in Torquay itself. We have got a most admirable pavilion there where the very best music is provided, and surely if hon. Gentlemen read the papers, and read of the success of the late musical festival that has been held in Torquay, they will see that the highest class of music is given there, and I will answer for it that if they pay a visit to my Constituency they will be more than pleased, and I am perfectly certain when they have been there once they will come again.
What is Torquay going to pay for this advertisement?
The seaside resorts of this country ought to have the same advantages as those in Ireland. I say that the advantages of English, Scottish and Welsh health resorts should be made known in the same way.
The Scottish resorts are not included in the Bill.
If they are not, they wilt very soon come in. Without advertisement and without a sufficient sum of money spent on advertisement, everything is bound to stand still. No one will deny that, the day of advertisement has come. Everyone knows who attends to any of these-matters that it is absolutely necessary to advertise and to keep on advertising. Up-to date a good deal has been done by private enterprise, but surely there must be some system by which the benefit of the whole people can be secured, and it is only fair and just that a modest rate of one penny in the £ should be levied in order-that this may be efficiently done. I believe this will benefit all sections of the community, and the only people who would be likely to object would be a few selfish individuals who wish to have the whole town or place to themselves, and who do not desire to see other people enjoying themselves, and do not consider the welfare and interests of those who live in those towns. There is every reason to-show that this Bill is a necessary one, and I sincerely hope that it will not only be passed here without a Division, but that facilities will be given in order that it may be placed on the Statute Book and be put into operation in the shortest possible time.The Irish Bill, I think, was given its First Reading without a Division on 16th September, 1909, and it received the Royal Assent on 28th November of the same year. I think we might well ask that this measure should have the same facilities and the same treatment. Believing, as I do, that every section of the community will be benefited, and that it is good for our people to know the beauties and the natural advantages of our own seaside towns and health resorts, I cordially support the Bill, and ask the House to give it a Second Reading without a Division.
I was sorry that an attack was made on some of these advertisements, because I was the other day looking at some of them and I thought that never had there been on the walls of this town such pictures of beautiful country and stretches of heather as poor people may now see, and which, I am sure, must have an elevating influence. I am sorry that the nature of them has been attacked. Every artist puts forward the particular thing he wishes to illustrate in its best possible light, and he does right in doing so.
I am sorry the hon. Member has taken my criticism as being against the publication broadcast of beautiful pictures. I have nothing to say against them, however imaginative they may be, so long as a name such as "Mud-ford-on-Sea" is not applied to a wholly imaginative picture.
These pictures will be under the control of the municipalities who will be paying for them, and I have no doubt that they will correctly describe the beauty spots which they illustrate. The President of the Local Government Board raised a point against all advertising. We, of course, all support advertising at the present day. When he says that certain people only should pay for this advertising, I would ask him whether he has looked at those lists of people who subscribe to all the local needs, whatever they are, whether they are charities or events to be celebrated by some entertainment. They are always the same people who put their hands into their pockets and subscribe to these things. There is, on the other hand, always a very large number of people left out, and who do not subscribe. This Bill, of course, will put the burden fairly upon the shoulders of all the people in the town to be benefited. It is said that some of the ratepayers wish the town to be advertised and more people to come to the town, and there may, of course, be other people in the town who would like to keep it as small as possible. The necessity for this is far more broadly spread than the President of the Local Government Board would lead us to believe. It is not only the hotels and restaurants that would benefit. Would not the builders benefit, and would not all the people in the neighbouring country who bring in their produce also benefit? Of course they would. It is not only the big people who subscribe, but everyone connected with the town who would benefit. It is, therefore, far more widespread than is supposed by anyone who suggests that the money should be found by any particular class of people in the town which may be thought to receive the greatest benefit. It is spread throughout the whole place.My hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), I think, blew hot and cold. He described the immense beauty of one of the places on his railway in most felicitous language, but at the same time spoke of the "howling mobs" who go to these places. I suppose that he would not describe the people who go to the town he mentioned as a "howling mob." I have no doubt he would say they are highly respectable people. I strongly object to these people being described as a "howling mob," or any such description as that being applied to them. The hon. Baronet said that he had not been abroad for forty-one years. I can only suggest that his experience of the Channel crossing must have been so very bad that he has not dared to face it again. I hope that will be remedied, and that he may have the pleasure of going abroad again later on under better conditions, and that he may enjoy it more. It is not so much the opportunities of going abroad as that these advertisements will bring foreign tourists to our health resorts in this country. [An HON. MEMBER: "It will be alien immigration."] At present we only have aliens come over here to make money out of us. We shall not get aliens to come and reside here and gradually assume English names, but we shall get tourists to come over here to spend their money. It will be people who come over here to spend money amongst us, and not people who come over to make money out of us and go back and take it away. Our resorts, whether inland or on the coast, are among the most beautiful in the world, and we hope in time that we shall have abroad pictures such as we have here of foreign places and that foreigners will see them and come over. I have personally taken great care not in any way to refer to the part of the country which I represent; but when it is said that the railway companies adequately advertise and that they are the people who will do it I would point out that there are railway companies pushing certain resorts. They push them because they are in many cases greatly interested in them. There may, however, be other resorts equally good, but the railway companies do not see fit to advertise them. I believe there are such places in the country, and where railway directors pick on one particular town and advertise it extensively it is for their own benefit. There may be other places equally good and equally beautiful which are not advertised, but under this Bill they may advertise themselves, and thus get a share of the tourist traffic which is so desirable. I heartily support the Bill.
This has been in many ways a remarkable Debate. It bas enabled hon. Members to advertise their constituencies, and I would like to know what is the good of having a Member in this House if he does not give those he represents the advantage of such an advertisement! The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) has suggested that private enterprise can do all these things with regard to advertising, and the President of the Local Government Board, speaking on the same lines, has urged that the work of advertising watering places should be left to hotel and boarding-house keepers. But another side of the question has been put forward by the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell). Railway companies advertise particular places no doubt, and I have one place in mind which, as a result, is overcrowded. Large masses of workpeople go there for their health year after year, the boarding-houses are crowded, and sometimes insanitary conditions prevail. The place is well provided with amusements, but all this does not necessarily tend in the direction of getting the greatest value from the health point of view during the time people are away from their work. It seems to me, moreover, that when one town has got power from Parliament to advertise, it is perfectly justifiable that other towns should he vested with like powers. I am inclined to suggest that this Bill is far too limited in its scope. I do not believe in the theory which is put forward in this House from time to time of restricting the powers of municipalities. I do not think we need trouble ourselves about that.The President of the Local Government Board has instanced the case of Ellesmere Port, which was applying for power to advertise building sites, and the special advantages it offered for business purposes. I should like the Committee to remember that the Manchester Corporation has invested some millions of pounds in the Manchester Ship Canal. Why should not Ellesmere Port have a right to advertise building sites with the object of bringing to the ratepayers of that particular district more business, so that the rateable value of the place may be increased? I submit that that would be perfectly legitimate, and, whatever may be said against this Bill, I would urge that its provisions should be extended to other places besides watering places. Where there is any special reason for desiring to advertise anything in connection with a particular locality, I think we may trust the ratepayers to see that those who represent them on their councils shall not go in for wild-cat schemes of advertising. The President of the Local Government Board suggested that small places like Bexhill could not compete with a place like Blackpool. But why, for instance, should Woodhall Spa not be allowed to advertise? Why should it be refused that privilege simply because a penny rate there would produce a comparatively small sum? If the people there wish to advertise so as to attract visitors, I see no reason why they should not do it. We have had many topics introduced in the course of this Debate. We have nearly got on to Tariff Reform, and the hon. Member who last spoke advocated the Channel Tunnel, in order that the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London might be able to cross the Channel, without being troubled with seasickness. Continental resorts advertise, and, as a result, attract many visitors. I have been on the Continent two or three times, luckily, and I say "luckily" because I can remember the day when that would have been an impossible thing for me to do. These Continental resorts have attractions other than those which they advertise, and I venture to think that, if our seaside and health resorts are to compete with them, they have a long way to go before they can get on a level with some of those places. But surely they should have the power to advertise in order to attract Continental visitors! Let the municipalities be empowered to levy a rate, and we may rely upon it that the ratepayers will see that the money is wisely expended for the advantage of the public. The hon. Member for Stafford (Sir W. Essex) expressed a fear that our bill hoardings would be covered with ugly advertisements.
