1923 STANDING COMMITTEE B Thursday, 5th July, 1928.

[Mr. SHORT in the Chair.]

RUBBER INDUSTRY BILL. [OFFICIAL REPORT.] CLAUSE 6.
—(Accounts to be furnished by manufacturers.)

Subject to the provisions of this Section every manufacturer shall from time to time, on being so required by notice in writing given by the Association, render to the Association within the time specified in the notice, not being less than thirty days from the date on which the notice is given, such full and accurate accounts as are necessary to show the amounts from time to time payable by such manufacturer by way of contributions under this Act, and if any manufacturer fails to comply with the re-

Division No. 7.] AYES.
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles Connolly, M. Lunn, William
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Dean, Arthur Wellesley Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Bethel, A. Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony Waddington, R.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham) Gibbins, Joseph Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Campbell, E. T. Hacking, Douglas H. Westwood, J.
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
NOES.
Makins, Brigadier-General E. Remer, J. R.

The CHAIRMAN: The next Amendment in the names of Mr. Atkinson and Brigadier-General Makins—after the word "time" ["time to time payable"], to insert the words "but not exceeding once in each calendar year ending on the thirty-first day of December," is out of order, as we have already decided that issue.

Brigadier-General MAKINS: I beg to move, after the word "manufacturer" ["if any manufacturer fails"], to insert the word "wilfully." We are a little handicapped in arguing this because two eminent King's Counsel who object to this cannot be here, but I am advised that this word "wilfully" ought certainly to be put in. Illness or accident, or something might prevent a man from doing what the Bill required.

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quirements of any such notice within the time therein specified such manufacturer shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten pounds for every day during which the default continues, and any fine imposed under this Section shall be payable to the Association: Provided that proceedings for the recovery of any such fine shall be brought only by the Association. Provided also that the obligation of a manufacturer under this Section to render accounts may be discharged by delivery to the Association of a certificate under the hand of a chartered (or incorporated) accountant in the form set forth in the Second Schedule to this Act.

Amendment proposed (3rd July): Leave out the word "thirty," and insert instead thereof the word "sixty."—[Mr. Remer.]

Question again proposed, "That the word 'thirty' stand part of the Clause."

The CHAIRMAN: There is no Quorum, and it is useless to proceed with this Division.

A Quorum being present

The Committee divided: Ayes, 17; Noes, 2.

It might be some perfectly valid reason, and it is all very well saying that proceedings would not be taken unless the thing was wilfully done. I am informed that it ought to be made statutory in the Bill. We who are rather against this Bill are trying to protect the small man against the large combine which heretofore has dominated this Research Association and we do not want these men put at the mercy of this large combine. The Committee may not know that up to last December, out of 18 members of the Association, eight belonged to the Dunlop Company, and we know perfectly well that in industry we want to protect the small man. We are advised that this word "wilfully" ought to be put in. I do not know whether the promoters are prepared to accept the Amendment or not.

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Mr. WADDINGTON: We cannot accept this Amendment because we are advised by an eminent King's Counsel who, unfortunately, cannot be here this morning, that the word "wilfully" is, from a legal point of view, dangerous and always difficult to construe and apply. It should be wholly a question of fact, and the loophole such as is presented by this Amendment should not be accepted. In addition to this legal opinion there is the fact that the punishment will not be inflicted by any big corporation connected with rubber, but the magistrates will have to use their discrimination, and the fine cannot exceed the amount in the Clause, and it may be as low as Id. per day. Therefore I think there is all the protection that is required.

Mr. REMER: I am very sorry to hear that my hon. Friend cannot accept this Amendment, because it is one to which we attach very great importance. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Altrincham (Mr. Atkinson) who, as has been stated, cannot be here today, I believe, discussed this matter with the promoters and we were hopeful that, at any rate, this word would be inserted. A great deal has been made both on the Second Reading and even in this Committee of the analogy between this Bill and the Cotton Act. I think there is the greatest possible difference, quite apart from other matters, which I would not be in order in discussing at this moment; but in cotton, as I understand it, there are very few people who use a very little

Division No. 8.] AYES.
Makins, Brigadier-General E. Remer, J. R.
NOES.
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles Connolly, M. Lunn, William
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Dean, Arthur Wellesley Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Bethel, A. Gadie, Lieut-Col. Anthony Waddington, R.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham) Gibbins, Joseph Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Campbell, E. T. Hacking, Douglas H. Westwood, J.
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman

The CHAIRMAN: The next three Amendments on the Order Paper refer to the same thing, and for the convenience of the Committee I suggest that we discuss the Amendment in the name of Mr. Waddington, as that is down in the names of the promoters.

