Skip to main content

Board Of Trade

Volume 320: debated on Monday 22 February 1937

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £4,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1937, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade, and Subordinate Departments, including certain services arising out of the War."

8.23 p.m.

The Committee may like some explanation of this Vote. The total original net Estimate for the Board of Trade was for £259,940 and the revised Estimate is for £263,940. The additional sum required by way of Supplementary grant is £4,000, and that sum arises as follows: There is an estimated deficiency in Appropriations-in-Aid of £8,000, and a saving in gross estimated expenditure of £4,000, leaving a net sum of £4,000. The Committee will see that it has been necessary to increase certain staffs, and not unnaturally the work connected with trade agreements has involved extra expenditure. The expenditure will be found on page 11 of the Estimates under the following heads: Commercial Relations and Treaties Department, £3,700; General Department, particularly in dealing with questions of agricultural policy, £500; and Sea Transport Department, £1,100. There is also an item of £1,100 for overtime, which on a staff of 700 is not very much.

Then there is the Food (Defence Plans) Department, £6,200, and as this matter comes before the Committee for the first time to-night, perhaps a word or two about that Department might be welcome. The main function of the Department is to prepare in advance plans for food control which could be put into operation by the Board of Trade, if the Government so decided, on the outbreak of war, and by a Ministry of Food if and when that was constituted. The Department is not directly concerned with home agricultural production—agricultural policy is a matter for the Ministry of Agriculture—but this Department, the Food Defence Plans Department, will co-ordinate its work with the Ministry of Agriculture. The Department has been entrusted with the preparation of the plans for the setting up of a Ministry of Food and the necessary local organisations. Rationing could only be effected as part of a general scheme of food control. The Department is therefore engaged in framing machinery for controlling the wholesale distribution of home-produced and imported supplies of each important commodity. Those plans are being prepared in consultation with the trading organisations and statutory bodies such as marketing boards, covering producers at home, importers, wholesalers and retailers.

The main purpose of food control is to secure that whenever there might be scarcity, all classes of the community receive their proper share, and control of prices is an essential element. The work has a close bearing on the work of other Departments, such as the Air Raid Precautions Department of the Home Office and the Ministry of Transport. The Department therefore works in co-operation with those Departments. The Department reports, through the President of the Board of Trade, to the appropriate committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence. The items of increased expenditure, which are at the top of page 11, amount to £12,600. There are then certain savings which are set out, and I do not think it is necessary, unless the Committee so desire, that I should go through those savings, which are on pages 9 and 10 and amount to £16,600. They are savings by reason of contingencies that were budgeted for not having occurred. The result is that there is a necessity for a Supplemental Vote of £4,000 under this heading, and I hope the Committee will give me the Vote accordingly.

8.28 p.m.

I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £100.

The Parliamentary Secretary has furnished very little information to the Committee on what we regard as the main item under this Vote. I refer to the item on page 11 relating to the staff of the Food Defence Plans Department, which was recently set up by the Government. We raise no objection to the amount involved, namely, £6,200. That may in fact be a quite inadequate amount, for this Department, having regard to the Government's armaments policy, is one of the most important of all. Therefore, in our judgment the Department is not being regarded with the seriousness which it deserves. There was a speech delivered in this House on Thursday last by the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence which was a very important utterance. In the course of that speech, the Minister said something about food supplies in time of war—not a great deal, but the matter was referred to. He said:
"I would like to say a word about two other topics. One is the question of food. Naturally this is a question of interest to the public, as indeed it is to the Government. Control and rationing have been prepared for, but I am aware that those are blank cheques, and that the question is, Where are the asset, where is the food? The Government are conscious that rationing is at most a second best. Storage has excited public interest, but if anybody gives a moment's reflection to that, he will see that the very purpose of any plan would be defeated by a premature disclosure of the steps which the Government are hound to take."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th February, 1937; col. 1427; Vol. 320.]
It may be unwise in the public interest to disclose the whereabouts of food storage in time of war, but, on the other hand, it is extremely wise to acquaint the public with the steps which the Government propose to take in respect of food supplies. In short, the public are entitled to know whether the Government are competent to deal with food supplies in time of war, and on that head, a very important matter for the public, we have no information whatever. It is all very well to increase armaments. I say nothing about the Government's defence plans, because this is not the appropriate occasion, but no matter how huge your armaments may be, unless there is an adequate food supply your armaments are of little value. It is the essence of defence, at all events from the standpoint of the general public. There is very little information in this Estimate as to the amount required for the purposes of this Department over an extended period. I presume—the Parliamentary Secretary will correct me if I am wrong—that the amount mentioned, £6,200, is for a limited period. Is it possible to obtain any information as to the amount required for a full year? Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will address himself later to that question.

The hon. Gentleman said something about the control of prices. I presume that if war broke out—and I suppose that the Government have made up their minds that war is likely; at all events, they are making what they regard as adequate preparations, and it is only a question of time—there would be a rationing scheme. What is to be the method of price control under such a scheme; or are we to understand that when the Parliamentary Secretary speaks of price control, it is merely a phrase and no more? It is easy to speak of price control, but it is much more difficult to apply it, and certainly there can be no measure of price control unless there is an adequate measure of public control over food supplies.

Furthermore, I hazard a guess that the Government will find themselves unable, without effective public control, to check profiteering. We all know what happened during the last War. Prices rose sharply and steeply, to the disadvantage of the public, and all the measures applied by the Government were ineffective. Public opinion will not tolerate profiteers in the next war. The question of prices is closely related to that of supplies. If there is a shortage of food supplies without any adequate measure of control, prices are bound to rise. That is an economic fact to which no objection can be taken.

