§ Appropriate assessments shall be created in any valuation list in respect of those portions of Electricity Undertakings as are only indirectly productive, and the sum total of contributions in lieu of rates accruing in favour of rating authorities upon such assessments shall be deducted from the payments to be made year by year by the British Electricity Authority for the benefit of local authorities under this Act.—[Sir J. Mellor.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Sir J. Mellor
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
I shall be able to deal with this proposal rather more briefly, because of certain observations that I made upon an Amendment to Clause 100. I am afraid that the Minister was not here at the time. The Parliamentary Secretary is fully aware of what I said, with particular reference to a rural district council in my constituency. It is owing to the misfortune in which that council now finds itself because of the provisions of Part V of the Bill, that I have put the proposed new Clause on the Order Paper.
The purpose of the proposal is that power stations shall still appear in the valuation lists. Under the provisions of Part V, power stations are to be entirely eliminated from valuation lists. My proposal is that in certain respects they should still be rated and that the amount paid by the British Electricity Authority to the pool should be diminished by the total amount which that authority pays in rates. 1274 The result would be that the British Electricity Authority would pay no more in rates at all. This Clause would provide merely a different method of distribution of what the British Electricity Authority will pay in rates from that provided in the Bill. It would mean that in respect of the static portions of electricity undertakings the British Electricity Authority would pay rates to the rating authorities. As to the rest of the amount which it would have to pay, it would pay to the pool, and that will be distributed in accordance with the provisions of the Bill.
I have proposed this new Clause because of the very great hardship which is being inflicted upon those authorities which have power stations within their boundaries. As I dwelt on this at some length on an Amendment to Clause 100 it would not be appropriate, especially as you, Mr. Bowles, were in the Chair when that discussion took place, for me to proceed at any great length, but I feel that I should remind the Committee that the Meriden Rural District Council in my constituency will lose 34 per cent. of its rateable value as a result of the total exclusion of the Ham's Hall power station, which belongs to the Birmingham Corporation, from its valuation list.
That raises a very formidable proposition. Although the trouble will be tapered off by means of the grant from the county council which is provided under Clause 100, the hardship will nonetheless be extremely severe. The permanent position will be that that rural district will have in perpetuity the Ham's Hall power station located within its area and it will get not a penny in rates directly in respect of it. After 10 years it will get nothing at all from any source in respect of that power station. That is a very severe hardship, because about 1,000 acres will remain sterilised in perpetuity. That is a very grave affliction upon the amenities of the area.
I hope very much that the Minister will give another thought to this matter. Why is it that only electricity undertakings are to be excluded from the valuation list? Why not other public utilities in the same way? Is it merely because they are nationalised? I hardly think that can be the answer, because hospitals are going to be nationalised but I understand that they will remain rated—
§ Mr. Bevan
On a point of Order, Mr. Bowles; there is nothing at all in this Clause which even remotely relates to what the hon. Gentleman is now putting before the Committee. The Clause is extremely narrow. All it says is that:… those portions of Electricity Undertakings as are only indirectly productive.No one can say that the power station itself is indirectly productive. It is directly productive, and therefore every argument directed to the derating of a power station is entirely outside the point. Nor is it relevant to argue about the hardships inflicted upon the local authorities where power stations exist. That was taken on a previous Amendment.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Bowles)
The hon. Gentleman should keep more strictly to the terms of the Clause.
§ Sir J. Mellor
Certainly, Mr. Bowles. With great respect, I was doing so, most strictly. I am not familiar with the technical expressions currently in use in connection with electricity supply, but I am informed that the expression "indirectly productive" means, to those who understand these technicalities, the structural portions and the underground mains. The Minister may be no more familiar with it than I am, but if that is a correct interpretation, this deals with the structure of the power station. My point is that the power station ought to be represented in some form in the valuation list, and it is not. Why are electricity undertakings to be removed entirely from the valuation lists whereas hospitals, for instance, are to remain in? The Minister is competent to answer on the latter point, and I hope he will. That is the reason I am moving this New Clause. This rural district council in my constituency is being deprived of 34 per cent. of its rateable value, so far as I can see, for no just reason whatever, and I hope we may have a full answer from the Minister.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Sir J. Mellor
On a point of Order, Mr. Bowles, if the right hon. Gentleman is accusing me of having been out of Order, 1276 I submit he is not entirely respectful to your Ruling, for you permitted me to continue my argument. Therefore, I do not think it is right for the right hon. Gentleman to say I was out of Order.
§ Mr. Bevan
—is that I should make a Second Reading speech all over again and explain why it is that electricity undertakings have been dealt with differently from other forms of property. Every hon. Member knows the answer to that one; it is self-evident, and I should not at this stage of my Parliamentary life start explaining why an electricity undertaking is slightly different from a cottage or a hospital. The hon. Member knows that.
