§ Message to attend the Lords Commissioners. The House went, and, having returned,
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER reported the Royal Assent to,—
- 1. War Loan Act, 1914.
- 2. Special Constables Act, 1914.
- 3. Isle of Man (War Legislation) Act, 1914.
- 4. Defence of the Realm (No. 2) Act, 1914.
- 5. Customs (Exportation Prohibition) Act, 1914.
- 6. Articles of Commerce (Returns, etc.) Act, 1914.
- 7. Elementary School Teachers (War Service Superannuation) Act, 1914.
- 8. Education (Scotland) (War Service Superannuation) Act, 1914.
- 9. Education (Scotland) (Provision of Meals) Act, 1914.
- 10. Police (Scotland) (Limit of Age) Act, 1914.
- 11. Naval Billeting, etc., Act, 1914.
- 12. Housing (No. 2) (Amendment) Act, 1914.
- 13. Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks Temporary Rules (Amendment) Act, 1914.
- 14. Local Government (Adjustments) (Scotland) Act. 1914.
- 15. Currency and Bank Notes (Amendment) Act, 1914.
- 16. Blyth Hall (Transfer) Order Confirmation Act, 1914.
- 17. Coatbridge Drainage and Burgh Extension Order Confirmation Act, 1914.
- 18. Dumbarton Burgh (Water, etc.) Order Confirmation Act, 1914.
- 19. North British Railway (Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway Vesting) Order Confirmation Act, 1914.
§ Mr. GORDON
I think there should be some tribunal which has a general power to deal with these points.
§ Sir J. SIMON
What the hon. Member has stated is an illustration of the advantage of doing these things by rule and not by Statute. I quite see that rules in the nature of giving liberty to a Court of recalling or withdrawing what was ordered might be very proper, and I will do my best to have that point considered. Our intention is that nothing in this Act shall prevent the registration of judgments to secure a charge, and if there is any doubt about it we will have it remedied. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) pointed out that while it might be all very well to use these discretionary powers in the relief of a hard-pressed debtor, it does not at all follow that the creditor might not be feeling the 344 pressure, and it would be right to see that all the circumstances are considered. I may say that I should not exclude from those circumstances the sort of consideration which the right hon. Gentleman has indicated. We will see that we do not by conferring a favour on one man inflict an unmerited additional hardship upon another.
I am afraid I cannot give the hon. Member for Stockton any satisfaction within the four corners of this Bill on a point which he has raised. I question whether the title of this Bill allows provision for relief from Income Tax in certain cases. The points which he has raised may be important, but they will have to be put before the Revenue Department, and they could not actually be met in this Bill. It is perfectly open to those who make an order under this Bill to attach conditions, and I can imagine a case in which the Court would say, "I will not have you turned out of your house, but this shall be on condition that the landlord is not worse off in respect of this particular liability." This machinery could be used to deal with a special case of that kind. The hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson) misunderstood me. I did not mean that I was in a position to put all these Amendments down on the Paper. Under the rule they have to be put down before the House adjourns, but my intention was to have them placed on record so that hon. Members could see what we are going to propose. We are proceeding as rapidly as we can to settle the Amendments, and they are not very numerous. I do not think that, we shall serve any good purpose by waiting until these Amendments can be put on the Paper, and if we are not able to put them down before the House adjourns, I hope it will not be considered that there has been any want of consideration for hon. Members. I will undertake that they shall be available in the Vote Office as soon as hon. Members come here on Monday, so that we shall not have to wait a moment longer than is necessary. Anything we can do to get the notice advanced we will do. I think sooner or later a White Paper explaining the simple terms of what this Bill will do will very likely be a convenience, and I would suggest-that we should not occupy our time in 345 drawing up another document, although I agree that a businesslike explanation might be useful.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
All I want to say is that supposing the Amendments are given, with nine people out of every ten it is very difficult to read them into a Bill. All I am asking for is that the Bill should be reprinted, showing the Amendments in it. Very often, when the Amendments are lather complicated, it is convenient to people who are not lawyers, and to lawyers as well.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I am not prepared to exclude the lawyers. I agree that it would be a convenient thing, but perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman would be content if I say that I will make inquiries. We are splendidly served by our officials, but there are limits, and I do not like to promise that which we cannot perform. We will, however, do the best we can. I would ask now that we report Progress, and I should like to thank hon. Members who have endeavoured in this matter to preserve the unanimity of the House, which is, at any rate, one gratifying feature of this anxious time.
§ Sir COURTENAY WARNER
I personally have considerable interest in this Bill, and I should like to have it made clear what it means in a White Paper. It not only affects lich people, but it may have a very serious effect upon poor tenants and the credit they have in taking houses or even lodgings. I think, therefore, it ought to be made very clear, and I hope that the White Paper will make it so.
§ Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next, 31st August.