As this is the first time this matter has been mentioned in Parliament, will the Parliamentary Secretary tell us what measures the Government have in contemplation. The Parliamentary Secretary shakes his head negatively. Are we to understand that we are not to receive information, that we are merely asked to present the Government with this money without putting questions or receiving satisfactory answers? I am sure that no Member on this side of the Committee is prepared to allow the Government to get away with that. What we say, we say in the public interest. The Government are entitled to say that they cannot disclose all the details, but some amount of information is necessary to reassure the public mind. From that position we shall not recede. It is presumed that the Food Defence Plans Committee, over which, I believe, Sir William Beveridge presides, will take steps to consult local opinion and to establish local machinery. It is obvious that too much centralisation would be unwise, but if there is to be local machinery is the expenditure on it to be included in this Estimate? May I ask whether any consultations with local authorities have already taken place; if so, with what effect, and if not, why not? I have no doubt the Parliamentary Secretary will be glad to furnish the Committee with such information as is at his disposal.

Further, if some kind of local organisation is established will it include representatives of consumers and workers? It is highly desirable that consumers should be represented, and when I speak of consumers I mean organised consumers. The Parliamentary Secretary has anticipated what I was about to say. He murmered "The Co-op." May I amplify what he said? I mean the co-operative movement, a very worthy movement, one of great importance in our national economy. Surely the vast experience of that movement in matters relating to food supply ought to be utilised by the Government as regards this important aspect of Defence. I heard the Parliamentary Secretary say something about the Food Defence Plans Committee reporting to the Committee of Imperial Defence, but I was not clear of their precise relationship. Obviously there ought to be a relationship. This fundamental aspect of national Defence ought to be constantly present to the minds of the Committee of Imperial Defence. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will emphasise what he said and indicate the precise amount of co-ordination that exists between that committee and the Committee for Imperial Defence.

In this connection I have two questions to put to the hon. Gentleman. One is whether proper consideration has yet been given to the dangers from aerial warfare to reserve stocks of food; and that brings me to the question of vulnerability. What steps have the Government in contemplation for the erection of food storage plants? For example, there is a considerable number of wheat granaries in the country, but they are principally, I believe, on the East Coast, where vulnerability is pronounced. I suggest that the Government, if they have not already done so, ought to give full consideration to that important question; and allied with it is the question of cold storage plants. Despite the valiant and magnificent efforts of the Minister of Agriculture, whom I see present, We are dependent on imports for the bulk of our meat supplies, and we are entitled to know whether the Government have thought out that question, and have plans in contemplation for the import of meat supplies, a matter on which I shall say a word before I sit down, and in particular their storage in places not so vulnerable as the East Coast. Further, what steps are being taken to provide alternative and adequate accommodation in less dangerous parts of the country, having regard to the very dread prospect of aerial warfare? I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will not regard these questions as injudicious. They seem to us to be very germane to this important Debate.

I do not regard any of the hon. Member's questions as injudicious, but I think a great many of them are completely premature. What the Committee have before them is a Supplementary Estimate dealing with a new Department created somewhere in December of last year, and for a period from December until the end of the financial year, roughly, about four months. The £6,200 is the figure of expenditure for staff, divided among 66 people in different ways. The questions of policy, to which the hon. Member is directing his attention, are all very proper questions, but they are premature and do not arise on this Estimate.

I was very glad to hear the hon. Gentleman say that my questions were not injudicious, but I cannot agree with him that they are premature. The Government came before us on this matter last week, and asked us to grant a loan of £400,000,000, which was only a part of the huge expenditure upon armaments, and to some extent they disclosed their plans. Questions on the subject were not then regarded as premature. Surely it is not premature to ask questions on what is a most important aspect of our Defence plans. I repeat that all your munitions are of little avail unless you can feed your people. The Government ought to have applied themselves much sooner to this matter, and if we can do anything to induce them to give the matter more consideration we shall do it.

Our food imports and food supplies are closely related to our Defence, and I should say more's the pity. We have, however, to deal with the existing situation, which will not change radically before the next war. Are the Government conducting any negotiations with foreign countries as regards food supplies in time of war? I do not ask the right hon. Gentleman to acquaint the Committee with the details as to countries with whom negotiations are proceeding, but to make a general statement on the matter. It seems to me that the question of where our food supplies are to come from is of primary importance. The situation in the next war, when it comes, may be very different from what it was in the last war, when we received much of our food supplies—meat and wheat and the like—from Dominion countries, in particular Australia and New Zealand. The situation was then more favourable, because the food ships were convoyed by Japanese warships, but we are not likely to receive such assistance in the next war; at all events, it does not appear likely. Our food supplies from the Antipodes may; therefore, be shut off. I hope not, but I merely put the point to the Parliamentary Secretary. As for India, we can expect nothing from that quarter because of the difficult route which has to be traversed. There are difficulties in the Mediterranean, and even round the Cape.

We may be left with two possibilities, apart from further production in our own country, one being Argentina, and the other Canada. I say nothing about Canada, because it does not seem to present any difficulty, but what is the Government's attitude about future supplies from Argentina? We sometimes detect on the opposite benches objections to imports from Argentina. Where do the Government stand? Are they for Argentine food supplies or against them, or are they in favour of some limitation? They had better make up their minds, because we shall be dependent to a considerable extent upon Argentina. I think it was Mr. Lloyd George—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"]—I am reminded that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) is so seldom here that we are disposed to use his name as though he were no longer a Member of this House—who said on one occasion that the Allies won the War largely because of Argentine meat and wheat. I suppose that he was right. How much more likely is it that Argentine meat and wheat will be required in the next war in order to save the population of this country? We are entitled to information on this point. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will not imagine that I have raised it in a frivolous frame of mind; by no means. I hope that he will have something to say about it.

