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Clause 53—(Right To Require Notice Of Acquisition To Be Given)

Volume 436: debated on Monday 28 April 1947

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I beg to move, in page 64, line 37, to leave out paragraph (b), and to insert:

(b) Compensation shall be payable in respect of the cessation of business, and such compensation shall equal a sum calculated in accordance with Subsection (3) of Section forty-eight of this Act subject to a proportionate redemption in respect of compensation reasonably attributable to that part of the undertaking which is not transferred to the Commission."
Major Milner, you are very possibly familiar with the story of the old Chinese torture known as "the death of the thousand cuts." It is a useful illustration of the situation created by Clause 53 which, instead of applying execution by one blow as the earlier Clauses did, applies something like "the death of the thousand cuts," to the road haulier. The procedure which the Clause contemplates is that he should first be refused original permission, or refused other permission. When we come to Subsection (I b) we find it is contemplated that he will be unable to work his business, and being un- able to work his business, that he will ask the Commission to take it over. Then one comes to consider what the Commission will do. As everyone in the Committee would fully expect by this time very little is done for the road haulier. Under Subsection (2) the compensation will be limited to the vehicles and to such hire purchase agreements relating to goods vehicles that are licensed and to contracts directly relating to the operation of vehicles authorised to be used under the licences. Then they go to make the negative perfectly clear. Under Subsection (2, b) it is ruled that
"no compensation shall be payable in respect of cessation of business."
That is the point with which our Amendments specifically deal. We ask that paragraph (b) be omitted and the words of the Amendment substituted.

I ask the Committee to consider the situation in which these circumstances arise. The decision as to whether a business will be taken over is taken on the basis that over 5o per cent. of the business is "long distance haulage"—remembering that extraordinary ruling that anything over 4o miles is a "long dis- tance haul," a conception which has occurred for the first time in the history of the gullibility of man, under the present Government. Secondly, it is decided on two requirements—either weight or cost. The position which often arises is that the great majority of the weight is in "short distance hauls" and if the cost is brought up by any appreciable number of "long distance hauls," it becomes a "long distance business." But, having decided on that extraordinary formula, then the thing is limited to 25 miles an hour. That is the extremity of absurdity in the conception of long distance haulage.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the person limited to a radius of 25 miles will find it difficult to carry on his business. To a large extent, his business is bound to be made up of just these traffics excluded from consideration in making the test, and the practical effect of this Clause will be that the Commission will be landed with a number of difficult technical traffics, which it will have the greatest difficulty in carrying on. That being the position, it really seems illogical and inequitable that, if a business is over the 50 per cent., there is to be compensation for cessation of business based on a loss of profit, but if something comes just under the 50 per cent., no compensation is to be paid, however difficult it may have been for that person to carry on. That is the position, and the logic or reasonableness of it we cannot appreciate.

What is happening here is that the Government's policy, that of driving the road haulier out of business and making it impossible for him to carry on, is being demonstrated just as clearly as if they had taken the step of acquisition. In these circumstances, we on this side, say that there ought to be some compensation for the cessation of business, and it ought to be on the same basis as before. If it is through the Government's action that the haulier cannot carry on, there seems no reason why his compensation should be limited as suggested. I am not quite clear—perhaps either the right hon. Gentleman or the Parliamentary Secretary will help me on this point—whether it is intended that there should be compensation for severance in this case. I cannot see any provision for compensation for severance and I want to make it clear that the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends are in doubt about it. I would just say one word about it now. Any severance pay- ment, even if it could be made, would not offset the compensation for goodwill. I cannot find anything in the Clause and I gather from the silence of right hon. and hon. Gentleman that the fact it is not in the Clause concludes the matter, which shows that it is not intended to have any payment for severance here. If it is the position that the person who is put out of business by these absurd conditions and absurd tests is only to have compensation for his assets, then it seems to me a clear case is made out showing the inequity and unfair nature of his treatment.

I support the Amendment on two grounds—expediency as regards the Commission and justice as regards the road hauliers. I realise, however, having seen the way Amendments were received by the Government Front Bench, it is unlikely that any justice will be given to road hauliers, and having listened to our deliberations in Committee, I think it extremely unlikely that hon. Members opposite will accept my point of view as to expediency in relation to the Commission. But I should like on those two grounds of expediency and justice to try to convince the Minister and hon. Members opposite of the point of our Amendment. From the point of view of expediency it must be bad policy to allow many road hauliers to hand over part of their business, and maybe only a small part of their business, to the Commission, particularly specialised or technical forms of transport such as tankers and carrying licences. The Commission will then be saddled with a large and widespread number of small businesses, doing perhaps farm to farm collections, which by their very nature cannot be handled properly by the Commission and will he extremely inefficient. It is certain that if the whole thing is taken over many will forgo their businesses.

