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Orders Of The Day

Volume 581: debated on Wednesday 29 January 1958

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

Cayman Islands And Turks And Caicos Islands Bill

Considered in Committee.

[Sir CHARLES MACANDREW in the Chair]

Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2—(Provisions As To Government Of Cayman Islands And Turks And Caicos Islands)

4.1 p.m.

I beg to move, in page 1, line 22, at the end to insert:

"whose members are elected by adult suffrage".
The purpose of this Clause is to provide that the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands shall have certain assemblies which will be able, to a limited degree, to legislate on behalf of those territories. At present, in the case of the Cayman Islands, where the population is less than 9,000, the administration is through a commissioner, justices of the peace and 27 elected vestrymen. Above that body, there are the powers of the Jamaican Government, which are very considerable indeed.

In the case of the Turks and Caicos Islands, where the population is about 6,000, the administration is through a commissioner, three officials and eight persons nominated by the Governor of Jamaica, and here, also, the powers of the Jamaican Government are very considerable.

The Clause seeks to extend certain autonomy in the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands. When he introduced the Bill, the Under-Secretary was not able to give details of the alternative proposals, but he did say that it was suggested that the legislative bodies should consist of some ex-officio members, some nominated members and a number of members elected by universal adult suffrage.

The purpose of my Amendment is to limit the membership of these bodies to persons elected by adult suffrage, and to remove from those bodies the membership of ex-officio officers and of nominated members. I should like to urge that course, because I very much doubt whether it is necessary in islands with a total population of less than 10,000 to establish all the eleborate machinery of legislatures, with elected persons, officers, nominated persons, a commissioner and an executive council, and all the machinery which the Minister himself has described as rather formal and ponderous. In effect, the population of these two groups of islands is no larger than that of a small market town in this country. It really would be pressing the formal machinery very far if these elaborate legislatures are set up.

In my view, this is a reason, not for limiting democracy in these islands, but for extending it. Why should there not be in both groups of islands directly elected persons who would have administrative authority there? Why should they not act in conjunction with the commissioners for these groups of islands, instead of being supplemented by officials, by nominated members, by executive councils and all the other suggestions that are made in this Bill?

I want to make the plea that if there is to be democracy in these islands it is desirable that the members of the administrative authority should be as close to the people as possible, should be dealing with their daily problems by direct contact, and that the total membership of these bodies which are to be set up shall be elected members, as is proposed in this Amendment.

If no other hon. Members have any points to make on this Amendment, perhaps I may say a word or two to the Committee myself.

I quite appreciate the point which the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) has made in moving his Amendment, but if I may deal with its wording to start with I must say that it would not be practicable to write into the Bill a positive requirement for adult suffrage itself. Although the meaning of that expression is generally well understood, considerable elaboration of it is necessary when we come to translate it into precise terms of law.

Matters of detail, such as length of residence, as well as such things as disqualifications for special reasons, and so on have to be provided for, and details of this sort, which must be liable to variation as experience and circumstances show, could not be embodied in an Act of Parliament. It is for this reason that it has always been the custom that that should be enshrined in local electoral legislation, capable of amendment from time to time according to the wishes of the assembly.

That is the intention in this case, but I want to give the Committee an undertaking that, whatever may have been the practice in the past in these territories, the new electoral laws, which would come into being following this Act being placed on the Statute Book, would provide for universal adult suffrage along the lines which I have described. I make that clear to the Committee because of the discussion we had on Second Reading, and I should perhaps also say that adult suffrage will apply to women to the same extent as to men.

To come to the actual point of what the hon. Member is proposing, the effect of accepting the Amendment would be to exclude nominated members and ex-officio members from the legislative assembly. I must tell the Committee right away that the Government do not feel that they should accept such an Amendment. It is the intention that elected members shall have a majority in these assemblies. There will be a majority of elected members, but, in our opinion, nominated and ex-officio members do play a very valuable part in these small territories at this stage.

I need not tell the hon. Member, who has been concerned with this matter far longer than I have, and whose experience is very wide indeed, that we are not departing from the custom in other Colonial Territories large and small, but, because I may have said on Second Reading that it might appear to be a rather top-heavy and cumbersome organisation, may I say I did so to point out that, in spite of that, Her Majesty's Government, in consultation with those in the territories concerned, believe that, however tiny these populations may be at this stage, and however remote, we should have in embryo the same sort of organisation which has worked for long periods of time in other Colonial Territories. I am convinced that ex-officio and nominated members will play no less a part in these territories than they have played in others.

I hope that I have been able to explain to the satisfaction of the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) why we could not accept the Amendment as it stands, and the reason which makes it impossible for me to accept it from the point of view of general principle.

Although it is true, as the Under-Secretary of State has said, that the women in these islands have the same rights of suffrage as the men, in fact, by some local custom or practice, they do not exercise them. This is very retrograde. I am extremely surprised that the Chamber is not full of women Members today, making sure that their sex in the islands exercise the rights which have been so bitterly won in this country. Why do the women in these islands not exercise the vote?

That is an embarrassing question for me to try to answer. Quite frankly, I have not the foggiest idea. I must he absolutely honest. I have no idea why the ladies in the Cayman Islands do not do what the law allows them to do. They may have a little more trust in their menfolk than have the ladies in this country. There are no lady. Members in the Chamber at the moment. The men may have felt in the past that if their ladyfolk kept to their homes, raising families, and left the menfolk to look after politics, it might he much better for the Colony.

If the ladies do not exercise their right to vote it will not be the fault of Her Majesty's Government. It is clear that the ladies will have the same rights as their menfolk. As time goes on, and the ladies there remark how successful women suffrage has been in this country, the position may alter.

If the women remain in the home and a large proportion of the men work in the Bahamas, I do not see that there can be many people left to look after the islands. That emphasises my point that we do not need the great elaborate structure proposed in the Bill Although I am not satisfied with the Under-Secretary of State's reply, I have ventilated this point of view, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

On a point of order. May I call your attention, Sir Charles, to the Amendment to Clause 2 on the Notice Paper, in page 2, line 9, at the end to insert certain words?

Was that fact conveyed to the Committee, Sir Charles? If so, I did not hear you do so.

I very often do call attention to it, but I thought that the hon. Member would be aware that the Amendment was out of order because it would need a Money Resolution.

May I refer to the matter on the Motion for consideration of the Clause as a whole?

There was not only a genuine misunderstanding but a very understandable misunderstanding about the Amendment. No indication was given to me that it would not be called. I understand that it is the usual custom at the beginning of a Committee to say what Amendments will be and will not be called. I also did not appreciate that we had passed Clause 2.

I sometimes give that indication for the convenience of the Committee, but I cannot select Amendments which are out of order, so the question of giving an indication does not arise. I did not call this Amendment, as it was out of order.

4.15 p.m.

Clause 3—(Power To Authorise Making Of Emergency Laws)

I beg to move, in page 2, line 33, at the end to insert:

"any such Order in Council shall be submitted for endorsement within ten days to the legislature to whom the authority making the emergency laws is normally responsible, as well as to the British Parliament within the same period until such time as the British Caribbean Federation becomes independent, and"
The provisions of Clause 3 relate to the manner in which an emergency may be declared. This practice is customary in all Colonial Territories, but I would emphasise the serious departures from liberty and democracy which often follow. The rights of speech, meeting and association are suspended, and the practice of deportation arises, all of which outrage the conceptions of liberty and democracy of which this country is proud.

The Amendment proposes that when emergencies have been declared the legislative bodies shall have an opportunity at the earliest possible moment to discuss them and the actions taken under them, and to reject them or endorse them. I am encouraged in putting this Amendment down because the new, independent Government of Ghana has given us an example of democratic safeguards by providing that within ten days of the declaration of an emergency, it, and the actions taken under it, shall be brought to the notice of the Ghana Parliament, which shall have the right to endorse or to reject them. That is an excellent democratic principle, and I suggest that it is desirable to embody it in the Bill and make a similar safeguard effective in these two groups of islands.

The Clause is a little vague because more than one authority may be involved. It may be the local administration, the Jamaican Government or the Caribbean Federation. Whatever be the appropriate authority, it should have the opportunity within ten days to review the emergency declaration.

At the back of those bodies, until the British Caribbean Federation becomes independent, the responsibility will still rest with this House. Therefore, we add to the proposal that, in addition to the consideration of emergency legislation by what I might call the local authority or the regional authority, emergencies should also be reported to this House within 10 days, actions under emergencies should be reported to this House, and this House should have the duty of endorsing them or, if it thinks fit, of rejecting them.

I urge on the Committee that this is a very important principle to maintain human rights, to maintain liberties and to maintain democracy. I hope that it may be possible for the Government to accept the Amendment.

I think that the wording of the proposed Amendment would not in fact satisfy the desire of hon. Members who have put their names to it. The Order in Council is merely an enabling Order which confers on the prescribed authority the power authorised by Clause 3. It would be of no avail that that Order should he endorsed by Parliament and the legislatures concerned within 10 days. It would not be appropriate for such an Order to be endorsed by any legislature at all.

It is clear what hon. Members want here. It is that the actual emergency legislation made by the authority under the Order should be subject to endorsement by Parliament here and by local assemblies concerned. It would obviously not be a practicable proposition for Parliament here to take the actions suggested with relation to the legislation required for, and probably actually being made daring, an emergency in the Caribbean. Quite apart from the time and distance involved, Parliament might not be siting at the time. Similarly, endorsements by the local legislature within a specified time might be wholly impracticable.

For instance, if the emergency regulation was made as a result of a terrible hurricane in the Caribbean, surrounding the far-flung little islands of the Turks and Caicos, we could not possibly call members of the legislature together, whether they were elected or unofficial, if all the communications were interrupted, the sea in storm, and so on. There must be arrangements whereby the executive can bring into being these emergency regulations if they are required. Furthermore, this is a form of control which the local legislature does not possess in respect of emergency laws made under statutory Orders in Council in any Colonial Territory at all. Nowhere are the details of colonial emergency regulations subject to endorsement by Parliament here.

Hon. Members need not fear that they are giving unfettered powers to the executive. So long as Her Majesty's Government are responsible for these territories, Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom can ask Questions about them and, in appropriate circumstances, can seek a debate on emergency laws in those cases as in the case of other territories. Parliament can even go so far as repealing those laws by a special Act. Her Majesty's Government consider that there are sufficient safeguards against any abuse and it would be inappropriate that there should be any additional limitation in this connection. Therefore, I regret that I cannot accept the Amendment, but I hope that what I have said will satisfy the Committee that there is nothing to be frightened about in this Clause.

When I first saw the Clause I assumed that in these peaceful islands the intention of an emergency Order would be to deal with national forces of nature, such as hurricanes, rather than with a civil insurrection, but the latter could happen and, therefore, I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) was correct in considering that aspect of the matter.

The only thing that worries me is that the Clause says:
"Her Majesty may…confer power on any authority to make,…laws for any of the Islands."
What does "any authority" mean? I should have thought that that was going far wider than the usual provision in a Bill for delegation of responsibility from Her Majesty's Government. To give an extreme example, one of these islands has an American base on it. It is only a small base with, I understand, 100 men but does not the Clause give the Government power to confer on the American base powers to make laws in those circumstances because it is an authority in the island?

Even though the wording of the Amendment might not be strictly accurate—we do not pride ourselves on our draftsmanship—I think that my hon. Friend was right in asking the Under-Secretary for more information about what is intended, who the authorities concerned are, and what check there will be on them apart from the "inquest" which could be held here after an emergency. We could ask Questions, but by that time the emergency might be over and the damage done and, maybe, repaired.

The word "any" in this context, as I think I pointed out on Second Reading, means either the local legislatures of the Colonial Territories concerned from the point of view of some small emergency which might arise—such as a tempest—and also means the authority in Jamaica in the case of something of a zonal nature. It also refers to the Federation Government in the case of a very wide emergency covering the whole Caribbean. That is why the words "any authority" have been used.

The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) is right in saying that, technically, this could be conceived to apply to an American authority, but this is a British Act of Parliament and I think we must assume that it would cover only British authorities. I can give the Committee an undertaking that that is what it is intended to mean, but even if the point made by the hon. Member were valid it would not be covered by the Amendment as it stands. I hope I have satisfied the Committee on the question of why the words "any authority" are used. What they are intended to cover, and certainly would only cover, is a British authority.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, who has given the explanation which I think we expected, but would it not be useful if we were to write into the Bill—either in this Clause or in a Schedule—the authorities to whom he has referred? He has mentioned the local legislature, the Federation Government and the Government of Jamaica. Those seem perfectly reasonable. I should have thought my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough would be able to withdraw his Amendment if there were some intimation from the Government that they would reconsider the matter with a view to writing in the actual authorities at the next stage of the Bill.

I apologise for speaking so much in this Committee. I hope that the hon. Member for Eton and Slough will not press this Amendment. I should like him to withdraw it. I should have thought it would have been enough for the Committee to take the explanation I have given as to how the Clause should be read. I should not like to make any promise, at this stage, that we should come back to the House purely on the technical point raised by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East. Of course, I will consider it again, but I cannot give an undertaking. I hope that when hon. Members read the OFFICIAL REPORT of these proceedings they will feel that I have given an explanation which would make it unnecessary to add further words to the Bill.

Would the hon. Member accept the phrase "any existing authority"?

4.30 p.m.

I could not accept that. I am glad that the hon. Member has raised that point. It may well be that other authorities will be created as a result of the general Order in Council to which this Act would have to apply. I think that, on reflection, the hon. Member will realise that. There is nothing sinister about these words. They have been carefully chosen and I do not feel that I could change them. The word "any" must cover present authorities or any future authorities which might be set up.

I am not satisfied with the explanation of the terms of the Clause. I also regard it as a matter of important principle, and I am not willing to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

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

I did not think that my hon. Friend's Amendment, which has been negatived, was appropriate to this subsection, but I will return to the argument now. I must ask the Under-Secretary of State to reconsider what he said about the words conferring "power on any authority". We ask him seriously to consider giving us an undertaking to insert a definition of what these authorities are. He mentioned three. I put it to him that it will not be much comfort in years to come to the legislators of the day to say to them, "You should read the report of the debate which we had in the House of Commons on 28th January, 1958, on this subject."

As it stands, the Clause gives the executive the right to confer power on "any authority," which, I repeat, may well be the United States Navy and could be the United States Marine Force, heaven help us, which, we all know, won the war in the Far East single-handed, except for the additional help of Mr. Errol Flynn. It is unreasonable to ask the House of Commons to give the executive power of such an unlimited nature as this. If the hon. Member cares to define the authorities to whom he wishes to concede this power—I can think only of three and he mentioned only three—we should be glad to accept the Clause. He has mentioned the local legislature, the Federal legislature and the Jamaican legislature. Those are elected or mainly elected bodies, all of whom are responsible bodies.

Speaking for myself, I should be happy to give him the power to concede to those three bodies this very extensive authority to make regulations which will govern the affairs and the life of all the inhabitants of these islands for any period of emergency. Martial law and almost anything else can come under the rules which they will make under this power.

This a House of Commons matter and not a party issue. It is reasonable for the House of Commons to insist against any Government that the authorities to whom powers are to be conceded, which could be of a dictatorial nature in certain circumstances, should be defined. That seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable request, and if the hon. Member wishes to move an Amendment to that effect either now or later I am sure that it would not take more than a few seconds to put the Amendment through. It could be done very quickly, it is a reasonable request to make, and I hope that the hon. Member will be able to meet it.

I should like to be able to reconsider the matter, but I cannot. I am sorry. I take the point made by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) and I am anxious to make

Division No. 30.]

AYES

[4.40 p.m.

Agnew, Sir PeterCorfield, Capt. F. V.Grant-Ferris. Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)
Aitken, W. T.Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)Green, A.
Alport, C. J. M.Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Gresham Cooke, R.
Arbuthnot, JohnCrowder, Sir John (Finchley)Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)
Armstrong, C. W.Cunningham, KnoxGrosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.
Ashton, H.Currie, G. B. H.Gurden, Harold
Astor, Hon. J. J.Dance, J. C. G.Hall, John (Wycombe)
Baldwin, A. E.Davidson, ViscountessHarris, Reader (Heston)
Balniel, LordDigby, Simon WingfieldHarrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)
Barber, AnthonyDonaldson, cmdr. C. E. McA.Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.
Beamish, Col. TuftonDoughty, C. J. A.Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)Drayson, G. B.Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)du Cann, E. D. L.Henderson, John (Cathoart)
Bidgood, J. C.Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Biggs-Davison, J. A.Duncan, Sir JamesHill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)
Bingham, R. M.Elliott, R.W. (N'castle upon Tyne, N.)Hill, John (S. Norfolk)
Bishop, F. P.Emmet, Hon. Mrs. EvelynHinchingbrooke, Viscount
Bossom, Sir AlfredFarey-Jones, F. W.Hirst, Geoffrey
Brooman-White, R. C.Finlay, GraemeHobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)
Bryan, P.Fisher, NigelHolland-Martin, C. J.
Burden, F. F. A.Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)Hornby, R. P.
Butcher, Sir HerbertFraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Carr, RobertFreeth, DenzilHughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)Gammans, LadyHughes-Young, M. H. C.
Cole, NormanGarner-Evans, E. H.Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)
Conant, Maj. Sir RogerGeorge, J. C. (Pollok)Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)
Cooke, RobertGlover, D.Hyde, Montgomery
Cooper, A. E.Glyn, Col. Richard H.Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry
Cooper-Key, E. M.Goodhart, PhilipIremonger, T. L.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.Gower, H. R.Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)

progress with the Bill, but this is the customary way of phrasing this type of Clause and it follows custom which has been followed by successive Governments, including the hon. Member's party when they were in power, in many other Colonial Territories. If I gave an undertaking that we would try to specify each authority or even to write in the words "British authorities", it would open up a host of other legislation already on the Statute Book. It would be extraordinary if we singled out this little Bill and this small part of the Commonwealth for special consideration.

I have given an undertaking that it means "British authorities", but I could not possibly specify the authorities because, as I have already said, the Act might apply to some authorities which are as yet unthought of. I have given the Committee an undertaking that these are all the powers which are needed or have been provided in the past for Parliament and for the assemblies concerned. I will certainly look at the matter again, but I should not like the Committee to think that I am giving an undertaking. I hope that in view of what I have said the hon. Member will withdraw his objection.

Question put, That the Clause stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 190, Noes 162.

Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.Sharples, R. C.
Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)Medlicott, Sir FrankSimon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Johnson, Eric (Blaokley)Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Joseph, Sir KeithMott-Radclyffe, Sir CharlesSpearman, Sir Alexander
Kerby, Capt. H. B.Nabarro, G. D. N.Stevens, Geoffrey
Kerr, Sir HamiltonNeave, AireySteward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Kershaw, J. A.Nicholls, HarmarSteward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
Kimball, M.Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Kirk, P. M.Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)Storey, S.
Lambert, Hon. G.Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. AllanStudholme, Sir Henry
Lambton, ViscountNugent, G. R. H.Summers, Sir Spencer
Lancaster, Col. C. C.Oakshott, H. D.Teeling, W.
Leavey, J. A.O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)Temple, John M.
Leburn, W. G.Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Page, R. G.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.Partridge, E.Turner, H. F. L.
Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)Peel, W. J.Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)Peyton, J. W. W.Vane, W. M. F.
Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)Pike, Miss MervynVickers, Miss Joan
Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughPilkington, Capt. R. A.Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.
Macdonald, Sir PeterPitt, Miss E. M.Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
McKibbin, AlanPott, H. P.Wakefield, Sir Waved (St. M'lebone)
Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)Powell, J. EnochWard, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
McLaughlin, Mrs. P.Price, David (Eastleigh)Webbe, Sir H.
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)Whitelaw, W. S. I.
MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)Profumo, J. D.Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)Redmayne, M.Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Maddan, MartinRemnant, Hon. P.Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)Ridsdale, J. E.Wood, Hon. R.
Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)Woollam, John victor
Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Markham, Major Sir FrankRoper, Sir HaroldTELLERS FOR THE AYES
Marshall, DouglasRussell, R. S.Colonel J. H. Harrison and
Mathew, R.Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.Mr. Gibson-Watt

NOES

Ainsley, J. W.Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.Mason, Roy
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.Mikardo, Ian
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Grey, C. F.Mitchison, G. R.
Awbery, S. S.Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)Monslow, W.
Balfour, A.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)Moody, A. S.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)Griffiths, William (Exchange)Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Benson, G.Grimond, J.Mort, D. L.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)Hannan, W.Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Blenkinsop, A.Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)Orbach, M.
Boardman, H.Hastings, S.Oswald, T.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.Hayman, F. H.Owen, W. J.
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)Paget, R. T.
Bowles, F. G.Herbison, Miss M.Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Boyd, T. C.Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Braddock, Mrs. ElizabethHolman, P.Palmer, A. M. F.
Brockway, A. F.Holmes, HoracePanned, Charles (Leeds W.)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Holt, A. P.Paton, John
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)Pearson, A.
Burke, W. A.Howell Denis (All Saints)Peart. T. F.
Burton, Miss F. E.Hoy, J. H.Pentland, N.
Callaghan, L. J.Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)Plummer, Sir Leslie
Carmichael, J.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Popplewell, E.
Champion, A. J.Hunter, A. E.Prentice, R. E.
Chetwynd G. R.Irving, Sydney (Dartford)Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Clunie, J.Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Probert, A. R.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)Janner, B.Randall, H. E.
Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.Rankin, John
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Jeger, George (Goole)Redhead, E. C.
Crossman, R. H. S.Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)Reeves, J.
Cullen, Mrs. A.Jones, David (The Hartlepools)Reid, William
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)Jones, Jack (Rotherham)Rhodes, H.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
de Freitas, GeoffreyJones, T. W. (Merioneth)Royle, C.
Delargy, H. J.Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Diamond, JohnKing, Dr. H. M.Short, E. W.
Dodds, N. N.Lawson, G. M.Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Dye, S.Lee, Frederick (Newton)Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)Lipton, MarcusSimmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)Logan, D. G.Skeffington, A. M.
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)Mabon, Dr. J. DicksonSlater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Fernyhough, E.MaoColl. J. E.Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Finch, H. J.McKay, John (Wallsend)Snow, J. W.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.McLeavy, FrankSorensen, R. W.
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then)MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Gibson, C. W.Mahon, SimonSparks, J. A.

Steele, T.Wade, D. W.Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Stewart, Michael (Fulham)Warbey, W. N.Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Stones, W. (Consett)Watkins, T. E.Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.Weitzman, D.Willis, Eustace, (Edinburgh, E.)
Swingler, S. T.Wells, Percy (Faversham)Winterbottom, Richard
Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)West, D. G.Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)Wheeldon, W. E.Woof, R. E.
Timmons, J.Wilkins, W. A.
Usborne, H. C.Willey, FrederickTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Viant, S. P.Williams, David (Neath)Mr. John Taylor and Mr. Rogers.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported, without Amendment.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

4.48 p.m.

There has been a tendency in recent years for very small territories to be hived off from large territories when independence or otherwise is attained. I notice that this group of islands is not the only group likely to be treated in this fashion. For instance, I understand that an Order in Council is about to be made with regard to Christmas Island. Be that as it may, it becomes a real responsibility of the House to make certain that the Government of the territories which are hived off from the principal areas should be properly governed.

I had the very great privilege a few years ago of visiting Turks Island. I must confess that I had never been on such an arid island before. Undoubtedly, these islands have a very romantic history and have passed through various vicissitudes of government. None the less, it is imperative, because of the unproductive nature of these islands, particularly Turks Islands and adjacent islands, that the Government should bear in mind the welfare and happiness of the people in them.

I would like to stress that, as recommended by the Royal Commission which sat in 1939, the fullest consideration should be given to the prosperity of the small Caribbean islands. The only resource of Turks Island is salt, and the fact that the salt is there makes the island extremely poor from an agricultural point of view, and the inhabitants have to import practically all their food.

As this Bill does not provide for the representation of Turks Island or the other islands in the Federation, it should be stressed that, in the absence of that political representation, the good will and benevolence of the British Government towards the inhabitants of these islands should, through the Federation Government, continue.

Although, of course, an Amendment in regard to the application of colonial development and welfare funds, except through the Federal Government, was out of order, I hope that there will be insistance that, under this Act, no less provision will be made after authority is shifted from London, than is made at present. I trust that due consideration will be given to that point. These people are extremely friendly and hospitable, but their conditions are deplorable, and unless a friendly eye is kept on their well-being they are apt to suffer quite a lot.

I welcome the Third Reading of the Bill, but I hope that, in due time, this problem of representation will be looked at in order that the voice of these islanders can be heard in the representative institutions which will be created within the Federation of The West Indies.

4.52 p.m.

One of the features of the Second Reading debate was the pressure exerted from both sides of the House for a continuation of economic aids to these territories. It is true that the standard of life in the Cayman Islands is higher than that in many Colonial Territories, but the territories of the Turks and Caicos Islands are arid, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) has said. A considerable proportion of the male population has to seek a living in the Bahamas, the families being left to scratch what existence they can out of that arid land—

The debate on Third Reading has to be confined to the contents of the Bill, and I think that the hon. Member is going a little wide of that.

Then I am prepared to content myself with asking whether the Minister can say what are his intentions in this matter. In the past, we have given a direct aid to these islands, but in the future, as they will come under the Caribbean Federation, to a large degree any assistance that is given from this country must be in the form of a block grant to that Federation.

During the Second Reading debate hon. Members on both sides sought an assurance that the degree of assistance that has been given in the past would be maintained. All that the Minister was able to say was that there would be a block grant to the Federation, and that it would be for the Federation to determine how it would be distributed. These islands are in the unfortunate position that they will have no representation in the Federal Parliament, and for that reason a very special responsibility rests upon hon. Members, and upon the Government.

I hope that it will be possible, in the course of this debate, for the Minister to state as definitely as possible that at least the aid that has hitherto been given to the islands will be continued in order to deal with their poverty, their need for education, the extension of their social services, the care of their health, and all those things which make the difference between poverty and human living in these territories.

4.55 p.m.

I should like to support the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway). It is not often that we find ourselves in agreement, and this is not particularly a Third Reading matter. It is something that we would have liked to have dealt with during our discussion on Clause 2, but, unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding.

I should like to get this matter clear in my mind. By the arrangements contained in the Bill we pay a block grant to the Federation and the Federal Government allocate it to the individual islands in need of financial assistance. As the hon. Member for Eton and Slough has said, almost all the other recipients will be represented in the Federal Parliament and will, therefore, to some extent have a say in the matter.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, which are especially in need of financial help, will not be represented. The salt industry, upon which the economy of the Turks Islands largely depends, is in much need of help to get it on its feet again. It is in need of a grant especially for that purpose.

We provide the money from this House but, in future, we cannot decide where it is to go, who is to benefit, and to what extent in each case. It has usually been a fairly well-accepted principle in government, though people have sometimes criticised it, that the chap who pays the piper does, in fact, call the tune. As it seems to me, Clause 2 reverses that principle.

I have no reason at all to suppose that the Federal Parliament will not make a wise allocation of our block grant. I am quite sure that it will. It will consist of very responsible people who will do their best to allocate the grant wisely; but is there no machinery at all by which we can ensure that at least as much money is distributed to individual islands from the grant as we have allocated to them from United Kingdom funds in the past? If there is no such machinery, we should, perhaps, have some sort of power hare to help these islands, if need be, if and when a crisis arises.

The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), the hon. Member for Eton and Slough, myself and other hon. Members raised this point on Second Reading, and we were told by my hon. Friend, as I understood it, that there would be no way in which, during the next five years, the allocation could be altered at all. I think that the point of his argument was that we cannot tie the Federation. I recognise that, but, accepting that position, should we not reserve to ourselves some power to help if it is clear and evident that the Federal grant, for some reason not known to us at the moment, is inadequate in the result? I do not know whether my hon. Friend would be prepared to accept the principle of that suggestion, and, if so, whether there is any way in which we could safeguard the position of these small islands.

4.59 p.m.

I should like to add just one word to the plea of those hon. Members who have already spoken on the application of the block grant. I believe that there are very grave dangers that, when the Federal Government has to allocate these funds, there will be such demands from the whole area that it will be most difficult to build up a system of priorities. There is not the slightest doubt that the whole of the area needs very much more money than this country will provide during the first five years, while the whole success of the Federation will depend on its ability to make the area a viable one. We want to encourage them in every possible way along this path. As has been said, however, there is the possibility that the smaller islands which are not directly represented in the Federal Parliament will not be able to articulate their needs in the way that the other areas will be able to do.

We are not placing any restraints upon the Federal Government, and rightly so. That would be a very unwise thing to do. At the same time, I feel convinced that when once the responsibility is accepted, the Federal Parliament will feel that it is in an absolute dilemma. The amount of money that we shall provide will be a restricted sum, and because the amount involved cannot be reviewed until the end of five years it seems to me that we are creating a very difficult situation.

This is a Third Reading debate, and I realise its limitations, but we hope that the Minister will be able to relieve our minds on this matter. The hon. Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell) and I visited the Cayman Islands five years ago and I have with me today four or five memoranda which were submitted to us on that occasion. In these memoranda the people of those islands told us of their needs. It has been said that they are much better off than the people of the Caicos Island, but in their central hospital they have only one doctor for a population of 7,000. They hoped that we would help them in an appeal to the Jamaican Government to appoint a further doctor.

Their roads are in a deplorable state, and they have only one high school. They want technical schools, and they want to see the development of secondary and technical education. I feel that the Minister has a responsibility in the matter. He could surely give strong advice as to how these sums of money should be administered. Although I should like to say more on the subject, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I dare not do so, because I am sure that if I did you would rule me out of order.

5.3 p.m.

May I say, first, how grateful I am to hon. Members for the ease with which they have given approval to the stages of the Bill so far reached. As far as I understand, there is only one point troubling the House, a point which was troubling the House on Second Reading. It is the matter to which hon. Members have been giving voice.

If I may say so with respect, I think there is a slight danger that we may be confusing two sorts of financial aid which the United Kingdom can render to Colonial Territories so I will, if I may, split my remarks into two parts and try to convince hon. Members that everything is going to be well.

The first aid is given from colonial development and welfare sources. The allocations for colonial development and welfare have already been made and will remain the same till 1960 when the present Act will cease to operate with regard to the islands which we are considering today. Therefore, there would be no purpose in writing anything of this sort into the Bill.

I accept the point made about the need of these territories. That matter will be considered by Her Majesty's Government when specific plans are agreed to for which territories colonial development funds are allocated. There will be absolutely no difference from now onwards. I cannot speculate into the realm which Parliament has not even discussed and as to what will happen after the Colonial Development and Welfare Act comes to an end in 1960, but, until that time, there will be absolutely no difference in regard to these small territories, even though they come under the Federation and in spite of the Bill, from what there is at present. They will deal directly through the Colony of Jamaica with Her Majesty's Government.

The other type of colonial financial aid is grant aid. This is what I think is really worrying hon. Members. It would be impossible to prescribe by Act of Parliament that the grants-in-aid should in no case be on a lesser scale than that contributed during the financial year preceding any appointed day, which is what, think, some hon. Members would like. because, of course, grants-in-aid must take into consideration the revenue of the territory concerned.

Her Majesty's Government have to take into account the estimated revenue and expenditure for the territory concerned for the year in question. If, for instance, there is a lower revenue as a result of famine, flood or a bad harvest then the grants-in-aid might be increased, but, equally, the reverse is true. If the revenue of a territory goes up, the difference which has to be made up is less. Therefore, we could not bind the making of grants-in-aid by anything specified in an Act of Parliament.

I would like, however, to set the minds of hon. Members at rest as to how this will happen, because, although grants-in-aid will from now onwards be made by the Federal Government from a block grant from the United Kingdom, the size of the block grant to the Federation each year far the first five years will be not less than the average total grants-in-aid made to individual federated territories for the three preceding years.

I did not make this point clear on Second Reading and am glad to have this opportunity of doing so. I think it is fair to assume that the Federation will have sufficient funds as a result of the block grant to allocate fairly and adequately to the territories under its control. I ought to remind the House that Parliament is already committed to an act of faith by Section 3 of the British Caribbean Act, 1956, in the affairs of the Federal Government concerning the distribution of the grant to individual territories concerned. Therefore, it would be wholly wrong to seek to single out any particular territory and put it outside the scope of the arrangements.

There is only one other side to the argument, and that is that these territories are in a rather special position. They are very small and are not represented in the Federal Parliament. The question of representation in the Federal Assembly was considered by Parliament during the passage of the British Caribbean Federation Bill and later, when Parliament approved the Order in Council under the Act. It would be equally impossible at this stage to change an arrangement whereby a very careful balance of representation has been achieved on that Assembly. The right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) probably knows better than anyone how difficult it was to arrive at that very careful balance, and a moment's reflection by hon. Members on the general set-up will show how difficult it would be to disturb this balance.

Hon. Members will remember that these territories are far smaller than any others represented in the Federal Assembly, and they cannot have it both ways. They have a very special relationship with the Assembly. Federal laws will not apply to the territories unless it is expressely stated that they so apply. During the long consultations that preceded the setting up of the Federation neither territory made out a case for separate representation.

I will end by taking up the point raised about keeping a friendly eye on the territories. I think that what has been said this afternoon will be very valuable to those starting this very important new federation and this great new experiment. I feel that it would be equally right to say, having discussed these matters and voiced our doubts, that we are sure that a friendly eye will be kept on the smaller islands and that it will be seen to that those who have not a direct voice in the Assembly will receive a fair allocation not only of financial help, but also of the time of their legislators.

Once again, I thank hon. Members for allowing the Bill to proceed so quickly. I hope that I have allayed some of the suspicions which hon. Gentlemen opposite and some of my hon. Friends had.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

Overseas Service Money

Resolution reported,

That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to authorise the Secretary of State to appoint officers available for civilian employment in public services overseas, it is expedient to authorise—
  • (a) the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of expenses incurred by the Secretary of State in consequence of the provisions of the said Act or of any order made thereunder;
  • (b) any increase attributable to the provisions of the said Act in the sums payable out of moneys provided by Parliament under any other enactment;
  • (c) the payment into the Exchequer of sums received by the Secretary of State in consequence of the provisions of the said Act or of any order made thereunder, or in pursuance of any arrangements made by the Secretary of State (whether before or after the passing of the said Act) with Governments of overseas territories, being arrangements relating to employment in the public services of those territories, and any increase attributable to the provisions of the said Act in the sums payable into the Exchequer under any other enactment.
  • Resolution agreed to.

    Overseas Service Bill

    Considered in Committee,

    [Mr. F. BLACKBURN in the Chair.]

    Clause 1—(Appointment Of Officers Available For Public Service Overseas)

    5.12 p.m.

    I beg to move, in page 1, line 7, to leave out "Secretary of State" and to insert "Civil Service Commissioners".

    It is always difficult to leave out the Secretary of State, but we will have a shot at it this afternoon. The Secretary of State will see that we do not want to leave him out altogether. The purpose of the subsection is to give him powers to make arrangements with other Governments for the employment of British or Commonwealth civil servants, and it provides that the Secretary of State shall be the appointing authority. The words are:
    "…the Secretary of State may appoint officers to be available for civilian employment in the public services of those territories…"
    I understand that this is a hangover from a long-standing arrangement under which the Colonial Service appointments have been in the hands of the Secretary of State. As far as I know, the system has worked in an admirable manner. Nevertheless, there is no reason why we should not look at the arrangements and decide whether in the changed circumstances it would not be better to amend them.

    When my hon. Friends and I looked at the Bill, we could not see any reason why we should not in the changed circumstances invite the Civil Service Commissioners to undertake this work. They are responsible for appointments in the home Civil Service. According to their Annual Report, they examine or nominate about 100,000 candidates each year in the home Civil Service. According to that Report, they are also responsible for appointments to the Overseas Civil Service; and the number of appointments they recommended in the year 1956–57 was 724, so they have considerable experience of overseas appointments.

    I notice that they also act as agents for cadets for the Navy—that is presumably Dartmouth—the Army and the Royal Air Force, and 1,150 such candidates were examined. They undertake arrangements on behalf of the Metropolitan Police for entry and promotion examinations. They are responsible for the examination for first and second-class certificates for the British Transport Commission police. They perform various other agency services.

    Another argument in favour of inviting the Civil Service Commissioners to undertake the task is that they have a number of overseas offices, they do a fair amount of advertising overseas, and they have local examination centres overseas. Thus, they have, as it were, a skeleton of an organisation to undertake such a task. All these seem to be arguments in favour of concentrating in their hands the recruitment arrangements that we are discussing once arrangements have been made with the Governments concerned about pay and so on.

    5.15 p.m.

    There is a final reason which leads me to the conclusion that this would be a good idea. As the Secretary of State said on Second Reading, we hope that some of the emerging territories which become independent will wish to employ members of the Overseas Civil Service. There is something to be said, at any rate in terms of dignity, for the Secretary of State for the Colonies not being responsible for making the arrangements for the appointment of men who are to serve in territories which have become independent. The Secretary of State said that it might happen that he would have to do so if he had started the arrangements before the territories had become independent. On the other hand, he said that if the territories had already become independent the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations would undertake the task. Thus, in any case we shall have two authorities according to whether the territory is self-governing or a Colony. Consequently, the arrangement at present seems to be a rather vestigial tail, and so we seek to have the Civil Service Commissioners as the appropriate authority and ask the Secretary of State to hand over his responsibilities to them.

    I approach the subject from a somewhat different angle. We are concerned with the method of appointment of these overseas servants, and it appears to me that the method of appointment must in the long run affect the future development of the Overseas Service.

    I am anxious to see the greatest possible co-operation between this country and other countries of the Commonwealth, particularly the self-governing members, in creating what would eventually be a Commonwealth Service It is most important to consider not only the recruitment of administrators and technicians from Commonwealth countries such as Canada, but also recruitment by those Commonwealth countries.