I said "landscapes."
So is the Royal Academy.
I venture to think that the pretty pictures the Great Northern Railway put up, are quite as good as advertisements relating to Somebody's Pills, and, ugly as many advertisements are, I do not think that those which would be issued by seaside resorts would be calculated to make our bill hoardings more ugly. I am going to support this Bill because I think it is only fair that other seaside resorts should have the power to advertise which has already been given to certain places.
I represent an agricultural Division which however is bejewelled with a seaside resort as well as an inland resort. I am afraid that my Division has not the advantages possessed by Torquay, and after the speech delivered by the hon. Member (Colonel Burn) I see no reason why any local authority in his Division should wish the advantages which this Bill proposes to confer. A simple bucolic, I am afraid I cannot confer upon my Division the advantage which the hon. Member for Torquay has given us this afternoon. But there is another aspect to this Bill which I want to put before the House. I spend a good deal of my political time in a Committee called the Local Legislation Committee, where we are continually dealing with the efforts of local authorities to increase their activities. I do not know whether the House realises that there are to-day thirteen or fourteen large boroughs in the country who have these powers. If the Local Legislation Committee will accept the Clause, which has now become almost a precedent in all these Bilk, whereby they are allowed to divert the income from what is known as the borough fund in order to advertise the advantages of the resort, they can do it. If that is a power to be put in the hands of any one of those authorities, it ought to be dealt with on general lines by the House as a whole—for the country as a whole.3.0 P.M. The net effect now is that you get successful places like Blackpool, Brighton, Southport, and so on, all which have the power, with an advantage over struggling Skegness or wonderful Woodhall. I cannot see on general principles any real argument against allowing this to be made general throughout the country, so long as the power is safeguarded by limiting the amount and leaving it to be administered by the localities. As the Local Legislation Committee were sitting to-day, I had not the privilege of listening to the speech of the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Ban-bury), but I understand that he laid it down that Skegness did not require the advantages of this Bill, as it was served by the Great Northern Railway Company, of which he is a distinguished director. I am sure that Skegness recognises that the Great Northern Railway Company has done an enormous amount for Skegness, but at the same time I cannot help feeling that the hon. Baronet, at any rate in financial matters, never allows his heart to run away with his head. I understand that he laid it down that the Great Northern Railway Company were bubbling over with sympathy for the tired Londoner who desired to visit the salubrious locality of Skegness, irrespective of tiring railway-journeys. I am afraid I cannot swallow the whole of that, for the reason that Woodhall Spa, which is a spot where all the ills to which mankind are heirs are cured, only last year desired to bring within the purview of a larger number the undoubted advantages with which Nature-has provided her. The Great Northern Railway Company were the one stumbling block that prevented those-powers being put into the hands of those who desired to make use of them. So far from the Great Northern Railway Company bubbling over with sympathy their answer was, "If you put down £150 a year, we will put down £150 a year." I do not complain of that in the least. It was, a very reasonable business proposition, but I am sure that the hon. Baronet will not complain if I hold him up to the House of Commons not so much as a philanthropist in these matters, as a man of great business ability. I feel that all places which have natural advantages, which are really the raw materials of their industry, should have these powers. A re-sort like Woodhall Spa, or a seaside resort like Skegness, depends entirely upon its natural advantages for improving the conditions of the business community. That is all they have to offer, and that is all from which they can get their income. I cannot see any logical objection to their presenting to the public the natural advantages of those places. I agree with the hon. Member for Stafford (Sir W. Essex) that they should be presented in a way which is not an eyesore, and which does not offend his artistic susceptibilities, but, with that caveat, I cannot see any reason why the authorities which have the control of these localities, who are the representatives of the community whose sole means of livelihood are the natural advantages of these places, should not be allowed, subject to the limit put on the amount in this Bill, to advertise at the expense of the ratepayers; and seeing that you have already twelve or fourteen large boroughs in the county who, simply because they happen to have been so successful that they are enabled to enjoy a very large income from their funds, already have these powers, I intend to support this Bill, and I hope the House will give it a Second Reading, so that they may insert "whatever safeguards they like in Committee.
Unlike the majority of Members who have spoken in the coarse of this Debate, I have no personal interest in the Bill. We have had speeches from hon. Members who represent Bath, the Isle of Wight, Ilfracombe, Torquay, Yarmouth, and Woodhall Spa. [An HON. MEMBER: "And healthy Halifax!"]
"Where to spend a happy day."