10.45 p.m.

On the question of justice I have even less hope of getting my argument accepted. But I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman—I have suggested it before, and he has listened with some sympathy to the point—that it is essential, if this scheme is to work, that he should have the full cooperation and support of the whole road haulage industry. That is obvious, and he has accepted it, even if other hon. Gentlemen have not. If the scheme is really to work, complete justice must be done to road hauliers. It is certain that this is one of the matters causing great concern to the road haulage industry at the moment—not among the big people with whom the Minister conducted the negotiations which we hear so much about—but among the smaller people. There is undoubtedly widespread concern among these people on this point. If the right hon. Gentleman can accept, either in whole or in part, the Amendment moved by my right hon. Friend, it will go a goad way towards not only earning the good will of the industry, but allaying its fears. No one can deny that these fears are widespread in the country. On these grounds alone, I suggest to the Minister that he should consider carefully whether he should not do something towards allaying these fears wherever possible.

That is the ground of justice that I would put forward. But apart from that, I submit to the Committee that the scheme in the Bill is illogical and inequitable. This might mean acquiring more than half the traffic without compensation, unless some effort is made by the Government to accept this Amendment, or some other effort is made to meet this point. In spite of the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman in Committee upstairs little action has been taken to allay the fears which exist. A great deal has been said to the effect that these fears are unjustified, but little has been done in the Bill to prove that. One of the great fears is that the Transport Commission intends to freeze out road hauliers without paying compensation; that it intends to take over the absolute minimum of their businesses at the start, and by increasing competition, intends to freeze them out of the business, ultimately paying very much less compensation that they would pay now, in order to put people out of business altogether. Compensation should not be paid under these conditions. I would recommend the Minister, as sincerely as I can, to accept this Amendment moved by my right hon. and learned Friend.

May I first deal with the suggestion running through the remarks of the hon. Member for Oswestry (Mr. O. Poole) that we have not been disposed to deal fairly and equitably with the road haulage undertakings? In the very early consideration of this Bill, I indicated to the Road Haulage Association, and to those who speak for such undertakings, that they would have full access to myself and to my Department for the purpose of ventilating and examining any technical points on compensation and such matters. If those who act for the organisation elect, of their own free will, to ignore an offer and an undertaking of that character, and decide instead to embark on a raging, tearing, campaign throughout the country, assuming that that would be a better way to serve the purposes of those they represent, then I consider there is no reflection upon myself or the Government.

May I interrupt? I raised two serious issues. The first is that all these negotiations carried on by the Minister were generally with representatives of the largest firms, and were dealt with outside this House. That has been the undercurrent of the Minister's comments throughout the whole of the proceedings on this Bill. It is absolutely unjustifiable that the right hon. Gentleman should seek to refute points raised, either in Committee upstairs or here, merely on the ground that certain sections of the industry have or have not negotiated with him.

I do not think that is the issue at all. Whilst it does not exclude representations by individual concerns, the Road Haulage Association does claim to represent the great number of road hauliers in this country, and has been the official body with which negotiations have taken place from time to time on matters affecting the industry. I felt it desirable to make that position plain, because I hardly think the extravagant language of the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) is justified on this Amendment. It would appear, that the weaker his case, the stronger his language becomes.

The Minister accuses my right hon. and learned Friend of extravagant language. In point of fact, all the Minister has done has been to accuse the road hauliers of not turning to him and trying to negotiate and strike a bargain with trying outside this House.

The point I am making is quite legitimate, because there was the inference all the way through these discussions, that there has been discriminatory action against the road haulage undertakings. I was making it plain that that is not the case. Even on technical points, there has been ample opportunity for ventilation, if they so desired. It has only been in the later stages of the Bill that representatives of this organisation have commenced to open up negotiations on many of these points. As a matter of fact, the issue we are now discussing is one of the matters recently brought to my attention, and at the moment negotiations are covering this point in the main. I think it is desirable to refute what I would describe as the exaggerated case submitted by the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby.

