Skip to main content

Clause 20—(Payments By Commission In Respect Of Profits For Period Preceding Date Of Transfer)

Volume 436: debated on Wednesday 30 April 1947

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

Amendment made: In page 22, line 2, leave out "for," and insert "in."—[ Mr. G. R. Strauss.]

I beg to move, in page 22, line 5, to leave out "forty-six," and to insert "forty."

This is not a drafting Amendment. I should, therefore, like to explain it shortly to the House. The particular Clause which this Amendment seeks to amend refers to payments by the Commission in respect of profits for a period preceding date of transfer. The plan of the Bill as drafted is that the profits of the last two years during which it is intended the railway companies should remain under their present management should be taken together. The Amendment suggests that since the amounts distributed in interest and dividends during the control period were considerably less than the amounts available for distribution as measured by the formula laid down in the control Bill, the final period should cover the years from 1940 to 1947 instead of just the years 1946 and 1947.

That would leave the companies in a position to pay their stockholders the amount they had under-distributed during the years 1940 to 1945—under-distributed in good faith, assuming that they would resume their businesses when the war came to an end. The Financial Secretary put forward two arguments in the course of the Committee stage which, with great respect, I thought were bad arguments. He said that there was a good deal of abnormal wear and tear on the railways which had to be made good. That is perfectly true, but special provision was made under the control agreement for that very purpose, and I do not think that argument is really an effective one. The other argument was that the existence of these reserves was reflected in the Stock Exchange quotations of the railway securities on which the Schedule is based. That is also a false argument because—I have argued it on a previous occasion and I do not wish to repeat it now—the prices on which they were standing did not reflect the true value but were a reflection of the anticipation of nationalisation. If the Financial Secretary is going to reply to that point, perhaps he would also say what, if any, consideration has been given to the promise which was made by either himself or the Minister—I forget exactly who it was—during the Committee stage with regard to the next Amendment—in page 22, line at end, to insert:
"(c) such other amounts as in the view of the auditor may be appropriately included as net revenue for the final period by reference to the normal practice of the body "—
which covers a very germane subject

6.15 p.m.

The right hon. Gentle-man is, of course, quite correct We discussed this on the Committee stage. I am sorry that he found some of the arguments I and other hon. Friends of mine used were not very convincing, because they are arguments which appeared to us sound and are the reasons why it is impossible for us now, as it was im- possible for us then, to accept this Amendment. As the right hon. Gentleman said, the provisions of this Clause, which I know hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite think are tightly drawn, are to prevent the dissipation of the assets of these undertakings through excessive dividends or by other payments of one kind or another. It seems to us that we should make provision in the Bill as to what should be done when the final period is entered upon, as indeed it has now been entered upon, and what sums the shareholders and others should be entitled to. We have laid down a final period which covers the two years from 1st January, 1946, to 31st December, 1947. This Amendment would extend the final period of two years to eight years. Obviously, we cannot go back to 1940, because during that period, as the House knows very well, considerable sums, or at any rate, fairly large sums flooded into the coffers of the railway companies, and they put certain sums to reserve. No doubt they were then thinking of the after the-war years and of the fact that there would be, in spite of what the right hon. Gentleman has just said, a good deal of abnormal wear and tear, as indeed there was, and that after the war they would need capital for one purpose or another.

In due course, these railways are to be taken over by the State, and it will be the duty of the State to re-equip them. It seems to us fair that what sums there are there for rehabiltiation should come to the State and the community so that they can be used by the community for the same purpose for which the railway companies originally placed them to reserve. We resist this Amendment all the more strongly because the benefit that would accrue from the handing over of these sums under this Amendment to the railway companies would not accrue to the general body of shareholders. If would only go to certain junior stockholders and not to all alike. The gain would, therefore, be a partial one and not to the shareholders as a whole. The arguments which were used during the Committee stage were quite straightforward, and we thought they had a good deal of point in them. The railway companics have suffered a certain amount of war damage, and no contribution has yet been paid by the railway companies towards the war damage which was sustained. Other sections of the community during the war had to pay then contri butions.

What about the £152 million which was earned by the railway companies and put aside in a trust fund created for the purpose of repairing war damage? Will that accrue to the Commissioners as a windfall?