Finally, would the Parliamentary Secretary say something about transport facilities of food supplies across the country from vulnerable points to points less vulnerable? It will be interesting to know what the Government have been doing in that connection. While we do not take exception to the amount asked for, but, on the contrary, believe that it may be far from adequate, having regard to the possible needs of the nation, we ought to be reassured, in order to prepare the public mind for any possible contingency. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will be good enough to furnish the required information.

8.53 p.m.

In the first place, I want to inquire why the different Departments of the Government regard the filibustering expedition in Abyssinia in different lights. I notice that, on page 11, the Board of Trade refer to "the Italo-Ethiopian crisis in the Mediterranean," whereas on pages 6, 7 and 8, the Colonial Office allude to "the Italo-Ethiopian dispute." There is the famous story of the Cabinet Minister calling upstairs to his colleagues as they were coming down: "What have we decided? It does not matter much what we say, so long as we all say the same thing." It seems as though the various Departments have not quite made up their minds about what happened in Ethiopia last year. They should at least have some uniformity. We know that the Government were born in a crisis and that they drift from one crisis to another. The sooner they go out, we hope in a final crisis, the better for this country and for the world.

I should like to ask the Minister for a little further information with regard to some of the points which were dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell). I gather that these figures for staff relate to an expenditure for three months, when the staff was not fully organised all the time. It started in a small way, and has gradually been filled up. Therefore, I take it that, if we multiply this figure by four, we shall not be very far off the annual cost as the Department is at present constituting. That seems to indicate that, if there are 66 people, as is set out here, their average annual salary is about £375 or £376.

Can we be told what is the calibre of the person at the head of this staff, what salary he is receiving, and what his position was before he took up this post, so that we may have some indication of the standing of this branch of the Department with regard to the other Departments? Can we be told whether any of these people have been seconded for this purpose, and, if so, how many; how many are new personnel; how many are temporary, and how many are on the established staff—I do not mean necessarily the exact number, but the kind of proportion? Is it proposed that this should be a permanent branch of the Department, carrying on until the crisis for which it is a preparation has arrived; and, if there are any people from outside, can we be given some indication of the kind of previous experience they have had? It seems to me that to put down, for a first discussion on this matter, the kind of note that we have here, with no further explanation from the Minister, is hardly treating the Committee with proper respect, because obviously this is a matter of the utmost importance to the country, and one in which the country will be vitally interested.

I also want to follow up a point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Seaham with regard to the position of the stores in which grain, it is proposed, will be kept. I believe that the best mark for aircraft on Southampton Water is the huge flour mill that stands there at the present time. I suppose it is a gamble whether that or the corporation's electricity works is the better landmark for aircraft, and each of them, after all, will be vitally concerned with carrying on the work of the country in the event of hostilities. Are any efforts being made to place grain elsewhere than at the great ports in these great granaries? One gathers as one goes about the country that nearly all the small village and town mills have been done away with, and in the event of hostilities, and possibly the interruption of rail and road communication, it might be very difficult to shift grain or flour from these large granaries at the ports, even if they escape destruction, to the inland population, especially to some of those industrial districts which must be very vitally concerned with the carrying on of munition works during war.

What is the relation between this Department of the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture? I noticed that the Minister of Agriculture was here a short time ago, and I was hoping that perhaps we should be favoured with a few remarks from him on this topic especially, as I noticed that the hon. and gallant Member for Petersfield (Major Dorman-Smith), on behalf of the National Farmers' Union, was carefully watching his movements on the Front Bench, possibly also hoping to hear something of the same sort. I hardly think that the hon. and gallant Member and the Minister would be wasting their time listening to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade telling us nothing in his usual bland way; they were quite obviously here because they were interested in the subject, and not in his remarks.

This is one of those Estimates which needs more explanation than we have had to-day. The Parliamentary Secretary used one phrase which I hope he will be able to explain at considerably greater length when he replies. He said that among the matters that were being investigated was the ensuring for all classes of the community of their proper share of the foodstuffs. I hope he will be able to tell us what is the proper share of each class of the community. Is there any difference between the proper share in peace time and the proper share in war time? I hope the Minister recognises that the working classes of this country never, as far as I can recollect, complained about the rationing scheme in the last War, because then at any rate they did get the same share per person as other people. Is that what the hon. Gentleman means is to happen in the next war, and, if so, why cannot this same Department be used for securing the same thing in time of peace? Why cannot it have a little practice, so that, when war breaks out, it Will be merely carrying on the good example that it has managed to create in peace time? I am sure the hon. Gentleman will recognise that, particularly in his phrase which I have mentioned, he gave an indication that it is essential that this matter should be further elaborated before the Committee could agree to part with it tonight. I can only express the hope that it will be recognised, as I believe it was during the last War, that the people who are prepared to work are the people who at least should be first secured in their food. I recollect that one morning, when a large number of German prisoners had been captured, and the bread—

I must ask the hon. Member to keep to the question of the staff.

This deals entirely with the staff. It is about on orderly corporal. The orderly corporal was issuing out the bread ration to the privates, and one man had his piece in his hand, but he refused to move on. At last the orderly corporal said to him, "You have got your ration; why don't you move on?" The man replied, "You call this a ration, corporal; I thought it was Holy Communion" At the present time the staff work of the Department is so bad that the privates in industry quite frequently find themselves in that position in peace time. I can only hope that this staff will so devise their scheme during peace time that, when it cames to war, the people will feel that they can trust the Department, because it has been able to prove that it can deal with this problem of sharing out for all classes of the community the foodstuffs that are available.

9.4 p.m.