We have heard the hon. Gentlemen who represent those constituencies advertise to the best of their ability the virtues of those places as health resorts or watering places. I must acquit, however, my hon. Friend the Member for North Devon (Sir Godfrey Baring) of any personal interest, because, in the first place, he advertised a constituency which rejected him, and, in the second place, he advertised his present constituency, for which he does not intend to stand again. We have also heard an hon. Gentleman who represents the newspapers. Personally, I do not represent either a newspaper, an advertising agency, or a watering place. The only town of considerable size in my Constituency is the borough of Coatbridge. It is, I understand, a healthy place, and the atmosphere is of a very bracing quality, but, unfortunately, the sun is for the greater part of the year considerably obscured, and in these circumstances I do not think it could bring itself within the definition of this Bill. I, therefore, cannot plead guilty to any personal interest in this matter. I have therefore, with the utmost impartiality, examined all the arguments on both aides which have been put forward in the course of this Debate, and, having given this impartial and unbiassed consideration to it, I have been driven, much aganst my will, to support the view taken by the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury). The President of the Local Government Board is in the most efficient way maintaining the traditions of his great office.The two main arguments which have been put forward by supporters of the Bill are, first of all, that this power has already been conferred upon Blackpool; and, secondly, that if this power were generally conferred upon British watering places, the British people would cease to go to Continental resorts. The first argument is absolutely convincing against the Bill. They say, "Look at Blackpool; look what it has been made by advertisement! Let us have every watering place in the country made another Blackpool." I say, "For heaven's sake, do not!" If there was one reason which I think should prevail upon every Member of the House to vote against this Bill, it is the suggestion that under it we should Blackpoolise every health resort. I am glad to see that my native country is excepted. I understand that, unfortunately, certain watering places in Scotland do advertise. Some of them advertise under the same conditions as English watering places advertise, out of the revenue which they gain from amusements, from chairs, and the sale of programmes at concert". Others have a fund which is peculiar to certain burghs in Scotland, known as the "common good." There is no Statute covering the expenditure of the common good. The Secretary of State for Scotland has no control over any Scottish burgh in regard to the common good, and whatever the magistrates and town councils of these burghs regard as being the object of the common good, upon any such object they can spend money. However, I am very glad that Scotland is excluded from the Bill, all the same. The boroughs which do advertise do so always with the utmost fidelity to the truth. No picture has ever been produced which has exaggerated the beauties of the Scottish landscape—indeed, there has been nothing produced which can do justice to it. I notice that the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) defended these pictorial advertisements. I agree that there is a great deal to be said for them. They do certainly improve these hoardings on the wayside and by our railways. They are very artistically designed. It is altogether a different question as to whether these pictures fairly represent the scenery which they are; alleged to represent, but I am almost cer- tain that in every case of Scottish scenery, the picture is hardly adequate to represent its beauties. At the same time in regard to Yarmouth, it is quite impossible pictorially to represent its charms. I pass from that point. The next argument was that we were to prevent British people from patronising Continental health resorts, and that we would induce people from the Continent to come and admire the beauties of English scenery. These are both logical objects, but at the same time I question very much whether the advertising of these health resorts, either here or on the Continent, would have any such effect. I do not believe it is the advertising of Continental resorts that induces English people to go to the Continent, nor do I believe that it is the lack of such advertising in respect of English health re-sorts that has prevented people from the Continent coming here. It is not the advertising of Ostend and the Rhine which sends people from England over there. There are other inducements. If a Bill were introduced into this House, which would allow English health resorts and watering places to furnish themselves with casinos and other similar attractions which draw people to Ostend, Boulogne, and other places, I have no doubt that many people who now patronise these Continental resorts would remain in our own country. One speaker on this side who was so charmed with the idea of advertising that he pictures a rosy future in which some of these towns would never need to pay any rates at all. Indeed, he said, there was one sporting centre in this country in which they did not require to pay rates. Someone who knows about these things told me it was Doncaster. But I am a child in these matters, and I am not sure. But it is appropriate that such a constituency should be represented by an Ecclesiastical Commissioner. But it seems to me that if this is the ideal which these Gentlemen have before them it is not the method of advertising that they should adopt, but it is the method which has been so effective both at Doncaster and at Monte Carlo. Have these sporting attractions, and then they will be able to pay all their rates! Having examined, then, two main contentions which have been put forward on behalf of the Bill, I remain unconvinced. I should, however, like to refer to the more general considerations which were put forward by the hon. Member (Mr. Harry Lawson). As I understand him, he supports giving powers to municipalities to advertise, on the general ground that advertising is a good thing, that it is in accordance with the spirit of the age, and that everybody advertises, either gratuitously or at a figure. Indeed, only this morning I got a letter from a rival newspaper informing me that social news was inserted in this competing newspaper at a rate, the exact amount of which I do not remember. I am not mentioning the name of the newspaper or the price of the advertisement, so that I do not wish to prejudice the business of my hon. Friend. He said it was in the best interests of business that every business might be advertised, simply because he found it was a good thing to do. I am not quite sure that that is quite accurate.
People do it.
There are good reasons for that. Even the Noble Lord, who represents a constituency in the South of Scotland, can appreciate the motives of other Gentlemen who are not so happily circumstanced as himself. Many business men do not advertise because they think that advertising in itself is a good thing, but because they are forced to do it. Their competitors force them to do it. If one man in a particular industry advertises a particular brand of goods—tea, soap, or whatever it may be—those, interested in the distribution of the same commodity must advertise, or they will be killed by their competitors. It is sheer force that compels them. I remember there was a great effort in one particular industry not many years ago—I am not mentioning the industry—to arrange a combination so as to get rid of advertising. All the particular firms who were to be brought into it were spending hundreds and thousands of pounds on advertising in newspapers and other ways. They wanted to save that for a good reason. They knew that if they saved what they were spending in advertising they would be able to reduce the price, or increase their profits, or improve the article. All three could have been done, but immediately there was a Press campaign against the combination, and, indeed, one newspaper carried on the campaign so assiduously that ultimately the proprietors were mulcted in £50,000 damages. The business men who endeavoured to engineer that combination took that course because they were forced to advertise owing to the competition.Under this Bill every watering place in the country will be forced into advertising. I am surprised to find the Labour party supporting the Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: "The Labour party do not support it."] I withdraw. My hon. Friend has been Deputy-Chairman of the Labour party, and I was merely pointing out that I was dealing with two speeches which had come from the Labour party, both in favour of the Bill, and, naturally, knowing that the Labour party usually come to common decisions on all questions that come before this House, I inferred that the party had decided to support the Bill, but as my hon. Friend corrects me, I accept the correction and apologise. It is no doubt true that the Bill is to a certain extent a socialistic proposal, in that it increases the powers of municipalities. But there is another aspect of the matter. This is increasing the powers of municipalities to spend their money on what I say is a parasitical industry which is taking money from the producers. The advertisement business is a most profitable one at the present day, and an interesting thing in regard to it is, that it is not the men who put the brains into the work who are best paid. It is the people who go about canvassing those who advertise. The people who give their brains are very inadequately paid, so that this is one of the most parasitical industries, inasmuch as those who have the least merit get the most reward. I am surprised that men representing the Labour party are supporting a proposal for the spending of money on this parasitical industry, which is taking away money which ought to go into the pockets of the people of the country. I quite agree that there is no harm in publishing advertisements, if the people who are going to benefit from them are going to pay for them. The hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) has told us what the Great Northern Railway Company does for Skegness, but from the revelations made by the hon. Member for Horncastle I am led to infer that the Great Northern Railway Company does not pay the full cost of advertising. Had that company an arrangement with Skegness similar to that suggested with reference to Woodhall Spa. Apparently the Great Northern Railway Company are whole hoggers in philanthropy in regard to Skegness, although they would be only half and half in regard to Woodhall Spa, and that appears to me to be unfair preferential treatment. It seems to me that if these places are to be advertised, something can be said for hotel keepers, boarding-house keepers, and shopkeepers meeting and saying, "This is a very good proposition from the Great Northern Railway Company. They say, If you give us £150 a year we will put down a like sum, and we will advertise all the beauties of Woodhall Spa and the virtues of its mineral waters in every quarter of the land.' "They were going to get something out of it, and, if they were not prepared to do it, why not make the suggestion to the ground landlord that he might come in and head the list of subscriptions, because, undoubtedly, while the boarding-house keepers and hotel keepers got benefit during the currency of their leases, the ground landlord would make an immediate gain in respect of any immediate development in the watering place, and when the leases ran out he would be able to raise the rents of the hotel keepers and boarding-house keepers.
I wish to say on behalf of these ground landlords that that is precisely the course which we adopted.
