§ House again in Committee (according to order).
§ [The EARL OF ONSLOW in the Chair.]
§ Clause 45:
§ 45. Nothing in the Rousing Acts shall authorise the acquisition for the purposes of those Acts of any land which is the site of an ancient monument or other object of archæological interest.
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN said the provision in Clause 45 was a perfectly proper provision, and had also been enacted in the Small Holdings Act two years ago, but for some reason, which he did not understand, His Majesty's Government had omitted to add to this clause the further words which appeared in the section which dealt with the subject in the Small Holdings Act. He had therefore placed those words on the Paper, so that the clause, if amended as he suggested, would prevent the compulsory acquisition of any land which was the property of any local authority or had been acquired by any corporation or company for the purposes of any railway, dock, canal, water, or other public undertaking, or which at the date of the order formed part of any park, garden, or pleasure ground, or was otherwise required for the amenity or convenience of any dwelling-house. Those provisions, as he had stated, were in the Small Holdings Act, and he believed that only on the previous day His Majesty's Government accepted a precisely similar Amendment in the Development Bill which was now being considered in another place. Therefore he thought he need not detain their Lordships with any arguments in favour of this proposal, which he hoped the Government would be prepared to accept.
In page 19, line 20, after the word 'interest' to insert the words or the compulsory acquisition of any land which is the property of any local authority or has been acquired by any corporation or company for the purposes of a railway, dock, canal, water, or other public undertaking, or which at the date of the order forms part of any park, garden, or pleasure ground, or is other wise required for the amenity or convenience of any dwelling-house.'"—(Viscount St. Aldwyn.)
§ THE LORD STEWARD (EARL BEAUCHAMP) said he was sorry not to be able 247 to meet the noble Viscount on this point, because in the opinion of the Local Government Board this proviso was not necessary. He was glad that the noble Viscount recognised the merits of the Small Holdings Act, and wished to re-enact in this Bill some of the provisions of that Act. He (Earl Beauchamp) only wished they had been allowed to incorporate more of that Act in the present measure. He desired to point out to the noble Viscount one result if this Amendment was inserted. If on any of the property referred to in the Amendment there were insanitary dwellings which ought to be dealt with, the Amendment would have the effect of preventing them from being dealt with. This was rather a new principle to put into a Bill which dealt with the housing, and it might lead to great inconvenience. There was a case at St. Pancras where a railway company were the freeholders of an insanitary area which was condemned under Part II of the Act, and it was contended that this area had been acquired under the powers of a special Act. Under the Amendment of the noble Viscount that land could not have been dealt with. He might say, on behalf of the Local Government Board, that they would be careful not to hamper any of these undertakings by allowing the compulsory purchase of areas without satisfying themselves that no real detriment would result to the undertaking. But he thought the noble Viscount would agree that it ought not to be in the power of the proprietors of these undertakings to have a veto on improvement schemes unless their wishes were met with regard to monetary or other concessions.
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN said he had no intention of preventing insanitary dwellings being dealt with under Parts I and II of the Housing Act. What he had in his mind was the acquisition of land for the purposes of Part III of the Act. It could not be necessary that for those purposes a local authority should acquire compulsorily, or that the Local Government Board should order the acquisition of, any land which through the working of an Act of Parliament had already been acquired by a local authority or a corporation or a company for the purposes of a railway, dock, canal, water or other public undertaking. There could be no earthly reason why, in framing a new housing scheme under Part III of the Act, other land should not be taken 248 for that purpose. The same argument applied to the acquisition of any park, garden or pleasure ground; it would be perfectly easy for a council desiring to build cottages to acquire other land and not to interfere with parks, gardens or pleasure grounds. Again why, for the purpose of building one man a dwelling, should the amenity or convenience of any other dwelling-house be interfered with? He must press his Amendment, but to meet the objection of the noble Earl he would amend it so as expressly to limit its application to the acquisition of land for the purposes of Part III of the Act.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said this alteration made a real difference, and without pledging the Local Government Board to the Amendment, he would not at this stage offer any further opposition to it.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 45, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 46 and 47 agreed to.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN proposed a new clause, after Clause 47, defining the meaning of the expression "working-classes." He said it was imperative that there should be some definition of working-classes in the Bill, because there was nothing at present to show what the working-classes were. The definition which he had put down was a well-known definition. It appeared in the Standing Orders of both Houses of Parliament and he also found it in the Schedule attached to the Housing Act of 1903. The Schedule related to the taking of houses for the working-classes, and at the end this definition was inserted. It was for that reason he had chosen these words, and he moved that the new clause be here inserted.
To insert the following new clause:
'48 The expression "working-classes" throughout the Housing Acts, unless the context otherwise requires, shall mean mechanics, artisans, labourers, and others working for wages, hawkers, costermongers, persons not working for wages but working at some trade or handicraft without employing others except members of their own family, and persons whose income does not
exceed an average of thirty shillings a week and such persons as may be residing with them.'" (The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY hoped His Majesty's Government would not accept this new clause. The noble Earl who had moved the Amendment had not given much explanation. What on earth did this mean: "whose income does not exceed an average of thirty shillings a week and such persons as may be residing with them?" Was it that a man who had thirty-five shillings a week, or who happened to be a pensioner, or who happened to have had money left to him and was getting thirty-five shillings a week, was not to be included? If so, he thought it was very hard indeed. He hoped this definition would not be accepted in any way, for he was certain it was absolutely unnecessary. To begin with, why define hawkers? Why define costermongers, and not define ratcatchers? If they went in for definition they must define everybody. He hoped the Amendment would not be pressed.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN said that the noble Earl was, he was afraid, rather an iconoclast. He called into question the Standing Orders of both Houses of Parliament. He (Lord Camperdown) did not make these Standing Orders. Perhaps if he had done so he might have made them slightly different. But what was it the noble Earl did not understand? Did he not understand "persons whose income does not exceed an average of thirty shillings a week."
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN said the next provision was "and" such person as may be residing with them. "He presumed that referred to persons who were residing with persons whose incomes did not exceed an average of thirty shillings a week. That was the only explanation he could give to the noble Earl. It appeared to him that the words had a very clear meaning.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said their Lordships had already discussed this question on a previous Amendment, and he was in hopes that this clause would not have been pressed that afternoon. But they would see, from what had passed in the course of the various discussions on this Bill, that a definition of this kind, if carried out in the way the Earl of Camperdown proposed, would create very serious difficulties. Housing schemes had been carried out within a short distance of Westminster, and dwellings were occupied by policemen and by classes of workers who would not come within the definition. He had heard that a widow of a baronet was an occupier. Would these people have to be displaced as not coming within the definition? Let him point out how this particular clause suggested by the Earl of Camperdown really came into being. It was taken from the Schedule of the Housing Act of 1903, which dealt with a different point—the re-housing of persons who were displaced by public works, and therefore it would not be fair to say that putting this Amendment into this Bill was continuing a policy already adopted by both Houses of Parliament. It would involve a very large investigation on the part of local authorities. They would have to find out exactly the occupation and the wages of those who applied to them for houses. He believed that under this Amendment the local authorities would even have to find out when there was an increase in wages received by the occupiers, and to consider whether any man, who by his own merit received thirty-one shillings a week, ought then to be turned out. It would really be much more to the general convenience that houses of this kind should be dealt with rather on the basis of rental than on the basis of the trades of the people who occupied them. It was obvious that any building society or individual who dealt with these houses on a large scale must find it a great deal more convenient if their Lordships said that houses rented at so much a year came, or did not come, within the scope of the Bill, and that they were not obliged to make these interrogations with regard to the occupations of the people who lived in them. That was a matter of importance to people who conducted building societies or individuals who dealt with these houses on a large 251 scale, and therefore he ventured to hope that the noble Earl would not press his Amendment.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY said the Amendment also stood on the Paper in his name as well as in the name of the Earl of Camperdown, and the reason he put it down was that in a Bill intended for the housing of the working-classes it seemed to him advisable that there should be some definition of "working-classes," so that these houses should not be open except to the working-classes. The noble Earl opposite did not understand this particular definition, but it happened to be a definition drawn up by the joint wisdom of both Houses of Parliament as being suitable to define the working-classes. He quite agreed that to a certain extent one's opinion as to the advisability of this being passed had been modified by the fact that they had specified the rating of the houses; but still he thought there ought to be some definition, even though they had specified the rating of a house, as to the class of men for which a house was to be built.
§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY hoped the House would not agree to the Amendment. He had had some experience of this old Standing Order Clause. He remembered a good many years ago when Shaftesbury-avenue and Charing Crossroad were made, the Metropolitan Board of Works had to make a return, and they made what he could only call a fraudulent return. It was proved to be utterly delusive. They left half of the people out; they excluded mechanics on the ground that they were tradesmen and not artisans, and a more correct return of the number of people to be rehoused in that case was called for. The words in the Amendment were "working for wages," and then it went on to say, "persons whose income does not exceed an average of thirty shillings a week." There were plenty of people who were not working for wages, who, nevertheless, ought to be included. Take the collector of an industrial society like the Prudential. He might be able to make from thirty-eight to forty shillings a week on commission, and not on wages, and yet he was in the same social position as a skilled carpenter or smith. Therefore, they ought not to adopt this Amendment. He did not think there were many pensioners with thirty shillings 252 a week; but there was a difference between what was wages and what was salary. Did a schoolmistress or a schoolmaster earn wages or salary? A schoolmaster might be getting, perhaps, a couple of pounds a week, and might be living in one of these houses. He was satisfied that the better, simpler, and more effective way of working this was to take the rental value of these houses.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN said that the objection which the noble Earl in charge of the Bill had taken to his proposal was one which he did not think held water. If the noble Earl objected to define who the working-classes were, why did he insert the words "working-classes" in the Bill? If the words had no meaning, and if the Bill was to apply to persons who dwelt in houses of a certain rental, why use the term "working-classes?" Lord Sheffield had just said thought it ought to extend far beyond the working-classes. That was a perfectly intelligible position, but what was not intelligible was to describe this as an Act relating to the working-classes, and then when asked to define them to decline to do so. As long as they retained the words "working-classes," surely they ought to attach some definite meaning to them.
§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY said the noble Earl had somewhat misinterpreted what he had said. He only pointed out that the noble Earl's definition was not complete.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I think my noble friend's Amendment has not been quite clearly understood on the other side of the House. It has been said by the noble Earl the Leader of the House, and the noble Lord behind him, that if my noble friend's Amendment were to be accepted the effect would be that certain persons might be turned out of certain houses which they at present occupy. I do not believe that any person can be turned out of any house under this Amendment. The Earl of Kimberley dwelt upon the fact that in the definition of a working-man a rate of thirty shillings a week was mentioned. The noble Lord was apparently under the impression that any one receiving more than thirty shillings a week would be disqualified as not belonging to the working- classes. But that is not so. Under the Amendment any one 253 who is an artisan, a labourer, or a mechanic even receiving fifty shillings a week would be clearly qualified to be considered a member of the working-classes. With regard to the object and general purpose of my noble friend there can, I think, be no doubt. What we all desire is that if the money of the ratepayers is to be spent upon these housing schemes, which are in so many words described as schemes for the housing of the working-classes, the buildings erected should be occupied by the working-classes and not by people of an utterly different description. That, to my mind, is quite an obvious proposition. It is not only unfair to the ratepayers, but it is very unfair to the working-classes themselves that their places should be taken by people who really have no right to accommodation in buildings erected at the public expense under this Act. It has been truly said that the particular formula adopted by my noble friend has very high sanction indeed, because it is to be found in the Standing Orders of both Houses of Parliament. Therefore, I think, there is prima facie a strong case for the Amendment. But I confess I am tempted to ask, at one point at any rate, whether the Amendment does not propose to go rather further than is desirable, because what the Amendment says is that the expression "working-classes" throughout the Housing Acts shall be construed in this manner. Now under these Acts we have to deal with very different problems. There is, for example, the problem of deciding whether certain premises are fit for human habitation or not. It seems to me that when we are dealing with a case of that kind we ought not to be deterred from deciding whether premises are or are not fit for human habitation because those premises are not exclusively occupied by members of the working-classes. On the other hand, when you come to consider the other case, whether new buildings are to be erected at the public expense, then I. think it is fair to say you shall not erect such buildings unless they are required by and likely to be occupied by members of the working-classes. I would therefore suggest to my noble friend that he might possibly consider whether his Amendment might not be limited in such a way as to make it apply only where the question was the one of providing new housing accommodation under Part II, and not to those other cases which arise under the principal Act.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I still venture to hope that the noble Earl will not press his Amendment. In the first place, there is the fact, to which my noble friend behind me called attention, that we have already decided upon a rental basis for the purposes of this Act, and it seems to be a serious question whether, having decided on that basis, we should further complicate the matter by this attempted definition. Now this proposal has been commended as being the result of the collective wisdom of Parliament. We all have a great respect for the collective wisdom of Parliament, but I suppose the results of that wisdom are subject to occasional revision, otherwise we should never have any fresh legislation at all. The case in which this definition was employed, as I pointed out on an earlier Amendment, was where, at a given moment, a number of people were removed from their dwellings in consequence of an improvement scheme and had to be re-housed. It, therefore, was comparatively easy at that moment, or ought to have been—although the noble Lord behind me pointed out one conspicuous instance where the process had not been successful—to find out what the trade or means of a particular individual were. But it becomes entirely a different question when you enter into a continuous process of finding houses for persons whose means and position may alter from time to time. This definition has been subject to some examination. I confess that the definition itself, apart from the question of having a definition at all, seems to me altogether unsatisfactory. My noble friend who leads the Opposition pointed out that the provision was not limited to persons who earn thirty shillings a week, but that artisans and others earning a great deal more than that sum would be eligible. That, to me, is one of the principal objections to the definition. I should have thought that a person earning thirty-five shillings a week and not as an artisan was a far more suitable subject for these houses than a person earning a weekly wage of five or six pounds who would be eligible. Any one who earns wages at a handicraft himself without employing any one else would be eligible, but that is a definition which, I take it, would include the President of the Royal Academy. Therefore it seems to me reasonable to say that the definition itself is faulty and incomplete. Surely we can be content 255 with the rental limit. Nobody supposes that people of large means and leisure are going to live in these cheap municipal houses. No abuse of those houses I should have thought could possibly arise. There might be some eccentric person living on a pound a week even though he may have some money put by, who conceivably might become a candidate for such houses; but such cases would be exceedingly rare, and I should think the rental limit would be found to be quite a sufficient safeguard. I trust that the Committee will not accept the amendment.
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN said he understood the noble Earl to prefer the rental basis to the definition of the working-classes laid down by Lord Camper-down. But where was the rental limit laid down? He could not find it anywhere excepting in that clause which related to contracts between landlord and tenant, and made the landlord responsible for the proper upkeep of the house. That was a rental limit which had not been settled by their Lordships. But that did not apply to the provisions of the Bill, which related to the putting in force of Part III of the Housing of the Working-Classes Act by the local authority. The local authority under the Bill as it now stood might build houses if they chose of a rental of £100 a year or more, and the Local Government Board might compel them, subject to the provisions of the Bill, to build houses of any size or value, quite irrespective of any rental limit. If His Majesty's Government were prepared to accept the principle of a rental limit so as to define the class of houses which were to be built for the working-classes, he thought his noble friend might not care to press his Amendment; but surely there ought to be some kind of definition, either by a rental, or of the person by whom these houses were to be occupied.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said it was quite clear, if the Amendment was pressed, His Majesty's Government would be obliged to put their Lordships to the trouble of a Division. If, on the other hand, there was a general disposition to accept the principle of a rental, he thought they should not trouble their Lordships to divide. He thought they might agree to the rental as a basis for future consideration.256
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN said he was quite prepared to accept the Amendment which the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition had suggested, and for that purpose he would propose to insert at the beginning of his Amendment the words, "In any case relating to the provision of housing accommodation which may arise under Part III of the principal Act." That, he thought, would carry out the Amendment; but with regard to the case itself, he was bound to say he could not understand why the Government were so determined not to define the working-classes. He did not know why they used the words at all. Why put in the term "working-classes" if they did not attach any definite meaning to it? He proposed to insist on his Amendment now, and if the noble Earl would bring up on the Report stage a clause based upon rental he would be perfectly prepared then to consider whether it could come in as a substitute.