The Minister will, perhaps, have gathered by now that we consider by far the most important item in the Supplementary Estimate before us to be this amount dealing with the food Defence plans. I was sorry to hear him attempting to belittle its importance by pointing out how small the amount was, with a view to restricting the scope of the Debate on the subject; but, however small the amount, I think it is necessary for the Committee to recognise that it is symbolical of a very important principle in national Defence; and, as it is quite impossible to separate the staff of this Food Defence Plans Department from the work which they will have to carry out, I think the Committee is entitled to obtain some information from the Minister as to the scope and adequacy of the food Defence plans in time of war.

I deplore the growing tendency on the Front Bench to make a great secret about everything that is put forward in connection with Defence. They have only to mention the word "Defence" to give themselves an excuse for not giving the House of Commons information to which it is entitled. We had an example the other day where, in the case of a contract for some kind of armaments, the Minister refused to tell us the price, because he said the competitors of the tendering firm would know it and it would assist them in the future. In a case like that it is obvious that the competitors and the rivals always know, and the only people who are not to know are the House of Commons. I have a quotation which would not be relevant to this Debate, but I will give it on the first occasion when it will be relevant. A tender for steel for the London County Council was submitted by 15 firms and every one of them tendered the same amount to the last penny, though it was over £40,000. I give that merely to show that this tendency to secrecy which is developing on the Treasury Bench is not conducive to the public interest and has, in fact, no foundation, and I propose to apply that criticism to the reluctance of the Minister to give us the information that we wish for this evening.

It is impossible to set up even the framework of machinery for dealing with food supplies until you know the scale and the principle upon which you are going to control those supplies. If you are merely going to have the half-hearted, piecemeal, progressive control which was established during the last War you will want a very different kind of machinery from what you will require if you are going to establish security of all food supplies and food production in the next war. It has been acknowledged by speakers on the other side that the moment we find ourselves engaged in a new war there will be not only conscription of the manhood of the nation, but conscription of the industrial force of the nation as well, and if the Minister still nurses any doubt about the establishment of that principle, I can assure him now that he will never carry the nation and all his colleagues unified into another war until that principle of the conscription of industry and wealth, as well as manhood, is really recognised.

Not only do I suggest that it does arise, but that it goes to the very root of the system. How can the Minister set up even a skeleton to deal with food defence supplies until he has received instructions from the Government on their scope and scale? I will not pursue the question of conscription if you, Sir, rule against it, but I will deal with some more subsidiary aspects of the principle. The first thing I should like to satisfy myself about is this. I believe that the Government, both in their food Defence plans and their armaments plans are making the mistake of over centralisation of production and storage facilities, and if that applies in the case of armaments, it applies with all the greater force in the case of food supplies. Let us take water, for example, which presumably comes within the category of food. Some people, I believe, do not recognise it is a very important part of their diet, but the water supplies of the country might prove to be a very weak part of our national Defence if they were not properly organised. We should find enormous quantities wanted for anti-fire purposes, and if a war progressed to such a state, which is not at all impossible, that our enemy, in his desperate extremity, took to the use of bacteriological warfare, the country might, with no notice, find itself in a very sorry plight indeed.

The information that we have is that this is the staff of the Food Defence Department. You cannot separate the staff from the work that they have to do. You cannot tell whether the staff is adequate or not without knowing the work which it has to carry out. This is the first time the House of Commons has had an opportunity of discussing the food plans of the Government and, if the Minister finds himself unable to confine the Debate to such narrow limits, he will have to take some part of the blame for not giving a more comprehensive statement of what the money is to be spent upon. I will not pursue the point beyond reasonable limits, but I want to get satisfaction on this point, first, that the main principle of food Defence and food distribution is one which will encompass the whole of the production and distribution facilities of the country, and will not leave one class of farmer and one class of distributor to make a fortune, and another hardly able to make enough to keep his farm going. I should like some assurance that there is to be no over-centralisation of production and distribution.

I will give one example which I am particularly concerned about. In the case of any prolonged warfare, canned food would form a most important part of the sustenance of the nation. You cannot can food, strangely enough, without cans. I believe the Government are relying almost entirely on one district, if not one factory, for the production of practically the whole of the cans that will be used. I should like some assurance, first on the main principle, secondly on this question of over-centralisation; and, thirdly, on the question of adequate methods to deal with the kind of foods which will be available. I will give one further example of the kind of thing that I have in mind. During the siege of Kut the troops came to the border of starvation. The white troops were eating a different class of food from the Indian troops. They were not being interchanged. If they had given the white troops 25 per cent. of what the Indian troops ate and the Indians 25 per cent. of what the white troops ate, they could have carried on the siege for many more months, as the diet of each contained essential elements which were lacking in the diet of the other. Take cereals and peas. I believe peas are wholly inadequate to sustain life for any length of time unless they are put to sprout in suitable conditions, and if they are put to sprout for a few days they produce vitamins and essential elements which without that process would make them useless for the purpose.

I am not satisfied that the Government are tackling these questions with vision and breadth of view. I have recollections of the last War, when we were always being assured that everything was going on splendidly. I was a very simple subaltern then with great confidence in the High Command, but since those days that confidence has been shattered, and it has never been less marked than I find it to-day with regard to the general architecture of the Defence scheme of the Government. We are dealing now with a vital part of that scheme, and before the Committee votes this small but significant sum, it will demand assurances along the lines that I have indicated.

9.15 p.m.

I want to deal with this question from the point of view of the ordinary baker. We are asked to-night for a small Vote whereby to staff the Food Defence Plans Department, and I suggest that of necessity we are entitled to ask what this Department is to do, how it is to be staffed and whether it is to set up advisory committees to deal with various aspects of the question? What, in short, is the Department going to do to ensure that, in the unfortunate event of war, the people of this country will be fed? There is no more important Vote that can come before this Committee. I would really have thought that the agriculturists in this House would have paid special attention to this particular Vote. Here we are setting up an absolutely new Department to deal with a very vital aspect of national defence. You may build as many ships, armaments and all the rest of it as you like; you may spend your £1,500,000,000 but if you have no food with which to feed the country the war would undoubtedly be lost. I want to draw the attention of the Minister to this fact. I am a baker with some special knowledge of the baking and the milling industry. Bread is a vital need in any scheme of feeding the people of the country. As long as they are able to obtain bread, the population will not starve.