I would remind the Committee again of the purpose of the Bill, in order to bring his argument into proper perspective. After all, this Bill proposes to integrate the whole of the transport services of this country into one public service. That being the case, road haulage undertakings that ply for hire or reward are recognised to be suitable undertakings, like the railway companies and road passenger services, to be brought, eventually, within the provisions of the Pill. So, the "A" and "B" licence holders, whom we are now discussing, who operate within a 25 miles radius and require a permit to go beyond that radius are, undoubtedly, within the definition of the Bill, as representing the type of undertaking that is legitimately visualised as suitable for the purpose of absorption into a public service system. That is the first thing that must be recognised when we are dealing with "A" and "B" licences.

For the purpose of meeting the administrative convenience of localities the provisions of the Bill determine a 25 miles radius. In fact, if a road haulage undertaking does not come within the field in which a long distance haulage concern is free to operate, a permit may be granted. This is for the purpose

Division No. 152.]


[10.58 p.m.

Adams, Richard (Balham)Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. JBlyton, W. R.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Barstow, P. GBoardman, H.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Barton, C.Bottomley, A. G.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Battley, J. R.Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Bechervaise, A. E.Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)
Alpass, J. H.Belcher, J. W.Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. JBraddock, T. (Mitcham)
Attewell, H. CBenson, G.Bramall, Major E. A.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.Berry, H.Brook, D. (Halifax)
Austin, H. L.Beswick, F.Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)
Bacon, Miss ABing, G. H. CBrown, George (Belper)
Baird, J.Binns, J.Brown, T. J. (Ince)
Balfour, A.Btenkinsop, ABruce, Major D. W. T.

of flexibility and adjustment, which are necessary for a limited number of journeys. After all, in this case the Commission, and not the licensing authority, is the body which grants the permit to exceed the 25 miles radius. That being the case, if the Commission should refuse to grant a permit, or if they impose a restriction on a permit, or give notice to revoke a permit already given, then the operator concerned has the right of serving upon the Commission notice to acquire his business. If that is the case, if the operator undertakes this provision of the Bill—Clause 53—then the compensation provisions of Clause 46 automatically operate. But if the operator decides, on his own initiative, only to specify certain assets, certain vehicles, certain properties, certain contracts, and if he himself exercises the discretion, specifying those assets which he wishes the Commission, at his convenience to take over, compensation for cessation of business does not operate as the Bill is now drafted. It is on that limited point, of the operator's specifying the assets he wants the Commission to take over, that the Road Haulage Association made recent representations, to see if some modification could apply in that direction, and that point is now being discussed with them. So far, I have not been able to see the strength of the case they have put forward, but consideration is still proceeding. I suggest to the Committee that, as that point of the specified assets is still under discussion, and, if I come to agreement with them, it will be dealt with in another place, that is as far as I can go at present. I give no undertaking; I simply say at this stage that the point is not definitely settled.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 295; Noes, 130.

