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Clause 1—(Power To Make Advances For Certain Purposes)

Volume 13: debated on Thursday 25 November 1909

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

(1) The Treasury may, upon the recommendation of the Development Commissioners appointed under this Act, make advances to a Government Department, or through a Government Department to a public authority, university, or institution, or an association of persons or company not trading for profit, either by way of grant or by way of loan, or partly in one way and partly in the other, and upon such terms and subject to such conditions as they may think fit, for any of the following purposes:—

  • (a) Aiding and developing agriculture and rural industries by promoting scientific research, instruction and experiments in the science, methods and practice of agriculture (including the provision of farm institutes), the organisation of co-operation, instruction in marketing produce, and the extension of the provision of small holdings; and by the adoption of any other means which appear calculated to develop agriculture and rural industries;
  • (b) Forestry (including the purchase and planting of land, the conducting of inquiries, experiments, and research for the purpose of promoting forestry and the teaching of methods of afforestation);
  • (c) The reclamation and drainage of land;
  • (d) The general improvement of rural transport (including the making of light railways but not including the construction or improvement of roads);
  • (e) The construction and improvement of harbours;
  • (f) The construction and improvement of inland navigations;
  • (g) The development and improvement of fisheries;
  • and for any other purpose calculated to promote the economic development of the United Kingdom.

    (2) All applications for advances under this Part of this Act shall be made to the Treasury in accordance with regulations made by the Treasury.

    (3) No advance shall be made for any purpose which might be carried out under the provisions of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act, 1908, upon any terms or conditions different from those contained in that statute except for some special reason which shall be stated in the Annual Report of the Development Commissioners.

    Lords Amendment: In Sub-section (1), after the word "college" ["or through a Government Department to a public authority, university, college"], to insert the word "school."

    moved, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

    I promised this Amendment to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. J. G. Talbot), although I confess that my opinion was that the point was really within the words of the Clause already. However, I promised that this Amendment should be inserted in another place.

    House agreed with the Lords in the said Amendment.

    Lords Amendment: In Sub-section (1), leave out the words "or company not trading for profit," and insert the words "corporate or unincorporate."

    moved, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

    I think perhaps two or three words of explanation ought to be given in respect of this Motion. We leave out the words "or company not trading for profit" here merely in order to recast the Clause, and we agree also to insert the words "corporate or unincorporate," but the practical effect of the agreement is that the two exceptions which were suggested may with security and safety be made, namely, grants of sums of money for the purpose of enabling the local authority to get assistance for the building of a harbour or the construction of a light railway service, and which will be incorporated in an Amendment hereafter to be made. I moved certain words on the Report stage in this House, but they have been reconsidered in another place, and, on the whole, the Government thought it would be well to take the form there adopted.

    I have been approached in regard to this Amendment by a great many people. I understand that no body of people are to have any access to these public funds or to have access to these funds except for a specific purpose.

    May I ask what is the meaning of the Lords Amendment later on in the. Clause, and the words which it is proposed to insert in lieu of those left out? That Amendment provides that no advance shall be made to any association of persons trading for a profit except to enable a public authority to secure within its area the construction, maintenance and working of a light railway by a railway company, or of a pier or harbour by a Harbour Board or Harbour Commissioners. Do I understand it is proposed to empower the Commissioners to make grants to a public authority or to a railway company to construct a railway to be worked for private profit? If not, that is the obvious meaning of the words here set down. I remember upstairs in Committee how Members on this side in common with Members on the other side, and on these benches, agreed about the unwisdom of subsidising any railway company, even for any light railway; but if this Amendment means, as it appears on the face of it to mean, that public Commissioners are to be allowed to spend money in making light railways to be worked by a private railway company for profit, then I would anticipate a very general consensus of opinion that that is a most unwise thing to do, and that the Lords Amendment standing on the Paper requires still further Amendment. I ask therefore whether the railways to be dealt with under this Clause are private railways worked for private profit or whether they are to belong to the public authority which finds the money?

    4.0 p.m.