§ LORD ALVERSTONE said he could well understand, and he thought there was reason in, the objection by His Majesty's Government to the clause as it was framed. As a definition applying to all the clauses of this Bill it would create difficulty. But it was desirable there should be some definition of working-classes for the purpose of directing the local authority, and through this Act the Local Government Board, as to what was the state of things which would justify them in allowing housing schemes.
*THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES then put the Amendment in its amended form—viz.:
After Clause 47, moved to insert the following new clause:
'48. The expression "working-classes" in any case relating to the provision of housing accommodation under Part III of the principal Act, unless the context otherwise requires, shall mean mechanics, artisans, labourers, and others working for wages, hawkers, costermongers, persons not working for wages but working at some trade or handicraft without employing others except members of their own family, and persons whose income does not exceed an average of thirty shillings a week and such persons as may be residing with them.'"—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ On Question?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 83; Not-contents, 37—257
|Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.)||Plymouth, E.||Dawnay, L. (V. Downe.)|
|Bedford, D.||Scarbrough, E.||Desborough, L.|
|Devonshire, D.||Shaftesbury, E.||Digby, L.|
|Northumberland, D.||Stanhope, E.||Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.)|
|Waldegrave, E. [Teller.]||Ellenborough, L.|
|Ailesbury, M.||Wharncliffe, E.||Elphinstone, L.|
|Bath, M.||Faber, L.|
|Camden, M.||Churchill, V. [Teller.]||Farquhar, L.|
|Hertford, M.||De Vesci, V.||Forester, L.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Falkland, V.||Hindlip, L.|
|Salisbury, M.||Falmouth, V.||Hylton, L.|
|Halifax, V.||Inverclyde, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Hardinge, V.||Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare.)|
|Camperdown, E.||Hill, V.||Kilmarnock, L. (E. Errol.)|
|Cathcart, E.||Hood, V.||Knaresborough, L.|
|Cawdor, E.||Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)||Lawrence, L.|
|Clarendon, E.||Iveagh, V.||Monckton, L. (V. Galway.)|
|Coventry, E.||St. Aldwyn, V.||Monk Bretton, L.|
|Cromer, E.||O'Brien, L.|
|Derby, E.||Alverstone, L.||Poltimore, L.|
|Harrowby, E.||Avebury, L.||Ritchie of Dundee, L.|
|Howe, E.||Bagot, L.||Rothschild, L.|
|Lauderdale, E.||Belper, L.||St. Levan, L.|
|Londesborough, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)||Saltoun, L.|
|Lytton, E.||Calthorpe, L.||Sanderson, L.|
|Malmesbury, E.||Castlemaine, L.||Stalbridge, L.|
|Mayo, E.||Clifford of Chudleigh, L.||Waleran, L.|
|Northbrook, E.||Clinton, L.||Wenlock, L.|
|Onslow, E.||Colchester, L.||Zouche of Haryngworth, L.|
|Canterbury, L. Abp.||Morley of Blackburn, V.||Haversham, L.|
|Loreburn, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Selby, V.||Hemphill, L.|
|Wolverhampton, V. (L. President.)||Lochee, L.|
|Southwark, L. Bp.||O'Hagan, L.|
|Crewe, E. (L. Privy Seal.)||Wakefield, L. Bp.||Pentland, L.|
|Beauchamp, E. (L. Steward.)||Airedale, L.||Ribblesdale, L,|
|Carrington, E.||Allendale, L.||St. Davids, L.|
|Chesterfield, E.||Blyth, L.||Saye and Sele, L.|
|Craven, E.||Boston, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L. (L. Sheffield.)|
|Kimberley, E.||Colebrooke, L. [Teller.]|
|Liverpool, E.||Courtney of Penwith, L.||Stanmore, L.|
|Denman, L. [Teller.]||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Althorp, V. (L. Chamberlain.)||Granard, L. (E. Granard.)|
|Hamilton of Dalzell, L.||Weardale, L.|
§ Amendment agreed to accordingly.
§ Clause 48:
§ 48. The expression "street" shall, unless the context otherwise requires, have the same meaning in Part I of the principal Act as it has in Part II of that Act, and shall consequently include any court, alley, street, square, or row of houses.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND moved to delete the words "and shall consequently include any court, alley, street, square, or row of houses." He said this was purely a drafting question, but he thought it opened rather an important point. His reason for proposing this Amendment was that up to the present time Parliament had legislated and the Courts of Law had decided what the consequences of that legislation were. 258 Sometimes they had found it rather difficult, he believed, to understand, but still that had been the duty of the Law Courts. Here Parliament was invited to undertake the duty of interpreting its own Act, and he could not help thinking that was a somewhat dangerous precedent. He would quote a case, which he admitted was extreme, but he was putting it to show what the possible difficulty might be. Suppose in Part II of the principal Act the word "court" happened not to have been mentioned. Such errors had occurred in Acts of Parliament before now. How was the judicial body to whom the question would be referred to decide whether it was included or not? They first of all had a direct statement that the expression "street" meant what it meant in another Act. Then they would find a 259 statement here that it meant something which was not in that Act, because the word "court" would not be in that Act, and therefore he presumed it would be argued that the word "court" was not included in this Act. And then they found that curious word "consequently," from which one might argue that as it was omitted in the principal Act the consequence was that it was included in this Act. He did not know how in a case of that sort a clause of this kind could be interpreted, and he submitted that it was not advisable that they should set a precedent by interpreting the clauses of their own legislation. He thought it an innovation, and he submitted it would be better if they left out these words, simply stating what they desired to enact and leaving the consequences of that Act to be decided in the ordinary way.
In line 38, to leave out from the second 'Act' to the end of the clause."—(The Duke of Northumberland.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said the Government did not attach any great importance to this. It was a small and humble attempt on the part of the Local Government Board to obviate that system of legislation by reference of which one heard frequent complaints on both sides of the House. Beyond that the Clause had no object, and there was no sinister idea on the part of the Local Government Board in putting it in. If the noble Duke still objected to the clause as it stood, the Government would not press it, but at the same time they were inclined to prefer the words in the Bill.
§ LORD ALVERSTONE hoped the noble Duke would not press his Amendment. It was a useful clause, and in another capacity he should probably thank His Majesty's Government for having left it in, so that he would not have to turn up Part II of the Act.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I am not quite sure that the noble Duke understands the position. He, I think, is under the impression that the words "court, alley, street, square, or row of houses" is a description, but it is a form of definition in an Act of Parliament.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
In Part II; and all we say is that the actual definition in Part II shall apply to Part I.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
It is done to make it clear. As the noble Duke will realise, this Bill suffers more than most from the vice of legislation by reference, and it is our hope that the whole law on the subject will be consolidated before very long.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND said he sincerely hoped it would. He would not press his Amendment as he did not get any-support, but he still submitted that it was not the duty of Parliament to avoid the consequences of legislation by reference by giving advice to His Majesty's Judges. He would be happy to assist the Lord Chief Justice, but this was not the way to do it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN said it was a well known rule that when they could not get all they asked for, they should take what they could get, as Lord Dartmouth did the other day. He suggested to the Government that the word "consequently" should be omitted. He did not believe it had ever been found in an Act of Parliament before, and possibly the Government might omit it now.
To leave out the word consequently.'"—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 48, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 49 agreed to.
§ Clause 50:
§ 50. For the definition of cottage in section fifty-three of the principal Act the following definition shall be substituted:—
§ The expression "cottage" in this Part of this Act may include a garden of not more than one acre.
§ LORD MONK BRETTON moved to omit this clause. The object of the clause was to repeal the present section of the 261 principal Act with regard to the amount of land round the cottage. The principal Act said half an acre, and this clause brought it up to an acre. He moved this Amendment because he did not think an acre was required, and if it was not required it was a waste of land and a waste of the ratepayers' money. Their Lordships had just defined "working-classes." He did not think that any one man could cultivate an acre; and if a costermonger with his family, who were referred to in the definition, desired to have an acre he could get it under the Small Holdings Act. This was an Act for the housing of the working-classes and not an Act for providing small holdings, and since this Committee had been sitting the President of the Board of Agriculture had told them what splendid progress that Act was making.
To leave out Clause 50."—(Lord Monk Bretton.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said His Majesty's Government preferred the clause to remain, although the noble Lord had stated quite fairly and accurately the result of the Amendment. The present definition in Section 53 did provide that "cottage" should include a garden and half an acre; but as a matter of fact, the noble Lord's Amendment would go further, because its effect would be to get rid of these provisions as to a garden altogether. That was, of course, a small point which, no doubt, the noble Lord would remedy. But there might be instances in which land was very cheap, and in which for some reason or another it was practicable and desirable to provide a rather larger share of land than half an acre. In those circumstances it would be rather a pity to preserve a limit of half an acre. He thought it undesirable to hamper the provision of open spaces and desirable garden ground.
§ LORD ALVERSTONE said there was one point as to this which the Government might have overlooked. The subsection also dealt with the limit value. If that clause was passed, the limit of value would be gone as well. He did not think the Government meant that.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON said it would be a very extreme measure to enable a local authority to assign a garden of an acre to a cottage. It would mean an increase of 262 taxes to the occupier, and the unfortunate individual might lay himself open to further taxes under another Bill which their Lordships might see presently. If the Amendment was pressed, he should support it, but he hoped if it was not pressed that the noble Earl would put in a limit of value, and he thought it ought to be a much closer one than the one originally proposed.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said the Government would consider the matter before the Report stage. This was a new point to him, but they would be glad to consider it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 50 agreed to.
§ Clauses 51 and 52 agreed to.
§ Clause 53:
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP proposed a new subsection to this clause, which dealt with the application of the Housing Acts to Scotland. Their Lordships would see that it was a Scottish Amendment.
In page 21, line 11, to leave out from '1875 to the end of subsection (3)' and to insert:
'(4) The reference in section fifty-seven of the principal Act to sections of the Public Health Act, 1875, relating to the purchase of lands, shall be construed as a reference to the corresponding sections of the Public Health (Scotland) Act, 1897; provided that for the purposes of Part III of the principal Act the procedure under section two of this Act for the compulsory purchase of land shall be substituted for the procedure for the compulsory purchase of land under section one hundred and forty-five of the Public Health (Scotland) Act, 1897.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN asked the noble Earl to kindly explain the Amendment.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said he was doing his best to struggle with English law, but he confessed that the technicalities of Scottish law were beyond him.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN, on behalf of Scotland, objected to anything being put into the Bill of which no one could tell the Committee the meaning.263
§ THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (LORD PENTLAND)
I apologise for not being in my place. Would the noble Earl repeat his question?
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I shall be glad if the noble Lord will kindly tell us the meaning of this Amendment.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD PENTLAND said that the next set of Amendments were purely drafting Amendments corresponding to alterations that had been made for the English procedure. He begged to move them.
In page 22, lines 28 and 29, to leave out if after holding a local inquiry with, reference to the matter,' and to insert where a complaint is made to'; in line 29, leave out 'are satisfied'; in line 31, leave out on the complaint of and insert 'by'; in page 22, line 32, leave out 'of' and insert 'by'; in line 34, leave out 'of' and insert 'by'; in lines 36 and 37, leave out on the complaint of ' and insert 'by'; in line 41, after 'exercised,' insert 'the Board may cause a public local inquiry to be held, and if after holding such an inquiry the Board are satisfied that there has been such a failure on the part of the local authority'; in page 23, line 14, after 'Act,' insert ' or have failed to cause to be made the inspection of their district required by this Act'; in line 20. after 'apply,' insert '(12) section twelve and section thirteen of this Act shall not apply'; in line 21, leave out 'and,' and after 'eighteen' insert 'and forty'; in line 23, after 'that,' insert 'where an appeal is competent under any of these sections an appeal shall not be competent under section thirty-five of the principal Act, and provided also that the power to make rules under section forty of this Act shall be exercised by the Court of Session by act of sederunt'; in line 26, leave out 'apply' and insert 'have effect.'"—(Lord Pentland.)
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN called attention to the Amendment in page 23, line 22, which, he said, substituted the word "forty" for "eighteen." There was a great difference between those two figures. He was perfectly ignorant of what it might be about. He also 264 asked the effect of the Amendment in line 20, which proposed to insert, after the word "apply", "the words" section 12 and section 13 of this Act shall not apply."
§ LORD PENTLAND said that Clauses 12 and 13 of the Bill were inserted after some discussion from the point of view of England. It had not hitherto been the practice in Scotland to give any authority to the county councils to take over the powers of district committees, who were the authorities regarding roads and public health. It had been thought better not to introduce such a system in Scotland, as it would require to be supported by machinery similar to that in England, and which did not at present exist in Scotland.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN said that they, of course, reserved their right when they did not understand an Amendment to object to it afterwards.
§ LORD PENTLAND referred to his Amendment in line 23 respecting an appeal. The appeal both under this Act and the principal Act in Scotland was to the Sheriff, so that if these words in the Amendment were not inserted, it would not secure the proper procedure for Clause 15, 17, and 18 of this Bill. For that reason these words were necessary.
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ LORD SALTOUN moved an Amendment to provide that in the application to Scotland of Section 14 of the Bill the limit of rent should be £8 instead of £16.
In page 23, line 30, to leave out the word 'sixteen' and to insert the word eight.'"—(Lard Saltoun.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said that the Government offered no opposition to this Amendment now, because it made the practice in Scotland the same as it would be in England. But that matter they were going to allude to on Report, and then they would again refer to the Amendment of the noble Lord.
