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Title: British speeches of the day
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Title: British speeches of the day
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BRITAIN'S COLONIAL POLICY
RT. HON. A. CREECH JONES, Secretary of State for the Colonies,
at Bristol, December 6, 1946
I am honored to reply to this toast in my native city. Bristol has
played a renowned part in the history of exploration and overseas trade,
in the story of colonial growth and Empire. Some aspects of her trade
and mercantile interest we, in these enlightened days, deplore and condemn,
but her enterprise and adventure, her courage and industry, contributed
an ingredient in the national life which enhanced English prestige and
authority in the world. Bristol history is of much importance in the story
of British overseas expansion and colonization, just as the political insight
of Edmund Burke who represented the city in Parliament contributed a
directive in colonial policy which now dominates the thought of all Brit-
ish statesmen and administrators concerned with the welfare and devel-
opment of the Colonial peoples.
THE NEW APPROACH TO COLONIAL PROBLEMS
My task tonight is to say something about the Colonial Empire which,
singularly enough, has few colonies-that are really colonies today-of
British settlement, and which is not an empire in the old sense in which
this term was employed, implying the political and economic dominance
associated with imperialism. As a nation we have passed from the old
exuberance and emotion at the turn of the present century, and we take a
more sober and realistic view of the responsibilities which colonial territor-
ies inevitably bring to us. We cannot repudiate this legacy from our history,
and to try speedily to liquidate it except by generosity and the develop-
ment of responsibility and well-being in the territories would betray the
peoples with whom we are associated as well as the hopes and purposes
we entertain.
Perhaps we approach our task with conceptions a little strange to many
of the pioneers of Empire. Our territories are not today thought of as
our possessions: they are not, in the eyes of the Government, lucrative
estates which can be exploited, irrespective of native human rights, for
the satisfaction of alien interests. Whatever stage we passed through in
the economic revolution of Western Europe, today our conception of the
functions of government has changed and expanded, and our control of
individual gain and disorderly development has become an essential pur-
pose of government. Moscow may be rewriting her history of British col-
onial policy, but surely the assumptions of policy must be studied in the
light of the economic facts and prevailing political conceptions of the time.
We have moved a long way from the days when government had little
interest in social development and economic activities.
Indeed, everywhere today, the objective observer will see Britain devel-
oping liberal constitutions for democratic political growth; trying to spread
responsibility in all fields of colonial activity; building up all those insti-
tutions of voluntary service, mutual aid, and self-reliance which have






Bristol, December 6, 1946


mattered so much in our own democratic growth-co-operation, trade
unionism, local government, social welfare institutions, and the like-and
doing her utmost in accordance with our nineteenth century traditions of
projecting the commonwealth principle of nationhood in all the territories
for which we are responsible.
For the foundations of that political growth, we are pressing on with
sound social and economic policies. Freedom and responsibility are likely
to be secured only by sound social services in health and education, nutri-
tion and housing, labor protection and security. No less do they rest on
relief from the grinding poverty and from the dearth of material resources.
Economic development, and the use and expansion of natural resources
are indispensable. The Advisory Committees of the Colonial Office, the re-
search sections, the Colonial Development and Economic Council, the tech-
nical departments and surveys, the local development boards are all active
in this work of social and economic advance.
THE IGNORANCE OF OUR CRITICS
It is said sometimes that our efforts are not sufficiently dynamic con-
sidering the magnitude of the problems. You may telescope much material
development in a short time and avoid the pitfalls of our own national
experience. You may attempt to accelerate, but there are often intractable
problems both human and material which hamper the pace. This post-war
world is going to be radically different from anything we have previously
known, and we shall have to satisfy the claims of nationalism and, in this
political awakening, answer the demands for better standards, material
welfare, and social services. I want a realistic appreciation of the nature
of the problem both here and abroad.
British policy is the butt of a great deal of criticism these days. I am
concerned that that policy should be understood. In our own midst are
a few whose purpose sometimes seems to be to denigrate our nation as it
we can never conform to the merest decencies of good behavior, fair play,
and disinterested giving. I have seen the fine work of our officials in the
field-often in unhealthy and dangerous regions-serving with unswerving
devotion and winning the good will of the people about them. I regret
the ignorance shown in international assemblies of our work when I recall
the experiments being made, the research being done, the new institutions
established, and great schemes for regeneration getting under way. Glib
phrases and lofty liberal sentiment and threadbare ideas about the im-
perialism that is passing, if it has not completely passed, ill suits some of
our foreign critics whose own problems remain unsolved or whose methods
are out of harmony with our own liberal and tolerant traditions.
Do not misunderstand me. I have not lost my own critical faculties
since I have entered the Colonial Office or any of my old passion for social
and racial justice. We have, in the mistakes and shortcomings of some of
our policies, much to regret. There are conventions of color discrimina-
tion and practices of segregation in our colonies that I deplore. All we
can do to correct the wrongs and set the colonial peoples on the road of
responsibility and happiness we shall do. We shall urge forward our policy






Britain's Colonial Policy [Mn. CREECH JONES]

in curbing irrational material exploitation, protecting human life, regu-
lating industry and mining, and developing the public services.
But remember the natural poverty and ignorance of these territories.
It is idle to deny what many of these dependencies have gained by orderly
life, the rule of law, the elimination of abuses, the check on famine, the
suppression of slavery, the opening of communications, and the escape
from much superstition. There is no going back now to their past. They
cannot be insulated in the modern world. They are an integral part of
our world, next door to us; our standards conditioned by theirs; our health
impaired by their want of health; their products necessary for our own
varied life. If we want a secure world, these regions have to be brought
into line with civilized life or they will always be the occasion for friction.

THE COLONIAL EMPIRE: A PARTNERSHIP
So we have to translate into constructive terms our theory of trustee-
ship: indeed, we have already assumed the role of partners. We have to
think less of trade and raw materials (which, in fact, can take care of
themselves if the relationship is right), of profit and power politics and
more of the human problems to be solved.
Now partnership is not a one-sided affair. On our side, it implies the
creation of the conditions of partnership: the extension of responsibility
in government; the sharing in the building up of the life of the territory;
the establishment of confidence and good will and social friendship; the
curbing and regulation of alien rights and interests; the promotion of con-
sultation and understanding and sound public relations. Unless such
things are done the tasks of government become impossible in this present
age, and a growing resentment will embitter the association with us. It is
along these lines our policy is developing.
But what of the other partner? Anyone who knows the colonies will
know that many of their essential problems are not due to European pene-
tration and alien control. We certainly have done much to modify the
native societies which existed when the British official arrived, and with
much gain to them. Many of their losses they could well afford to ex-
perience. True, we may in some areas have pursued mistaken policies
and established bad conventions. But the essential poverty and ignorance,
the superstition and frequent strife, the barbaric practices were things which
existed and stimulated our action.
We might have turned a blind eye to them and in other days got on
with our own material pursuits. But Britain has seldom been without a
conscience, and a sense of moral and social responsibility lies heavily on
our race. We may have done too little, but don't let us depreciate the
tasks which called for our effort. We might have cared less about existing
native customs and institutions, their law and system, and imposed our
will on them. The fact that we choose to work through the native insti-
tutions and respect the native customs cramped our style and hampered
more rapid progress. Or we might have accepted for granted the formidable
environment; the disease through tsetse and mosquito; the disasters of
erosion, flood and locust; the absence of water and fertility, and the whole






Bristol, December 6, 1946


range of natural forces conspiring to make life difficult for man altogether.
In any case, we had to accept the frequent profound ignorance of the
people, their lack of enterprise and frequent intractable natures. It is in
these conditions and along the principle of co-operation that we have gore.
THE MAGNITUDE OF COLONIAL RESPONSIBILITIES
I want us all to see the magnitude of the colonial responsibilities of
today, that the problems are not necessarily due to the faults of admin-
istration and policy, but are often inherent in the job which has to be
done. Any shortcomings cannot be laid at the door of only one of the
partners. I assert that we are now energetically discharging our great duties
at much cost, devotion, and sacrifice. I am the last person to be smug
about our administration. My table every day reveals the shortcomings in
deeds, material, men, and money. But I believe we are, in no great spec-
tacular or self-advertising way, doing a great job.
We are hampered in Africa, for example, by such practical difficulties
as low fertility, inadequate rainfall, soil erosion, plant diseases, pests, and
the very primitive and inefficient methods of cultivation and production.
In great areas ample supplies of labor are just not available for rapid addi-
tional development. There is widespread ill-health, no reservoir of tradi-
tional skill and the training of craftsmen has virtually to start from scratch.
The existing physical capital equipment of these territories is by Western
standards trifling, and the past poverty has prevented any accumulation
of capital equipment from local sources. The social systems of the peoples,
too, are closely related to the traditional methods of communal holding
of land and the utilization of it. Some of the populations are still in the
nomadic pastoral stage, and technical changes cannot be pursued at a speed
which will make for conditions of social instability, adverse alike to the
orderly development of these communities and the maximization of im-
mediate productivity. In such conditions development is a complex and
vastly expensive business, calling for much patience and skill, for many
technicians, and .much statesmanship and wisdom.
We have, therefore, to supply most territories with the whole framework
for modern living. They want public works and utilities, roads, railways,
ports, transport, water supplies, power and fuel. They need sound eco-
nomics, better agriculture, soil conservation, irrigation, immune stock.
They urge that they enjoy sanitation, nutrition, education, health, and the
rest, and the ability to develop their natural resources and to exploit their
mineral wealth.
We have allocated 161/2 million for West Indian development, 71/I
million for Asia, 301~ million for West Africa, 13 million for East Africa,
and 31/ million for East African regional development. Twenty-three
and a half million pounds has been set aside for central services such as
surveys, nutrition schemes, higher education, research and the training
of the colonial services including persons in the colonies themselves. Already
4 million on educational development has been granted, 4 million on
medical and public health services, 3 million on housing and land settle.
ment. In 135 schemes 5 million has gone for agricultural, veterinary and






Britain's Colonial Policy [MR. CREECH JONES]

forestry schemes; 61/ million on water and irrigation, 4 million on com-
munications and transport, 1/, million on nine schemes of industrial devel-
opment.
I don't doubt that you have noticed in the press the great energy being
infused into bold planning in Kenya and Uganda, Nigeria and the Gold
Coast, and other territories which could be named. The West Indies have
enjoyed the continuous attention of a special Comptroller and panel of
advisers.
PLANS FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT
I know that progress depends as much on self-help as on the practical
assistance in policies, money, and technicians that we are able to give, and
that progress cannot be spelt out only in terms of money available for
welfare and development. I know, too, that we have with the native peo-
ples considerable problems of principle to solve; that there will be clashes
of economic interest, and the need to reconcile both public and private
interests. There are the difficulties of plural societies, the heavy pressure
in areas of population on the food supply, the limitations on production,
the demands for services which the resources and available revenues cannot
secure. Some peoples, too, lack confidence and are unco-operative, and
others have too little skill and education to press up the standards of living.
I wish I could stay to tell you how some of these difficulties are being
dealt with, and the trends of our policy in so many fields. Perhaps my
Rt. Hon. Friend the Member of Parliament for Bristol West [Mr. Oliver
Stanley], who earlier played a conspicuous part in the difficult days of war
in initiating lines of action, could some time expand on this. For my part,
our policies, I hope, are both realistic and comprehensive. May I conclude
by selecting two or three examples of development schemes out of many. We
have recently agreed to the formation of a public corporation in Nigeria
to take over, reorganize and develop electric power services; another to
take over and run the ex-German plantations in the Cameroons; a big
scheme to extend rice production in West Africa under controlled irriga-
tion and drainage, and another to produce groundnuts in East Africa.
An extensive examination of water resources of Central and East Africa
has also been started with a view to the development of irrigation and
hydroelectric schemes. Big development from the phosphate deposits in
Uganda for fertilizers to African farmers to correct fertility losses can be
anticipated as well. In Kenya, 41/ million will be spent in the next ten
years in a very extensive series of projects for soil conservation and recon-
ditioning African areas, including settlement. Also, the foundations of
Universities are being laid in West Africa, the West Indies, South East
Asia, and East Africa. I have said nothing about our efforts to give sta-
bility to colonial products, foodstuffs, and raw materials by creating the
conditions of a fair and steady price and assured market.
I rejoice at the quality and liberal character of the men being attracted
to our great services for this work. I remember that in the early days of
colonization poor folk were being dispatched overseas by public and private
charity; that indentured servants, expelled vagrants, political offenders or






House of Commons, December 16, 1946

plain criminals have also sometimes been sent. Others again have been
kidnapped, for "spiriting" was one of the minor industries of Bristol well
into the eighteenth century. We build our colonial territories differently
today, and they are ends in themselves not means to our own ends. We are
a great imperial Power because of our responsibilities, and we seek none
of the narrow individual or selfish aims of the old imperialism. We must
win the increasing understanding, co-operation and confidence of the col-
onial peoples, and help them move to the realization of their own dreams
and genius. We must remember the words of Burke:
"If we make ourselves too little for the sphere of our duty . .be well assured
that everything about us will dwindle by degrees, until at length our concerns are
shrunk to the dimensions of our minds. A great empire and little minds go ill
together."
[Official Release]


NATIONALIZATION OF
INLAND TRANSPORT
HOUSE OF COMMONS, December 16, 1946
The Minister of Transport (Rt. Hon. Alfred Barnes): I beg to move,
"That the Bill be now read a Second time."
We are about to enter upon keen, controversial Debates in connection
with the future of British transport, and before these commence, I should
like to take this opportunity, as His Majesty's Minister who took over this
Department towards the end of the war, of expressing to all sections of
British transport my appreciation of the magnificent job they did during
the war. I am confident that all sections of the House would wish to be
associated with that tribute. The stress and strain of the conflict fell with
particular severity upon our transport services, and I have no doubt that
during these Debates many of the scars left behind by the war will be dis-
closed and considered.
The Bill itself which I am presenting and commending to the House
is, I should think, the largest and most extensive socialization Measure
ever presented to a free democratic Parliament. There have, of course,
been much wider and more far-reaching economic changes and systems in
the world hitherto, but they have usually been carried out with violence,
and it speaks a good deal for the stability of our British institutions that
we are able to consider a Measure of this magnitude in the circumstances
and the atmosphere which prevail in the House at the present moment.
Whether this calmness will continue through all the Bill's stages, I am
unable to forecast at the moment. I do not think anyone would dispute
that the financial transaction involved is a very considerable one. Imme-
diately, a sum of 1,065 million is involved in the taking over of the rail
way companies and canals and the London Passenger Transport Board.
The organizational and administrative task which the Commissioners will
have to undertake, and upon which I propose to enlarge a little later, will,
indeed, be a very formidable one, but fortunately there will be no break in







Nationalization of Inland Transport [MR. BARNES]

continuity in this respect. During the war, individuals in charge of large
organizational efforts have undertaken and conducted much bigger tasks
than are envisaged in this Measure. I readily recognize that to perform
such duties and obligations is sometimes easier in time of war, than it is
under peacetime conditions because in wartime, especially in the circum-
stances through which we have just passed, there is a general desire to co-
operate, whereas under peacetime conditions, that co-operation is not always
forthcoming. Nevertheless, the experience that we have gained during the
war particularly at the Ministry of Transport, will come in every useful
indeed in the task that lies ahead.
THE DEMAND FOR AN INQUIRY
I have observed that in the expression of views of those who are op-
posed to this Measure, there is a widespread demand from the interests
affected, particularly the railway companies and the road haulage organi-
zations, that an inquiry should precede a Measure of this character. [HON.
MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I note that that has some support, as I naturally
expected, on the part of hon. Members sitting opposite-[HoN. MEMBERS:
"And the country."] I have no hesitation in rejecting this request when I
consider the inquiries that have already taken place into this problem of
the unification of transport between the two wars. There have been some
five major Acts of Parliament dealing in some respect or another with this
problem, and there have been about 20 important inquiries, many of them
of a character which the opposition interests are not demanding. I con-
sider that we are living in a period in which action is very desirable, and
inquiries can be very dangerous in their consequences-[HoN. MEMBERS:
"Oh."]-and I see no evidence to support that demand. Further, the Labor
Party, the Trades Union Congress, the Co-operative Congress-[Laughter.]
After all, these three bodies represent the majority of the people of these
islands and in any case they are entitled to express their views like any
other organizations. The point I was about to make was that these three
great major organizations who have been speaking for the organized
workers and consumers of this country for many years-[HON. MEMBERS:
"Consumers?"]-Yes, consumers-have stated quite clearly in published
documents, and in many other ways, their firm conviction that these trans-
port services should come under national ownership. I am satisfied that
every candidate of the Labor Party stated this issue at the last General
Election. The Conservative Party have never laid their program so clearly
before the electorate as the Labor Party have been in the habit of doing. I
do not consider that anybody can dispute that, as far as we are concerned,
both the principle of nationalization, and our clear intention, have been
submitted to the electorate, and have received their endorsement.
Mr. Maclay (Liberal National): Would the right hon. Gentleman state
whether at any time there was any mention made of port authorities in
Let Us Face the Future?
Mr. Barnes: Let Us Face the Future is not the only document we have
published, important as'it is, and certainly docks and ports have figured in
these pronouncements.






House of Commons, December 16, 1946


Mr. Maclay: Which?
Mr. Barnes: I have in my hand a document on the post-war organization
of British transport. [HON. MEMBERS: "Who wrote it?"] The National
Executive of the Labor Party. [HON. MEMBERS: "What date?"] I cannot
give the actual date of the publication but I understand it was not too
long before the General Election. Here I want to say that I have a very
large Bill to submit to the House-for although many Acts of Parliament
on transport have been passed, I cannot plead that this is a little one-and
in view of the ground which I have to cover, much of which I cannot
possibly cover adequately on this occasion, I would request that I should
not have any undue interruption. I repeat that in the document to which
I have referred ports and docks and harbors are all mentioned, and so I
reject this demand for an inquiry.

THE LEGACY OF THE PAST
Now I come to the urgency of the problem which, in my view, makes an
inquiry unnecessary. I doubt whether the nation appreciates the legacy
which the war has left us in regard to our transport. Although the trans-
port services were worked as hard as any of the Armed Forces of the Crown,
they did not rank with equal priority for supplies and equipment and in
other classifications. Yet they were worked unmercifully under wartime
conditions, with consequent deterioration of the rolling stock of the rail-
ways, and that applies to our goods and passenger services by road as well.
The whole of the rolling stock of transport today has not been kept up to
scratch and is not in the position of being replaced easily. Many of our
ports have been very severely damaged by enemy action. The result is that
the nation is facing very large sums of capital expenditure, if our transport
services are to be brought up to any standard of efficiency.
That being the case, I feel that I am here entitled to make a very
important point on the use of our national resources, and offer in justifica-
tion of this Measure the argument that now is the time when we should end
the uncertainty of the past century, and make up our minds to complete
the process of unification. Faced as the nation is today with the necessity
to use its capital resources wisely, with the difficulty of materials and man-
power, I say that we cannot afford to allow these unequal and varied,
separate ownerships to compete for the capital resources that are needed.
If we did, those resources would not be spread out equitably; they would
not be directed where most needed, and in the process we should waste
again a good deal of capital, as has been our experience in the past.
I take the London and North-Eastern Railway as an illustration. It is
not to reflect in any way upon that railway that I am mentioning it, but
because hon. Members are familiar with the present position and it illus-
trates the danger which Parliament must avoid. That line serves an area
of heavy industries in this country. It was handicapped by the severe de-
pression which affected the whole coastal traffic after the 'last war. Its
circumstances, therefore, were not so favorable as those of some of the other
railways. All railway undertakings in between the war periods suffered in
consequence of a new and intensive development of road transport, but the






Nationalization of Inland Transport [MR. BARNES]

London and North-Eastern Railway suffered probably more than the others,
with the result that the necessary capital was not expended, as it should
have been, on keeping their capital equipment up to date. Then came the
war, and while all railivays companies, with other transport undertakings,
had to take the strain, the London and North-Eastern-again because of
the heavy goods traffic on its line, and the fact that practically the majority
of the airfields were strewn along that coast-had to carry a strain almost
beyond its capacity to endure. There has been no letup after the war and
again, with the revival of industry, the heavy traffics are most acute on that
line, with the result that its locomotives, on an average, are over 32 years
old. That applies also to wagons and other elements in the rolling.stock,
and at a time when it is vital that transport should render an efficient
service to British industry, we are having to impose widespread restrictions
on all kinds of commercial traffic, in an area of that character.
If we allow these separate undertakings to continue after the war in the
scramble for capital, that railway would probably be handicapped. We
cannot afford a continuance of situations of that kind. Capital must go
where it is most needed, and where it will best serve our national resources.
That applies to material, and manpower as well. Before I conclude this
part of my remarks, in which I reject the demand for an inquiry, I em-
phasize that transport is not, of itself, a productive service. It is an over-
head cost on the whole of British trade and industry. Parliament, in my
view, in looking at transport, should look at it as a major overhead cost,
and its organization should be directed entirely from that angle ....
Let me give some idea of the extent of transfer involved in the Bill.
Of the 18 million persons employed in British industry, 11/4 million are
affected by this Bill. They are not immediately affected, but something like
750,000 persons will immediately pass into the service of the British Trans-
port Commission, when Parliament approves of this Measure. What we are
proposing to do, I emphasize, is not out of line with transport experience
throughout the world. I do not say that, because of that, we should follow
what other people do. Nevertheless I know that the party opposite rather
pride themselves on being true Imperialists, and any tendency in the British
Commonwealth of Nations ought to be studied at least with sympathy and
understanding. I find that, in Canada, 55 per cent of the railway mileage
is already State-owned. In Australia and New Zealand, 95 per cent is
publicly-owned. In the Union of South Africa, 81 per cent is State-owned.
In Great Britain, so far, 100 per cent is privately-owned. That is what we
propose to change. If we take the situation throughout the world we find
that 45 per cent of the world's rail transport is already publicly-owned or
State-owned.
Having dealt with the reasons for rejecting an inquiry, I submit that the
real issue before the House is whether the Measure I am presenting is, in
fact, a workable scheme. I shall certainly welcome critical examination of
its provisions. I have been only too conscious of the fact that we are
dealing here with an industry which affects the whole trade, the amenities,
convenience and pleasure of all our citizens, and that because of the diffi-
culty of discussion, and the disclosure of major matters of policy before






House of Commons, December 16, 1946

they have been submitted to Parliament, a Minister in my position has
not the opportunity of consulting freely and openly those who are respon-
sible for operating this industry. In the various stages of these Debates,
and in Committee I shall certainly welcome any constructive criticism or
advice that can be given.

THE POWERS OF THE BRITISH TRANSPORT COMMISSION
The first 11 Clauses of the Bill deal with the powers and duties of the
British Transport Commission. They are very wide, as they are bound to
be, and I cannot emphasize too much the importance which I place upon
this instrument of the Commission to effect the process of unification.
There are two specific limitations on its powers. It will not be able to
manufacture chassis for road vehicles, and it will not be permitted to build
ships, except lighters or barges not exceeding 175 tons. It will certainly
be my intention not to depart from the general railway practice and that
those firms engaged in the building and construction of locomotives and
wagons for export should share in the Commission's business. Apart from
this, the Commission will have very wide powers to carry through the
complete unification of our British transport system. In Clause 3 is defined
its general purpose:
"to provide or promote an efficient, adequate, economical and properly integrated
system of public inland transport and port facilities within Great Britain for pas-
sengers and goods;"
The Commissioners have to carry through the task of integrating all
forms of transport covered by the Bill and-this I would particularly em-
phasize-to see that all parts of the country are adequately served. By that
I mean the inclusion of rural and sparsely populated areas. These districts
have never had the transport facilities they need. It is only by a unified
system, in which the cost can be spread over the whole system, that we
shall be able to overcome this problem. Further, I expect that for processes
of integration and co-ordination, country bus services will be more synchro-
nized with railway services than they have been in the past. By that means,
the convenience of the traveling public will be met to an extent which has
not prevailed hitherto.
In regard to the capital expenditure on the railways, the Commission
will have to face a good many important tasks. Many of our railway sta-
tions, and main line termini, occupy the most important sites in London,
and great provincial cities. Very often they are depressing places to arrive
at on a first visit. The Commission will have to carry out large-scale capital
expenditure in rebuilding our railway stations to make them centers of
transport. Travel in this country is becoming a disagreeable thing, some-
thing to be endured in order to get somewhere, rather than a pleasure, as
it should be. I depend on this Commission, with its wide powers, radically
to alter that state of affairs. I contend that, taking the distribution of
population in this country, the small distances we have to travel compared
with many other countries, and the concentration and magnitude of its
industries, there are no physical or financial reasons why we should not have
the most efficient, comfortable, speedy and cheap system of transport in






Nationalization of Inland Transport [MR. BARNES]

the world. The Commission, small, compact, with wide powers, I expect
to be sufficiently dynamic in its energies to grapple with problems of that
kind. After all, I think that if the structure of this Bill is examined-the
Commission as a policy instrument, the Executives to carry out manage-
ment-it will be seen, quite clearly, that a small body of persons with time
to think and plan, and with the vast resources it will have behind it, will
work a revolution in the efficiency of the transport system of this country.
It has been alleged, I notice, in some of the criticisms in the press, and
in other directions, that the Executives which I propose to create as the
instrument of management, will be more powerful than the Commission.
I do not consider that there is any ground for this assumption or fear,
whichever it may be. The whole of the property will vest in the Commis-
sion. The Commission will have complete direction of the national trans-
port finances; it will have complete control over policy, and provision is
made, in Clause 5, for the delegation of management functions from the
Commission to its respective Executives. By that process, I think I have
completely safeguarded the authority and the supremacy of the Commis-
sion. In so far that the schemes of delegation are clearly defined, the
Executives will not be able to exceed those provisions. The Executives, in
fact, will be the agencies of the Commission and the schemes are subject to
modification from time to time.

EXECUTIVE ORGANIZATIONS
I have visualized, to commence with, four main executive organizations
-one for the railways, one for the ports and harbors and inland waterways,
one for road goods and passenger services, and the London Passenger Trans-
port Board, which is taken over with the four main line railways, will be
renamed the London Passenger Transport Executive-[Laughter.]-I do not
know why that should cause amusement to the hon. Member for Oxford
(Mr. Hogg). The London Passenger Transport Board is the best example
we have had between the two wars of the desirability of unification. It took
over 14 local authority undertakings and some 70 private undertakings,
and is anyone in this House today bold enough to say that, if we had left
those 14 local authority and 70 separate undertakings, we should have
had the London transport system of the moment? With all its difficulties
and deficiencies the London transport system is the best in the world. Its
bright stations, its comfortable rolling stock, and its services, represent a
fine example of unification. I would remind hon. Members opposite that
the Act establishing it was passed by a Conservative Government in 1934,
although it was prepared by the Labor Government which preceded that
Administration.

CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEES FOR SCOTLAND AND WALES
Before I leave the Commission, I should like to make a statement with
regard to Scotland and Wales. In the part of the Bill dealing with the
Commission it is provided, as I have endeavored to explain, that the Com-
mission shall represent the policy instrument and the Executives the man-
agement function; I am also proposing in the Bill to establish Consultative






House of Commons, December 16, 1946

Committees to enable the public adequately to represent their views. There
will be a National Consultative Committee and Area Consultative Com-
mittees. In regard to the application of the Consultative Committees to
Scotland and Wales, I desire to state that in order to ensure that the Com-
mission shall be fully informed on Scottish and Welsh opinion and re-
quirements, there will be a Transport Users Consultative Committee for
Scotland, both for passengers and goods traffic, and also one for Wales. It
is also my intention to see that Scottish and Welsh interests are directly
represented on the Central Consultative Committee. The existing licensing
machinery in Scotland and Wales will be retained.
Close attention will be given to ensuring that organizations of the
different Executives work intimately together at all levels, so that Scottish
and Welsh transport services shall be truly integrated and interrelated.
Apart from the formal application of the Bill to Scotland, contained in
Clause 125, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will
nominate persons to the special panel to be created under the Eighth
Schedule, from which persons may be selected to hear and determine pro-
ceedings within the jurisdiction of the Transport Tribunal. The Arbitra-
tion Tribunal under Part VIII of the Bill, will meet under a Scottish presi-
dent when sitting in Scotland, and when dealing with questions as to the
transfer of undertakings, or the assets of a concern whose headquarters are
in Scotland will sit there, and Scottish law and practice will apply ....
Mr. Boothby (Conservative): May we be quite clear that there is to be
no separate Executive member for Scotland-that Scotland's own separate
rights will be of a consultative character?
Mr. Barnes: There will be no breaking-up of. the Commission into sec-
tions, either national or in any way representing interests, and the Execu-
tives will be responsible each for its own field of transport in the whole of
Great Britain. But in that organization, of course, there are divisional and
area organizations, and machinery that will go on.

ELIMINATION OF COMPETITION
Clauses 12 to 30 deal with the acquisition of the railways, the London
Passenger Transport Board and the canals. These represent, of course, the
major part of our transport undertakings. In two wars, the strategic value
of our railways has been demonstrated clearly to the whole nation and I
do not think we can permit, under any circumstances, any form of compe-
tition to undermine the stability and efficiency of the railway system of this
country. For that reason, and to make provision for that in the future,
resources will be pooled for the purpose of seeing that they are safeguarded.
The House is very familiar with the problem that arose between the two
wars in the development of road and rail competition. My hon. Friend the
Parliamentary Secretary will be dealing with this matter when he speaks to
the House. Therefore, I do not propose to become involved in the details
of the working out of that competition, and its consequences at this stage.
As to the main criticisms against the acquisition of the railways, surely no
one is surprised at the step we are taking in view of the experience of the
past, and I think, to a very large extent, thoughtful and informed transport






Nationalization of Inland Transport [MR. BARNES)
opinion realized that this Measure was coming along. The main criticism
I find is directed not so much to the principle of nationalization but to
the compensation terms. Here again, I should like to state that my right
hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, after we have heard further
views of hon. and right hon. Members, will deal fully and exhaustively
with this matter.
COMPENSATION
I should, however, like to state briefly what influenced the Government
to come down on this side of the market price for railway passenger traffic,
passenger transport, and canal shares. In the first place, it covers adequately
the securities that are involved. Sixty-nine of the quoted securities of Part
I of the Fourth Schedule represent 98 per cent of the nominal value of all
the securities involved. Therefore, this method which we have adopted,
which is quick and easy in its assessment, covers, to all intents, the whole
of the securities that are affected. The dates from 1st to 8th November,
1946, represent very favorable quotation dates. The alternative of the
middle-monthly quotations for the six months prior to the Election, Febru-
ary to July, 1945, gives an advantage in certain cases. Therefore, I feel
that we have adopted a simple, easy, and fair method that gets equitable
compensation and avoids considerable difficulties which we would have
encountered if we had followed the other method.
The financial characteristics of the several groups of undertakings or
assets to be acquired, are more diverse in transport than in coal or cables.
The scheme of compensation which we propose, recognizes, on the one
hand, the rights of dispossessed owners to reasonable compensation and,
on the other hand, the right of the State to benefit from the use of its own
credit. I think one meets fairly the compensation for capital invested.
Under no circumstances can it be claimed, when the State is taking over
a service of this kind, that we have to continue in perpetuity the interest
income of the persons involved. A nationalized public service is quite
entitled to have the advantage of public credit. Those terms have been
created by the strength and capacity of the nation. Under no circumstances
could it be argued that we are not entitled to take advantage of them.
Let me come to the statement, which I think will prove to be fair.
Compensation is to be satisfied in British Transport Stock issued by the
Commission, and backed by a Government guarantee. Its terms are to be
such as to make it worth, at the time of issue, the amount of the compensa-
tion to be satisfied. I would emphasize this as it disposes of any suggestion
that the terms of compensation impose loss of capital. Any such loss must
have occurred before nationalization had been announced, because the prices
used are in no case less than those ruling shortly before the Election.
In the Bill there are two main bases of compensation (a) market valuation
of securities, and (b) the net value of the assets, plus compensation where
justified, for losses caused by cessation of the business and severance.
What does this represent in the case of the railways? Taking the four
main line railways, and assuming the total compensation on the basis of
market prices to be, say, 900 million, it represents about 25 years' purchase
of the average pre-war net revenue during the three years, 1935, 1986 and






House of Commons, December 16, 1946

1937, or 221/ years' purchase of the net revenue enjoyed under the control
agreement-40 million. If the alternative suggested is arbitration, some-
one would have to guess what railway earnings might have been in circum-
stances of competition, and in all the uncertainties of the future, and then
determine a global sum of compensation, and how to split it up, first,
between the individual companies, and, second, between the many classes
of stockholders according to their respective and varied rights. I do not
believe that, in this case, any arbitrator would have been able to find a
better and more fair measure of compensation, than is provided by the
market assessment of the values of the stock.
Mr. Osborne (Conservative): When the Minister says "net income,"
does he mean after taxation has been deducted at the standard rate? It is
a very important point.
CANALS AND PRIVATELY OWNED WAGONS
Mr. Barnes: No, certainly not. Having stated the compensation to the
railways, I should like to say a few words about canals. Canals were the
earliest form of transport in this country-[HoN MEMBERS: "No."]-one
of the earliest forms of transport in this country, governed by Act of Parlia-
ment. The canals have suffered very severely from time to time in the
different forms of competition which have developed. They have per-
sisted despite railway and road competition. I think there is a general
desire in this country to see our waterways used to their fullest capacity.
There has never been the opportunity to do so in the past, but under
unification, and under the general directions of the Commission, there is the
possibility that all forms of transport-rail, road and waterway-will have
an opportunity of serving the community to the fullest extent of their
possibilities.
The next point I want to emphasize is the taking over of the privately
owned wagons in this country. They have been an anachronism on our
railways for many years. They are obsolete. Over 20 per cent of them
are obsolete and should be scrapped and 50 per cent are over 35 years
old. Again, in this direction, if we are to have an efficient transport service
for goods on the railways, a considerable capital expenditure must be faced
by the Commission in the replacement of our wagon rolling stock. In these
circumstances, we cannot continue the position of having merchants of any
type owning and running their own wagons on the railway system. The
Commission will aim at being adequately served in this direction, and
no trader need, of necessity, suffer.
ROAD HAULAGE
With regard to the road haulage business, this has been the most
controversial problem in rail and road matters since before the war, and
it has proved to be a difficult, complex and controversial matter in connec-
tion with the preparation and the passing of this Measure. Again, 1 think it
is essential that we should grapple with this problem. It represents a
type of competition which I think Sir Eric Geddes, when introducing the
1921 Act, had in mind when he stated that there is a type of competition







Nationalization of Inland Transport [MR. BARNES]


in transport matters that brings no advantage to the community, but
represents an illusory type of advantage, and, in fact, represents a waste to
both sections of the industry, and to the community generally. The rapid
expansion of road transport has raised many problems in this country, and
has been the subject of many detailed investigations, but what is not always
appreciated is that the road haulier himself enjoys, to some extent, a mon-
opoly right, and, on this problem of transport, one finds that the objection
is not to the existence of monopoly rights, provided that a particular person
or a particular group or a particular industry enjoys them.
Under our licensing system of "A" and "B" licenses, no new persons,
not even ex-Servicemen, can get into the industry unless they prove need,
and, if the existing services are sufficient, the citizens of this country are, in
fact, denied their right to run lorries on the road for reward.
Mr. Osborne: That makes it worse.
Mr. Barnes: No, it does not make it worse. That is the position that
arose out of the Salter Committee. The right hon. Member for Oxford
University (Sir A. Salter) undertook one of these inquiries, and that was
a recommendation that was implemented as a result of that inquiry and
that is the position today. That being the case, it is desirable that, if unifi-
cation is needed to avoid this ruinous competition, this monopoly should
be extended and eventually covered by the State. The limit that I propose
to place on road hauliers that will bring them within the compulsory
Clauses of the Bill is a mileage limit of 40 miles. Any road haulier whose
business is predominantly engaged in the transport of goods over 40 miles
is brought within the compulsory terms of the Bill. If I might give the
figures to the House, there are "A" licensed vehicles to the number of
86,000, and there are roughly 19,000 holders. "B" licensed vehicles number
53,000 odd, and there are 27,000 holders. Of the "C" licensed vehicles,
there are 306,000, and 149,000 holders. Under the compulsory acquisition
terms, I anticipate that some 2,000 to 2,500 undertakings will be brought
within the compulsory terms of the Bill, and the number of motor vehicles
involved will be approximately 20,000. In addition, of course, the road
motor vehicles of the railway companies will come over with the railway
companies, and will number approximately 11,000, and there are 3,000
other vehicles in which the railways are financially interested. Altogether,
between 30,000 and 35,000 road haulage vehicles will come over as a result
of the compulsory terms of acquisition.
Hon. Members will observe that there are special exemptions for bulk
liquids in tanks, meat and livestock, furniture removals and similar special-
ized traffic, which is exempted. I must point out here that, while I provide
that road hauliers are free to operate within a 25 miles' radius, beyond that
25 miles' radius they will have to secure a permit from the Commission to
carry traffic of that kind. [Interruption.] I am sorry to hear interjections of
that kind, as I should have thought that the terms of the Bill here are very
wise, very tolerant and very flexible with regard to the transport of goods
by road. It covers the whole of the normal type of traffic carried out by the
village haulier. The type of traffic brought within the terms of the Bill







House of Commons, December 16, 1946.

represents the type of traffic competition which has been ruinous between
rail and road in the past. Therefore, the economic problem is dealt with
adequately, and there has been no desire to carry it to an extent that will
interfere with the general convenience of short-distance traffic in local
centers.
Particularly is that enforced when one considers the measures proposed
with regard to "C" licenses in connection with this road transport problem.
Again, a 40 miles' radius limit is taken for the "C" licenses. They represent
those traders who find it desirable to service the transport of their own
goods in their own undertakings. This 40-mile limit will enable all retail
trade, and the vast bulk of manufactured and merchanted commodities to
be undertaken by "C" licensed traffic without any disturbance, but, over the
40 miles' limit, there must be no uncertainty as to what we aim to achieve.
While there is no desire to interfere with the bona fide trader carrying his
own goods, it must be made quite plain that it will not be used as an
instrument to sabotage the main purpose of the Bill. As regards the purpose
of protecting the main purpose of the Bill, I think every one who has
handled this problem is quite clear on the matter to which I am now
drawing the attention of the House. For the purpose of protecting the main
purpose of the Bill, the trader who wishes to carry his goods over the 40-
mile limit, with a "C" license, will have to prove his case to the licensing
authority and will have to prove that it is a legitimate traffic for his own
business. It is all set out in detail, but there are broad general directions,
and no trader who is carrying his own goods for a bona fide purpose need
have any anxiety. But any trader who seeks to use that opportunity to
interfere with, undermine or sabotage the work of the Commission by
means of this license privilege, will be subject to the procedure, which
will be used for the purpose of safeguarding that situation.
With regard to road passenger services, they are not provided for im-
mediately in" the Bill. The procedure to be adopted is for the policy
Commissioners to promote area schemes, after consultation with the local
authorities in their areas. Here again, it is the intention that ultimately
they shall be brought completely into an integrated national transport
service. The procedure to be followed under the Bill is set out in Clause 67.
The Commission will promote schemes after consultation with the local
authorities for
"the co-ordination of the passenger transport services serving the area."
The assets and liabilities of undertakings in the area may be transferred to
the body set up under the scheme, and if the objections are not finally dis-
posed of, these area schemes become subject to a special Parliamentary pro-
cedure of this House. I think that that applies also to ports, docks, and
harbors when they are brought within the provisions of this Bill. That
being the case, it occurs to me that adequate safeguards are inserted there
to see that local opinion and local needs are not overlooked.

DocKS AND HARBORS
The question of docks and harbors not having been mentioned in our
publication was raised earlier, and I think I have disposed of that point.







Nationalization of Inland Transport [MR. BARNES]
Even if it had not been mentioned in any official publication, I should
not be standing here to apologize for the docks and harbors being incor-
porated in the Bill. They represent important terminal points in our vast
overseas shipping interests. In many directions new port equipment is
needed for the efficient handling of cargo. We are faced with a necessity
of de-casualizing the dock labor system in our ports and harbors, and that
being the case we must ensure that the equipment of our docks does not
suffer in any way by competition, because of the variety of ownership, or
for the lack of resources in the future. The purpose of bringing the ports
and harbors into this scheme is to ensure that whatever capital resources
are needed to increase their efficiency, will be at their disposal.
Mr. Henderson Stewart (Liberal National): Does the scheme cover the
fishing ports?
Mr. Barnes: The Commission does not cover fishing ports in the same
effective and direct sense that it does our major trading ports. But many
of these small fishing ports are important as recruiting centers for the Royal
Navy and the Merchant Navy, and sometimes they serve other purposes.
Therefore, the Commission will be expected to keep a watchful eye on the
small ports, and to assist them as far as possible. [Interruption.] Has the
hon. Gentleman any objection to that?
Mr. Stewart: As long as it does not mean ultimate nationalization.
Mr. Barnes: As I say, the Bill at the moment covers the trading ports of
the country primarily. I should have thought, however, that the hon.
Gentleman, in his anxiety to help the fishing industry, would have been
glad of assistance from whatever quarter it might have come.

THE FIXATION OF RATES
May I now say a word or two about the Railway Transport Tribunal?
This is the Railway Rates Tribunal renamed. It will take over the powers
of the Railway Rates Tribunal, the remaining jurisdiction of the Railway
and Canal Commission, and the remaining jurisdiction of the High Court
on transport matters. I think the more hon. Members study this Bill, the
more they will see it cuts out useless and duplicating machinery, and brings
it all into an efficient compact organization, which will be able to get on
with the job, and avoid unnecessary labor ....
With regard, to the problem of charges, I do not think it is necessary
for me to emphasize the importance of this aspect of the Bill. Charges
in any system of transport are vital to trade and industry. I am informed
that there are something like 40 to 50 million different rates prevailing
at the present moment. I have endeavored to get a clear, simplified
machinery running through this Bill for the purpose of dealing with
charges. One of the most beneficial results of this Bill will be, if we can
simplify the jungle of rate charges that now prevails in our railway and
transport. industry-[Interruption.]
Perhaps I can best bring this home to the House if I quote from the
Royal Commission on Transport, and then the comment of the London







House of Commons, December 16, 1946


Chamber of Commerce upon it. In paragraph 124 of their Report, the
Royal Commission on Transport said this about railway rates:
"The railway companies have informed us"-
I take it the House will observe that this Commission did not attempt to
ascertain whether it was correct or not-
"that under the principles now guiding the fixing of railway rates, goods are classi-
fied on a system based principally on their value or ability to pay, but conditioned,
to an extent which varies considerably with different goods, by their convenience
of carriage. The present classification and system of rates and charges based thereon
may be said to be a combination of value, packing and weight."
This is what the London Chamber of Commerce had to say:
"The London Chamber of Commerce expressed dissatisfaction with the standard
classification, and said that in practice it is hard to discover any guiding principle
in the classification itself."
Then went on to say:
"Whatever the principles may have been upon which the standard rates were
fixed, they have been nullified to a great extent by the system of exceptional rates,
of which millions are in force at present."
I have been informed that there are some 40 to 50 million different rates in
existence. Whether that is so or not, I do not know....
The London Chamber of Commerce refers to them as "millions." I
say it is perfectly farcical in a period such as that in which we are living,
that those who have been responsible for our railway systems and transport
charges should have been permitted to continue indefinitely this state
of affairs. With regard to the machinery I am establishing, I agree I have
simplified it, and I would welcome criticism and examination of this in
Committee. If it can be strengthened, so much the better. But if the Com-
mission, by the framing and simplification of its charging structure and the
tribunal machinery after full inquiry in public, can simplify this matter,
it will be of immense advantage to everybody concerned. I am afraid I
have unduly occupied the time of the House-
Mr. Peter Thorneycroft (Conservative): Before the right hon. Gentle-
man leaves that point, which is most important, I would like to ask a ques-
tion. We have been discussing the charges; he has quoted the Royal Com-
mission, and has told us what the London Chamber of Commerce said
about the Royal Commission-that they did not think there was any
principle in that. Would the right hon. Gentleman tell us what principle
he has in mind on this question of charges? What is the basis of his charges
scheme, which does not seem to appear at all? Does he think it ought to be
on the value; and if not will he give us some indication of what he has in
mind?
Mr. Barnes: As a matter of fact, the Chamber of Commerce did not com-
ment upon what the Commission said, they commented on what the rail-
ways said to the Commission. With regard to the proposals in this Bill,
the hon. Member will observe that the Commission will be charged with
this responsibility. I am not able to define all these matters in the Bill;
the Commission is charged with the responsibility of submitting the whole







Nationalization of Inland Transport [MR. BARNES]

of its proposals with regard to the simplification of rates to the tribunal
machinery which is established to consider, examine and confirm. There
is also the machinery of public examination through which interested par-
ties can submit their case, and out of this we ought to get, as I have indi-
cated, a considerable simplification.
Mr. Harold Macmillan (Conservative): Will the right hon. Gentleman
say how what he has just stated differs from the present position? These
rates are statutory. The railway companies are not permitted to make
them; they are compelled to make them by the Statute of 1921.
Mr. Barnes: That has been the difficulty in the past. The Commission is
now to be charged, first, with the responsibility of paying its way, and then
with the responsibility of submitting its rates structure to the Tribunal,
while being responsible for the whole of the transport services of this
country, no parts of it being able to compete in a way which makes non-
sense of the term "statutory rate." The 1921 Act, which permitted. the
railways to obtain their standard revenue, left aside altogether the develop-
ment of road competition, which made nonsense of the whole of the
provisions of that Act. We are remedying that situation in the Bill. For the
first time in the history of transport, the British Transport Commissioners
will be able to tackle the charges problem on a common sense basis. As I
was saying, I am afraid I have already taken advantage of the House for too
long in trying to explain this rather difficult and complex Measure.
Lieut.-Colonel Dower (Conservative): Will the Minister make some
statement on the totally inadequate compensation to be paid?
Mr. Barnes: As I have indicated, I am leaving the compensation Clauses
to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the road
haulage undertakings are not getting totally inadequate compensation; they
are getting the cost of replacement of their vehicles.
Lieut.-Colonel Dower: On an average of 50 per cent.
Mr. Barnes: Not at all. They ought to have in their own accounts, a de-
preciation fund equal to the other 50 per cent; if it represents half the
life of the vehicle. Replacement cost is a very fair basis of compensation to
road haulage undertakings.

THE TREND TOWARDS PUBLIC OWNERSHIP
I am afraid I must now draw my remarks to a close. During the Com-
mittee stage, we shall have a greater opportunity of examining the matter
in detail. I can only conclude by stating that a process which has been
going on in this country for over a century is reaching its conclusion and
consummation in this Bill. Transport has been moving steadily towards a
monopoly solution. The 1921 Act, again passed by a Conservative Govern-
ment-[HoN. MEMBERS: "No."]-if it was not passed by a Conservative
Government, there was an overwhelming majority of Conservative Mem-
bers in the House at the time, and they cannot divest themselves of
responsibility for it. That Act compelled 123 separate companies to amalga-
mate into four companies. The London Passenger Transport Act is another






House of Commons, December 16, 1946

indication, but hitherto we have always hesitated to grasp this problem in
the only way in which it can be grasped. Whenever Parliament deals with
any great basic service which represents an overhead charge on the whole
of industry, Parliament establishes a monopoly. The fact that it is broken
up into hundreds of thousands of monopolies does not alter the fact that
the whole of the legislation of this country has proceeded in the direction
of establishing the principle of monopoly in the field of transport, but we
have always denied the nation the advantages of co-ordination, unification
and integration among all the forms of its transport services,
Road, rail and water transport services should not be mutually destruc-
tive elements; they should be complementary to each other, each serving
the nation in its own way and in its own time. One should not destroy the
capital and the livelihood of persons in another. This is essentially an
industry in which finance, annual revenue, annual expenses and annual
receipts, should be pooled. If there are unprofitable parts of the country
which do not pay their way, and if citizens are living there performing some
national purpose, they should still have the advantage of a modern national-
ized system at their service, and that is impossible until all have been unified
into one complete system. Therefore, we have seen the railways, the road
haulage and other undertakings, afraid of the purpose of nationalization,
beginning to come to underground and other forms of agreement, in an
attempt to overcome this problem. We on our side have never denied, and
we have never withheld our view from the people of this country, that as
services move in this direction, they must be publicly owned and publicly
run, with the whole of their accounts and the whole of their affairs sub-
jected to Parliamentary and public examination.
Here we are, after this second great war, faced with enormous capital
expenditure. As I have indicated, the railways of this country are out of
date. Passengers who travel on our railways have not today the comfort,
either in matters of refreshment or of travel, which they ought to have.
[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Because presumably there have not been the
resources-I do not know why not. The fact, however, is that the railway
companies have not provided these facilities. Take railway hotels. Railway
hotels are first-class for first-class passengers, but there are no railway hotels
to cater for the vast majority of persons using the railways. The refresh-
ment rooms of railway hotels do not serve refreshment-meals and food-
[Interruption.] These are very serious matters-to the majority of the
people who travel on our railways. Give us five years. [Interruption.] That
is what we have, five years of power. I was going to say, if hon. Members
would listen to me: Give this Labor Government five years of power in this
field of transport services, and the people of this country will see more
progress than would be made in 500 years of Tory rule.
Major Sir David Maxwell Fyfe (Conservative): I beg to move, to leave
out the word "now" and at the end of the Question to add "upon this day
six months."
The Opposition recognize that the proposals put forward by the right
hon. Gentleman have one element-that of size. We believe that the intro-







Nationalization of Inland Transport [SIB D. MAXWELL FTFE]

duction of this Bill is the greatest disservice this Government have, so far,
done to the trade and industry of the nation. We have, in this country, one
great advantage which our competitors abroad do not possess. In this
country, we have a short distance between the ports and the centers of
industry, and that has given us, and could continue to give us, an advan-
tage, which our competitors do not possess, in the relative proportion that
transport costs bear to general costs. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I ask those
who interrupt me to look at the father and mother of the Bill, the Trade
Union Congress document, in which it will be found that these low costs
are stressed; but we shall not have them under a monopoly which will be
cumbrous and top-heavy, whose structural defects are as manifest as its
powers are unlimited.
THE LESSONS OF THE WAR
The right hon. Gentleman was remarkably restrained and remarkably
modest in one section of his speech. He made only the shortest and most
tenuous claims for any lessons which had to be learned from integration,
Government control, or whatever term he chooses to use, of our transport
services during the war, and he was very wise in his modesty and restraint.
The right hon. Gentleman has given us one reason for this integration,
with regard to railway services, and that was the difficulty of doing capital
works on the railways. He knows as everyone knows that the railway
companies had their plans ready for renewals, replacements and new works,
and to take his own example, he knows it was planned and that everything
was prepared to rebuild Euston Station, which is one of the examples he
chose in this matter. He has not said one word, however, about the vari-
ous claims which are made, and he has not supported even the parental and
maternal document, in claiming that there would be any standardization
of equipment, improvement on handling costs, or anything of that kind.
He knows very well the experience of Government control, with regard to
the road services, during the war. When the Road Haulage Organization
attempted to exercise control, for the purpose of saving petrol and rubber,
what was the result? Three weeks' delay before the return journey, and
that went on until the trade unions themselves complained about their
members being kept away so much. Since that has been stopped, there
has been an increase of 40 per cent of usage of capacity of vehicles, and a
reduction of 50 per cent on empty journeys. Since that control and or-
ganization were removed, we get five round trips a fortnight from London
to Manchester, instead of one a week, which was all the organization was
able to perform.
It is interesting that the last word on that effort to have Government
control was said, not by anyone in the Conservative Opposition, but by
Sir Cyril Hurcomb, Director-General of the Ministry of Transport, who
ought to know. He said during the war:
"Detailed allocation of traffic has not been practicable, nor indeed, has it been
easy to find any fixed principles on which to allocate at all .... It must be confessed
that war-time allocation of traffic has not been based on principles or methods likely
to be applicable to ordinary conditions."






House of Commons, December 16, 1946

THE NEED FOR AN INQUIRY
After that, I was relieved and not surprised, that the right hon. Gentle-
man could not quote any precedent on which to buttress the suggestions
he is putting forward today. He did not spend five minutes in the one
hour and twenty minutes which he took to make his speech-although I
do not complain about the length of time of that, because I was glad to
hear his views-in explaining how the integration will be reflected in econ-
omy of transport, which alone can give to industry the benefits it needs.
The right hon. Gentleman has had great experience, and he must realize
the complete self-contradiction of his own setup. The whole basis of his
structure, as he made clear during his speech, is a functional division of
the Executives, which will perpetuate disintegration-the very thing he is
claiming to do away with under this Bill. His structure fits neither the
facts of industry, nor the theories of Socialism which he is putting forward.
I again found it interesting to note the very short period which the
right hon. Gentleman devoted to the question of a public inquiry. He
purported to demolish the arguments for a public inquiry. His first argu-
ment was that there had been a number of inquiries. The right hon.
Gentleman is well aware that there has never been an inquiry into the
technical merits of the various proposals for the industry as a whole, and
that the form of nationalization he is suggesting has not been the subject
of any inquiry, except in the case of a survey by a committee, which is
among the four T.U.C. documents to which I shall later refer. As the
right hon. Gentleman said-and I entirely agree with him-inquiries can
be dangerous, and it is because we on this side of the House are certain
that a public and impartial inquiry would be completely dangerous to the
half-baked proposals in this Bill, that we consider it is essential that it
should take place, and that these proposals should be exposed to a public
and impartial hearing.