    I recollect what was done upstairs, and we are now asked to change what the Committee did. I agree with the hon. Member, and I was one of those who supported him at the time. I think it would tend to very undesirable negotiations with the big railways in this country if they were to receive grants of public money from the Development Commissioners to make what are really branch lines on their railways. Everybody knows that there are many light railways which are not light railways at all except merely technically. Everybody knows that they are like other parts of the system, and except in regard to some provisions as to fences and construction they are part of the general system, and I hold it is very undesirable that the big railway companies should be brought into this sort of contact with the Government themselves and that Commissioners, however highly placed or impartial, should have the right to throw public money into the coffers of one company rather than another. Exactly the same question can be raised on the question of piers and harbours. There are in this country a great many small ports competing one with another, and it is quite conceivable that- one of these small ports may be subsidised, so as to divert traffic from another port. That would not be fair to the other port, that competition, which it is quite right they should be subject to, should be made all the keener by means of the money which they contribute. Altering what we did upstairs will to some extent open the door to these dangers which the Committee was almost unanimous in desiring to shut out. For these reasons, though I have no doubt it will be useless to push my opposition further than uttering a protest. I greatly regret what has been done in this matter.

    There is another matter in connection with this Amendment of which I wish to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give an explanation. In the Committee a general understanding was arrived at that no grant would be made under these circumstances to any co-operative or other association to the detriment of a legitimate trader, and we were led to believe that provision would be made to guard against such a thing. I remember the words were altered, and we inserted "the organisation of co-operation." The interpretation of that might be very elastic, and might be extended to a degree which might not be fair or just to the traders of the country. The co-operative societies in Great Britain are very different from what they are in Ireland, and societies not trading for profit might include associations such as the Irish Agricultural Association, which in reality trades for profit, because all the shareholders are gaining very considerably by the trading, and that will be liable to misconstruction in a great number of cases. It would be very unfair under this Bill to have any grant or loan made to any association to the detriment of the legitimate traders of the country, which would be a very serious matter. The matter has been taken up not only in Ireland but in Great Britain. Having been on the Committee, I received several communications with regard to the matter, and I would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say whether the provisions at present contained in the Bill will not be sufficient to safeguard the legitimate trader from the encroachment of the co-operative society?

    On a point of Order. I understand that the question before the House is the Amendment on line 11, but discussion has been going on on Sub-section (4) which is to be inserted in line 20 on page 2. If we allow these words to be inserted, would it be in order on Sub-section 4 to leave out all the words after "profit"?

    I have doubts about the Amendment on Sub-section (4). I rather think that is a privileged Amendment. The matter is rather wrapped up in mystery, because the Lords Amendment on lines 16 and 17 to leave out "Small Holdings and Allotments Act, 1908," taken in conjunction with the Amendment on line 20, after "Commissioners," to insert a new Subsection, covers the case of advances under the Small Holdings Act and the Light Rail-ways Act. If there are any other statutes under which advances could be made besides those two I think those Amendments would be privileged Amendments. If there were no other statutes under which advances could be made as well as under this Act I do not think they would be privileged, and I intended, when we reached that point, to have sought for information. I do not want to commit myself at present.

    I am afraid in that case, undoubtedly, this Amendment will come within the rule with regard to privilege, because there are other statutes which would come within that Amendment, and it would undoubtedly extend the objects on which public money could be expended, and if that is your view we will not persist with the Motion. As far as the Government is concerned we shall allow this to be negatived if that is the view taken by you.

    After the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer it is clear that advances might be extended to other matters. Therefore that would be a privileged Amendment.

    I want to know how we stand? We passed an Amendment to insert the word "school" just now.

    That is only an extension of "institution or college." It was obvious that the word "school" was so near the word "college" and so near the word "institution" that, for the sake of clearness, and in order to make perfectly clear what the House has decided, it was desirable that the word "school" should be inserted. Therefore I accepted that and took no objection to it.

    Are we to understand that the Government are going to disagree with all privileged Amendments, because yesterday they waived their right with regard to privilege on a very large number of Amendments?

    Before we pass away from this matter may I press home the argument of my colleague?

    The Government are not pressing the Amendment at all, but are withdrawing it, and in the second place it would really not have covered the case of co-operation. It would confine the associations to be subsidised purely to railway companies and harbours.

    During the passage of the Bill in this House a statement was made by a responsible Minister on the Treasury Bench that money under this Bill could be devoted to these objects, and a great feeling of unrest has been caused in Ireland amongst legitimate traders who have put hundreds of thousands of pounds into their businesses.