Burden, T. W.Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Ridealgh, Mrs. M
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Robens, A
Callaghan, JamesHutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)Roberts, Goronwy, (Caernarvonshire)
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Chamberlain, R. AHynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Royle, C.
Champion, A. J.Irving, W. J.Sargood, R.
Chater, D.Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Scollan, T.
Chetwynd, G. RJanner, B.Scott-Elliot, W.
Cobb, F. A.Jay, D. P. T.Shackleton, E. A. A
Cocks, F. SJeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)Sharp, Granville
Collick, P.Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)
Collins, V. J.Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Shurmer, P.
Colman, Miss G. MJones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Comyns, Dr. L.Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Simmons, C. J.
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Skeffington, A. M.
Corbet, Mrs. F K. (Camb'well, N.W.)Keenan, W.Skeffington-Lodge, T C
Corlett, Dr. J.Kenyon, C.Skinnard, F W.
Corvedale, ViscountKey, C. W.Smith, C. (Colchester)
Cove, W. G.King, E. M.Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Crawley, A.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. ESmith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Crossman, R. H. S.Kinley, J.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
Daggar, G.Lang, G.Snow, Capt. J. W.
Daines, P.Lee, F. (Hulme)Solley, L. J.
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Sorensen, R. W.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Leslie, J. RSoskice, Maj. Sir F
Davies, Harold (Leek)Levy, B W.Sparks, J. A.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Stamford, W
Deer, G.Lewis, J. (Bolton)Steele, T.
de Freitas, GeoffreyLindgren, G. S.Stephen, C.
Delargy, Captain H. JLipton, Lt.-Col. M.Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth)
Diamond, J.Longden, F.Stross, Dr. B.
Dobbie, W.Lyne, A. W.Stubbs, A. E.
Dodds, N. N.McAdam, W.Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Donovan, T.McEntee, V. La T.Swingler, S.
Driberg, T. E. N.McGhee, H. G.Sylvester, G. O
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)McKay, J. (Wallsend)Symonds, A. L.
Dumpleton, C. WMackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Dye, S.McLeavy, F.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. CMallalieu, J P. W.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Edelman, M.Mann, Mrs. J.Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Edwards, John (Blackburn)Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Marquand, H. A.Thurtle, Ernest
Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Mathers, G.Tiffany, S.
Evans, John (Ogmore)Mellish, R. J.Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G
Evans, S. N. (Wednosbury)Messer, F.Turner-Samuels, M.
Ewart, R.Middleton, Mrs. L.Ungoed-Thomas, L
Fairhurst, F.Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. RUsborne, Henry
Farthing, W. JMitchison, Major G. R.Vernon, Maj. W. F
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)Monslow, W.Viant, S. P.
Follick, M.Montague, FWalkden, E.
Foot, M. M.Moody, A. S.Walker, G. H.
Freeman, Mai. J. (Watford)Morgan, Dr. H. BWallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Freeman, Peter (Newport)Morley, R.Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Gaitskell, H. T. N.Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)Warbey, W. N.
Gallacher, W.Moyle, A.Watkins, T. E.
Ganley, Mrs. C. SNally, W.Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Gibbins, J.Neal, H. (Claycross)Weitzman, D.
Gibson, C. WNicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Gilzean, A.Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. (Derby)Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Gordon-Walker, P. C.Noel-Buxton, LadyWest, D. G.
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)Oliver, G. H.White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Greenwood, A. W J. (Heywood)Paget, R. T.Whiteley, Rt. Hen. W
Grenfell, D. RPaling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Wigg, Col. G. E.
Grey, C. F.Palmer, A. M. FWilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B
Grierson, E.Pargiter, G. AWilkes, L.
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Parker, JWilkins, W. A.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Parkin, B. TWilley, F. T. (Sunderland)
Guest, Dr. L. HadenPaton, Mrs. F. (Rusheliffe)Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Guy, W. H.Paton, J. (Norwich)Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Haire, John E (Wycombe)Pearson, A.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Hale, LesliePeart, Capt. T. FWilliams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Hall, W. G.Piratin, P.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. RPlatts-Mills, J. F. F.Williamson, T
Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield)Willis, E.
Hardy, E. A.Popplewell, E.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Harrison, J.Porter, E. (Warrington)Wise, Major F. J
Hastings, Dr. SomervillePrice, M. PhilipsWoodburn, A
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)Pritt, D. N.Wyatt, W.
Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Proctor, W. TYates, V. F.
Hewitson, Capt. M.Pryde, D. J.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Hicks, G.Pursey, Cmdr. HYounger, Hon. Kenneth
Hobson, C. R.Ranger, J.
Holman, P.Rankin, J.


Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Reid, T. (Swindon)Mr. Michael Stewart and
House, GRhodes, H.Mr. Collindridge,
Hoy, J.Richards, R


Agnew, Cmdr. P. GGrant, LadyNoble, Comdr. A. H. P
Aitken, Hon. MaxGranville, E. (Eye)Nutting, Anthony
Amory, D. HeathcoatGridley, Sir A.O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. RGrimston, R. V.Orr-Ewing, I. L.
Astor, Hon. M.Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Peto, Brig. C. H. M
Baldwin, A. E.Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Pickthorn, K.
Barlow, Sir J.Haughton, S. G.Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Baxter, A B.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPoole, O. B S. (Oswestry)
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.Hogg, Hon. Q.Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Beechman, N AHollis, M. C.Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)
Birch, NigelHolmes, Sir J Stanley (Harwich)Renton, D
Bowen, RHope, Lord J.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Bower, N.Howard, Hon. ARoberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)
Bracken, Rt. Hon. BrendanHulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Hutchison, Lt.-Cdr. Clark (Edin'gh, W.)Ropner, Col. L.
Bullock, Capt. M.Jeffreys, General Sir G.Ross, Sir R.
Butcher, H. W.Keeling, E. H.Sanderson, Sir F.
Byers, FrankLambe<ob/>, Hon. GShephard, S. (Newark)
Channon, H.Lancaster, Col. C. GSmith, E. P. (Ashford)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. GLangford-Holt, J.Smithers, Sir W.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Spearman, A. C. M.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Legge-Bourke, Maj. E A. HStanley, Rt. Hon. O.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. CLloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col O. ELow, Brig. A. R. WStuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Crowder, Capt. J. F ELucas, Maj. Sir J.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Cuthbert, W. N.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd'ton, S.)
Darling, Sir W. Y.McCallum, Maj. D.Teeling, William
Davies, Clement (Montgomery)Macdonald, Sir P. (Isle of Wight)Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Digby, S. W.Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Dodds-Parker, A. DMcKie, J. H. (Galloway)Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A F
Drayson, G. BMaclay, Hon. J. S.Vane, W. M. F
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Wadsworth, G.
Eccles, D. M.Maopherson, Maj, N. (Dumfries)Walker-Smith, D
Eden, Rt. Hon AMaitland, Comdr. J. W.Ward, Hon. G. R.
Erroll, F. J.Manningham-Buller, R EWheatley, Colonel M. J.
Fletcher, W. (Bury)Marsden, Capt. A.While, J. B. (Canterbury)
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Williams, C. (Torquay)
Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)Maude, J. CWilliams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Medlicott, FWilloughby de Eresby, Lord
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P MMellor, Sir JYork, C.
Gates, Maj. E. EMorrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)
George, Maj. RI Hn. G. Lloyd (P'ke)Neven-Spence, Sir B.