IMPOSITIONS ON THE CONSUMER
I want the right hon. Gentleman to consider his own scheme from two
points of view. First, there is the standpoint of practical help to industry.
The right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary and the Chancellor
of the Exchequer have all paid lip service to the idea of an expansionist
economy. They have all said that everyone should co-operate to secure
the greatest production and the corresponding consumption which is neces-
sary for its continuance. Yet the first herald of that expansionist scheme,
based on greater production, is to be a scheme for transport about which
99 per cent of all the comments that have been made have remarked on its
restriction and its rigidity, instead of its power to serve the public. The
right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues know that these proposals must
take a decade to put into operation. He knows that it took eight to 10
years before amalgamations of the railway companies could be brought
into being after the Act of 1921. Now, when we are enjoined almost daily,
from the Government Front Bench, to look at our trade recovery, we are
having the wildly irresponsible course of all the attention of every oper-
ator engaged in transport deflected from his ordinary work of serving in-






Nationalization of Inland Transport [SIR D. MAXWELL FYFE)

dustry into looking at what will be, and must be, his position under these
nationalization proposals.
We on this side of the House maintain that there are four irreducible
minima if transport is to be the true servant of industry. First, there must
be freedom of user choice on the part of the user of transport; second, there
must be unrestricted power of the trader to carry his goods in his own
vehicles, as he does at present under the "C" license; third, there must be
the right and the opportunity of reward for efficient service and efficient
running to be passed on to the user; fourth, in times of high production,
such as we are looking to, there could afford to be greater elasticity of entry
into the industry. What do the proposals in the Bill do? They take over
the railways and long-distance haulage, and restrict all other haulage oper-
ators. They contain the power to make the consumer take the type of
transport which the Commission or the Minister thinks right; and they
take away the safeguard of the trader to carry his own goods in his own
vehicles. We have seen that the right hon. Gentleman has got his Bill
practically idea for idea-I will not say word for word-out of the T.U.C.
document No. 2. We know that he is aiming at the position where it
will be the responsibility of the national transport authority to ensure that
traffic is carried by the form of transport which is most economical for the
community. In other words, this will be achieved most simply and thor-
oughly by a completely co-ordinated service, in which the consumer does
not specify the form of transport by which his goods are to be moved.
The right hon. Gentleman's aim is that consumer choice of transport must
disappear at the earliest possible moment. The Parliamentary Secretary
need not look so depressed if, when the Minister has taken 90 per cent
of his Bill from this T.U.C. document, we form the opinion that he is
likely to take the other 10 per cent from it, too.
ROAD HAULAGE TRANSPORT
The right hon. Gentleman talked about the Central Transport Consulta-
tive Committees. They are only to be set up as he thinks fit. He can
abolish them as he likes, and there is no requirement that their conclusions
can be published. They are a useful camouflage of complete Ministerial
control. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider the aspect of restric-
tion which he desires to impose on "C" license holders. I appreciate that
the Minister and Members opposite do not believe in the study of the
customers' convenience, which results in greater orders for the transport
operator who does so, but even if they do not believe in that I do object
to their "stacking the pack," by removing the trumps by which alone the
trader today can protect himself against bad transport, or conditions or
prices which he does not like. The check, the safeguard which has existed,
and which has always been in the hands of the trader, is hamstrung by the
provisions of this Bill. If I correctly appreciated the right hon. Gentle-
man's speech, he deliberately desires that that hamstringing should take
place. Apart altogether from the check, the right hon. Gentleman should
know that unrestricted power to run under a "C" license is essential to a
great variety of industries if they are to continue efficiently and, indeed, to
go on with their work at all. In the 12 years in which I have had the






House of Commons, December 16, 1946


honor to be a Member of this House, I have seen a great many rises of
public dissatisfaction, some genuine and some inspired, as everyone who
has been in this House as long must have seen. But I do say to the right
hon. Gentleman-and I am not making any rhetorical point on this-that
I cannot find one association of traders, or one responsible body of traders
in the country which does not protest sincerely, and with a real sense of
fear, about what will happen to their own businesses from the restrictions
which the right hon. Gentleman is seeking to impose on "C" license hold-
ers. I do not pursue the other point which is equally clear, that when the
right hon. Gentleman has taken over the "A" and "B" licenses the Com-
mission, on his behalf, will be able to compete unfairly with those road
hauliers who are left, because I want the House to consider for a few mo-
ments, the administrative weaknesses of the setup in the Bill.

WEAKNESSES OF THE BILL
First, with regard to its excessive size, it has been a matter of common
knowledge, and fairly general complaint, that the main-line railway com-
panies have found, since the Act of 1921 was put into effective operation,
that they have had rather more than enough on their plates in dealing
with the companies at their present size. It is now proposed that the Rail-
way Executive alone should have to deal with an organization about three
times the size of the L.M.S., or the L.N.E.R. The right hon. Gentleman
does not lay down in his Bill-and he did not, in his speech, shed any light
on it-the way in which the Commission will bring about the co-ordination
between the different Executives and, as I say, we are left with that same
functional division which he deplored in the more rhetorical parts of his
address. I ask him to consider this point. He has been some 18 months in
office and he knows that the number of subjects which he can deal with
himself are severely limited. If we are to have this setup of Executives,
a Commission and a Minister, with wide powers of interference by the
Minister, which I shall mention in a moment, there must be tripulation of
staffs if this thing is to work at all, even at the slowest possible pace. Ulti-
mate control is in the staff of the Minister, but before we can get any sub-
ject passed up from the various disintegrated Executives of the Commis-
sion and passed to the Minister, there must, in fact, be these staffs in tripli-
cate to deal with it, and the necessity for enlargement is increased by the
functional disintegration which is the basis of the Bill.
The principal argument for integration, and the only argument which
could justify it, would consist of three stages. It would say, first, that we
have too much inland transport, too many people, and too much equip-
ment used on inland transport today; second, integration would give econ-
omy in the amount of manpower and material which we should use; and,
third, we could only get that integration by bringing them under one
system of national ownership. If every one of the matters of fact which are
assumed in that argument were as true as it is thought, and if the reason-
ing were as sound as it was thought, it would still be impossible to square
that argument with this setup which the Minister puts forward.
The Executives, under the terms of the Bill, are to be separated from






Nationalization of Inland Transport [SIB D. MAXWELL FYFE]

the commencement; the demarcation of function is to be preserved until
further notice, which, in the words of the song, means that "it may be for
years and it may be forever." It is beyond the wit of man and the power
of exposition of the right hon. Gentleman to explain how the Commission
will produce and help that demarcation and bring the Executives together.
The only precedent which I can think of for this setup was one which the
wise men of Gotham suggested, when, in early summer, they built a fence
with the avowed purpose of keeping inside that fence the first cuckoo and
hearing its voice.
MINISTERIAL POWERS
Let us consider the powers which the Minister takes to himself. The
right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council used the inspired
words, "Let the argument be directed to the merits, and let the test be
the public interest." Let us apply the test. It is proposed that the Com-
mission shall consist of a chairman and four other members. The mem-
bers will all be appointed by the Minister; they will hold office at his
pleasure and be paid salaries determined by him. It will be subject to
the direction of the Minister in the very wide sphere of "matters which
appear to him to affect the national interest," on the re-organization of de-
velopment programs, which involve "substantial outlay on capital account."
That, one might think, would give the right hon. Gentleman considerable
powers of interference, but, of course, his desires do not stop there, because
he takes under the Bill power to direct the Commission "to discontinue
any of their activities or dispose of any part of their undertaking."
In other words, there is complete control by the Minister, and that
means that, in operation over the enormous field which I just outlined,
he is to be subjected to all the political pressure-and one knows how sus-
ceptible this aspect of life is to political pressure-which can be brought
upon him. The original idea of this form of nationalization-of an in-
dependent statutory body which will have some chance and opportunity
to run the industry and to have independence and to put into operation
the results of independent thinking-is abandoned, and it is inevitable
that, if the Minister is to take these wide powers of interference, the Com-
mission on which, according to his own argument, the pith of these pro-
posals depends, can only be the retreat of the "Yes man" and the sycophant.
It does not stop there. When we come to the Executives, we get an-
other undertaking. The members of the Executives are to be appointed
by the Minister, who will approve of their salaries, and they are to receive
functions delegated by the Commission, but nothing can be delegated by
the Commission unless the Minister approves. The right hon. Gentle-
man comes to this House and emphasizes, almost with tears in his voice,
the importance of the Commission, and, then, in the very same Bill, de-
prives it of the power to command, which alone can give any chance of
making this scheme work. The acme of these absurdities is when we reach
the transport proposals. I have shown that the very setup of the right hon.
Gentleman is the opposite of integration, but one might expect that, at
any rate, he would pretend that this setup would bring about some reduc-
tion in charges to the consumer and user of transport. That must be, on






House of Commons, December 16, 1946


any sane approach to this subject, one of the main reasons for the integration
of transport.
THE CHARGING SYSTEM
But what are the proposals with regard to charges made under this
Bill? Within two years, the Commission must submit a charges scheme
to the transport tribunal, being either hindered or helped in so doing by
the Minister, under Clause 79. There are to be no rules as to the charging
scheme. The Commission may adopt such a scheme as seems desirable to
them. The scheme may provide for fixed, minimum or standard charges,
or maximum charges, which are to run the whole gamut and it may also,
under Clause 80 (I. d) allow special terms, which is another name for ex-
ceptional rates on which the right hon. Gentleman descanted in his oration.
So-and on this I should have thought that there would have been some
word of explanation from the right hon. Gentleman-the tribunal may
leave the charges or charging system to the Commission itself. In other
words-as an hon. Friend behind me mentioned a moment or so ago-
one of the great questions has always been, "What is to be the basis of
charging? Are you continuing charging on what the traffic will bear, or
switching over to a charging on operational cost or on value?" All these
matters have been transport problems for years, shouting for consideration,
yet the Bill does not contain a word of guidance as to how the charges are
to be arrived at, and the right hon. Gentleman spent 80 minutes in which
he refused to accept the situation or to answer the question as to what line
he will take. I should really have thought that if the Government are com-
ing forward with proposals for the nationalization of transport, the House
is entitled to know the policy of the Government with regard to charges,
the vital question which can help or hinder industry in its recovery at the
present time.
COMPENSATION
Like the right hon. Gentleman, I do not consider it my function at this
stage of the Bill to go into the question of compensation in any detail.
The right hon. Gentleman urged the compensation proposals as a reason
for assenting to nationalization. I shall deal with them in even greater
brevity, and I hope in a very short time to convince the House that they
form an additional and obvious reason for rejecting the proposals. Let us
look at the various kinds of compensation. The main objection is obvi-
ous, and was recognized as soon as the proposals were published. They
amount to a confiscation of income and a confiscation of livelihood. But
let us see how that works out. The selection of market values by a Gov-
ernment pledged to nationalization is similar to a thief acting as counsel
for the prosecution, judge, jury, court of appeal and executioneer in a sort
of crazy people's court. Of course, the Government's proposal is to select
market values which their very pledge has knocked down in advance. The
only thing on which I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman is that in
this essay at compensation he has, at any rate, departed from the teaching
of the pink book of the T.U.C. because they say with commendable frank-
ness and truth:
"Most stock exchange quotations are only indirectly connected with the real value
of any undertaking to the community."






Nationalization of Inland Transport [SIR D. MAXWELL FYFEn

The right hon. Gentleman has the double advantage of abandoning the
T.U.C. and putting forward an obviously unfair proposal. As my hon.
and gallant Friend the Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Lieut.-
Colonel Dower) pointed out, the basis for compensation under the road
haulage proposals of two to five years' profits for anyone who is put out of
business is, of course, inequitable-that goes without saying-and less than
any arbitrator could possibly provide; but at any rate it is on an ascertain-
able basis, even if it is unsound. The passenger transport proposals, of
course, reach the height of comedy-good clean fun in this case. In the
case of the local authority which is running a transport operation, the
better that transport undertaking has been managed, the less benefit will
the local authority get out of the compensation proposals. That is just a
little spice of high comedy to leaven a rather dingy loaf. Finally, the right
hon. Gentleman himself gave the keynote to the question of privately
owned railway wagons when he said that a number of them should be
scrapped. For that reason, apparently-because he advanced no other-
their owners are to be paid scrapheap prices for their wagons, with no
question or consideration of their replacement. I have promised to deal
with these compensation proposals only in outline. If I were to go into
them in any detail, I am afraid my language might be a trifle forceful.

THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST NATIONALIZATION
I want in summing up, to put to the House that all the classic argu-
ments against nationalization are illustrated ad nauseum in this Bill. There
is the loss of enterprise and initiative which is shown by the attack on the
road transport industry, whose great work the right hon. Gentleman has
praised, and whose constitution and the people who have come into it are
known to us all, not only because they have had their measure of success,
but because of the pluck and courage which they used in building up their
businesses in that difficult period after the last war. That is attacked.
With regard to the freedom of the worker, we shall see whether this struc-
ture can stand on its head for a sufficient length of time to come into any
form of operation. We shall see, no doubt, in time the strongest trade
union making the same claim as Mr. Will Lawther is now making for the
mineworkers, that every one engaged in this industry should belong to
that union. So, in time-it will take time, because these proposals have
that merit or demerit of taking such a long time to work out-we shall get
a closed shop suggested for this field of our life as for others.
The increased cost to the consumer is obvious. The consumer, under
these proposals, is left with transport as his master instead of as his servant.
Of course, there is the fourth argument, which again is classic, that this
Bill gives an unexampled opportunity for political patronage and jobbery.
When one considers these arguments, at least we on this side of the House
are free from this charge. It is sometimes said that we are merely negative
in our opposition to nationalization. If we can free trade and industry
from the harm and hindrance which these proposals are going to put upon
them, we shall do something very far from negative. We shall do the
greatest positive service that can be done. [House of Commons Debates]









THE INDIA DEBATE
HOUSE OF COMMONS, December 12, 1946

The President of the Board of Trade (Sir Stafford Cripps): I beg to
move:
"That this House takes note of the statement on India made on llth December
by the Prime Minister and expresses its hope that a settlement of the present diffi-
culties between Indian Parties will be forthcoming."
The range of the Indian problem today is so wide, and the points of
interest and of dispute are so many and so varied, that it would be quite
impossible for me to cover the whole ground within any reasonable compass
of time. I must, therefore, of necessity select those matters which seem
to me to be the more important, and which I believe will be of most
concern to hon. Members on both sides of the House.
I would like to start by reminding the House that the historical moment,
which we have now reached in our association with India, is the climax
of a long history between the two countries. The happenings of today
are not the outcome of some sudden action or reversal of policy, but are,
rather, conditioned by the logical carrying through of the policies which
have been pursued by successive Governments for many generations. It
has always been the avowed object of this country to develop its Indian
policies so as to lead eventually to the freedom of the Indian people.
Sometimes that objective has been pursued more rapidly, and sometimes
more slowly, but the direction has been a constant one. Now we are
reaching the goal that we have set before ourselves, and we are encoun-
tering all those difficulties which have throughout been inherent in the
situation, but which have increased in intensity as we approached nearer
and nearer to the realization of our objective.
We have now, for over a century and a half, been intimately associated
with the development of India. We have, indeed, been largely respon-
sible for shaping her destiny and deciding the course of her history.
Whether we have conducted ourselves well or ill, we have carried the
responsibility in a large measure, and today we find that India and her
people, like ourselves, are confronted with the most grave problems that
arise out of that historical development. And do not let us underestimate
the difficulty of their solution. It is sometimes suggested that, but for the
intransigence of this or that Indian party, the matter could be easily
solved. That, I do not think is in accordance with the true situation.
Everyone who has shared in the responsibility for the past of India must
likewise share in the responsibility for the present and we, as a people,
share that responsibility. That is why we are all of us most anxious to
try to find a way out of these present difficulties.
The time has come when we want to hand over power to the Indian
people; the difficulty is how to accomplish that objective. There are two
principles, both of which are democratically sound, but which it is very
hard to match together in a single process. The first is the right of a
majority to determine its own future without any veto or prohibition






The India Debate [Sm STAFFORD CRIPPS)

from any minority; and the second is the right of minorities to enjoy
freedom and a full voice in the determination of their own future without
suppression by the majority.
The only way in which those two rights can be worked out is in a
Democratic assembly, where there is the give and take that we know in
this House of Commons, and a degree of toleration between the opposing
parties. The fundamental difficulty, I believe, in India today is that the
principal parties have not yet shown themselves prepared to trust one an-
other, or to work together on a democratic basis. Deepseated tensions,
accentuated by the approach of the handing over of power, are bitterly
separating those who alone can determine the future of India. It is no
use our girding at the facts of history; we must acknowledge them and
try to overcome them or to get round them.
I do not propose this afternoon to repeat what I said to the House
after the return of the Cabinet Mission from India. I then attempted to
give an account up to that date of what we had tried to do, and of what
had actually happened. I shall have to revert to some of the documents
that were then laid before the House in order to explain subsequent events,
but I will not repeat the whole story. I will proceed from that point in
history.
THE FORMATION OF THE INTERIM GOVERNMENT
The next incident after our return was the attempt by the Viceroy-
to whom I think we should all like to pay a tribute for his hard and
unceasing labor at this task-[HoN. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]-to form an
interim Government. He started, after a short respite, towards the end of
July negotiating with the two main parties. Already, at that time some
of the public statements that had been made as to the Cabinet Mission's
scheme in India had raised doubts and had increased the feeling between
the parties. On 29th July the Muslim League passed a resolution with-
drawing their earlier acceptance of the Mission's scheme. I need not go
into the reasons in detail which are set out in that resolution; it will suffice
to say that they felt they had been misled, and that they would not be
safe in proceeding to join in the scheme laid down by the Cabinet Mission.
It was in that resolution of July 29th that the Muslim League declared
for. what they termed "direct action." Their declaration was in these words:
"The Council of the All-India Muslim League is convinced that now the time has
come for the Muslim nation to resort to direct action to achieve Pakistan, and get
rid of the present slavery under the British, and contemplated future caste Hindu
domination."
They added that, while they would prepare for such a campaign, it would
not actually be launched, or brought into operation, until they deemed
it necessary. In view of that withdrawal by the Muslim League, the Vice-
roy invited the Congress to make proposals for the formation of an interim
Government, in accordance with the statement of 16th June, in the hope
that afterwards the Muslim League might be persuaded to join that Gov-
ernment. On 24th August it was announced that an interim Government
of 12 Members would shortly be formed, consisting of five Hindu members
of Congress, one Congress Scheduled Caste member, one Congress Muslim,






House of Commons, December 12, 1946

two independent Muslims, a Sikh, a Christian and a Parsee. On the same
evening that the announcement was made, the Viceroy broadcast to the
Indian people. He stressed the need, with which Congress agreed, for a
Coalition Government. He stated that he and the new Government, that
was about to be formed, would try to get the Muslim League into the
Government, and that the offer to the League to propose five names for
places in a Government of 14 remained open. He added these words:
"The Muslim League need have no fear of being out-voted on any essential issue.
The Coalition Government can only exist and function on the condition that both
main parties to it are satisfied."
Then he stated that he would see that the most important portfolios were
equitably shared between the parties. He also added these words, with
regard to the Constituent Assembly:
"I can assure the Muslim League that the procedure laid down in the statement
of 16th May regarding the framing of the Provincial and group Constitutions will
be faithfully adhered to. There can be no question of any change in the funda-
mental principles proposed for the Constituent Assembly in paragraph 15 of the
statement, or of a decision on a major communal issue without a majority of both
major communities."
He added that the Congress were ready to agree that any disputes of in-
terpretation of the statement of 16th May might be referred to the Fed-
eral Court.
THE PRESENT COALITION
That interim Government took office on 2nd September without any
Muslim League member. In the middle of that month, the Viceroy saw
Mr. Jinnah, who, after several interviews, entered into direct discussions
with Pandit Nehru, His Highness the Nawab of Bhopal acting as media-
tor. Those conversations, unfortunately, broke down. They broke down
on two points, first because Congress insisted on their right to propose a
non-League Muslim as part of the Congress quota of the Cabinet, and;
secondly, because they insisted upon the inclusion in the agreement be-
tween the two parties of a provision in these terms:
"All Ministers of the interim Government will work as a team for the good of
India, and will never invoke the intervention of the Governor-General in any case."
With neither of these proposals could the Muslim League find themselves
in agreement. The Viceroy again picked up the negotiations, and Mr.
Jinnah asked him for certain assurances. The most important I think were
probably these three. First, that the Congress should not include a Muslim
in their quota-which has been a very hotly disputed question for a very
long time. Secondly, that there should be a convention within the Govern-
ment that on the major communal issue no decision would be taken
unless there were a majority of each community in its favor. Thirdly, that
an alternative, or rotational, vice-president should be appointed, from
amongst the Muslim League members. The Viceroy, in reply, maintained
the position which was taken up by the Cabinet Mission before, that each
party must be equally free to propose its own representatives, whoever they
might happen to be. On the second point, he replied that both he and
his colleagues in the Government were agreed that it would be fatal to
allow major communal issues to be decided by a simple vote of the Cabinet.






The India Debate [SIR STAFFORD CBIPPS)
As regards the third point, he stated that the Muslim League member
would preside over the Cabinet in the absence of the Viceroy and the vice-
president, and would also be nominated as vice-president of the all-im-
portant Co-ordination Committee. Subsequent to that, Mr. Jinnah was
told, in answer to a question put by him, that the Muslim League could
propose a non-Muslim for their quota, if they so desired, and, on receiving
that assurance, the Muslim League decided to enter the interim Govern-
ment. They nominated five persons, of whom one was a member of the
Scheduled Castes from Bengal.
So was formed the present Coalition Government, which is now in
office, and which consists of 14 persons. Perhaps I might remind the House
of the composition. It is, four Congress Hindus, two Scheduled Castes
Hindus, one nominated by Congress, and one by the Muslim League; five
Muslims, four nominated by the Muslim League, and one by Congress;
one Sikh, one Indian Christian, and one Parsee. That Government is func-
tioning satisfactorily today, and I am glad to say there have been no major
difficulties within the Government itself, although, unfortunately, the posi-
tion is not helped by speeches made in the country by the supporters of
the two parties. It is, as the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Op-
position will know, difficult, if not impossible, to maintain unity within
a Coalition Government if an active and bitter struggle is proceeding
throughout the country between the partisans of the two sides to the
Coalition ....
COMMUNAL VIOLENCE
The position has, of course, been made far worse by an outbreak of
violence upon a large scale throughout many Provinces. Bengal, Bombay,
Bihar and the United Provinces are those in which the worst trouble has
occurred. It is right to say that the leaders of both sides have roundly con-
demned these disturbances, and have tried, by visiting the areas and other-
wise, to influence their followers to a more calm, and less violent, frame
of mind. In Calcutta, these riots broke out after the decision of the Mus-
lim League to set aside 16th August as "Direct Action Day." I think those
riots shocked the whole world by their intensity, and they resulted in some
4,000 deaths and 10,000 people injured....
Next, came the outbreak in Eastern Bengal on 10th October when
gangs of roving Muslim hooligans carried a reign of terror into those parts
resulting in the driving out of 50,000 evacuees and causing the death of
200 or more persons. That was accompanied by abductions, rape, and
forced conversions. As a result, wild rumors circulated greatly exaggerat-
ing even that position, which in itself was bad enough. Shortly afterwards,
even worse violence and murder broke out in Bihar, and spread to the
United Provinces. It is not possible to give the figures of dead and wounded
in Bihar with any accuracy-practically all of them were Muslims, and many
of them were women and children-but it is probably not an exaggerated
estimate to put the number of the dead alone at 5,000. In the United
Provinces there was a very serious riot in the Meerut district, and other
connected outbreaks of a lesser degree. It is estimated that since the be-
ginning of September there have been 445 deaths in that Province. In






House of Commons, December 12, 1946

Bombay too, communal outbreaks have been continuing since 2nd Sep-
tember, and down to 18th November 622 persons have been killed. This
terrible toll of casualties is an index of the intensity of the communal
feeling that has come into being, and though it will be deplored and
condemned by everyone who has the interests of India at heart, neverthe-
less it is a stark and naked fact. It settles nothing; indeed it only makes
settlement more difficult; but it is a factor which none of us can ignore.
THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
The members of the Constituent Assembly, under the Cabinet Mission's
plan of 16th May, were elected in July and August both from the Muslim
League and Congress, in addition to those representing minorities. At this
stage, as the House will remember, the Sikhs had decided not to take any
part in the Constituent Assembly, as they felt that their special and a very
difficult position had not been adequately dealt with in the Mission's
proposals. Later, however, they relented, and their representatives were
duly elected. After 29th July, the meeting of the Constituent Assembly
was postponed until 9th December, in the hope that the Muslim League
would be prepared to participate, a hope which was later encouraged by
their entry into the interim Government, because at that time the Viceroy
had expressed to them his understanding that if they came into the interim
Government their Council would reconsider the question of their entering
the Consituent Assembly. However, the League Council was not sum-
moned, and it appeared certain that they would not attend the Consti-
tuent Assembly. That fact was, of course, liable to create further and
deeper tension between the two parties.
It was then that the representatives of the two parties were invited
to come to London with the Viceroy to consult with His Majesty's Gov-
ernment. It was hoped that even at this eleventh hour, some accommoda-
tion might be possible in the calmer atmosphere of London. At those
meetings, the leaders on both sides stated that they genuinely desired co-
operation in the Constituent Assembly, and they realized that some agree-
ment between the parties was essential as the basis for a happy and progres-
sive future for India. Nevertheless, they were unable to come to any agree-
ment on how the Constituent Assembly should proceed. Consequently,
the statement of 6th December was put out by His Majesty's Government.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CONGRESS AND THE MUSLIM LEAGUE
I should perhaps here revert to the statement of 16th May in order
to explain exactly what the most obvious point of difference is between
the two major parties. It may seem on the surface, to some people, a
small one, but it is, in fact, fundamental to the whole scheme. The object
of the Cabinet Mission was to find means whereby they could balance the
desire of Congress of a strong unitary federation on the one hand, with
the Muslim League's desire for autonomy of the Muslim-majority Prov-
inces on the other. That balance was attained by a limited center, the
Constitution of which was to be worked out by a Constituent Assembly,
in which Congress would have a clear majority-on the basis of population
32






The India Debate [Sm STAFFORD CBIPPS]


on which it was constituted-on the one side, and Sections B and C, in
which the Muslims would have a bare majority on the other hand, and
in which, of course, the Provincial Constitutions and, if so decided, the
group Constitutions could be worked out for the two groups of Provinces
-Bengal and Assam on the one hand, and the Punjab, the North-West
Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan on the other. Thus each party
had a majority where it was most deeply interested. It was, however, pro-
vided, that no Province could be forced into a group against its will since,
when it saw and could judge of the group Constitution, it could, at the
first election after the new Constitution was settled, opt out of that group
if it so desired.
The operative part of that statement was in two main sections. Para-
graph 15 laid down the desirable form of the ultimate Constitution. Para-
graphs 17, 18 and 19 gave the suggested procedure of a Constituent As-
sembly to arrive at some such Constitution. The two paragraphs thus
dealt with entirely separate subject matters. The dispute which arose on
how, according to the document, the decision should be arrived at in the
sections, was already a matter of difference when the Mission was in India.
Could a Province vote itself out of a grouping, and thus determine its
own Constitution for the Province, or were both these matters to be decided
by a simple majority vote of the sections? The latter view is clearly the
correct one, in the opinion of the Cabinet Mission, His Majesty's Gov-
ernment and their legal advisers. This view was supported by the Muslim
League. Congress took the contrary view, on the basis that words in
paragraph 15, which dealt with the objectives of the Constitution, overrode
the explicit words in paragraph 19, which dealt with procedure.
As I have said, Congress said they were prepared to submit this question
of interpretation to the Federal Court and to accept its decision, but on
this, to them, fundamental point, the Muslim League were not prepared
to take that risk. There the matter still remains. The Government have
asserted definitely their understanding of the document, and have said
that if the Constituent Assembly, whose actions they can neither control
nor wish to control, should desire to refer it to the Federal Court, they
hope that they would do it quickly so as to remove any doubts in their
minds. The Government had already envisaged the possibility dealt with
in the final paragraph of their statement. This is perhaps a statement
of the obvious, that if the Muslim League cannot be persuaded to come
into the Constituent Assembly, then the parts of the country where they
are in a majority, cannot be held to be bound by the results. That position
has always been realized by Congress, and they repeatedly stated that they
would not coerce unwilling areas to accept the new Constitution.
I do not wish the House to gain the impression that the position is,
therefore, hopeless. We understand that Mr. Jinnah is prepared to put
the matter before his Council with a view to ascertaining whether, on the
basis of the statement of 6th December, they are now prepared to enter
the Assembly. We hope that the Constituent Assembly will show their
statesmanship and their desire for accommodation with the Muslim League
by not committing themselves irrevocably to anything that will make it






House of Commons, December 12, 1946

more difficult for the Muslim League to come in at a later date. For the
moment, therefore, I cannot take that matter any further. It is, perhaps,
a little unfortunate at this very tense and delicate moment that we should
have been induced to stage a Debate in this House of Commons . We
still have hopes that, despite the mutual suspicion and fears which reign,
the two parties may eventually find themselves side by side, both in the
Constituent Assembly and in the sections, for we are as convinced now as
ever we have been, that it is only by such co-operation that a satisfactory
new Constitution for India can be hammered out.