What the Clause does is to try to leave for local rating those parts of the electricity undertaking that could be described as not being directly related to the production of electricity. I am informed that "indirectly productive" is not a term of art and it is almost impossible to construe. It would be foolish to decide that the power station itself is productive, but that mains carrying the current from the power station are only indirectly productive, because everybody knows that a dynamo which does not have a cable attached to it produces nothing at all, not even a friction. Consequently the illustration given by the hon. Member does not stand for a moment. Furthermore, it is difficult to detach the building itself from the turbines and from the generators. You cannot rate the building and not rate the contents of the building, so that the difficulty of severance is almost impossible of achievement.
However, even if we succeeded in carrying out this extremely complicated operation, what would be accomplished? There never was a better example of crossing the river to fill the pail. In the hon. Member's own Clause he would first hand over to the local authority the right to rate indirectly productive parts of the undertakings, if they can be identified, but then he would not give them any share in the pool, but would take away from them that share in the pool represented by the actual hereditaments for 1277 which they were entitled. The local authority would be denied its share of the cumulo. There would be accountants working hard in order to shift the sum from one side of the balance sheet to the other, whereas on the hon. Member's own showing the local authority would not benefit.
§ Sir J. Mellor
It would get its rates in respect of the static portion directly in the ordinary way. Then, in respect of the other part it would get its share of the pool.
§ Sir J. Mellor
I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman has not read the Clause. The point is that the British Electricity Authority would pay a certain amount to local authorities direct through the rates. That total amount would be deducted from what the British Electricity Authority paid into the pool. That latter part would be distributed to the local authorities in proportion to their rateable value.
§ Sir J. Mellor
I am sorry, but I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has properly read the Clause, or understood it. That seems perfectly clear. It will not be denied that a local authority in my constituency is going to lose 34 per cent. of its rateable value, and a number of other authorities will lose something of the same amount. In compensation, those authorities are going to draw out of the pool of rates which will be paid by the electricity authority. Out of that pool they are to draw in proportion to their rateable value—not their existing rateable value as it was before this Measure, but according to their future rateable value after this Bill has become an Act, and after Part V of the Bill has become effective. These local authorities are going to suffer not only because they will be unable to rate the electricity undertakings, but because out of the pool they are only going to draw in proportion to their depleted rateable value. It is a very grave hardship which they have to face. I am sorry the Minister did not take the trouble to read the Clause, or that when he read it he did not understand it. I think I have a very good point here, and I hope the Minister will give more thought to it.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 75; Noes 256.1281
|Division No. 83.]||AYES.||[9.10 p.m.|
|Amory, D Heathcoat||Hollis, M. C.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Barlow, Sir J||Hope, Lord J.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Beamish, Maj T V H.||Hurd, A.||Shephard, S. (Newark)|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Birch, Nigel||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Snaddan, W. M.|
|Boles, Lt-Col D C. (Wells)||Keeling, E. H.||Spearman, A. C. M|
|Bower, N.||Kerr, Sir J. Graham||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Challen, C||Langford-Holt, J.||Strauss, H. G (English Universities)|
|Channon, H||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Sutciiffe, H.|
|Clarke, Col R. S||Lindsay, M. (Solihull)||Thorneycroft, G E. P (Monmouth)|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.||Low, A. R. W||Thornton Kemsley, C. N.|
|Conant, Maj. R J. E||Lucas, Major Sir J||Touche, G C.|
|Darling, Sir W Y||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Turton, R H.|
|De la Bère, R.||MacDonald, Sir M. (Inverness)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Digby, S. W.||Macdonald, Sir P. (I of Wight)||Wakefield, Sir W W|
|Dodds-Parker, A D||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Dower. Lt.-Col. A V. G. (Penrith)||Macpherson, N (Dumfries)||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Drewe, C||Marples, A. E.||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Dugdale, Maj Sir T. (Richmond)||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Wheatley, Col M J (Dorset, E.)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon Sir D. P. M||Molson, A. H E||White, Sir D. (Fareham)|
|Gage, C.||Morrison, Maj. J G. (Salisbury)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col A||Odey, G. W||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Grimston, R. V||O'Neill, Rt Hon. Sir H||York, C.|
|Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Peto, Brig. C. H M.|
|Harvey, Air-Comdre A. V.||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Headlam, Lieut-Col Rt. Han. Sir C||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)||Sir John Mellor and|