§ LORD WENLOCK asked if the limit of rent was £16 under Clause 14.265
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said that it really arose on an Amendment moved by the noble Viscount. The limit now would be £8 according to Section 14, and the idea was that the Scottish limit should be the same.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 53, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 54:
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY moved an Amendment in Clause 54 (Preparation and approval of town-planning scheme), providing that a town-planning scheme might be made in accordance with the Act in respect of any land which was in course of development, but omitting the phrase "or appears likely to be used for building purposes." He urged that these words were of doubtful necessity as well as of undoubted danger to the working of the Bill. The clause gave the authority power to take land which was neither defined in area nor in respect of time limit, and its exercise was bound to be a source of danger and of constant friction in a neighbourhood. Another danger was a continuance of the principle of legislation by vague definition. A great deal would be gained if His Majesty's Government were satisfied to confine these schemes to land in course of development; or he was willing to go as far as to say to land that was about to be developed; but he protested against land being included without any time or quantity being mentioned. He could imagine some ambitious town with a very large town-planning scheme in its mind taking land in the vicinity of a village and erecting there a crematorium or a dust destructor, and, not impossibly, an infectious hospital. He had a case in his mind where a local authority put up an infectious hospital close to a village, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that that hospital was removed. Unlimited power of this kind might put a neighbourhood to a great deal of expense, and agricultural land might be detrimentally affected. Supposing a town-planning scheme was made for a period of twenty years. The owners of the land would find it greatly diminished in value for agricultural purposes. No one would take the land, because if they had a town-planning scheme over their heads which might be put into operation tomorrow, or within the next ten years, it would be impossible for any one to say to 266 a tenant. "I will let you have land for such and such a term." Then again, the character of the population of a town might change, One industry might die and another spring up. Or if it was a watering place it might gradually decay, and the need for expansion would not be there. His objection was increased by subsection (7), which proposed to give to the Local Government Board the power to decide what land was likely to be used for building purposes. Although he had the greatest respect for the officials of the Local Government Board and particularly for the present President, the officials of the Board were not infallible. They came down with no knowledge whatever of the intricacies and the delicacies of local conditions, such as was possessed by those living on the spot. When the time came he proposed to omit that subsection. He did not wish to put their Lordships to the trouble of a Division, and he therefore hoped they would receive an assurance that this clause was not to remain as it now stood in the Bill. He did not know whether the noble Earl himself would be inclined to meet hint in any way, and suggest an Amendment defining both the area of the land which might be taken and the time in which it might be required.
In page 23, line 40, and line 1 on page 41, to leave out the words 'or appears likely to be used for building purposes.'"—(The Earl of Malmesbury.)
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, my noble friend is not the only member of the House whose attention has been attracted to the dangerous vagueness of the words which he desires to omit from this section, and the words are the more alarming if you pass on to subsection (7), under which it appears that land likely to be used for building purposes is to include any land likely to be used "for the purpose of providing open spaces, roads, streets, parks, pleasure or recreation grounds." If these words remain as they are, there seems to be scarcely any limit to the power which would be given to the Local Government Board of declaring almost any land that it pleases as land "likely to be used for building purposes"; and I share my noble friend's opinion that it is necessary to find some means of removing the blot upon which he has put his finger. But I rose for the purpose of pointing out, if 267 I may do so, to him and to the Committee, that Lord Cawdor has given notice of an Amendment in Clause 54 which will have the effect of introducing an entirely new procedure for the purpose of dealing with all the questions which arise under this part of the Bill. There are obviously two ways in which you can deal with difficulties of this kind. You can meet them by a series of extremely minute and elaborate definitions, or you can meet them by adding to the Bill some machinery more likely to inspire the public with confidence, and by depriving the Local Government Board of its unrestricted power of disposing finally of these questions. I venture to think that the latter plan, the plan suggested by Lord Cawdor, is likely to be the more effectual of the two, and if my noble friend and another noble Lord who has a somewhat similar Amendment immediately following his in the Bill are disposed to share that view respectfully suggested by me, it would be for the convenience of the House that instead of going on with the discussion of these minute provisions we should pass on to the much larger question of principle dealt with by Lord Cawdor in his Amendment.
§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY pointed out that Earl Cawdor's proposed new clause was not in substitution of the clause they were now on, but was consequential, and he saw also that Earl Cawdor had one or two Amendments on detail in the clause they were now on before they came to his proposed new clause. He understood the usefulness of discussing the machinery proposed to be laid down by the noble Earl, but of course a good deal would depend on what was done now as the new clause would be consequential on the clause now before them unless they were going to pass this clause in the form in which the Government had drafted it. The new clause, as he said, would be consequential, but every town planning scheme would have to be promoted in accordance with whatever conditions were laid down in Clause 54.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said he was much obliged to the Marquess of Lansdowne for the suggestion he had made, and, in spite of what his noble friend behind him had just said, he thought it would be a convenient course to take the general discussion to which the noble Marquess referred on Earl Cawdor's Amendment. 268 He was sure that would be most conducive to the convenience of their Lordships and in the end save time.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ *EARL CAWDOR, on a formal Amendment to omit subsections (4) and (5), dealt with a proposal which under a proposed new clause would introduce a totally different procedure in relation to confirmation of town planning schemes. He said the Amendments of which he had given notice comprised two parts, and it would be more convenient that he should deal with the whole question at the outset, because the Bill was dominated by the first Amendment which he was proposing and which would exclude subsections (4) and (5). With regard to the general objects of this Clause and of this part of the Bill, he was sure their Lordships would all agree that they were anxious that town-planning schemes should be made with the general object mentioned in the first subsection of the clause—namely, with "the general object of securing proper sanitary conditions, amenity, and convenience in connexion with the laying out and use of the land, and of any neighbouring lands." He wished to say nothing that might interfere in any degree with those conditions and with that general object. His objections were solely to the procedure under which schemes were to be brought into effect.
The powers given to the Local Government Board under these sections were gravely excessive, excessive to an extent he thought they had hardly met with before. They were powers without any appeal against them, and he hoped to be able to persuade their Lordships to strike out those cowers and to put in their place a clause which he would ask their Lordships to insert after Clause 54 He might say that it was a clause based upon a clause in the Act of 1890, modified to some extent by the Act of 1903. The key of his Amendments was subsection (5) of this clause. Subsection (5) laid down that—
a town planning scheme, when approved by the Local Government Board, shall have effect as if it were enacted in this Act.
To that he took strong exception. Under subsection (6) the Local Government Board were given power, after having had
the power of turning a town-planning scheme into an Act of Parliament, of varying or revoking any town-planning scheme apparently without hindrance or without any appeal. Further power was given to the Board to decide whether land was likely to be used for building purposes, and by the first subsection of Clause 55 power was given to the Board to prescribe a set of general provisions for carrying out the general objects of town-planning schemes. These general provisions were set out in the Fourth Schedule, and it' would be found they were powers of a very excessive character, snore excessive than he had found in any Act given to a Government Department.
§ Streets, roads and highways might be stopped up or diverted—a far-reaching power to give to a Government Department without appeal. Buildings, structures, and erections came next, and there was no limit to the regulations that might be made. And then they passed to "open spaces, private and public." There was no limitation as to the powers of the Board in dealing with open spaces, or as to which were to be retained, and how they were to be dealt with. These general provisions appearing in the Fourth Schedule were under nineteen heads, but he would deal with one or two more. In No. 9 they would find that the matters to be dealt with were the "extinction or variation of private rights of way and other easements." Those matters were to be dealt with on the ipse dixit of the Local Government Board, with no appeal. No. 12 was as to the "power of the responsible authority to remove, alter, or demolish any obstructive work." The "responsible authority" mentioned there was the authority who had the responsibility given to them by the Local Government Board. He would like the noble Earl to tell them what was the limitation under that provision. What might not be obstructive work? He believed the House in which their Lordships were now sitting would escape under certain conditions, but he was informed that the National Liberal Club would certainly not escape. Any building that was in the way as an obstructive building was liable under this section to be swept away by the Local Government Board by a stroke of the pen and without appeal. He passed over Nos. 13 and 14 in the Schedule, not because they were not important, but because he 270 wished to call attention to No. 15, which was, to his mind, a very astonishing paragraph. The matter to be dealt with there by the Local Government Board was no less than this—that in these schemes I they might apply, "with the necessary modifications and adaptations" statutory enactments. How was there to be an "application with the necessary modifications and adaptations of statutory enactments?" What was the meaning of modifying a statutory enactment? How far might they modify it, and what must they leave of it? If the power of modification were granted he supposed they would be able to modify an enactment practically out of existence. That was a very astonishing power.
There were, in addition to the general provisions which might be made for every scheme, special provisions in Clause 55, subsection (2), which modified, or might modify as was thought right, the general provisions. Those special provisions were to be inserted in every town-planning scheme, defining the area to which the scheme was to apply, and the authority who was to be responsible. These special provisions might be used for suspending, so far as was necessary for the proper carrying out of the scheme, any statutory enactments, by-laws, regulations, or other provisions, under whatever authority made, which were in operation in the area, included in the scheme. Those sweeping powers, he thought, spoke pretty well for themselves. They might sweep away private Acts, by-laws, and regulations; he did not know what the suspension of an Act of Parliament meant. He had hitherto-understood that an Act of Parliament remained in force until it was repealed, but here they had the power given to a Government Department to suspend a statutory enactment. It was true that in the next paragraph it was provided that—
Where the scheme contains provisions suspending any enactment contained in a public general Act, the scheme shall not come into force unless a draft thereof has been laid before each House of Parliament for a period of not less than forty days during a session of Parliament.
By that a public general Act was safeguarded as far as suspension was concerned; but, in view of provision 15 of Schedule 4 relating to the application with the necessary modifications and adaptations of statutory enactments, even a public general Act did not appear to be guarded from modification and. adaptation. There they
would have absolutely an interference with general public statutes by the Local Government Board. He would like to know of any instance in which a provision such as this had ever been sanctioned and inserted in an Act of Parliament.
He passed to subsection (3) of Clause 55. Under subsection (3) interference with local authorities by a Government Department was authorised. The subsection read—
Where land included in a town-planning scheme is in the area of more than one local authority, the responsible authority may be, as the Local Government Board directs, one of those local authorities, or for certain purposes of the scheme one local authority and for certain purposes another local authority, or a joint body constituted specially.
That appeared to him to be a very wide power to give to the Local Government Board in the matter of interference with local authorities. Imagine two or three large local authorities, and the area for a town-planning scheme spreading over a part of each of their areas. Each of them might be large urban authorities capable of dealing very well with this matter; but it was to be decided absolutely and finally by the Local Government Board itself. What had become of the great confidence of the Liberal party in local authorities? Here was an absolute and direct interference with local authorities in a way which was most undesirable and most unfair.
§ In Clause 57 they would find that the responsible authority might, under certain conditions, remove, pull down, or alter any building or other work in the area included in the scheme which was such as to contravene the scheme, or in the erection or carrying out of which any provision of the scheme had not been complied with. Here a building was to be pulled down, not after the people had been heard, not after their rights had been protected or after a Court of Law had decided on the point but simply and solely upon the ipse dixit of the President of the Local Government Board. That was a very strong method of dealing with these cases. But they would notice in all these cases the same thing happened. In all cases of interference with a local authority or the private property of individuals appeared the same fear of a Court of Law, of Parliament, or of Parliamentary inquiry. Shelter was always taken behind the absolute power 272 of the Government Department. He thought they had strayed far enough in that direction and he hoped their Lordships would be firm in resisting any further straying in that direction.
Before he went to another point he was anxious to ask one question with regard to Clause 60, and he asked it because although he was not amending Clause 60 he was endeavouring to amend the method by which any of these schemes was to be brought into operation. Clause 60 provided that—
The responsible authority may for any purpose purchase any land comprised in a town-planning scheme by agreement, or be authorised to purchase," etc.
Was it intended that the authority that might purchase land under this clause might also carry out the town-planning scheme for itself? Was it intended that town-planning schemes should be worked by the authority who was allowed to purchase this land, or, having purchased it, what were they to do with it? He was informed that if this clause passed as it was there would be a power under the existing law for a local authority, the "responsible authority" as it was under this clause, to deal with that land for the purpose of small holdings, and for the purpose of building cottages with gardens up to an acre in extent. Was it intended to give the responsible local authority the power of running town-planning schemes for itself or its own land and with its own houses? He hoped the Government would give them clear information on that point. In Clause 61 they would find again somewhat severe methods of dealing with local authorities by the Local Government Board. That clause said—
If the Local Government Board are satisfied on any representation—
He did not know whether there was any qualifying of those words in the minds of His Majesty's Government, but "any representation" seemed a little loose and a little wide. It need not be anyone in the district. It might be the Sultan of Turkey—
If the Local Government Board are satisfied on any representation, after holding a local enquiry, that a local authority (a) have failed to take the requisite steps for having a satisfactory town-planning scheme. … the Board may, as the case requires, order the local authority to prepare and submit for the approval of the Board such a town-planning scheme.
He supposed that would be called, to use an inelegant phrase, "gingering" the local authority. And they "gingered" them to some purpose under this clause, for if they would turn to subsection (3) they would find the words—
any order under this section may be enforced by mandamus.
They used to hear a good deal about enforcement by mandamus. It was a derided power, and one which they could never enforce, and was perfectly useless for what it was intended. Perhaps he was putting it too high, but it appeared that His Majesty's Government had now come to the quite definite conclusion that the proper way to "ginger" local authorities was to issue a mandamus, and probably imprison the lot. That was rather extraordinary if that was to be the method of encouraging local authorities to carry out these great schemes. He hoped he had established to their Lordships' satisfaction that these powers proposed to be given to the Local Government Board were not only unusual, but excessive, unfair, and unwise. He proposed later on to ask their Lordships to insert a new clause which, as he said, was based upon the Acts of 1890 to 1903. He would not go into details now, but would deal with it when the time arrived.
§ He might be told that there were two objections—first of all, that in dealing with other people's land and great schemes of town planning and in "gingering" local authorities the saving of time was a great thing. He agreed with the noble Duke, the Duke of Northumberland, in disliking any unseemly hurry. Whatever was done should be done deliberately. They might be told that that was one objection to a Provisional Order. He did not want to labour it, or to go too much in detail into it, but he would have plenty to say if that point was raised. He thought a Provisional Order was often a rapid method of procedure. A. great many of the schemes dealt with under Provisional Orders were practically unopposed, and those that were opposed were those very schemes that required thoughtful and careful consideration, schemes which ought not to be carried through in a hurry, but which should be deliberately dealt with, and with a judicial mind. Then he was told that the costs of a Provisional Order were heavy. Would the noble Earl tell them what the average 274 costs amounted to? He thought the noble Earl would find he could not make a very strong case on the ground of cost. In the smaller cases the costs were insignificant, and when they came to large cases, such as the amalgamation of boroughs, the costs there, of course, were very heavy. But in a case of that kind, would they do any better by having an inquiry held in the locality itself? He protested against the idea that they were to shave down too closely the question of cost and time when they were taking away people's property, when "gingering" local authorities, and when dealing with obstructions like the National Liberal Club, for example. He thought that all those matters, particularly the latter, should be done quietly, even if surely and certainly.
§ He thoroughly agreed that these town-planning schemes were very important matters; but only a short time ago the President of the Local Government Board himself said that many of his schemes involved looking ahead for perhaps as long a period as fifty years, and he mentioned the town of Glasgow in that respect. Surely if they had to look forward fifty years there was time for judicial thought and action to secure the rights of those people whose property they might be interfering with. Then it might be asked—Why do you not trust Government Departments? He had every wish to trust Government Departments. They used to be able to trust them. He wished they could say that their confidence in them had been increased of recent years. They on that side of the House, and he thought noble Lords on the Front Bench opposite, had not forgotten the Swansea case. That was a case which he was certain many noble Lords on the other side of the House did not look back upon with any pleasurable recollections, and a case which he was sure they did not think reflected much credit on the Department concerned. That was not a case of a mistake by one head of one Department. It was a case where the harsh treatment of the Swansea schools went on for years under three different heads of the Education Department, and their dealing with these schools was backed up and fomented by members of the Cabinet. Therefore they had not a failing by one Minister, but a deliberate policy carried on by Minister after Minister to tyrannise over the schools that Parliament in confidence had confided to their care. Such a 275 thing as that shook and shattered their opinion of and confidence in Government Departments. He wished it were not so. He wished they could feel, as they ought to be able to feel, that they could rely on every Government Department and every Government to carry out judicially every power that Parliament placed in their hands. He now asked their Lordships to strike out these subsections, and he would ask them later on to insert the clause to which he had already referred. They should take the line, and endeavour to adhere to it, that in dealing with Acts of Parliament only Parliament should undo or take away the powers it had given. He would apply the same argument to by-laws. Only those who had passed and sanctioned by-laws should be allowed to touch those by-laws hereafter, and no smaller authority should be allowed to take away powers given by a higher authority. Here they had an interference by a Government Department in every possible direction with statutory enactments. He apologised for being so long in endeavouring to substantiate his case, and concluded by moving his Amendment.