    I should like to see this as a great Commonwealth venture. I think it is for that reason that hon. Members have advocated a Commonwealth Service. During the Second Reading debate several hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), referred to the need for a Commonwealth Service. In his reply to the debate the right hon. Gentleman referred to that suggestion, but he alluded mainly to the advisability of using the term "Commonwealth Service."

    The main point is that we should widen the range from which members of the Service may be drawn and the method whereby they shall be appointed. I should like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman what progress, if any, has been made in the development of a Commonwealth Service and how the Bill and its proposals would fit into the wider picture. In any case, I should like to know what grounds there are for retaining the procedure whereby a Secretary of State, with the consent of the Treasury, shall make the appointments rather than have the Civil Service Commissioners do so. From such information as I have. I should have thought that, for psychological reasons, if not for others, it would be easier to bring about this co-operation with the Commonwealth countries if the appointments were made by the Civil Service Commissioners rather than by the Colonial Secretary. It is for that reason that I support the Amendment.

    I have listened with great interest and sympathy to the arguments which have been put forward. Perhaps I might first address a word to the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Wade). I can assure him that many valued members of Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service come from Dominions, and they are making individual contributions of the very greatest value.

    It is an attractive thought that if we had had a clean slate we might have been able to build an Overseas Service which would be in every sense of the word a Commonwealth Service. We should, however, be deceiving ourselves if we thought that that would be welcome in many Commonwealth countries themselves. While very ready to see individuals serving in Her Majesty's Overseas Colonial Service, if it came to the formation of a Commonwealth Service, I think that there would be a strong preference for the various Dominions of the Commonwealth making their own contribution in their own name. We shall not, I think, make much progress if we believe that we can substitute for the existing Overseas Civil Service a Commonwealth Service, though, as I say, we are delighted to welcome into that Service a considerable number of very valuable recruits who come from Commonwealth countries.

    The hon. Gentleman's suggestion that for the Secretary of State should be substituted the Civil Service Commissioners would not make it easier for individuals in the Service to serve in Commonwealth countries. We have expressly referred to a "Secretary of State" in order to provide that I or my successors, my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations or the Foreign Secretary could, within the meaning of the Bill, be the Secretary of State. The movement of individuals from a Colonial territory to a Commonwealth territory or to a foreign country, such as the Trucial States, would be more readily expedited by the fact that any one of the three Secretaries of State can, within the meaning of the Bill, exercise authority.

    The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) advanced an argument about dignity, saying that territories would probably prefer the Civil Service Commissioners to replace the Secretary of State. On the last occasion he spoke about this, he said also that it was an untidy arrangement, leaving it a little uncertain as to which Secretary of State it would be. I then said, of course, as is true, that the Colonial Secretary—that is to say, myself—is the most involved, and that the majority of appointments will presumably be in territories in regard to which I and my successors will have responsibility. But, as I said, we hope that they will be appointed for service under the Bill in Commonwealth countries and, indeed, in other territories. I mentioned, in particular, the Trucial States as a possibility. I added also—the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East reminded us of it—that certainly during the currency of the Bill territories will pass out of the responsibility of the Colonial Secretary into a situation where the responsibility for relationships with them will rest with the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.

    In the circumstances, I think that the present arrangement is really the best. For example, if somebody whom I, as Colonial Secretary, have recruited is serving in a territory which ultimately becomes an independent member of the Commonwealth, then, of course, further consultation on terms and conditions of service for that individual would be the responsibility of the Commonwealth Secretary; probably, the appropriate way for such consultation to take place would be for it to be between the United Kingdom High Commissioner in the Commonwealth country and the Commonwealth Government concerned. If somebody was recruited to a territory for relations with which the Foreign Secretary was responsible, it would, of course, be the Foreign Secretary who would negotiate the terms and conditions of service. But the list would still, in a sense, be my list, the Colonial Secretary's list; there would be an obligation on me, in the first case, if such a person lost his post, to do my utmost to see that he received further employment, although in a case of that kind—indeed, in any case—there would be the closest co-operation between the various Departments concerned and the various Secretaries of State.

    The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East said that he thought there was a strong case for changing the method of selection, although he recognised that the present system is working very well. If I may say so, it is no tribute to me, because it applies equally to the Colonial Service under all my predecessors, including the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones), that it works extraordinarily well, and the link with the Secretary of State himself as the authority responsible for the Service is one very deeply valued by the Colonial Service as a whole. In my many travels, for example, during the three months of last yeas when I was in Africa, East, West and Central, I have always found how particularly keenly colonial servants value their personal link with the Secretary of State, their right of access to him and their ability to be able to come and put their doubts, uncertainties, hopes and achievements before the Secretary of State personally.

    I am in close touch, of course, as is my office also, with the Civil Service Commission. The Overseas Service Department of the Colonial Office is in constant consultation with the Civil Service Commission. In the case of administrative appointments, we have a full-dress Overseas Services Appointments Board which sits under the chairmanship of the deputy to the First Civil Service Commissioner. Recommendations come from that Board to me by way of the First Civil Service Commissioner, and with his approval. He is very much in the picture. In the case of other pensionable employments, submissions for selection are made to me through the First Civil Service Commissioner. Of course, there are also, as the Committee knows, very many valued appointments made by the Crown Agents.

    It would really be inconvenient and wasteful if this perfectly successful system were changed and appointments to the Central Pool and the Special List were conducted by the Civil Service Commission, particularly as the majority of officers appointed under the Bill will already be serving members of Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service whose past records are available in the Colonial Office.

    There is the final point that the Civil Service Commissioners are not really concerned with matters beyond initial appointments, whereas I, under the terms of the Bill—as I think the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East realised—have to deal with questions of transfer, repostings, and negotiations with overseas Governments about conditions of service.

    I recognise that this is an interesting subject. I hope that the Committee, having ventilated it, will be prepared to leave things as they are in the Bill, and I believe that that would be most acceptable to the Service itself.

    I can understand that an overseas civil servant, after listening to the Colonial Secretary's persuasions for half an hour, would value very much his close relationship with the right hon. Gentleman, but, if he will permit me to say so, that same persuasiveness is unlikely to beguile us into believing that his speech was either relevant or satisfactory. In fact, it was neither. So far as his arguments were directed to the fact that, of course, he has a responsibility, once servants have been appointed, for their conditions of service, that is true of every civil servant who is appointed by the Civil Service Commission, as he well knows. Indeed, the staff in his own office are appointed by the Civil Service Commission; they are appointed through the administrative class of the Civil Service. As he rightly said, in a brief moment of illumination when he was "on the ball", at the moment when the Civil Service Commission has appointed them, they cease to be its responsibility.

    There is, however, more in the argument than the Colonial Secretary has given us credit for, although we shall not press it this afternoon. It is something he ought to think about. We are about to set up a new Service. The Civil Service Commissioners have facilities for securing recruits which are not available to the Colonial Office, with all its efficiency. They have what is, practically, a world-wide organisation for this purpose. They are concerned with getting recruits, not with their conditions of service after appointment. I should have thought that there was every case for concentrating under the Civil Service Commissioners this particular form of recruitment. I imagine that this must be one of the last forms of recruitment to the Civil Service left under the patronage of an individual Minister, though I do not imagine that it is worth very much to the right hon. Gentleman. Nevertheless, the fact remains that there is much to be said for concentrating this procedure. Although we do not press the Amendment now, I am bound to say that it is not the eloquence of the Colonial Secretary which has persuaded us.

    Amendment negatived.

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

    5.30 p.m.

    The purpose of my brief intervention is to enter a plea that in implementing the conditions of the Clause, special attention shall be given to the seconding of officers to the specialised branches of medical research. This is a feature of British colonial administration which is often overlooked and which, I certainly feel, is insufficiently emphasised.

    When I was in Nigeria a little more than a year ago, I visited the research stations at Vom and Kaduna, in Northern Nigeria, both of them operating under the auspices of the West African Institute of Tropical Research. The main object of these research stations is to combat that dread disease with the very long name of trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness as it is commonly called, in regard both to man and to beast. The results have been quite phenomenal.

    In regard to human beings, the records show that whereas in 1936 100,000 people were treated for this disease, the figure had fallen in 1956 to 5,000. When it is considered that this disease is more often fatal than not, it will be easily appreciated that as a result of the work of this organisation, hundreds of thousands of African lives have been saved.

    The results in regard to cattle are also impressive. A serum has recently been developed—

    I find the hon. Member's speech very interesting, but I should like to know how he is relating it to the Motion, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill".

    I am trying to emphasise, first, the value of the service and then to call attention to the fact that there is great difficulty in recruiting officers to serve in the service; and I regard that as pertinent to the Clause. I wish briefly to state that in regard to cattle, the results have been very impressive. The results for the population of Nigeria will be enormous if, in fact, complete immunity from the tsetse fly is eventually achieved, and there are now high hopes of that.

    In relation to the Bill, I wish to emphasise that these organisations, which are performing such magnificent work, are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain staff. The attractions of other areas in Africa such as East Africa, where the climate and salary conditions are more promising, are causing several people to leave the organisation in Nigeria and it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain recruits for these organisations. Indeed, when I was at Vom, the normal staff of twelve had been reduced to nine and several of them were on a temporary basis.

    The trouble is that the Federal Government, under whose auspices these stations operate, is unwilling to improve the salary conditions of the Europeans on the ground that this would be prejudicial to the prospects of Africans entering the service. This is entirely fallacious, because Africans can acquire the necessary qualifications only by being trained by qualified and experienced Europeans on the spot. I sincerely hope that the Bill will enable the Secretary of State to ensure that the present employees remain contented in their job and that suitable recruits are forthcoming to maintain this splendid work in Nigeria.

    If I may refer also to another aspect, it is in regard to the leper settlement at Oji, in Eastern Nigeria, which I also visited. I do not want to be out of order by going into that at too great length, except to say that the work there is equally magnificent and the patients—

    I have been very patient. The hon. Member is giving a list of achievements in different sectors which has little to do with Clause 1, although we find it interesting.

    The purpose of the Clause, Mr. Blackburn, is to ensure that certain services in a civil capacity in Nigeria are maintained. But for the Bill, they might not be. I am trying to draw attention—

    I am aware of the purpose of the Clause, which is to appoint officers to be available.

    Exactly. I hope there is no suggestion that I am resisting your Ruling, Mr. Blackburn. My purpose is to point out the services to which the Bill will be particularly useful. I am trying to urge on my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State that he should use the powers conferred upon him by the Bill to ensure that the services in these most valuable organisations are retained. It is impossible to get the services of Africans in the short term.

    If I have made my point, I will no longer persist. I am sorry if I have been out of order in doing so, Mr. Blackburn, but I wished to draw the attention of the Committee to the magnificent work that these organisations are achieving and to the essential feature of the Bill—that of ensuring that these organisations are fully and efficiently staffed in the future.

    I should like to make two brief points. First, however, I also applaud the magnificent work that is being done. I was very interested to hear what the Colonial Secretary had to say in reply to the Amendment which has just been debated. I think that the right hon. Gentleman realises as well as every one of us how difficult it is to find- suitable officers to fill these posts. I am quite convinced that greater efforts will have to be made to find persons in the Dominions who are willing to serve in these overseas services. I think it is no longer possible to find the men and women who are needed from this country alone.

    My second point, with which, I am sure, the right hon. Gentleman will agree, is that we must give adequate consideration to security and pension rights. I fear that in the past sufficient consideration has not been given to that aspect. I hope that as the result of the Bill, the position will be rather better than it has been in the past.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 3—(Provisions As To Superannuation Under Other Enactments)

    I beg to move, in page 4, line 10, at the end to insert:

    (6) Service as an officer to whom this Act applies, in so far as (apart from this subsection) it would not be service in the oversea civil service within the meaning of the Governors' Pensions Act, 1957, shall be deemed to be service in the oversea civil service within the meaning of that Act.
    The Committee will remember that the Governors' Pensions Act, 1957, made special provisions for the pensions of Governors who, immediately before appointment as Governors, were employed in the Overseas Civil Service, which is defined as
    "service in any office under the Government of…an overseas territory".
    The definition is in Section 17 of the 1957 Act.

    In order that these provisions may apply to overseas officers who were in the Special List or in the Central Pool before being appointed as Governor, but were not employed in an overseas service as defined by the Governors' Pensions Act, 1957, to which I have referred, it is necessary to extend the definition of "overseas service" as defined by Section 17 of the 1957 Act.

    This the proposed subsection (6) does. The result, of course, will be that if the Committee agrees with this provision an Overseas Service officer who serves in the Special List or the Central Pool and subsequently becomes a Governor can have his pension computed as though his previous overseas civil service had been in the public service of overseas Governments. I think that this will commend itself to the Committee.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move, in page 4, line 10, at the end to insert:

    (6) Any Firemen's Pension Scheme brought into operation, whether before or after the passing of this Act, under section twenty-six of the Fire Services Act, 1947, may include, or be varied so as to include, provision whereby, in such circumstances as may be specified in the Scheme, pensions (including allowances and gratuities) may be paid thereunder to or in respect of persons who—
  • (a) have after the passing of this Act retired from employment as members of fire brigades maintained in pursuance of that Act, or from other employment treated for the purposes of the Scheme as if it were employment as a member of such a fire brigade, and
  • (b) after so retiring have served as officers to whom this Act applies;
  • and so much of subsection (3) of the said section twenty-six as relates to the circumstances in which a pension may be provided under such a Scheme shall not apply to any pension for which provision is made in accordance with this subsection.
    I am sorry to bother the Committee with this Amendment, but further study of the Bill has shown that it is necessary if we are to prevent an injustice. This is to enable firemen's accrued pension rights to be safeguarded on their transfer to service to which the Bill applies, in the same way as those of other public servants. We know that a number of important appointments have been made which are of great value to the Colonies concerned. Firemen are not within the scope of the Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1948, under which provision for putting pensions into cold storage will normally be made. Therefore, it is necessary to make this special provision.

    Clause 3 (6) extends the powers of Section 26 of the Fire Services Act, 1947, under which the firemen's pension scheme is made, to enable an appropriate provision to be made in the scheme. In broad terms, the intention would be that the scheme would be made to provide that a fireman who transfers to service to which this Bill applies would become entitled to a pension calculated on his fire brigade service and payable by his fire authority, if and when he retires from service to which the Bill applies, in circumstances in which a pension is payable in respect of that service. We overlooked this matter when the Bill was drafted and I thought it desirable to bring it immediately to the notice of the Committee.

    I merely want to express, on behalf of the A.M.C., its thanks to the Minister for having included this provision in the Bill. My attention was drawn some days ago to the fact that firemen were apparently to be treated differently. I only hope that, having done this, the Minister will have dealt with other sections of the public service under Clause 4, but I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for having clarified a position about which firemen were doubtful.

    Do I gather that, as a result of this provision for pensions and the Amendments which are now being made, adequate provision for pension rights now exist in respect of any appointments which may be made from any sector of the public service? I appreciate that teachers, police, and firemen are provided for, but suppose that it becomes necessary for an appointment to be made from any other section of the public service. A highly professional person or well-qualified technician might be needed in a territory.

    Does it follow that, as a result of the Bill, the pension arrangements of that person in the home public service can be transferred and added to the service which he will have in the overseas territories? In other words, are we now completely covered in respect of any of these rather specialised secondments or appointments of people taken from other sections of the home public service?

    I can safely give the right hon. Gentleman an unqualified assurance that that is so.

    Amendment agreed to.

    5.45 p.m.

    I beg to move, in page 4, line 11, to leave out subsection (6).

    These words reappear in the new Clause in different terms.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 4—(Special Provision As To Police Officers)

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

    I want to raise one point on line 21. The Clause reads:

    "Where a member of a home police force is, with the consent of the appropriate authority, appointed under section one of this Act for a limited period…"
    There is some doubt in the minds of some of the authorities concerned as to what exactly a "limited period" means.

    It is obvious that the Bill protects the rights and puts into cold storage, as the Minister said on a previous Clause, the pension provisions for persons who are in pensionable employment in this country. When they return after a period in an overseas territory they are entitled to claim that proportion of the pension earned while they were in the service in this country. Concern is felt by some people as to what these words mean, for instance, in a case where police officers are seconded for special periods of duty in overseas territory. There is, for example, the case of a county police officer who responds to one of the advertisements which appear from time to time of vacancies in Colonial Territories. With the consent of the employing authority the officer undertakes the duty and he is abroad for what to all intents and purposes is a permanent and not a limited period.

    When such officers return to this country, are they entitled to have had their pensions put into cold storage in the way that civil servants, teachers, people in the health service and others are entitled? There seems to be some doubt in the minds of employing authorities in the case of the police as to whether the two types of pension, home and overseas, are covered.

    The hon. Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. D. Jones) has raised a very important point and I am very glad to have the opportunity, through replying to him, of setting any fears at rest. The purpose of the Clause is to provide for individual police officers from forces in England, Wales and Scotland whose services are made available to overseas Governments on a temporary basis. The hon. Member is quite right to ask what would be the position of those police officers who are, in effect, permanently transferred to service under the Bill. My answer is that it is intended to make regulations under Section 1 (4) of the Police Pensions Act, 1948 to cover such officers.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 5—(Financial Provisions)

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

    I should be grateful for the opportunity to make some brief observations on this Clause so that there shall be no possible misunderstanding. I want to make it quite clear that, in addition to the specific provisions in the Bill for the payment of pensions by virtue of Clause 6 (1), which include lump sums or gratuities by way of compensation or otherwise, it will be necessary for Her Majesty's Government to pay, under the Special List agreements with Nigeria, half of an officer's salary and allowances while he is unemployed.

    Similar payments in respect of the remuneration of officers and their travelling expenses will no doubt be necessary under other Special List agreements yet to be concluded, and in respect of officers appointed to the Central Pool.

    It is the Government's hope to be able to arrange for such payments to be reimbursed to the maximum possible extent by the overseas Governments as under the Special List arrangements. Provision for the receipt of such reimbursements by overseas Governments and for other receipts, such as pension contributions payable by the officers themselves, is made in subsection (2) of the Clause.

    I wanted to stress that fact lest it should be thought that by concentrating on pensions and pension contributions this most important aspect of pay had been forgotten.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clauses 6 and 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    New Clause—(Further Provisions As To Superannuation)

    (1) Where an officer to whom this Act applies is a participant in any pension provision made otherwise than by virtue of this Act, the Secretary of State may pay any contribution which, in accordance with the terms of that pension provision, is payable by or in respect of that officer as a participant therein.

    (2) The Secretary of State may pay, to or in respect of persons who are serving or have served as officers to whom this Act applies, such pensions or contributions in respect of pensions (not being pensions or contributions payable by the Secretary of State by virtue of any enactment other than this subsection) as may appear to him to be appropriate for giving effect to any such arrangements as are mentioned in subsection (1) of section one of this Act.

    (3) In this section "pension provision" means any law, scheme or instrument whereby provision is made for the payment of pensions, and "participant", in relation to a pension provision, means a person to whom, or in respect of whom, a pension may become payable thereunder.—[ Mr. Lennox-Boyd]

    Brought up, and read the First time.