When, some 40 odd years ago, I first came into the industry with which I am connected, there used to be not one flour mill, but pretty well a dozen flour mills in every important town in the country. In Birmingham, Worcester, Leeds, Manchester, Chester, in almost every inland town of any importance, you would find not one miller, but half a dozen millers. There has been rationalisation in the milling industry, and I am afraid that the Government hardly realise the position of that industry to-day in relation to this very important aspect of national defence. We have very few mills. They are all situated on the sea coast. In the city of Birmingham, where I served many years as an operative baker, we used to have 12 mills within the vicinity of the town, but to-day there is not a single mill. There are no mills left in the provincial towns. The mills are in Hull, Liverpool, on the East Coast and the West Coast and at Southampton, and they are all very vulnerable. The granaries are situated alongside these mills, and in a war such as we visualise to-day, I can imagine nothing easier than for enemy aircraft to destroy a very vital part of our food supply in a very short time indeed.

The fact that the mills are situated where they are, and that there are no mills in the inland towns, presents a problem to which the Food Defence Plans Department must pay attention. It is so easy to talk about granaries and the storing of food. I would call the attention of the Minister to the fact that there has been a great surplus of wheat in the world for the last five or six years. The result of that surplus has been that people have stopped sowing wheat, and the point I want to make is that, if you start to hoard wheat now and put in into the granaries within the next 12 months, the inevitable result will be to create even a greater shortage of wheat than that from which we are suffering at the present time. These are problems which this Department will have to tackle. If this plan is to work, the Department will, in the very nature of things, be one of the most important Departments we could have.

The question of foodstuffs requires a tremendous amount of inquiry. There is the possibility of storing food, inquiry as to where we are to get it from and the ways and means employed to bring it here. I hope that the Minister will not tell us that, in asking these questions, we are premature. Surely, it is essential at the very beginning of the setting up of a Department of this character, that we should have some assurance as to the actual work which it is proposed that the Department should carry out. The personnel is of the utmost importance. I can imagine nothing more calculated to break down the moral of the nation in time of war than the fact that it might not be able to obtain bread because the mills had been destroyed, and there were no mills left to grind the wheat we had in the country.

I trust that the Minister will realise that men like myself, who know something about feeding the people of this country with bread, are very much concerned about this question. We want to know, among other things, about the baking of bread in the event of war, and to point out to the Minister that it is not in the interests of the nation that the trustification of the bakery trade should continue to the extent that it prevails to-day, with the result that we may have a very small number of places in which to bake bread in order to provide food for the nation, all of which might be destroyed in the event of air raids. Consequently, the seriousness of the position is obvious, and I hope that the Minister will endeavour to give as much information as possible, and that he will believe that, in asking these questions, we have a sincere desire to benefit the interests of the country.

9.24 p.m.

I had no intention of speaking in this Debate until I heard the observations of my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Banfield). My sole purpose in intervening is to assure him, I hope with the assent of the representative of the Board of Trade, that the situation is not really as difficult as he assumes it to be. He speaks with great knowledge of the milling industry. I think that I may say without fear of being challenged that, for the efficient way in which it carries out its work, the milling industry ranks as high as any industry in the country. When we come to consider the work that will have to be done by officials of the Board of Trade and those concerned with this Vote, we have to remember that they will be able to rely on the immense experience of the milling trade and the assistance, experience and knowledge which have been amassed by the corn trade of this country, which by common consent is one of the most efficient importing trades in the whole of our commercial system. They have imported at the cheapest possible rates and with the lowest possible expense to the community at large.

Therefore, I sincerely hope that whatever else the Parliamentary Secretary may say when he comes to reply, he will not inform the House that they intend to rely for information and guidance of their policy on officials who may be appointed and who, however able they may be, cannot in any short space of time expect to compete in, their knowledge and experience with those who have given their lives to considerations of this kind. I have no connection with either the milling industry or the corn trade, but I have for many years watched as a matter of interest its operations, and they have always excited my admiration as being the way in which an efficient business should be conducted. I think I would not be going beyond what people in the trade would say if I were to assure the House that if advice and help are required they will be freely offered and freely available.

9.27 p.m.

May I join with my hon. Friends who have spoken and say that we are entitled to ask for the fullest possible information on this Vote? It is setting up an important Department. I want to put two or three questions. The hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shin-well) mentioned this question of the vulnerability of various parts of this country. I am told that South Wales has one advantage. South Wales has lived for so many years in a period of disadvantage and depression that we almost welcome the news that if there were aerial warfare South Wales because of its topography would be the safest part of this country. Will the committee which is being set up deal with the question of the production of food supplies in this country? Surely it will be part of their job to look after the home front, the feeding of the home population during war time?

In my opening statement I made it quite clear that the Department was not directly concerned with home agricultural production, which will remain under the Minister of Agriculture as before.

In the last War we had frantic appeals from the Government to turn every square yard of land into allotments. In Wales, which is the least vulnerable part, there are 20,000 fewer men employed on the land than there were 20 years ago. I remember attending a conference during the War which was convened to hear the present President of the Board of Trade deal with the question of rationing food during war time. Is that to be given some consideration by this committee?