In page 24, lines 24 to 31, to leave out subsections (4) and (5)."—(Earl Cawdor.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said he did not think any apology was necessary from the noble Earl who had just sat down own, and who had put in such an interesting way what he considered to be the ultimate results of the Amendments he had placed upon the Paper. They were glad to hear at the beginning of his speech the noble Earl say he was not without some approval of town-planning schemes in their essence, but as his speech went on and he developed his various objections to different parts of the scheme it seemed to him that the noble Earl was able to dissemble his affection for those sections of the Bill very effectively indeed. But they had now come to discuss a very different set of subjects from those they had been discussing during the last two days. The circumstances were entirely different, and he thought they ought to set their minds to consider these clauses of the Bill in a very different spirit from that in which they considered the earlier parts.
§ There was a very real difference between the two parts of the Bill. In the part before them, for instance, the whole idea of His 276 Majesty's Government was that there would be willing co-operation between the various local authorities and owners. There had been that anxiety for co-operation in the past in various parts of the country, but it had been impossible to give effect to the desires of the various authorities and owners because the laws of the country were not adequate to meet the case, and those who had tried to carry out what they hoped would be the result of these sections had been hampered by the want of those very provisions which His Majesty's Government had put into this part of the Bill. They had to consider a totally different set of circumstances. The noble Earl, in the various Amendments he had put down, began by entirely altering the procedure. He believed there would be little or no friction in carrying through these schemes, and therefore no need of the elaborate provisions for the protection of various interests which the noble Earl had brought forward.
§ Clause 54, from which the noble Earl wished in the first place to omit various subsections, did not deal with the buying of land, but rather with the disposition of land, which was a totally different question. The idea was really to prevent the wrong disposition of land, to prevent the building of streets in places where there ought to be, for instance, a road, to prevent a single owner from putting up a cul-de-sac when it was very much to the advantage of all the inhabitants of the neighbourhood that there should be a through street in that particular place. Again, it was not the idea of His Majesty's Government that this part of the Bill would necessarily involve very large or expensive purchases of land, and in view of the fact that there was a general consensus of opinion on the part of social and housing reformers in this country that we were behindhand with regard to the question of town planning, he felt very much disappointed that these Clauses of the Bill had not received a warmer welcome from noble Lords on the opposite Benches. He would say, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, that in regard to some Amendments—the Amendment, for instance, standing in the name of Lord Clinton, and another Amendment standing in the name of Lord Ritchie, and a third in the name of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, dealing with Clauses 54 and 55 and with the last words at the bottom of page twenty-seven of Clause 58—His Majesty's Government were 277 prepared to meet noble Lords opposite so far as they could with varying degrees of concession, and they had not been without hope that something of that kind might have met the case. But he was afraid, from what had fallen from the noble Earl that there was very little chance indeed that they would be able to come to an agreement on the matter.
The noble Earl had stated quite accurately that one of the objections His Majesty's Government took to the procedure which he advocated was on the question of cost. As it happened, he had fortified, himself with an old Return showing the expenses incurred by local authorities in that connection. It was a Return from the Home Office, dated August 6, 1900, and it was signed by Mr. Jesse Collings, who at that time was Under-Secretary for the Home Office. There they had the expenses under Provisional Orders set out, and without taking any special Order, he would read the list to their Lordships consecutively, and this would give at any rate a broad idea of the amount of expenses involved—
Provisional Orders: Urban District Council of Clayton, £224; Colwyn Bay, £984; Cottingham, 10 guineas; Cowes, £1,405; Cromer, £50; Dartford, £233; Denton, £250; Dorking, £196; Dronfield, £57; Droylsden, £200; Dukinfield. £240; East Barnet Valley, £95; East Ham, £899; East Stonehouse, £332; Enfield, 5 guineas; Epping, £35; Epsom, £246; Esher £125; Exmouth, £25; Farnworth, £184.
He gave their Lordships those figures just as they came consecutively, and it was easy from them to strike a general average of what the expenses were. He hoped the noble Earl would allow him to say that he did not think the case of the Potteries was really a case on all fours with what was likely to happen from this part of the Bill.
§ EARL CAWDOR interposed to say that he did not suggest it was so. He merely instanced it as one of the largest and heaviest cases that had been tried in that way.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP thought they were in agreement in thinking that the questions which would come before the Local Government Board in connection with town planning would not be of anything like that importance. The questions which would come before the Local Government Board would not arise in that connection. They would be nothing like the case which 278 the noble Earl mentioned, and to bring in the particular instance of the Potteries was likely to give an unfair impression. Under the scheme which the noble Earl himself proposed there was also a considerable amount of delay involved. One single person interested in a scheme which affected a very large number of people could, if he wished, put all the other parties to the trouble, expense, and delay of defending the scheme by counsel in Parliament. He thought their Lordships would see that, giving that power to a single individual would enable him to bring very strong pressure to bear upon the other parties to give him exceptional benefits—benefits to which he was not really properly entitled. It was commonly known that the opposition to Bills and Provisional Orders was very often bought off, and he thought it very desirable to prevent such a thing as that in the future.
§ He did not think there was anything in the observations of the noble Earl, Lord Cawdor, which caused him more regret than his statement that what had happened in connection with the Swansea case had both shaken and shattered his confidence in Government Departments. He could not help hoping that that was a somewhat exaggerated statement of his feelings. There were two other special eases to which the noble Earl had called attention. One was the case of Clause 60. With regard to that, the noble Earl had asked him whether it was the intention of His Majesty's Government that the responsible authority should themselves carry out the large works which in his opinion were involved. The answer to that, he thought, was quite simple. They did not wish to put anything into the Bill which would prevent local authorities from carrying out such works as roads, for example. Very often the local authority was the best qualified body to deal with roads; they had all the machinery for doing it. On the other hand, there was nothing in the Bill, and they did not mean to put anything into the Bill, which would prevent those works, and works of a similar character, being given to contractors, and when all was said and done it was not within the mind of His Majesty's Government that the local authority would have any very large works to do under that part. The idea rather was that individual owners—very often, it might be, they were speculative builders—or semi-public bodies 279 such as garden city trusts, should have facilities given to them, and should have power to build more cheaply and effectively than they had been able to do in the past.
§ There was one other case with regard to which the noble Earl specially asked him to say something, and that was the case of statutory enactments. He thought it might be a good thing if they deferred until they came to that point a full discussion of the matter, but he would like, in answer to the noble Earl, to point out that the term "statutory enactments" included not only public Acts but also local Acts. Local Acts very often contained provisions, upon which he would say something when they came to that clause, with regard to which His Majesty's Government would like in certain cases to give this power of appeal; but with regard to public Acts, as the noble Earl himself pointed out, they did make requisite the Provisional Order. Beyond that, until they came to the various other Amendments, he did not see that he could very usefully say more, except that this was a very important section in a very important part of the Bill, and it was with very great regret that His Majesty's Government, and the Local Government Board in particular, had seen the Amendments introduced by the noble Earl, with all the authority of the big battalions behind him, because they could not but feel that the carrying of those Amendments would go very far to prevent the practical use of powers which they believed would be of real benefit to town-planning schemes in the country.
§ *THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (THE EARL OF ONSLOW) asked the permission of the House to leave the Chair for a few minutes for the purpose of addressing their Lordships on the Amendment before the Committee, because, as Chairman of Committees of their Lordships' House, it was one with which he had a detailed acquaintance. In the first place, the noble Earl who had just sat down expressed his regret that a warmer welcome had not been given to that part of the Bill. He had listened with very great care to the remarks that fell from his noble friend behind him, and he did not hear one single word which led him to understand that he objected in any way to these clauses. What he objected to was, not to town-planning schemes, but to the authority 280 which was to be the judge of how those schemes were to be carried out. The noble Earl in charge of the Bill had said that this was entirely different from the parts of the Bill which their Lordships had been discussing up to now, but he would point out that in the part of the Bill then before them, as much as in any other part of the Bill, the Local Government Board had the power to decide as to the removal of obstructive buildings, as to the taking of land, and as to the carrying out of the plan in an area of a local authority other than the local authority which was responsible for the town-planning scheme. The noble Earl went on to say that he believed, there would be a concensus of opinion on the part of landowners local authorities, and all those concerned, that the town-planning part of the Bill Was a desirable one. He dared say that was the case, but, if there were no opposition to a scheme the Provisional Order would not come into being at all. The Amendment which his noble friend behind him had proposed was that only where the Order was opposed, or where it repealed a statutory enactment, should the procedure be by Provisional Order. If everybody was agreed and anxious to have the scheme, the Order would be confirmed by the Local Government Board without any further trouble and expense. To that his noble friend had no objection whatever.
§ The noble Earl had quoted to their Lordships some figures with regard to the cost of Provisional Orders. He ventured to say that they had been very considerably magnified. In the first place, they would have to have an inquiry of some kind under the scheme proposed in the Bill. It would be a local inquiry; a Local Government Board Inspector would go down to the locality, the parties would appear before him by counsel, and probably with witnesses, and a considerable expense would necessarily be incurred there. He did not know whether the figures which the noble Earl quoted were the costs of promoting the Provisional Orders in Parliament, or whether they included the cost of the local inquiry on the spot. He rather suspected that they included the latter; if so, he ventured to say that they were no true guide to what would be the cost under the scheme proposed by his noble friend.
§ It was somewhat peculiar that his 281 Majesty's Government had taken the exactly opposite view in the discussion on another Bill, because while the noble Earl had been telling their Lordships that the cost of a Provisional Order was very great., he found that not long ago when another Bill was under consideration in the other House—the Trade Boards Bill—there was considerable doubt expressed by members of the Labour Party lest it should be difficult to include other trades in the Bill because of the great expense of the Provisional Order. They were then told by the representative of His Majesty's Government that Provisional Orders for the most part went through without opposition; that the Board of Trade in ten years had brought in 1,160 Provisional Orders, and of them 1,011 were confirmed by Parliament; and that the Provisional Order procedure need not be, and was not in the majority of cases, half so cumbrous or expensive as was usually believed. If that was so in the case of the Board of Trade, it would be very extraordinary if it should be entirely different in the case of the Local Government Board.
§ Then the noble Earl took exception to the time which might be consumed by Provisional Orders. He thought the noble Earl who led the House said a night or two ago that it might be as long as two years. He thought that was a very remote possibility. Possibly if proceedings were commend in January of one year, the local inquiry night be prolonged for such a period that it would not be possible to get the Provisional Order in that session of Parliament, and it would have to be put off till the next session. He ventured to say that two years was an outside limit, and a limit which had never been reached, and was certainly not likely to be reached in any ordinary case. The real fact of the matter was that the expense of a Provisional Order was not in the taking of small pieces of land, but in quarrels between two great local authorities. Where they had a Provisional Order for the extension of a borough, for instance, the ratepayers of the county not unnaturally took strong exception to having a large portion of their rateable area taken away from them, and there was usually a very severe fight over it. Sometimes there was a proposal for the exercise of control by one local authority within the area of another local authority, and there, 282 again, there arose a very considerable fight. But their only desire was to discharge their duties towards their constituents and when they went before the Local Government Board Inspector in the preliminary inquiry and were told that in his opinion such and such a thing ought to be done, in nine cases out of ten that ended the opposition, and the opinion of the Local Government Board Inspector was accepted as being the right one. Where, of course, the matter was one of greater magnitude, then it proceeded by way of Provisional Order. He ventured to say that that was exactly what ought to happen. Where they had very large interests involved, as they inevitably must have in these large town-planning schemes, it was only right and fair that the parties should have the opportunity of appearing before a Committee of their Lordships' House or of the other House.
§ The words to which his noble friend alluded were to his mind the most important of the whole of the section. It provided that where the Board confirmed the Order, it should be as if it were enacted in the Act. He was aware that those words were not absolutely new. They were contained in either the Act of 1390 or 1903, he forgot which, and they were also contained in the Small Holdings Act. But what was the result of those words? If anybody wanted to appeal to a Court of Law on any point whatever and asked a Judge to say whether he had been properly or unjustly treated, the Judge—and he appealed to his noble and learned friend, the Lord Chief Justice to confirm him—turning to the Act was obliged to say, "Whatever has been done by the Local Government Board is enacted in this Act, and therefore the Court has no jurisdiction. "That was really a very serious position indeed, and he hoped their Lordships would not, in these great town,-planning schemes, depart from the course which had not, he ventured to say, been found wanting hitherto, and that they would decide to maintain in the case before them, though not in the case of the earlier parts of the Bill, the procedure of the Provisional Order, which he ventured to think had given satisfaction to everybody who had ever appealed to it.
§ THE EARL OF CROMER said that as some allusion had been male to the Potteries case, and he was Chairman of the Commission that went into that question, 283 he would like to say a word or two with regard to it. The cost in that case was very heavy, but certainly all the evidence that was laid before them led him to the conclusion that the people concerned would very much rather prefer to bear the cost than be left to the tender mercies of the Local Government Board. The fact of the matter was that the whole of those proceedings really amounted to an appeal to their Lordships' Committee against what was then considered to be the somewhat arbitrary and despotic conduct of the Local Government Board. He did most earnestly hope that their Lordships would make a stand against the constant habit of endeavouring to throw so much on Government Departments. That was a departure which was all part and parcel of the Socialist programme. He wished his noble friends Lord Milner and Lord Curzon had been there, because they had been accused of being autocratic, and he himself also had been accused of the same thing; but, however much they might have been despotic, they could not hope to compete with the President of the Local Government Board in that respect.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I have no desire to waste the time of the Committee over any further discussion of this matter, but I am bound to state the extent to which I share the disappointment expressed by my noble friend at the general reception which our town-planning proposals have met with. I say general reception, because the noble Earl, Lord Cawdor, very naturally and properly travelled over practically the entire field of the subject in dealing with his present Amendment. I cannot help feeling that there is a marked, and, I fear, an unbridgeable, difference between ourselves and noble Lords opposite on this matter. That difference in fact consists in this. We are so convinced of the advantages which will come from a general introduction of the town-planning system that we are prepared, thinking we can do so without risk and in order that it may come about, to sacrifice some of those precautions sanctified by time and decorated by a vast expenditure of money which have been applied in so many previous Acts of Parliament. Noble Lords opposite are willing to express a general approval of town-planning as an admirable thing in theory, but they will not move a step aside from the old rut in order to encourage the system. That is the marked difference between us. I unfor- 284 tunately did not hear the opening sentences of the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Cawdor, but I am given to understand that he expressed some sympathy with town-planning.