INDIAN STATES: THE QUESTION OF PARAMOUNTCY
So much for the difficulties of the two main parties. The House may
wish to know how the matter stands with the States and the minorities.
I will deal first with the Indian States. The Mission laid down two prin-
ciples as to the relationship of the States to the Crown during this period
of transition: first, that while during the transitional period of the interim
Government paramountcy would remain with the British Crown, the Brit-
ish Government could not, and would not, in any circumstances transfer
that paramountcy to any other Government of British India; and, second,
that when the transfer of power takes place in British India-and then I
quote:
"As a logical sequence, and in view of the desires expressed to them on behalf of
the Indian States, His Majesty's Government will cease to exercise the powers of
paramountcy. This means that the rights of the States which flow from their re-
lationship to the Crown will no longer exist, and that the rights surrendered by the
States to the paramount power will return to the States."
[An HON. MEMBER: "What is the reference?"] The reference is the state-
ment that was circulated while the Mission was in India. It is in Cmd.
6835. Certain proposals were also put forward as to the participation of
the representatives of the States in the Constituent Assembly and also for
a negotiating committee representing the States, which could settle various
outstanding matters with the representatives of the major communities of
British India. These arrangements were welcomed by the Standing Com-
mittee of the Chamber of Princes, in a press statement which they issued
on 19th June last, and the negotiating committee has now been set up.
In that statement they expressed the view that the Mission's plan:
"Provided the necessary machinery for the attaining by India of independence as
well as a fair basis for future negotiations."
Not unnaturally, the Indian States are most anxious that all the major
communities should be represented in the Constituent Assembly as they
do not wish to be in the position of having to deal with one community
only. Their ability, indeed, to co-operate must depend, to some extent,
upon what happens as regards the entry of the Muslim League into the
Constituent Assembly.
THE SIKHS
Now I turn to the question of minorities. The minorities in British
India-and I am giving the figures for British India and not India as a
whole-are the Scheduled Castes, of whom there are 40 million.... Then






The India Debate [SIR STAFFORD CRIPPS)

there are the Sikhs with 4.1 million; the Indian Christians with 3.2 million,
and the Anglo-Indians with 114,000. It will be remembered that, in the
proposals of 1942, it was laid down that one of the conditions of acceptance
by this country of a new Constitution was that there should be a treaty
which, among other things, would contain provisions for the protection of
minorities. In the proposals of the Cabinet Mission this year, the condi-
tions as to minorities were stated differently. That is, it was stated that
satisfactory provision for the protection should appear in the Constitution.
This, we believe to be the most effective way. Indeed, it is in line with
the demands put forward by Dr. Ambedkar in a long memorandum which
he addressed to the then Viceroy, in 1942, when he stressed the ineffective-
ness of treaty protection, and the need for the incorporation of protective
provisions in the Constitution itself.
The second point of interest is the provisions suggested by the Mission
for seeing that proper protection of the minorities should be incorporated
in the Constitution. At first sight, it might appear that this could be done
by giving them weightage in the Constituent Assembly, but when the posi-
tion is examined it will be found that if sufficient weightage is given to
make the representation really effective for each of these minorities in the
Constituent Assembly or in the sections, then it places the major parties
in an impossible position. It would, for instance, deprive the Muslims of
their majority in Sections B and C. In fact, quite a lot of minority rep-
resentatives have been elected to the Constituent Assembly by proportional
representation and with some assistance from the majority parties. There
are six Indian Christians, three Anglo-Indians, 29 Scheduled Castes repre-
sentatives of Congress sponsoring, and two of the other sponsoring. The
Sikhs, of course, have been dealt with as a major party in the Punjab, which
is their stronghold, and, therefore, they have themselves selected their own
quota of representatives.
The Mission, however, felt that this was not, in itself, enough and so
proposed an advisory committee on, among other things, the question of
minorities, to contain a full representation of all the minorities, especially
those not otherwise represented in the Assembly. It was the intention that
this should be an authoritative body, whose recommendations would carry
weight both with the Constituent Assembly and the sections. Those were
the general provisions as to minorities. But I should like to mention two
of the special cases, the more important perhaps one might say-the Sikhs
and the Depressed Classes. The position of the Sikhs is, as everybody
knows, a very difficult one, because they do not have a majority in any single
Province or area of the country. It is, therefore, impossible to devise any
method of giving them any form of autonomy. They are, however, a very
important community almost entirely centered in the Punjab, and they
wished, in that section which contained the Punjab, to be given the right
to veto any provision which affected their community, just as the Muslim
League had the right on any major communal issue in the Constituent
Assembly itself.
That, however, was not possible, because a similar right would have
had to be given to the other minorities, notably the Hindus, in that sec-






House of Commons, December 12, 1946


tion, and, if two such vetoes had existed, it would have been almost a
certainty that the section would never have arrived at any decision at all.
In fact, by avoiding partition, which would have divided the Sikhs into
two halves, they have at least been saved what was the worst solution from
their point of view. Weightage could not be given, either, for if they had
been given a weight, the Muslims, though a majority of the population,
would have lost their majority of votes.
The Sikhs are not, perhaps, in so bad a position as they may think,
for both the other two communities must be anxious for their support,
and both have stated that they are willing to meet and deal effectively
with the fears which the Sikhs express. I feel sure that, if that very valiant
community exercise patience, they will find that they will come very well
out of it.
THE SCHEDULED CASTES
So far as the Scheduled Castes are concerned, the House will realize
that they are divided into two main sections, those who adhere to the
Congress organized body and those who adhere to Dr. Ambedkar's organi-
zation. The Mission, when it was in India, was, of course, proceeding on
the basis of the recent Provincial elections, and we were bound to accept
the result of those elections. Undoubtedly, as a result of the Poona Pact
of 1932, which the House no doubt remembers, the method of election of
the representatives of the Depressed Classes favors the Congress organiza-
tion. That pact, it is said, was entered into under duress by Dr. Ambedkar,
but, however it was agreed, the procedure there laid down is incorporated
in the Constitution.
The actual results of the Provincial elections were as follow. Of the
total of 151 seats for Depressed Classes in all the Provincial Legislatures,
as to 45, only one candidate was nominated. Therefore, he was automa-
tically elected. That was, 43 Congress and two Independents. As to 63,
there were no primary elections, as less than four candidates were nomi-
nated. In the main election, 60 Congress and three Independents were
elected. As to 43 only were there any primary elections, and in only 22
of these were there any representatives of Dr. Ambedkar's organization
and they won in 13 of the 22. Congress won 20 of the 43, and Indepen-
dents won 10. Taking all the votes cast in this primary election, which,
as the House knows, is the only election which is exclusively by the De-
pressed Classes themselves, Congress hold 29 per cent, Independents 44
per cent and Dr. Ambedkar's organization 26 per cent. In the final elec-
tion, only two of Dr. Ambedkar's candidates were successful. In the result,
therefore, only two members representing Dr. Ambedkar's federation, and
123 representing the Congress, the rest being Independents, were returned
to the Provincial Assemblies. As it turned out, the Scheduled Castes have
got two representatives in the interim Government, one from the Congress
organization and one an Independent from Bengal who is, in fact, a sym-
pathizer with Dr. Ambedkar's federation. In the Constituent Assembly,
there are 29 Congress Scheduled Castes representatives and two others,
one Dr. Ambedkar himself and one from the Punjab. That, of course, on






The India Debate [Mn. CHURCHILL]


the electoral figures, is a high proportion, but, here again, we hope that
representation will be given to both organizations in the advisory com-
mittee on minorities.
After a careful re-examination of the scheme that was put forward
in May last, we are convinced that it is not only fair but feasible. What-
ever the scheme however, it is clear that it can only succeed by co-opera-
tion and a certain degree of tolerance. Whether it is in the Constituent
Assembly itself, or in the sections, neither community can force the other
to accept its decisions unless there is sufficient mutual trust in the basic
democratic intention of both parties. We still hope that both the main
parties may accept this statement of 16th May in its original intent and
form, as an agreement between them, by which they are both honorably
bound, not only in the letter but in the spirit. We can see no other way
by which the disaster of civil strife can be avoided. Nor has either party
been able to suggest any alternative method which is acceptable to the
other party. We hope very much that nothing which will be said in this
Debate, will accentuate the differences that exist, or make more difficult
the coming together of these two great communities for the future ben-
efit and glory of their country.
I have attempted to lay before the House some of the main facts of
the present Indian situation as I think it might form a useful introduction
to this Debate. I tried to be objective, in a summary which must, of ne-
cessity, omit many incidents. His Majesty's Government are, of course,
most deeply concerned at recent developments in India. Anxious as they
are to see a rapid and smooth transition to self-government, they believe
that it is still possible for the plan of the Cabinet Mission to be carried
through, and I am convinced that it is essential that all parties in India
should call a halt to the violent propaganda that has stirred up the people
over the last few months. The first conditions for a successful outcome
of co-operation in the interim Government, and, if it comes, in the Con-
stituent Assembly, is that all parties should show by their conduct outside
those bodies, the reality of their desire to co-operate within them. If this
degree of mutual trust can be engendered, there is no reason that we can
see why, within the next year, a new Constitution should not be worked
out which will then enable the British people to hand over to the Indian
people, with dignity and completeness, the power which they have so long
exercised in India. By so doing, we shall complete a great chapter of world
development, and realize the hopes of many of those British citizens who
have served India so well in the past.


The Leader of the Opposition (Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill): The
House is indebted to the President of the Board of Trade for the careful,
lucid and comprehensive statement which he has made, and we all asso-
ciate ourselves with him in his appeal to the leaders of the various parties
in India to abstain from violent propaganda or invective against each other,
which may have the effect of bringing about a recrudescence or intensifi-
cation of the grave disorders which have occurred. The right hon. Gentle-







House of Commons, December 12, 1946

man deplored, in moderate terms, the fact that we were having a Debate
on this subject today. But it would be a pity if the British Empire in
India passed out of life into history, without the House of Commons seem-
ing to take any interest in the affair, and without any record, even in
HANSARD, of the transaction.
It is several months since we have even discussed the Indian drama
which is unfolding itself remorselessly. So far, in this Parliament, we have
never voted in a Division on these issue, momentous though they be to
Britain, to the British Commonwealth of Nations, to the world at large
and, even more, to the 400 million who dwell in the Indian continent.
Words are almost inadequate to describe their vastness. But memorable
as these issues may be, we have never divided the House on them, nor shall
we do so on this occasion. We must still indulge the hope that agree-
ment will be reached between the two great Indian religions and between
the political parties which give modern expression to their age-long antag-
onisms. We should however, be failing in our duty if we in this House
gave the impression to India that we were inattentive, or even indifferent,
to what is happening, and what is going to happen out there. For many
generations, Parliament has been responsible for the government of India,
and we can only relieve ourselves, or be relieved, from that burden by the
passing of a solemn Act. While we are responsible, it would, in my opinion,
be disastrous and be discreditable to the House if the whole Session passed
away, with nothing but a casual reference being made to these tremendous
and immeasurable events which are taking place.
DISAGREEMENT ON THE INDIA QUESTION
There is another aspect. If we remained silent after all these months,
it might be thought that we were in agreement with His Majesty's Govern-
ment, and that the policy which they were pursuing was a national policy,
and not a party policy of the forces which they represent. It might be
thought that this was a policy of Britain as a whole, and that the execution
of it was endorsed by the British people as a whole, whereas, for good or
ill, the responsibility rests with His Majesty's Government. On their heads
lies the responsibility, not only for the execution of the policy, but for the
powerful impulse they have given to a great many tendencies which are
dominant in this matter today. I say nothing to derogate from any utter-
ances or statements which have been made by the Members of other par-
ties. They are all excellent, but I should be very sorry indeed to feel that,
as matters unfold in India, there is any question of our being held account-
table at the present moment, for the course of events. Therefore, we are
bound to take an opportunity to challenge the Government on this matter
by bringing the affair to the light of day.
The newspapers, with their alluring headlines, do not do justice to
the proportion of current events. Everyone is busy, or is oppressed by
the constant cares and difficulties of daily life. Headlines flicker each day
before them. Any disorder or confusion in any part of the world, every
kind of argument, trouble, dispute, friction or riot all flicker across the
scene. People go tired to bed, at the end of their long, bleak, worrying
38






The India Debate [MR. CHURCHILL]


days, or else they cast care aside, and live for the moment. But, all this
time, a tremendous event in Asia is moving towards its culmination, and
we should be unworthy of the times in which we live, or of the deeds
which we have done if, through unduly careful restraint, we appeared to
others unconscious of the gravity, or careless of the upshot of events which
affect the lives of vast numbers of human beings who, up to the present,
have dwelt for well or ill beneath our protecting shield. My colleagues
and I were convinced that if we put off all notice of Indian affairs until
the end of January-because that is what it would have come to-or, pos-
sibly, February of next year after all these months of silence, the immense
accountability of the House of Commons and of the British nation might
slip, with so much else, uncared for, away. For these reasons, I am sure
that we ought not to separate without making at least a passing comment,
to put it mildly, upon the main new features of the Indian problem which
have presented themselves to us so prominently in the last few weeks.
ABSENCE OF AGREEMENT
There are three main new features to which I would direct the atten-
tion of the House this afternoon. There was, and there still is, a general
measure of consent here and throughout the island to the final transference
of power from the House of Commons to Indian hands, but that that
transference, if it is to take place, must be based upon the agreement and
the co-operation of the principal masses and forces among the inhabitants
of India. Only in this way could that transference take place without
measureless bloodshed out there, and lasting discredit to our name in the
world. Those who are content with the general movement of our relations
with India over the last 20 years have hoped that the desire of many
Indians to be rid forever of British rule and guidance would have brought
about a melting of hearts among the vast populations inhabiting the In-
dian continent, and that they would have joined together to maintain the
peace and the unity of India, and stride forth boldly into their indepen-
dent future, on which we impose no bar.
Those are not my views; they are the views of a very great number of
people. But it is necessary to place on record the undoubted fact that no
such melting of hearts has, so far, occurred. I think that that would be
considered in harmony with the habit of understatement which has often
received acceptance in this House. On the contrary, all the facts and all
the omens point to a revival, in an acute and violent form, of the internal
hatreds and quarrels which have long lain dormant under the mild incom-
petence of liberal-minded British control. This is the dominating fact
which stares us in the face today. The House will probably be of the
opinion that it is too soon for us to accept this melancholy conclusion, or
to regulate our conduct by it. To me, however, it would be no surprise
if there were a complete failure to agree. I warned the House as long
ago as 1931, when I said that if we were to wash our hands of all respon-
sibility, ferocious civil war would speedily break out between the Muslims
and Hindus. But this, like other warnings, fell upon deaf and unregarding
ears.







House of Commons, December 12, 1946


I have always borne in mind the words my father used when he was
Secretary of State for India 60 years ago. He said:
"Our rule in India is, as it were, a sheet of oil spread out over a surface of, and
keeping calm and quiet and unruffled by storms, an immense and profound ocean
of humanity. Underneath that rule lie hidden all the memories of fallen dynasties,
all the traditions of vanquished races, all the pride of insulted creeds, and it is our
task, our most difficult business, to give peace, individual security and general pros-
perity to the 250 millions of people"-
there are now 400 millions-
"who are affected by those powerful forces, to bind them and to weld them by the
influence of our knowledge, our law and our higher civilization, in process of time
into one great united people and to offer to all the nations of the West the ad-
vantages of tranquility and progress in the East."
That is the task which, with all our shortcomings and through all our
ordeals, we have faithfully and loyally pursued since Queen Victoria as-
sumed the Imperial Crown. That is the task which we have now declared
ourselves willing to abandon completely, provided that we have such as-
surance of agreement between the Indian races, religions, parties and forces
as will clear us from the responsibility of bringing about a hideous collapse
and catastrophe. We have no such assurance at the present time. Agree-
ment in India, which was the basis of all our policy and declarations, was
the indispensable condition. It was the foundation of the Cripps Mission
in 1942; it was the keynote of the Cabinet Mission sent out this year, but
there is no agreement before us yet; I stress "yet." There is only strife and
bloodshed, and the prospect of more and worse. That is the first point
of which we must take note-the absence of agreement which, it was com-
mon ground between us, should stand as the foundation of the future
transference of power in India.

THE COMMUNAL RIOTS
The second point to which I would like to draw the attention of the
House is the cardinal error of His Majesty's Government when, on 12th
August, they invited one single Indian party, the Congress Party, having
made other efforts, to nominate all the members of the Viceroy's Council.
Thereby they precipitated a series of massacres over wide regions, unparal-
leled in India since the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Indeed, it is certain that
more people have lost their lives or have been wounded in India by vio-
lence since the interim Government under Mr. Nehru was installed in
office four months ago by the Viceroy, than in the previous 90 years, or
four generations of men, covering a large part of the reigns of five Sover-
eigns. This is only a foretaste of what may come. It may be only the first
few heavy drops before the thunderstorm breaks upon us. These frightful
slaughters over wide regions and in obscure uncounted villages have, in
the main, fallen upon Muslim minorities. I have received from high and
credible witnesses, accounts of what has taken place, for instance, in Bihar.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman gave us his report. What happened
in Bihar casts into the shade the Armenian atrocities with which Mr. Glad-
stone once stirred the moral sense of Liberal Britain. We are, of course,
cauterized by all that we ourselves have passed through. Our faculty for
40







The India Debate [MR. CHURCHILL]

wonder is ruptured, our faculty for horror is numbed; the world is full
of misery and hatred. What Mr. Gollancz, in a remarkable book-which,
I may say, shows an evident lack of peace of mind-has called "our threat-
ened values," do not stir us as they would have done our fathers or our
predecessors in this House; nor, perhaps, after all our exertions and in
our present eclipse, have we the physical and psychic strength to react
against these shocking tidings, as former generations and earlier Parlia-
ments, who have not suffered like us, would certainly have done.
The official figure of the lives lost since the Government of India was
handed over to the Interim Administration of Mr. Nehru is stated at 10,000.
I doubt very much whether that figure represents half the total racial and
religious murders which have occurred up to date. An outbreak of animal
fury has ravaged many large districts, and may at any time resume or
spread its devastation through teeming cities and Provinces as big as Eng-
land or the main British island. It is some comfort to recall, and I was
glad the right hon. and learned Gentleman reminded us of it, that both
Muslim and Hindu leaders have joined together to arrest, or at least miti-
gate this appalling degeneration. I have been informed that it was Mr.
Nehru himself who gave the order which the Provincial Government of
Bihar had been afraid to give, for the police and troops to fire upon Hindu
mobs who were exterminating the Muslim minorities within their midst
-for so long had they dwelt side by side, if not in amity, at least in peace.
That was certainly to his credit and may be taken, so far as it goes, as an
encouraging sign.
Nevertheless, I must record my own belief, which I have long held
and often expressed, that any attempt to establish the reign of a Hindu
numerical majority in India will never be achieved without a civil war,
proceeding, not perhaps at first on the fronts of armies or organized forces,
but in thousands of separate and isolated places. This war will, before it
is decided, lead through unaccountable agonies to an awful abridgment
of the Indian population. Besides and in addition to this, I am sure that
any attempt by the Congress Party to establish a Hindu Raj on the basis
of majorities measured by the standards of Western civilization-or what
is left of it-and proceeding by the forms and formulas of governments with
which we are familiar over here, will, at a very early stage, be fatal to
any conception of the unity of India.
The right hon. Gentleman gave us some account of the differences that
had arisen about the declaration of 16th May, as between the two parties
and so forth. But the technical and procedural points now in dispute in
Delhi are not the issues at stake; they are only the tactical and argumenta-
tive counters; they are only the symbols of passions and hatreds deep in
the soil of India, and measured by the standard of a thousand years. The
unity of India is of superficial appearance, imposed by many generations
of British rule, upon a mighty continent. It will pass away for long periods
of time, once the impartial element of guidance from outside is withdrawn.
Whatever may be thought of these conclusions-and I have no doubt there
is great difference of opinion about attempts to draw conclusions in re-
gard to matters of such vast, vague and obscure a character-the facts upon
41







House of Commons, December 12, 1946


which they are based should, I am sure, at this stage not pass without
occasional mention in the House of Commons, which, as I have said, until
other arrangements are made bears a lawful, legal and inescapable respon-
sibility for what happens in India.
THE MINORITIES
The third new and important fact, of which we must this afternoon
take notice, is the declaration by His Majesty's Government-made, I think,
by the Prime Minister last week-with which the departure of some of
our visitors was accompanied. Let me read the last paragraph of the de-
claration:
"There has never been any prospect of success for the Constituent Assembly ex-
cept upon the basis of an agreed procedure. Should a Constitution come to be
framed by a Constituent Assembly in which a large section of the Indian popula-
tion has not been represented, His Majesty's Government could not of course con-
template-as the Congress have stated they would not contemplate-forcing such a
Constitution upon any unwilling parts of the country."
If this is at last the settled policy of His Majesty's Government it will
carry them far. It comprises within its scope, it seems to me, the discharge
of our obligations, both to the Muslim inhabitants of India and to those
who are called the Scheduled, or Depressed Classes, or the Untouchables
as they are regarded by their fellow Hindus, to which obligation we have
long been pledged in honor. How this policy will be carried into effect
it is not possible to foresee, and still less to foretell, at this moment. It
is indeed a formidable program after so many slowly grown loyalties have
been repudiated, and so many bulwarks cast away. I take note of that
declaration, because it seems to me to be a most important milestone in
this long journey, which combines the pangs of uphill progress with the
evils which beset us upon downhill progression.
The Muslims, numbering 90 million, some in separate States and the rest
intermingled in an extraordinary manner with the Hindus, comprise the ma-
jority of the fighting elements in India. The Untouchables, for whom Dr.
Ambedkar has the right to speak, number, as I contend, anything from
40 to 60 millions. It is to them that His Majesty's Government owe a
special duty of protection. At present in these negotiations they are not
regarded, in a technical sense, as a minority, so I understand. There is a
technical sense. If you are a minority, certain treatment is open to you;
but if you are not a minority, then you are denied that treatment. They
have been outwitted and outmaneuvered in various ways, through the
Poona Pact form of the elections, as the right hon. Gentleman admitted
with candor and sincerity, and the affectation of pretence is put forward
that they are merely a part of the vast Hindu community, and are not
entitled to be considered as a minority entity in India's life. I must par-
ticularly ask the Prime Minister, or whoever is to speak for the Govern-
ment, to state the Government's view and intentions upon this point.
Are the 60 million Untouchables to be considered as an entity by them-
selves, entitled to the consideration which is to be given to entities; or are
they merely to be used to swell the numerical size of those whom they re-
gard as their oppressors? I should be very glad if a clearer pronouncement






The India Debate [MR. CHURCHILL]


could be made upon that point. I do not anticipate that it will be an
unfavorable one.
I have already remarked, earlier in the Session, that the word "minor-
ity" has no relevance or sense when applied to masses of human beings
numbered in many scores of millions. When there are many scores of
millions the word "minority" really does not apply. We are only 46 million
in this island, but we do not consider ourselves a minority; we consider
ourselves an entity-at least so far. Ninety million Muslims and 60 million
people of the Depressed Classes are not relative facts, but actual and ab-
solute facts. The Depressed Classes are fully entitled to be considered as
an entity, and I repeat my request to the right hon. Gentleman that a very
clear statement should be made on this point.
I must now draw the attention of the House to the character of the
Constituent Assembly, which apparently is to proceed to make a republic
for India, and engage upon it at once. I have not today the intention of
scrutinizing the electoral foundation upon which this rests-30 millions out
of 400 millions.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee): Not 400 millions in British India.
Mr. Churchill: They are dealing with the fortunes of all India. Large
parts of it are not represented at all. There are 30 million electors, who
have not much experience with modern political methods, and that is the
foundation. I say that is not necessarily capable of giving a complete
democratic verdict such as would be required in other more advanced
communities.
Mr. Cove (Labor): Is the right hon. Gentleman in favor of extending the
franchise?
Mr. Churchill: Yes, certainly. I have always been in favor of extending
the franchise. I believe in the will of the people. I do not believe in the
perversion of the will of the people by actively organized and engineered
minorities, who, having seized upon power by force or fraud or chicane,
come forward and then use that power in the name of vast masses with
whom they have long lost all effective connection. I say that as to the gen-
eral foundation. A decision is to be taken, as a result of which the British
connection with India will come to an end. I am not at all admitting that
that decision represents the wish or expression of the people of India; nor
do I admit that the minorities who are going to utter that expression can
claim the democratic title which, in modern days, attaches to those who
speak for the large majorities of universal suffrage elections. The Cabinet
Mission's proposal of 16th May for the setting up of a Constituent Assembly
was essentially a proposal that the main political parties of India should
meet, and through their representatives-70 Muslims, 220 Hindus, in which
were absorbed the unfortunate Untouchables, and four Sikhs-endeavor to
work out the proposed Constitution. Do His Majesty's Government con-
sider that the meeting now taking place in New Delhi, which the Muslim
League are not so far attending at all, is in any sense the meeting of a
valid Constituent Assembly? The fact that the Muslims are refusing to






House of Commons, December 12, 1946


attend remains a fact, whoever is to blame for it, and a meeting of one side
without the other is not a conference. Indeed, the text of the proposals
of the Government and the right hon. and learned Gentleman, whose abil-
ity has been devoted with such disastrous effects to furthering the whole
of this policy-
Hon. Members: Dirty. ...
Mr. Churchill: I remember well when the right hon. and learned Gentle-
man went out as representative of the Government of which I was the
head, and how we had to pull him up because-[Interruption.] I do not
want to say anything-
Sir S. Cripps: If the right hon. Gentleman intends to disclose what passed
between me and the Cabinet on that occasion, I hope he will disclose it all.
Mr. Churchill: The right hon. and learned Gentleman is quite right in
what he says, and I shall not pursue the point. [Laughter.] What is all this
laughter? No one impugns the conscientious integrity and virtue of the
right hon. and learned Gentleman, but I must say that in the Cabinet
Mission, of which we have the results published, which has taken place
under the present Government, his influence has, I have every reason to
believe, been used for an altogether undue emphasis being placed upon
the advantages being given to the Hindus. At any rate, the right hon. and
learned Gentleman can defend himself. No one more than he, has taken
responsibility in this matter, because neither of his colleagues could com-
pare with him in that acuteness and energy of mind with which he devotes
himself to so many topics injurious to the strength and welfare of the State.
To return to the validity of the present Constituent Assembly, on which
I trust we shall have some statement, the document of 16th May states that
if the President of the Assembly should decide that a matter raised is not
"a major communal issue," the party which objects and maintains that it
is a major communal issue, may claim that the matter is referred for the
opinion of the Federal Court. How is it possible that this procedure can
work if the party which objects is not there at all? The meeting in Delhi
is not, therefore-I wish to hear a statement from the Government on this
-the proposed Constituent Assembly which they put forward. Let me
take a more homely analogy. If the bride or bridegroom fails to turn up
at church, the result is not what, to use an overworked word, is called a
"unilateral" wedding. The absolute essence of the matter is that both
parties should be there. While we hope that this may still be the case, it
is still pertinent to inquire if His Majesty's Government consider that their
proposed conference of a Constituent Assembly has begun.