If the hon. Gentleman will examine the facts, or will get someone to point them out to him, he will find that the £152 million is not there for war damage purposes.

As the Financial Secretary has challenged me, may I refer him to the Committee proceedings, during which the Parliamentary Secretary stated the position quite clearly in agreement with myself? I raised the matter there and made it perfectly clear that this sum was put aside for making up such repairs and damages as could not be carried out during the war. [HON. MEMBERS "Ah."] That must have included war damages.

I think the hon. Gentleman has answered himself. Those sums were put by in order to cover arrears of maintenance which could not then, because of the war, be carried out.

And current repairs—whether necessitated by the war or any other cause. I have never understood there was to be any other source from which the railways could obtain their finances in future other than that £152 million which has been set aside.

I do not think I need follow the hon. Gentleman any further along the path he has begun to tread; I do not think I should be in Order in so doing. I was referring to contributions towards war damage which other sections of the community have paid and which the railway companies have not. It is not their fault. In common with the utility undertakings, no scheme has yet been elaborated which covers the railways for war damage and their contribution towards making good such damage. Therefore any scheme which may come into existence should receive a contribution from the railway companies just as other people have made their contribution already. As to wear and tear, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Assheton) was rather facetious about our using that argument. can only repeat that in our view there was considerable and abnormal wear and tear during the war. The railway companies were unable during the war to make good, as they otherwise might have done, some of the wear and tear which accrued.

I was not intending to be at all facetious, I was trying to make a genuine point, namely, that under the control agreement—as the Parliamentary Secretary will know quite well—there were special arrangements made for dealing with that particular problem, and, therefore, this particular money can hardly be expected by the Financial Secretary to have been put aside for that particular purpose.

I did not say that was the only sum that had been put aside. I was only saying that it would be a contribution well worth while towards the considerable and abnormal wear and tear which had accrued during the war. That being so, as the State will have to make good that damage—it is true there will be some reserves apart from this—there is no reason why the community should not enjoy the use of this money for the purpose for which it was originally put aside by the railway companies and not spent for reasons of which we are all aware. Then, too, during the war a great deal of the equipment, apart from wear and tear, was made good with materials which will have to be replaced as soon as possible when the genuine article comes along. Sheets, which are usually made of canvas, had to be made of cotton; sleepers, which normally are of wood, and good wood at that, have had, because of the shortage of timber, to be made of other materials. Obviously, the railway companies will want to put their permanent way into a good state of repair as soon as possible and have timber sleepers as they did before the war. For these reasons, as well as for the reason—which I think is an excellent one in itself—that if we accepted this Amendment, we should only be giving an extra sum of money to the junior stockholders of the railways generally, I ask the House to reject this Amendment.

I propose to take another line from that taken by my hon. Friends. This Clause in general turns on quite an important point apart from the Amendment. An officer is to be appointed who will be responsible for the ascertainment and certification of the various sums in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f). What I am concerned with is the importance of the standing of this officer. In order to carry out the purpose of the Clause, obviously, he will have to be a man of the highest standing, and I observe that Clauses 121 and 122 make it clear that this Bill applies not only to England and Wales, but to Northern Ireland and Scotland, and so the officer appointed—

I think the hon. Member will find it difficult to relate what he is now saying to the Amendment we have under discussion.

I agree that it will demand a good deal of ingenuity, but not more than my predecessors have shown.

It will not be possible, I understand you to say, Sir, for me to make any reference to the character and standing of this officer who will carry out the duties laid on him in paragraph (a).

I would have thought, with all respect, Sir, that I might be permitted to say that the officer who is to carry on during the 1946 period, as against the 194o period for which the Amendment asks, should be an officer of probity and distinction and possibly selected by the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for Scotland.

The hon. Member now is discussing the Clause; we are discussing a specific Amendment affecting one part of the Clause, and he must confine his remarks to the Amendment, which seeks to delete "forty-six," and to insert "forty." Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre.