I am very glad that the doctrine in regard to land values is making progress on the other side.
Only in so far as regards the heading of subscriptions.
I understood that it was making progress, but apparently the hon. Member has inadequately admitted his obligations even now, and I think that in the course of time he will arrive at a complete appreciation of them. I am still more gratified at the position of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London. I notice that in his speech he brought in the ground landlord, and said that he was to benefit, and that he ought to pay. I have only one regret this afternoon, and that is that my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) was not here to have seen these fruits brought home by' the hon. Member for Horncastle, and the hon. Member for the City of London. I have no doubt that wherever he is spending his week-ends, his enjoyment would be greatly enhanced when he reads the account of these converts in such unexpected places—
Go on, and save us from Rees.
There are other and wider considerations, but I thought it right to mention that, in the absence of my hon. Friend who, when there is a matter affecting such places as East Africa, Uganda, or Nyasaland—in which, by the way, the hon. Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees) is also interested—wishes to see that justice is done in respect of the land value that may be created, either by the levy of a contribution, or by the benefit that may be received from public action. This Bill proposes to levy a general rate upon all the ratepayers in these watering places and health resorts, irrespective of the views of the particular ratepayer regarding the merits of the proposal as to how the town should develop, simply in order that in the long run the ground landlord of the particular watering place may be able to derive an enhanced income from his rents. Of course, the contribution would be levied from all ratepayers. It would be levied in the first instance from the boarding-house keeper, the hotel keeper, and the shopkeeper, but they, of course, as they are always capable of doing in health resorts and watering places, will take it out of the pockets of the "trippers" who come there for their holidays from various industrial centres. So this proposal is simply a means of enabling these people to extract the money from the holiday seekers who come there, in order to put money into the pockets of the ground landlords. That is admitted in the speeches of the hon. Member for Horncastle, and especially—
I do not admit anything of the sort, as far as Woodhall Spa is concerned. The prime mover in the whole of this agitation was the Tradesmen's Association, and fifty-five tradesmen were the first subscribers, before the Great Northern Railway Company were approached at all.
I do not desire to misrepresent the hon. and gallant Gentleman, and would be sorry to push his admission this afternoon too far, but the fact that initiation proceeded from the tradesmen and not from the ground landlord does not disprove my contention. These tradesmen may be under a misapprehension, though I admitted earlier in the course of my argument that they would derive an immediate advantage during the course of their existing leases, and maybe this knowledge induced them to take this step. But my argument was that after the expiration of these current leases, if there were developments, the rents would be increased in the new leases, and the ultimate advantage was bound to go into the pocket of the ground landlord. So the actual course of negotiation and the initiation of the movement does not affect the value of my argument. Undoubtedly the trades people expected to benefit, and I believe that they would in the first instance, but ultimately the real benefit would go to the ground landlord in each of these watering-places. The vice of this Bill is the imposition of a rate which does not fall upon the ground landlord, and which is to put money into his pocket. It is a strange thing in these days, when we hear constant applications to the Imperial Exchequer from these local authorities, for further subventions to have such a proposal made. We have heard hon. Members in all parts of the House, year after year, appeal to the Chancellor or the Exchequer, saying: "We are crushed by rates. They weigh us down. Our industries are killed. We must have something from the Imperial Exchequer." But this afternoon they are coming to the House and saying, "We do not pay enough rates. Give us power to put on more rates." It is regrettable that this should come on on the Friday afternoon before the Budget. If my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not yet finally fixed his proposals in regard to local and Imperial taxes, I think that the lesson of this Debate would be be one to make him very much less generous to local ratepayers than he might be inclined to be, because it is surely a very strange thing that he should be called upon to give subvention to the local rates of municipalities who are at the same time claiming from this House the power to increase these rates.But there was another interesting aspect of this matter, interesting from the national point of view. The argument presented in the early part of the afternoon was that we were going to prevent the egress of British holiday seekers from this country, and that we were going to bring in a large influx of Continental pleasure seekers to our own country. This was to be secured at the expense of the ratepayers in this country. That does not seem to me to be a very sound proposition from the point of view of the ratepayers in this country. Why should we not have some proposal similar to that which was put on the Paper some weeks ago in the name of the hon. Member for Ludlow, but which, unfortunately, was not discussed owing to the machinations, in the shape of blocking Bills, of certain Members. This seems to be a good opportunity of applying the principle which underlies the proposal of the hon. Member for Ludlow, He proposed that where an industry in this country had to bear certain charges in respect of rates and taxes competing industries in other countries should be subjected to a similar charge in respect of the goods which came into this country. In this matter of the competition between British and foreign holiday resorts, is there not an opportunity of applying that principle? Why should we not have a tariff on the Englishman, Scotsman, or Irishman, who wants to spend his time and waste his substance in Boulogne, Ostend, and Monte Carlo? It prevents them from going to spend their money outside in those places. It is an attempt to place the British holiday resort on the same footing as foreign watering places, and we are to have a rate in British watering places, but no corresponding charge placed on the foreigner. The only way in which to place the corresponding charge on the foreigner is by this method of an export duty. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Ludlow (Mr. Hunt) is not in his place, because I believe that had he taken the trouble to read this Bill he would immediately have perceived its possibilities by way of giving effect to the great principles he so admirably represents and so constantly advocates in this House. I think I have dealt with the greater portion of the principles which arise in respect of this Bill, and as I notice that there is considerable eagerness on the part of a number of other Members who represent health resorts or watering places to take part in this Debate, and to advertise the peculiar virtues of the various places which they represent, I give way to them, but, at the same time, I give notice that it is my intention to offer very strenuous opposition to this Bill.