    I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

    Subsections (1) and (3) of this proposed Clause are strictly new and did not figure in the Bill as presented last week. Subsection (2) replaces the original language of Clause 3 (6), which we have now deleted, and makes an additional provision. Under subsections (1) and (3), the Secretary of State will be enabled to pay pension contributions in respect of an officer to whom the Measure applies to a pension scheme to which that officer belongs.

    It seems to us desirable to have this provision since, if an officer appointed under the Act is already a member of a superannuation scheme, such as the Overseas Superannuation Scheme or of some private scheme such as the Federated Superannuation Scheme for Universities, it might be more convenient in the case of an officer appointed for a temporary period to pay a pension contribution to such a scheme rather than to attempt to make the officer pensionable for a short fine under the terms of the order made under Clause 2 of the Bill or to pay him a gratuity in respect of his temporary service. This is a sensible improvement, and I hope that the Committee will agree to it.

    I ought also at the same time to explain subsection (2). This contains partly a new provision and is in part in substitution of the words we have just left out of Clause 3 (6). This would enable the Secretary of State to pay pensions or pension contributions in fulfilment of obligations that Her Majesty's Government have entered into in my name under the Special List agreements made with Nigeria. These agreements envisage that an officer who transfers to the special list will remain pensionable under Nigerian laws so long as he serves in Nigeria and also, if we ask it, after he leaves Nigeria and if he is unemployed or in employment which would otherwise be non-pensionable.

    We found on further examination that Clause 3 (6) was too tightly drafted, in that it only provided for the payments of pensions and not pension contributions, and only allowed pensions to be paid which were payable under the laws of an overseas territory. This last limitation might get us into a difficulty if, under the special arrangements reached with Nigeria, Special List officers should be exempted from any alteration in the Nigerian pension laws made after the date of their joining the Special List, if those alterations prejudice their pension rights. So the pension payable to them might not, therefore, be in accordance with the law of Nigeria at any one moment.

    Furthermore, it is doubtful whether it would be possible for Special List officers who have left Nigeria to be able to fulfil in every detail the provisions of the Nigerian pension legislation in, say, the giving of notice on retirement. Therefore, it seems desirable to empower the Secretary of State to pay such pensions or pension contributions as may appear to him to be appropriate for giving effect to any such arrangements such as a special list agreement.

    May I ask a question on this proposed Clause? Subsection (2) refers to—

    "…persons who are serving or have served as officers to whom this Act applies…"
    I assume this does not give any power to the Secretary of State to improve the position of those who have already retired? I take it that those who have already retired from overseas service are not
    "officers to whom this Act applies"?

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

    First and Second Schedules agreed to.

    Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, considered.

    Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

    5.57 p.m.

    I want to raise a point of constitutional importance in view of what I heard the Secretary of State for the Colonies say while I was in the House before I had to leave to keep an appointment with one of his right hon. Friends. The right hon. Gentleman drew some distinction between "a Secretary of State" and "the Secretary of State", and said that he had put "a Secretary of State" into the Bill to secure a certain purpose. I cannot find "a Secretary of State" in the Bill. It is true that I have read the Bill only cursorily and that this may be there, but it is strange constitutional doctrine to me that any Secretary of State cannot act for any other Secretary of State as and when required to do so. Could the right hon. Gentleman explain the exact situation?

    I am glad of the opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding. I do not wish to draw a distinction between "a" Secretary of State and "the" Secretary of State. The distinction I was trying to draw was between the Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for the Colonies. I agree entirely with the right hon. Gentleman that any Secretary of State can act for any other Secretary of State, out we want to go further in this Bill because it may well lead to either the Foreign Secretary or the Commonwealth Secretary having specific responsibilities under the Bill. Therefore, in drafting it we were particularly anxious not to say in the definition Clause that "the Secretary of State" means the Secretary of State for the Colonies, but to leave it that it means the Secretary of State, so that it can be whichever Secretary of State is relevant for the purpose, if I may use that rather clumsy way to describe my colleagues.

    I thank the right hon. Gentleman. Of course the relevant Secretary of State on occasion may be the only Secretary of State in residence in London at the moment.

    5.58 p.m.

    I recognise that this Bill represents in some respects a departure from the normal Treasury practice in connection with overseas service. I appreciate that the Secretary of State must have had a rather strenuous struggle with the Treasury to have secured the measure of agreement indicated by this Bill.

    I wish that the Secretary of State had won a more ample victory over the Treasury, because the Bill hardly goes far enough. I hope that as a preliminary to future arrangements within the Overseas Service the right hon. Gentleman will not abandon altogether the register which he proposed in 1954. I hope it will still be possible for younger men, as well as senior men, to register so that they may feel that the utmost elasticity will continue in the Overseas Service and that their remuneration will be covered should their appointment come to an end with the moving of any territory towards independence.

    I hope that the Special List now created by the Bill will be more widely applied than is at present contemplated. It is, at the moment, to apply to Nigeria, anti, I gather, to Malaya, but I hope the point will be rapidly reached when the Special List can be made to apply to all the Colonial Territories. I wish to see the transformation of the existing circumstances so that Special List conditions can operate over the whole service. I am moved to that view, because I think it will prove increasingly difficult to maintain the distinction in the Overseas Service between those at present employed in the Service and those transferred to the Special List. As I said earlier, it may create a degree of feeling which would not prove a happy experience for members of the Service. I hope that there will be an increasing application of the Special List so that divisions which may become intensified in the Service can be modified and eventually eliminated.

    The increasing needs of the territories for the services of persons with specialist and peculiar experience prompts me to hope that the Secretary of State will make ample use of his powers to second people of such experience from our home Civil Service and from the public services of this country. As these territories emerge into the modern world and conform with the structures and institutions of our modern world, with their different standards of public conduct, it is important that we should contribute the best we can to these territories in the form of special appointments. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be encouraged to make increasing use of the Special List by including in it such persons from our own country who are prepared to make a contribution to the developing life of the territories.

    Hon. Members on this side of the House welcome the Bill so far as it goes. In Nigeria, and certainly Malaya, one hopes that the casualties and difficulties experienced in the last few years will be overcome. As I said during the Second Reading debate, this country and our Colonial Service have made an enormous contribution to building up the life of the territories. It would be most unfortunate if, by withholding any contribution which we could make to the administrative framework in these territories, the work of British hands over the last half-century should crumble away. Because I am anxious that as these territories reach independence they should be able to maintain the high standard and fine work done by our Colonial Service, I hope that more and more this Special List arrangement may be operated.

    We wish the right hon. Gentleman well in his application of the provisions of the Bill. We hope that he will have a greater feeling of assurance and satisfaction in the days to come, that, because of the initiative taken towards self-government, at least these territories can be safely launched on the road to independence and come to a life which is as good and prosperous for them as is possible.

    I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) for what he has said. He is right in saying that in a number of ways this Bill represents a departure from normal Treasury practice and contains a number of novel conceptions. I think it only chivalrous and fair if I say how grateful I am to the Treasury for the patience and co-operation which has enabled me to introduce this Bill. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that we have no intention of abandoning the central register or the Central Pool. I hope that they will be successful and also, as he said, that the Special List will prove a great success.

    I endorse what the right hon. Gentleman said about the value of secondment. I hope that every Government Department, local authority and public body in Britain will not hold the false idea that in some way they are weakening the United Kingdom if they spare some of their valued staff for overseas service. Such a widening of horizons is the only way in which the values we have in the United Kingdom will be preserved. I welcome what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman. In the knowledge that the whole House endorses the principle of this Bill lies its best hope of success.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

    Import Duties Bill

    As amended, considered.

    Clause 1—(New Power To Charge Protective Duties)

    6.7 p.m.

    I beg to move, in page 2, line 31, at the end to insert:

    (5) The Treasury shall not make any order under this section until the expiration of two months after notification in the Board of Trade Journal that a recommendation has been made by the Board of Trade for the making of such order, and it shall be the duty of the Treasury and the Board of Trade during such period of two months to consider any representations made by any interested party with regard to the making of the proposed order.

    I think it would be convenient if we discussed this Amendment together with the following Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman to Clause 5, namely, in page 6, line 44, at the end to insert:

    (8) The Treasury shall not make any order under this section until the expiration of two months after notification in the Board of Trade Journal that a recommendation has been made by the Board of Trade for the making of such order, and it shall be the duty of the Treasury and the Board of Trade during such period of two months to consider any representations made by any interested party with regard to the making of the proposed order.

    If it is convenient, perhaps we might discuss those two Amendments with the Amendment to Clause 6, namely, in page 7, line 18, at the end to insert:

    (3) The Treasury shall not make any order under this section until the expiration of two months after notification in the Board of Trade Journal that a recommendation has been made by the Board of Trade for the making of such order, and it shall be the duty of the Treasury and the Board of Trade during such period of two months to consider any representations made by any interested party with regard to the making of the proposed order.
    The purpose of these three Amendments, of which the first two are the principal ones, is to give to industry, or to anybody else affected when an import duty is changed under the terms of the Bill, a clear chance to put forward their case, whether for or against the proposal the Government have in mind. We feel that they should have a chance to do that before a change in a duty becomes a fait accompli.

    This need applies to Clause 1 and also to Clauses 5 and 6. Surely it is a reasonable request from those affected, whether they be importers, manufacturers or consumers, should at least have a reasonable period to put their case in these circumstances, and not have to wake up one day and read in the Press that an Order has already been laid by the Treasury before the House. As one of my correspondents from industry put it, all demands for changes in duties come from interested parties. That is quite natural and proper, and, broadly speaking, it is the truth. There is either a demand for more protection from a home producer or manufacturer, or a demand for relief from an importer or consumer.

    I should have thought that in either case no one would dispute that it was reasonable to allow the other side to put its case before the Government. Indeed, as the President of the Board of Trade will agree, in the case of the Wilson Smith Report, which admittedly related only to the case of duty-free imports, although the argument is the same, there was a clear judgment in favour of allowing consultation.

    In Committee, the President of the Board of Trade did not quarrel with our object. He said that there ought to be public notification that applications had been received for changes in duty. He said that that almost invariably occurred by way of notification in the Board of Trade Journal, but I am bound to tell him that representatives of industry who have written to us suggest that firms and trades want more definite assurance than they would get from merely one assurance, however sincerely meant, from one Minister.

    As one of the correspondents said to me, Ministers can give assurances, but Ministers also change. Indeed, the last Minister who spoke on the Bill was the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) and he is no longer a member of the Government. We have now got to the Report stage of the Bill and, for all I know, before we reach Third Reading there may be three new Ministers at the Board of Trade. I mention that only to mark the moral that a mere assurance from a Minister is not as definite or as lasting as a provision written into the Bill.

    We are asking only that the President of the Board of Trade should give a clear statutory undertaking that the Government will do what, in fact, he says they do already and intend to do in the future. We suggested in Committee that the solution might be that the Government should have to notify publicly, for some time before an Order was made to change the duty, that there had been an application.

    The President then said that he did not want to have to notify applications, because some must be frivolous. The trouble is that if one is to have public notification, one must notify something, and if one does not notify an application because it might be frivolous, one has to find something else which the Government are obliged to notify. However, in view of that, we have suggested in the Amendment—and we do not maintain that it is the only full or perfect solution—that the obligation might be to notify not an application, but the recommendation made by the Board of Trade to the Treasury.

    The Bill says that there has to be such a recommendation in all these cases before an Order can be changed. We may fairly assume that there would be no such recommendation by the Board of Trade if the original application had been frivolous, and I think that that meets the objection of the right hon. Gentleman.

    There are two other reasons for achieving our object in this way. The first is that it would cover cases where the idea of a change in the duty was initiated not through any outside application, but within the Board of Trade or some other Department of the Government. In such cases there will have to be a recommendation to the Treasury, and they would therefore be covered. There is also the reason that, on reflection, it occurred to us that it may be difficult, legally and statutorily, to define an application in this sense. Clearly, it would be easier to define a recommendation from the Board of Trade to the Treasury.

    The objection may be advanced that if it is done in this way, if consultation is ensured in this fashion, by a public notification of the recommendation by the Board of Trade to the Treasury, there is the risk of forestalling changes in taxation and that the Government would be saying publicly that they were thinking of altering a duty—an import duty in this case, but it is a form of tax—which might risk forestalling and so on. Incidentally, I notice that this year the President was more cautious, at Question Time at any rate, than he was last year in the matter of forecasting changes in Entertainments Duty.

    6.15 p.m.

    I doubt whether there is any great force in the objection to which I have just referred. It is apparently the Board of Trade's view not that public notification of its intention is dangerous, but that it is already doing that, so that there is no need of putting it into statutory form. If that is the case—and I accept the President's assurance that in the great majority of cases there is public notification already—presumably the danger of giving warning is not serious and would not have any more dangerous consequences if the warning were statutory instead of being merely voluntary. That danger is obviously inherent in any method by which the Government give the public any opportunity to put objections.

    The substance of our case with these Amendments is that we think that traders and consumers should be given the clear assurance that they will have a chance to put their case. Having decided not to reinstate the Import Duties Advisory Committee, which was a kind of assurance to industry before the war that it could put its arguments, and also having, rightly as I think, abandoned the idea of an Import Duties Board, which would be semi-independent, but not really independent, it seems to us that there is all the more obligation for giving this assurance to industry.

    However, we do not insist that this is necessarily the best way to do it. It is the best way we have been able to conceive, but if the right hon. Gentleman can contrive to do in it some other way, then at this late stage, so long as we have the reality of the assurance of consultation, we shall be satisfied.

    I support the Amendment. Originally, it was the intention of the President of the Board of Trade to set up an independent Import Duties Board. In Committee, as the result of the Second Reading debate, he very wisely abandoned that original idea. Nevertheless, he conceded that it was most desirable that there should be adequate consultation with industry before changes in tariffs were made and before duty-free licences were issued or licences withdrawn. There is no dispute about the necessity of ensuring adequate consultation with industry.

    I think that the right hon. Gentleman will also agree that there is no dispute about the necessity to satisfy industry that industry is adequately consulted. Conceding this desirability, in Committee the right hon. Gentleman said:
    "I am not clear how anything can be done, but if there is something that we can put into the Bill we will do it. I cannot give an assurance, because I do not know enough about the position.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th December, 1957 Vol. 580, c. 494.]
    Six weeks have elapsed since then and I imagine that in the interval the right hon. Gentleman has received a number of representations in the same way that we have on this side. I imagine that he is now convinced that every effort should be made to seek a way to satisfy industry that changes will not be made without proper consultation.

    An essential preliminary to proper consultation with industry is that those concerned should know about any contemplated change before it is made. One suggestion put forward in Committee was that the application should be advertised, but the President of the Board of Trade said that he could not accept that, because he would receive a number of applications which were frivolous or, at any rate, not worth investigating. But there are others which are worth investigating and are investigated, and our concern is to see that all such applications are advertised and made known to the interested parties before the change takes place.

    We are concerned not only where a change in tariff results from an application or suggestion emanating from an outside body, but where it emanates from within the Board of Trade itself. That is why, in an attempt to assist the Minister in giving statutory effect to the desire to ensure that industry is consulted, we have put down the Amendments in this form. The form of the Bill, following precedent, is that the Treasury makes the Orders, and does so upon the recommendation of the Board of Trade.

    The form of words used presupposes that there is an independent consideration of the matter both by the Board of Trade and the Treasury. In fact, unless that is the case it makes nonsense of the form adopted in the Bill. Therefore, it does not seem unreasonable to meet the point made about not having to deal with frivolous applications by providing—as the Amendments seek to do—that there shall be an interval between the proposal of the Board of Trade to make the application and the actual making of the Order by the Treasury. If that were done we feel sure that it would meet the very real objections which are raised by industrialists.

    As an illustration of the danger that exists I would point out that the Bill gives the Board of Trade and the Treasury power to alter tariff rates by Order. This can be highly dangerous in two ways, unless there is adequate consultation with industry. First, an unwise alteration of a tariff may well bring down retaliation by a foreign country upon British exports. Secondly, an inefficient British industry may be protected unwisely and for too long against its chief competitor, to the detriment of consumers in the United Kingdom, who have to pay not only an inflated price for the foreign goods but also an artificially high price for the British goods thus protected.

    In other words, the Bill gives very wide powers to the Board of Trade. We have decided not to re-create the Import Duties Advisory Council; we have decided not to have an Import Duties Board, and we have also decided to leave the full responsibility for making the tariff changes to the Board of Trade. We are merely concerned to see that before any such orders are made there is adequate public notice, so that those who are interested in various branches of industry can make their representations made known, either for or against the proposals. These are eminently reasonable Amendments and we hope that they will be accepted.

    As the matter now stands, advertisements will be inserted in newspapers and in the Board of Trade Journal about the recommendations being made, giving people the chance to make submissions. I notice that in Committee the President of the Board of Trade said:

    "However, when we think there is a prima facie case the matter is advertised in the newspapers."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th December, 1957; Vol. 580, c. 493]
    What does "we" mean in this case? Is it the consultative committee to which the President referred later in Committee, or is it the President of the Board of Trade and the officials of the Department, who come to a conclusion about a prima facie case, begin their investigations, inform the trade about it, and bring the results of their investigations before the consultative committee?

    I am grateful that this point has been raised. There is no doubt that adequate consultation is very important. It was in my mind a great deal when I asked the Committee to abandon the Import Duties Board. As the House will remember, there were two points which troubled us about the procedure for making a change in duty. One was that there should be sufficient consultation with industry and consumers, and the other that we should not take too long in coming to a decision.

    To a certain extent those two points are in conflict, because the more that we consult the longer the time taken. None the less, we must arrange, first and foremost, to have sufficient consultation. The Amendments—the spirit of which I fully understand, but which, I think, would not be helpful—would increase the time by two months. I should not object to that if it helped us to come to the right decision in the end.

    The right hon. Gentleman should appreciate that although, if the Amendments were accepted, there would be an obligation upon the Government to issue a public statement at that stage, there would be nothing to prevent them doing it earlier.

    If I go through the procedure the right hon. Gentleman will see that that is not the correct position. We receive many applications for changes in duty because, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, there is an interest in this matter and people want to see various duties changed. Some of those applications are patently not worth pursuing, and I can tell the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Rhodes) that the President of the Board of Trade is responsible for rejecting those which I have described as frivolous. We should not want anyone to waste time and money in putting up a case against an application which was manifestly not going to come to anything; so those applications do not see the light of day. Quite often, the people who make them are quite glad that they do not see the light of day, when they hear the reasons we give for turning them down.

    All those applications which we regard as worth the trouble of an investigation are advertised in the Board of Trade Journal—which has a circulation of between 14,000 and 15,000, and is very widely read—in the trade Press associated with the product concerned, and also in the national Press. From that moment onwards interested parties, for and against, begin to put in their submissions, and the Board of Trade makes inquiries of all types of organisations and persons whom it thinks may be interested.