    I must raise a point of Order. My hon. Friend may rest assured that this Amendment has nothing to do with it. It will be taken in conjunction with the Lords Amendment on line 20, which refers exclusively to railways and harbours, and it has nothing whatever to do with co-operative societies, and I submit that it is out of order to discuss that question at all.

    I regret very much that the Government have taken the course of not agreeing with the Lords on this Amendment. The effect of this, unless the Amendment is put in, will be to strike out of the Bill all light railways and all harbours, and that is no doubt the reason why the hon. Baronet supports that view, but personally I am not in favour of that view and never have been. If you are to have this scheme at all it must be made a good and workable scheme, and one of the most essential parts is to improve light railways and improve harbours, but under this Bill, unless these words are inserted, the only people who will be able to carry out the work will be a public authority. Whoever heard of a public authority constructing a light railway! I do not think they can legally do such a thing at all. The result would be that they would have to come for a private Bill in order to get the power to construct a light railway, and I do not believe myself, under present conditions, there would be the least chance of their obtaining that power. What is the result of that? There is no one who can construct a light railway and can be assisted under this Bill unless you put in the companies. My Noble Friend (Viscount Morpeth) says there is great danger of assisting one company against another, and other dangers of like character. This provision has been the law of the land for 13 years.

    [ROYAL ASSENT—Message to attend Lords Commissioners. The House, went, and having returned, Mr. SPEAKER reported the Royal Assent to—
  • 1. Merchandise Marks (Ireland) Act. 1909.
  • 2. Fisheries (Ireland) Act, 1909.
  • 3. Diseases of Animals Act, 1909.
  • 4. Prisons (Scotland) Act, 1909.
  • 5. Summary Jurisdiction (Scotland) Act. 1908, Amendment Act, 1909.
  • 6. Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1909.
  • 7. Cinematograph Act, 1909.
  • 8. Weeds and Agricultural Seeds (Ireland) Act, 1909.
  • 9. Health Resorts and Watering Places (Ireland) Act, 1909.
  • 10. Wild Animals in Captivity Protection (Scotland) Act, 1909.
  • 11. Electric Lighting Act, 1909.
  • 12. Police (Liverpool Inquiry) Act, 1909.
  • 13. Local Registration of Title (Ireland) Act, 1909.
  • 14. Motor Car (International Circulation) Act, 1909.
  • 15. County Councils Mortgages Act, 1909.
  • 16. Oaths Act, 1909.
  • 17. Police Act, 1909.
  • 18. Naval Discipline Act, 1909.
  • 19. Local Government Board's Provisional Orders Confirmation (No. 6) Act, 1909.
  • 20. Colinton Tramways Order Confirmation Act, 1909.
  • 21. Robert Gordon's Technical College and Aberdeen Endowments Trust Order Confirmation Act, 1909.
  • 22. Cardiff Corporation Act, 1909.]
  • I wish to point out that the power which is proposed to be conferred upon light railway companies under the Amendment made in another place is power which already exists under the Light Railways Act of 1896. A light railway cannot be made unless the body authorised to make it "undertake themselves to construct and work, or to contract for the construction or working of the light railway." Therefore I should say that upon the merits it is desirable, and indeed I understand it is the view of the Government that it is desirable, that this Amendment should be inserted. Under these circumstances I desire to know what is the policy of the Government in regard to privileged Amendments. I think we ought to know that. My hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) pointed out that in dealing with another Bill yesterday the hon. Member for St. Pancras (Sir William Collins), apparently with the assent of the Government, stated "These Amendments are made, I take it, in furtherance of the object of the Bill, and do not materially affect the character of the Bill.' Is that not absolutely true of the particular Amendments we are now considering? Is not that the very way you would describe them? The hon. Member for St. Pancras further said, "They supply machinery which was, perhaps, to some extent, lacking in the form of the Bill as it left the House." That is exactly what these Amendments do. The hon. Member moved, "That the House do not insist on its privilege." I wish to speak with all respect of the privileges of this House. What is their object? It is not to bar the House from making necessary and proper Amendments on a Bill because these Amendments happen to be suggested by another place. That does not safeguard the House in any respect. I can understand privileges of this kind having been created originally to protect this House against aggressions by unauthorised persons, and to lay down a general rule behind which it could be sheltered. That was when it was a weakling body, but now that it is a powerful body, let each Amendment be considered on its merits. If it is good, let it be accepted; and, if it is bad, let it be rejected. My hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), and my Noble Friend the Member for South Birmingham (Viscount Morpeth) do not like the Amendment on its merits, but the Government think it is a good Amendment, and that it is necessary in order to carry out the purposes of the Bill. What nonsense to refuse to accept the Amendment because it happens to have been put in the Bill by the House of Lords! That is not the way to protect the privileges of the House of Commons. It is the way to bring the privileges of the House of Commons into contempt. I hope the House will accept the Motion proposed by the Solicitor-General and agree with the Lords in this Amendment.