The hon. Member who has just spoken, and who is so staunch an advocate of the principle of Home Rule, at any rate does not mean to apply that principle so far as our municipal service goes. Although each portion of the country may have the right to manage their own local affairs, or, indeed, their own affairs generally, yet he has spoken for over forty minutes this afternoon in opposition to a Bill which merely proposes that the elected representatives of the locality should obtain this slight additional power to those they already possess. Members, speaking either for or against this Bill, have been accused of taking the opportunity of emphasing the advantages of the towns for which they spoke. There is no need for me to take advantage of this opportunity, because the town which I represent has already been advertised by the President of the Local Government Board, who referred to Eastbourne as one of the most prosperous towns and health resorts on the South Coast; but, as various hon. Members who are well acquainted with my Constituency are aware, I not only represent Eastbourne, but two or three other places, including Newhaven and Seaford. Whoever else is going to oppose this Bill, it is rather unfortunate that the first opposition should have come from the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, because, however much people may deprecate an increase of rates, and however much they may feel a want of confidence in the discretion of local bodies, it is rather an unhappy circumstance that the right hon. Gentleman, so early in the Debate, should have stated so forcibly that he does not think the localities of this country should be entrusted even so far as to add to the burden of the rates to the extent of not more than one penny. May I remind him that there is a considerable feeling locally that the town councils should have this power, and that they think it necessary to embark upon a policy of trying to advertise or push forward their towns. I am told that recently in the town of Margate this was made one of the chief questions at the town council election, and that some candidates stood in support of this Bill and some against it. Those candidates who supported the Bill were successful in getting returned to the town council. I was told that only this afternoon, but I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman is well aware of what goes on throughout the country among those local bodies of which he has control, and he will correct me if what I have stated is not the fact. The President of the Local Government Board to-day certainly assumed the new rôle of economist, but I have had some experience of local governing bodies for many years, and I have always found that the Local Government Board uses its power and authority to induce local authorities to spend rather than to refrain from spending money.Letters are constantly being sent to small and overburdened local authorities to spend large sums on what are called improvements, whether the local bodies wish to do so or not; but even in his new role o£ economist the President of the Local Government Board was not quite consistent when he said he could not recommend hon. Members to give this discretion or power to local authorities to spend additional rates, and ended his speech by saying that he recommended the local bodies to devote money to make their localities attractive by the establishment of music halls or some other form of entertainment. Therefore, those ratepayers who feel the burdens of local taxes need not think that the right hon. Gentleman is an economist, since he recommends that money should be spent in some other way. Another argument which was used by the right hon. Gentleman was to the effect that it was really undesirable to spend money in the way suggested by the Bill, for the reason that if one town advertised every other town would advertise. He might just as well say that because a Cabinet Minister wishes to have his photograph in the papers so every other Cabinet Minister should follow suit. I think the right hon. Gentleman will admit that certain of his colleagues are very prominently before the public. This applies to the case of towns who wish to advertise themselves, and the right hon. Gentleman thinks therefore that other towns are bound to do so. But there is, of course, no real need that every town should follow suit. Another reason why the President of the Local Government Board opposes this Bill is that ho thinks a penny inadequate. I do not wish the Government to give too wide a power to local authorities, but I do not think they would be indiscreet or extravagant in using the money of the ratepayers, because these local bodies are composed of business men who, knowing the needs of their localities, should be given some discretion: and, after all, the ratepayers of the district, if they are not satisfied, or think that the town council has been too extravagant, will have the opportunity at the next election of not returning those men who have supported the increased charges to the town council. I welcome the idea that the Local Government Board are now realising that the burden of rates on towns are far too heavy, and that something should be done to cut them down. Why should not a business concern, and health resorts are more or less so, keep pace with other towns which are going ahead. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City (Sir F. Banbury) said that a rate of this kind would be an advantage merely to boarding houses, hotels, and tradesmen, and a handicap to ordinary residents, because it brought a crowd which might be undesirable, and made them pay for the advertising as well. There is a good deal in that argument, but the interests of those people are bound up with the interests of the other people who live in the town in this way. Take a large seaside town which has boarding houses, hotels, and other houses to let, and if those houses are left empty there is an additional burden on the rates of those keeping residential houses. Therefore it is to their advantage that those boarding houses and other houses should be occupied, since that would incease the contributions to the rates of the town. In that way the hon. Baronet's argument is met. We must also remember that those who live in a town have a common interest in keeping the town prosperous. I do not think the giving of this discretion to the local body will mean very much money in additional burden to the rates, which I for one fully realise should be cut down, and, if possible, reduced.
Yesterday we heard a very-admirable speech from the Labour Benches on the subject of the Post Office. The speaker appeared to be shocked and amazed at the suggestion that the House was more than ordinarily filled owing perhaps to political pressure on the part of constituents of hon. Members. I am quite sure every Member of the House will absolve me from political pressure in this matter, and will recognise, sitting as I do for such a Southern Constituency (Portsmouth), that no political pressure was necessary. My reasons for being present are purely altruistic. The House will remember the story of the old French gentleman who heard that his son had gone on board a Turkish piratical galley. He was not disturbed at the fact that his son was a prisoner, nor even at a demand for ransom, but the one thing that did disturb him, and the one question he put was, "Why in heaven's name should he have gone on board that galley." I am sure many hon. Members, knowing that I represent the very gem and jewel of Southern constituencies, will wonder why it is that I intervene in this Debate. My reason is purely altruistic. I should not have intervened if it had not been for the speech of the President of the Local Government Board, in which he said that the reason English people went abroad was that the climate was so much better. That is a statement which obliged me to remain here to contradict as flatly as I courteously can. I should like to take the right hon. Gentleman by the hand down by two most excellent lines to the most perfect beach on the Southern shore, and to a great common which we rent from the War Office, that benevolent institution, at the rate of £500 per year, and to take him on to the neighbouring hills by electric trains and every convenience to show him the greatest naval port in the kingdom, and the Island which is so ably represented by my hon. Friend (Mr. Douglas Hall), who made such an admirable speech this afternoon, and whose speech has decided me to vote for this Bill. I heard an admirable speech from a Scottish Member against the Bill, and for a time that weighed with me, but weighing all the speeches I have heard, and weighing also the Members from whom they came, I think there is no question that these seaside resorts and inland re-sorts should be allowed, if they so wish it, to place a small, for it is only a small sum, on the rates to advertise their particular attractions. I say that all the more readily because the town I represent has no need to have that form of advertisement, as it is so pre-eminent in the South, I should have liked to have shown the right hon. Gentleman, and to explain to him, that with a climate such as there is there it is not necessary for any man to leave these shores.
This Debate has been light and amusing, and I must say I have been impressed with this fact, that most of the enlightened views have come from the other side and most of the unenlightened and obscurantic views have come from this side. The President of the Local Government Board began the Debate by a most reactionary speech. I hope that does not indicate a new spirit in the Local Government Board due to the recent change of headship there. I do not think it does. I am afraid it means that some of the influential advisers of the President in that office are themselves not very enlightened upon the principles of local government. My right hon. Friend called himself an obscurantist Liberal Minister, and said that was what the Liberal papers would call him to-morrow. I have no doubt he is right. I think they will apply to him a very proper designation. The only thing I want to say about the merits of this Bill is that it does seem to me a backward idea altogether that a local authority—that is to say, a body of persons to whom has been granted the right of self-government—should not be able to tax themselves to spend their own money upon the things which they want and which they desire to buy. Why the Local Government Board or the House of Commons should impose restrictions upon them putting up advertisements of their stock-in-trade, whether it be the natural advantages, such as health springs or seaside attractions, or whether it be, as has been suggested, suitable land for factories and industrial undertakings, I must say passes my comprehension. I have always held in this House that a large municipality especially, and any competent local authority, should have autonomy and be-able to do what it liked for itself with its own money, so long as it does not interfere-with the happiness and comfort, rights and privileges, of its neighbours. The hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Harry Lawson) admirably answered the arguments of the right bon. Gentleman about one resort hindering another by its advertisements and other resorts being forced to follow a bad example—that a small place like Bognor, for instance, might be overwhelmed by the larger rateable value of Brighton. Such an argument hardly needs a moment's examination.
