§ [Queen's Recommendation signified]
§ Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 88 (Money Committees).
§ [Sir SAMUEL STOREY in the Chair]
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, for the purposes of any Act of this Session to increase the amount which may be borrowed by the Gas Council and Area Boards under the Gas Act 1948, it is expedient to authorise such increases in the sums which by or under any enactment are to be or may be charged on or issued out of the Consolidated Fund, raised by borrowing, or paid into the Exchequer, as may result from provisions of the said Act of this Session—
§ 3.59 p.m.
§ Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)
I was rather surprised that the Parliamentary Secretary cut his remarks so short. Perhaps we could now have an assurance from whichever Minister is responsible for the Money Resolution that its terms are wide enough to make it possible for us to amend the Bill in Committee. I have already made it clear to the Minister that the Opposition will seek to amend the Bill in Committee to the extent of altering possibly both the period of the loan and the total amount. Before we part with the Money Resolution, I consider it absolutely essential that we should have from the Government this very modest assurance. As we pointed out on Second Reading, we are dealing with immense sums of money. We would be very much concerned to know that we have got the full opportunity of amending this Bill so that Parliament does not part to a quite unnecessary extent with control over these very large sums of money.
Now that we have the presence of a Treasury Minister, I am glad to repeat one of the questions which I asked during my speech and with which the Parliamentary Secretary did not deal in his reply. Where is all this coming from? This immense load that we are placing on the resources of the nation is something 2078 in which Parliament must take a close interest. For this reason I am asking for a categorical assurance from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that the form of the Money Resolution is wide enough to permit an amendment of the kind that I have described.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Niall MacDermot)
In answer to the hon. Member, the amount which is authorised or may be authorised is governed by the Money Resolution, which is the point of the Resolution. The Resolution does not deal with the period during which the advances can be made.
§ Mr. Peyton
In that case, I take it that it will be possible to amend the amount by reduction in Committee but not by an increase?
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported.
§ Report to be received upon Monday next.