§ On the Motion to go into Committee on this Bill,
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
said he would have moved the Motion without any comment had it not been that there was, on the part of some of their Lordships and some of the public outside, an impression that there was some compulsion about this Measure. He was at a loss to understand why such an impression should have got abroad. Both last year, when a similar Bill was before their Lordships, and last Tuesday, he distinctly stated that the Measure was purely permissive. He recognised that there should be every safeguard in the interests of the ratepayers, and on that point he desired to point out to the noble Earl the Leader of the Opposition that so far as those interests could be safeguarded they had been safeguarded in the Bill. Had it been proper for him to make a third speech on Tuesday last, he would have liked to say how heartily he endorsed the remarks of the Earl of Kimberley as to the danger there might appear at first sight to be in enabling local authorities to grant the ratepayers' money for the purpose of enabling working men to obtain possession of their houses on terms perfectly fair and just to buyer and seller. The noble Earl pointed to a weakness in connection with the Bill, and that was that the population in industrial centres was fluctuating. He admitted that on that account it would be the duty of local authorities, to whom under the Bill was intrusted the power to advance money if they thought fit, to assure themselves that the prosperity of the industry on which the working classes depended for their livelihood was assured before they advanced the money. He did not know that there could be a better safeguard than the Bill provided, but he would be glad to receive any suggestion on the point.
§ Bill considered in Committee (according to Order); reported without amendment; and re-committed to the Standing Committee.