§ Message to attend the Lords Commissioners;—
§ The House went;—and being returned;—
§ MR. CALDWELL
There is only one other point in the speech of my hon. Friend to which I will call attention. I venture to say that very little inconvenience will be caused to the working classes. It will not take them more than 882 260 yards out of their way from Govan to Glasgow, and it should also be borne in mind that there is a very efficient service of penny steamers running up the Clyde from Govan to Glasgow—a distance of three or four miles—so that those who wish to travel from one place to the other have every convenience. In addition to that, we find that the working classes in Govan are a migratory population, and if a man finds he is put to any inconvenience by having to go a little out of his way, he can easily shift his home. On the other hard, it is, of course, impossible to shift the River Clyde. So far as the working classes are concerned, there is no outcry against this scheme. If it inconveniences a few of the people the scheme will convenience the many, and I therefore submit that there is no reason for traversing the decision of the Committee.
§ *(4.0.) SIR J. KENNAWAY (Devon, Honiton)
As Chairman of the Committee of this House which considered this Bill, I may, perhaps, be allowed to say a few words on the arguments of my hon. Friend the Member for Govan. The question put before the Committee was a very simple one, and was not complicated by any side issues. It was whether the Commissioners of the Clyde should be allowed to meet the demands of the shipping of that port according to the only plan that they thought useful and practicable, or whether, in the interests of the working classes, it was desirable so to curtail the plan as to practically spoil it. Now, the Clyde Commissioners are a Public Body, and have no private interests to serve in this matter. They have done great service to the Port of Glasgow. In 21 years the increase of their revenue has been from £143,000 to £335,000. They have long felt that they wanted a new dock, and have purchased 100 acres of land for nearly £500,000, in order that the dock might be constructed. The Committee came to the conclusion that, on the whole, the balance of advantage was in favour of the scheme of the Clyde Trustees, though they quite acknowledge the hardships of the working man in having, from one point, to make a détour of 800 yards. They took into consideration the fact that great benefit would accrue to the people of Govan by the expenditure 883 among them of £1,500,000. It was, no doubt, a serious thing to divert an old-established road; but the question is, whether such inconveniences as that are outweighed by the stronger claims of the whole shipping interests of the Clyde. The great majority of the Committee felt, without hesitation, that it was unnecessary to call upon the counsel for the Clyde Trustees to continue his observations; and the same thing happened in the House of Lords. I think it will be greatly regretted if, after Committees of both Houses have passed the Bill, the House should reject it.
§ (4.6.) DR. CLARK (Caithness)
If I had entertained any doubt before, the two speeches I have heard in favour of the Bill would have proved quite sufficient to determine the course I ought to take. The speech of my hon. Friend the Member for the St. Rollox Division was not of the character I should have expected from him. I do not know whether he is ignorant of the facts of the case, or whether he is trying to throw dust into the eyes of Members of this House; but he must know that the ratepayers have nothing to do with this matter, and that the cost of the works will not be defrayed by them. It will have to be paid out of the shipping dues. My hon. Friend apparently was anxious that the House should not realise what is the real point at issue between the Corporation of Glasgow and the Burgh of Govan. The question is whether you are going to have a bridge to connect the two sides of the dock. The proposition of the Corporation of Glasgow is a very wise one. It is simply a question of keeping in existence a road that has been established 400 or 500 years. I am sure it would cost less money to build the bridge than it cost to oppose the proposition. If they had been wise the Clyde Trustees would have assented to the scheme. My hon. Friend has suggested that this is not so serious a matter for the working classes, as they can migrate to other houses if they choose; but why should the value of property be thus depreciated? This is evidently a question of the classes against the masses, and the latter will go to the wall. I hope the House will insist on having a bridge erected, for I have heard no reasons advanced why there should not be one.
§ (4.14.) Mr. GILES (Southampton)
I cannot understand what advantage would be gained by the re-committal of the Bill. The Committee would only have before it the evidence on which they have already decided it. In 1883 Parliament passed a Bill which did away with the direct Govan road, and a new road was made 237 yards longer. If the diversion proposed in this Bill be compared with the road of 1883, it will be found that the extra distance will be 269 yards, instead of 800 yards as contended by hon. Gentlemen opposite. As an engineer, I do not hesitate to say that the present plan is infinitely superior to that of 1883. I would have done all I could to get rid of even the one swing bridge. I can only say that the necessities of Glasgow and of Govan are such as to render it expedient to have a dock to accommodate the larger class of steamers; and I think the Clyde Trustees have adopted very proper designs. It is not a question of money. The Commissioners are going to spend £1,500,000 in order to increase the dock accommodation on the Clyde, and surely it would be foolish to throw over the scheme simply because some working men will have to walk two or three hundred yards further than before. Supposing there was a swing bridge, and it happened to be open just as the men were going to work, they would be delayed and probably lose a quarter of a day's work. With this uncertainty, would it not be better that they should be compelled to go oven a quarter of a mile out of their way, for they would then know what time to start in order to reach the works in time? I hope that the House will not upset the Bill.
§ (4.17.) The House divided:—Ayes 165; Noes 81.—(Div. List, No. 200.)
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read the third time, and passed, with Amendments.