    Since the war, we have taken a very long time in carrying out these investigations—never less than a year and sometimes more than two years—and that is because the most thorough examination has been made. It is really essential for the efficiency of this business that the Board of Trade should not make a recommendation to the Treasury until it has assured itself that all the relevant arguments for and against have been collected, sifted and a decision taken upon them. Without that, we would not have done our work properly.

    6.30 p.m.

    Therefore, the time when we should satisfy industry that the consultation has been adequate is before we make the recommendation for the change in the duty. I am concerned that this should be done as well as possible. We have had no representations from industry such as the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) has had that we should adopt this kind of procedure contained in the Amendments. What industry said to us before the Committee stage—we have had no representations since, so far as I am aware—was that it was felt that at times it would have been more satisfactory if representatives of industry could have come and put their case orally. I believe I mentioned in Committee that I was very willing to investigate that and to give them every opportunity to state their case—always, of course, having in mind that we must not take too long because, if so, the processes are frustrated.

    The right hon. Gentleman said that the publication of the recommendation that we had made to change a duty would not affect forestalling any more than the publication of the application. At least, I think that that is what he said. But when the application for a change in duty is widely published, nobody knows whether we are to accept it or reject it. On the other hand, if we published the decision of the Board of Trade to recommend to the Treasury an increase of so many per cent. in the duty, that would be a fair warning for every foreign exporter to rush his goods to this country, and he would have two months in which to do it. Industry tells me that it would not like that at all. Therefore, I feel that on the forestalling point we must take that matter into consideration.

    There is then the other kind of change which is not an increase in duty and which would, of course, not cause forestalling. In the case of a change where the recommendation is to reduce a duty, imports are held up and the trade has to wait for a period of two months. I know that is not very long, but again it is not satisfactory to do it in that way. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that anything we can do—and I believe we can improve our methods of consultation—we will do, but the only efficient way is to do it before we come to the decision, itself. Otherwise, we should probably have to take the whole case over again.

    There is one other point. I believe that the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) asked me about changes in duty initiated by the Board of Trade. The Board of Trade does not initiate changes in rates of tariff. Those are the result of trade agreements and are mostly reductions in duty. These trade agreements are published, and that constitutes a warning to all and sundry that the Government have agreed with other Governments for mutual benefit to change rates of duty, but I should like to assure the hon. Gentleman that that is not the only notice that industry will get of a change of duty of this kind.

    The Board of Trade does not go into commercial negotiations without consulting the industries concerned and telling them that, in our opinion, it might be necessary and wise to alter certain rates of duty which affect their business, and they have every chance to discuss that with us before the commercial negotiation comes to its conclusion. After all, the purpose of having a commercial agreement is to benefit British industry, and therefore we try thoroughly to find out what British industry would wish us to do.

    For these reasons, I feel that while the idea behind these Amendments is perfectly sound—that industry ought to have the maximum opportunity to make its views known—the giving of the two months' warning to all and sundry either to forestall a change in duty by rushing imports here or alternatively to hold up importing, is an objection which really must be sustained.

    If I may have the leave of the House to speak again, I should like to ask the President of the Board of Trade these questions. He says that one of his main anxieties is that this procedure would lengthen the period too far. But did he not say that it was never less than a year, and often as long as two years, before these investigations were completed? In those circumstances, would it really make such a great difference if a period of at least one year were lengthened by two months? If that is what is on the right hon. Gentleman's mind, would it not largely meet the point if the period were made one month rather than two months? Would that not go a long way to meet the difficulty about forestalling?

    If it is the intention of the right hon. Gentleman, as he says, that there always shall be public notification of these cases, is it really technically impossible to get over the legal drafting difficulty of putting it in the Bill?

    I agree that two months is not very long if the procedure has already taken two years, but, still, it is something. As the right hon. Gentleman will remember, there was considerable

    Division No. 31.]

    AYES

    [6.40 p.m

    Ainsley, J. W.Grey, C. F.Moody, A. S.
    Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
    Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)Mort, D. L.
    Awbery, S. S.Griffiths, William (Exchange)Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
    Balfour, A.Grimond, J.Oswald, T.
    Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)Owen, W. J.
    Blenkinsop, A.Hannan, W.Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
    Blyton, W. R.Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
    Boardman, H.Hastings, S.Palmer, A. M. F.
    Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.Hayman, F. H.Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
    Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)Pargiter, G. A.
    Braddcok, Mrs. ElizabethHerbison, Miss M.Parker, J.
    Brockway, A. F.Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)Paton, John
    Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Holman, P.Pearson, A.
    Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)Holmes, HoracePeart, T. F.
    Brown, Thomas (Ince)Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)Pentland, N.
    Burke, W. A.Howell, Denis (All Saints)Popplewell, E.
    Callaghan, L. J.Hoy, J. H.Prentice, R. E.
    Carmichael, J.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
    Champion, A. J.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Probert, A. R.
    Chapman, W. D.Hunter, A. E.Randall, H. E.
    Chetwynd, G. R.Irving, Sydney (Dartford)Rankin, John
    Clunie, J.Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Redhead, E. C.
    Colliok, P. H. (Birkenhead)Janner, B.Reeves, J.
    Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.Rhodes, H.
    Corbet, Mrs. FredaJones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
    Craddook, George (Bradford, S.)Jones, Jack (Rotherham)Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
    Crossman, R. H. S.Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
    Cullen, Mrs. A.Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
    Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.Silverman, Julius (Aston)
    Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)King, Dr. H. M.Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
    Deer, G.Lawson, G. M.Skeffington, A. M.
    Delargy, H. J.Lee, Frederick (Newton)Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
    Diamond, JohnLogan, D. G.Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
    Dodds, N. N.Mabon, Dr. J. DicksonSnow, J. W.
    Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.MacColl, J. E.Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
    Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)MacDermot, NiallSparks, J. A.
    Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)McKay, John (Wallsend)Steele, T.
    Fernyhough, EMcLeavy, FrankStewart, Michael (Fulham)
    Fienburgh, W.MacMillan M. K. (Western Isles)Stones, W. (Consett)
    Finch, H. J.MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
    Fletcher, EricMahon, SimonSwingler, S. T.
    Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
    Gibson, C. W.Mason, RoyTaylor, John (West Lothian)
    Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.Mikardo, IanThomson, George (Dundee, E.)
    Greenwood, AnthonyMitchison, G. R.Viant, S. P.
    Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.Monslow, W.Wade, D. W.

    pressure during the earlier stages of the Bill to shorten the period of time occupied by these investigations. I think that they take too long and I am anxious, if I can, to shorten them.

    I do not know how to define an application which has passed the net and, therefore, it cannot be put in the Bill, but I do give the right hon. Gentleman the assurance that we shall not make a change of duty without having gone through the processes of advertisement and of collecting the views for and against. In any case, when any action is to be taken—and that is what is important—the interested parties will get good notice and plenty of opportunity to put their case.

    Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

    The House divided: Ayes 157, Noes 197.

    Warbey, W. N.Williams, David (Neath)Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
    Watkins, T. E.Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)Woof, R. E.
    Wells, Percy (Faversham)Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)Yates, V. (Ladywood)
    Wheeldon, W. E.Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)Zilliacus, K.
    Wilkins, W. A.Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
    Willey, FrederickWinterbottom, RichardTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
    Mr. Short and Mr. Simmons

    NOES

    Agnew, Sir PeterGurden, HaroldNeave, Airey
    Aitken, W. T.Harris, Reader (Heston)Nicholls, Harmar
    Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
    Armstrong, C. W.Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan
    Ashton, H.Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)Nugent, G. R. H.
    Baldwin, A. E.Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.Oakshott, H. D.
    Balniel, LordHeald, Rt. Hon. Sir LionelO'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
    Barlow, Sir JohnHeath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
    Barter, JohnHenderson, John (Cathcart)Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
    Baxter, Sir BeverleyHicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)
    Beamish, Col. TuftonHill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)Page, R. G.
    Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
    Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)Hill, John (S. Norfolk)Partridge, E.
    Bennett, Dr. ReginaldHinchingbrooke, ViscountPeel, W. J.
    Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)Hirst, GeoffreyPeyton, J. W. W.
    Biggs-Davison, J. A.Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)Pike, Miss Mervyn
    Bingham, R. M.Holland-Martin, C. J.Pitt, Miss E. M.
    Bishop, F. P.Hope, Lord JohnPott, H. P.
    Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.Hornby, R. P.Powell, J. Enoch
    Boyle, Sir EdwardHorobin, Sir IanPrice, David (Eastleigh)
    Brooman-White, R. C.Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
    Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)Rawlinson, Peter
    Bryan, P.Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)Redmayne, M.
    Burden, F. F. A.Hyde, MontgomeryRemnant, Hon. P.
    Butcher, Sir HerbertHylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir HarryRidsdale, J. E.
    Carr, RobertIremonger, T. L.Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
    Channon, Sir HenryIrvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Robertson, Sir David
    Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)Roper, Sir Harold
    Cole, NormanJennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
    Cooke, RobertJohnson, Eric (Blackley)Russell, R. S.
    Cooper, A. E.Joseph, Sir KeithScott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
    Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.Kaberry, D.Sharples, R. C.
    Corfield, Capt. F. V.Kerby, Capt. H. B.Shepherd, William
    Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)Kerr, Sir HamiltonSimon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
    Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Kershaw, J. A.Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
    Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)Kimball, M.Spearman, Sir Alexander
    Cunningham, KnoxKirk, P. M.Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
    Currie, G. B. H.Lagden G. W.Stevens, Geoffrey
    Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.Lambton, ViscountSteward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
    Doughty, C. J. A.Lancaster, Col. C. G.Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
    Drayson, G. B.Leavey, J. A.Storey, S.
    du Cann, E. D. L.Leburn, W. G.Studholme, Sir Henry
    Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Summers, Sir Spencer
    Duncan, Sir JamesLegh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
    Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir DavidLennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.Teeling, W.
    Temple, John M.
    Elliott, R. W. (N'castle upon Tyne, N.)Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
    Fell, A.Linstead, Sir H. N.Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)
    Finlay, GraemeLloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
    Fisher, NigelLucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
    Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughTurton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
    Gammans, LadyMacdonald, Sir PeterVaughan-Morgan, J. K.
    Garner-Evans, E. H.McKibbin, A. J.Vickers, Miss Joan
    George, J. C. (Pollok)Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.
    Gibson-Watt, D.McLaughlin, Mrs. P.Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
    Glover, D.Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
    Glyn, Col. R.McLean, Neil (Inverness)Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
    Godber, J. B.Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
    Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir AlanMaddan, MartinWebbe, Sir H,
    Goodhart, PhilipMaitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)White law, W. S. I.
    Gower, H. R.Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
    Graham, Sir FergusMarkham, Major Sir FrankWilliams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
    Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)Mathew, R.Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
    Green, A.Maude, AngusWood, Hon. R.
    Gresham Cooke, R.Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.Woollam, John Victor
    Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
    Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.Nabarro, G. D. N.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
    Mr. Barber and Mr. Hughes-Young.

    Clause 6—(Power To Exempt Particular Importations Of Certain Goods)

    I beg to move, in page 7, line 7, after "if", to insert:

    "The Treasury on the recommendation of".
    Would it be in order, Mr. Speaker, to take together with this Amendment the following one, in page 7, line 14, to leave out from the beginning to "any" in line 16?

    These two Amendments are designed to correct an error in the drafting of Clause 6. The intention of the Clause was to give the Treasury a discretionary power to issue duty-free directions, to specify the circumstances in which it might exercise the power and to see that it was not exercised except on a recommendation of the Board of Trade. As drafted, it provides that the Treasury may exercise the power if the Board of Trade is satisfied that it is justified in the circumstances. This is hardly logical, as it is the Treasury which has to exercise the power and which has to be satisfied that the necessary circumstances for the exercise of that power have arisen.

    There is no change of policy as regards the functions of the Treasury or of the Board of Trade, and it is intended that the whole procedure should be as now. The Amendment therefore provides that the Treasury is to be satisfied only on the recommendation of the Board of Trade. The Amendment to subsection (2) is consequential on the Amendment to subsection (1). The words are no longer necessary.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendment made: In page 7, line 14, leave out from the beginning to "any" in line 16.—[ Mr. Vaughan-Morgan.]

    Clause 10—(Provisions Supplementary To Part Ii)

    I beg to move, in page 11, line 10, to leave out "for the purpose of" and to insert "in connection with".

    This is a short point, but an important one, because it raises the matter of fundamental importance relating to the basic principles of British justice. As the Clause reads at present, it provides, quite rightly, that if a person applying for relief from duty under Clauses 5 or 6 makes any false statement, or knowingly or recklessly furnishes a document knowing it to be false, he is subject to appropriate penalties, and no one will quarrel with that.

    We seek, by this Amendment, to remove the taint of discrimination which exists as the Clause stands. We seek to provide that the same penalties shall be suffered by a person who either applies for relief from duty or who opposes such an application.

    It seems wrong that the sanction of these penalties should apply merely to merchants who make application. They should apply equally to applicants for relief from duty and to manufacturers who, in contesting such applications, supply false evidence knowingly or recklessly. What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. Why should one section be exposed to penalties for false statements and another section produce false statements with impunity? I should think that proposition only needs to be stated in those elementary terms to find acceptance on both sides of the House.

    The hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) has said that the purpose of the Amendment is to penalise anyone who supplies false information with the object of causing an application for relief to be rejected. I agree that there is obvious force in the argument. Falsehood is just as reprehensible whether told to obtain relief or to prevent relief, and therefore ought to be penalised. Sin is sin and, like President Coolidge, we are all "agin it".

    This point has been argued, and my right hon. Friend and I have considered it very carefully. We have come to the conclusion that we cannot accept the Amendment. I hope that I shall carry the hon. Member for Islington, East with me by going in some detail into the argument.

    Any extension of penal provisions beyond the necessary minimum is highly undesirable and to be avoided. I am advised that experience of administering these provisions in no way suggests that there is a real need for the extension that is proposed nor has any evidence been produced today. It is only an hypothesis. In the absence of such evidence the House would, I am sure, accept it that the practice does not prevail.

    The purpose of Clause 10 is to deter anyone making wilfully false statements in order to obtain relief, bearing in mind that the effect of a duty-free direction is to relieve the person who receives it from a general tax which has been imposed by Parliament. Obviously, the applicant has a direct financial interest, which is often substantial, in the matter. The offence is, in fact, a fraud or attempted fraud on the Revenue.

    This is quite different from the position of anyone who may be consulted—to quote the words of the Amendment—in connection with an application. The manufacturer who may be consulted has not a similar stake in the outcome of the decision. His would be a general objection to being deprived of the protection which Parliament had approved. Furthermore, his conduct, if he were to make a false statement, although morally reprehensible, would not be an offence against the public Revenue. It may also happen that people who are consulted have no interest in the matter at all.

    The Board of Trade is very dependent upon the voluntary co-operation of British manufacturers, with or without an interest in the matter, when it is examining applications for duty or remission. The proposed penal provisions would be resented by those whom we consult and could easily have the effect of making them unwilling to cooperate with the Board of Trade or of making them feel less free to give us the information which we require. This, in turn, would seriously embarrass the administration of the duty-free licensing system. Of course, all statements are carefully scrutinised. Where the circumstances are appropriate they are also scrutinised by the applicant. The decision to recommend a duty-free direction to which a false statement had materially contributed could easily be reversed, but it does not follow that it is necessary or desirable to make it a penal offence. The Board would be able to draw its own conclusions.

    To sum up, we believe that it is wrong it to extend the penal provisions in a way which experience shows to be quite unnecessary. We do not believe that it is wrong, however, to penalise fraud or attempted fraud on the Revenue.

    The Minister has made a most extraordinary speech as a result of which I find myself even more in support of the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) than I was before.

    The Minister says that no one wants to extend the list of criminal offences. That may be so as a general proposition, but, after all, he is asking us to enact these penalties for one section of the persons concerned. It is not logical to say that he can justify doing it for one section and not doing it for the other because he does not want to extend the range of penal offences.

    Secondly, he told us that no evidence has been produced that false statements ever were made by those opposing relief, as distinct from those who were proposing relief. We have no evidence that false statements have been made on the other side. The Minister then produced the extraordinary argument that applicants for relief have a financial interest in getting relief from import duties. Equally so has the opponent of relief. He has an obvious financial interest in doing so. So has the applicant for a higher duty.

    The Minister then produced the even odder argument that to apply for relief and make false statements was a fraud on the public Revenue, but to make false statements in opposing relief was not a fraud on the public Revenue, did not matter, and should not be punished by law. It is not relevant in any major fashion in this issue whether it is a fraud on the public Revenue or not. It is surely just as serious if a wrong decision on public policy is made by the Board of Trade and the Treasury because false statements have been made by an interested party opposing the granting of relief. That seems entirely without force.

    Finally, the Minister of State said that if we introduced into the Bill penal provisions threatening persons who, recklessly and knowingly, make false statements, that would damage relations with traders and manufacturers, but the Minister of State and his right hon. Friend are applying these provisions to other persons who apply for relief and make false statements. If the argument is valid in the case of those on one side, it is equally valid to those on the other side. I have seldom heard a less convincing defence of the attitude of the Government and I hope that hon. Members will support the Amendment.

    7.0 P.m.

    Why is it not important if a person opposing a relief tells a lie yet important if the person who wants a relief tells a lie? Will the right hon. Gentleman explain that?

    I quite see the point raised by hon. Members opposite, but we are dealing with a very large number of cases, many thousands a year, in which these questions have to be investigated. I think hon. Members opposite have not realised that we do not only consult people who are directly opposed to applications. Suppose a man says that he wants to import a certain kind of machine and wishes to have duty relief because no comparable machine is made in this country. It is not only to the makers of that particular kind of machine that we would go. There are many people who are knowledgeable in that matter and who lend us their experience, but they have no interest in the case at all.

    Very often it pays to go to a consulting engineer or designer, or someone of that kind. To get that kind of cooperation, which is more important to us than anything else when we are considering whether there should be duty relief, it has to be on a voluntary basis. Bearing in mind that we have not had any experience of false statements of this kind being made, I do not think it right to enlarge the area of the penalty. We already have in another Act the penalty for which we are asking here. We are not extending it. In Section 301 of the Customs and Excise Act, 1952, and, as formerly, in Section 168 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, there are penalties for false statements, but we do not think they are quite satisfactory in the form they are in existing legislation. We are merely tidying them up in this Clause.

    Reverting to the illustration given by the right hon. Gentleman, a machine might be made in this country similar to the one which the firm wishes to import from abroad. It might be the same in construction to the one made abroad and a good case could be made against the importation, but it might be that the production of the foreign machine is considerably more than the same type of machine manufactured here. False or misleading evidence could be given about the foreign machine.

    I found the explanations, of the Minister of State and the President thoroughly unsatisfactory—

    The hon. Member moved the Amendment and has already spoken to it. He must ask leave of the House, and obtain it if he wishes to speak again.

    I can only speak again by leave of the House. I intervene only to say that I found the remarks of the President of the Board of Trade quite unsatisfactory. He referred to a possible difficulty in getting assistance from experts and consultants. No one suggests that they are likely to make false or reckless statements, or to be deterred by this Clause from giving advice. The Clause is designed to prevent reckless statements being made by interested parties. The speeches of the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of State might almost amount to an open invitation to people to make false statements recklessly, with impunity, in opposing these applications.