THE CHOICES BEFORE THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT
I am grateful to the House for listening to me after we have had so full
an account from the responsible Minister of the Crown. I feel bound,
however, to end upon a positive conclusion, although I will express it rather
in terms of negation. In all this confusion, uncertainty and gathering storm,
which those who have studied the Indian problem over long years might






The India Debate [MR. CHURCHILL]

well have foreseen, there appear at the present time to be three choices-
the proverbial three choices-before the British Parliament. The first is
to proceed with ruthless logic to quit India regardless of what may happen
there. This we can certainly do. Nothing can prevent us, if it be the will
of Parliament, from gathering together our women and children and
unarmed civilians, and marching under strong rearguards to the sea. That
is one choice. The second is to assert the principle, so often proclaimed,
that the King needs no unwilling subjects and that the British Common-
wealth of Nations contemplates no compulsory partnership, that, in default
of real agreement, the partition of India between the two different races
and religions, widely differing entities, must be faced; that those who wish
to make their own lives in their own way may do so, and the gods be with
them; and that those who desire to find, in a variety of systems, a means
of association with our great free Commonwealth may also be permitted
to take the course which, ultimately, they may show themselves ready to
take.
It follows, of course, from this course, this second alternative, that
anarchy and massacre must be prevented and that, failing a measure of
agreement not now in sight, an impartial Administration, responsible to
Parliament, shall be set up to maintain the fundamental guarantees of "life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness" to the millions, nay, the hundreds
of millions, of humble folk who now stand in jeopardy, bewilderment and
fear. Whether that can be achieved or not by any apparatus of British con-
trolled government that we can form from our dissipated resources, is,
again, a matter upon which it is now impossible to form a final judgment.
One thing there is, however, that, whatever happens, we must not do. We
must not allow British troops or British officers in the Indian Army to
become the agencies and instruments of enforcing caste Hindu domination
upon the 90 million Muslims and the 60 million Untouchables; nor must
the prestige or authority of the British power in India, even in its sunset,
be used in partisanship on either side of these profound and awful cleav-
ages. Such a course, to enforce religious and party victory upon minorities
of scores of millions, would seem to combine the disadvantages of all poli-
cies and lead us ever deeper into tragedy, without giving us relief from our
burdens, or liberation, however sadly purchased, from moral and factual
responsibility. It is because we feel that these issues should be placed
bluntly and plainly before the British and Indian peoples, even amid their
present distresses and perplexities, that we thought it our bounded duty to
ask for this Debate.
[House of Commons Debatesl









THE AGRICULTURE BILL
HOUSE OF COMMONS, January 27, 1947

The Minister of Agriculture (Rt. Hon. Thomas Williams): I beg to
move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This Bill, as hon. Members will have gathered by now, is about agri-
culture. "Agriculture" is a wide term, covering a very large industry, an
industry which, during the past 100 years, has suffered many ups and
downs on the switchback of national policy. During the last quarter of a
century I think there have been more downs than ups, but in spite of all
the troubles of agriculture it still remains one of our largest and most im-
portant industries. Indeed, but for the efforts of the agricultural com-
munity during the recent war, it is just conceivable that these islands might
have been starved into submission, and I do not think it is any exaggera-
tion to say that were it not for their efforts at the present time, it is very
doubtful whether we could make ends meet on the food front.

THE IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE
Even now, there are still some people who do not appreciate the im-
portance of British agriculture. They regard it as the poorest of all our
poor relations. They think that the smaller it is, and the less we hear
of it, the better. We are a very urban-minded race, and it may be that our
vision is to some extent limited to bricks and mortar, among which most
of us live to the exclusion of fields, villages and countryside. It is not
unnatural, therefore, that many people do not realize that 48 of the 60
million acres in the United Kingdom are devoted to one form of agricul-
ture or another, that 1,250,000 people are still engaged in this, our founda-
tion industry, that before the war the output of agriculture was approach-
ing 300 million worth a year and is, at this moment, well-nigh up to
600 million per annum. Moreover, the land, with its products, is one of
our most important natural resources. In these days, when we are striving
to weigh down the export side and lighten the import side of our balance
of trade, and to conserve our meager foreign exchange resources, this is,
indeed, a factor of very great importance. We all ought to recognize that
every extra bit of food produced in this country is a help in our present
difficulties. Further, one cannot over-emphasize the fact that the happi-
ness and prosperity of those who live and work in the countryside are
closely bound up with the prosperity of those who live and work in town
and city factories and offices.
Agriculture and our great industrial enterprises are, to a large extent,
complementary. If one thinks in terms of wheat, one goes on to consider
milling; if one thinks in terms of barley, one thinks of malt, not to men-
tion beer or brewing; if one thinks of sugar, then one thinks of a beet
sugar factory; and if one thinks of ploughing, one's mind goes on to plough-
ing implements and tractors, to steel, engineering, coal, and transport. In
fact, agriculture and industry are much more closely interlocked than
most people imagine. It must be obvious that no one of these two, which






The Agriculture Bill [Mn. T. WILLIMS)


are not isolated units, could prosper for long if the other was languishing.
It is not often realized that the great industrial county of Lancashire still
finds agriculture its largest single industry. I stress all this so that there
shall be no possible misunderstanding about the importance that we on
this side of the House attach to agriculture. I know that in the past the
Labor Party has been regarded as a purely urban party. That is an idea
which has been sedulously cultivated by many newspapers, and some poli-
ticians. But the fact that in its second year of office, with its first majority,
this Labor Government has produced a Bill of this kind, which has been
described variously as an agricultural charter and a farmers' Bible, should
dispose of any lingering doubt as to our attitude towards agriculture.
THE PRE-WAR RECORD
Ministers of Agriculture, in the past, have not always been happily
placed. I have sat in this House long enough to watch a whole trail of
Ministers of Agriculture come and go. Sometimes they have marched to
the Left, and sometimes they have marched backwards, but march they
have certainly had to do, and I am still not sure whether anticipation of
office is not sweeter than the realization, if the office is that of Minister of
Agriculture. But at this moment, I feel very fortunate and privileged to
introduce a Bill which, I think, will place agriculture in its rightful place,
at long last, as a senior partner in our economic system. I do not claim
the sole authorship of this Bill. It is a product of the combined wisdom
of all the different sections of the industry, and of the advertised views of
the three major political parties in this House. What I can do, however,
is to claim that the Government are entitled to all credit for their courage
and sagacity in translating into legislative form the reports and aspirations
of all those concerned with the industry. How different from the pre-war
record I remember so well. I have with me a list of Bills, Orders, Regula-
tions, and expedients which were hurled at us with bewildering rapidity
between 1931-39, all, of course, designed to help agriculture in one form or
another. But, so sure as the then Government patched up one small leak,
two others developed in their place very quickly. We all know the result.
Before the recent war there were millions of acres of cultivable land which
lay derelict. There has been a consistent drift from the land for 18 years.
Farmers, particularly small farmers, had very low incomes, and the wages
of their employees were little better than a scandal. I have said that there
was a drift from the land. If that drift from 1921 to 1939 had been put
into a procession, 700 miles long, there would have been an agricultural
worker leaving a farm for every five yards of the 700 miles. The words
which Oliver Goldsmith wrote,
"A bold peasantry, their country's pride
When once destroyed can never be supplied."
might well have been written at that time.
ALL-PARTY AGREEMENT ON PRINCIPLES
Instead of stopgap, patchwork legislation, this Bill is a piece of con-
structive machinery which has been designed to put the industry on a
sound footing for the first time. There have, during the past year or two,







House of Commons, January 27, 1947

been quite a large number of reports on agricultural policy by independent
bodies. Wartime seems to be a regular forcing ground for agricultural
policies, which everyone-except the Labor Government-seems to forget
in peacetime. The most remarkable feature of all these blueprints is the
large degree of unanimity which is shown on the basic principles. They
all stress the need for stable conditions to allow the farmer to get on with
his job of producing food; they also stress the need, as complementary to
stable conditions, that the industry should achieve the greatest possible
measure of efficiency. They all point the remarkable success of the war-
time experiment of administration through the county war agricultural
executive committees. I need only take one example to indicate the basic
principles that stand out from these reports. I refer to the Royal Agri-
cultural Society of England, which issued a unanimous statement with the
approval of farmers, workers, landowners, and, indeed, the professional
organizations. I quote a small portion of their statement:
"In return for a guaranteed price level, all owners and occupiers of rural land
must accept an obligation to maintain a reasonable standard of good husbandry and
good estate management, and submit to the necessary measure of direction and
guidance, subject to provisions for appeal to an impartial tribunal."
Here was a clear lead, therefore, on the general principles which should
form the basis of a healthy and prosperous agriculture-the sort of prin-
ciples which a few people, including, I hope, myself, have been advocating
for the past 15 or 16 years. In translating those principles into detailed
legislation, the Government have been wise enough to keep in close con-
sultation with the main representative bodies of the industry. I refer to
the National Farmers' Union, the Central Landowners' Association, the
workers' unions, and the professional organizations. We sought, and we
used their collective wisdom, and, if press statements are any guide, they
indicated that those bodies welcomed the Measure as being a workmanlike,
and indeed, a sensible scheme. Not only do the practical men of agricul-
ture welcome this Bill. If election manifestos mean anything-and we are
setting a new fashion in this direction-hon. Members opposite, in all par-
ties and both sections of the Liberal Party, must welcome this Bill. May I
remind hon. Gentlemen of the document entitled "Mr. Churchill's Declara-
tion of Policy to Electors"? I quote from page 9, which states, among other
things:
"We must maintain the fertility of the soil. We must be skillful in the use and
the management of the land for the production of the foodstuffs which it is best
fitted to provide, and which are most required to satisfy the nutritional needs of
the people."
It goes on:
"Our policy will be one of stable markets and prices. In return for this all occu-
piers and owners of agricultural land must maintain a reasonable standard of good
husbandry and estate management."
After that election manifesto, I remember that the hon. Gentleman the
Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill), addressed a huge Conference at
Blackpool, when enthusiasm must have been nearly red-hot. Referring
to agriculture, he asked what had the present Government done, and went
on to say that we had destroyed the system created by my predecessor and







The Agriculture Bill [MR. T. WILLIAMS]
had put nothing else in its place. This Bill today is our answer. The
manifesto of the Liberal Party was, if anything, I believe, more forthright
than the one from which I have just quoted, and I need not, therefore,
read it. All I need say to hon. Members opposite, in particular, is that if
they will read Clause 1 of this Bill they will see just how accommodating we
have been and how faithfully we are fulfilling their promises for them.
The right hon. Gentleman who is to follow me must, I know, feel rather
uncomfortably happy, since he must know that a majority of his constitu-
ents will support this Bill. I cannot see that there will be any disagree-
ment with the principles incorporated in this Bill. We may argue about
details if we will-and I suspect that we may have an odd day or two argu-
ing in Committee-but I think that the main framework of the Bill is a
solid foundation, upon which the industry can build its future.

STABILITY AND EFFICIENCY
Turning to the Bill itself, I would point out first that except for Part 1,
and the statistical and lime Clauses, the Bill applies only to England and
Wales. The Secretary of State for Scotland will introduce corresponding
legislation for Scotland, I hope, early in the next Session. The Bill is a
long and complicated Measure, but I offer no apologies for that. To pro-
vide adequately for the many facets of agriculture, the Bill must be very
wide in scope; but to lighten the burden of hon. Members we have circu-
lated a memorandum of 27 pages; so by now, I suspect, that some hon.
Members may know the contents of the Bill even better than I do.
The provisions are fairly simply summed up in two words which ap-
pear in all the reports previously referred to. They are, "Stability and
efficiency." I think that every considerable proposal in the Bill can be
grouped under one or other headings. The main method of providing
stability is, of course, assured markets and guaranteed prices. That is
dealt with effectively in Part I of the Bill. I cannot imagine anyone ques-
tioning that this is the right method of providing stability. Stability is not
necessarily synonymous with rigidity. Agriculture is composed of many
different forms of production. Conditions vary widely, village by village,
county by county, and area by area. Therefore, no single panacea can
provide uniformity throughout the industry. The methods of providing
stability will vary accordingly. I think that it would be clearly wrong to
attempt to lay down prices too far in advance or the conditions to be ap-
plied to any particular commodity.
Agriculture is part of our economic system. It is not a pursuit carried
on in isolation from the remainder of our national activities, or from world
conditions. It must, therefore, be fitted into any national economic plan.
In this direction, I have noted certain criticisms in the press that there is
no indication of the quantity or kind of production to be expected from
home resources. If that is the only criticism that the press can hurl at
this Bill, I am driven to the conclusion that it must be a very good Bill
indeed. How would it be possible to lay down in an Act of Parliament
the amount or kind of food to be produced here? Obviously, while we
are feeling our way back to post-war economy, the best we can hope to







House of Commons, January 27, 1947

get is a broad indication of the future layout. Therefore, planning must
have regard to world economic conditions, to national economic policy,
and to the technical progress made by agriculture itself. It is true that
the soil and the climate in this country are far better suited to produce
some commodities than others, particularly livestock and livestock prod-
ucts. I think all the experts are generally agreed on that. It is also recog-
nized by the Labor Party, in their statement, in which it is pointed out
that we are peculiarly fitted in this country to produce protective foods-
meat, milk, eggs; vegetables and fruit. Our agricultural system must be
well-balanced, not only over the country as a whole, but on each individual
farm. Recent experience has shown that the ley farming system with mixed
farming based on alternative husbandry, is the most effective method of
promoting efficient production, while at the same time maintaining the soil
in good heart.
These, then, are some of the factors that have to be considered when
determining what part of the food shall be produced from home sources,
but as far as one can see ahead, there is still a large and unsatisfied demand
for liquid milk and other livestock products. We certainly need appre-
ciably more fresh vegetables and fruit than we had in pre-war days. With
a rising standard of consumption in other parts of the world, I doubt if we
can safely rely on importing the pre-war proportion of meat and live-
stock products. Therefore, we need more stock, which we had to sacrifice
for grain during the war. We need more feeding-stuffs both imported and
home grown, but we cannot plan too rigidly or too far ahead as recent
experience has taught us. One other word on this subject. There is an-
other press criticism on certain words embodied in Clause 1, namely,
". such part of the nation's food as in the national interest it is desirable to
produce in the United Kingdom . ."
It is implied that there is a suggestion there that sooner or later we shall
revert to a cheap food policy and let agriculture go hang. It has happened
before, but I hope that it is not going to happen again. It is true that
we want cheap food from wherever abroad we may be able to get it, but
we do not want cheap men either in this or any other country. In any
case, we must make the fullest possible use of our own natural resources for
another reason. We can no longer rely upon our foreign investments
buying our food for us. We have got to work and work hard for our
living. I think the national slogan in agriculture as elsewhere has to be,
"full efficient production at home for as long as we can possibly foresee."
For these reasons, while providing for stability, there must be sufficient
flexibility to enable adjustments to be made to meet changing needs. This
combination, I believe, is satisfactorily accomplished in Part I of the Bill.

ASSURED MARKETS AND GUARANTEED PRICES
Clause 2 provides for annual or special reviews of the condition of
agriculture. These have been in operation during the past few years, and
I hope that when this Bill becomes law they will be written into the law
of the land as a permanent feature of our agricultural policy. These re--
views have worked very well so far because both parties have been dis-






The Agriculture Bill [MR. T. WILLIAMS]

cussing the same data, independently collected, and it has tended to pro-
duce the right kind of atmosphere of mutual confidence. When the Bill,
therefore, becomes law the agricultural Ministers will be required to hold
annual price reviews in consultation with representatives of the farmers.
But the Bill also provides that should there be a sudden change in the
economic position of the industry, involving substantial changes in costs
of production, then arrangements can be made for special reviews. In the
light of those reviews, prices for all the principal products will be fixed
far enough ahead to enable farmers to plan their production in security.
Crop prices will be fixed 18 months ahead, actual prices for fat stock, milk
and eggs one year ahead, with minmium prices laid down for two to four
years ahead-something which the agricultural industry never even dreamed
of before.
The remaining Clauses in this part of the Bill provide for the necessary
machinery to make effective guaranteed prices and assured markets. As
I said a moment or two ago, no single method is laid down in the Bill.
The actual provision for any commodity may be a guaranteed fixed price,
a deficiency payment related to the standard price, such as we had in re-
gard to wheat in pre-war days, an acreage payment, such as we have for
both wheat and potatoes today, or it may be a subsidy, or a price calculated
according to a formula relating prices to feeding-stuffs. Whichever method
is applied, it will be after careful consideration in the light of all the cir-
cumstances. After all, we are still in the grip of wartime conditions, with
rationing of many commodities still in existence, and until we emerge it
would be premature to decide on any variant of present methods. It is,
however, possible in the Bill to use some pre-war machinery should that
be the best method, such as, for instance, the Wheat Commission, or the
Milk Marketing Board, or anything parallel to these.
Clause 4 is widely drawn for that purpose. It gives ample power to
apply any or all of these variants for a period. Obviously, it is going to
take time to work out permanent plans. Therefore, Orders, subject to
affirmative Resolution, are confined to three years with power to extend
year by year. I need hardly remind hon. Members that this arrangement
only applies to the major products referred to in the First Schedule, but
the Government fully recognize that there is a substantial range of prod-
ucts, particularly horticultural crops, which are not covered by the pro-
vision of assured markets and guaranteed prices, although they are, in fact,
subject to the efficiency test under Part II. I want to make it clear that it
is the Government's intention that the general objective in Clause 1 shall
apply to the industry as a whole, and that they fully recognize that other
means of obtaining this object for these other products must be devised.
I fully believe that this machinery for providing stability represents
the most far-reaching step that has ever been taken in the history of agri-
culture. For the first time in history, the farmer will be able to plan ahead
with certain knowledge of market and price, and only another Act of
Parliament can rob him of that security. The farmer will still have to
contend with weather, pests and diseases, not to mention politicians. I do
not know if it is generally appreciated, at least by the townsman, that a wet






House of Commons, January 27, 1947


August or September means a loss of thousands of pounds to wheat growers,
or that a dry spring between April and June may mean a loss of hundreds
of thousands of pounds to dairy farmers. In this country, while we can
turn off the electricity even while one is shaving, we cannot turn off the
rain as we would like to. Not even a Socialist Government can hope to
control the weather.

THE EFFICIENCY CAMPAIGN
May I say one or two words about the second main plan-efficiency.
If the Government undertake to provide stability, then I think it is only
right to expect and indeed to require that all land which is used, or which
ought to be used, for agriculture is efficiently managed and farmed. Unlike
the United States of America, Canada or Australia, land in this country
is scarce. Thus, it is a very valuable commodity and we cannot afford the
luxury of allowing millions of acres of agricultural land to be either dere-
lict or badly farmed. The first step in that efficiency campaign is to make
sure that good agricultural land is not needlessly whittled away. The
Land Utilization division of the Ministry, in co-operation with the Min-
istry of Town and Country Planning, are doing an enormous amount of
work in this direction and, where necessary, we can and do advise other
Government Departments and almost every local government authority in
the country. The same remark applies to the Forestry Commission where
the two Departments are working together in close co-operation.
The next step affects the farmer, who has to see that he makes the
most efficient use of what land is available for agriculture. I do not imply
by that that British agriculture is grossly inefficient-far from it. I think
that even before the war our farming compared favorably with agricultural
systems overseas. Indeed, the yields irn this country were among the high-
est in the world, and the production per man-hour, comparing like with
like, was not unfavorable in relation to that of most other countries. Dur-
ing the war we made further strides in this direction. We became one of
the most highly mechanized agricultural countries in the world and our
knowledge of farming and technical problems greatly increased.
With all this there still remains quite a margin for improvement.
Efficiency is a relative term, and I do not suppose we shall ever be entirely
satisfied that we have reached a final point, but with the combined efforts
of the Agricultural Research Council, the Agricultural Improvement Coun-
cil and the County Executive Committees I think we shall have a technical
service for our agriculturists which will be as good as, if not better than,
any in the world. In fact, we are going a step further with a similar
service on problems of estate management in the very near future. In
addition to the technical services, Clause 101, hon. Members will observe,
allows county agricultural executive committees to continue their services
to farmers started during the war. That is, to provide agricultural ma-
chinery and direct services and labor gangs so long as they may be neces-
sary. Also, in appropriate cases, they will be able to provide goods on
credit as they have done during the war. We shall also, under Clauses 93
and 94, continue grants for drainage, farm water supplies and liming.






The Agriculture Bill [MR. T. WILLIAMS]


ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUPERVISION
I mention all these things to indicate that the State is providing every
conceivable help towards the efficiency of agriculture, but with all our
help and encouragement, and despite the pruning of the worst farmers
during the war, there will still be a number-the fewer the better-who
will fail to make the grade. In such cases, I think, it is fair that the State
should have the power to enforce a reasonable standard of husbandry and
estate management, and that those who fail in their duty to the land and
the nation must make way for those who are likely to succeed. Part II of the
Bill is designed exclusively for this purpose. We lay down in Clauses 10
and 11 rules of good estate management and good husbandry. Upon failure
to reach those standards we shall take power to place a farmer or estate
owner under supervision and to issue the appropriate directions. In the
case of owners, directions would be related to farm buildings, fixed equip-
ment, repairs or maintenance; in the case of an entailed estate we should
claim the right to insist upon the appointment of a competent manager. In
the case of an owner-occupier, the directions will cover any aspect of farm-
ing, cultivation, management, livestock or, indeed, the use of fertilizers. In
certain cases, however, direction could be given without placing a person
under supervision. It will obviously be undesirable to place a person under
formal supervision if there was only one single thing to correct. Apart from
this, we shall only issue directions to farmers under supervision. We shall
enable them to grow the produce for which their farm or farms are best
suited, having regard to the situation of those farms. We shall rely upon
advice and the price mechanism to steer production in the direction desired by
national policy, subject to one exception-national emergency, when, under
Clause 92 we can, by order, take power to issue directions to all farmers in
the land, but I might mention that this was readily accepted by the repre-
sentative farmers' organization.
I want hon. Members to appreciate just what is the position before a
person is placed under supervision. It must have been noticed that his farm is
under-cultivated, and that warnings are of no avail, and the County Executive
Committee must be satisfied that unless the person concerned is placed
under supervision he will neglect his land and, to that extent, falsify the
principles embodied in this Bill. Having placed a person under supervision,
then it is quite clear that the next step is to give him all the help we can
during the next 12 months so as to avoid the necessity for dispossession.
Once persons have been placed under supervision, and once they have been
given directions, they are afforded a real opportunity to rescue themselves,
and I am hoping that that will prove to be the right thing to do and that
the number of dispossessions will be comparatively few. Before any person
is placed under supervision or given a direction he will have an opportunity
of being heard by the County Executive Committee, and, what is more, take
a legal friend with him if desired. Should the case be one affecting owner
and tenant such as the ploughing up of permanent pasture, both tenant
farmer and owner will be able to go to the Committee.
Except in cases which concern new fixed equipment costing more than a
specific sum there will be no appeal against supervision or direction. This,






House of Commons, January 27, 1947

I think hon. Members will agree, is reasonable. The very essence of placing
a person under supervision is to try to avoid the worst and to help the
farmer to do the best. Where there is no satisfactory improvement, or a
person fails to comply with directions over a period of 12 months, power is
taken to dispossess the tenant farmer or to compel the owner-occupier to let
his land, or, in the case of the estate owner, to direct that his estate shall be
purchased compulsorily. It all depends upon the farmer or the estate owner
how many such cases there will be. During the war we took possession of
under two per cent of our agricultural land. Therefore, even though it is
going to be our aim to raise substantially the efficiency of both farming and
management, there really should be few dispossession cases if farmer and
owner will accept their respective obligations. In any case, they will be tried
by their own peers for, after all, executive committees consist of farmers,
landowners, workers and others experienced in agriculture, and in all cases
before dispossession or purchase takes place they will have access to an agri-
cultural land tribunal whose decision in all cases will be final.
I have seen statementA from time to time that if landowners are
expected to keep their house in order there ought to be adequate financial
facilities made available. I have never quite understood this. There have
always been facilities available through private enterprise itself, namely the
banks. Then there is the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation and the Lands
Improvement Company, and both these bodies have large funds available at
a reasonably low rate of interest. Landowners also secured a considerable
concession under the Income Tax Act of 1945. But if, in spite of all these
facilities, it is still found impossible for a landowner to fulfill his obliga-
tions, then he can hardly expect to stand or sit idly by and watch his land
and buildings go to rack and ruin.