I thought the Financial Secretary was rather disingenuous in his statement, because this question really resolves itself into one fact, rather than into any suppositions as to what may or may not benefit the community in the long run. Here we have these companies which, for five years, have distri- buted very much less than that which was available under the agreement. Under this Bill, in the two years which constitute the final period, they will be allowed to pay a higher rate of dividend than that which they have paid. There are certain reserves left, and the question before us now is, What should happen to those reserves? As I understand it, when the Financial Secretary's first argument is stripped down to its bare facts, he simply said, "Here is a sum which we can get under the terms of the agreement. Why should we not have it? Why not retain it?" Surely, that is not a question which this House should consider? The railway companies put this money back in the past in a way in which every hon. Member would consider prudent, and which has time and time again secured the support of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They are now asking that they should be entitled to a certain amount of this money which would have been available if this Measure had not been brought in. I cannot see what that has to do with the arguments advanced by the Financial Secretary.

He then went on to say that the shareholders as a whole would not benefit, it would be only the junior stockholders. Again, he has missed the point, because who are the people who went without it in the first place? They were the junior stockholders. Obviously, the dividends restricted by the conservative and sound policy on the part of the directors did not cover a full distribution to the junior stockholders. All they are asking is that those junior stockholders who, very rightly, in the troublesome days of the war went without their full dividends in order to build up reserves against unknown contingencies and against the difficulties there would be at the end of the war, should have that money, or part of that money, made available to them to fulfil what I am certain the Financial Secretary will agree is a right and proper desire on the part of the companies. Therefore, to try to pretend that the shareholders will not benefit, because only a certain class will benefit, is merely to overlook the fact that the class which benefits now is the very class which, in the national interest, went without their dividends during the war. This Amendment will not alter in the least the relative reserve for distribution applicable to payments for wear and tear above the normal. For all these reasons this Amendment should be accepted, and these junior stockholders, who during the war made a real sacrifice to protect and preserve the system, should be entitled to something for what they did in the common interest.

6.30 p.m.

I do not wish to deal with the technical argument in regard to this transaction, because I am not sufficiently conversant with railway finance to do so. I urge the Financial Secretary and the Minister to consider whether the Government are really wise in pursuing the rather narrow policy which flows through all their nationalisation schemes. We have had occasion to comment on this in another part of the Bill, in discussing compensation. Certain funds are accumulated by concerns who prudently make reserves over a period of years, and those in charge of them are constantly urged by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and hon. Members opposite, indeed by hon. Members in all parts of the House, not to pay out large sums in dividends, but to retain the money in their concerns to pay for capital re-equipment. What is going to happen to those industries who now have the threat of nationalisation hanging over them? We know that there are industries ndustries which are definitely going to be nationalised, and others who fear they may be drawn into the scheme. But this proposal is encouraging to those who have been imprudent and have spent the money. Supposing an hon. Member opposite was a director of a concern which he felt had a reasonable chance of being nationalised in the next five or 10 years, he would see no object whatever in accumulating reserves, because the policy of the Government is not to include them in the compensation. It will have the exact opposite effect to what the Government want it to have. I urge the Government in all seriousness to reconsider the point. If the Government pursue this policy of making it so much better for the person who has been imprudent, and has paid money out from reserves, there will be a most disastrous distribution of dividends.

These reserves, like other assets of the railway companies, are reflected in the market price at which the securities are being taken over. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Assheton) admitted as much. His only objection was a general objection that that Stock Exchange price, freely negotiated between buyers and sellers, was not a true market value. That was a repetition of what he has said before, that it reflected the fear of nationalisation, or something of that sort. I do not know whether it is in Order to go into that question now, but I would point out that even if it were not a true reflection it does not follow in the least that it did not reflect this general point. It may have been too high, or too low, nevertheless, one would expect it to reflect—and would see no reason why it should not—the existence of these and further reserves. The hon. Member for Oswestry (Mr. Poole) said that in the value of shares no one pays any attention to the existence of these further reserves. Those reserves are obviously reflected in the value of the shares, and if they are to be bought, or taken over by the Government, that is a matter which is taken into consideration in either case.

Right hon. and hon. Members opposite seem to be unduly concerned with the interests of one particular class of persons, the railway stockholders. Surely, they are sent here to represent other people. They are here to represent the travelling public, and the tax- payer. The travelling public and the taxpayer are concerned to see that excessive compensation is not paid. I cannot help feeling that those who frarhed the Amendment knew perfectly well that the sums they are trying to get by this Amendment are additional to the true value of the shares, and, if they were given the railway stockholders, it would represent an unparalleled benefit, unfair to the taxpayer and to the prospective user of transport, so far as he has to pay for it, as he will in the long run. We have had a number of speeches on this, and other short and simple points. It will not lie in the mouths of those who make those speeches from benches opposite to complain unduly of the operation of the Guillotine.