    I do not agree with the Noble Lord in his approval of the effect of this Amendment. I do agree with him in the principle laid down that if an Amendment of this character is on the merits a desirable Amendment, it is a suitable occasion for waiving the privileges of the House, and I believe that that has been frequently done on the Motion of the Government and of private Members. In the present instance I do not agree with the Noble Lord that it would be a good thing to waive the privilege of the House in order to insert this Amendment for the purpose of allowing advances to be made to enable railways companies to construct light railways in certain districts, because it is perfectly plain from the wording of the Amendment that the purpose is to enable railway companies, that is companies trading for profit, to construct light railways. The words show that quite clearly. They will not construct themselves and work under public control, but they will enter into a bargain with the railway company to construct a branch line in the district. I do not think that is a proper object under this Bill to make advances for the purpose of aiding one private company to compete with another, thereby interfering with the legitimate competition of private enterprise. I object therefore to the Amendment on its merits, and I do not think for that reason that it would be wise to waive the privilege of the House. If the Amendment is to be treated as a breach of privilege, of course there is not much use consuming the time of the House debating the subject at any length, but my attention was directed to a question asked by the hon. Member for North-West Manchester (Mr. Joynson Hicks) as to whether he was justified in assuming that the words of the Bill as it stands made it impossible to make any grants to co-operative associations competing with private traders. The Attorney-General, I think it was, replied that that was so. There is not the slightest foundation for that statement. Nothing can be plainer than the wording of the Bill as it stands. It is perfectly open to make grants to co-operative associations competing with private traders. These associations do not trade for a profit. There are co-operative associations in this country like the Army and Navy Stores and the Civil Service Association, which have ceased to be bond fide cooperative associations, and do trade for profit, and their shares have gone to enormous premiums for that reason. But the moment they begin to trade for profit they cease to be a true co-operative association. The true co-operative association trades for the mutual benefit of its members, and if there is a profit at the end of the year it is divided among the shareholders in bonuses. But there is no doubt that under the words of the Bill it is perfectly open to the Development Commissioners to give grants to these co-operative associations. I think it a very improper thing to do. I do not suppose that the Government meant to do it, but nothing can be more certain under the wording of the Bill.

    There was another expression which meant the same thing—"aiding agriculture and rural industries by promoting scientific research, instruction and experiments in methods and practice of agriculture and co-operation." That is one of the things which touch us in Ireland. We have an association which is not trading for profit which has about 300 associations organised by it, affiliated to it, which are trading for profit. It spends its money on organising and assisting these associations trading for profit, and obtains from them a certain levy towards its resources. They could get a grant under this Bill, and that would be a most improper use of the money. I myself have been criticised very severely far opposing, as I always have opposed and always will continue to oppose, the granting of public money to co-operative associations in competition with private traders, not because I am opposed to co-operation—because I recognise the enormous benefits that have been conferred by co-operation—but I am opposed to, either directly or indirectly, taking the taxpayers money to subsidise other persons to compete with those who pay the taxes. To do so I think is perfectly monstrous. While every opportunity and fair play should be given to co-operators to compete as well as they are able to compete with private traders there should be a distinct understanding that so long as private traders pay taxes these taxes should not be used to subsidise their competitors.

    I am sorry to raise another point of Order. We are now discussing a Motion which I understand you have ruled to be an infringement of the privileges of the House of Commons. Therefore the Motion of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Samuel Evans) would not be in order. We have not moved to waive.

    It is not necessary to move to waive if you move to agree. Although the Solicitor-General has moved to agree with the Lords, it is open to him to vote against that Motion.