POWERS OF PURCHASE
Let me turn to another part of the Bill in which hon. Members opposite
are particularly interested. It seems to have caused a little heartburning in
odd places here and there. I refer to Clauses 79 to 90 where we take power
to purchase compulsorily certain areas of land. Hon. Members must by this
time be aware that there are areas of land in this country where it would be
unreasonable to expect private owners to provide the vast amount of capital
necessary to enable these areas to be farmed efficiently. I refer to the Fens
or to the Romney Marsh which need very large draining schemes, miles
of roads, and houses, to be made fully productive. In such cases it is only
reasonable to expect that the State should tackle such a gigantic job. It is
not a case of the State versus private enterprise. It is a case here either
of the State taking a hand or of the land automatically going out of pro-
duction. In these cases we feel justified in asking the House for power to
acquire such areas compulsorily.
There are other powers of compulsory purchase in the interests of
efficiency in Clauses 80 to 84. For instance, where, as a result of the mak-
ing of a new road or railway, farms are completely severed, we take power
to buy the severed portions where necessary and to re-form them into more
economic units either on the left or the right side of the road or railway






The Agriculture Bill [MRa T. WILLIAMS]

as the case may be. This kind of severance has taken place on a large
scale in the past, but the new trunk roads or new motor ways which every
hon. Member must be contemplating will make this problem a very real
one indeed. It certainly needs tackling, and this seems to me the only way.
Another kind of case is that in which land speculators buy up a useful
economic unit, proceed to split it up into very small portions, erect no
buildings, and then sell these portions to persons with no agricultural
experience. The net result is-or has been in the past-that these persons
lose their money and the land runs to waste, and that sort of thing is
utterly contrary to the interests of the people themselves and to agriculture.
There is only one thing to do and that is to put the farm together again.
If Humpty-Dumpty is pushed off the wall and broken into many pieces,
it is up to the King's men to put him together again. Accordingly power
is taken to make Orders, to apply either to the whole or part of England
and Wales, to buy compulsorily the components of any farm which has
been split up, in order to restore it to its original state.
Another case for compulsory purchase is that in which during the war,
land was requisitioned and it is necessary to retain it in State ownership
to preserve the benefit of the works carried out by the nation during the
war. Let me give two examples. There are areas in the country where
a lot of small units were joined together and then farned as one enter-
prise. The State erected buildings in the center of the new unit and that
unit has been farmed as one during the course of the war and still exists
in that state. It is clearly in the interests of agriculture to continue to
farm those areas as one unit, instead of breaking them up and handing
them back in small pieces to their original owners. Therefore, power is
taken to purchase the pieces which were requisitioned, and also to retain
land which was purchased under the 1941 Act despite an obligation to
offer it back to the original owner. Here is another case I ought to quote,
where we have taken possession of a farm during the war to scotch the
activities of land speculators. There have been many such cases. All hon.
Members know the sort of people to whom I refer-Messrs. Lazy and Do-
little, who do very well out of it-who buy up a farm, split it into small
areas and sell it to persons with no agricultural knowledge. My prede-
cessor readily appreciated that if the new owners were allowed to take
possession, agricultural efficiency would decrease at once. Therefore that
farm, or those farms, were immediately requisitioned and farmed as one
unit as before. The only way to retain such a farm as one economic unit
is by compulsory purchase, and that is what we propose to do under this
Bill. In these cases we are following the precedent of the Requisitioned
Land and War Works Act, and in all these cases the owners will have the
right to go before the Agricultural Land Tribunal to appeal against the
Government.
In every case where we propose compulsory purchase, there are sound,
solid, national reasons for it. In every case it is for the purpose of main-
tenance of agricultural efficiency. Having purchased odd spots here and
there, for the purpose of managing this agricultural land required by the
State or transferred from other Government Departments, we propose to





House of Commons, January 27, 1947

set up an Agricultural Land Commission consisting of five persons, with
a Sub-Commission for Wales consisting of three persons, one of whom
must be a member of the English Land Commission. These bodies will
be non-representative expert bodies, and we hope to obtain persons with
wide agricultural, business and administrative experience. They will neither
acquire land nor yet be able to dispose of land, but they will undertake
all management functions and be responsible for the development or
reclamation of such areas as the Fens and Romney Marsh or similar areas.
They would also play a very special role in connection with the experi-
mental schemes for readjustment of farm boundaries referred to in Clause
84....
LANDLORD AND TENANT
Let me turn to Part III of the Bill which deals with the relationship
between landlord and tenant. For better or for worse, nationalization of
the land was not part of our mandate for the present term of Office, and
we must, therefore, contemplate a continuance of the existing system of
land tenure, and if the proposals for stability and efficiency are to be fully
effective, we must make sure that the relationships between landlord and
tenant do not hinder but are such as may conceivably help. Clause 30,
which gives greater security of tenure to the farmer, is the most important
Clause. In future, where a tenant receives a notice to quit, he will have
a right of appeal to the Minister except, of course, where he has failed to
fulfill the terms of his tenancy agreement, and if the Minister considers
that a change of tenant would be likely to result in the more efficient use
of the land, then the Minister has the power to give consent. There is
one exception to this, however, relating to land purchased before 25th
March, 1947. If the Minister is satisfied that the owner intends to farm
himself, or that he intends it for his child or grandchild to farm, then the
Minister has power to exercise his discretion in such a case. This excep-
tion was made to avoid any very genuine hardship. There may be cases
where, for instance, the owner purchased the land for a son who may be
serving in one of His Majesty's Forces, and in that case it would scarcely
be fair to prevent him from occupying the farm which had been purchased
for him by his parents. It may be, in an odd case here and there, that an
unscrupulous landlord will get through, but I feel that is almost unavoid-
able and I think we shall catch him in other ways.
These provisions will not be easy to administer, but I am satisfied that,
with the assistance of County Executive Committees who have built up a
vast amount of experience, we shall be able to administer them. I am also
satisfied that they will enable the good, efficient farmer to plan ahead with
confidence as he was never able to plan before. I do not share the fears
of those who think that we shall protect the inefficient farmer, for, if we
do, the whole scheme would utterly fail. In any case, there are plenty of
inducements to good farming under Part I of this Bill, and there are ample
powers to deal with bad farming under Part II. This part of the Bill
which should be read in conjunction with the Agricultural Holdings Act,
1923, also contains many other important provisions affecting the relation-
ship of landlord and tenant. Clauses 21 to 28 provide a comprehensive

56






The Agriculture Bill [MR. T. WILLAMS]

code of compensation for improvements carried out by a tenant and for
tenant right matters and for dilapidations. They also abolish customary
rights which vary, without rhyme or reason, throughout all parts of the
country and, in future, claims will depend either upon the Statute itself
or upon a written contract of tenancy. I understand there are some linger-
ing doubts about the final disappearance of what are described as "boozey
pastures" and unstockedd eddishes," whatever these may mean, but, on the
whole, I am satisfied that these changes will ultimately contribute to farm-
ing efficiency, and reduce the high ingoing valuations which are now so
common throughout the country.

TENANCY REGULATIONS
Another matter of some importance is the question of rent. It is obvi-
ously in the interests of efficiency and stability that rents should be fair,
and that they should be in harmony with the economic conditions of the
time. Therefore, Clause 34 enables either the landlord or tenant to re-
quire the other party to submit the rent of a holding for settlement by
arbitration, and once the rent is fixed, it cannot be changed for a period of
three years. The landlord can, however, increase the rent for improve-
ments carried out by him which increase the value of the holding. That
is fair, I think, and should be encouraged.
Mr. Snadden (Conservative): May I ask a question on that point? Does
that refer to leases or just to a yearly tenancy?
Mr. T. Williams: A yearly tenancy. We are laying down by Regulation a
model repair and maintenance Clause which will be read into all tenancy
agreements except where the liabilities of the parties are specifically de-
fined by written agreement. This is important, as I am sure hon. and right
hon. Members will agree, since at long last each party will know their lia-
bilities and no longer will it be possible for one to be "passing the buck"
to the other while the buildings continue to deteriorate. We are also tak-
ing power to vary the terms of tenancy agreements with regard to per-
manent pastures. With our increased knowledge of the benefits of ley
farming, it is obviously important to release the tenant farmer from an
out-of-date tenancy agreement, so that he may adopt a system of alternate
husbandry. Finally, we propose to abolish the loophole in the 1923 Act,
namely, the 364-day tenancy which allows people to evade their obliga-
tions under the 1923 Act. In future, this will only be allowed with the
Minister's consent.
There are, of course, many other important provisions in this part of
the Bill that I need not refer to today. All I shall say is that the position
has been discussed with the representatives of the industry, and we have
reached agreement on the vast majority of the various points. I should like
to thank all those who have placed their knowledge and experience at our
disposal, especially the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Land
Agents Society, the Auctioneers and Estate Agents Institute and the Cen-
tral Association of Agricultural Valuers. These are all very busy men.
They gave their time and their wisdom to us ungrudgingly, and I want
57






House of Commons, January 27, 1947


publicly to express my appreciation and, I hope, the appreciation of the
House, for all the assistance they have given to us.
COUNTY AGRICULTURAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES
Mr. W. J. Brown (Independent): Before the Minister leaves this part of
the Bill, would he be so kind as to tell us something of the composition of
the agricultural land tribunals under Clause 70? . .
Mr. T. Williams: I ought to say here that as soon as this Bill becomes law,
I hope to get a Consolidation Bill which will amalgamate the 1923 Act and
this part of the Bill and make it much easier to be understood by hon.
Members and those outside in the agricultural industry.
For the administration of these various provisions, we propose to con-
tinue the wartime system of County Agricultural Executive Committees
and I am sure that few will quarrel with that decision. These Committees
provide a unique partnership between the industry and the State. They
were remarkably successful during the war, and it is right and proper that
responsible people from all sections of the industry should play a part in
the administration of their own affairs. In fact, without their co-operation
I am afraid the whole edifice would fall like a house of cards, and I shudder
at the alternative, for there might conceivably be as an alternative a repe-
tition of the misfortunes that overtook the industry in the inter-war years.
These Committees will consist of 12 persons. Five will be direct ap-
pointments by the Minister, and the remainder will be drawn from panels
nominated by the National Farmers' Union, the Central Landowners As-
sociation, and the workers' unions. The direct appointments will enable
us to strengthen the Committees with men of special qualifications and
knowledge, such as men with scientific, technical or professional quali-
fications, or horticulturists or smallholders, as well as one member from
the County Council concerned who will provide a link between the work
of the Committee and the County Council in such matters as education
and the administration of smallholdings. In the new conditions the old
County Council agricultural committees will be dissolved and with them-
unfortunately, perhaps, some people think-the Councils of Agriculture for
England and Wales too. In addition to the County Agricultural Execu-
tive Committees, we propose to set up Agricultural Land Tribunals to
whom appeals will be referred. They will consist of an independent legal
chairman appointed by the Lord Chancellor, with a farmer and landowner,
and, in addition, we take power to appoint two assessors where necessary,
because we think in certain cases it will be helpful for Tribunals to have
the assistance of independent professional men. I need only add that their
decision will be final and binding upon the Minister.
Now just one sentence or two about Part IV. It is not my intention to
deal fully with this, since the Parliamentary Secretary will cover the main
points in the Debate tomorrow. I should like to say, however, that land
settlement in this country has a very long history and it has been used for
a variety of purposes, sometimes to satisfy land hunger, sometimes to settle
ex-Servicemen, and sometimes to settle unemployed men on the land. It
has not always been a huge success. We intend to make a fundamental
58






Town and Country Planning [MR. SLKIN]

change in our approach to smallholdings policy. It is no longer to be an
offshoot of social policy. We shall make a deliberate attempt to settle
agricultural workers, or sons of farmers, and we shall insist on having them
settled on good land, which is well laid out, fully equipped and of ap-
propriate economic size. We want to settle the right type of man on the
right type of holding, and to give them a chance from the word "Go." I
hope that policy will commend itself to the House.
I fear I have detained the House far too long-[HoN. MEMBERS: "Go
on."]-but this is a very long Bill. I believe it is a complete, comprehensive,
and constructive policy. I think it is something which the industry has
needed for a very long time. There seems to me to be little or no politics
inside it. It is generally agreed to be a desirable Bill, and I hope to see
the House absolutely unanimous. If, despite my usual modesty, I claim
some little paternal credit for the Measure, I hope the House with equal
enthusiasm, will readily become its stepfather-stepfather, I believe, of a
very healthy, and very vigorous, infant.
[House of Commons Debates]



TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING
HousE OF COMMONS, January 29, 1947

The Minister of Town and Country Planning (Rt. Hon. Lewis Silkin):
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This Bill has been described as the most important for a century. I
should not go as far as that, but I do say that it is the most comprehensive
and far-reaching planning measure which has ever been placed before
this House. I am very conscious of the great responsibility which falls on
me in introducing a Bill of this magnitude and historic character.

THE OBJECTS OF TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING
The objects of town and country planning are becoming increasingly
understood and accepted. Primarily, they are to secure a proper balance
between the competing demands for land, so that all the land of the
country is used in the best interests of the whole people. This is especially
necessary in these small, densely populated islands. More than ever, there
is today heavy pressure on our limited supply of land. And many of the
demands on the use of our land are conflicting. Some must result in more
land being brought into development; for example, the housing program,
including the clearance of slums and the rebuilding of blitzed areas, the
redevelopment of obsolete and badly laid out areas; the dispersal of popu-
lation and industry from our large, overcrowded cities to new towns under
the New Towns Act. Then there is the re-equipment of industry, the ex-
pansion of the social services, particularly the new schools, on present day
standards, the construction of new and wider roads and airfields. Again,
the House is very familiar with the post-war needs of the Service Depart-
ments for land for training and experimental purposes. All these involve






House of Commons, January 29, 1947


the use of additional land. On the other hand, town and country plan-
ning must preserve land from development. A high level of agricultural
production is vital. More land must be kept for forestry. We have to
see that our mineral resources-both surface and underground-are prop-
erly developed and are not unnecessarily sterilized by erecting buildings
on the surface. And it is important to safeguard the beauty of the country-
side and coast-line, especially now that holidays with pay will enable more
people to enjoy them, and because we must develop the tourist industry
as a source of foreign exchange.
All this involves sterilization of land, and these conflicting demands
for land must be dovetailed together. If each is considered in isolation,
the common interest is bound to suffer. Housing must be so located in
relation to industry that workers are not compelled to make long, tiring
and expensive journeys to and from work. Nor must our already large
towns be permitted to sprawl, and expand, so as to eat up the adjacent
rural areas and make access to the countryside and to the amenities in the
center of the town more difficult. Green belts must be left round towns,
and the most fertile land must be kept for food production. The con-
tinued drift from the countryside must be arrested. Today, four-fifths of
our people live in towns, and the rural population is declining. We have,
in the past, neglected the planning of our villages and allowed some of
the most beautiful of them to be spoiled by wholly inappropriate develop-
ment. Life in the countryside must be made more convenient, and its
attractiveness maintained.
For town and country planning to undertake such a variety of tasks
involves a conception of its functions quite different from that which
prevailed before the war. This new conception of planning first found
definite expression in the Barlow Report in January, 1940. This Report
showed how, between the wars, industry tended to concentrate in the south
of England, with the result that towns in the south, especially London,
grew too large for health, efficiency and safety, while some of the older in-
dustrial areas suffered chronic unemployment. The Report demonstrated
that this process, and the social evils which it produced, could not be
corrected by localized and purely restrictive planning; it demanded plan-
ning on a national scale, and planning that involved positive action-in
selecting which towns should be allowed to expand and which should not,
in creating entirely new towns, in providing land, factories, and services
for industry where they were needed, as well as prohibiting them where
they were not. It is because existing legislation cannot provide the in-
strument for planning the use of our land in accordance with these new
conceptions that this Bill has become necessary.

PLANNIN--OLD AND NEW
I realize that the task confronting me of explaining within a short
space of time, the purpose and contents of this Bill is a formidable one.
The Bill is comprehensive; it deals with the long-standing land problems
of compensation and betterment, and the high cost of urban land, and
revolutionizes the nature of our existing system of land tenure; it simpli-






Town and Country Planning [MR. SIKIN]

fies and drastically reorganizes the machinery of planning; it provides
financial assistance to local authorities in rebuilding their war-damaged areas
and redeveloping their obsolete, badly developed and derelict areas; it
confers upon local authorities additional powers of acquisition of land
for planning purposes and of positive planning; it introduces effective
control over outdoor advertisements; it carries out a considerable measure
of consolidation of existing Town Planning Acts; and generally, it is de-
signed to make town and country planning a reality. The Bill is, therefore,
long, technical and complex, and naturally, in some respects, controversial.
I feel that I ought to ask the indulgence of the House in advance, if in
these exceptional circumstances I take rather more time than is usual on
the occasion of the introduction of a Bill.
Although the first Town Planning Act is now nearly 40 years old, and
many further planning measures have been passed during that period it
would be idle to pretend that effective planning control over development
existed today. Indeed, I think it could be successfully contended that more
damage has been done, both to our towns and to the countryside, through
sporadic and ribbon development, and by the loss of good agricultural
land, since 1909, the date of the first Town Planning Act, than in any
period preceding it. For instance, between 1927 and 1939 about 60,000
acres of agricultural land was lost each year to buildings and other de-
velopment. The relative failure of town planning hitherto can be attri-
buted to a number of causes, but the principal one is, undoubtedly, the
obligation on local planning authorities to pay compensation to an owner
of land who, in the public interest, is refused permission to develop. On
account of this obligation, which in the case of smaller or poorer author-
ities may constitute a burden entirely beyond their resources, local author-
ities have been unable to prevent undesirable development, and land which
should have remained unbuilt on, and reserved for agriculture, or open
space, or playing fields, has been lost to the community for ever. Earlier
town planning legislation has recognized the principle that profitable de-
velopment by a private owner is only possible because of the efforts or
activities of the community in the neighborhood; that until the community
builds roads, provides transport, makes sewers, provides water, and the
other necessities of modern civilized life, development is not practicable.
The Town and Country Planning Act, 1932-which re-enacted earlier sim-
ilar provisions-provides for the payment of betterment by an owner whose
land is increased in value in these circumstances. Unfortunately, the pro-
visions regarding betterment are so circumscribed, and so difficult of appli-
cation, that only in three cases has a local authority ever been successful
in securing betterment, except as a set-off against a claim for compensation.
Sections 21 to 24 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1932, deal
with betterment; they provide very broadly that if as a result of the making
of a planning scheme or the execution by a responsible authority of work
under a scheme, any property is increased in value, the authority may re-
cover from the person whose property is so increased in value, an amount
not exceeding 75 per cent of that increase. Well that is very nice but in
general this amount is not payable until the property is sold or developed,






House of Commons, January 29, 1947

if sold or developed within 14 years, and not at all after 14 years. So that
all an owner has to do is to hold on to his property for 14 years, and he
is saved from any betterment charge. Moreover, the difficulty of establish-
ing that any particular owner has benefited from a planning scheme is
almost insurmountable; and so the obligation on local authorities to pay
compensation if they plan effectively is heavy and definite, though un-
limited in extent, whereas the chances of getting betterment are negligible.
Moreover, land values are often increased fortuitously in consequence of
planning, by the operation of the doctrine of shifting values. Where per-
mission to develop is refused on one site or in one area, the development
is shifted and takes place on another site or in another area. The result
is that the local authority refusing permission to develop becomes liable
to pay compensation. But the site on which development actually takes
place is increased in value, without any effort on the part of the owner.
It may even be outside the area of the local authority refusing permission.
This problem of securing for the community the benefit from increases
in land values created by the community is accentuated by the fact that
when land has to be acquired for public purposes the price is increased
against the local authority or the acquiring authority by the very improve-
ments carried out at public expense. For example, land which is used for
agricultural purposes in a rural area may be worth 50 an acre. But if
an arterial road is built which gives the land a building frontage, its price
may become 1,000 or 2,000 an acre. In the towns land values have
steadily risen because of public expenditure; and local authorities acquir-
ing land for housing or for other statutory purposes often feel compelled
to go to a less desirable situation because of cost. That explains why so
many housing sites are near to gas works or railway sidings or far away
from where the people for whom the houses are being built have to work.
For instance, in Westminster, where a large number of persons work late
hours in hotels and restaurants, in theatres and cinemas, as policemen, and
Members of Parliament, the cost of land for housing is practically prohibi-
tive-frequently 60,000 an acre and more-and very little new housing
provision can be made in an area where above all it would be convenient
for many people. Even where housing has been provided in Westminster
and in similar areas, it is in the form of huge blocks of flats, either at
very expensive rents, or heavily subsidized, and not the most suitable type
of accommodation for families.

COMPENSATION AND BETTERMENT
The existence of these problems has long been recognized and various
proposals put forward for their solution. Writing in the latter half of the
19th century, Henry George brought the problem into the political arena
with his proposal for a single tax on land values. The Royal Commission
on Housing of the Working Classes, reporting in 1885, recommended the
rating of land values on the ground that increases in land values were
brought about, not as a recompense for any industry or expenditure on
the part of the landowner, but as the natural result of the industry and
activity of the townspeople themselves. The question was also considered






Town and Country Planning [MB. SILKINI

by Parliament nearly 40 years ago. Mr. Lloyd George dealt with it in his
great Budget speech in 1909. He said:
"The growth in the value more especially of urban sites is due to no expenditure of
capital or thought on the part of the ground owners, but entirely owing to the
energy and enterprise of the community .. It is undoubtedly one of the worst
evils of our present system of land tenure that instead of reaping the benefit of the
common endeavor of its citizens, a community has always to pay a heavy penalty
to its ground landlords for putting up the value of their land."-[OFFICIAL REPORT,
29th April, 1909; Vol. IV; c. 532.]
In the same Budget Debate, the present Leader of the Opposition the right
hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill), then President
of the Board of Trade, also spoke in terms which are as true today as they
were in 1909, in these picturesque words:
"Because the population is congested in the city, the price of land is high in the
suburbs, and because the price of land is high in the suburbs, the population must
remain congested in the city. That is the position which we are asked to believe is
in accordance with the principles which have hitherto dominated civilized society."-
[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd May, 1909; Vol. IV; c. 846.]
The House will remember that the Budget of 1909 levied what was
known as "increment value duty" of 20 per cent on increases in the value
of land from time to time. This relatively minor measure of restitution
created a constitutional crisis, which resulted in the passing of the Parlia-
ment Act, but the duty was repealed in 1920, under the Government of
Mr. Lloyd George, and the great battle was fought in vain. In fact the
Act was extremely complicated. Four different valuations were required
for every parcel of land, and the amount realized was small.
The last Labor Government, in spite of its short term of office, made
another attempt to tackle this problem of unearned increment in land
value. The Finance Act of 1931 again set up the necessary machinery for
taxing land values-this time a much simpler one than that of 1909-and
the valuation work was started. One defect of that Act, as of Mr. Lloyd
George's 1909 Act, was that several years' preliminary valuation work was
necessary before the tax could become effective, and long before the date
for collecting the tax the Tory Government, headed by Mr. Stanley Bald-
win, as he then was, had repealed it.
Mr. Assheton (Conservative): We might do the same again.
Mr. Silkin: Right hon. Gentlemen opposite will not get the chance. It
should be noted, however, that neither of these land taxation Acts made
any fundamental change in the land system or in the rights of landowners.
They left the system just as it was; they left values to accrue to land,
irrespective of planning requirements, and then sought to tax land values
for the benefit of the community. They were not intended to be measures
of land reform or to further the process of planning. And so the problem
still remains with us today. Owners of land are still reaping the benefit
of the common endeavor of its citizens. Land costs are soaring, the popu-
lation is still congested in the city because the price of land is high in the
suburbs, and the state of affairs about which the right hon. Gentleman
was so indignant in 1909 still obtains.
The existing system has been severely criticized in recent years by the






House of Commons, January 29, 1947

Royal Commission on the Distribution of the Industrial Population, the
Barlow Commission, which reported in 1940; by the expert Committee on
Compensation and Betterment, the Uthwatt Committee, and by the Com-
mittee on Land Utilization in Rural Areas, the Scott Committee, which
both reported in 1942. Here I should like to repeat what has been said
often before how greatly the nation is indebted to these three bodies for
their exhaustive investigations into the subject of town and country plan-
ning, and for their extremely able and objective reports. Together, they
are a mine of information, which has been of the greatest possible value
to me and my advisers in preparing this Measure; they constitute what
are probably the three most valuable and popular State papers ever pro-
duced and no examination of the subject is possible without reference to
them. Especially we are under the deepest possible obligation to their
chairmen, Lord Justice Scott, Mr. Justice Uthwatt, now Lord Uthwatt, and
Sir Anderson Montague Barlow. The Barlow Commission, the earliest to
be set up, were so impressed by the seriousness of the problems of com-
pensation and betterment, that they recommended that an expert commit-
tee should be set up as a matter of urgency to study and make recommenda-
tions on this subject, and the Uthwatt Committee was set up in consequence.
In paragraph 25 of the Uthwatt Report it is stated that
"unquestionably the greatest obstacle to really effective planning has been the fear
on the part of planning authorities of incurring indefinite liabilities in the matter
of compensation if the extreme step of forbidding development is taken."
And again in paragraph 22:
"Action for ensuring that the best use is made of the nation's land resources is
practically impossible under the existing planning legislation on account of the
liability placed on the local planning authority for compensating all the land own-
ers concerned for deprivation of land value."
The Scott Report stated that
"the clear and unequivocal reservation of agricultural land against possible building
use is still a form of planning which exposes the planning authority to unpredictable
claims for compensation, and there can be no doubt that the fear of such claims
being lodged has been one of the principal reasons for the unsatisfactory nature of
many of the planning schemes which have been prepared in the past."
I could multiply these quotations indefinitely. I am almost tempted to
quote from some of my own speeches, both in the House and outside,
made some years ago, and from things I have written, but I will resist that
temptation, and instead, I will quote from the speech made by my prede-
cessor the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cirencester and Tewkes-
bury (Mr. W. S. Morrison) which he may remember on the Second Read-
ing of the Town and Country Planning Bill 1944. He said:
"We shall have to overhaul in due course the planning machinery proper in the
light of experience, and in particular we shall have to deal with the question of
compensation and betterment, which is such an important feature in the whole
problem."-[OFFICIAL REPORT, Ilth July, 1944; Vol. 401, c. 1592.]
Following the publication of the Uthwatt Report, the Coalition Gov-
ernment, amidst its many other preoccupations, endeavored to cope with
this same problem. In June, 1944, after, I believe, an immense amount of
discussion of many different schemes, the White Paper on the Control of
Land Use was presented to Parliament. In the introduction to the White






Town and Country Planning [MR. SIKINJ


Paper the Coalition Government recognized that when the Town and
Country Planning Act 1944 became law,
"there would still remain to be corrected what is generally agreed to be the defect
which most of all prevented or distorted good planning before the war-namely the
state of the law regarding the payment of compensation to landowners affected by
planning schemes, and the collection of betterment from those who benefit there-
from.
A number of proposals were put forward in this way, upon which I
will not at this stage comment. I merely refer to that White Paper as
evidence that, even in the middle of a great war, the Government thought
this problem of sufficient urgency to devote itself to the preparation and
publication of such a Paper. Unfortunately, although the Government
continued in office for a year after the publication, no time was ever given
to discuss the Paper in the House of Commons-there was some discussion
in another place-in spite of strong pressure by hon. Members of all polit-
ical parties.
Even without the damage and dislocation caused by the war, a solution
of the problem would have been essential and urgent, but the vast amount
of damage caused by enemy action, the grave disrepair of so much prop-
erty for lack of maintenance during the war, the gross overcrowding which
today exists through our inability to build houses during the war, and
the need for carrying out a planned policy of dispersal of industry and
population from our congested towns, have all combined to make a solu-
tion of the problem desperately urgent. Although many of our towns and
cities are making valiant efforts to use the powers conferred upon them
by the Town and Country Planning Act of 1944, to carry out the redevel-
opment of their blitzed areas, many have hardly begun through fear of
the burden of compensation, and hardly any have even begun to think
about the problem of their areas of bad layout and obsolete development,
or blight, for the same reason.
The Government, therefore, cannot be accused of precipitancy, as it
has been in the case of other Bills, in introducing this measure. Indeed,
I think the House will, by now, have been entirely convinced that the
solution of this question of compensation and betterment cannot any longer
be delayed. Parts IV and V of the Bill deal with this subject, and I will
come back to it later in my speech.
PERMISSIVE POWERS
Once the greatest single deterrent to effective planning is removed, an
opportunity is afforded us of looking at the planning structure afresh. The
Town and Country Planning Act of 1932 provides the planning machinery
which is in operation today, and I have examined this machinery to see
what are its defects, and what alterations are necessary in the new cir-
cumstances to make it effective for the carrying out of our new conception
of positive planning. The Uthwatt Report summarizes the most important
of these general defects. The first is that the planning powers in the 1932
Act are permissive only, and there were at the time of the Report large
areas of countryside, and certain important towns, in respect of which the
local planning authority had not even taken the first step of passing a






House of Commons, January 29, 1947

resolution to prepare a planning scheme. It is true that since the Report was
published the Town and Country Planning (Interim Development) Act
of 1943 has been passed in pursuance of which this first step of passing a
resolution is deemed to have been taken, and so permission has now to
be obtained of the Local Planning Authority for development. But rela-
tively few local authorities have actually prepared even tentative plans to
enable them to judge applications for development, and there is no effective
means of requiring them to do so.