I only want to intervene to say that I think the conduct of the board during the whole period of the war ought to be reflected by the very prudent policy they adopted. While it is true it is not the business of hon. Members to represent a certain section of the population, those of us—and I declare my interest—who are, or were, directors of the railways, have an obligation to look after the interests of the shareholders, and that is a proper function. I ask the House to remember that when the country was under heavy bombardment, and up to 1945, it was quite impossible to tell the ultimate damage. Therefore, the prudent board set aside even larger sums. All that prudent policy was tucked away, and I do not think it was reflected in the value of the shares.

It seems to me that common justice is involved here. I am not affected by the arguments which have been put forward from the other side of the House The Government decided to nationalise transport. They have chosen to adopt a particular way of doing it; that is to say, not to take over the undertaking, but to take over, in effect, the shares, or rather to take over the undertaking on the basis of shares quoted on a particular day. That seems specious and attractive but, if we look into it further, we see that is not so. The price of the shares is based on the assumption that parcels of shares are changing hands from day to day and does not necessarily reflect the total value of the undertaking if sold out-side. Therefore, we are hack to this position. These funds have come out of the pockets of the ordinary shareholders Hon. and right hon. Members opposite, including the Financial Secretary, think it is shocking that the ordinary shareholder should ask for what has been taken from him or withheld from his pocket. They appear to think themselves entitled to act as judges between thousands of shareholders and to take up the high moral attitude that really they are only acting a little unfairly towards the preference shareholders. The only ground upon which nationalisation can be justified is by paying a fair and proper price. It may be very well and right to nationalise the railways. It cannot be right to take away from the shareholders money which they have earned and not drawn. On that very short and simple ground—I am quite undeterred by the fallacious argument about individual market quotations—I desire to support the Amendment.

Question put, "That the word 'fortysix' stand part of the Bill."

Division No. 161.]


[6.41 p.m.