Is the money spent by Brighton in advertising itself, in making known to the public its garish pavilions and hotels, altogether an attraction?. Do people go there all the more because Brighton makes itself ugly by these places? Do they not choose, just because' it does not advertise itself, some little obscure place of which nobody else, if they can help it, shall ever hear, and where they go year after year? If the inhabitants of a municipality have the right every November to say who shall represent them and carry on their business, surely that is the real protection against their money being improperly spent! The men whom they choose meet together in council and say, "There are many things about this place of which we would like people to know; they will then come to see us and spend their money here, and our tradespeople and the ratepayers generally will benefit." They spend their money because they reasonably expect to derive an advantage from that expenditure. If they are spending it foolishly, if they want the leading strings of the President of the Local Government Board to prevent them from wildly putting their hands into their pockets and spending their money badly, they will very soon find it out. The councillors themselves, or those who elect them, will say, "You must not do it any more. Brighton is too big for us; we cannot compete with it." They will cease the foolish expenditure. At any rate, it is for them to determine how they will spend their money. My right hon. Friend said that it was far better that they should spend their money on recreation grounds, parks, sea-walls, golf links, and so forth. Has not such expenditure exactly the same effect of making them superior in attractiveness to some other smaller places. The right hon. Gentleman's objection applies to that just as much as to the other. I would not have spoken in this Debate but for the fact that I want hon. Members to consider how far we in Parliament are entitled to interfere with the freedom of local authorities. There are restrictions which must be put upon them in the national interest, but that they should be interfered with in the expenditure of their own money, an expenditure which can cease if it does not answer their purpose, seems to me to arrogate to Parliament, and to the Department especially, a power to which we have no right at all.
The hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire (Mr. Pringle) seemed to me to take up rather a selfish line. He told us that he represented a constituency where the sun never shone, or at any rate where it shone very seldom, and yet he wished to deprive people of the chance of going to places where the sun does shine. A great deal has been said this afternoon about hon. Members advertising their constituencies. I think that the people whom the hon. Member represents ought to have an opportunity of coming to my Constituency, which is sunny Southport. We are not interested in this Bill, because Southport has already got a Bill through Parliament for the same purpose as Blackpool; but I think that such a measure would be very valuable in bringing visitors from other parts of the Kingdom, and undoubtedly it would be useful in attracting a considerable number of travellers from the Continent. The hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire suggested that nobody wanted to go to a place because of an advertisement. He seemed to think that everybody was well enough off to buy a Baedeker, and study the amenities of a place for themselves. This Bill is supported by the tradesmen principally, but it will be of benefit to all classes in the different watering places; therefore. I trust the House will give it a second Reading.
I understood my hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Sir W. Byles) to argue in the first part of his speech that all watering places ought to have full autonomy, and to be able to spend any amount in attracting people to their resorts, and then in the second part of his speech he told us that any sensible person would go to a place that never advertised.
I said that those who prefer a small place will not go to a big place. Those who prefer a big place will go there.
I rather understood my hon. Friend to say that people would be driven away by these advertisements. Surely it is impossible to argue that the fact of one place advertising will not compel another place to do the same.
It is not compelled at all.
Take two places near to each other, with the same sort of facilities. Take Southport and Blackpool. Does the hon. Member mean to say that if Blackpool advertised very largely, and South-port did not advertise at all, that would not injure Southport?
Southport has the power now.
That shows that both find it necessary.
If Blackpool finds it an advantage, Southport may follow a good example. They may say, "Blackpool is drawing all these people. Why should not we do the same."
My hon. Friend said that the fact of one place advertising does not interfere at all with the power of another place not to advertise, but I suggest that if Blackpool advertises South- port will find it to its advantage to do the same, and will be almost bound to spend the ratepayers' money in that way. For that reason, I think, the arguments addressed to the House as regards the complete autonomy of these places to spend the money in any way they like does not really hold good. The only question, to my mind, is as to whether the Bill gives sufficiently large or too large powers to the local authorities affected. I must say that personally my sympathies are with those people who wish to effect real improvements in their towns and districts, rather than with those who desire to fill the railway stations and public hoardings with advertisements concerning their wares. I think, on the whole, it is better that they should compete in other ways—in real business—rather than in the way suggested, and to that extent I agree with my right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board. I must say, however, that I do not think that this is an important matter one way or another. It is only a matter of spending up to a penny rate, and if there is, as I gather, a demand on the part of a great many watering places and health resorts to have this power, it is a matter which ought to be considered. For that reason it might be worth while to give the Bill a Second Reading and send it to Committee. For my part, however, I should have thought that most of these local authorities would be wiser to spend their money in another way.
There are some considerations in the matter of this Bill which have not yet been put before the House. First of all, let me say that the Debate this afternoon is an illustration of what always comes from putting our hands as a Parliament to work of this description. We have had an air of advertisement around us this afternoon. I do not complain at all about individual Members, but the fact that one individual Member after another has got up to advertise Skegness has made it necessary for other hon. Members to get up and advertise Eastbourne, and other hon. Members to advertise other places—each one his own particular district.
I said nothing about Salford.
Well, with respect to anything about Salford, it is—
It is a seaport.
The hon. Member said nothing about Salford, I agree. Under this Bill some places will advertise more and more just because other places are doing so. In effect the other places will be forcing them to do it. There is no doubt at all about that. Had it not been for the fact that certain railway companies were already advertising certain places and not others, we should have heard nothing about this Bill. That is one of the arguments which has been put forward by the promoters. The big thing they put forward as an argument is the preferential treatment of certain places on the part of the railway company. These advertise, it is said, various big places, and others that have only natural attractions are not advertised at all. There is not very much in the argument. The railway companies' outlay, plus the high rateable value of these same places now advertised, will be so tremendous in comparison with these other little places that the latter will not get a look in at all. The hon. Member for Horncastle has come down here and advocated on the one hand a seaside place like Skegness, and on the other hand an inland place called Woodhall Spa, which is in his own constituency. But at the present time Skegness is very well advertised by the Great Northern Railway, which takes the portrait of the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London, dresses him up in gouty apparel, makes him dance over the sands, and say, "Skegness is so bracing!" That is one of the works of art which we have heard so much about this afternoon which is to contribute to the pictorial character of our hoardings. Skegness has become the large and improved place that it is because the Great Northern Railway Company have advertised it. Woodhall Spa has its grievance because the Great Northern Railway Company would not advertise it. Yes, but how is the thing going to be made better by this Bill? What is £40 a year against the present advertising of Skegness for the benefit of the railway, plus the big rateable value of Skegness? That would be the difficulty—you will have inland places up against seaside watering places, and seaside places up against inland places. I was quite unintentionally led to sign a requisition to the President of the Local Government in favour of a Bill of this character, but I took it to be a Bill that was for the benefit of the health resorts in Wales, and when I came down to this House and found this was a Bill for advertising health resorts all over England and Wales, I found that I had committed myself to something that was not going to help Wales at all, but was going to injure it and leave it worse off than it is at present. I thought I was doing something to assist this little country so far away. Everybody knows everything about England, and cannot help knowing everything about her; but the amazing ignorance about our little country of Wales is a totally different thing, and I felt it was only fair that the world should know that there was a country called Wales. We did not go on advertising individual towns but the whole country as one place, in which you could find things that surpass Switzerland or any other health resort. When I was asked to vote for this Bill that will bring in wealthy places like Eastbourne, Brighton, and all those English watering places, I said Wales will sink into insignificance more in the future than in the past, in the opinion of those people, because we can never compete with the enormous expenditure at the back of those people.There is one other aspect of the Bill that interests me very much. That is the question: Who is going to benefit? Before I deal with that, I have one other point as to the argument about attracting Continental visitors. Was there ever a more fallacious argument put forward on behalf of a Bill, because obviously you are not under this Bill going to put up hoardings all over the Continent saying England is a great health resort. You are not going to put up hoardings all over the Continent, such as we see, "Come to Switzerland or to Brittany"; you are not going to say "Come to England. Nothing of the kind. But every tiny town will have to do it, because another town is spending money in France or Italy, and it must spend money in France or Italy, and you are only accentuating the difficulty. I was going to say a word as to the persons who are likely to benefit under this Bill. There are two classes of people likely to benefit, namely, the railway companies and the landlords. I have come into a secret this afternoon. Talk about plots, and the need for a judicial inquiry into these plots! I am glad to see the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) in the House, because I want to say these things in his presence, because he himself may have become unwittingly a party to this plot, though I am glad to see he is opposed to this Bill, which rather shows he is not in the plot. I have heard that the seaside places have in certain instances struck a bargain with the railway companies on the strength of the passing of this Bill, and the bargain is that the railway companies will give them excursion facilities if the health resorts will relieve them of the cost of advertising by putting it on to the rates. It is a matter for the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. J. H. Thomas) to consider, whether we can in this case use the money of the ratepayers to add to the profits of the railway companies at the expense of the ordinary working-class people who go to the health resorts.