The right hon. Gentleman came down, addressed the conference, made earnest appeals on behalf of the Government, and said that the production of coal and the production of coal per head were declining. He met men who were working in the pits. They put to him this problem, "How can you expect us to work in a pit producing coal when we get the kind of bread which we do get, and when we get not butter or cheese? If you want us to produce coal for this nation you must feed the people who are to produce it" In the great Soviet Republic of Russia when there was a question of food shortage they drew up a system of rationing, and the Government decided that the first claim must be that of the workers in the heavy industries, steel-workers, and coal-miners. During the War I worked as a miner and we did not get a chance of a hot meal or a cup of tea. We had to rely on snacks. We took bread, which crumbled in our hands. We had no cheese or butter. I gather that the Parliamentary Secretary said that the Committee would work out plans by which the available food would be fairly distributed. In a period of emergency the test should be—some of us say that this test should apply always—what is needed to enable these persons in industry to continue serving the nation. We deplore the possibility of an emergency again, but if there is such an occasion in the future we hope that the Committee will draw up plans by which food will be distributed and that the first claim, after that of those engaged in the fighting, will be the claim of those who are producing essential commodities. The hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Garro Jones) asked whether the committee would deal with the question of storing food by canning. There are people in South Wales and elsewhere who are devoting considerable attention to this subject. Will advantage be taken of the knowledge they have gained?

9.33 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary said that any question about the policy of this new Department was premature. We are now considering the salaries of a Department which already, we learn, has appointed 66 persons as its staff, and one would imagine that already there must be in the mind of whoever is in charge some idea of the policy which this Department will be called on to administer. As one who represents in some small degree the consumers of this country through the cooperative movement, I am naturally very much concerned about whether part of the duties of this staff will be to endeavour to regulate in some manner or other the inevitable rise in food prices which must ensue. When the Minister said that any question of policy was premature at the present time my mind immediately reverted to what is already happening in connection with the Government's defence policy. It may be true that some step will be taken in regard to costing for contracts, in order to check the huge profits which capitalist industry will endeavour to extract from the country's extremity, but I would remind the Minister that at the present time we are witnessing a phenomena with which, so far as we are aware, the Government have taken no steps to deal. Contracts for the manufacture of aeroplanes, etc., may very well be subject to costing, but what about raw materials, and certainly food may be classed as raw material. I cannot imagine any system of costing being applied to them. The question will be that of controlling the price of foodstuffs somewhere at the point of entry into the country, or entering into contracts at prices agreed upon which shall not be excessive in the circumstances.

In regard to raw materials, to which food is comparable, we have witnessed to-day the wildest scramble in the base metal markets that has occurred since 1914. Before the Government complete their contracts the prices of everything which they require have enormously increased. I can imagine that when it comes to a question of the staff, for which we are about to vote the money, being called upon as part of the machinery for creating large storages of food in this country to provide against the eventuality of war, then it will be necessary to make very big contracts ahead, and I should like to know from the Minister whether his remark that policy is premature at the moment applies, or whether the Department will not have already invented some means whereby when it purchases these huge supplies of food for storage, steps will be taken to see that excessive profits are not made on the contracts. I speak as one who represents the great Co-operative movement, and who remembers the experience we had in the last War, an experience which we are very anxious should not be repeated under the conditions which are coming into existence. Myself and other hon. Members who represent the Co-operative movement would not have been in this House today if the Government during the War had taken steps to see that when the rationing of food supplies was carried out the Co-operative movement was taken into consultation and treated as fairly and squarely as the great capitalist concerns. I hope the Minister will give us some assurance on the points that I have raised.

9.40 p.m.

I should like to be assured on one point which has been raised in the House recently without much satisfaction. I refer to the poultry industry, which will be essential to us in time of war, and which at the present time is going very rapidly into bankruptcy. I take it that the new staff for which the Vote is required will have to co-ordinate and possibly overlap the work of the Ministry of Agriculture. The predecessor of the present Minister of Agriculture, in a broadcast talk, said that it was the definite policy of the Government to see that as much of our food as possible was produced at home at a price that would not be ruinous to the people concerned. This great branch of agriculture, the poultry industry, is being killed at the present time because of the fact that imports are coming in from abroad.

The hon. Member cannot discuss that subject on this Vote.

I wanted to ask whether the Minister, who is responsible for the imports, will give us an assurance that something will be done to guarantee that this industry will be there in time of need, if war comes? I want to show that if things continue as at the present time the industry will not be there to provide us with food in emergency, because of the fact that it is being killed by very large importations, which we cannot rely upon in war time. It is obvious that in a war we shall have to rely upon our own production at home to a very large extent. We shall not be able to guarantee that the supplies that come from abroad will be as accessible as they are in peace time, and I should think it will be the policy of the Department to build up as far as possible our own resources, so that we shall not be nearly so vulnerable in time of war. I think I am entitled to ask the Minister to give careful attention to that point. Owing to the very large imports that have taken place recently this industry is suffering very much and the market is being demoralised as a consequence. A great many people who are in the industry were encouraged to enter it by the Government, particularly through smallholding schemes. I hope that something will be done to protect the industry, so that it will be there if war time comes.

9.43 p.m.

The Debate has been most helpful, and I am grateful to hon. Members who have taken part and have drawn attention to the very natural interest which arises from any mention of the Food Defence Plans Department. I hope the Committee do not think that in my opening remarks I dealt with the matter too sketchily or too light-heartedly. I was in genuine doubt as to the type of information which the Committee desired me to give. In consequence, I concentrated my attention on the type of matters which the Department had been called into being to solve, and did not deal in detail with the staff. I note from the discussion that the Committee is closely interested in the staff, and a number of helpful suggestions have been made in regard to matters which ought to be taken into consideration. Let me remind the Committee that they are not hearing of this matter for the first time. The constitution of the Department appeared in announcements on 28th November of last year, when it was pointed out that the head of the Department was the second secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, who was seconded from the Ministry of Agriculture by reason of his special experience in problems of this sort. There are two assistant directors, one of whom served in the Ministry of Food and afterwards in the Ministry of Agriculture, while the other has had Board of Trade experience, including the secretaryship of the Food Council.