George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)Nield, B. (Chester)Mr. Drewe and Mr. Studholme.
Gomme-Duncan. Col. A G

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

In the observations which he made on the Amendment, the right hon. Gentleman the Minister rather distressed some of my hon. Friends and myself who had not any part in the detailed discussion of this matter in the Committee upstairs, and who now see it for the first time on the Floor of the House. As I understood the right hon. Gentleman, he made a complaint against the road haulier interests and undertakings that they had engaged in what he called a "rampaging campaign" against the principle of this Bill, instead of meekly accepting his invitation to come to terms with him and to do some private deal with him by which they might mitigate, in some respect, the injury being done by the Bill itself. I must say that that is a most extraordinary doctrine for a Minister of the Crown to put forward in this Committee. He says to these people, "I am now going to destroy you, and to take away your business; I am going to bring you to an end." Does he mean to say that, if they choose to react, as surely any British citizen has the right to do, by the normal and constitutional procedure of public meetings, of protest organisations, and so forth, he will then say, "I will not now do what I would otherwise have done for you; I will not do the equitable thing by you. I will chastise you still more, because you have not come behind the scenes with me"? That seems to me to be adding blackmail of the worst and most filthy kind.

On a point of Order, Major Milner. Is it in Order to accuse a Minister of blackmail?

I think the right hon. Gentleman used a general term. I did not understand him to accuse the Minister personally. If he were to do so, it would not be in Order.

Further to that point of Order, Major Milner. Would it have been in Order if the right hon. Gentleman had really meant it?

The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Transport has so cynical a view of life that he gives way only when his own interests are concerned. He gives way on "C" licences in the interests of the co-operative societies. To come forward at this stage on the re-committal of a Bill, which has had to be recommitted on the first day of the Report stage because of the enormous number of Amendments which the Government have had to make, and to say that he is not prepared to tell the Committee what he thinks is right over this matter, to give as an excuse that the interests concerned have failed to enter into some private negotiations behind the backs of the Committee and the House, and then to say that, therefore, he will not deal equitably with this matter, seems to me to be contrary to the whole of the traditions by which- public affairs have been carried on in the House.

I would like to take this matter a little further. The Minister tells us that, in spite of his protests, apparently he has overcome his dislike of public meetings, and he says that he is in negotiation with the organisations concerned on this particular point. Therefore, I would like to make quite sure that the Minister really intends to reconsider this at a later stage of the Bill—no doubt it will be an important stage—when he will have an opportunity of making further Amendments in another place. It is a very difficult and rather technical point, but, as I understand it, the broad facts are fairly simple. This particular class of haulier is threatened with the extinction with which this Bill threatens a very large number of people Curiously enough, ordinary British citizens have rather a dislike to having their business, their livelihood, taken away from them by a Socialist Government. I do not know why they should be regarded as criminals because they react against this procedure. It is not an abnormal reaction. I do not know why the Minister should regard it as something anti-social that one should dislike being guillotined in this way.