We will get more money out of them?
I should be surprised if the railway companies are going to run excursion trains for the benefit of the working classes without making a profit out of them. There is no doubt the railway companies are going to try and be the gainers under this Bill. At any rate, they are now going to put the expense of advertising their excursion traffic upon the rates by making one place compete against another. The hon. Member for Mid-Lanark has already pointed out that there is a very serious contribution here to the creation of site values. What will happen under this Bill? You will find that, because of the competition, places will want to have something to advertise. You cannot get a place to advertise itself unless it has something to talk about or to put in a picture. The result will be that places which are now delightful little resorts in their natural beauty will begin to make hideous parades of asphalte, great piers, huge pavilions, and high towers, and Blackpool will become the standard for all the delightful resorts of this country. When you have done this our health resorts will be made places for shattering the nerves of the people attracted to them. That is the kind of competition you are going to (have, and not a Wordsworthian competition. Instead of that, you are rather going to accentuate the present evil. Instead of adopting this false method, why not bring pressure upon employers to divide the holidays all over the year in order to allow the people to take their holidays in May, June, and July, and obviate all of them taking them together in August? That would benefit health resorts infinitely more than this Bill. If you continue to concentrate the people on the same places you will create new site values and ground values to the landlords, who will not contribute under this Bill.I know that we shall be outvoted this afternoon by those who will vote in the interests of their constituencies, but when this Bill comes into Committee I wish to give warning that I shall propose that this levy of a penny rate shall go upon site value and not upon improvements which will give a new subvention to the landlord. I notice that Scotland is excluded from this Bill, and I Brave not yet heard any explanation why this course has been taken, unless it be that Scotland has obtained its advertisement, and has had one of the right kind, in the novels of Sir Walter Scott. Until Scott wrote his novels the only description of Scotland as a holiday resort was that given by Dr. Johnson, who wrote that Scotland was a place where everybody sought the first way out of it. There are many hon. Members of this House of great ability, and I suggest that they should try their hands at novel writing, and see if they cannot produce a Sir Walter Scott or something like that, and then there will be no need for this Bill. I admire the Scottish people for their self-sacrifice in not requiring any measure of this kind. There is one particular feature of this Bill that fills me with awe. What does the measure say
Division No. 87.]
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Delany, William||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Denniss, E. R. B.||Hudson, Walter|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Ingleby, Holcombe|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Dillon, John||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Donelan, Captain A.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Doris, William||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Joyce, Michael|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Fell, Arthur||Kenyon, Barnet|
|Boland, John Plus||Firench, Peter||Lardner, James C. R.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Field, William||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Gilmour, Captain John||Lawson, Sir W, (Cumbr'ld, Cockerm'th)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Glanville, Harold James||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Goldstone, Frank||Locker-Lampson O. (Ramsey)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R.|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Grant, J. A.||Lundon, Thomas|
|Campion, W. R.||Gretton, John||Lynch, Arthur Alfred|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S. E.)||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||M'Callum, Sir John M.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry|
|Clough, William||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hancock, John George||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Molloy, Michael|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Muldoon, John|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Hayden, John Patrick||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Crumley, Patrick||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Cullinan, John||Higham, John Sharp||Nield, Herbert|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Hinds, John||Nolan, Joseph|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Hoare, S. J. G.||Norton, Captain Cecil William|
It provides that you are not merely to advertise in newspapers, or by means of placards, but it says "or otherwise as they may see fit." Hon. Members have been calling attention to the dangers of this Bill, but they appear to have forgotten that point. What is there that does not come within that description? Perhaps you will get holiday resorts offering a villa to Members of Parliament in order to get them down there, and we shall have placards in the future on a Monday announcing "Great Snap Division; Liberal Members unable to leave the delightful air of Mudford-on-Sea to attend the Divisions in the House of Commons! "I hope the House will not commit itself to an advertising scheme of that kind. The age is very much advertised, and competition is forcing us into ways which we ought to disregard. I hope the rural spots and the quiet places still left to us where people can go—and they are inexpensive places—will not be ruined by this madness for advertisement that this House is forcing on them by opening the flood-gates of competition with these great wealthy municipalities.
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
Question put, "That the Question be now put."
The House divided: Ayes, 133; Noes, 64.
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Sanderson, Lancelot||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|O'Dowd, John||Sandys, G. J.||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|O'Malley, William||Sharman-Crawford, Colonel R. G.||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Sheehy, David||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|O'Shee, James John||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Philipps, Colonel Ivor (Southampton)||Talbot, Lord Edmund||Wilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S. W.)|
|Pointer, Joseph||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Reddy, Michael||Tryon, Captain George Clement||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||Wardie, George J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Thomas Roe and Lord Alexander Thynne.|
|Robinson, Sidney||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Weigall, Captain A. G|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Hackett, John||Philips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Barnes, George N.||Hogge, James Myles||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Radford, George Heynes|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Kelly, Edward||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Kilbride, Denis||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Leach, Charles||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Shortt, Edward|
|Crooks, William||Macpherson, James Ian||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Thomas, James Henry|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Malcolm, Ian||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Duffy, William J.||Manfield, Harry||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Webb, H.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||White, James Dundas (Glasgow)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Morgan, George Hay||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Morrell, Philip||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Booth and Mr. King.|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.|
Question put accordingly, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
Division No. 88.]