§ EARL CAWDOR interposed that he did.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I am bound to say that, in my opinion, and of course it is only a matter of opinion, all the rest of the noble Earl's speech that I was fortunate enough to hear indicated a frame of mind towards the whole question which will make it practically useless to attempt to pass an Act dealing with the matter. These things, as I say, are only matters of opinion. I have looked carefully at the clause which the noble Earl proposes should take the place of our clauses. I can only say that, in my opinion, if that clause is embodied in an Act of Parliament it will attain the fate which has followed so many Acts of Parliament—I mean the wastepaper basket. If all these elaborate proceedings have to be gone through before a town-planning scheme can be carried out—except in the few cases of very large schemes in which I can quite conceive, because I desire to be fair, they might be applied—I do not believe that the provisions of the Act could be made useful. I could not help thinking that the noble Earl imported some unnecessary prejudice into the really bitter attack which he made upon the Public Departments of this country in relation to this particular branch of the subject. I entirely agree with my noble friend behind me that if the noble Earl was going to make that kind of attack he had far better have made it upon the earlier portions of the Bill than upon this one. Those earlier portions do, no doubt, involve certain interferences with property. But at any rate it may be said, I think without fear of contradiction, that this part of the Bill involves infinitely less. What is going to happen here, I take it, under these town-planning schemes, is that the real weight of the scheme will fall upon the local authority and upon the private owners of land in the neighbourhood. It is true that the name of the Department occurs often in these clauses, but so far as this part of the Bill is concerned the actual part which would be played by the Local Government Board will, in my opinion, be comparatively small. The noble Earl talked of the Local Government Board doing this and doing that. What will happen will probably be, so far as we can judge by the 285 best precedents we have—namely, the precedents of what takes place under similar Acts in other countries—that the whole matter will be run by the local authority.
I can only repeat that the fears which have caused these Amendments to be placed on the Paper, if carried into effect in this way, will in my judgment have a serious and most damaging effect on the operations of the Bill. The noble Earl in the Chair spoke up like a man for Provisional Orders. I think it is very right and proper that he should. There is nothing like leather. The noble Earl—and I am very grateful to him for his services—eats, drinks, and sleeps in the company of Provisional Orders, and I have no doubt he would like to apply them to every transaction in life. But where a scheme of this kind is to come into operation necessarily involving a vast amount of agreement between the different parties, including the local authority, it does seem hard that the obstruction of one or two unreasonable individuals, who are quite indifferent, probably, to the aspect of the town in which they live and do not care whether its outskirts are represented by a garden suburb or a fringe of pig-styes, should seriously interfere and hamper the process of improvement. I am willing to admit that if it was only a question of a great scheme by such a Corporation as Liverpool, or Manchester, or Leeds, the procedure would be rational enough; but I should hope that there will be quite a multiplication of small schemes in relation to the development of small country towns, and it is with regard to those in particular that I dread this elaboration of procedure. I am afraid, my Lords, it is useless to press the point further upon you, but it is one upon which I feel strongly myself, because it is one in which I have taken a personal interest for some time, and what I can only call the luke-warmness of noble Lords opposite towards the principle involved in our proposals has bitterly disappointed me. It leads me to think that it will be very difficult to get the House to agree to any measure of sufficient scope to be of real practical value.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I am quite content to leave this matter where it was left by my noble friend behind me and by the Lord Chairman of Committees. I rise only because I wish to emphasise what has already been said by them. I mean that 286 there is on this side of the House no hostility whatever to the policy of town planning. There is no difference between the two sides of the House with regard to the desirability of that policy, but there is, as the noble Earl told us a few moments ago, a marked difference between the two sides of the House as to the conditions under which these schemes should be undertaken. We are not dealing, as the noble Earl in charge of the Bill endeavoured to induce us to believe, with small and trivial matters; we are dealing with schemes which may be of immense importance—schemes which, as my noble friend told the Committee, may be intended to take effect, not in the near future, but in a future which may extend as far as half a century ahead of us. In such cases it is not right, in our opinion, that by-laws should be torn up, that Acts of Parliament should be superseded, that the Courts of Justice should be ignored, and that final and plenary powers should be put into the hands of a Public Department. The procedure which my noble friend desires to substitute for that in the Bill is not, however, a procedure which will in any sense dethrone the Local Government Board from its activity in regard to town-planning schemes. The schemes will still have to be submitted to the Local Government Board; it is still the Local Government Board that will have to hold the inquiries, and it will only be in the rare cases where the persons affected desire that their objections should be thoroughly and sufficiently heard that it will be necessary to put in force the precautions which my noble friend desires to introduce. We are, after all, only insisting upon what, I believe, has been always regarded as a first principle in dealing with these questions—the principle that the administrative and judicial functions should not be left in the hands of the same people. Those of us who have had experience of countries where civilisation is not so fully developed as it is here have been accustomed to be told that the combination of judicial and administrative functions in the hands of the same officials is an abuse. We have always felt that it was a combination which was not desirable, and it is defended in such cases because the civilisation of the country is backward and because it is impossible to duplicate the work of your official hierarchy. To say that it is necessary that judicial and administrative functions should be in the hands of the same people in this country, and that it is desirable in such cases as those dealt with under this Bill, seems to me 287 to be a proposition which we cannot possibly assent to. I shall, therefore, gladly support the Amendment of my noble friend.
§ On Question, whether the subsections
§ Amendment agreed to accordingly.
LORD CLIFFORD OF CHUDLEIGH had an Amendment on the paper to omit from subsection (6) the words—
and the Local Government Board on the application of the responsible authority, or of any other person appearing to them to be interested, may by order revoke a town-planning scheme if they think that under the special circumstances of the case the scheme should be so revoked.
He said he wished to say a word about this Amendment, because he thought it dealt with a point which was not dealt with by the noble Earl, Lord Cawdor, in his Amendment. The noble Earl proposed to re-enact the first words of the subsection,
§ proposed to be left out stand part of the clause?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 31; Not-contents, 73.287
|Canterbury, L. Abp.||Liverpool, E.||Denman, L. [Teller.]|
|Loreburn, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Granard, L. (E. Granard.)|
|Wolverhampton, V. (L. President.)||Althorp, V. (L. Chamberlain.)||Hamilton of Dalzell, L.|
|Crewe, E. (L. Privy Seal.)||St. Albans, L. Bp.||O'Hagan, L.|
|Southwark, L. Bp.||Pentland, L.|
|Wakefield, L. Bp.||Pirrie, L.|
|Beauchamp, E. (L. Steward.)||St. Davids, L.|
|Carrington, E.||Airedale, L.||Saye and Sele, L.|
|Chesterfield, E.||Allendale, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L. (L. Sheffield.)|
|Chichester, E.||Blyth, L.|
|Craven, E.||Colebrooke, L. [Teller.]||Weardale, L.|
|Kimberley, E.||Courtney of Penwith, L.|
|Norfolk, D. (E. Marshall.)||Plymouth, E.||Ellenborough, L.|
|Bedford, D.||Shaftesbury, E.||Elphinstone, L.|
|Devonshire, D.||Stanhope, E.||Harris, L.|
|Northumberland, D.||Waldegrave, E. [Teller.]||Hindlip, L.|
|Wharncliffe, E.||Hylton, L.|
|Ailesbury, M.||Inverclyde, L.|
|Bath, M.||Churchill, V. [Teller.]||Knaresborough, L.|
|Camden, M.||De Vesci, N.||Lawrence, L.|
|Cholmondeley, M.||Falkland, V.||Monckton, L. (V. Galway.)|
|Lansdowne, M.||Falmouth, V.||Monk Bretton, L.|
|Salisbury, M.||Halifax, V.||Northcote, L.|
|Winchester, M.||Hill, V.||Poltimore, L.|
|Hood, V.||Ranfurly, L. (E. Ranfurly.)|
|Albemarle, E.||Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)||Revelstoke, L.|
|Camperdown, E.||Ritchie of Dundee, L.|
|Cathcart, E.||Iveagh, V.||St. Levan, L.|
|Cawdor, E.||St. Aldwyn, V.||Saltoun, L.|
|Clarendon, E.||Sanderson, L.|
|Cromer, E.||Alverstone, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Derby, E.||Bagot, L.||Stalbridge, L.|
|Howe, E.||Belper, L.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Lauderdale, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)|
|Londesborough, E.||Clifford of Chudleigh, L.||Waleran, L.|
|Lytton, E.||Clinton, L.||Walsingham, L.|
|Malmesbury, E.||Colchester, L.||Zouche of Haryngworth, L.|
|Mayo, E.||Digby, L.|
|Onslow, E.||Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.)|
§ which ran "A town-planning scheme may be varied or revoked by a subsequent scheme prepared or adopted and approved in accordance with this part of this Act." It was obvious that if a scheme was replaced by another scheme the procedure, whatever it might be, used in the original scheme would be repeated again when the new scheme was being put in the place of the old one. The words he proposed to strike out referred to a case where a scheme had been made and was not going to be replaced by another one, but was going to be done away with altogether. He thought that was a case which ought to be brought in some way under the same procedure as that which was necessary for the making 289 of a new scheme or for substituting another one for the original scheme. It was obvious when they had made a scheme they had done many things upon which the owners of property were dependent. They had laid out a number of roads, they had altered the relative value of many people's property, and to do away with those in a light and insufficient way appeared to him would do very great injustice; and if they were going to do away with the scheme it should be necessary to go through the same procedure and afford the same safeguards as when making a new scheme or substituting another one for it. He did not, however, move his Amendment at this stage.
In page 24, lines 32 to 39, to leave out subsection (6)."—(Earl Cawdor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
VISCOUNT HILL had an Amendment on the Paper to delete from the end of the last subsection of the clause, the words:—
and the decision of the Local Government Board, whether land is likely to be used for building purposes or not, shall be final.
He said he did not think, in the circumstances, it was necessary to move the Amendment now, but if he found it became necessary he would ask leave to bring it up at a later stage.
§ *THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES pointed out that the question of whether land was likely to be used for building purposes or not had not yet been dealt with. He understood the question was standing over to the next stage of the Bill, and perhaps it would be more convenient if the noble Viscount allowed his Amendment to stand over.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP thought the real position was not so much that it was standing over. His opinion was that the idea of the noble Earl who moved that important Amendment was that his scheme really was an alternative to the other Amendments.
§ THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES asked whether the same would apply to the next Amendment.290
LORD HYLTON said that with regard to his Amendment to leave out subsection (7)—
(7) The expression land likely to be used for building purposes shall include any land likely to be used as, or for the purpose of providing open spaces, roads, streets, parks, pleasure or recreation grounds, or for the purpose of executing any work upon or under the land incidental to a town-planning scheme, whether in the nature of a building work or not, and the decision of the Local Government Board, whether land is likely to be used for building purposes or not, shall be final,
he was in their Lordships' hands, but he thought it ought to come out of the Bill. His noble friend Lord Malmesbury, in moving a previous Amendment, had well expressed the enormous objections which he was sure the Committee felt to putting in such wide words as "likely to be used for building," which it was quite impossible for any surveyor, however eminent, much less the Local Government Board, to decide. So far from furthering town-planning schemes the insertion of those words would only tend to make them much more difficult and raise opposition wherever the schemes were brought forward.
In page 24, line 40 to line 5 on page 25, to leave out subsection (7)."—(Lord Hylton.)
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURYthought his noble friend would see that in consequence of the very important Amendment carried on the motion of his noble friend Lord Cawdor, there was no longer the same necessity to limit land which was the subject-matter of these schemes as there was before. Now everything would be subject to the ultimate control of Parliament, if there was any question raised; and with that precaution he did not think it would be wrong that part of the land which was the subject-matter of these schemes should be such as could be used for private open spaces, roads, streets, parks, and other matters, which went to make up a building scheme. Therefore he thought the early words of the subsection ought to remain in. But when they came to the last three lines of the subsection, which Viscount Hill proposed to leave out, he held a different opinion. Those words seemed to him to be unnecessary now, and ought to come out. The decision was to be a decision of the Local Government 291 Board no longer, and therefore the three last lines ought not to be there. The final Court of appeal was to be Parliament.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND asked whether it did not a little depend on what the meaning of the very vague words "land likely to be used for building" implied, because it seemed to him a little hard that, because their land might be likely to be used for building twenty years hence, they were to be put to all the expense of a Provisional Order. He saw no objection to leaving the subsection in if those words were limited in some way, but otherwise they were very vague. There was no land near big or growing towns at the present day that was unlikely to be used for building at some time or other.
§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY said they had already passed in the earlier part of the section the words "land likely to be used for building purposes." That was in subsection (1), and he took it that the Amendments before them were really consequential to bring the language of the section in the same form throughout. Surely, when the Committee had already passed the words in subsection (1), they ought not to begin to meddle with them in subsection (7).
§ LORD HYLTON said he would not press his Amendment, but reserved the liberty to bring it up again if necessary.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
Before the noble Lord withdraws his Amendment, may I say that unless these words, or some similar words, are in, it would be impossible to proceed with the Bill. In any town-planning scheme there must be land included which is not necessarily in course of development. If you are only going to town plan land which is in course of development your town plan disappears altogether, and I should not propose, in those circumstances, to proceed with this part of the Bill at all.
§ LORD CLIFFORD OF CHUDLEIGH said the Government had more or less conceded the point that these words "or appears likely to be used" were somewhat ambiguous, and he took it that noble Lords on his side of the House had more or less conceded the point that some such words were necessary. He did not know 292 whether the Government could tell them whether they were prepared to limit the words in some way.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN said that if the words in the third line of Clause 54, "which is in course of development or appears likely to be used," were still in the Bill, then the noble Lord proposed to define what those words meant. His Amendment, therefore, was perfectly pertinent.
§ LORD HYLTON said he did not press the Amendment. He quite saw what the noble Earl the Leader of the House meant when he said that in any town-planning scheme there must be included lands not necessarily at the moment in course of development. He would have been ready to move, "land required in order to further such development." The words he strongly objected to were the words "or appears likely to be." However, he did not wish to take up the time of the Committee, and would not press his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ VISCOUNT HILL then moved his Amendment to delete the words in the clause providing that the decision of the Local Government Board whether land was likely to be used for building purposes or not should be final.
In page 25, line 3, to leave out from the word 'not' to the end of the clause.'"—(Viscount Hill.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 54, as amended, agreed to.
§ EARL CAWDOR moved the insertion of the new clause, after Clause 54, standing in his name on the Paper, and with which he had dealt in moving his previous Amendment.
After Clause 54, to insert the following new clause:
55.—(1) A town planning scheme prepared or adopted by a local authority shall be submitted to the Local Government Board and shall be supported by such evidence as the Board by their regulations require.
(2) If, on consideration of the scheme and on
proof of the publication of the notices prescribed by the regulations of the Local Government Board, the Board think fit to proceed with the case, they shall direct a public local inquiry to be held in or in the vicinity of the area comprised in the scheme.
(3) After receiving the report made upon such inquiry and considering the same the Local Government Board may make an order sanctioning the scheme.
(4) Such Order may be made with such modifications and subject to such conditions as the Local Government Board think fit to insert, and it shall be the duty of the authority promoting the scheme to serve in the manner prescribed by the regulations of the Board a notice of any Order so made upon the authorities whose area and upon the person whose property will be affected by the operation of the scheme.
(5) If within the prescribed period no objection has been presented to the Local Government Board by an authority or person interested, or if every such objection has been withdrawn, the Board may confirm the Order unless the scheme contains a provision suspending any statutory enactments, in which case, or if such an objection as aforesaid has been presented and has not been withdrawn, the Order shall not be of any validity unless and until it has been confirmed by Parliament.