    It does not seem to me that there could be any justification for refusing an Amendment of this kind. It seeks to provide that equal penalties for false statements should be available to the Government, both in the case of applicants for assistance and in the case of those who oppose such applications. I very much hope my hon. Friends will press this matter to a Division.

    Question put, That the words "for the purpose of" stand part of the Bill:—

    The House divided: Ayes 186, Noes 147.

    Division No. 32.]

    AYES

    [7.5 p.m.

    Agnew, Sir PeterGurden, HaroldNeave, Airey
    Aitken, W. T.Harris, Reader (Heston)Nicholls, Harman
    Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)Noble, Comdr, Rt. Hon. Allan
    Armstrong, C. WHarrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)Nugent, G. R. H.
    Ashton, H.Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)Oakshott, H. D.
    Baldwin, A. E.Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir LionelO'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
    Balniel, LordHeath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
    Barlow, Sir JohnHenderson, John (Cathcart)Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
    Barter, JohnHicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.Page, R. G.
    Baiter, Sir BeverleyHill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
    Beamish, Col. TuftonHill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)Partridge, E.
    Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)Hill, John (S. Norfolk)Peel, W. J.
    Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)Hirst, GeoffreyPeyton, J. W. W.
    Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)Pike, Miss Mervyn
    Bidgood, J. C.Holland-Martin, C. J.Pitt, Miss E. M.
    Biggs-Davison, J. A.Hope, Lord JohnPott, H. P.
    Bingham, R. M.Hornby, R. P.Powell, J. Enoch
    Bishop, F. P.Horobin, Sir IanPrice, David (Eastleigh)
    Body, R. F.Hughes-Young, M. H. C.Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
    Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S)Rawlinson, Peter
    Boyle, Sir EdwardHutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)Redmayne, M.
    Bryan, P.Hyde, MontgomeryRemnant, Hon. P.
    Butcher, Sir HerbertHylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir HarryRidsdale, J. E.
    Channon, Sir HenryIremonger, T. L.Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
    Chichester-Clark, R.Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Robertson, Sir David
    Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)Roper, Sir Harold
    Cole, NormanJennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
    Coolie, RobertJohnson, Eric (Blackley)Russell, R. S.
    Cooper, A. E.Joseph, Sir KeithScott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
    Cordeaux, Lt.-Col J. K.Kaberry, D.Sharples, R. C.
    Corfield, Capt. F. V.Keegan, D.Shepherd, William
    Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)Kerby, Capt, H. B.Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
    Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Kerr, Sir HamiltonSmithers, Peter (Winchester)
    Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)Kershaw, J. A.Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
    Cunningham, KnoxKimball, M.Stevens, Geoffrey
    Currie, G. B. H.Kirk, P. M.Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
    Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.Lagden, G. W.Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
    Doughty, C. J. A.Lancaster, Col. C. G.Storey, S.
    du Cann, E. D. L.Langford-Holt, J. A.Studholme, Sir Henry
    Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)Leavey, J. A.Summers, Sir Spencer
    Duncan, Sir JamesLeburn, W. G.Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
    Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir DavidLegge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Teeling, W.
    Elliott, R. W. (N'castle upon Tyne, N.)Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)Temple, John M.
    Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
    Fell, A.Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)
    Finlay, GraemeLinstead, Sir H. N.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
    Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)Lloyd, Mal Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
    Gammans, LadyLow, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
    Garner-Evans, E. H.Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
    George, J. C. (Pollok)Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughVickers, Miss Joan
    Gibson-Watt, D.Macdonald, Sir PeterWade, D. W.
    Glover, D.McKibbin, A. J.Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
    Glyn, Col. R.Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
    Godber, J. B.McLaughlin, Mrs. P.Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
    Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir AlanMaclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)Webbe, Sir H.
    Goodhart, PhilipMacmillan, Maurice (Halifax)Whitelaw, W. S. I.
    Gower, H. R.Maddan, MartinWilliams, Paul (Sunderland, S)
    Graham, Sir FergusMaitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
    Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.Wood, Hon. R.
    Green, A.Markham, Major Sir FrankWoollam, John Victor
    Gresham Cooke, R.Mathew, R.
    Grimond, J.Maude, AngusTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
    Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.Mr. Barber and
    Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.Mott-Radclyffe, Sir CharlesMr. Brooman-White.

    NOES

    Ainsley, J. W.Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Cullen, Mrs. A.
    Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)Brown, Thomas (Ince)Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)
    Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Burke, W. A.Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)
    Awbery, S. S.Callaghan, L. J.Deer, G.
    Balfour, A.Carmichael, J.Delargy, H. J.
    Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)Champion, A. J.Diamond, John
    Blenkinsop, A.Chapman, W. D.Dodds, N. N.
    Blyton, W. R.Chetwynd, G. R.Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
    Boardman, H.Clunie, J.Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)
    Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)Fernyhough, E.
    Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)Fienburgh, W.
    Braddock, Mrs. ElizabethCorbet, Mrs. FredaFinch, H. J.
    Brockway, A. F.Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Fletcher, Eric

    Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.Logan, D. G.Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
    Gibson, C. W.Mabon, Dr. J. DicksonShort, E. W.
    Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.MacColl, J. E.Silverman, Julius (Aston)
    Greenwood, AnthonyMacDermot, NiallSilverman, Sydney (Nelson)
    Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.McKay, John (Wallsend)Skeffington, A. M.
    Grey, C. F.McLeavy, FrankSlater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
    Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
    Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Snow, J. W.
    Griffiths, William (Exchange)Mahon, SimonSoskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
    Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colney Valley)Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Sparks, J. A.
    Hannan, W.Mason, RoySteele, T.
    Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)Mitchison, G. R.Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
    Hastings, S.Monslow, W.Stones, W. (Consett)
    Hayman, F. H.Moody, A. S.Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
    Healey, DenisMorris, Percy (Swansea, W.)Swingier, S. T.
    Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)Mort, D. L.Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
    Herbison, Miss M.Neal, Harold (Bolsover)Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
    Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)Oswald, T.Viant, S. P.
    Holman, P.Owen, W. J.Warbey, W. N.
    Houghton, DouglasPaling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)Watkins, T. E.
    Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Wells, Percy (Faversham)
    Howell, Denis (All Saints)Palmer, A. M. F.Wheeldon, W. E.
    Hoy, J. H.Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)Wilkins, W. A.
    Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)Pargiter, G. A.Willey, Frederick
    Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Parker, J.Williams, David (Neath)
    Hunter, A. E.Paton, JohnWilliams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
    Irving, Sydney (Dartford)Pearson, A.Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
    Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Peart, T. F.Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
    Janner, B.Pentland, N.Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
    Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.Popplewell, E.Winterbottom, Richard
    Jones, David (The Hartlepools)Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
    Jones, Jack (Rotherham)Probert, A. R.Woof, R. E.
    Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)Randall, H. E.Yates, V. (Ladywood)
    Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.Redhead, E. C.Zilliacus, K.
    King, Dr. H. M.Rhodes, H.
    Lewson, G. M.Roberts, Albert (Normanton)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
    Lee, Frederick (Newton)Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)Mr. Holmes and Mr. Simmons.

    I beg to move, in page 11, to leave out lines 16 and 17.

    The Amendment was put down for the purpose of obtaining some elucidation. As I understand it, the sanctions suggested in the Bill against persons who make false statements in support of their applications are twofold. Any decision obtained as a result of a false statement is to be nugatory under paragraph (a), and under paragraph (b), which seems to me to be a much more effective sanction, the person making the false statement is liable to a fine or a term of imprisonment or both.

    I want to ask the Minister whether there is any necessity for paragraph (a). As I understand the Bill, the granting of relief from duty can be reviewed at any time in the light of new information, and I therefore presume that even without this express power, if relief from duty had been obtained as a result of false statements it could be cancelled.

    It may well be that paragraph (a) is required, where an importer has imported something duty-free on the strength of the false statement, to enable the Board of Trade to claim the duty which would have been paid, but I should have thought that that result could be achieved otherwise. Perhaps

    the Minister of State would clarify why the paragraph is considered necessary.

    7.15 p.m.

    I assure the hon. Member that the provision is very much needed. The effect of the Amendment would be that the applicant who secured relief from duty by means of a false statement would be allowed to continue to enjoy the relief, and I hardly think that it is the hon. Member's intention that he should be allowed to get away with his ill-gotten gains.

    In view of that explanation, which I rather expected, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Fourth Schedule—(Goods Qualifying For Exemption Under Treasury Directions)

    I beg to move, in page 18, line 48 after "manufacture", to insert "or production".

    This is a matter of technical definition. The purpose of the Amendment is to make it quite clear that we have power to issue duty-free directions for certain organic intermediate products used in the production of dyestuffs in situ, for example on the fibre as well as those which are used quite separately for the manufacture of dyestuffs.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move, in page 19, line 5 after "be", to insert:

    "or for the purpose of subjecting goods capable of use with those or similar articles (including goods which might be used as materials or components in such articles or in which such articles might be used as materials or components) to examination or tests with a view to promoting or improving the manufacture in the United Kingdom of those or similar goods".
    This is a rather complicated matter. Paragraph 2 provides for the relief of Import Duty on goods imported for test or examination
    "with a view to promoting or improving the manufacture"
    of similar goods in the United Kingdom. This very minor extension covers a deserving class which has come to our notice only since the Committee stage.

    Perhaps I may put it shortly by giving an example. The example which has been submitted to me is that where a manufacturer of a capping machine, which is a machine for cutting out metal caps for bottles and placing them on the necks of bottles, wanted to import a foreign machine to seal the caps on the bottles, he would be unable to do so under the present arrangement.

    The object, in short, is to test and examine in conjunction machines which are intended to function together. I could give the House a much more lengthy explanation, but I hope it will accept that which I have given.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Bill to be read the Third time Tomorrow and to be printed. [ Bill 62.]

    Silicone Fluids (Customs Duty)

    7.20 p.m.

    I beg to move,

    That the Anti-Dumping (No. 1) Order, 1958, dated 1st January, 1958, a copy of which was laid before this House on 6th January, he approved.
    The Customs Duties (Dumping and Subsidies) Act, 1957, became law last April and this is the first Order to be made under it. I said during the debates on the Bill that I hoped the powers for which we were asking would prove to be a deterrent and would not have to be used very often. Nobody likes imposing a duty aimed at a particular exporter or exporters. However, when the case is made out, we must be prepared to act if our own producers are not to be subject to unfair competition.

    The House may like to know that since the passing of the Act we have had a fair number of applications for duties, but only two or three of the applicants have so far made out a prima facie case for investigation. I think that proves that the deterrent effect of the Act is working.

    This Order relates to silicone fluids manufactured by a single firm in France and sold in the United Kingdom at prices below those at which the same fluids are marketed in France. Silicones are comparatively new products. They have water-repellant and anti-stick properties which make them useful for polishes, varnishes, wrappings and finishes, and demand for that kind of product is steadily increasing. Its uses are increasing in the aircraft and electrical industries; and I am told that new uses for these silicone fluids are expected. In other words, this is a branch of the chemical industry which is expanding and from which much can be hoped.

    The French manufacturer is protected by a 35 per cent. duty and also by severe import restrictions. The result is that he does not need to worry about competition in his home market. The firm, therefore, is able to sell those fluids at home at high prices, and, no doubt, the profits thus gained assist him in selling at much lower prices abroad. Hence, this is a classic case of dumping.

    The British manufacturers on the other hand are not protected. There are neither import duties nor import quotas on the French silicone fluids coming into this country. The two firms in the trade here are Imperial Chemical Industries and Midland Silicones. Both firms are efficient and both are building up their production. I am not asking the House to give them a protective duty. This is not a duty which is to give them any form of tariff protection, but is simply to offset the unfair dumping of a single competitor. The duty of 4s. a lb., which is specified in the Order, will do just that and no more.

    The Board of Trade considered that a very careful examination into all the facts of this case should be made, especially because this was likely to be the first Order made under the Bill. We want other countries to see that we are not imposing duties under the Act without the most scrupulous examination of the facts. This examination has taken longer than I would have wished. One reason was the partial devaluation of the franc in August last which changed the calculations of the price in France relative to the price in this country. All those calculations had to be made again. I am now satisfied that dumping does exist in respect of these fluids and that a duty of 4s. is not unfair.

    I am also satisfied that material injury is being done to the two British manufacturers. They are efficient producers. They were losing orders in the home market to the French firm and they had capacity idle. I am also satisfied that the users of silicone fluids in this country will not be seriously prejudiced by having to pay the 4s. duty if they continue to import from France. The fluids are only a small proportion of the finished products, and I am sure that it is in the national interest to move against this kind of dumping.

    The French manufacturer did not deny that he was selling at lower prices in the United Kingdom than in his domestic market. He claimed that the higher prices in France were due to the smaller quantities sold in that market. We took that into account and made allowance for it, and we still found that there was dumping. It seems important, if we are to make great changes in our commercial policy, such as the European Free Trade Area, that manufacturers in Europe and also in this country should accept their Governments' moves against unfair trading practices. We cannot have free trade unless it is also fair trade.

    Therefore, I hope that the House will think that this Order, the first antidumping Order which hon. Members have been asked to approve, is right and fair.

    7.28 p.m.

    This first Order under the anti-dumping legislation is indeed a most interesting event. It is pleasant to hear the President of the Board of Trade bringing to bear an argument used against us at the time the Bill was before us. Time and time again the Minister of State argued with us that we could not do these things because we were ourselves guilty of a two-price system, both in coal and in steel. It seems that some of these arguments have come home to roost.

    Will the President give the House a few more facts about this matter? Is there a price ring here between I.C.I. and the other firm? Have they a controlled system of prices when they sell to manufacturers in this country? It is stated that a Customs Duty at the rate of 4s. per lb. will be imposed. Will the President give us an idea what that involves in relation to the product when it is marketed in this country? We are entitled to know whether this commodity is imported from any other source besides France. If it is, would this Order cover such an eventuality?

    7.30 p.m.

    It seems to me that the President of the Board of Trade has made a strong prima facie case, but I should like to ask him two more questions. Under Section 1 of the Act, the Board of Trade has power to make these Orders in a variety of circumstances. One of the circumstances is when there is any suggestion that the firm which exports the goods to this country is getting a subsidy. Will the President of the Board of Trade say whether, in this case, there is any suggestion that the firm is in receipt of anything in the nature of a subsidy from the French Government?

    Secondly, will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the French company, to whom alone the Order applies, is the only French company which exports silicone fluids to Great Britain and whether it has a monopoly in France, or whether there are any other French companies importing silicone fluids at any differential rate?

    7.32 p.m.

    This first Order, under the very important Act under which it is laid, should not pass without one word of commendation from the back benches on this side of the House. It may be of great importance to the development of European free trade, and from the agricultural viewpoint it also may be of very great importance. Indeed, the very threat of one of these Orders last summer protected the British early potato trade from subsidised dumping by the French. Therefore, I welcome the Order, the terms of which my right hon. Friend has explained. In doing so, he made a very good case.

    The hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Rhodes) asked what was the proportion of duty to the value of the silicone fluid. My right hon. Friend has explained that it is only a small proportion of the selling price of the goods. That, however, is not the real point. Here we are dealing with a British industry, employing British workers, producing a product which is likely to develop, with the likelihood, therefore, of employing more British workers. The industry, however, is at present hamstrung by unfair trade. The question of free trade does not enter the picture. It is unfair trade, because, as my right hon. Friend explained, it is a classical case of dumping.

    I hope that my right hon. Friend will not be afraid, if circumstances warrant, to bring further Orders before the House. The Order will have the effect of showing manufacturers abroad that the Government of this country have a duty, which they are prepared to carry out if necessary, to protect their industries against unfair trade.

    I have only one question to ask. There is nothing in the Explanatory Note about the time lag between the application by the industry and the date of the Order. Throughout our discussions on the Bill before it became an Act, I emphasised the importance of speed of action. The present Order, possibly, is not a good case to argue, but there may be cases in future when speed of action will be of great importance. For the record, there-ford, can my right hon. Friend state the date of application by the industry and why, if it was as long ago as July or earlier, it has taken until 7th January, some six months or more, for the Order to become effective?

    7.35 p.m.

    As the right hon. Gentlema the President of the Board of Trade and other hon. Members have said, this is the first Order under the Customs Duties (Dumping and Subsidies) Act, 1957, and it is, therefore, important that we should clarify points, because this is how precedents get built up from the first practice. The Order deals only with the dumping provisions of the Act and not with the Question of Government subsidy; that was what I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say. There is no question of a Government subsidy behind the Order. Therefore, we are not creating any precedent under that head; we have a precedent merely under the head of dumping.

    The prime definition of dumping in the Act is that the export price is below the fair market price of the goods in the home market of the exporting country. We had a lot of discussion about this when the Bill was passing through the House. How does the President of the Board of Trade set about determining what was the fair market price? Does he make an arbitrary decision about this? Does he collect statistics about it? How does he find out what is the fair market price in France for this particular product?

    In that connection, the right hon. Gentleman should tell us, as my hon. Friend the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Rhodes) asked, whether there are other French manufacturers of this product or whether the Order is concerned with a monopoly manufacturer. If there are more than one, do the manufacturers all sell at the same price, or are there varying prices in the French market?

    Does the 4s. duty exactly equate the difference between the export price in France and the home market price in France, or has the right hon. Gentleman left something in hand? From his argument, there would appear to be nothing to prevent the firm shifting its price again. From what the right hon. Gentleman said, it appears almost to have a choice. He said that the firm has a completely protected market; within broad margins, it can sell at whatever price it likes at home and to that extent cheapen its exports. If that is true, there would be nothing to prevent the French firm from doing it all over again. Then, I suppose, there would be the delay to which the hon. Member for South Angus (Sir J. Duncan) referred. Perhaps the President of the Board of Trade has dealt partly with this by making the 4s. tax bigger than the gap which he was trying to cover. In that case, I am not sure that he has properly carried out the terms of the Act. Nevertheless, perhaps he will tell us whether the 4s. is intended merely to equate the difference that he is trying to fill.

    I should like to ask a question concerning the drafting of the Order. The Act lays down three conditions about which the President of the Board of Trade must be satisfied before he issues an Order of this nature. One is that the goods must be dumped. The right hon. Gentleman has told us about that. The second is that it must be in the national interest to impose the duty. That is set out in the Order. Those two things are recited and rehearsed in the Order.

    There is, however, a third condition which is laid down in the Act, which states that the right hon. Gentleman must be satisfied that the dumping will
    "cause or threaten material injury to an established industry in the United Kingdom".
    The right hon. Gentleman told us that he was satisfied about that. Why has he not included that condition in the Order also? The Act specifies three conditions. In the Order, the right hon. Gentleman has recited two of them. He has left one out. What would be the effect if the French firm challenged the Order in the courts? The courts would certainly be able to say that the dumping and national interest requirements of the Act were covered, because they are rehearsed in the Order; but if those two things are written in and the third is not, one might very well argue that the President of the Board of Trade could not have been satisfied on the third point, otherwise he would have included it and, therefore, he must have had a reason for leaving it out. This seems to me to be a point which should be considered.