    I understood that where you ruled that a Motion was a breach of privilege of the House of Commons it was necessary that some Member should get up to move to waive the privilege?

    With regard to this Amendment, these associations in connection with small harbours and light railways are of a kind which do not trade for profit.

    I am referring to the kind of light railways which we contemplate assisting—light railways in rural areas, which would not pay. But as Mr. Speaker has ruled that this is a privileged Amendment the Government certainly will not persist with their Motion that the House agree with the Lords Amendments. We do not propose to waive any of our privileges in a matter of this kind or in any matter. The only reason why we proposed to agree with this Amendment was that we did not think it worth while to have a quarrel with the Lords over this matter. That was the only reason why my hon. and learned Friend moved, but if it is privileged we shall certainly not persist with the Motion. With reference to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Mayo (Mr. Dillon) this Amendment has nothing to do with cooperative societies. This is an Amendment dealing with harbours and light railways and whether this Amendment was agreed to or not would make no difference to co-operative societies.

    The attitude of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lloyd-George) is a volte face compared with the announcement of his colleague (Sir S. Evans). I do not intend to go into what the hon. Member for Mayo said because I agree with him entirely that as it stands either with or without the Lords Amendment this Bill will certainly put it within the power of the Commissioners to make these grants. My special object is to inform the Chancellor of the Exchequer of a fact with which evidently he is quite unfamiliar, that he is now refusing on a point of etiquette to accept Amendments which he admits on the merits are good Amendments.

    I beg your pardon. All I said was that these are perfectly harmless Amendments, and that we did not think it worth while to enter into a contest with the Lords one way or the other.

    The Solicitor-General did indicate that in his opinion they would be an improvement to the Bill. I wish to remind the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he says he will not waive the privileges of this House on anything at all, and because an Amendment is said to be privileged therefore it should not be accepted in this House, that last night this House accepted 30 Amendments I at least of a financial nature, made by the House of Lords, and waived its privileges in each single case. I really do not see why a Bill dealing with asylum officers' superannuation should be improved in another place, while a Bill of this character, which is far more important, should not be permitted to have an Amendment made, just on this wretched point of etiquette which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has put before the House.

    I must confess that I am a little astonished that the Government do not allow this Amendment, which is very important in regard to light railways, piers, and harbours. I was extremely surprised to hear the objections of hon. Members below the Gangway, because I think if any country has had the advantage of the aid which is given to light railways, that country is Ireland. It has had the greatest amount of advantage from such a system as that, which we are now considering. What is the ordinary state of the case in regard to light railways? A sum of money is invariably raised or obtained from the county council and from land owners of the district, but very often where a light railway is promoted the amount obtained falls short of what is needed, and in these circumstances a grant would enable the light railway to be made for the benefit of the particular locality in more than one instance, to my own knowledge, that has occurred. A light railway has invariably to be constructed and worked by one of the larger railway companies, otherwise it would be necessary to provide separate engines, carriages and wagons. Under this proposal the arrangements are in the interest of the community and particularly in the interest of those districts which, without such aid being

    Division No. 915.]


    [4.50 p.m.

    Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard KnightErskine, David C.
    Adkins, W. Ryland D.Cawley, Sir FrederickEssex, R. W.
    Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.Channing, Sir Francis AllstonEvans, Sir S. T.
    Alden, PercyCheetham, John FrederickEverett, R. Lacey
    Ashton, Thomas GairCherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.Falconer, J.
    Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert HenryChurchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.Ferens, T. R.
    Atherley-Jones, L.Compton-Rickett, Sir J.Fuller, John Michael F.
    Baker, Joseph A.Condon, Thomas JosephFulierton, Hugh
    Barker, Sir JohnCorbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)Gibb, James (Harrow)
    Barnes, G. N.Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)Gibson, J. P.
    Barran, Rowland HirstCory, Sir Clifford JohnGlover, Thomas
    Beale, W. P.Cotton, Sir H. J. S.Griffith, Ellis J.
    Beck, A. CecilCowan, W. H.Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill
    Berridge, T. H. D.Crosfield, A. H.Gulland, John W.
    Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)Cross, AlexanderHancock, J. G.
    Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)Cullinan, J.Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)
    Birrell, Rt. Hon. AugustineCurran, Peter FrancisHarvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)
    Bowerman, C. W.Davies, Timothy (Fulham)Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)
    Brigg, Sir JohnDavies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)Hedges, A. Paget
    Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
    Burns, Rt. Hon. JohnDilke, Rt. Hon. Sir CharlesHenry, Charles S.
    Byles, William PollardDuncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)
    Carr-Gomm, H. W.Ellbank, Master ofHerbert T. Arnold (Wycombe)

    given, would not obtain light railways or harbours. I greatly regret that the Government do not see their way to accept the Amendment. I think they little understand what a benefit they are removing from the smaller districts in Wales, the country districts, and in Ireland by refusing the Lords Amendment.