(6) Where an Order under this section is referred to a Committee of either House of Parliament that Committee shall not hear expert witnesses, that is to say, any witness who receives any fee or reward for his attendance or evidence other than his out-of-pocket expenses, unless before the hearing of the case upon an application by the party desiring to call an expert witness, the Chairman of Committees in the case of an Order referred to a Committee of the House of Lords or the Chairman of Ways and Means in the case of an Order referred to a Committee of the House of Commons certifies that the evidence of any particular expert witness or witnesses is requisite or desirable.
(7) Where an Order under this section is referred to a Committee of either House of Parliament the local authority who has submitted the scheme and any authority whose area or any person whose property will be affected by the scheme shall be entitled to petition and be heard before the Committee.
(8) The Local Government Board, or in the case of an Order referred to a Committee of either House of Parliament that Committee by a majority of the members of the Committee for the time being present and voting, may make such an Order as they think fit in favour of any authority whose area or of any person whose property was proposed to be affected by the scheme for the allowance of reasonable costs, charges, and expenses properly incurred at any stage of the proceedings in opposing such scheme and for that purpose shall take into consideration the circumstances under which such opposition was made to the scheme and whether such opposition was or was not justified by such circumstances and shall award costs accordingly to be paid by the local authority promoting the scheme or the opponents of the scheme as may appear just.
(9) All costs, charges, and expenses incurred by the Local Government Board in relation to any Order under this section shall to such amount as the Local Government Board, or in the case of
an Order referred to a Committee of either House of Parliament as that Committee think proper to direct, and all costs, charges, and expenses of any authority or person to such amount as may be allowed in pursuance of the aforesaid power shall be taken to be a liability incurred by the authority promoting the scheme and shall be paid to the Board and to such authority or person respectively in such manner and at such times, and either in one sum or by instalments as may be directed.
(10) A town-planning scheme may be varied or revoked by a subsequent scheme prepared or adopted and confirmed in accordance with this part of this Act on the application of the responsible authority, or of any other council or person interested.
(11) Any costs under this section may be taxed and recovered in the manner in which costs may be taxed and recovered under the Parliamentary Costs Act, 1865.—(Earl Cawdor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 55:
In page 25, line 14, to leave out the words approved by the Board,' and to insert the word 'confirmed.'"—(Earl Cawdor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD CLIFFORD OF CHUDLEIGH moved an Amendment with the object of preventing the suspensory provisions in a town-planning scheme from applying to "statutory enactments." It was, he said, highly undesirable that the power of suspending a statutory enactment should be given to the Local Government Board. With regard to his subsequent Amendment, if statutory enactments came out the whole of the proviso which hung upon it was unnecessary and came out too.
In page 25, line 27, to leave out the words statutory enactments.'"—(Lord Clifford of Chudleigh.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said their Lordships had shown so much hostility to the plan proposed by His Majesty's Government that it really was with some diffidence that he rose to defend that portion of their proposals; but the point, as their Lordships would see, was a substantial one. Statutory enactments included first of all public Acts, and also local cts. With regard to public Acts, there was already, he thought, in a subsequent clause a provision that when any statutory enactment in a public Act was involved there should be a 295 Provisional Order, and there was a provision that it had to lie for thirty days on the Table. With regard to local Acts, there were local Acts which had the effect of statutory enactments, and therefore they would come under the Amendment moved by the noble Earl below the gangway. These local Acts contained a number of very small matters with which the Local Government Board thought it was not unreasonable they should be allowed to deal. A great many of the provisions which occurred in local Acts were really obsolete, and had been replaced in many districts by by-laws; and without this provision, it would be impossible for the local authority to assist the various bodies which were anxious to bring in town-planning schemes. A great many of the provisions contained in local Acts would stereotype streets and buildings, and that was one of the things which in many cases a town-planning scheme would like to avoid. The power of altering local Acts was one which, under Section 59 of the Local Government Act, 1888, county councils might exercise uncontrolled except by the Board; and though he was afraid Lord Belper would hardly put the Local Government Board on so high a pedestal as the county councils, still he thought if this power were given to county councils, with the supervision of the Local Government Board, it was not a very extreme step to ask their Lordships to give the power also to the Local Government Board. There were precedents, both with regard to local Acts and public Acts, for giving the Board power to make modifications when necessary—under the Education Act, 1902, Schedule II, Section 19, and also under Schedule III, Section 12. In both those cases there was this power; and also in regard to the Unemployed Workmen's Act the Board were authorised to apply various provisions. In view of those precedents, he hoped their Lordships would not think the provision unreasonable.
§ LORD BELPER said the noble Earl had assumed that he (Lord Belper) placed the Local Government Board in a very inferior position to county councils. All he had ever contended was that the Local Government Board should keep its own position, and do its own work, and not interfere and try and limit the powers of local government. He did not wish to pursue that, but he thought the taunt a 296 quite unworthy one, because he had never for a moment suggested that the Local Government Board should not have full power for supervising.
§ LORD ALVERSTONE pointed out that the words in question could not possibly stand having regard to the decision on the noble Earl's (Lord Cawdor's) clause. It was proposed that there still might be a power to vary statutory enactments. If their Lordships would look at subsection (5) of Earl Cawdor's new clause which the Committee had just inserted, they would see it there provided that if the scheme contained a provision suspending any statutory enactment the Order should not be of any validity unless and until it had been confirmed by Parliament. Therefore, the words could not stand in the fact of the clause already passed. But he rose to enter a very modest, and he hoped not a useless, protest with regard to the distinction drawn between public and private Acts of Parliament. He did not understand why, when a locality had gone to Parliament and had its special case considered and a statutory bargain had been made, it should be suggested that the local Act should be less sacred than a public Act. In the Courts they had always considered—he supposed they would be wrong now—that private Acts conferred by Parliament might override a public general Act. It seemed to him that the noble Earl really ought not to have suggested that an Act simply because it was a private Act was less to be respected than a public Act. However, the words proposed to be omitted by Lord Clifford could not possibly stand in face of the clause that had already been added to the Bill.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN desired to refer to the words that followed immediately after. He had not put down an Amendment on the subject, but he wished to call attention to the words "no other provisions under whatever authority made." Their Lordships had struck out "statutory enactments," but the words "or other provisions under whatever authority made" included statutory enact- 297 ments as far as he could see. But even if they did not, they were such wide words that he did not think their Lordships ought to allow them to remain in the clause.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY said that after what had been said by the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chief Justice, the words "under whatever authority made" must come out, because Parliament was one authority and therefore the words would include the decisions of Parliament. Probably, however, some words would be required in their place. He thought that the words introduced in another part of the Bill, "made under the authority of the Local Government Board," would bring it outside the sphere of Parliament, and therefore might properly be inserted in that place.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to that the words "under whatever authority made" be deleted, and the words "made under the authority of the Local Government Board" inserted.
LORD BELPER moved to leave out the proviso to subsection (2)—
Provided that where the scheme contains provisions suspending any enactment contained in a public general Act the scheme shall not come into force unless a draft thereof has been laid before each House of Parliament for a period of not less than forty days during the session of Parliament, and if either of those Houses before the expiration of those forty days presents an address to His Majesty against the proposed suspension no further proceedings shall be taken on the draft, without prejudice to the making of any new scheme.
In page 25, line 30, to leave out lines 30 to 38 inclusive."—(Lord Belper.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
In page 25, line 31, after the word 'Act,' to insert the words 'or in any Act under which land shall have been acquired for the purposes of a railway, dock, canal, water, or other public undertaking."—(Lord Ritchie of Dundee.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
In page 25, line 41, to leave out the words 'as the Local Government Board direct.'"—(Earl Cawdor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 55, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 56:
§ 56.—(1) The Local Government Board may make regulations for regulating generally the procedure to be adopted with respect to applications for authority to prepare or adopt a town-planning scheme, the preparation of the scheme, obtaining the approval of the Board to a scheme so prepared or adopted, and any inquiries, reports, notices, or other matters required in connection with the preparation or adoption or the approval of the scheme or preliminary thereto, or in relation to the carrying out of the scheme or enforcing the observance of the provisions thereof.
§ (2) Provisions shall be made by those regulations—
- (a) for securing co-operation on the part of the local authority with the owners and other persons interested in the land proposed to be included in the scheme at every stage of the proceedings, by means of conferences and such other means as may be provided by the regulations;
- (b) for securing that notice of the proposal to prepare or adopt the scheme should be given at the earliest stage possible to any council interested in the land; and
- (c) for dealing with the other matters mentioned in the Fifth Schedule to this Act.
§ VISCOUNT HILL moved to amend paragraph (b) by inserting, after the word "council," the words "or person," and after the word "land" the words "including the council or the county in whose area the land is situate." He said he had placed this Amendment on the Paper because he thought proper notice ought to be given as early as possible to every person interested in the land concerned. That did not seem to be very clear from paragraph (b). It was certainly in the previous paragraph, and it might be said that it was sufficiently stated there for his purpose, but it appeared to him that it would be better to make the point definite also in paragraph (b).
In page 26, line 29, after the word 'council,' to insert the words 'or person,' and after the word 'land' to insert the words 'including the council of the county in whose area the land is situate.'"—(Viscount Hill.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said the point in paragraph (a) was that notice was to be given, not only to the person concerned, but also to the council of the county in whose area the land was situated. In paragraph (b) it was directed that provision should be made by the regulations for securing that notice of the proposal to prepare or adopt the scheme should be given at the earliest stage possible to any council 299 interested in the land. Subsection (2) (a) contemplated co-operation between the local authorities and the owners and other persons interested, and it was hoped that that co-operation would take place at every stage of the proceedings. Then under subsection (1) their Lordships would see that the Board were to make regulations as to notices in connection with the preparation or adoption of the scheme. It was thought by the Government that those provisions were quite sufficient to meet the noble Viscount's case. The noble Viscount would see that by the provisions already in the Bill the county council, if interested in the land in question, must have notice of the proposal under the clause as it stood.
§ VISCOUNT HILL intimated that after the explanation of the noble Earl he would not press his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 56 agreed to.
§ [The sitting was suspended at five minutes to eight o'clock and resumed at a quarter past nine.]
§ Clause 57:
§ 57.—(1) The responsible authority may at any time, after giving such notice as may be provided by a town-planning scheme and in accordance with the provisions of the scheme,—
- (a) remove, pull down, or alter any building or other work in the area included in the scheme which is such as to contravene the scheme, or in the erection or carrying out of which any provision of the scheme has not been complied with; or
- (b) execute any work which it is the duty of any person to execute under the scheme in any case where it appears to the authority that delay in the execution of the work would prejudice the efficient operation of the scheme.
§ (2) Any expenses incurred by a local authority under this section may be recovered from the persons in default in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be provided by the scheme.
§ (3) If any question arises whether any building or work contravenes a town-planning scheme, or whether any provision of a town-planning scheme is not complied with in the erection or carrying out of any such building or work, that question shall be referred to the Local Government Board, and the decision of the Board shall be final and conclusive and binding on all persons.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY said he had put down an Amendment to Clause 57, but before he proposed it he would be glad to hear what His 300 Majesty's Government had to say to explain the terms of this clause. The clause proposed to give power to the responsible authority to do several things, and in paragraph (b) it proposed to give power to execute any work which it was the duty of any person to execute under the scheme. He was not quite sure, even after the interesting speech from the noble Earl in charge of the Bill in reply to his noble friend, Lord Cawdor, what were the kind of works it was proposed should be compulsorily executed under the terms of the Bill. The noble Earl spoke of the whole terms of this town-planning arrangement as of the most modest and quiet character, which were to be carried out, in his belief, on voluntary lines, but what was slightly inconsistent with the noble Earl's attitude was the fact that coercive clauses of the most drastic character were enumerated in the Bill, and this was one of them.
§ What was the kind of works which the clause would include? They were not defined. There was no enacting clause. The local authority would be able, it seemed, to execute any kind of work and demand repayment from the person they deemed to be in default. But the work might be unprofitable to that person, and, indeed, might do him harm. He could not help thinking that was a very drastic provision; and, as far as the terms of the clause were concerned, it would be immoral. It was true that by the next clause any injury done to a man's property had to be compensated for, but that was not the point here. The point here was that certain works were to be executed, and the actual out-of-pocket expenses of those works might be recovered from the person whose duty it was to carry them out. They did not know who that person might be, but it appeared on the face of it that if the particular works did not do that property any good, and were of no pecuniary advantage in money or kind, the person had still to pay for them. He thought that in the drafting of this clause something had been left out. The clause ought to indicate the species of work intended and that the work was to be to the benefit of the person charged. Then, and then only, should he be called on to pay for it. They had to remedy that injustice. He had put down words, but he was afraid he must admit that his words did not appear to him to be perfect; and therefore he would not press them if His Majesty's Government would give the 301 necessary information. He hoped the noble Earl appreciated the point, and would meet it in some way.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
The point, I think, is that the power under this clause would arise after a scheme had been made and when all the considerations to which the noble Marquess referred would have been threshed out. I take it that the kind of work a man might be called upon to execute, and where, if he did not execute it, the scheme would be applied, would arise in cases of this kind. Supposing the noble Marquess and myself had some land intercepted by the area covered by the scheme, and the scheme provided that a certain circular road for developing building land should be made. The scheme being passed, the noble Marquess, we will presume, declines to execute his part of the work of road-making and sewering which is necessary to carry out the scheme as approved. Until it is done the scheme cannot be proceeded with, and my land is made useless. It would be no use my making my part of the road if the noble Marquess would not make his; and the scheme being passed and approved, the authority could call upon the noble Marquess to make his part of the road, and if he would not, they would do it for him.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY said he could quite understand that if the scheme were to be profitable to the noble Earl's part of the property the noble Earl would be glad to see coercion put upon him to do something without which it would be useless. But surely it would not be fair to throw the expense of making a circular road upon him for the benefit of the noble Earl. The noble Earl said that would be threshed out before the scheme was made. He agreed, and he felt that now that their Lordships had inserted the Amendment of his noble friend Earl Cawdor, he would be able to come to their Lordships' House or to the other House of Parliament in order to obtain justice when the scheme was under consideration. He thought there ought to be on the face of the Bill some words to indicate that the work to be charged to a person was to be in some way to his benefit. Surely he ought not to be charged with work for the benefit of the public at large. However, if the noble Earl would say that between this and Report he would consider the introduction 302 of some Amendment he would not proceed with his own.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I will consider the matter in the light of what has been said by the noble Marquess. To continue the apologue, if his land suffers the noble Marquess is entitled to compensation. The only question, I suppose, that might arise would be whether the degree of advantage to be gained by the operation of the scheme would be equivalent to the work the noble Marquess would have to do. But unless some power of this kind exists the whole scheme may fail through the refusal of somebody who has a piece of land in the centre to do anything. It may be a good reason for having no scheme if this gentleman objects so much to having anything done on his land; but once you have a scheme you cannot give him the power of indefinitely refusing to do anything.