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Griffith, Ellis Jones|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S. E.)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Crumley, Patrick||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne).|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Cullinan, John||Hackett, John|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Hail, Frederick (Dulwich)|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Hancock, John George|
|Barnes, George N.||Dawes, James Arthur||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Delany, William||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Denniss, E. R. B.||Helme, Sir Nerval Watson|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Devlin, Joseph||Higham, John Sharp|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Hinds, John|
|Boland, John Plus||Dillon, John||Hoare, S. J. G.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Donelan, Captain A.||Hogge, James Myles|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Doris, William||Holmes, Daniel Turner|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Duffy, William J.||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Hudson, Walter|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Ingleby, Holcombe|
|Butcher, John George||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)|
|Campion, W. R.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Carlife, Sir Edward Hildred||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Joyce, Michael|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Fell, Arthur||Kelly, Edward|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Ffrench, Peter||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Field, William||Kenyon, Barnet|
|Clough, William||Flavin, Michael Joseph||King, Joseph|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Gibbs, George Abraham||Lardner, James C. R.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Gilmour, Captain John||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts. Mile End)|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Glanville, Harold James||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Goldstone, Frank||Leach, Charles|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt., Colonel A. R.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Gretton, John||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
The House divided: Ayes, 185; Noes., 28.
|Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Lundon, Thomas||O'Doherty, Philip||Thomas, J. H.|
|Lynch, Arthur Alfred||O'Dowd, John||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|McGhee, Richard||O'Malley, William||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Macpherson, James Ian||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||O'Shee, James John||Verney, Sir Harry|
|M'Callum, Sir John M.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wardle, George J.|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Pointer, Joseph||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Malcolm, Ian||Radford, George Heynes||Webb, H.|
|Manfield, Harry||Reddy, Michael||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Molloy, Michael||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Whyté, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Morgan, George Hay||Robinson, Sidney||Wiles, Thomas|
|Worrell, Philip||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Sanderson, Lancelot||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Muldoon, John||Sandys, G. J.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.||Wilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S. W.)|
|Needham, Christopher T.||Sharman-Crawford, Colonel R. G.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Newton, Harry Kottingham||Sheehy, David||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Nield, Herbert||Shortt, Edward||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Nolan, Joseph||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||Thomas Roe and Mr. Douglas Hall.|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Kilbride, Denis||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lance., Heywood)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Crooks, William||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Philipps, Colonel Ivor (Southampton)||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir|
|Grant, James Augustus||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||F. Banbury and Mr. Pringle.|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
Bill read a second time.
I beg to move, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."
On a point of Order. The hon. Member for the Oswestry Division (Mr. Bridgeman) went twice through the turnstile when the Tellers were counting. I wish to know whether
Division No. 89.]
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick Burghs)||Hogge, James Myles||Radford, George Heynes|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Holt, Richard Durning||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kilbride, Denis||Shortt, Edward|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Macpherson, James Ian||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Crooks, William||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Young, Wiliam (Perth, East)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Nield, Herbert|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||O'Connor, John (Kildars, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Grant, James Augustus||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||King and Mr. Denman.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnistaple)||Bowerman, Charles W.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Barnes, George N.||Brady, Patrick Joseph|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Bridgeman, William Clive|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Brunner, John F. L.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Burn, Colonel C. R.|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Boland, John Plus||Butcher, John George|
he has been counted twice, or whether his vote bas been included twice in the figures which have been given.
That is not a point of Order.
Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."
The House divided: Ayes, 25; Noes, 189.
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Campion, W. R.||Higham, John Sharp||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hinds, John||Pointer, Joseph|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Hoare, S. J. G.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Hudson, Walter||Reddy, Michael|
|Clough, William||Ingleby, Holcombe||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Joyce, Michael||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Kelly, Edward||Robinson, Sidney|
|Crumley, Patrick||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Cullinan, John||Kenyon, Barnet||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs. Louth)||Kerry, Earl of||Sandys, G. I.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Lardner, James C. R.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Dawes, J. A.||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts. Mile End)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Delany, William||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Sharman-Crawford, Colonel R. G.|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Leach, Charles||Sheehy, David|
|Devlin, Joseph||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R.||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Dillon, John||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Stanier, Beville|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Doris, William||Lundon, Thomas||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Duffy, William J.||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Thomas, James Henry|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||McGhee, Richard||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||M'Calium, Sir John M.||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Wardle, G. J.|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Manfield, Harry||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Fell, Arthur||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Webb, H.|
|Field, William||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Gibbs, George Abraham||Molloy, Michael||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Gilmour, Captain John||Morgan, George Hay||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Morrell, Philip||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Morrison-Bell. Major A. C. (Honiton)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Gretton, John||Muldoon, John||Wiles, Thomas|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S. E.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Needham, Christopher T.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Hackett, John||Nolan, Joseph||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S. W.)|
|Mall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Hancock, John George||O'Doherty Philip||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||O'Dowd, John||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Malley, William|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||O'Shee, James John||Thomas Roe and Mr. Douglas Hall.|
Should I be in order to move to refer the Bill to a Select Committee?
The House has determined that matter.
May I ask for the guidance of the House what is the duty of the Tellers. Is it the duty of the Tellers to count every one who passes through the turnstile irrespective of whether they have been twice through or not. One hon. Member passed through twice, and I, in my ignorance, do not know whether he was included twice or not, and there was some dispute about that in the Lobby?
I must inform the House that owing to the unconscionable time in the Division I went to see whether there were any people left in the Lobby. There was no one whose business it was to clear the Lobby on that, and I told both Tellers before going in for their benefit.
The question is whether an hon. Member is counted or not when he passes the Tellers.
Both Tellers knew what I was doing.
They must not count the hon. Member twice if they have seen him going in previously, and his name would not appear twice in the Division Lists.
On a point of Order. While I was telling in the No Lobby an hon. Member came to my fellow Teller and succeeded in inducing him to leave his post at the door to go into the Lobby. Is that in order?
I assume that the colleague of the hon. Member went in order to persuade those who were entering to pass through and not to delay the House.
On the contrary, he went to tell them that there was already a majority on his side, and that they need not pass through.
Is it in order for hon. Members deliberately to obstruct because they do not desire another Bill to come on?
If I thought that was being done, and if that was brought to my notice, I should order the Tellers to report the numbers to the House without waiting.
Is there not a precedent in this House, when the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University; Lord Hugh Cecil) deliberately obstructed the House?
No one would say that was a precedent to be followed.
Bill Committed to a Standing Committee.
The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.
Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3.
Adjourned at two minutes after Five o'clock till Monday next, 4th May.
Petitions Presented During The Week
The following Petitions were Presented during the week, and ordered to lie upon the Table:—
Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday Bill—Petition from Liverpool, in favour.
Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday Bill—Petitions in favour, from Accrington, Camberwell, Hailsham, Kirkdale, Maldon, and Winsford.
Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday Bill—Petitions in favour, from Brighton, Dorchester, Eccles, and North Shields.
Mall Approach Improvement Bill—Petition of the Phoenix Assurance Company, Limited, against (praying to be heard by counsel); referred to the Select Committee on the Bill.
Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday Bill—Petitions in favour, from Melbourne and Meldreth, and Stoke-on-Trent.
Weekly Rest-Day Bill—Petition from Malton, in favour.
Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday Bill—Petitions from Astwood Bank, Corbridge (four), and Wimborne, in favour.
Mall Approach Improvement Bill—Against (praying to be heard by counsel)—Petition of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company; referred to the Select Committee on the Bill.
Mall Approach Improvement Bill—Against alterations (praying to be heard by counsel)—Petitions from Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company, Limited, and the Mayor, Aldermen and Councillors of the City of Westminster; referred to the Select Committee on the Bill.