Mr. WADDINGTON: I beg to move, to leave out the word "ten" and to insert instead thereof the word "five."

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cotton, but in the case of rubber there are a very large number of people, running probably into many thousands, who use a very infinitesimal amount of rubber. Is it not absolutely absurd that if one of these small users inadvertently, it might be, through the illness of his cashier or, possibly, through the mistake of a clerk in his office, failed to carry out the provisions of this Bill, he is to be hauled before the magistrate—a very distasteful thing for anybody, whether a big man or a small man, and to have his name brought before the Courts, even if the fine is only a small one, because the mere fact that he had been brought before the Courts for failing to pay his contribution to this Research Association would do him considerable injury in his business. Even if the Amendment be turned down now, I do strongly urge my hon. Friend to reconsider this matter. I am sure if the Amendment were accepted it would go a long way towards helping the smoother passage of this Bill. There are many other things which one might say upon the matter, but it does seem to me that for an inadvertent mistake of this kind it is absolutely wrong that the users of rubber should be put to the risk of having this great injury done to them. Therefore I hope my hon. Friend will even yet consider the insertion of this word.

Question put, "That the word 'wilfully' be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 2; Noes, 17.

This Amendment has really been put down to meet the views of those who object to the larger amount. It is a matter within the discretion of the magistrate, and I think this Amendment will commend itself to the Committee.

Brigadier-General MAKINS: Our Amendment is to insert the words "one pound," and we think £1 is quite sufficient. A fine of £10 would be perfectly 1927 monstrous, and we think that £5 is much too much. It is not quite so monstrous, but it is half as monstrous. £1 a day is quite enough. After all is said and done, we want to make the standard of sentence low. We do not want to penalise those men who, possibly through inadvertence, have to go before the Court, and therefore we suggest the maximum fine should be £1 and not £5.

Sir BURTON CHADWICK: I do think my hon. Friend is unreasonable when the promoters have met him to the extent of halving the fine, not because it is excessive, but because he wished to meet him, and I hope my hon. Friend will not persist in his opposition.

Mr. REMER: I am sorry that the hon. Member for Wallasey (Sir B. Chadwick) has taken that view. Although we think that the promoters have met us to a certain extent, £5 for what is, as I have said, a very small amount of rubber or may be a very small amount of rubber that is used, is absolutely inappropriate. As the Clause will now read, it will not merely be £5, but £5 for every day during which the inadvertence has gone on. There is nothing in the Clause to provide that the association shall immediately take action. The fines, according to the Clause, go to the association. It might well happen that the association, wanting some funds, might delay the matter 1928 for a considerable period in order to make the penalty an even larger one. Therefore I press very strongly for the amount to be reduced to £l. I had on the Paper an Amendment which was designed to make the penalty shillings instead of pounds, which, as you have said, is very largely the same principle. At any rate, I think that the Amendment to make this penalty £l is a reasonable proposal, and I am rather surprised that the promoters have not accepted what was put forward in a perfectly reasonable way in order to provide what we consider to be a reasonable penalty.

Question, "That the word 'ten' stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.

Question put, "That the word 'five' be there inserted."

The Committee proceeded to a Division.

It appearing from the Division that twenty Members were not present, the Chairman suspended the sitting for five minutes.

That period having elapsed and twenty Members still not being present,

The CHAIRMAN: It is useless going on unless Members will maintain a Quorum. The Committee will adjourn until Tuesday next at Eleven o'clock.

Committee adjourned at a Quarter before Twelve o'clock until Tuesday, 10th July, at Eleven o'clock.

THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE:—

Short, Mr. Alfred (Chairman)

Ainsworth, Major

Baker, Mr. John

Bethel, Mr.

Broun-Lindsay, Major

Campbell, Mr.

Chadwick, Sir Burton

Connolly, Mr.

Dean, Mr.

Gadie, Colonel

Garro-Jones, Captain

Gibbins, Mr.

Grotrian, Mr.

Hacking, Mr.

Lawrence, Miss

Luce, Major-General Sir Richard

Lunn, Mr.

Makins, Brigadier-General

Bemer, Mr.

Sugden, Sir Wilfrid

Waddington, Mr.

Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Colonel

Westwood, Mr.