LOCAL PLANNING
The second general defect is that planning schemes under the 1932
Act are necessarily local and not national in their outlook. Planning
authorities have naturally regarded themselves as having a duty only to
their own ratepayers, and in their planning operations have an eye on
their own finances and the trade of their district, regardless of the interests
of people outside their area. Authorities regard it as their main .object
to attract industry and population, and thus rateable value, to their area,
irrespective of wider planning considerations. This inevitably leads to
planning in isolated compartments. There are today 1,441 authorities
with separate planning powers in England and Wales, and it is obvious
that the preparation of plans by so many authorities-even if they all did
prepare plans-is not likely to produce anything in the way of compre-
hensive or co-ordinated planning. An attempt was made to remedy this
in the 1932 Act by providing for the creation of joint planning committees.
A number of planning authorities which have a community of interest
are empowered to combine voluntarily for the purpose of making a plan,
or are required to combine by my Ministry in default of agreement, after
a public inquiry has been held. The carrying out of the plan and the
giving of decisions on applications to develop, generally remain with the
district councils. This system has, on the whole, not been found to be
conducive to good planning. I do not for a moment wish to decry the
good and effective work which has been carried out by many of them,
but the disadvantages of joint planning committees must be obvious. They
offer opportunities for log-rolling and bargaining by the representatives
of the different planning authorities, and the resulting plan is often no
better than, or different from, the combined plans of the separate authori-
ties. Let me here quote from a report which I recently received:
"Members of joint planning committees are apt to concern themselves only with
matters directly of interest to the district they represent, and do not look at prob-
lems on a regional basis. In the case of a joint planning committee whose meeting
I have attended, there is a committee of some 50 members, but as items are dealt
with under districts, members leave when items concerning their districts have been
dealt with, and the meeting finished with about 12 present."
That must be a very familiar picture. It may not be typical but it is
fairly common. Moreover, many of the district councils are incapable of
properly carrying out their planning functions through lack of financial
resources. In particular they cannot afford to employ competent assist-
ance, and they are, therefore, often unskillfully advised. Under the Act
of 1932 it is contemplated that the various plans of the 1,441 planning






Town and Country Planning [MR. SILKINJ

authorities will somehow be co-ordinated and made to fit in with one an-
other by the Minister, so as to make a national plan, that is a plan taking
account of national requirements such as the location of industry, of na-
tional roads, or the demands of strategy. This is, obviously, an impossible
task under existing conditions.
I believe that there is now full acceptance of the principle that plan-
ning is a function to be carried out over a wider area by a responsible
authority, equipped with a fully qualified staff, and possessing the neces-
sary financial resources. The Government have, therefore, had to consider
the question whether the planning functions of existing authorities should
be retained, or should be transferred in the case of the district councils
to the county council. The view of the Scott Committee was that, normally,
the primary local planning unit should be the county, or the county bor-
ough and its surrounding area, or a combination of local government units
comparable in area, resources or importance with a county. The Barlow
Report expresses a similar opinion. The Government have broadly ac-
cepted this view, and provision is made in the Bill accordingly. The result
is that the number of planning authorities in England and Wales will be
reduced from 1,441 to 145-roughly by nine-tenths. I want to make it
clear that the removal of planning powers from the Common Council of
the City of London, and from the councils of county districts is not to be
regarded as, in any sense, a penal measure. It implies no reflection upon
these bodies, many of whom have done most valuable pioneering work
in the field of planning. It is simply that co-ordinated planning over
wide areas cannot be adequately achieved with the present distribution
of planning functions.
Here I should like to say a word or two about the special position of
the Corporation of the City of London. Nobody-least of all one who,
like myself, has earned his livelihood in the City of London for over 25
years-would wish to hurt the susceptibilities of this historic and important
authority. The City holds, as I have told them, a unique position in the
financial and commercial life of this country. Nevertheless, situated as
it is in the center of the County of London, and forming an integral part
of its normal administration, its status as a separate and independent plan-
ning authority preparing a plan for its own square mile, is anomalous and
indefensible. I hope the Corporation will, on reflection, recognize that in
this matter the wider interests of London as a whole ought to prevail.

REGULATORY POWERS
The third general defect to which the Uthwatt Report refers, is that
powers of planning authorities under the 1932 Act are largely regulatory
in character, and do not, except to a limited degree, enable them to un-
dertake or secure positive development. As the Report puts it:
"The planning scheme secures that if development takes place it shall take place
only in certain ways. It does not secure that in any particular part of the area of
the scheme, it shall in fact take place."
So long as the functions of the local planning authority are purely regu-
latory, there is nothing they can do, as regards the implementing of their






House of Commons, January 29, 1947

plan, but wait until a private person is willing to carry out the develop-
ment provided in the plan. But often, particularly in the case of an enter-
prising plan, it may well be that the development which is required, and
which is in the public interest, is one which no private person can carry
out, because he can see no immediate profit in it, or because the land-
owner refuses to part with his land or demands an extortionate price, or
for some other reason. The planning authority under existing legislation
has no power itself to carry out such development, except such powers
as are conferred on it by the Town and Country Planning Act of 1944.
Nor have they power to required an unwilling owner to dispose of his
land to some other person who is willing to carry out development which
it is in the public interest to have.
The Act of 1944 did for the first time confer upon local authorities
powers to redevelop their blitzed areas as well as their areas of bad layout
and obsolete development, and to acquire land for that purpose. Those
powers were, however, severely circumscribed. Grants were provided for
blitzed areas, but not for areas of blight, although the two types of area
very often coalesced. The grant provisions under the 1944 Act are being
very much criticized by the local authorities of the blitzed areas who are
reluctant to proceed under them. They are regarded as uncertain in their
application, and the grant terminates after from 10 to 15 years. Local
authorities fear that they will then be left to face, without assistance, heavy
losses resulting from the redevelopment. As I have said, there is no grant
at all for those areas which have not suffered blitz, but equally need re-
development, areas such as Stoke-on-Trent or parts of Leeds, Birmingham
or London. This Bill provides grants towards the redevelopment of areas
of bad layout or obsolete development as well as blitz, and the grant
continues for the whole loan period of 60 years. There are other new
grant provisions which I shall explain in more detail when I come to
Part VII of the Bill. Local authorities are empowered under the Bill to
acquire land for all planning purposes by compulsion if they cannot do
so by agreement, and either to make the land available to private devel-
opers on reasonable terms, or to carry out the desired development them-
selves, free from the restrictions of the 1944 Act, which require the Min-
ister first to be satisfied that no private person is ready and willing to carry
out the proposed development at the time and in the manner requisite.
The new grants, and these additional powers will, I hope, enable local
authorities to carry out their tasks of improving their area-a task which
in so many cases is long overdue.
A further defect of the existing planning machinery is that the making
of a planning scheme is a long cumbersome and elaborate process, and
that planning is regarded as static, rigid-a scheme once made can only
be amended by revoking it and making an entirely fresh scheme. It nor-
mally takes some four to five years at the least, and involves a number of
public local inquiries, before a scheme comes into operation, and to amend
it involves a similar process. What is wanted, says the Uthwatt Report, is
"something which is simple, more expeditious, and more positive in character."






Town and Country Planning [MR. SILKN)


All these three defects are, I hope, remedied in the Bill before the House.
Before coming on to an account of the Bill, I should like to draw the
attention of the House to the considerable measure of simplification and
consolidation which it brings about. There are, by now, quite a number
of planning Acts. As the House will see from the Eighth Schedule, some
of these are wholly repealed, including the 1932 Acts, and the Interim
Development Act of 1943; and large sections of other Acts are likewise
repealed, among them the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act, 1935.
This Bill will, therefore, when passed, become a fairly comprehensive new
planning code. Now I should like, as briefly as I can, to go through the
provisions of the Bill more closely, and as quickly as possible. The Ex-
planatory Memorandum which accompanies the Bill, and which I hope
hon. Members have found reasonably clear, describes the Clauses in more
detail, and I do not propose to cover the same ground.

LOCAL PLANNING AUTHORITIES
Part I deals with the administrative framework. The local planning
authorities, as I have already explained, are to be the councils of counties
and county boroughs, but where a larger planning unit is desirable, the
Bill enables me to create joint planning boards. I propose to use this
power fairly freely. Wherever there are county boroughs forming centers
of population with rural areas around them, there appears to be a prima
facie case for planning the area as a whole, and for setting up a joint
planning board, consisting of the county council, or a part of it, and the
county boroughs. In some cases it might even be desirable to create a
joint planning board over a wider area. The principle of joint planning
over wide areas with a common interest is no longer new. We have had
the Greater London Plan, consisting of 143 separate planning authorities,
and plans have been prepared for a very wide area, including plans for
Greater Birmingham, the Potteries district, the North-Eastern Develop-
ment Area, South Wales and West Cumberland. There is no reason why
this process should not be extended. It is essential, too, that the district
councils, who are most familiar, in detail, with their areas, should have
an effective voice in the preparation of plans. The Bill provides accord-
ingly that the county councils or the joint planning boards must consult
all county district councils in the area at the various stages in the prepa-
ration of the plan, and I intend to ensure that the consultations are real
and not in any way perfunctory.
Part I also sets up the Central Land Board, to administer the provisions
of the Bill dealing with compensation and betterment, to which I shall
refer later. Although a separate Bill will be introduced for Scotland, this
provision, establishing the Central Land Board, extends to Scotland, and
the board will be appointed jointly by the Secretary of State and myself.
It will be under the general directions of the Ministers in matters of policy,
but will have full responsibility for individual cases. The Board will, I
hope, normally use the district valuers as agents for valuations and
negotiations.






House of Commons, January 29, 1947

SURVEYS
Part II creates the new planning machine. It places on all local plan-
ning authorities an express obligation to carry out a survey, and to submit
to the Minister a development plan within three years. The plan to be
submitted in that period will show in broad outline how the development
of the area will proceed. Detail will be added as and when development
is about to take place in a part of the area, and the whole plan will be
brought regularly under review, not less often than every five years. The
preparation of plans will thus be a continuous process of addition and
adaptation against a long-term framework that remains fairly firm, but
by no means rigid. It will involve too the co-operation of central and local
authorities, so that plans reflect both local needs and national policy on
questions which are being settled for the country as a whole.
How will the local planning authority set about preparing the plan?
The first step is the survey. This will cover the physical features of the
area, water supply, soil fertility, minerals, and so forth; the growth of popu-
lation, the industries that are expanding and those that are declining;
housing, open spaces, public buildings; the development projects of the
transport authorities, of local industrialists, of statutory undertakers, and
of Government Departments. I attach the greatest possible importance to
this survey, which will present a reliable and detailed analysis of the com-
munity from every aspect, and an estimate of its future growth and needs.
Without this survey no plan can be of any real value. It will need the
co-operative effort of economists, geographers, sociologists and other pro-
fessions to secure that all the facts about the area are known, including
the characteristics and wishes of the people. Here there is room for con-
siderable scientific research and the fullest possible collaboration with the
universities. A new type of planner will have to be trained to carry out
this broader conception of planning, and I am confident that the uni-
versities will recognize the importance and urgency of the matter, and
fully play their part, both in research and in training.
On the basis of all this information, and after full consultation with
all concerned with the county districts, public authorities, and regional
representatives of Government Departments, the local planning authority
will prepare their provisional plan. The greater part of this plan will be
simply framework. It will show the principal communications and the
broad allocation of land among the main uses, such as agriculture, new
towns to be established, existing communities to be enlarged, special areas
to be preserved because of their scenic beauty, and so on. Over part of
the area, the plan is likely to go into much more detail. Where large
numbers of new houses are to be built soon-[Interruption]-there will be
a good many of them-large-scale maps will show two or three neighbor-
hood units, each with its shopping center, elementary school and open
spaces. My regional officers will be available to help and advise at all
stages of the preparation of the plan, and I hope they will be freely called
upon.
Next, the provisional plan will be exhibited and submitted to public
opinion, by such means as maps and pamphlets, traveling exhibitions, talks






Town and Country Planning [MR. SILKIN)

by planning technicians, and films and models of the more important parts
of the area. The people whose surroundings are being planned, must be
given every chance to take an active part in the planning process, par-
ticularly when the stage of detail is reached. It is not merely landowners
in the area who are affected, or even business interests. Too often in the
past the objections of a noisy minority have been allowed to drown the
voices of other people vitally affected. The housewife, who will use the
new shops, and whose children will go to the new school, the trade union
branch whose members will work on the new factory estate, the farmer,
the motorist, the amenity society-these too must have their say, and when
they have had it, the provisional plan may need a good deal of alteration,
but it will be all the better for that since it will reflect actual needs,
democratically expressed. In the past, plans have been too much the plans
of officials and not the plans of individuals, but I hope we are going to
stop that.
CONTROL OF DEVELOPMENT
Part II of the Bill goes on to set up machinery for the control of de-
velopment. The permission of the local planning authority must be ob-
tained for all development, both before and after a development plan
has been approved. The Bill enables me to direct that the function of
dealing with applications shall be delegated to the district councils. I am
anxious to give the district councils the maximum delegation, but, on the
other hand, there must be no possibility of the plans being frustrated by
reckless grants of consent to development. This obviously means that in
the last resort, the views of the plan-making authority must prevail, and
I propose to consult with the authorities concerned on the machinery to
achieve such delegation. Naturally the power of delegation will be used
very sparingly during the stage when the plan is being prepared, but per-
haps more extensively later.
There are, as under present law, various ways in which the Minister
may control the grant of permissions in the interests of national policy.
A new feature is the provision that applications for permission to erect cer-
tain types of industrial building will not be considered, unless accompanied
by a certificate from the Board of Trade that the siting accords with national
policy. This is an important provision, which will give the Board wider
control than at present exists over the distribution of industry. There will,
of course, be inter-departmental consultation on cases which affect more
than one department, and machinery for this already exists, at both regional
and national levels. In particular my Department's views will be fully
taken into account in considering an application for a Board of Trade
certificate.
As regards development by local authorities themselves-and also by
statutory undertakers-the Bill simplifies the procedure for obtaining per-
mission. Where such permission requires the sanction of a Government
Department-for example, a loan sanction, or approval of expenditure for
grant-the sanction serves also as a planning permission, and it will be
for the Department concerned to consult my own Department, so that






House of Commons, January 29, 1947


planning considerations are taken into account, but only the one Depart-
ment will have to be directly consulted in the future.
CONTROL OF OUTDOOR ADVERTISEMENT
I now turn to a feature of the Bill which will be of particular interest
to the House-the control of outdoor advertisement, which will include
not only hoardings but electric signs. There will be no disagreement with
me when I say that the present law relating to the control of advertise-
ments is thoroughly unsatisfactory. Control exists partly in private Acts,
partly under the two Advertisement Regulations Acts of 1907 and 1925,
and, in those relatively few areas in which planning schemes are in oper-
ation through the provisions of Section 47 of the Town and Country Plan-
ning Act, 1932. There is no uniformity of control, and its exercise has
proved unsatisfactory alike to the local authorities, advertising interests
and the public, Whatever may be thought about the proposals in the Bill,
it is common ground that outdoor advertisements are capable of doing
much harm to amenity. Everyone of normal sensibility knows from his
own daily experience, how the more blatant forms of outdoor advertising
can spoil natural scenery or the character of a residential town. It would
be quite unfair to oversimplify the issues by misrepresenting the situation
as one in which the advertising industry as a whole is ranged on one side
against enlightened public opinion on the other. On the contrary, I know
from my own contacts with, and even help received from the industry,
that there is considerable awareness in the trade of the harm done by
certain forms of advertising on particular types of sites, especially in rural
surroundings. Naturally the advertising interests do not welcome legisla-
tion which they fear might restrict them, and I should like to pay tribute
in this House to the reasonable attitude which their representatives have
displayed whenever I have met them.
The House will wish me to give an outline of the course proposed
under Clauses 28 and 29 of the Bill which contain the main provisions in
this matter. We must accept the display of advertisements as an established
fact in modern commercial enterprise, and I would emphasize that the
Bill is designed to control not to repress. I know there may be hon. Mem-
bers on both sides of the House who would like to abolish advertising
altogether. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] If that is desired, it can be
decided as a matter of policy, but that is not a matter which the Town
and Country Planning Ministry can decide. All we desire to do is to
ensure that advertisements do not interfere with amenity, and I accept the
display of advertisements as an established fact in modern commercial en-
terprise. The control will be exercised by means of Regulations which will
be laid before both Houses of Parliament. Regulations are really the
only practical way of dealing with the peculiar problems and conditions
of outdoor advertising, since they are capable of relatively easy modifica-
tion in the light of experience.
One of the most important features of the control will be the almost
complete prohibition of all forms of outdoor advertising in certain speci-
fied areas. These areas, which are called "areas of special control" will be






Town and Country Planning [MR. SIKIN]

delineated by orders made or approved by the Minister or-perhaps less
usually-by inclusion in development plans. Most rural areas will prob-
ably be protected in this way, but equally we ought not to tolerate the
detraction from the appearance of our towns and cities. The elimination
of advertisements must, therefore, extend also to urban areas where there
is good reason for imposing such a ban. There will, of course, be exemp-
tions, even in those areas of total exclusion, for certain types of advertise-
ment essential to the life of the community for example, those which an-
nounce forthcoming events or shop signs indicating a man's calling, or
perhaps even posters-I hope there will be no control over color connected
with elections. It will be for the Regulations to determine in detail what
the exemptions shall be.
In areas other than areas of special control, the display of outdoor
advertisements will, with some exemptions, be allowed only after permis-
sion has been obtained from the local planning authority. The machinery
for obtaining permission will be similar to that which is proposed in the
case of planning permission under Part II of the Bill. There will be an
appeal from the decision of the local authority. At present an appeal lies
to the court of summary jurisdiction and from there to quarter sessions.
I have always felt, personally, that these were quite inappropriate tribu-
nals for deciding questions of amenity, and provision will be made for
the appeal to be either to a special tribunal to be constituted under the
Regulations, if I can secure general agreement as to the character of such
a tribunal and if not, it will be, as in other cases, to me. I should mention
that the Bill empowers me to control existing as well as new displays. In
practically all areas, some existing advertisements will have to come down,
but the Regulations will allow them a reasonable period of grace.
One aim is fundamental. We must get rid of the weakness which exists
under the present law, whereby action against an offending advertisement
can be taken only after the damage has actually been done; and even then,
if the owner appeals to the court, only after an onerous proof that amenity
is seriously impaired. Under the new system every advertisement must con-
form with the Regulations; any not conforming will be liable to amend-
ment or removal. Another improvement will be the codification in one
Measure of all the law relating to advertisement control. This will involve
the repeal of the enactments named in the Eighth Schedule to the Bill.
Power is sought also to make any necessary adjustments in private legis-
lation-several local authorities have advertisement control provisions in
their local Acts-and these will be dealt with by means of Orders in Council.
It is my determination to evolve a code which will be practical in its details,
workable and effective. All interests will be invited to collaborate in pro-
ducing this code, and I am convinced that by a reasonable and unpreju-
diced approach to the many problems involved, it will be possible to pro-
duce a fair and reasonable adjustment between the conflicting claims.

POWERS OF PURCHASE
So far, I have dealt with the preparation of plans and with planning
control. Part III is concerned with the implementation of plans; it provides






House of Commons, January 29, 1947


the wider powers which I have already mentioned for purchase and devel-
opment of land, the powers which distinguish the positive planning of
today from the mainly negative planning of before the war. Let me say at
this point that the function of buying and developing land remains with
the authorities now responsible, the county boroughs and the county dis-
tricts, as well as the Corporation of the City of London. The only change
that the Bill makes is to give me power, if I think fit, to authorize some
other local authority to buy the land. There might occasionally be a scheme
which was too big or costly to be carried out by a small borough or district
council, in which case I can authorize the county council to assume respon-
sibility.
The main new feature of Part III is the power to designate land in a
development plan as subject to compulsory purchase. This extends to land
required for the exercise of their functions by Ministers, local authorities
and statutory undertakers; to land required for comprehensive develop-
ment; and any land which may have to be acquired compulsorily to secure
its use in accordance with the plan. Designation is important for two rea-
sons. First, it indicates the short-term program, or the first stages, for
carrying out the plan or part of it. A plan will generally be a long-term
document; it could, for example, indicate expansion or redevelopment of a
town which might take thirty or more years to complete-the County of
London plan was proposed to be carried out in a period of about 40 years.
But the plan will also show, by designation, the land which is reasonably
certain to be brought into development in a reasonable period of, say,
10 years.
Secondly, designation is in the interests of owners, because to a great
extent it limits the amount of land placed under a threat of compulsory
purchase. If a plan merely reserved land for the next 30 years' development,
no owner of that land would be able to estimate whether or when he was
likely to be disturbed. The designation helps him to know one way or the
other, with reasonable certainty over a period of the next 10 years, and I
feel sure that the House will welcome this provision. It does not, of course,
follow that if land is designated, it will, in fact, be purchased compulsorily.
Designation does not prevent the owner selling by private arrangement for
development in accordance with the plan, or from carrying out the develop-
ment himself.
Part III also deals with the price to be paid when land is purchased
compulsorily, whether under the Bill or under any other enactment. As
development values in land will have to be taken out of private ownership,
and compensation provided for, the purchasing authority will, in future,
pay merely the value of the land for its existing use. It still remains true
that under the terms of the Bill, the price to be paid will be-as is laid
down in the 1944 Act-on the basis of the 1939 standard, together with the
additional percentage for owner-occupiers. It may be asked why this is so,
when development value for the purpose of the Bill is to be calculated by
reference to prices current immediately before 7th January, 1947, the date
of introduction. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer,
some months ago promised the House that this question would be further






Town and Country Planning [MR. SILKINJ

considered. Consideration has been proceeding, and I understand that
the Chancellor will indicate the stage that has been reached when he
speaks later in this Debate ....

SPECIAL CLASSES OF LAND AND DEVELOPMENT
I regret to say I may have to speak for a very long time and there are
some matters which can be left to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I am
prepared to go on all day-[HoN. MEMBERS: "Go on and tell us about it."]
I could say quite a lot about it, but before going on to Parts IV and V,
which contain the solution of the compensation-betterment problem, I
propose to deal briefly with Parts VI and VII. Part VI applies the general
machinery of the Bill to special classes of land and of development, only
two of which I need mention. First, mineral workings. The application
of the compensation-betterment provisions to existing mineral undertak-
ings raises special and exceedingly difficult problems which do not lend
themselves to a solution capable of satisfactory embodiment in a Statute
and appropriate to all cases indiscriminately. That is why the details are
left to be settled in Regulations. All future workings are dealt with in the
same way as ordinary development. It will, of course, be one of the main
positive objects of planning under the Bill to ensure that land is avail-
able for securing primary materials required for house-building and other
reconstruction purposes. Next, local authorities, statutory undertakers, and
charitable organizations, including schools, colleges and churches. Land
which they hold when the Bill comes into effect, for, broadly, their own
special functions, is outside the compensation-betterment provisions alto-
gether. When they develop it for the purpose of their functions, they pay
no development charge, and, if they dispose of it, the price may include
development value. As a corollary, this land is also excluded from pay-
ments under Part IV. But land held for investment purposes will be
treated exactly like land held by other private owners. ...