§ *LORD ZOUCHE OF HARYNGWORTH said this might refer to road making and the construction of sewers. It was always the duty of the owner to provide, first of all, in any development scheme, roads and sewers, and it might be said that it was so absolutely necessary to be done, that if it were not done it would delay the whole scheme. If His Majesty's Government between now and the Report stage would put in words to make the point clear it would be well.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND pointed out, with reference to the statement of the noble Earl the Leader of the House that a person who was damaged would be entitled to compensation, that Clause 58 provided that a person should not be entitled to claim compensation under that section on account of any building erected on or contract made or other thing done with respect to land included in a scheme, after the time at which the application for authority to prepare the scheme was made. This affected the point raised by Lord Salisbury—namely, that the owner might suffer damage or loss long after the scheme had been made and put into operation.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
The point the noble Duke has raised is a different one. It may be argued whether compensation ought to be paid in one lump sum when the scheme is prepared, which is the pro- 303 position in the Bill, or whether the person injured ought to be able to claim it at any time. But that is a different point.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY said the noble Earl did not follow the noble Duke. It had to be arranged before the scheme was taken in hand. If the clause were limited in this way it could not apply to the time at which the scheme was being carried into effect. The person complaining would be told: "You should have appealed before the scheme was put into operation; you should have appealed before even the application was finally sanctioned; now you come and complain that the cost of this road is too great. It is too late; you should have done this before." So that he would be debarred under the terms of Clause 58 from getting his remedy for a wrong done under Clause 57.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
What would happen, according to my view of the case, is this. While the scheme was in preparation, the owner who is presumed to be injured would say, "I have such and such a piece of land, and you ask me by this scheme to make a road; it will not pay me to do it; I shall positively lose by it; therefore I must have a lump sum for compensation." It is true it is an arguable proposition whether, instead of a claim for injury being sent in and paid at a later stage, it should be paid before the work was done. But everything that is going to happen is in the scheme, and it is for the owner, while the scheme is under preparation, to say, in vulgar parlance, "Where do I come in? This scheme, far from enabling me to cover my land with houses, is going to take half of it for an open space, and for two roads. This building land is not going to bring anything in to me." That may be good reasoning. But nothing can happen during the progress of the scheme, except what is in the scheme.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY said he was obliged to the noble Earl for trying to make it clear. As the noble Earl would look into the matter he would not go further with it then, and would not move his first Amendment. But he had another Amendment on the Paper providing that if any question arose whether a building or work contravened a town-planning scheme, "the matter may be referred for decision to the County Court of the district in the 304 same manner and subject to the like provisions as an appeal to that Court under Part I of this Act." This Amendment replaced appeals to the Local Government Board in this clause by appeals to a County Court Judge, and as he had induced their Lordships to adopt a similar Amendment in the earlier part of the Bill he hoped there would be no necessity to repeat the arguments he then used. But there was a conversation the previous night on the Amendment of his noble friend Lord Belper, in which it was suggested that there ought to be an appeal on a point of law, under certain restrictions, to the High Court. In the course of that conversation it was clearly brought out that in the opinion of most of their Lordships there was no necessity for two legal tribunals to sit on cases of this kind, and that, inasmuch as they had inserted the County Court jurisdiction, it was not necessary to press for High Court jurisdiction. But he thought that if he did not put in a word of caution it might, perhaps, be assumed that he, and those acting with him, and his noble friend the Leader of the Opposition, looked on the two propositions as alternatives. That was very far from being the case. The County Court jurisdiction was a jurisdiction both of law and fact, and it was a jurisdiction available for the immediate use of those who felt themselves aggrieved by the action of the local authority. To replace that by an appeal upon a point of law to the High Court, or to restore the Local Government Board as the appellate tribunal on questions of fact, would be to effect precisely that evil against which their Lordships had protested during those discussions. They felt very strongly, the objection of allowing a Government Department to be the appellate tribunal for those who felt themselves aggrieved in matters of this kind. He had received a very strong representation from the Council of the Surveyors' Institute in favour of some such change as he had proposed. Their Lordships might not be aware of how important a body this was; so important was it that it was one of the constituent bodies which went to form the great tribunal of appeal under the London Building Act. It was entrusted by the Government with that important function, and this Institute had protested against allowing the Local Government Board to be the appellate tribunal in matters of this 305 kind, and claimed that all His Majesty's subjects should have the right of going to the Courts to get redress.
In page 27, line 13, to leave out from the word 'work' to the end of the clause, and to insert the words the matter may be referred for decision to the county court of the district in the same manner and subject to the like provisions as an appeal to that court under Part I of this Act.'"—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said that this Amendment had been already discussed and the Government would not offer opposition to its insertion; but he could quite understand that the Amendment should have the support of the Surveyors' Institution, who in this case were not entirely an uninterested party.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 57, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 58:
§ 58.—(1) Any person whose property is injuriously affected by the operation of a town-planning scheme shall, if he makes a claim for the purpose within the time (if any) limited by the scheme, not being less than three months after the date when notice of the approval of the scheme is published in the manner prescribed by regulations made by the Local Government Board, be entitled to obtain compensation in respect thereof from the responsible authority.
§ (2) A person shall not be entitled to claim compensation under this section on account of any building erected on or contract made, or other thing done with respect to land included in a scheme, after the time at which the application for authority to prepare the scheme was made, or after such other time as the Local Government Board may fix for the purpose:
- Provided that this provision shall not apply as respects any work done before the date of the approval of the scheme for the purpose of finishing a building begun or of carrying out a contract entered into before the application was made.
§ (3) Where, by the operation of any town-planning scheme, any property is increased in value the responsible authority, if they make a claim for the purpose within the time (if any) limited by the scheme, not being loss than three months after the date when notice of the approval of the scheme is first published in the manner prescribed by regulations made by the Local Government Board, shall be entitled to recover from any person whose property is so increased in value the amount of that increase.
§ (4) Any question as to whether any property is injuriously affected or increased in value within the meaning of this section, and as to the amount and manner of payment (whether by instalment or otherwise) of the sum which is to be paid as compensation under this section or which the 306 responsible authority are entitled to recover from a person whose property is increased in value, shall be determined by the Local Government Board, and the determination of the Board shall be final and conclusive, and binding on all persons.
§ (5) Any amount due under this section as compensation to a person aggrieved from a responsible authority, or to a responsible authority from a person whose property is increased in value, may be recovered summarily as a civil debt.
§ (6) Where a town-planning scheme is revoked by an Order of the Local Government Board under this Act, any person who has incurred expenditure for the purpose of complying with the scheme shall be entitled to compensation in accordance with this section in so far as any such expenditure is rendered abortive by reason of the revocation of the scheme.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP moved to leave out the word "operation" at the commencement of subsection (1), and to insert the word "making" This was a very small point, and he hoped their lordships would agree to the alteration.
In page 27, line 17, to leave out the word 'operation,' and to insert the word 'making.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND said the making of a scheme could not affect property; it was the carrying of it out that affected property.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY said he would like to know the effect of the Amendment. The point the noble Earl apparently intended to effect by the Amendment was that any damage to an owner's property which was caused at the time of making a scheme was to be compensated for, but that any damage caused by the carrying out of the scheme was not to be compensated for.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said they were drifting into a discussion on the Amendment of the noble Marquess in the next line. He thought it would be better to take the two matters together; they were quite inter-dependent.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY then moved an Amendment providing that any person whose property was injuriously affected by the operation of a town-planning scheme should, if he made a claim for the purpose "within three 307 months of the time when such injury is done," be entitled to compensation from the responsible authority. He said the matter did not require to be stated at length. As the Bill stood the owner was called upon to enter his claim for compensation, not when the damage took place, but within a few months after the scheme was fixed. That, of course, he had considerable objection to. It was quite clear that, with the rather extensive views of the President of the Local Government Board as to schemes that might last over a period of half-a-century, it would be rather unreasonable for a landowner at the beginning of the half century to say what damage would be done to his property during the carrying out of the scheme extending over the fifty years. Therefore he proposed to insert a very reasonable Amendment to the effect that the owner's claim for compensation might be adjudged, not when the scheme was settled, but when the damage took place, or within three months of the time when the damage took place. The noble Earl in charge of the Bill had indicated that they might deal with damage which had accrued from the "making" of the scheme. No doubt the suggestion of the Government to substitute the word "making" for "operation" would meet part of his objection but not the whole, because the only claim for compensation was in respect of damage done by making the scheme instead of by the operation of the scheme. The Government might, perhaps, be prepared to amend the Bill in that particular; but they could not get out of the difficulty by changing the word "operation" into the word "making." It was true that by the change they made his Amendment unnecessary at the time, but it became necessary for the purpose of a subsequent time.
In page 27, line 18, after the word 'purpose' to insert the words 'within three months of the time when such injury is done or.'"—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said the idea of the Government was that the extent of the damage to a property should be measured by the difference in value after the making of the scheme as compared with the value before. That, he thought, was quite intelligible, and that was why they thought the Amendment unnecessary. The noble Marquess wished to safeguard the owner 308 from damage accruing to the property perhaps half a century afterwards; but would it be of any advantage to the estate suppose there was damage fifty years later if these words were inserted? He really could not understand why the noble Marquess thought three months would be sufficient to meet the case.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP thought that if the noble Marquess meant three months subsequent to damage which might be caused half a century after the scheme was made, he there showed the poverty of his contention. If he said compensation was to to be paid at the moment when the estate was injured, he left the door open to a sphere of litigation which could not be contemplated. If the property were to be put up for auction every one interested in the matter would be able to measure the difference in value.
§ LORD SALTOUN was afraid the noble Earl did not quite appreciate the point. If the scheme were going on for fifty years it was quite possible that damage might be done to a portion of the property which it was absolutely impossible to contemplate when the scheme was made. In that case it was proper that compensation should be given.
§ LORD ALVERSTONE thought the view of the Government was right. This was a question with which he had been called upon to deal hundreds of times. It was perfectly true that they might have a system whereby from time to time there would spring up claims to compensate for damage caused in consequence of the operation of the scheme. There would be endless inquiries and the plan would be open to very serious objections. It was a difficult problem, but came in the same range as that relating to the construction of a railway, dock, or some other public work. In those cases the damage might not accrue within the next few years. The work might very seriously affect the estate of an adjoining owner in the utility of purpose to which it was put and that damage must be as essed once and for all. The only logical way of dealing with the matter was to say that the scheme was made when it had stereotyped the character of the property of the adjoining owner for all 309 time, and then the people having to deal with the question would have to say whether the property was injuriously affected. He certainly thought the view of the Government was right, and that there must be an assessment once and for all.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND inquired whether the injury for which compensation was to be given was to be based upon the selling value of the land in consequence of making the scheme. He understood the Lord Chief Justice's view was to give compensation for the loss which the scheme would inflict when carried out on the estate. It therefore included everybody whose property would be injuriously affected by the scheme.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY intimated that after the speech of the Lord Chief Justice he would not at the present moment insist upon his point. In any case the Amendment of the noble Lord met the first difficulty which was revealed by his Amendment, and he thankfully accepted it. If there was anything more to be done on the other point there would be a future opportunity to deal with it.
§ Amendment moved by the MARQUESS OF SALISBURY, by leave, withdrawn.
§ THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES then put the Amendment moved by Earl Beauchamp, to leave out "operation" and insert "making."
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ *LORD ZOUCHE OF HARYNGWORTH, in moving to substitute the word "obtain" for "claim" in connection with compensation, said it was merely a technical point. He also had an amendment on the Paper to substitute the word "extended" for "other" in relation to the time allowed in which to claim the compensation.
In page 27, line 24, to leave out the word 'claim' and to insert the word 'obtain.'"—(Lord Zouche of Haryngworth.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP was glad to accept the first Amendment, but there was a serious objection to the second, because if the word "extended" were adopted any sharp person who knew a scheme of 310 compensation was in the air could put in a claim for buildings hastily erected.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ *LORD ZOUCHE OF HARYNGWORTH, having explained that his point was merely to show that the time should not be shortened but extended, intimated that he would not move his second Amendment.
In page 27, line 31, to leave out the word `approval,' and to insert the word 'confirmation.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
In page 27, line 34, to leave out the word 'operation,' and to insert the word 'making.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
In page 27, line 38, to leave out the word 'approval.' and to insert the word 'confirmation.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ *LORD ZOUCHE OF HARYNGWORTH had an Amendment on the Paper to substitute the words "levy upon" for "recover from" in connection with the recovery of the Amendment of increased value of property. The Amendment raised a technical point and affected the question of betterment which perhaps did not excite a great amount of interest in that House. He, however, did not propose to move the Amendment especially as the matter to which he wished to call attention was covered by the next Amendment which stood in the name of the Marquess of Salisbury.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY moved an Amendment restricting the amount which the responsible authority would be entitled to recover from owners of property increased in value by the operation of a town-planning scheme to the amount of the authority's expenditure under the scheme which might be fairly apportioned as having been expended directly to the advantage of that property. He confessed that he approached the 311 subject with considerable diffidence because it raised the question of how to calculate betterment. He knew that the clause as it stood would be defended by the Government, and he did not feel satisfied that the words proposed by his Amendment were entirely defensible. In the first place, according to the wording of the Bill, when under a town-planning scheme property increased in value the whole of that value was to go to the local authority who were responsible for the scheme. His first criticism upon that proposal was that where the local authority had been put to a certain expense in carrying out the scheme they were entitled to the full results of it. But that was not the fact, for the expenditure in the ordinary case would fall, not upon the authority, but probably upon the other owners, and it might also fall upon the owner of the land in question. Whether it fell upon the owner of that land or the adjoining owners it was difficult to see why, the owners having been put to certain expense, the local authority should reap the whole results. But he did not base his opposition to the clause as it stood merely on that ground.
§ Was it really the fact that when, as the result of a town-planning scheme, property increased in value, the whole of that increase ought to go to the local authority, even if all the expense had been defrayed by the authority? He submitted that that was an absolutely extravagant proposition. Take a piece of property on the coast, where the land might be developed as a watering place, but no action could be taken at present because there was no access to the property. The owner might have 500 acres of land but be without the necessary capital to make it accessible, and consequently he would be unable to develop the property in the manner described. The local authority might have their attention called to it, and if they were a business like set of men and a public spirited authority they would wish to develop the property and thus increase the ratable value. They would determine upon a town-planning scheme, part of which would consist in laying out a large main road. The effect of that might be to increase the value of the property from £100 to £500 per acre. Did the Government really mean to enact that as the result of making this road, which might cost £500 at the outside, the whole of the 312 increased value of the property suitable for a seaside watering place should go to the local authority and that they should receive £400 per acre from that property? If that was what the Bill enacted the proposition was manifestly absurd. The local authority was certainly entitled to something, but surely not to the whole of the increased value. By far the larger part of the increase belonged to the owner, who, by good judgment or, it might be, good luck, had become possessed of a valuable site. It would be most inequitable to rob him of the whole increased value because the town-planning scheme had been carried out.
§ Then came the question, To what was the local authority entitled? The Amendment limited it to the amount of expense to which they had been put, and that, he thought, was a very clear proposition. He did not know whether the Government were prepared to accept it; if they were he had nothing more to advance; but if not, and they were of opinion that there was something more due to the authority than merely their out-of-pocket expenses, he would ask them to state the further amount they considered would be due. If the Government would meet him in a satisfactory manner he would not press the Amendment, but otherwise he would endeavour to construct an equitable division of value other than that provided by the Bill.