The Department was established as a sub-department of the Board of Trade and its staff has been recruited exclusively by the transfer of civil servants employed in other Departments of the Board of Trade and from other Government Departments. The staff has been recruited exclusively within the Civil Service. The work is necessarily of a 'highly confidential character and will involve close contact with a number of other Government Departments connected with preparations affecting the civil life of the country during war. For these reasons it was thought well that the staff should be exclusively civil servants. The salary of the director is £2,200, plus an allowance of £300, the assistant directors £1,150, the principals £800 and the chief staff officers £680. The total number of the personnel is 66, including 21 clerks, superintendent typists and shorthand typists and a certain number of other officers. The sum of £6,200 for which I am asking in the Vote, or rather which forms part of the total amount, is a forecast as from the 7th December, 1936, to the end of the current financial year, and hon. Members who have attempted to make an estimate as to what the Department will cost over a period of 12 months are substantially right.

The Department is in essence temporary. It has been set up to deal with a particular situation which it was thought made the setting up of such a Department both necessary and urgent. Its scope is mainly to continue and complete the formulation of plans for the supply, control, distribution and movement of food, including foodstuffs for livestock, as part of the general preparations for national Defence. It also includes the preparation in advance of plans for food control with a view to these plans being put into operation immediately in time of emergency. Also the preparation of plans for the setting up of a Ministry of Food with proper local organisations; food committees in each area, with a divisional officer responsible to the Ministry of Food; and the best method of maintaining uninterruptedly the flow of food supplies. All these things come within the purview of the Department.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary say something on the kind of representation there will be on these local committees?

I think it is much too early. A Department which was set up in November, which has to recruit its staff and deal with the task of formulating food plans in the event of emergency, cannot be expected within a couple of months to give to the House its conclusions on matters of policy, but I agree that the point mentioned by the hon. Member must be taken into consideration. I have no idea what will be the final decision as to the constitution of the local organisations. I imagine they will be modelled on previous experience. The whole point is to secure a better and an uninterrupted supply of foodstuffs and proper distribution. The hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) is pushing at an open door. Of course, steel workers and miners require food of a different character, and no doubt the best joints of beef will be given to them. The rationing of the individual consumer can only be effected as part of the general system of control when the whole machinery for the control of distribution is under consideration. The plans will deal with consultations with trade organisations, marketing boards, statutory bodies, and there need be no fear on the part of the co-operative movement that the Department will not co-operate with them, having regard to their special knowledge on a number of these points.

The hon. Member has on his own Front Bench the right hon. Member 1or Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander) as an answer to that question.

I have not in mind any question of representation on any particular committee set up by the Government, with which some right hon. Member sitting beside me may be associated; I am thinking of what approach has been made to the co-operative movement in relation to the decentralised organisation of which the Parliamentary Secretary has spoken.

I was not referring either to matters to which the hon. Member was not referring. I was answering his express question. I was asked whether communications or approaches had taken place between the Co-operative movement and the Government, and my answer was "Yes," and that assurances had been given that advantage will be taken of the special knowledge which the Co-operative movement has in matters which will be dealt with by the Department. A number of most helpful suggestions have been made during the Debate, but I think questions relating to policy are premature. I do not take the view that it is necessary to solve your problems before you set up your staff to consider them. When the Government as a matter of urgent necessity decided that it was desirable to set up a new Department to consider these problems and to carry on, under one Department, the general discussions which had been taking place over a long period of time, they thought it was desirable to give the Department the best expert assistance possible. That has been done. We have given them a staff, and seconded to them such officers as have special knowledge. The programme on which they are engaged is to formulate all these various plans, and questions of policy to which hon. Members have given voice tonight will be taken into account. But it is too early to announce their solution.

9.54 p.m.

I apologise to the Parliamentary Secretary that because of another urgent engagement I have not heard the whole of the Debate. I am making no complaint on behalf of the Cooperative movement of any lack of consultation, but I am concerned that the Committee should not be lulled into a sense of false security by the kind of answer we have had from the Parliamentary Secretary. The greatest folly of all in 1914 was the lack of proper provision for dealing with this class of war service, the food of the country. In the War Book, as it was known in July, 1914, there was no reference at all to the consumers' movement. It is really approaching the matter from the wrong angle, and the Parliamentary Secretary in preparing for the next war and in forming a department for the supply of services says that it is too premature to decide anything. We ought not again to be put in the position that existed in the case of the War Book in 1914. It is true that the Parliamentary Secretary has said that they will learn by experience and will act on experience gained, but Parliament ought not continually to be asked to vote money in this respect unless it knows what it is getting for that money.

There is another aspect of the matter. The Parliamentary Secretary made a reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) which purported to be a reply to quite important strategical questions raised by my hon. Friend. No one would expect the Parliamentary Secretary to give a detailed account of what steps are being taken to deal with strategical problems, but one is entitled to ask for some assurances of a kind that will give confidence to the civilian population concerning the steps that are being taken. We are not asking for details, but what is the nature of the steps that are being taken? When one considers the dangers from air warfare, when one considers the distribution of cold storage, granaries and warehouses for food reserves, how many are within what might be called vulnerable areas subject to air attack, and how many are in non-vulnerable areas? We ought to have assurances that proper steps are being taken in that direction. I feel that the Parliamentary Secretary was unwittingly far too short in his answer on that point, and I hope he will give an assurance to my hon. Friends who made these representations. I gather that

Division No. 87.]