    There is also the question of what is "an established industry". I understand from the Financial Times of the 7th of this month that manufacture of the product in question began in this country only in the last few years and that before that time, according to the Financial Times, we imported primarily from the United States. Can an industry be established if it has been going only for a year or two, or does this wording mean merely "an industry"? Does the word "established" mean anything at all?

    Finally, can the Minister tell me why the Order refers to silicone fluids and not to silicone emulsions? Does the French firm not produce silicone emulsions, or if it does produce them and export them, does the Order apply in the case of emulsions as in the case of fluids? Silicone emulsions are also important in many ways similar to silicone fluids, but are a distinct product. I am informed that under this Order in the case of the French firm the export of silicone emulsions would not give rise to a countervailing duty. I should be grateful if the right hon. Gentleman could answer my questions as well as the others which have been put to him.

    7.41 p.m.

    Perhaps by leave of the House I might speak again to answer the questions that have been raised.

    The hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Rhodes) asked about the relationship between the 4s. duty and the price. There are a number of prices for these fluids, but, roughly speaking, 24s. is about an average price. Therefore, it is 4s. on 24s. Naturally, in our investigations we inquired whether there was a price ring or an arrangement between the two suppliers here, and we were satisfied that there was not. So far as I know, there are two manufacturers in France. One is the firm named in the Order, and the Order refers only to its product. The other manufacturer does not export here.

    The hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) asked whether there was any question of a subsidy to the French manufacturer. No, there is no question of a subsidy.

    I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for South Angus (Sir J. Duncan) that this matter seems to have taken a long time. Indeed, the application was put in almost directly after the Bill became an Act. However, we felt that in this case we should make the most careful inquiries. It is very important that other countries which have anti-dumping legislation should not think that we apply ours without very careful consideration, because they might then apply theirs similarly against our products.

    The inquiries were made largely in France. We were able through our representatives to check the domestic prices both of the firm in question and of the other manufacturer. There is no doubt that the prices were considerably higher. According to the quantity and the quality, as I understand it, the prices ranged from 2s. to 8s. per lb. above the price at which the same articles were sold in this market. Therefore, we did not make a whole range of duties. We took 4s. as being in the middle of 2s. and 8s., and we think that is about fair. [Interruption.] The 4s. is not quite in the middle, but, judging the different quantities, we thought that was about right.

    On the material injury point, I have no doubt that this is an established industry and that it is suffering material injury. We judged that first by the very large capital investments, particularly in the factory in Glamorgan, and by the fact that there is idle capacity. The industry is not producing all that it could produce, and it has lost orders because of the French imports. I think that is fairly clear evidence. I did not put in the Order the point about material injury because I did not think it was very suitable. It is not very easy to prove except in relation to a particular firm, and I think that, on the whole, it is better left out.

    I was referring not to the wisdom of it but to the necessity for it. The Act says that the right hon. Gentleman shall not act unless he is so satisfied, and he has not now provided any evidence that he is so satisfied. Why does he mention only two out of the three conditions which are statutorily laid upon him?

    I was advised that there was no need to put it into the Order, and I do not think that it is very likely that I should be challenged by a French firm on this point.

    The right hon. Gentleman also asked me why the Order would apply only to fluids and not to emulsions. If the franc had not been devalued, the Order would have applied to emulsions. The result of the devaluation of the franc, according to our calculations, was to take the range of emulsions out of the Order on dumping but it still left fluids within the range I hope that, with those explanations, the House will approve the Order.

    The point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) is most important. If the right hon. Gentleman had included the third reason, the Order would have set out that material injury was one of the reasons. Although Hong Kong textiles may not be considered as dumped here when the price is the same as it is in Hong Kong, if the third reason had been included in the Order we might have been able to use it against the Government in respect of cheap textiles from Hong Kong.

    7.48 p.m.

    Perhaps I might have the leave of the House to speak again, as this is an important matter and I take a view rather different from that of my hon. Friend the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Rhodes) and on this occasion I propose to come to the assistance of the President of the Board of Trade.

    It is probably relevant to tell the House that the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments, of which I have the honour to be Chairman, considered the form of the Order at its meeting yesterday and passed it. I think it is important that the House should know that the Order is in a form similar to a number of other Orders which the Committee has to consider.

    I would draw attention to the distinction in this case. Where an Act says that a Minister can make an Order provided that he is satisfied about A and B, it is very desirable, if not absolutely necessary, that the Order should recite that the Minister is satisfied about A or B. However, it is not the case here that the Act says that the Minister shall be satisfied about A, B and C. The Act says that the Minister shall be satisfied about A and B, and it goes on to provide that if the Minister is not satisfied that the dumping produces a material injury to an established industry he shall not make an Order. Therefore, the third reason is not really a requirement but is a proviso in a different category.

    I hate to differ from my hon. Friend the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne, but, in the interest of the form in which these Orders are made and as it may have some relevance in the future, I thought it important to point out that there was that distinction in the governing Act.

    Surely no case would have been made to the Board of Trade if there had not been some material injury to the firms in question. It is in relation to that proviso that objections have been lodged to the import of French silicone fluids.

    7.50 p.m.

    I am advised that the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) has made the point correctly for me, for which I am obliged. I am afraid that the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Rhodes) has got it wrong, because he forgets that we have power to impose this duty in respect of goods coming from a non-G.A.T.T. country where no material injury need be proved at all. Therefore, it is certainly not necessary to provide for it in an Order. The hon. Member will not find that, because the provision is not in the Order, the Board of Trade is any less zealous in applying the powers under the Act in respect of cases properly made out. I assure him that it will not make any difference whether it is in the Order or not; and it ought not to be in the Order, if only for the reason which the hon. Member for Islington, East gave that it is a negative provision. It is legally permissible to insert it or not to insert it in the Order.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Resolved,

    That the Anti-Dumping (No. 1) Order, 1958, dated 1st January, 1958, a copy of which was laid before this House on 6th January, be approved.

    Agriculture (Silo Subsidies)

    7.52 p.m.

    The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
    (Mr. J. B. Godber)

    I beg to move,

    That the Draft Silo Subsidies (Variation) (England and Wales and Northern Ireland) Scheme, 1958, a copy of which was laid before this House on 19th December, be approved.

    I think that it would be for the convenience of the House if this Motion were discussed with the next one on the Order Paper, relating to Scotland.

    Thank you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I think that that would be very helpful.

    I do not propose to speak at great length in moving the Motion. This variation Scheme deals with certain technical and administrative matters which have arisen in the first year of the operation of the silo subsidies scheme. It will help to strengthen the scheme and make it administratively sounder. During the past year we have had a very satisfactory response to the Scheme and, of course, it is very important that we should seek to encourage the making of silage to the greatest possible extent.

    That is the purpose of the Scheme and I think that, generally, it has succeeded. I believe that it has the approval of the House. I am sure that there are certain points of detail which hon. Members might wish to ask me but if, to save the time of the House, I move the Motion briefly at this stage perhaps, with permission, I may be allowed to answer any questions afterwards.

    7.54 p.m.

    As I am sure that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary's suggestion will meet the convenience of the House, I do not wish to detain hon. Members for more than a few minutes. As the hon. Gentleman has said, this is a variation Scheme. It offers very little opportunity for debate, but I should like to put one or two points to him.

    The hon. Gentleman will remember that when the principal Scheme was discussed, my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Champion) raised the point of the provision of larger concrete aprons in front of the silos. I would merely ask the Joint Parliamentary Secretary whether, in the light of experience of the past year, he still thinks that he is right and my hon. Friend is wrong. My hon. Friend referred particularly to the case of those in the western counties, where there is a much greater rainfall than elsewhere.

    I do not want to anticipate tomorrow's debate, but I should like to point out that we know that in his Department's Supplementary Estimates the hon. Gentleman is asking for an additional £1,400,000. There is a material point here which I do not raise in any spirit of acrimony or criticism. The amount of expenditure here is solely determined by the Department. It can determine whether the expenditure should be £600,000, as provided in the original Estimate, or should be £2 million as provided in the Supplementary Estimates.

    We are entitled to an explanation of this increase from the Joint Parliamentary Secretary. Either the number of applications which ought to be accepted have been larger than anticipated, or the Department has made a miscalculation, or it has altered the way in which it regards these applications. The hon. Gentleman might, at any rate, take this anticipatory opportunity of telling us why the applications accepted by his Department are much greater in number than was envisaged. It is a matter of some importance. It affects the global review, and it is one about which the farming community are very properly concerned. I do not think that this Scheme will cause any such additional expenditure.

    Another matter which arises more directly from the Scheme, and about which I should like further information, in the exercise of the Minister's discretion in respect of exceptional cases, where he can provide for modification of the schedules. I have no quarrel with this provision. I do not mind at all his exercising such discretion, but I think that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary should inform us of the sort of circumstances which have led his right hon. Friend to seek such discretion.

    Finally, there is a broad point, which I raise without criticism because many of us took part in the discussions on the Agriculture Act, 1947. It is rather unfortunate that repeatedly we have this ad hoc approach to assistance to agriculture. We had an opportunity, which I think we missed when we were discussing the Agriculture Bill last year, of trying to make a more comprehensive provision. As the Joint Parliamentary Secretary knows, I have been in correspondence with him and I have felt that anomalies and difficulties arise from the different classifications and the different financial provisions for the different capital improvements that may be carried out.

    I should have thought that, in the light of the experience we have had of the principal Scheme, it would have been a good thing, sooner or later, to review this matter generally and to try to put the improvement schemes, if I may use that general phrase, into a more tidy form. However, we have no quarrel with this Scheme. We understand the reasons for the modifications and, on the whole, we welcome them.

    7.59 p.m.

    I hope that when my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary replies he will be able to tell us the number of the applications for these grants, and that the number will indicate, as one believes, that farmers generally have been quicker than was originally expected to take advantage of this improvement scheme, which ties in with the agricultural policy of trying to be more self-sufficient in our own grassland.

    My hon. Friend might also say whether, so far, there is any proof or evidence of improved quality in silage. One would hope that the effect of the grants would be to raise the general standards of silage made, apart from increasing the quantity. I hope that sufficient analysis of clamps is being made so that we can have more information on that matter.

    The scheme introduces a new principle of fixing standard quantities worked to specifications, and, so far as I know, it is the first time the farmer can do some of the work himself. That was the understanding we came to. I should like to know whether that has proved satisfactory in practice. It is a very important method of enabling the small farmer to contribute his own labour, and thus get over the great difficulty, from which we have suffered in the past, of not being able to have assistance for the farmer's own work.

    8.0 p.m.

    I wish to re-endorse the plea of the hon. Member for Norfolk, South (Mr. J. E. B. Hill) for information from the Parliamentary Secretary about the experience of the Ministry regarding the use of their own labour by farmers. This is the first time it has been possible to gain such experience, and it would be interesting to know what the Ministry feels about it. If it has been a success, the hon. Gentleman should tell us: if it has been a failure, he should give the reasons.

    I understand that, generally, the Scheme has not gone very well in Wales, and if the hon. Gentleman can give figures I hope that he will not lump the figures for England and Wales together. If it is possible, may we be given separate figures for Wales? I wish to help the Minister as much as possible to get silos on farms, as is envisaged in the legislation. It should not need an Opposition Member to urge upon the Ministry the importance of this work at the present time.

    I am grateful for the way in which hon. Members have received the Scheme, and I will try to clear up the points which have been raised. The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) referred to a question put by his hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Champion) when we discussed the previous Scheme. This related to the size of the concrete apron in front of the silo. We have not received a single complaint about the inadequacy of this apron. Of course, it would be open for anyone to put down a yard under the Farm Improvement Scheme, but I am glad to tell the hon. Member that my anticipation in this matter proved more correct than that of hon. Members opposite.

    The hon. Member for Sunderland, North referred to the substantial increase over the original estimate. This was a new Scheme of a type we have never had before, and it was difficult for us to be certain how it would be received. In fact, its success has exceeded our expectations. It has gone extraordinarily well. I am delighted that it has, but its success has meant that we have this extra amount to provide.

    Nearly 13,500 schemes have been approved in the United Kingdom as a whole up to the end of last December. A large number of these have been completed. I apologise to the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Watkins) for the fact that I have not separate figures for Wales, for which he particularly asked. I have a breakdown of the figures between England and Wales and Northern Ireland and Scotland. I can give them separately, though, of course, that will not meet the wishes of the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor. The figure for England and Wales is 11,411, for Northern Ireland, it is 1,210, and for Scotland, 848.

    As a result of this increase, we had a larger production figure for silage last year than ever before. That is very encouraging when one remembers that last year the season was not good for the making of silage. There was a very dry spring in many areas compared with previous years, and the fact that we are able to show an increase is very satisfactory. I am hoping that next year there will be a further increase. This is something we should encourage to the utmost. As was so rightly said by my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South (Mr. J. E. B. Hill), silage production is something we wish to see increased still further. It involves expenditure which we should all welcome, because it carries with it the implication of a reduction in the amount of imported feedingstuffs. That is something which all hon. Members will support.

    The hon. Member for Sunderland, North referred to the exercise of discretion which is provided for in the fourth paragraph of the Scheme. As he pointed out, this is a new process and it is proper that he should call attention to it. We put in that paragraph to meet a difficulty. As I said, under this Scheme we have something which is quite new. We are basing ourselves on standard costs. We have to set out in the Schedule detailed items, and we have tried to cover everything we thought practical and right. It has meant that we have come across a few schemes which it would have been most unfair to rule out of the Scheme as a whole. Yet they did not quite tie up with the wording here.

    To give an example of the sort of thing I have in mind, there are certain silos, particularly in Scotland, which have roofs known as self-supporting barrel roofs. These are put over the silos and are perfectly satisfactory. Yet that is not specifically covered in the terms of the original Scheme. We felt it right that we should be able to include such cases, which fell outside the Scheme. There are not many of them, but we felt we should try to cover such cases and that was the purpose for which we introduced this paragraph.

    The hon. Member spoke of the ad hoc approach, which he deprecated. He felt that with the introduction of the Farm Improvement Scheme under the 1957 Act it would be better to bring all this under one umbrella. I sympathise with that view. Administratively, it has many attractions, but I wish to put these points to the hon. Member. This was started before the Farm Improvement Scheme was envisaged. Of course, as he said, it may be incorporated at a later stage if we felt it desirable. But these two Schemes are separate. This one is based wholly on standard costs, which is something we have not yet been able to introduce in the general Scheme. We made provision to introduce standard costs in certain respects, but it is more difficult to do so in a general Scheme than in a specific one such as this, which provides for a particular type of building.

    This Scheme was introduced as a direct incentive to produce one thing. We felt that such production should be encouraged for the benefit of good farming and in the national interest. The Farm Improvement Scheme excludes any suggestion of that sort. There is no direction or impetus towards one kind of production. We made that Scheme quite general, so that it would cover any type of farm improvement which was felt to be right and which a prudent landlord would adopt. That is the difference.

    In this Scheme we are trying to direct attention to a particular thing which we consider right and proper. In the Farm Improvement Scheme we leave it entirely to the farmer, and his advisers from the Ministry, to do what is thought right for the farm as a whole. This is a particular thing directed at a particular objective and for that reason, for the moment, at any rate, we ought to keep it separate. I will keep in mind the point the hon. Member raised. It may well be valid to incorporate it in this Scheme at a later stage.

    I am obliged for the Joint Parliamentary Secretary's reply and for the assurance he has given. I should have thought that what he said about standard costs supported the general tenor of what I had said. If we had considered this in relation to improvements generally, we might have found other examples where the principle of standard costs might have been applied, although, generally, the case put by his right hon. Friend has been accepted, that this could not be done under the 1957 Act.

    Under the 1957 Act, of course, we have made provision so that if we can find a means of establishing standard costs we should do so. I hope that before long we shall be able to put forward certain suggestions for incorporating that, but in general, as the hon. Member has rightly said, it is difficult.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South asked whether there had been an improvement in quality of silage. The quality of silage varies so much and is so much dependent on the weather, as my hon. Friend is aware, that I should not like to say specifically that there has been a definite overall improvement in quality, but, in general, there is an opportunity for an improvement in quality in that way encouraging farmers to have silos of a better type. Some of the old and rather rudimentary types of silos, such as one saw in the past, must have been inefficient.

    I am sorry if my hon. Friend the Member for South Angus (Sir J. Duncan) has a rather disreputable silo. Perhaps it does not come within that term.

    I congratulate my hon. Friend on his skill in overcoming these difficulties. Perhaps other farmers are not as skilful as he, and so do not get the same advantage.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South also referred to standard costs and asked whether we found the position satisfactory. By and large we do, but, of course, the very reason for this Scheme is that we have found one or two small difficulties which we have now tried to cover. For buildings of this type, we have found that, by and large, standard costs work very well and are a help for the farmers, particularly small farmers, whom we want to encourage in this way and who can use their own labour. This is something about which many of my hon. Friends feel keenly, and I am anxious that we shall use this system and extend it in any way we can.

    The hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor also felt strongly on this point. He worked very hard in the Committee which considered the 1957 Measure. I was not able to accommodate him as much as he wished, but I hope that he is satisfied on this point. I am sorry if he feels that Wales has not taken as much advantage of the Scheme as it might. I will try to get the figures for which he asked and send them to him. I will welcome any support he can give for spreading among his friends in the Principality a realisation of the need to extend this excellent Scheme still further.

    I have tried to answer the questions which I have been asked. This is a development to the principal Scheme and deals with one or two small points. I am glad to have had this opportunity of saying that the Silos Subsidies Scheme is valuable and that farmers have taken advantage of it in greater numbers than we had expected. I hope that even more will do so, because I am certain that it is in the extended use of our grassland and the further use of silage as a whole that we have great opportunities for making fuller use of our home-grown grass, thereby curtailing the use of imported feedingstuffs. That is something for which there are great opportunities open to our farmers and I commend the Scheme to the House.

    8.15 p.m.

    My first question obviously arises because of the very disappointing figures given by the Joint Parliamentary Secretary about the position in Scotland vis-à-vis that for England and Wales. He said that 11,414 schemes were approved in England and Wales, 1,210 in Northern Ireland and only 848 in Scotland. We have been told that one of the reasons for the modifications is that there have been difficulties in Scotland.

    We might get a better picture if the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland told us how many applications were made and we could then compare that with how many applications were approved. Admittedly, not all of those which were not approved were turned down because of this special difficulty, but at least we would be given some indication of the disadvantage which Scotland has suffered because of this interpretation.

    May I make it clear that the cases where a difficulty has arisen were very few, I think only 22 for the whole of the United Kingdom?

    In case there are other special difficulties with which we might have been able to deal in such an amending Scheme, it might be as well to have the actual figure of applications. Since we have had the number of approved applications for the three areas, could we not be given the figure of applications in the three areas?

    The scheme has my full support and there is no doubt about the importance of saving as much as possible on imported feeding stuffs. I know that farmers in my area have discussed this matter and I have heard heated arguments about the merits of one kind of silage as against another. I think that the ease with which feeding stuffs are made available makes farmers less inclined to consider silage. They are always talking about agriculture's importance to the nation and they should be informed about the importance of saving as much imported feedingstuffs as possible.