    Question, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment," put, and negatived.

    Drafting Amendments made.

    Lords Amendment: Leave out Subsection (2).

    This is an Amendment raising privilege, because it diminishes the object on which the grant may be made.

    I move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer upstairs told us that this was a trivial Amendment, and therefore void of effect. It did not do anything at all; it was merely a general statement, of no value of any kind. That being so, I think it is hardly worth while to quarrel with the House of Lords in regard to the omission of a statement which is of no value. I hope the House will agree with the Lords Amendment, to remove words which are vague and general, and may be mischievous.

    Question put, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

    The House divided: Ayes, 179; Noes, 38.

    Hodge, JohnMorton, Alpheus CleophasStanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)
    Horniman, Emslie JohnMurray, James (Aberdeen, E.)Steadman, W. C.
    Hudson, WalterNolan, JosephStewart, Halley (Greenock)
    Illingworth, Percy H.Norman, Sir HenryStraus, B. S. (Mile End)
    Jardine, Sir J.Nussey, Sir WillansSummerbell, T.
    Jenkins, J.O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)Sutherland, J. E.
    Johnson, John (Gateshead)O'Donneil, John (Mayo, S.)Taylor, John W. (Durham)
    Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)O'Grady, J.Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)
    Jones, Leif (Appleby)O'Malley, WilliamTennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
    Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)Parker, James (Halifax)Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
    Jowett, F. W.Paul, HerbertThomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)
    Joyce, MichaelPearce, William (Limehouse)Toulmin, George
    King, Alfred John (Knutsford)Pirie, Duncan V.Vivian, Henry
    Laidlaw, Sir RobertPonsonby, Arthur A. W. H.Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
    Lambert, GeorgePrice, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)Walsh, Stephen
    Lamont, NormanPrice, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)Walters, John Tudor
    Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)Walton, Joseph
    Layland-Barratt, Sir FrancisPriestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
    Lehmann, R. C.Radford, G. H.Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
    Lewis, John HerbertRea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)Warner, Thomas Courteney T.
    Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. DavidRedmond, William (Clare)Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
    Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)Rees, J. D.Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
    Lynch, H. B.Rendall, AthelstanWaterlow, D. S.
    Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)Watt, Henry A.
    Maclean, DonaldRichards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
    Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J,Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)White, Patrick (Meath, North)
    Macpherson, J. T.Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)Whitehead, Rowland
    MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)Robertson, J. M. (Tyneslde)Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas p.
    M'Callum, John M.Robson, Sir William SnowdonWilkle, Alexander
    M'Micking, Major G.Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)Williamson, Sir A.
    Maddison, FrederickRoche, John (Galway, East)Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)
    Marnham, F. J.Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
    Massie, J.Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
    Masterman, C. F. G.Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)Yoxall, Sir James Henry
    Menzles, Sir WalterSears, J. E.
    Moltene, Percy AlportShipman, Dr. John G.

    TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.

    Montagu, Hon. E. S.Soames, Arthur Wellesley
    Morse, L. L.Soares, Ernest J.


    Anson, Sir William ReynellDouglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-Remnant, James Farquharson
    Balcarres, LordDuncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)Ridsdale, E. A.
    Banbury, Sir Frederick GeorgeGardner, ErnestRoberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
    Banner, John S. HarmoodGoulding, Edward AlfredRonaldshay, Earl of
    Bignold, Sir ArthurGretton, JohnScott. Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
    Butcher, Samuel HenryGuinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
    Carlile, E. HildredHarrison-Broadley, H. B.Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Unlv.)
    Castlereagh, ViscountKennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.Valentia, Viscount
    Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)Kerry, Earl ofWolff, Gustav Wilhelm
    Chaplin, Rt. Hon. HenryKimber, Sir HenryWortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
    Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)
    Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred


    Courthope, G. LoydPease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)Morpeth and Mr. Stewart Bowles.
    Craik, Sir HenryPeel, Hon. W. R. W.