AYES.

[9.58 p.m.

Adams, D. (Consett)Chater, D.Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)Cluse, W. S.Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)
Adamson, W. M.Cove, W. G.Groves, T. E.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.Day, H.Hardie, G. D.
Sanfield, J. W.Dobbie, W.Henderson, J. (Ardwick)
Batey, J.Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)Henderson, T. (Tradeston)
Bellenger, F. J.Ede, J. C.Hopkin, O.
Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.Jagger, J.
Benson, G.Gallacher, W.Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.
Bromfield, W.Gardner, B. W.Jones, A. C. (Shipley)
Brooke, W.Garro Jones, G. M.Kelly, W. T.
Brown, C. (Mansfield)Gibbins, J,Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.
Burke, W. A.Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.Lathan, G.
Cape, T.Grenfell, D. R.Lawson, J. J.

unless they can get some assurance, they would prefer to divide at once and to show that they have not yet been given adequate information.

9.57 p m.

Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite must take their own course, but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) does me an injustice. I realise the importance of these strategical questions, and therefore, in my opening remarks, I made a statement in order to allay anxiety. I will repeat that statement. The work of the Food Defence Plans Department has a very close bearing on the work of other Departments concerned with the home front, such as the Air Raid Precautions Department of the Home Office and the Ministry of Transport. It is necessary that the Department should work in the closest co-operation with the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence. The Department reports, through the President of the Board of Trade, to the appropriate Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence. Of that Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence which deals with this particular subject matter, the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence is the Chairman.

9.58 p.m.

May I ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether, in view of the fact that he did not reply to the hon. Member opposite who referred to the poultry industry, the agricultural industry and the outlook of that industry is of no concern to his Department, and, further, whether the fertility of the soil is also of no concern to his Department?

Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £3,900, be granted for the said Service"

The Committee divided: Ayes, 92; Noes, 177.

Lee, F.Parker, J.Thurtle, E.
Leslie, J. R.Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Tinker, J. J.
Logan, D. G.Potts, J.Viant, S. P.
Lunn, W.Price, M. P.Walkden, A. G.
Macdonald, G. (Ince)Pritt, D. N.Walker, J.
McEntee, V. La T.Richards, R. (Wrexham)Watkins, F. C.
McGhee, H. G.Ridley, G.Watson, W. McL.
Maclean, N.Riley, B.Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)Ritson, J.Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Mainwaring, W. H.Rowson, G.Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Marshall, F.Sexton, T. M.Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Maxton, J.Shinwell, E.Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Milner, Major J.Short, A.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Simpson, F. B.
Naylor, T. E.Smith, E. (Stoke)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Oliver, G. H.Stephen, C.Mr. Charleton and Mr. Mathers.
Paling, W.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)

NOES.

Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. DykeFremantle, Sir F. E.Orr-Ewing, I. L.
Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)Furness, S. N.Owen, Major G.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.Fyfe, D. P. M.Patrick, C. M.
Agnew, -ieut.-Comdr. P. G.Ganzoni, Sir J.Peake, O.
Albery, Sir IrvingGeorge, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)Penny, Sir G.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)Perkins, W. R. D.
Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)Gluckstein, L. H.Petherick, M.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J.Goldie, N. B.Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Aske, Sir R. W.Granville, E. L.Pilkington, R.
Assheton, R.Grant-Ferris, R.Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyGridley, Sir A. B.Radford, E. A.
Balfour, G. (Hampstead)Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)Raikes, H. V. A. M.
Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)Grimston, R, V.Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Gritten, W. G. HowardRamsbotham, H.
Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury)Guy, J. C. M.Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)Hamilton, Sir G. C.Rayner, Major R. H.
Blindell, Sir J.Hanbury, Sir C.Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Bossom, A. C.Hannah, I. C.Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.Harris, Sir P. A.Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Boyce, H. LeslieHaslam, H. C. (Horncastle)Remer, J. R.
Brass, Sir W.Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Bull, B. B.Holmes, J. S.Ropner, Colonel L.
Burgin, Dr. E. L.Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Campbell, Sir E. T.Hopkinson, A.Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Cary, R. A.Horsbrugh, FlorenceSanderson, Sir F. B.
Casttereagh, ViscountHudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)Seely, Sir H. M.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)Hulbert, N. J.Selley, H. R.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)Hunter, T.Shakespeare, G. H.
Channon, H.Jackson, Sir H.Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Clarke, F. E. (Dartford)James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.
Clarry, Sir ReginaldKeeling, E. H.Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.
Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D J.Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)
Courtauld, Major J. S.Lamb, Sir J. Q.Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Croom-Johnson, R. P.Lees-Jones, J.Sutcliffe, H.
Cross, R. H.Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.Tate, Mavis C.
Crossley, A. G.Levy, T.Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Culverwell, C. T.Liddall, W. S.Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C.Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)Loftus, P. C.Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Denman, Hon R. D.Lumley, Capt. L. R.Waterhouse, Captain C.
Denville, AlfredMcCorquodale, M. S.Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Dorman-Smith, Major R. H.Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)
Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop)McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.White, H. Graham
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)Maitland, A.Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Dugdale, Major T. L.Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Duncan, J. A. LManningham-Buller, Sir M.Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Eastwood, J. F.Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.Windsor-Olive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Edmondson, Major Sir J.Markham, S. F.Wise, A. R.
Ellie, Sir G.Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.Womersley, Sir W. J.
Emery, J. F.Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)Wragg, H.
Entwistle, Sir C. F.Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Errington, E.Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)
Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Everard, W. L.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Commander Southby and Sir Henry
Findlay, Sir E.O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Morris-Jones
Fox, Sir G. W. G.Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G. A.

Question,

"That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £4,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1937, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade, and Subordinate Departments, including certain services arising out of the War,"

put, and agreed to.