This Clause is a most oppressive one. As I understand it, these people are given two choices. The man whose long-distance business is 5o per cent. or less is given two choices. Either he can sell out his whole business because he is so frightened that he thinks he had better get out of it and go into some industry where a free citizen is allowed to do something. If he does that, he hinders the very purpose which the Bill is supposed to serve, because in the course of buying the whole of his business in order to get the long-distance traffic, the Commission are also forced to buy particular parts of his business which, by general agreement, it is very inappropriate for them to carry out. The Minister admits that the Commission do not want to carry on these technical and specialised forms of transport. He says they are not suitable to do it, and that particular business had far better be carried on by the organisations and individuals who have specialised on it in the small areas to which they are suited under the Government's scheme. The danger is that the private haulier, frightened by the prospects of the inequitable terms to be given to him, will sell out the whole of his business. In that case, he gets compensation; in that case the Commission get a business they do not want, and which they cannot carry on.

But suppose that he does not do that. Suppose that he is a more stout-hearted man, and says, "I will take the chance: after all, the Government will not last very long; they will be out pretty soon; they will be packing up pretty quickly; one has only to read the Prime Minister's speech the other day to know that." The man may be more stout-hearted, and he may say, "I will see whether I can stick it out." He may be too hopeful. It may not be a matter of weeks but of months. Therefore, he finds himself in this situation that the Commission goes along and takes his business over but does not seize his long distance business. If they did that, they would have to pay him compensation for it. That would not do at all. Instead they imitate the best methods of Rockefeller, the Standard Oil Company and other well known monopolies. What they try to do is to drive him out of his business. They will arrange a little competition here, and undermine his position there. Thus they will force him to come to them and offer what is left.

11.15 p.m.

Is not that what private enterprise has always been doing?

Only that disreputable part of private enterprise in which are to be found the worst characteristics of the system and which the right hon. Gentleman and his friends opposite are trying to imitate and inflict upon the unhappy people of this country.

I do not know anything about I.C.I. We know where the sympathies of the hon. Gentleman lie.

The Commission, I say, undersell this man who is trying to carry on his trade and make it impossible to carry on his business. Then he approaches the Commission and offers them the remainder of the business that they have undermined and destroyed. Under this Clause the unfortunate man gets no compensation whatever. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] It is all right for hon. Members opposite to shout "Oh," but there are a lot of people of this type in their constituencies and they know it. What kind of men are they? They are not great bloated capitalists, not the great rich undertakers. They are the ex-Servicemen of the first war and they are the ex-Servicemen of the second war—the little men who have dared, in this country, to try to start a business of their own. They actually dared and had the enterprise to try to get on their own feet, and did not seek help from somebody else. They were men who did not go round seeking help or cadging support. They were men who started up for themselves, to be independent and to have their own businesses.

The right hon. Gentleman spoke about ex-Service men starting up for themselves. I asked him, who ran them out of business?

The hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Stubbs) I think can very easily answer his own question. The people who are putting these men out of business are his own party. That is what this Bill is for.

I want to be quite fair to the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Transport. The Communist Party has done him so much injury tonight, that it would not be right for me to give way to the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) and so allow him to do more harm to the cause of the right hon. Gentleman. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would not like the hon. Member to make any more suggestions similar to those he has made tonight and on former occasions.

I have an honest proposition to make if the right hon. Gentleman will only give me the chance.

If the hon. Gentleman wishes to follow me he has a perfectly good opportunity in the Debate, but I have often found that he prefers interruptions to speeches.

I refer again to the three points I was trying to make. I restate my resentment, at this method of treating the House of Commons and the industry. I resent this attempt to reprobate it on the one hand—to attack it on the one hand—because it has the honour and decency to stand up for its own rights, and then to come to the House of Commons and say "I cannot answer that question because they have not been put to me, but I think I can squeeze them through." That is wrong. Next, this Clause is drawn so as to have the maximum disadvantages to the industry. It will force the Commission to take on types and characters of business which everyone admits are highly inappropriate. Thirdly, it will be a rather cruel form of preference, only paralleled by the worst examples of attempts to bully the small man. I say that the Government are trying to use that method, in order to force the man ultimately into a position in which, under this Bill, his property will be taken without any compensation at all. Therefore, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, in spite of his association with big business, will have a little thought for the small man who is, after all, a very important element in this country. Between now and the final passage of this Bill, or in a later stage of this Debate, or in another place, he should have regard for these points and try to introduce a system which would be less injurious to the very purpose that he has in mind and less inequitable to those who have risked their affairs and property in the business of road transport.

I make an honest proposition. The right hon. Gentleman makes a very strong appeal for the small man in road haulage. He says that those men are not bloated capitalists but small men. If he and his friends will make a deal with me to get rid of the bloated

Division No. 153.]


[11.25 p.m.