|Acland, Sir R.||Grierson, E.||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Paling, Will T (Dewsbury)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanally)||Palmar, A. M F.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Griffiths, W. D (Moss Side)||Paton, Mrs F. (Rushcliffe)|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Guy, W H.||Paton, J. (Norwich)|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Halre, John E. (Wycombe)||Pearson, A.|
|Baird, J||Hale, Leslie||Perrins, W.|
|Balfour, A.||Hall, Rt Hon. Glenvil||Platts-Mills. J. F. F.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Hardman, D. R.||Popplewell, E.|
|Battley, J R.||Hardy, E A.||Porter, E (Warrington)|
|Bechervaise, A. E||Harrison, J.||Porter, G. (Leeds)|
|Benson, G.||Hastings, Dr Somerville||Price, M Philips|
|Beswick, F.||Henderson, Rt. Hn A (Kingswinford)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Bevan, Rt Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Pryde, D. J.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Herbison, Miss M.||Pursay, Cmdr. H|
|Binns, J.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Randall, H. E.|
|Blankinsop, A.||Holman, P||Ranger, J|
|Blyton, W. R.||Holmes, H E. (Hemsworth)||Rankin, J.|
|Boardman, H.||Hoy, J.||Rees-Williams, D. R|
|Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Reeves, J.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)||Hughes, Emrys (S Ayr)||Reid, T (Swindon)|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Richards, R.|
|Brooks, T J. (Rothwell)||Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshira)|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)||Robertson, J. J (Berwick)|
|Bruce, Maj D W. T.||Irving, W. J (Tottenham, N.)||Rogers, G. H. R|
|Buchanan, Rt. Hon. G.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)|
|Burke, W A||Jay, D P. T||Scollan, T|
|Butler, H W (Hackney, S.)||Jeger, G (Winchester)||Scott-Elliot, W.|
|Byers, Frank||Jeger, Dr S W. (St Pancras, S.E.)||Sharp, Granville|
|Champion, A J.||Jones, D. T (Hartlepools)||Shawcross, C N. (Widnes)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Jones, P Asterley (Hitchin)||Shinwell, Rt Hon. E.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Keenan, W.||Shurmer, P.|
|Cocks, F S.||Kenyon, C.||Silkin, Rt. Hon L.|
|Coldrick, W.||Key, C. W.||Silverman, J (Erdington)|
|Collick, P||King, E M.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Collindridge, F.||Kinley, J||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Collins, V J||Lang, G||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Lawson, Rt Hon J. J.||Smith, C. (Colchester)|
|Comyns, Dr L.||Lee, Miss J (Cannock)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)|
|Cook, T. F.||Leonard, W.||Smith, H N. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Corbet. Mrs F. K. (Camb'wall, N.W.)||Leslie, J R.||Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Cove, W G.||Levy, B W.||Solley, L. J.|
|Daggar, G.||Lewis, A W J. (Upton)||Soskice, Sir Frank|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Lewis, T (Southampton)||Stamford, W|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Lindgren, G. S.||Steele, T.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lipson, D. L.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Longden, F.||Stross, Dr B.|
|Davies, S O. (Merthyr)||Lyne, A W.||Swingler, S|
|Deer, G||McAdam, W.||Sylvester, G O.|
|Delargy, H J||McEntee, V La T||Symonds, A. L|
|Dobbie, W||McGhee, H G.||Taylor, H B (Mansfield)|
|Dodds, N N.||McGovern, J.||Taylor. R J. (Morpeth)|
|Donovan, T||Mackay, R W G. (Hull, N.W.)||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||McKinlay A S.||Thomas, D E. (A[...]erdare)|
|Dugdale, J (W Bromwich)||Maclean, N (Govan)||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Dumpleton, C W.||McLeavy, F.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Durbin, E. F M.||MacMillan, M K (Western Isles)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mainwaring, W H||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Ede'man, M.||Mann, Mrs. J.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Manning, C (Camberwell, N.)||Tiffany, S.|
|Edwards, John (Blackburn)||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||Timmons, J|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Mathers, Rt Hon. G.||Titterington, M. F.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapal)||Messer, F.||Tolley, L|
|Evans, A (Islington, W.)||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Evans, E (Lowestoft)||Mikardo, Ian||Ungoed-Thomas, L.|
|Evans, John (Ogmore)||Mitchison, G. R||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|Evans, S N. (Wadnesbury)||Morley, A S||Viant, S. P|
|Fairhurst, F.||Morley, R.||Wadsworth, G|
|Farthing, W. J.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Walkden, E.|
|Fletcher, E. G M. (Islington, E.)||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||Walker, G. H.|
|Foot, M. M.||Morrison, Rt Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Forman, J. C.||Mort, D. L.||Watkins, T E|
|Fraser, T (Hamilton)||Murray, J D||Watson, W M.|
|Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Nally, W||Webb, M (Bradford, C.)|
|George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||Naylor, T E.||Westwood, Rt Hon. J.|
|Gibbins, J||Neal, H (Claycross)||Wheatley, J T (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Glanville, J E (Consett)||Nicholls, H R (Stratford)||White, C F (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Greenwood A. W. J. (Heywood)||Noel-Baker, Capt. F E. (Brentford)||White, H (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Grenfell, D R.||Oliver, G H.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Gray, C. F.||Orbach, M.||Wigg, George|
|Paget, R. T.||Wilkins, W A|
|Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)||Williamson, T.||Yates, V F|
|Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)||Willis, E.|
|Williams, D. J. (Neath)||Wills, Mrs. E. A||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Williams, J. L. (Kevingrove)||Woodburn, A||Mr. Snow and|
|Williams, W. R. (Heston)||Wyatt, W.||Mr. George Wallace.|
Question put, and agreed to.