EXCHEQUER GRANTS
I now come to the subject of Exchequer grants dealt with in Part VII.
The 1944 Act provided that Exchequer grants should be payable to local
authorities equal to the annual loan charges on loans raised to meet the
costs of acquisition and clearing of war-damaged land for two years. There
was then to be a reducing grant for a further eight, or exceptionally, thir-
teen years, according to the extent to which the land could not be brought
into use for a substantial purpose. Land required for overspill qualified
for grant for the first two years only. As I have said earlier, these grants
have been criticized by local authorities as inadequate. They have also
complained, and I myself severely criticized the 1944 Act on this ground,
that there was no financial assistance at all for the redevelopment of
blighted areas, or for areas of dereliction. The Bill meets these criticisms.
The new grants will, in general, provide greater financial assistance to local
authorities, and will cover not only blitz, but also blight and dereliction.
Overspill areas will be eligible for grant on the same terms. In order not
to penalize those authorities which have already undertaken commitments,






House of Commons, January 29, 1947


the Bill provides that the grants scheme should have retrospective effect
from the date of the 1944 Act. The new scheme will necessarily be rather
complicated, and for this reason I have made no attempt to include the
details in the Bill itself. These will be laid down in regulations, after dis-
cussion with the local authority associations.
A broad outline of the scheme proposed is as follows: Grant will be
related to the loan charges on the capital cost of acquisition and clearing.
During the initial period when the land is being acquired to make it
available for constructional work, the grant will be related to the whole
cost of acquisition and clearing. When the land is cleared it will be trans-
ferred to the appropriate service of the local authority, such as housing or
education, at the value of the land for the use to which it is to be put,
and not its actual cost. For example, land required for housing will be
transferred to the Housing Account at the value of the land in that area
for residential purposes, while land required for an open space would be
transferred at only one-quarter of that value. Where this transfer value is
less than the actual cost, and it normally will be, the difference, that is, the
capital loss, will attract grant for the remainder of the grant period. . .
SThis is a considerable advance on the grant provisions under the 1944
Act, and will assist local authorities in their efforts to make their areas
better and healthier places to live in. Instead of fixing a rate of grant that
would be applicable to all local authorities, it is considered that a higher
rate of grant should be paid to poor authorities and a lower rate to rich
authorities. For blight and dereliction, the maximum scale of grant will
be 80 per cent for an initial period, the duration of which I am discussing
with the representatives of the local authorities. This will be followed
by a maximum grant of 70 per cent for a further short period, and by a
maximum grant of 60 per cent for the balance of the grant period of 60
years. The same scale will apply to the redevelopment of blitz areas with
the important exception that all authorities will receive a 90 per cent grant
for the initial period. As I have said, the grants will vary according to
the financial strength of the authority. The Regulations will fix the range
of grant, and I am already discussing details with the local authority rep-
resentatives. I am also considering the possibility of making an additional
grant where the cost to an individual authority would result in a heavily
increased rate burden-that is, the cost in respect of planning and redevel-
opment.
There is a separate grant for cases arising outside an area which is to
be redeveloped as a whole. What I have said so far, applies to areas of
blight or of blitz, but outside such cases, grant will be payable to local
planning authorities towards the cost of compensation in respect of plan-
ning decisions, or where a local authority has acquired land on planning
grounds with my approval, and has applied it to a use for which its value
is less than the cost of acquisition. Grant will be payable in a lump sum
in those cases up to a maximum of 60 per cent, according to the financial
position of the authority. Here, also, details are being discussed with the
local authorities' associations. Provision has also been made to fulfill a
pledge given by my predecessor during the Debate on the Town and Coun-

76






Town and Country Planning [MR. SILKIN]

try Planning Bill in 1943. "The mills of God grind slowly." Local au-
thorities who have incurred expenditure on compensation for planning
restrictions since Ilth May, 1943, when the pledge was given, will be able
to claim grant on that expenditure, in accordance with conditions to be
prescribed by the regulations.

PAYMENTS FOR RESTRICTION OF DEVELOPMENT
I now come to what are probably the most difficult and controversial
sections of the Bill, Parts IV and V. Part IV provides for payments to
owners in respect of the restriction of their land to its existing use. The
provisions of this part of the Bill are very clearly explained and summarized
in paragraphs 24 to 29 of the Explanatory Memorandum. Part V, which
is dealt with in paragraphs 30 to 34 of the Memorandum, provides for the
payment of a betterment or development charge by developers who receive
from the planning authority consent to develop or re-develop a site. Both
compensation and betterment are to be centralized. Payment of compensa-
tion will be made by the Central Land Board, out of a fund, provided by
the Exchequer, of 300 millions, and this Board will determine, and re-
ceive payment of, the development charge. Local authorities will thus be
relieved of the obligation to pay compensation, and as they have never
been able to recover betterment, they are in no degree losing by the cen-
tralization of the development charge.
The first question to be considered is whether the restriction on de-
velopment or development entitles the owner of land as of right or equity
to the payment of compensation. In the terms of the Explanatory Memo-
randum,
"the Government take the view that owners who lose development value as a result
of the passing of the Bill are not on that account entitled to compensation,"
but a sum of 300 millions is to be provided out of which payments will
be made to meet cases of hardship, where land will be depreciated in
value. . .
Such payments are not regarded or described in the Bill as compensa-
tion, but as payments for depreciation. And although I will hereafter in
my speech, for the sake of brevity, refer to them as compensation, I do not
thereby mean to use the term in the ordinarily accepted sense. I would
like to explain why the Government take that view. Under existing law,
an owner of land who is prevented from developing, becomes entitled to
compensation in respect of the restriction, but the Minister is given power,
when an authority makes a planning scheme, to exclude compensation in
certain classes of cases. The cases in which he can exclude compensation
are set out in Sections 19 and 20 of the Act of 1932. I wish to emphasize
at this stage, that the Act of 1932 is a Tory Measure, passed by a Tory
Government, or a National Government, if hon. Members prefer that guise.
They certainly approached the matter from a definitely Tory point of view.
A planning scheme may, for example, prescribe the space about build-
ings, or limit the number of buildings, or regulate the size, height, design,
or external appearance of buildings; it may, in certain circumstances, en-
tirely prohibit the erection of buildings, and it may restrict the manner in






House of Commons, January 29, 1947


which buildings may be used, and it may do all these without the payment
of compensation. It is, indeed, exceedingly difficult to understand on what
principle distinction is drawn, in the 1932 Act, between cases in which
compensation is payable, and those in which compensation can be excluded.
But there is, as I have said, nothing new in the idea that development can
be prohibited without the payment of compensation. The Uthwatt Com-
mittee dealt with this question at considerable length, and they laid down
a number of propositions; that ownership of land does not carry with it
an unqualified right of user; that, therefore, restrictions based on the duties
of neighborliness may be imposed without involving the conception that
the landowner is being deprived of any property or interest; and therefore,
such restrictions may be imposed without liability to pay compensation.
They then go on to say that the point may be reached when the re-
strictions imposed extend beyond the obligations of neighborliness, and,
in these circumstances, restrictions become equivalent to an expropriation
of a proprietary right or interest, and therefore can be claimed, they say,
to carry a right to compensation as such. They admit that it is exceedingly
difficult to draw the line with any satisfactory logic, and they do not, in
fact, define what are the obligations of neighborliness, or what kind of
restriction they would regard as going beyond such obligations. I sug-
gest to the House that the obligations of neighborliness are identical with
the obligations of good planning. The person who wants to put up a
building on his land which is contrary to the public interest is guilty of
the offense of un-neighborliness and, on the test laid down by the Uthwatt
Report, he would not be entitled to compensation.
Mr. Henry Strauss (Conservative): The Uthwatt Report makes the con-
trary view quiet clear.
Mr. Silkin: Let me continue and show that it does not. In paragraph 36
of their Report, the Committee say:
"The question is whether any kind of restriction at all imposed in the public in-
terest on the use of land by private owners should carry a right to compensation.
The mere regulation of the use of land in the interests of the community would
not, if the common law were followed out, involve any such payment, and an owner
could, therefore, consistently with the common law, be required to refrain from
using his land for purposes specified by the State. Obedience to such a direction
would not entitle him to compensation."
They go on to say:
"but it must, we think, be recognized that the full application of such a policy
would result in hardship in many cases. .. ."
That is what we say. Then the Report continues:
. and moreover would involve inconsistent treatment as between individuals.
The owner whose land was zoned for agriculture might suffer a loss of potential
building value for -which he had paid when purchasing the land. The owner whose
land was earmarked for factory development might be able to secure a high price,
and retain the proceeds for his own use."
They go on to say:
"The question whether or not, in all the circumstances which will obtain after
the war, compensation should be paid in respect of the imposition of the restriction
on development, is a matter of policy upon which it is not for us to express an
opinion."






Town and Country Planning [MR. SILKIN]

It is a matter of policy because of the necessity, as they think, of deal-
ing with cases of hardship. They made it quite plain that in their opinion
there is no ground for payment of compensation except that of hardship.
I have, therefore, the full authority of the Uthwatt Report for the state-
ment in the Explanatory Memorandum relating to compensation.

THE QUESTION OF COMPENSATION
Before dealing with the objections which have been raised in the press
and elsewhere to the compensation scheme in the Bill, perhaps I might ex-
plain very briefly, some of the more important respects in which it differs
both from the Uthwatt scheme, and from that put forward by the Coalition
Government in its White Paper on the Control of Land Use. The Uth-
watt Report recommends the acquisition of development rights, but only
of undeveloped land outside the towns. It recommends quite different
treatment for land in urban areas, namely, a periodic levy of 75 per cent
on increases in annual value. The White Paper rejected this differenti-
ation, and proposed that development and redevelopment inside urban
areas should be treated in exactly the same way as outside, and that the
restriction should be placed upon all development rights. The Govern-
ment in this respect accept the views in the Coalition White Paper. No
distinction in principle is made between urban and rural land. Nor are
development rights acquired under the Bill. There is an universal re-
striction.
Next as to compensation, the Uthwatt Committee recommend that if
payment is made, it should be made to all owners of land with develop-
ment value. They make no recommendation as to when the payment
should be made, but obviously they contemplate that a considerable period
must elapse in making the necessary valuations, and probably five years
is not too short a period. The Coalition White Paper, on the other hand,
proposes that no compensation shall be paid for five years, and that the
level at which compensation is to be assessed should not be decided until
after the five years, and thereafter compensation should be paid only when
permission to develop or redevelop for a different use has been refused.
In this respect the Bill is broadly in line with the recommendation of the
Uthwatt Committee, and is considerably more favorable to the owner of
land than the proposals in the Coalition White Paper. Payments will be
made within five years to such classes of persons as Parliament hereafter
decides shall be entitled to participate in the Fund, and will not depend on
whether their application to develop has been refused or not.
Then on the question of the total amount of compensation, the Uth-
watt Committee recommended that a global sum should be fixed, and
payment of compensation made out of this global sum. The Coalition
White Paper makes no proposal at all on how the compensation is to be
arrived at, or whether it is to be on a global basis or otherwise; it merely
postpones the whole matter for five years, leaving owners completely in
the dark as to what compensation, if any, they are to receive. Here again,
the Bill follows broadly the report of the Uthwatt Committee. I should
like to explain why the Government decided to provide compensation






House of Commons, January 29, 1947


out of a global sum. Assuming that payment is to be made to owners of
development values, it can be done in one of two ways: either by fixing
a global sum and distributing it in such manner as may be decided upon
among the various classes of persons who establish that their land possessed
development value on a certain day, or by paying a fraction of each claim
so established-this fraction eliminating the estimated amount of floating
value. Those who have studied the Uthwatt Report will find the case for
a global sum very fully argued there. The main justification is that piece-
meal valuation would not produce a fair sum-that is, a fair sum to the
community-and the same view is expressed in the Coalition White Paper.
In the Uthwatt view, by reason of floating value, between two and three
times too much would be paid if piecemeal valuation formed the basis of
compensation. They do not explain how they arrive at this amount of
float. The difficulty is that there is no way by which the true amount of
float can be ascertained until long after the time for payment; that is, until
we know how much development has actually taken place.
My own considered opinion is that it would be very much more than
two or three times too much, and I want to give the House one reason,
which I regard as conclusive, for saying so. Up to 1937, the amount of
land zoned for housing in draft schemes in England and Wales, when con-
siderably less than half the country was covered by draft schemes, provided
accommodation for nearly 350 million people. Now I think it may be
assumed that any land which has been zoned for housing development,
that is, where development would be permitted by the planning authorities,
has some development value. I admit that in many cases it will be small,
but, clearly, land upon which the planning authority will permit develop-
ment must have a higher market value than land upon which development
will not be permitted. Therefore, the bulk of the land for housing the
350 million people will have some development value. But it is obvious
that, in the next 20 or 30 years, only an infinitesimal proportion of this
land possessing development value will, in fact, be developed for housing.
The total number of people to be rehoused in this period will be a very
small fraction of 350 million, which figure relates to less than half the
country.
Moreover, a good deal of the housing will be on existing sites by way
of replacement of existing bad houses and not on new sites at all. Allow-
ing, then, for the fact that much of the development value to which I have
referred will be small, and, therefore, excluded from payments under the
Bill, the amount of land which will rank for compensation may well be
some 20 times as great as will be actually developed. That is a measure
of the possible amount of float that exists. In fact, it is, as I have ex-
plained, quite impossible at this stage to say how much development actu-
ally will take place, even in the relatively near future, to say nothing of
development in 20 or 30 years' time. It is governed by so many unpre-
dictable circumstances, which will not emerge for many years to come, that
we shall be in no better position to estimate the amount of float in five
years' time than we are today. Any figures we may decide upon as float,
therefore, can only be a guess which may be very wide of the mark. For






Town and Country Planning [MR. SILKIN]

these reasons, there is nothing to be gained by postponing a decision, as
proposed in the Coalition White Paper. Nor would it be found prudent,
or fair, arbitrarily and blindly, to fix the amount of float by which claims
would be reduced. For these reasons the Government has accepted the
principle of the global sum.

METHOD OF CALCULATION
The House is, however, entitled to know why 300 million has been
decided upon-why not 400 million or 200 million? Reference has been
made in the press to the sum of 400 million in the Barlow Report. It is
stated that this sum was put forward as the development value of unde-
veloped land only, based upon 1937 values, that development values have
increased like everything else since the war, and the sum of 300 million
is intended to include redevelopment values in built-up areas as well.
Mr. Thornton-Kemsley (Conservative): And the mineral rights?
Mr. Silkin: And the mineral rights, which the 400 million included as
well. . .
Why, it will be asked, only 300 million? And why arbitrarily fix
upon a sum? Why not appoint an expert committee to determine the
right amount? I am putting the questions which hon. Members have asked.
These are perfectly understandable questions, and I will endeavor to answer
them.
Those who have referred to the Barlow Report have evidently not
taken the trouble to refresh their memories as to what the Report actually
said. The Barlow Commission, in paragraph 256, were explaining, with-
out comment, a suggestion which had been made to them for dealing with
compensation and betterment by the acquisition of development rights in
undeveloped land. In a footnote to the paragraph they stated that they
had sought the views semi-officially of the then Chief Valuer, Board of In-
land Revenue, in order to get some idea of what this scheme would cost.
The Chief Valuer informed them that preliminary calculations led him to
the conclusion that the cost of development might be in the region of
400 million; and this figure was to be regarded as an intelligent guess.
It was no part of the business of the Barlow Commission to work out
what might be the right and actual sum, and they do not pretend that
they did so. No one would be more surprised than the Barlow Commission
themselves at this sum being quoted as in any way a reliable figure. The
Uthwatt Committee, whose job it was to go into the matter in much more
detail as an expert Committee, reject this intelligent guess, and they say
that a better conception of the amount involved in their scheme may be
obtained by taking the rate of development of undeveloped land outside
towns at 45,000 acres per annum-the average rate of development in the
immediate pre-war years-and the average development value at 200 per
acre, which I think is rather high, and the resultant annual figure is
9,000,000.
To arrive at the present worth of these annual figures, it is necessary to
make some assumptions as to future trends, and then to discount the re-
sults. That is the ordinary process by which you arrive at a figure repre-






House of Commons, January 29, 1947


senting a number of years' purchase. The Uthwatt Committee mentioned
this, but did not suggest a figure of years' purchase. I do not think, on
that, that anyone would suggest that you should take more than 15 to 16
years' purchase for a speculative security of this kind. On that basis, which
is, I think, a generous one, the capital sum representing the true develop-
ment value, might be rounded up to something of the order of 150 mil-
lion. To this should be added a further capital sum representing the
development and redevelopment value of land in built-up areas, which I
estimate would run to about the same figure. These together make up
300 million, which is exactly the amount of the global sum. It should,
however, be remembered that there will be much land at the appointed
day which will be exempt from a betterment charge-most Crown land,
land held for their purposes by local authorities, statutory undertakers and
charitable trusts, land on which building has begun, and dead ripe land
where development is to be permitted-no betterment charge and no com-
pensation. Since, broadly, there is to be no charge when any of this land
is developed, its owners will have no claim to a payment in respect of its
development value and can, therefore, be left out of the scheme of dis-
tribution. The result is that the 300 million is available in its entirety
for distribution to the owners of other land with development value. That
should take out a fair proportion of the 45,000 acres.
Moreover, it would in fact be unduly optimistic to assume that for the
next few years 45,000 acres per annum will be developed in undeveloped
areas, or that an equivalent amount of redevelopment will take place in
built-up areas. A decline in population will affect the future demands for
development and so will future economic conditions; the shortage of ma-
terials and labor must slow up development, and high building costs and
their uncertainty will undoubtedly depress site values, and tend to post-
pone development until costs become lower and more settled. All these
factors will either reduce or postpone development, and so the figure of
200 an acre which the Uthwatt Committee took as the average develop-
ment value is undoubtedly higher than the value today. And for this
reason, and the others to which I have referred, the aggregate development
values will almost certainly be less than the figure I have given.
The Government might well, therefore, have taken the view that some-
thing far less than 300 million could reasonably have been provided.
They prefer, however, to keep to a round sum which, in their view, is big
enough to allow for the wide margins of error, to which any calculation
is liable. For instance, town land and built-up land may have, in total,
a rather higher development value than unbuilt land outside towns. It is
not likely, but it is possible. And, as I have said, the future trends cannot
be estimated with any certainty. But I think we have a wide enough
margin. No expert committee, therefore, could possibly carry the matter
further than the Government have done-they would have no more data
than the Government-either now or within any reasonable time. There-
fore, they would not be in a position to submit a more accurate or reliable
figure. To appoint an expert committee to determine the amount would
merely increase and prolong the uncertainty. Such figures as I have given,






Town and Country Planning [MB. SILKIN]


I have mentioned merely to indicate that the 300 million was not arbi-
trarily decided upon, that there is a fair basis upon which this figure is put
forward; and that, taking account of all the circumstances, and making the
best calculations possible, it can be accepted as a reasonable one.
Before passing from it, I ought to point out that this sum is intended
to cover England, Wales and Scotland. The Bill does not determine who
should participate in the global sum. It contemplates a scheme being made
by the Treasury providing for its distribution, and, when payment is made,
it will be by means of Government stock. The scheme will have to be
approved by Resolution of each House of Parliament, and each House
will, therefore, have an opportunity of discussing, and approving or re-
jecting it. Interest will be paid in cash to those to whom stock is issued
from the appointed day to. the date of issue of the stock. So much for
compensation.
DEVELOPMENT CHARGES
I now come to Part V, the part of the Bill dealing with development
charges. This provides for the payment by a developer who has received
planning consent, of a development charge of such amount as may be de-
termined by the Central Land Board. The Bill does not fix the amount
of the charge, but it requires the Board to have regard to the increase in
the values of the land as a result of the permission to develop. The Board
will be subject to directions by the Minister by agreement with the Treas-
ury. There has been some criticism of the additional complications caused
to developers by the imposition of the development charge, and the un-
certainty as to its amount. I recognize that any additional step which de-
velopers have to take before they may develop, adds, in these days, to their
difficulties. I hope that it will be administratively possible to simplify
procedure for the intending developer. My objective, which I will do
my best to achieve, is that there need be one application only for by-law
consent, planning and development charge, that the application will auto-
matically be referred to the proper quarters, and that the developer will
receive, in due course, one decision, which will notify him whether consent
is given, subject to what conditions, and of the amount of the develop-
ment charge. I know that that would be very much appreciated, if it is
practicable, and I have reserved powers to make regulations for carrying
out this unification if I possibly can.
It is, however, on the question of uncertainty that the more serious
criticism is leveled. I will be asked why it is not possible to determine
upon a fixed percentage of the increased value as the development charge.
The Uthwatt Committee recommended 75 per cent, the Coalition White
Paper 80 per cent; why not choose one or the other, or split the difference?
In my view, to have a fixed percentage in the Bill would be much too
rigid. There will be cases where it would be right and practicable for the
Central Land Board to impose a development charge of 100 per cent. On
the other hand, there might be circumstances in which it would be im-
portant to encourage development by reducing the charge, either on ac-
count of economic conditions in the country generally, or in particular
areas where unemployment is above the average. The importance of secur-






House of Commons, January 29, 1947


ing a particular piece of development on a particular site now, instead of
in, say, 20 years, may also lead to a reduction in the development charge,
well below full development value. The Board would be free, subject to
directions from the Minister, with Treasury consent, to vary the develop-
ment charge from time to time, according to circumstances.
Mr. Molson (Conservative): Would the right hon. Gentleman indicate
whether he contemplates having powers to issue directions himself, or
whether it is to be done in the form of Regulations?
Mr. Silkin: It will be a general Regulation. I do not propose to issue in-
dividual directions; that would become impossible, because, if I did, I
might just as well do the job myself. The Regulations will be of a general
nature.
I propose, in due course, to lay before the House a statement of the
general principles upon which the Central Land Board will act, and it
will be open to the House to discuss them. I regard the Board as in ex-
actly the same position as an owner of land who is negotiating a building
lease to an intending developer. The rent is fixed by agreement, accord-
ing to the circumstances prevailing at the time. In a period of commer-
cial and industrial activity, the rent which a developer will be prepared
to pay will be higher; in a period of inactivity, when it is desirable to en-
courage development, the rent will be lower. The same will apply to the
development charge. It will be an instruction to the Board not to hinder
development by the imposition of charges which are too high, nor, on the
other hand, to surrender any part of the development charge which they
can secure and which, ex hypothesi, belongs to the community. I am sure
that this flexibility is right, and that it would be a great mistake to pro-
vide in the Bill for a fixed percentage applicable to all circumstances,
which could only be varied by Act of Parliament.
I may also be told that the charge ought not to be left at large, because
the Board will have a monopoly and can charge what it likes. But I would
remind hon. Members that the Board will be working under the Minister's
general directions, and that no Minister, and no Board, would ever fix
the charges so high that development is prevented. Such a policy would
not only defeat the whole object of planning, it would also kill the revenue
from betterment. I shall be asked what will be the position of a builder
who is desirous of acquiring land and building houses on it for sale, or
of a person wishing to build a house for his own occupation. Will they
not suffer, and will development, therefore, not be discouraged? When
the Bill becomes law, a developer will acquire his land at the existing use
value. This will, of course, be lower than today's market price, which
will include the development value. On getting consent from the local
authority to build, he will then negotiate the development charge with the
Central Land Board. As I have explained, this charge will be a sum which
will not exceed the actual development value. In other words, for his land
and for the right to build, he will pay an aggregate sum which will not
exceed and may well be substantially less than today's market price. He
cannot, therefore, be worse off; he may be better off.

84






Town and Country Planning [MR. SILKIN]

Moreover, the reputable builder does not normally look for his profits
to the sale of land. He expects to make a profit out of his building oper-
ations, and this he will be able to do when the Bill becomes law just as
much as he could before. In so far as he does look to making his profits
out of the sale of land, this is a practice which I regard as undesirable,
and no harm will come to the community if it is no longer possible. There
will be cases where an owner of land upon which development is desir-
able, and even essential, in the public interest, will refuse either to de-
velop because of the imposition of the development charge or to dispose
of it for development. In such a case powers are conferred upon the local
authority or upon the Board to acquire the land at its existing use value
and to dispose of it, subject to the development charge, to a person who
is prepared to carry out the desired developments. There will be certain
types of development, set out in the Third Schedule to the Bill, which will
not involve payment of a development charge. These include a fairly wide
range of development within the existing use; for example, the rebuilding
or enlargement of a house or other building, so long as the cubic content
is not increased by more than one-tenth. Other exemptions may be pre-
scribed by regulation. Local authorities, statutory undertakers and chari-
ties, though exempt as regards much of the land they hold on the appointed
day, will in general be liable to development charge when they develop
land acquired afterwards, because they will have bought at existing use
value. In the case of the local authorities, the amount of the development
charge will have regard to the use to which the land is to be put. . .
I believe that the vast majority of people in this country are prepared
to face up to the implications of planning. We as a nation have led the
world in our industrial revolution, but at what a price in human lives,
misery and squalor. Now we have a great opportunity of leading the
world once more in a better cause, of showing that we in these islands are
in no sense decadent, but intend to assume the proud position which we
have, in many respects, held in the past. Already the world is looking
eagerly to this country to see how we intend to solve the problem of the
rebuilding of our blitzed towns and cities and the redevelopment of our
dreary, ugly, squalid industrial towns; how we are to de-congest the over-
crowded large towns, and how we intend to build our new towns; how
we are going to reconcile the growth of great new industrial activity with
desirable, convenient and attractive conditions of living. I am convinced
that we can and that we shall do all these things. When this Bill becomes
law, we shall have created an instrument of which we can be justly proud;
we shall have begun a new era in the life of this country, an era in which
human happiness, beauty, and culture will play a greater part in its social
and economic life than they have ever done before.
[House of Commons Debates]







OTHER SPEECHES AND DEBATES

In December 1946 and January 1947

Texts can be consulted in the Library of British Information
Services: those speeches delivered in the House of Lords or the
House of Commons are published in full in "Hansard," copies of
which may be bought through B.I.S. For prices see page 87.

INFORMATION SERVICES
Mr. Herbert Morrison. London, December 5.

INDIA
House of Lords, December 11. Lord Pethick-Lawrence.

TRANSPORT BILL
House of Commons, December 17. Mr. Dalton.

REPORT OF THE WORK OF THE COUNCIL OF FOREIGN MINISTERS
Mr. Ernest Bevin. London, December 22.

OUR TASK TODAY
His Majesty George VI. London, December 25.

TELEVISION SERVICES
House of Commons, January 23. Mr. Lewis.

CHINA
House of Lords, January 23. Lord Lindsay.

MALTA RECONSTRUCTION BILL
House of Commons, January 24. Mr. Creech Jones.


















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