    Lords Amendment: In Sub-section (3) leave out the words "The Small Holdings and Allotments Act, 1908," and insert the words "any statute."

    I move "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

    I think to disagree with an Amendment merely because it is privileged is something like the propriety of an old maid being introduced into the proceedings of this House: you have merely got to suggest that something is a breach of privilege, and the Government dare not accept it, however desirable it may be. I regard that as utterly un- worthy of the House of Commons and utterly unworthy of the Government. As to this particular Amendment, I do not think it can be maintained after the alteration in regard to the words "corporate and unincorporated"

    5.0 p.m.

    I think it unnecessary to disagree with the Lords on the question of privilege. This matter was discussed fully before and divided upon in this House.

    Question, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment," put, and agreed to.

    Lords Amendment: In Sub-section (3) after the word "Commissioners" insert as-new Sub-section "(4) No advance shall be made to any association of persons trading for profit, except to enable a public authority to secure within its area the construction, maintenance, and working of a light railway by a railway company, or of a pier or harbour by a Harbour Board or Harbour Commissioners."

    Question, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment," put, and agreed to.

    Lords Amendment: In Sub-section (3) after the, word "Commissioners" insert as new Sub-section, "(5) Before making any recommendation for an advance under this Part of this Act the Development Commissioners shall consider the matter with special reference to the magnitude of the undertaking and the interests likely to be affected, and the extent and situation of any land necessary for the undertaking, and whether such land is likely to be acquired by agreement, and if a majority of the Commissioners consider that their proposals should be laid before Parliament they shall forward a draft recommendation to the Treasury. The Treasury shall not act upon such draft recommendation until it has lain for 30 days during the Session of Parliament on the Table of both Houses of Parliament, and if either House during those 30 days presents an Address to His Majesty against the draft no further proceedings shall be taken thereon, but without prejudice to the making by the Commissioners of a new draft recommendation."

    moved, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

    I think this Amendment is not advisable, and I think it is also unnecessary. It is not advisable because it lays it down whenever the Commissioners by a bare majority, which may be a majority of one, decide that a certain scheme is likely to be a very large one, that makes it necessary for the Treasury, in the first place, to decline to sanction the loan until and unless the matter has been brought before Parliament, and the draft recommendations lie on the Table for the period of 30 days, during which time, if either House presents an Address to His Majesty against the draft, nothing further can be done, as I understand, except by Provisional Order. The Government think that that is putting much too severe a restriction on the powers of the Commissioners. I think the House may trust to the Commissioners to make a scheme such as is described by the words of this Amendment. We do not think that any restrictions further than those already contained in the Bill should be placed upon the Commissioners, and that certainly it is not right to say that because there is a majority of one that that should make it absolutely necessary for the Treasury to decline unless these further conditions are complied with.

    I do not think that this is a very important matter, but I regret the decision of the Government, because I think that the Amendment so far from restricting the operations of the Commissioners would really operate to enlarge them. I do not quite understand the reference of the Solicitor-General to a majority. Of course the Commissioners will have to act for a majority in all cases, and if they make a recommendation of any kind by a majority, that would be the recommendation of the Commissioners. I do not know according to our English principles how otherwise they could act. What this Amendment provides is that if the Commissioners think that a scheme laying before them is too big to go forward under the ordinary provisions of this Bill, or that they would normally refuse it, they are to have the power to send a draft recommendation of it to the Treasury, subject to this condition, that the big scheme is to be laid before "Parliament, in this modified way. I quite agree that in form it appears to be a restriction, but in fact it is a real extension of their powers. Unless you put this Amendment in the Bill, what will happen? A big scheme is brought before the Commissioners, and they say it is too big and not the kind of thing that they are prepared, with their limited funds, to deal with. Therefore, they would say, "We shall refuse it," and that would be the only course they could take. If you put in this Amendment they have a third alternative. They can pass it subject to it coming before the Houses of Parliament, which seems to me to be a desirable improvement. I regret, in the interests of the Bill, that the Government have not seen their way to accept it.

    Question, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment" put, and agreed to.