Adams, Richard (Balham)Dumpleton, C. WLeslie, J R
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Dye, SLevy, B W
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.Ede, Rt. Hon. J CLewis, A. W. J. (Upton)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Edelman, M.Lewis, J. (Bolton)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Edwards, John (Blackburn)Lirdgren, G. S.
Alpass, J. H.Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)Lipton, Lt.-Col. M
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Edwards, W. J. (Whilechapel)Longden, F.
Attewell, H. C.Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Lyne, A. W.
Austin, H. L.Evans, John (Ogmore)McAdam, W
Bacon, Miss AEvans, S. N. (Wednesbury)McAllister, G.
Baird, J.Ewart, R.McEntee, V. La T
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. JFairhurst, F.McGhee, H. G.
Barstow, P. GFarthing, W. J.McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Barton, C.Fletcher, E. G. M (Islingion, E)Mackay, R. W G. (Hull, N.W.)
Battley, J. R.Follick, M.McLeavy, F.
Bechervaise, A. E.Foot, M. M.Mallalieu, J. P W.
Belcher, J. W.Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)Mann, Mrs. J.
Ballenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Freeman, Peter (Newport)Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Benson, G.Gaitskell, H. T. NManning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Berry, H.Gallacher, W.Marquand, H. A
Beswick, F.Ganley, Mrs. C SMathers, G
Bing, G. H. C.Gibbins, JMellish, R. J.
Binns, J.Gibson, C. WMesser, F.
Blenkinsop. AGilzean, A.Middleton, Mrs. L.
Blyton, W. R.Gordon-Walker, P. CMillington, Wing-Comdr. E. R
Boardman, H.Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A (Wakefield)Mitchison, Major G. R
Bottomley, A. G.Greenwood, A. W J (Heywood)Monslow. W.
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.Grenfell, D. RMoody, A. S.
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)Grey, C. F.Morgan, Dr. H. B
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)Grierson, E.Morley, R.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Morris, Lt.-Col H (Sheffield. C.)
Bramall, Major E. A.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (LlaneIly)Moyle, A.
Brook, D. (Halifax)Guest, Dr. L. HadenNally, W.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Guy, W. H.Neal, H (Claycross)
Brown, George (Belper)Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Hall, W. G.Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J (Derby)
Bruce, Major D. W THamilton, Lieut.-Col. RNoel-Buxton, Lady
Burden, T. W.Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Oliver, G. H.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)Hardy, E. A.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Callaghan, JamesHarrison, J.Palmer, A. M. F.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Hastings, Dr. SomervillePargiter, G, A
Chamberlain, R. AHenderson, A. (Kingswinford)Parker. J.
Champion, A. J.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Parkin, B, T.
Chetwynd, G. RHewitson, Capt. MPaton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Cobb, F. A.Hobson, C. R.Paton, J, (Norwich)
Cocks, F. SHolman, PPearl, Capt. T. F
Collick, P.Holmes, H. E (Hemsworth)Piratin, P.
Collindridge, FHouse, GPlaits-Mills, J. F. F.
Collins, V. J.Hoy, J.Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield)
Colman, Miss G. MHudson, J H. (Ealing, W.)Popplewell, E.
Comyns, Dr. L.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Porter, E (Warrington)
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Hutchinson, H L. (Rusholme)Price, M. Philips
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Pritt, D. N.
Corlett, Dr. J.Hynd, J. B (Attercliffe)Proctor, W. T
Corvedale, ViscountIrving, W. J.Pryde, D. J.
Cove, W. G.Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G APursey, Cmdr H
Crawley, A.Janner, B.Ranger, J
Crossman, R. H. SJay, D. P. TRankin, J
Daggar, G.Reid, T (Swindon)
Daines, P.Jeger, Dr. S W. (St. Pancras, S.E)Rhodes. H
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Richards, R
Davies, Harold (Leek)Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Ridealgh, Mrs. M
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Robens, A
Deer, G.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Roberts, Goronwy, (Caernarvonshire)
de Freitas, GeoffreyKeenan, WRobertson, J J (Berwick)
Delargy, Captain H. JKenyon, C.Royle, C.
Diamond, J.King, E. M.Sargood, R.
Dobbie, W.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. EScollan, T.
Dodds, N. N.Kinley, JShackleton, E. A A
Donavan, T.Lang, GSharp, Granville
Driberg, T. E. N.Lee, F (Hulme)Shawcross, C N. (Widnes)
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Shurmer, P.

capitalists, I will make a deal with them to help the small man.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 285; Noes, 125.