    I wonder whether the Scottish figures are bad because of an objection to subsidies. Lord Strathclyde made a speech at Girvan in the middle of the South Ayrshire agriculture area, in which he declared that subsidies were immoral. Knowing how God-fearing the people of South Ayrshire and, indeed, the people of Scotland are, it may well be that although his speech related to housing—it was housing subsidies which he thought immoral; perhaps agricultural subsidies are all right—he may have frightened people with that reference to subsidies.

    I want to draw attention to paragraph 4 of the Scottish scheme. It is a rather strange position in which we now give the Secretary of State power to interpret a statute as he likes subject only to the proviso:
    "Provided that where on account of the special circumstances of any case the Secretary of State is satisfied that any description a works specified in the schedule to this scheme in relation to the kind of works to be carried out should be modified in relation to that case…"
    In other words, the Schedule mentions a definite kind of work, and the Minister has the power to modify the words in the Schedule to make them fit certain schemes. I think that my interpretation is correct. The Scheme says:
    "Provided that…such modification does not materially alter the description of the works specified in the Schedule, the Secretary of State may approve the works subject to such modification."
    That means that we are making the description fit the works. I know that the proviso is that
    "such modification does not materially alter the description of the works specified in the Schedule…"
    but how are we to know? We shall never know what schemes will he approved by the Secretary of State, but some people will know, namely, the individual farmers.

    The Secretary of State will obviously make some such modification in respect of some works, but he will not do so in respect of others. In giving this flexible power to the Secretary of State we are placing him in a rather difficult position. We are told that 22 schemes were turned down because they did not fit in with the words of the Schedule. Can we be told whether all of those schemes, with this change made, would have been approved? If the case is that 20 would have been and the other two would not have been, the persons concerned in those other two cases will have a definite "grouse". I should have thought that the correct thing to do would have been to deal with this matter in the Schedule itself, making it perfectly clear what was the scope of the Secretary of State's powers.

    With that criticism I welcome the Scheme. I should be grateful to receive the information for which I have asked from the Joint Under-Secretary.

    8.22 p.m.

    I do not have particulars of the number of applications made in Scotland, but I have made a note of the request of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) and I shall meet it. The hon. Member asked why the Scottish figures appeared to be relatively less good than those for the other parts of the United Kingdom. I do not think that we should admit that; certainly the general position is not less good. It may well be that in Scotland there were already relatively more silos in position and working than elsewhere, and therefore not so many were needed when the Schemes came in.

    Is that the hon. Member's suggestion, or is it something that he merely hopes? Is it a fact?

    I think I can say that quite clearly.

    As to paragraph 4 of the Scheme, I gather from my hon. Friend that most, or all, the works would have been approved.

    They all received Treasury approval.

    As to the hon. Member's general point, the answer is that the proviso itself provides that the modification must be a very minor one, inasmuch as it must not materially alter the description of the works specified in the Schedule.

    But Parliament cannot check what the Secretary of State is doing under a Statutory Instrument in respect of each case. Unless we have a complaint from someone who has been turned down we know nothing about it. It is the old question of delegated legislation.

    Is it not a fact that in Scotland approval must be given by a body comparable to the agricultural executive committees in England, and that experts from that body inspect the scheme and approve it, or do not?

    The examination is carried out by the officers of the Department of Agriculture.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Resolved,

    That the Draft Silo Subsidies (Variation) (England and Wales and Northern Ireland) Scheme, 1958, a copy of which was laid before this House on 19th December, be approved.

    Draft Silo Subsidies (Variation) (Scotland) Scheme, 1958 [copy laid before the House, 19th December], approved.—[ Lord John Hope.]

    Hospitals, Ilford And Barking (Facilities)

    Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—[ Mr. Gibson-Watt.]

    8.25 p.m.

    It is seldom that an hon. Member gets more than two hours for his Adjournment debate, as has happened this evening, but I undertake that I shall take very little more than the normal time allowed on these occasions. My right hon. Friend will be aware that from time to time the Ilford Borough Council and other local organisations have made the strongest possible representations concerning the inadequacy of hospital accommodation in the Ilford, Barking and Dagenham areas, and a conference convened by the Ilford Council requested the opportunity to put a case for the Minister's consideration in February, 1956, but at the Minister's suggestion representatives first consulted the North-East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.

    In June, 1956, the Chairman and members of the board discussed with a deputation representative of the three boroughs the inadequacy of hospital facilities in those areas, and the board's representatives promised that earnest consideration would be given to the problem in order to achieve some improvement in the very difficult situation as quickly as possible.

    Briefly, the case which the board was asked to consider was that the existing hospital provision in the three areas falls so far short of what is needed that the services are stretched beyond their capacity, and, in consequence, large numbers of patients from the areas have to seek treatment in hospitals outside the Ilford and Barking group. This, in turn, leads to the overtaxing of the services in neighbouring areas and in unnecessarily long and expensive journeys having to be made by the patients and their relatives, with an additional financial burden being placed on the ambulance service.

    Indeed, for much of the year they have to enlist the aid of their neighbouring hospitals in order to accommodate their surgical patients. In addition, there are virtually no beds for the elderly chronic sick patients. The pressure on King George Hospital, as can be seen from the statistics, is far heavier than average, which creates great strain on the beds and ancillary services and also on the staff, particularly the nurses. In the King George Hospital alone there are no less than 35,000 attendances recorded in the casualty department and the accommodation has recently been castigated in the local Press as a disgrace, but within the limit of these resources the service given by the staff is excellent.

    It was submitted that the need for more hospital accommodation in the area is so great that the mere augmentation of existing services would be neither an economic nor a helpful way of dealing with the problem, and it was considered that a new hospital of about 800 to 1,000 beds was the only possible means of meeting the present difficulties. I am the first to admit that, locally, there is a conflict of opinion as to the best means of dealing with this situation. The local practitioners are of opinion that the creation of this new hospital is the only means of dealing with this very serious problem. But the hospital management committee and the local area board are of opinion that an extension of existing services—that is, additional beds both at Barking Hospital and at King George Hospital—would meet the situation.

    I am a layman and I am not in a position to pass judgment on the merits of these two schemes, but, on balance, it seems to me that, having regard to the funds which may be available, providing it was done quickly, an extension of the existing Barking Hospital and King George Hospital would meet the immediate situation. I stress the point, however, that speed is of the essence of this matter. We cannot be put off by some hope that in the future, some indeterminate future, we shall be able to deal with this problem. We must tonight have some assurance from the Minister of a date upon which work will be started.

    The main factors supporting the case for an entirely new hospital are briefly the area and the population served. The population comprises, approximately, 250,000 people, and in this figure is not included the proportion of the population of Dagenham which normally is served by the Barking Hospital and King George Hospital. The existing hospitals in the group comprise the King George Hospital, the Barking Hospital, the Ilford Maternity Hospital and the Ilford Isolation Hospital. As present, the number of beds available in the group for all purposes is 662, but the number of staffed beds of all departments, excluding tuberculosis, infectious diseases, mental diseases, mental and convalescent beds, is 346.

    After using the standards proposed in previous planning reports, the board estimates that the approximate number of beds required in the group, excluding those previously mentioned, is 1,051 giving a total deficiency of no less than 705. That is truly an appalling figure. There are approximately 170 beds in the group which can be brought into use immediately, for example, by utilising existing wards now operating for clinic and other purposes, and under the board's long-term developments it is envisaged that an additional 100 beds will be provided at King George Hospital and an additional 200 beds at Barking Hospital, making a total of, approximately, 470 additional beds. Therefore, for general hospital purposes there will still be a deficiency in the group of 235 beds.

    The general policy of the board, which the board has approved in principle, is that the construction of a new hospital is not considered the best and most economical way of providing for the requirements of the area, and it has suggested that it is better to increase the number of beds at King George Hospital by additional building, and improving and extending the Barking Hospital.

    Ideally these two extensions should be done concurrently, but I am advised that during the time that the extensions were under construction at King George Hospital, it would cause considerable dislocation to the work of the hospital, and for that reason it is recommended that the extensions should commence at Barking Hospital where the space is immediately available. The work can be carried on without any dislocation of existing services, and once this additional facility is provided, the work at King George Hospital can then continue without too much difficulty being experienced.

    I have said already that I personally am not in a position to judge of the merits of the two proposals—that is, the creation of new hospitals or the extension of the two existing hospitals. I am very conscious of the great local feeling that there is on this matter, which demands that some additional accommodation be made available immediately, and I emphasise that although in the long-term it would seem that a new hospital may be necessary, immediately on balance it would seem that the extensions may provide a readier solution to our difficulties.

    Once again I would emphasise that speed is of the essence of this matter, and I hope that tonight we shall have an assurance from my hon. Friend that funds will be made available for the work to commence without further delay.

    8.35 p.m.

    I am very grateful to the hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Cooper) for bringing before the House this very important question. As the Member of Parliament for Barking, I am constantly approached by my constituents who tell me of the difficulties they have in getting into hospital. When they do get into hospital, they find that it is a long way from their homes, and many of the maternity cases have to go to the East End Maternity Hospital in Stepney, while many general cases have to go to Romford, old people have to go to the Langthorne Hospital, and so on.

    On the other hand, I am also grateful to the hon. Gentleman because, as a member of the North-East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board, I can say that we have been considering this matter for a good many months. The hon. Gentleman referred to a deputation which approached the board. I was one of the representatives of the board who received that deputation. We have given a great deal of consideration to what ought to be done and to the order in which it should be done. The only difficulty, of course, is that the regional hospital board does not provide the money; only the Government can do this.

    As the hon. Gentleman pointed out with very great truth, as regards general hospital beds—that is to say, hospital beds for acute and chronic cases, for specialities and maternity cases, but not for infectious diseases, tuberculosis and mental disease—there are at present provided for a quarter of a million people 346 beds. We on the regional hospital board, using ordinary standards which no one can dispute, feel that nothing less than 1,051 beds are necessary. In other words, there is a deficiency in regard to general beds for ordinary cases, excluding those categories I have mentioned, of about 700 beds.

    The question is how these beds ought to be provided. In Ilford, there is a very good hospital—the King George Hospital—and I agree with everything that the hon. Gentleman said about the splendid work that is done there. There we have 200 beds, but the site is limited. Another 100 beds could be added, and the out-patients' department, as the hon. Gentleman said, could be enlarged, and, in my opinion, sooner or later that ought to be done. Even the provision of another 100 beds still leaves us 600 beds short, and these ought to be provided somewhere.

    At Barking, quite near Upney Station, very central and very easily reached from many areas, there is the Barking Hospital, so far with only some 78 beds. But here is an area of many acres on which a large hospital could be built. We on the regional hospital board have given very great consideration to the best way of carrying this out, and, in my view and in that of a great number of my colleagues, the method to be employed should be as follows.

    At first, we should develop the facilities that are immediately available in Barking. Some wards, not of the best type, but reasonably good, are now used for other purposes, such as for recreation clinics and physiotherapy. If about forty more beds were brought into the hospital in this way they would be of very much value. Barking Hospital has practically no out-patients' department. If a large consultative out-patients' department were built in that area it would be needed sooner or later. A good many cases which now have to go to hospital might be seen there, and treatment could be provided.

    I feel very strongly that these are the first steps to take. The hon. Member for Ilford, South is inclined to agree with me there. As soon as those facilities had been provided there would be beds to deal with the immediate need. Then it would be possible to add 100 beds, for which there is room on the site of King George Hospital, Ilford.

    After the immediate steps which I have described, there would still remain need for many beds. The hon. Member has suggested that 200—I think it would be nearer 600—would eventually need to be added to the small hospital which exists in Barking, the Upney Hospital. Arrangements would have to made in the very near future for the staffing of the proposed consultative out-patients' department at Barking and of the extended hospital with 110 or more beds.

    It would be much better if the staffing were carried out from the King George Hospital, Ilford. The treatment of a patient requires continuity. A patient may be treated as an out-patient for a time and may then want to go into the hospital. It would be very much better that he should go into Barking hospital or into the King George Hospital, Ilford, where a more varied type of treatment would be obtainable.

    Next is the question of nursing. Many hospitals in the North Eastern Region are understaffed, not for financial reasons, but because of the difficulty of getting nurses. A small hospital with fewer than 100 beds has difficulty in getting permission from the General Nursing Council to form a nursing school, because of the necessity to provide all the facilities and the different varieties of patient that are needed for the teaching of nurses. If a small hospital is associated with a larger hospital, for instance if the small hospital at Barking were associated with the King George Hospital, Ilford, nurses could be transferred temporarily from one to the other and the nursing difficulty would then be very much reduced.

    I have had personal experience of that in connection with the teaching hospital at Hammersmith, of which I was chairman for several years. I know that nurses can be obtained for a smaller hospital by temporary transference from a larger one. To get nurses nowadays a school is essential to which probationers may be attracted and trained because trained nurses are limited in number and difficult to obtain. I suggest that the consultative out-patients' department and the extended in-patients' department at Barking should, in the first instance, be associated closely with King George Hospital, Ilford. That would provide staffing, both medical and nursing, for that hospital.

    That would be only the first step. It would help to provide for the immediate necessities, but an additional 100 beds at King George Hospital would do more. Certain adaptations could also be made in the Dagenham Hospital, which is now used for tuberculosis cases. There is less call for such accommodation and some of those beds could be used for old people, but that would be a makeshift arrangement. It is essential, sooner or later, to have many more general hospital beds, and the right place for them must surely be at the Upney Hospital site in Barking. I would not say how many are required, possibly 600, but I am hopeful that fewer will be necessary.

    If a good consultative out-patients' department is provided many more cases which otherwise would have to go into hospital might be treated at home. There is a general tendency now, where accommodation is satisfactory, to treat more people in their homes if proper facilities for nursing, home helps and medical services can be provided. More cases might be treated at home if a good out-patients' department were available. There will be plenty of time to consider that when the new hospital is started.

    No doubt a big hospital could be planned, and plans may exist for a large hospital in the Barking area, but how soon and to what extent it will be completed depend on the funds which can be made available by the Government. I feel very strongly that something should be done at once. There are a quarter of a million people with only one-third of the general hospital beds generally admitted to be needed. I appeal to the Minister to get on with the job and provide the funds necessary to make a start on this scheme so that when I go to my constituency I shall no longer hear complaints by patients that they cannot get into hospital or have to go such long distances from their homes.

    8.50 p.m.

    When he put down this subject for the Adjourment my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Cooper) informed me, in his usual courteous way, of the main heads of the matters which he proposed to raise.

    I acknowledge at once the need for further hospital provision in the area. Both the North-East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board and my right hon. and learned Friend are satisfied that there is need for further development of the hospital services in the Ilford and the Barking area to make good existing deficiences.

    Since both hon. Members have referred this evening to the financial aspect of the matter, I ought to say that provision has already been made in the Minister's programme of centrally financed schemes to effect essential improvements. The relevant passage in the Minister's answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds. North-East (Sir K. Joseph) on 6th December, when he announced further major schemes for which the planning is to be completed in 1959–60, was as follows:
    "I am also asking for plans to be prepared…for additional beds at Ilford or Barking, but details…have yet to be worked out with the boards concerned."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th December, 1957; Vol. 579, c. 85.]
    While on the subject of funds, may I say a word to my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South, who was a little apprehensive that if it were eventually decided that the right course was the development of the existing hospitals rather than the building of a new hospital, the cost of the work might have to be found from the local resources of the board. I can assure him that that is not so. We are prepared to accept a number of developments at the existing hospitals for one scheme for inclusion in our centrally financed programme. I want to make that quite clear because I should not want him to think that there was any purely financial impediment involved in the alternative of developing the existing hospitals.

    Turning to the alternatives which faced the board, the difficulty, as my hon. Friend fairly said, is to decide whether the additional facilities needed in the area should be provided by the erection of a new hospital or by the development of existing hospitals such as Barking Hospital, King George Hospital, Ilford Isolation Hospital, Ilford Maternity Hospital and Dagenham Hospital.

    After a careful review of the available services and the future needs in Ilford and Barking, the North-East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board, of which the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Hastings) is a member, have reached the conclusion that, on balance, it would be preferable to develop the existing hospitals rather than erect a new hospital. Their proposals, submitted for the Minister's consideration when he was choosing large schemes for his centrally financed programme, were based on a report by their senior administrative medical officer, to which my hon. Friend referred in his speech and about which I refreshed my mind in advance.

    They suggested developments at, first, Barking Hospital and the Ilford Isolation Hospital, and, subsequently, other Developments at Barking and at the King George Hospital, Ilford, from which some patients would have to be removed to new wards at Barking before work could begin.

    Alongside all this, as the hon. Members know, there is a site in Loxford Lane, Ilford, which for some years has been allocated for a new hospital in the county development plan. It is very important indeed that we are sure that we have the right solution to this problem before we relinquish this site, as the board has suggested we should do. It is not an easy problem to decide the best way of spending the available resources, having regard to the urgent requirements which undoubtedly exist.

    Of course, I fully accept everything that both hon. Members have said about the strong feeling in the borough that the sooner a move forward with these plans can be made the better. That is of paramount importance, and provided that were done it would not matter so much whether it was the provision of a new hospital or the development of the existing facilities. However, the regional hospital board's view, to which we have obviously to attach a lot of weight, is that on balance the advantages lie in the proposal to develop existing hospitals rather than to erect a new one.

    It would undoubtedly be many years before a new hospital could be built and the expense of such a project would be very heavy indeed. Expansion of the facilities at existing hospitals could be carried out more quickly and more economically and would provide a much more rapid solution to what is admittedly an urgent problem. Against this, there would be obvious advantages to the area in having a new hospital, but as I said in a matter of this kind we must obviously attach very great weight to the views of the regional hospital board, because it has the responsibility of planning the hospital services in the area and it is in a position to take into account the considerations which have been mentioned tonight.

    Before reaching a final decision we have to consider these points. If we are to favour the adaptation of existing hospitals, we must be sure that the expansion of the existing facilities will be practicable on the available sites and that the proposed expansion will be sufficient to meet the need. We are now awaiting further information which the board has promised us, and when we receive this we propose to inspect certain of the hospital sites in conjunction with the board.

    May I sum up on this note? My right hon. and learned Friend has not so far reached a final decision in this matter. He is awaiting further information from the board about its proposals. When he receives it, he will have to weigh the arguments for developing existing hospitals against those for building a new one, but I must point out that an entirely new hospital could not possibly be completed for a very considerable time.

    One of the factors that will have to be considered is, what is the best way to meet this urgent need? I am sure that the view that my hon. Friend and the hon. Member for Barking have expressed this evening will be taken into full account by my right hon. and learned Friend when he makes this decision in the near future. The undoubted need of the borough for additional beds is fully understood.

    I have said a word about the financial question, which I hope will be comforting to my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South, and I can assure him that, as far as lies in our power, we will lose no time in pressing on with the decision on which plans must be based.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Adjourned accordingly at two minutes to Nine o'clock.