Adams, Richard (Balham)Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)Lindgren,. G. S.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Lipton, Lt.-Col. M
Alpass, J. H.Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Logan, D G.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Evans, John (Ogmore)Longden, F.
Attewell, H. C.Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Lyne, A. W.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.Ewart, R.McAdam, W.
Austin, H. L.Fairhurst, F.McEntee, V. La T
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. BFarthing, W. J.McGhee, H. G.
Bacon, Miss AField, Captain W. J.McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Baird, J.Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)McKinlay, A. S.
Balfour, AFollick, M.Maclean, N. (Govan)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A JFoot, M. M.McLeavy, F.
Barstow, P. G.Forman, J. C.Macpherson, T. (Romford)
Barton, C.Foster, W. (Wigan)Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Battley, J. R.Fraser, T. (Hamilton)Mann, Mrs. J.
Bechervaise, A. E.Freeman, Peter (Newport)Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Gaitskell, H. T. N.Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Benson, G.Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Marshall, F. (Brightside)
Beswick, F.George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)Mathers, G.
Bing, G. H. CGibbins, J.Medland, H. M
Binns, J.Gilzean, A.Mellish, R. J.
Blackburn, A. R.Gooch, E. G.Messer, F.
Blenkinsop, AGoodrich, H. E.Mikardo, Ian
Blyton, W. R.Gordon-Walker, P. CMitchison, Major G. R.
Boardman, H.Greenwood, A. W J. (Heywood)Monslow, W.
Bowden, Flg.-Offr H. WGrenfell, D. R.Montague, F
Bowen, R.Grey, C. F.Moody, A. S.
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)Grierson, E.Morgan, Dr. H. B
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Morley, R.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)
Brook, D. (Halifax)Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Brooks, T J. (Rothwell)Guest, Dr. L. HadenMort, D. L.
Brown, George (Belper)Gunter, R. J.Moyle, A.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Guy, W. H.Murray, J. D
Bruce, Major D. W THaire, John E. (Wycombe)Nally, W.
Buchanan, C.Hall, W. G.Naylor, T. E.
Burden, T. W.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. RNeal, H. (Claycross)
Butler, H. W (Hackney, S.)Hardman, D. R.Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Byers, FrankHardy, E. A.Noel-Baker, Capt. F E. (Brentford)
Callaghan, JamesHarrison, J.Noel-Buxton, Lady
Carmichael, JamesHaworth, J.Oldfield, W. H
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Paget, R. T.
Chamberlain, R. AHewitson, Capt. MPaling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Champion, A. J.Hobson, C. R.Palmer, A. M. F.
Chater, D.Holman, P.Parker, J.
Chetwynd, G. RHolmes, H E (Hemsworth)Parkin, B, T.
Clitherow, Dr. RHouse, GPaton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Cobb, F. AHoy, J.Paton, J. (Norwich)
Cocks, F. S.Hubbard, T.Pearson, A.
Coldrick, W.Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Peart, Capt. T. F.
Collins, V. J.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Platts-Mills, J. F. F.
Colman, Miss G. MHughes, H. D. (Wolverhampton, W.)Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield)
Comyns, Dr. LHynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Popplewell, E.
Cook, T. F.Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Porter, E. (Warrington)
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Irving, W. JPorter, G. (Leeds)
Corbet, Mrs. F K. (Camb'well, N.W.)Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G APrice, M. Philips
Corlett, Dr. J.Janner, B.Proctor, W. T.
Corvedale, Viscount
Cove, W. GJay, D. P T.Pryde, D. J.
Crawley, A.Jeger, G. (Winchester)Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Crossman, R. H. S.Jeger, Dr S. W. (St Pancras, S.E.)Randall, H. E
Dagger, GJohn, W.Ranger, J.
Daines, P.Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)Rankin J.
Davies, Clement (Montgomery)Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Reeves J
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)Reid, T. (Swindon)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Rhodes, H.
Davies, Harold (Leek)Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Richards, R.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Keenan, W.Ridealgh, Mrs. M
Davies, S O (Merthyr)Key, C. W.Robens, A.
Deer, G.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr ERoberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Delargy, Captain H JKinley, J.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Diamond, J.Kirkwood, DRobertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Dobbie, W.Layers, S.Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Dodds, N. N.Lawson, Rt. Hon. J JRoyle, C.
Driberg, T. E. N.Lee, F (Hulme)Scollan, T.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Lee. Miss J. (Cannock)Scott-Elliot, W
Durbin, E F MLeslie, J. R.Shackleton, E. A A
Dye, S.Levy. B WSharp, Granville

The House divided: Ayes, 312; Noes, 134.

Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)West, D. G.
Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)Taylor, Dr. S (Barnet)Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.
Shurmer, P.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)White, H. (Derbyshire, N E)
Silverman, J. (Erdington)Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)Thomas, George (Cardiff)Wigg, Col. G. E.
Simmons, C. J.Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A B
Skeffington, A. M.Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)Wilkes, L.
Skeffington-Lodge, T. CThurtle, ErnestWilkins, W. A.
Skinnard, F. W.Tiffany, SWilley, O. G. (Cleveland)
Smith, C. (Colchester)Timmons, J.Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)Titterington, M. FWilliams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Smith, S. H. (Hull, S W.)Tolley, L.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Solley, L. J.Turner-Samuels, M.Williamson, T.
Sorensen, R. W.Usborne, HenryWillis, E.
Soskice, Maj. Sir FVernon, Maj. W. FWills, Mrs. E. A.
Sparks, J. A.Viant, S. P.Wise, Major F. J
Stamford, WWadsworth, G.Woodburn, A.
Steele, T.Walker, G. H.Wyatt, W.
Stephen, C.Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)Yates, V. F
Stewart, Capt Michael (Fulham, E.)Warbey, W. N.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth)Watkins, T. E.Younger, Hon Kenneth
Stubbs, A. E.Watson, W. M.
Swingler, S.Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)


Sylvester, G. O.Weitzman, D.Mr. Collindridge and
Symonds, A. L.Wells, P. L. (Faversham) Mr. Hannan.
Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)Wells, W. T. (Walsall)


Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Gates, Maj. E. E.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)
Amory, D. HeathcoatGeorge, Maj. Rt. Hn. G Lloyd (P'ke)Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. RGlyn, Sir R.Neven-Spence, Sir B.
Astor, Hon. M.Gomma-Duncan, Col. A GNield, B. (Chester)
Baldwin, A. E.Grant, LadyNoble, Comdr. A. H. P
Barlow, Sir J.Gridley, Sir A.Orr-Ewing, I. L.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. HGrimston, R. V.Peaks, Rt Hon. O
Beechman, N. A.Harris, H. WilsonPeto, Brig. C. H. M.
Bennett, Sir PHarvey, Air-Comdre A VPickthorn, K.
Birch, NigelHaughton, S. G.Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Boothby, RHead, Brig. A. H.Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Bower, N.Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon Sir CPrescott, Stanley
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Henderson, John (Cathcart)Prior-Palmer, Brig. O
Bracken, Rt. Hon. BrendanHogg, Hon. Q.Rayner, Brig. R.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col WHolmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. THudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Renton, D.
Bullock, Capt. M.Hutchison, Lt.-Cdr. Clark (Edin'gh, W)Roberts, H (Handsworth)
Butcher, H. W.Jennings, R.Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n)Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr Hon. L WRopner, Col. L.
Carson, E.Lambert, Hon. G.Ross, Sir R.
Channon, H.Lancaster, Col. C. GSalter, Rt. Hon. Sir J A
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. SLangford-Holt, JScott, Lord W.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. HShephard, S. (Newark)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. GLindsay, M. (Solihull)Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Cole, T. L.Linstead, H. NSmith, E. P. (Ashford)
Conant, Maj. R. J E.Lipson, D. L.Spearman, A. C. M.
Cooper-Key, E. M.Low, Brig. A. R. WSpence, H. R.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. CLucas, Maj. Sir J.Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col O. ELucas-Tooth, Sir H.Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Crowder, Capt. J. F ELyttelton, Rt. Hon. OStuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Cuthbert, W. N.MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd'ton, S.)
Darling, Sir W. YMacdonald, Sir P. (Isle of Wight)Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
De la Bère, R.Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Thorp, Lt.-Col R A F
Digby, S. W.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Touche, G. C.
Dodds-Parker, A. D.Maclay, Hon. J. S.Vane, W. M. F.
Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Walker-Smith. D.
Drayson, G. B.Macpherson, Mai, N. (Dumfries)Ward, Hon. G. R.
Duthie, W. SMaitland, Comdr. J. W.Wheatley, Colonel M. J
Eccles, D. M.Manningham-Buller, R. EWhite, Sir D. (Fareham)
Elliot, Lieut.-Colonel WMarlowe, A. A. H.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Erroll, F. J.Marshall, D (Bodmin)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Fletcher, W. (Bury)Maude, J. C.York, C.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Medlicott, F
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Mellor, Sir J.


Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir TMr. Drewe and
Gage, C.Morris-Jones. Sir H Mr. Studholme.

I beg to move, in page 22, line 11, at the end, to insert:

"(c) such other amounts as in the view of the auditor may be appropriately included as net revenue for the final period by reference to the normal practice of the body."
The Financial Secretary will remember that he told us on the 15th day of the Committee's proceedings that reconsideration would be given to the question of including in the amount of the final distribution such additional items as seemed right to the auditor, according to the usual practice. I quite appreciate that there are some technical difficulties about that, but I hope that the right hon. Gentleman may be able to give us some news on the point and to inform the House as to the present position.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman is quite right. We did discuss this matter on an identical Amendment during the Committee stage, and I did then, on behalf of my right hon. Friend, indicate that he would be willing to look at it again to see if it were possible to meet, partially, at any rate, the points put forward by the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his friends on that occasion. This Amendment is drawn much too wide for us to accept. Nevertheless, we do feel that there was something in the point, although I regret to say that my right hon. Friend has not so far found a form of words which will cover the distance which he is prepared to go, but he intends to continue his search, and, perhaps, between now and further stages of the Bill, we may be able, in association with those concerned, to find a form of words which will be suitable. At the present moment, the words are drawn much too wide, and would include items which, in our view, should not be included, and which would be unfair to the travelling public and the public generally to include in this Bill.

In view of the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman, and wishing him good luck in the search for the proper formula, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.