Silverman, J. (Erdington)Taylor, H. B (Mansfield)West, D. G.
Simmons, C. J.Taytor, R. J. (Morpeth)White, H. (Derbyshire, N E.)
Skeffington, A. M.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
Skeffington-Lodge, T CThomas, D. E. (Aberdare)Wigg, Col. G. E.
Skinnard, F WThomas, I. O. (Wrekin)Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A B
Smith, C. (Colchester)Thomas, George (Cardiff)Wilkes, L.
Smith, Ellis (Stoke)Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)Wilkins, W. A.
Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)Thurtle, ErnestWilley, F. T. (Sundertand)
Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)Tiffany, S.Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Snow, Capt. J. WTomlinson, Rt. Hon. GWilliams, D. J (Neath)
Solley, L. J.Turner-Samuels, M.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Sorensen, R. WUngoed-Thomas, LWilliams, W. R. (Heston)
Soskice, Maj. Sir PUsborne, HenryWilliamson, T
Sparks, J. A.Vernon, Maj. W. FWillis, E.
Stamford, WWalkden, E.Wills, Mrs. E. A
Steele, T.Walker, G. H.Wise, Major F. J
Stephen, C.Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)Woodburn, A
Strauss, G R. (Lambeth)Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)Wyatt, W
Stross, Dr. B.Warbey, W. N.Yates, V. F.
Stubbs, A. E.Watkins, T EYounger, Hon. Kennel
Summerskill, Dr EditWebb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Swingler, S.Weitzman, D.


Sylvester, G. OWells, P. L. (Faversham)Mr. Pearson and
Symonds, A. L.Wells, W. T. (Walsall)Mr. Michael Stewart.


Agnew, Cmdr. P. GGeorge, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)
Aitken, Hon. MaxGomme-Duncan, Col. A. GNeven-Spence, Sir B.
Amory, D. HeathcoatGrant, LadyNield, B. (Chester)
Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Scot. Univ)Granville, E. (Eye)Noble, Comdr A. H. P
Assheton, Rt. Hon RGridley, Sir A.Nutting, Anthony
Astor, Hon. M.Grimston, R. V.Orr-Ewing, I. L.
Baldwin, A. EHannon, Sir P. (Moseley)Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Barlow, Sir J.Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Picklhorn, K.
Baxter, A. B.Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. VPoole, O. B S. (Oswestry)
Beamish, Maj. T. V HHaughton, S. G.Prior-Palmer, Brig. O
Beechman, N. AHinchingbrooke, ViscountReed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)
Birch, NigelHogg, Hon. Q.Renton. D.
Bowen, R.Hollis, M. C.Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Bower, N.Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Hope, Lord J.Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)
Bracken, Rt. Hon. BrendanHoward, Hon. ARobinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland
Buchan-Hepburn, P G THudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Ross, Sir R.
Bullock, Capt. MHulbert, Wing-Comdr. N. J.Sanderson, Sir F.
Byers, FrankHutchison, Lt.-Cdr. Clark (Edin'gh, W.)Shephard, S. (Newark)
Challen, C.Jeffreys, General Sir GSmithers, Sir W.
Channon, H.Lambert, Hon. GStanley, Rt. Hon. O.
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. GLancaster, Col. C. GStrauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Langford-Holt, JStuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. CLegge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. HTaylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd'ton, S.)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col, O. ELennox.Boyd, A. T.Teeling, Willlam
Crowder, Capt. J. F. ELloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Cuthbert, W. N.Lucas, Maj. Sir J,Thorneycrott, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Darling, Sir W. Y.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.
Davies, Clement (Montgomery)Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. OVane, W. M. F.
Digby, S. W.McCallum, Maj. D.Wadsworth, G.
Dodds-Parker, A. DMackeson, Brig. H. R.Walker-Smith, D.
Drayson, G. B.McKie, J. H (Galloway)Ward, Hon. G. R.
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T (Richmond)Maclay, Hon J. S.Wheatley, Colonel M. J
Eccles, D. M.Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)While, J. B. (Canterbury)
Eden, Rt. Hon. AMacpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)Williams, C. (Torquay)
Fletcher, W. (Bury)Maitland, Comdr, J. W.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Manningham-Buller, R EWilloughby de Eresby, Lord
Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)Marsden, Capt. A.York, C.
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Marshall, D. (Bodmin)
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P MMaude, J. C.


Gates, Maj. E EMedlicott, FMr. Drewe and Mr. Studhotme.
George, Maj. Rt n G Lloyd (P'ke)Mellor. Sir J