In page 27, line 41, to leave out from the word 'value' to the end of the subsection, and to insert the words the amount of the expenditure by the local authority under the town-planning scheme which may be fairly apportioned as having been expended directly to the advantage of that property.'"—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I approach this clause with trepidation equal to that of the noble Marquess. The subject is an extremely difficult and intricate one, and it is not easy to define terms in which to express what I conceive to be the equities of the case. Those equities I take to be that betterment should be of the same nature as worsement—that is to say, that so far as the making of the scheme is concerned and the value of the property is enhanced it should be contributory to the local authority.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
It is the degree of enhancement of value which may be said to be due to the scheme and not to the ordinary operation of increment. The noble Marquess mentioned the case of property at the seaside worth £100 per acre for agricultural purposes, but which, by simply making a road leading to it, became worth £500 per acre. Well is that a possible case? If the road could be so simply made, surely if the property were to be put up for auction somebody would give more than the price stated for it.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY explained that in the case he cited the road had to be made through some one else's property and no one could do that without obtaining compulsory powers. That was where his case came in.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
That is, of course, a simple case, but the more ordinary operation would be for the two owners to come together for the purpose of the scheme. The noble Lord thinks our words go too far, but it is really the degree of betterment which is actually due to the making of the scheme. I do not see that that degree of betterment could approach the large figure mentioned by the noble Marquess. It is easy to put forward an instance in which the whole of such a large increase could be supposed to be due to the actual scheme, but we are perfectly prepared to consider facts, and possibly to modify the words of the subsection to see whether the particular instance which the noble Marquess mentioned can be met. He proposed to put in the words—The amount of the expenditure by the local authority under the town-planning scheme which may be fairly apportioned as having been expended directly to the advantage of the property.There may be expenditure made by a local authority which, though not directly to its advantage, may indirectly raise the value of the property to a very large extent. It is not quite easy to see how the Amendment would work. Suppose the road which the noble Marquess proposed to have made to his seaside estate cost £3,000, £4,000 or even £5,000—and a main road fifty or sixty feet wide would not have to be a very great length to cost that 314 —and suppose that instead of the large estate which he imagined to exist, there was quite a small estate, the value of which might be increased from £100 to £400 or £500 owing to the making of the road. According to the noble Marquess's Amendment the whole sum expended on the road would be expended to the advantage of this small property.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY said it was quite clear that in the case put by the noble Earl no one would build a road at a cost of £3,000 if he were only going to effect so small a benefit as that described. The road would evidently be for other purposes, and other people would have to contribute to the expenditure.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I think the last argument is met by the fact that although the immediate benefit from the scheme might be extremely small, it might at the moment of making the scheme be confined to a comparatively small area; and it is possible that the immediate benefit might not equal the cost of the first transaction, although in the future there might be a very great increase. In those circumstances the piece of property might be made liable for even more than it is worth.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I think I am right in inferring from the noble Earl's remarks that he quite admits that my noble friend has raised a point which requires very careful consideration. It is an extremely difficult point. The case, I understand, is something of this kind. The owner has a property with a dormant value, and that dormant value, owing to the operation of a scheme promoted by a responsible local authority, becomes converted into a very much increased present value. Under the Bill as it stands we take it that the whole of this increased value would pass to the local authority. Our contention is that in a case of that kind the owner of the property is entitled to a reasonable share. It seems very difficult to lay down formally how that share should be determined. It is obvious that there may be some cases where the portion contributed by the owner relatively to the sum contributed by the local authority may be larger, or may be smaller, and we want to arrive at some means of bringing about an equitable apportionment of the increased value between the 315 two parties. It may be possible for the noble Earl to reserve the point, and to make some attempt to provide machinery—by arbitration or otherwise—for distributing the betterment between the claimants. Let me say, in passing, that my distaste for the word "betterment" is only equalled by my dislike for "worsement." The apportionment would depend upon the expenditure by the responsible authority on the one side and the share contributed by the owner on the other. If the noble Earl will undertake to consider the question from that point of view we shall be quite willing to let the matter stand over.
§ LORD HYLTON thought that as the responsible authority would gain very largely by the conversion of land value from £100 to £500 per acre in that the rateable value would be largely increased, it was unfair for them to claim the whole of the increased value.
§ *LORD ZOUCHE OF HARYNGWORTH thought the crux of the contention lay in having to pay upon the whole of the increased value. The original idea of betterment was a rating, or, at all events, a taxing question, and if it were established that the increased value was placed upon the property, the owner would have to pay the rate on the increased value, although not in a lump sum. The matter had been dealt with by private Acts of Parliament, in which it was laid down what fixed percentage was to be paid on the increased value. In this case the local authority made matters sure by taxing the whole thing in a lump sum. He need hardly point out that nothing had been done to meet his objection that the thing would be almost impracticable. Assuming that the property doubled in value, how was the money to be raised if the owner had no other means of producing it?
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY withdrew the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND moved to refer questions as to changes in the value of property to a single arbitrator instead of to the Local Government Board, 316 as proposed. by the clause. He contended that there was no reason to alter the course pursued in other cases of reference to single arbitrator. He was aware that the answer of the Government would be that great economy would be effected by going to the Local Government Board, and they would be told that the Board was not only an impartial body but was perfectly competent for the task. He, however, doubted extremely whether the Local Government Board's inspectors were as competent as other arbitrators to decide difficult question of this kind. Some of these cases might involve very large and important questions There appeared to be a tendency on the part of noble Lords opposite to minimise the importance of these town-planning schemes, but that was not quite compatible with the great importance they appeared to attach to that portion of the Bill. He did not believe they would be very small and he hoped many of them would prove to be of considerable importance. It was therefore, extremely desirable that the usual custom of appointing an arbitrator should be observed. He quite saw the objection to appointing an arbitrator under the land clause provision, but that did not arise in the present instance.
In page, 28, line 7, to leave out from the word 'be' to the end of the subsection, and to insert the words 'referred to arbitration before a single arbitrator.'"—(The Duke of Northumberland.)
EARL BEAUCHAMP thought there was no necessity to reply to the noble Duke' comments regarding the Local Government Board. He would direct attention to Clause 62, which provided that—
Where the Local Government Board are authorised by this Part of the Act or any scheme made thereunder to determine any matter, it shall be at their option to determine the matter as arbitrators or otherwise, and if they elect to determine the matter as arbitrators, the provisions of the Regulation of Railways Act, 1868, respecting arbitrations by the Board of Trade, and the enactment amending those provisions, shall apply as if the were here re-enacted and in terms made applicable to the Local Government Board and the determination of the matters aforesaid:
Provided that where the question to be determined is a question whether property is injuriously affected or increased in value, or as to the amount or manner of payment of the sum which is to be paid as compensation or which the responsible authority are entitled to recover from the person whose property is increased in value, the Local Government Board shall not determine the question otherwise than as arbitrators except with the consent of the parties interested.
The result of the Act referred to had been that the Board had usually appointed a single arbitrator to settle a matter. The second part of the clause provided that where the question to be determined was one of those to which the Amendment applied then the Board should not determine otherwise than as arbitrator except with the consent of the parties interested. That cleared away the objection of the noble Duke.
§ VISCOUNT GALWAY said he had an Amendment on the Paper on similar lines. He was quite willing to consent to there being only one arbitrator, but what struck him were the words, The determination of the Board shall be final, conclusive, and binding on all persons." They wanted to see that there was careful protection for every individual. Whatever Clause 62 might mean they had heard it proposed that the determination of the Local Government Board should be final and conclusive, and it seemed to him that that overruled a good many points.
§ LORD ALVERSTONE said he also had an Amendment down which had not overlooked Clause 62. The reason for the Amendment was that of all the cases in the Bill where the decision rested with the Local Government Board this was the worst, because town-planning schemes were to be inspected by the Local Government Board, approved by the Board, and forced by them, quite properly, on the local authority. How it could fairly be said that when the Board had selected a scheme and approved it they were the right persons to say the amount to which a man's property was injuriously affected passed his comprehension. If, however, the noble Earl in charge of the Bill meant that it was to be referred to an arbitrator who was not a Local Government Board arbitrator he was quite satisfied.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said that if the noble and learned Lord were not satisfied, after further consideration of Clause 62, the matter might very well stand over until Report.
§ LORD ALVERSTONE said they should leave out the Local Government Board from the section, and say it should be referred to arbitration under the Act.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP thought it might 318 be merely a matter of drafting; but as the Local Government Board could not determine until after the arbitration was reported, he thought that covered the point.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND then withdrew his Amendment, and
§ LORD ALVERSTONE moved an Amendment providing for the determination of the questions arising under the section "by arbitration under this Act."
To leave out, after the words 'determined by,' the words 'the Local Government Board.'"—(Lord Alverstone.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to
To insert after the words 'determined by,' the words 'arbitration under this Act.'"—(Lord Alverstone.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ VISCOUNT GALWAY then moved the omission of the words to which he had taken exception.
To leave out the words 'and the determination of the Board shall be final, conclusive, and binding on all persons.'"—(Viscount Galway.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 58, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 59:
§ (1) Where property is alleged to be injuriously affected by reason of any provisions contained in a town planning scheme no compensation shall be paid in respect. thereof if or so far as the provisions are such as could reasonably have been inserted in by-laws made by the local authority,
§ (2) Property shall not be deemed to be injuriously affected so as to give rise to any claim for compensation under this Part of this Act by reason of the operation of any provisions inserted in a town planning scheme, which, with a view to securing the amenity of the area included in the scheme or any part thereof, prescribe the space about buildings or limit the number of buildings to be erected, or prescribe the height or character of buildings, and which the Local Government Board, having regard to the nature and situation of the land affected by the provisions, consider reasonable for the purpose.
§ (3) Where provisions regulating streets, buildings, and other matters dealt with by the scheme (whether contained in local Acts or Provisional 319 Orders) are, immediately before the approval of the scheme, in force in one part of the area comprised in the scheme and not in another part, or different provisions regulating such matters as aforesaid are in force in different parts of that area, a person whose property is affected by the scheme shall not be entitled to any greater compensation than he would have been entitled to if those provisions, or, as the case may be, the most stringent of those provisions, had been in force throughout that area.
§ (4) Where a person is entitled to compensation under this Part of this Act in respect of any matter or thing, and he would be entitled to compensation in respect of the same matter or thing under any other enactment, he shall not be entitled to compensation in respect of that matter or thing both under this Act and under that other enactment, and shall not be entitled to any greater compensation under this Act than he would be entitled to under the other enactment.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN moved to substitute "be enforced by" for "reasonably have been inserted in," which appeared in the first subsection. That subsection provided that where property was alleged to be injuriously affected by reason of any provisions contained in a town-planning scheme no compensation should be paid in respect thereof if, or so far as, the provisons were such as could reasonably have been inserted in by-laws made by the local authority. That seemed to him a very extraordinary expression, because the by-laws, of course, were the bylaws which were in force, and the local authority had to put them in force so far as it saw fit. But how could anybody tell what could "reasonably" have been inserted in the by-laws? He did not wish to go against the clause further than was necessary to attach some clear meaning to it.
In page 28, lines 23 and 24, to leave out the words reasonably have been inserted in,' and to insert the words 'be enforced by.'"—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said the Government were quite ready to accept the Amendment.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON moved to add at the end of subsection (1), which provided that where property was alleged to be injuriously affected by a scheme no compensation should be paid if the provisions of the scheme were such as could be enforced by by-laws made by the local authority, 320 the words "or are similar in effect to any enactment which would have been in force within the area to which the scheme applies but for the operation of such scheme." He said that as the Bill stood at present, outside London it was possible under the by-laws that a street forty feet wide might be made without compensation being paid; but in London, under the London Buildings Act, where everything was done by statute and not by by-laws, it might be held, and probably would be held, that the owner must be compensated. He imagined that it was intended that the practice should be similar both in London and outside, and therefore he proposed the additional words standing in his name.
In page 28, line 24, after the word authority,' to insert the words ' or are similar in effect to any enactment which would have been in force within the area to which the town-planning scheme applies but for the operation of such scheme.'"—(Viscount Midleton.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said the case was a good deal more complicated than would appear on the surface. The Government felt that the machinery under this Bill had been rather taken out of their hands, and therefore he was not disposed to contest this Amendment. But he would suggest to the noble Viscount that there was just this to be considered—whether under the circumstances which he contemplated the property could be alleged to be injuriously affected by reason of the provisions contained in the town-planning scheme.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Consequential Amendment agreed to.
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY moved to leave out subsection (2), which, he said, was a somewhat astounding one, and which was introduced during Committee in another place by the President of the Local Government Board. He believed he was right in saying that the clause was passed under the Closure resolution without any discussion whatever, notwithstanding the very important details which it contained. He hoped the noble Earl in charge of the Bill would be able to explain some of the reasons the Government might have in their mind for introducing a clause containing this extraordinary and very novel proposal. Under this clause a man was told, "Yes, we tolerate your possession of the 321 land, but you must develop it exactly as we wish you to." He ventured to think that that would make a landlord hesitate very hard about developing his land at all. There were other restrictions, and he believed the result would be that a landlord would find his land absolutely unsaleable. That would place him in the very happy position of having to pay an undeveloped land tax of a halfpenny in the £1. He would add the further objection, that by such restrictive covenants the cost of developing the land per house was enormously increased. If there were ten houses and a road cost £1,000, it stood to reason that the rent of those houses must be enormously increased in order to repay the landowner. Another very serious aspect of the clause was that it introduced something totally different from what he understood were the principles of the Bill. If land was developed with so many acres attached to each house and a subsequent town-planning scheme were brought in, it seemed to him that the former scheme was of no use at all. He hoped they would be able to elicit from the Government some definite statement as to the object of the clause. The clause had not been discussed in another place, and it would seem somewhat difficult to support it; in fact, for his own part he thought the only thing to do was to reject it.
In page 28, lines 25 to 34, to leave out subsection (2)."—(The Earl of Malmesbury.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said the noble Earl spoke of eliciting information from the Government as if it had been a difficult process in the course of the discussions. He, personally, felt he had trespassed so much upon their Lordships' time that he regarded the noble Earl's remarks as, on the whole, rather a compliment. In Clause 59 they included certain circumstances in which they did not think compensation should be paid. It was not their opinion that it was really practicable to pay compensation if the space about the buildings, the number of the buildings to be erected, or the height and character of the buildings were of a character perhaps somewhat better than would be carried out by the owner if there had not been a town-planning scheme. The whole object of the town-planning scheme was to encourage the building of a better class of houses, and it was unreasonable to expect that compensation should 322 be paid if an obligation were laid upon the owner to improve the character of his property and to build a better class of houses.
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN hoped the noble Earl would not press the Amendment. The whole matter of town-planning was really an interference in the public interest with the present rights of the private owner. All the provisions in the second subsection were clearly intended in the public interest. It might be to some extent a loss to the owner if he were obliged to erect houses of a certain type and a certain distance from one another. He could not build so many small tenements as he could do under the existing law. That, however, would be to the advantage of the public, and he thought it would be hard that the owner should be compensated in such a case from the rates.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN, in moving the omission of the third subsection, said the subsection seemed to be rather peculiar. It provided that where provisions regulating streets and buildings were in force in one part of an area and not in another part, or different provisions regulating such matters were in force in different parts of that area, a person whose property was affected by the scheme should not be entitled to any greater compensation than he would have been entitled to if the most stringent of the provisions had been in force throughout the area. Surely that was a very extreme proposal. For instance, let them take the case of a scheme which took land which was within the area of a town, and also land which was outside that area. According to this they would assume that the most stringent regulations which were enforced within the town were to be applied to the land which was outside the town and which had been under regulations of quite a different character and much less stringent. Surely that was not what the Government intended. He would like them to state really what they meant by this subsection and what their intention was.
In page 28, line 35, to line 4 on page 20, to leave out subsection (3)."—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP thought the intention of the subsection was fairly clear. Supposing that in a large area which came into one town-planning scheme there were different sets of by-laws prevailing, the object was that no compensation should apply with regard to the worst class of houses within the whole area. The subsection really tried to secure uniformity of treatment, because, supposing there was one man who had houses in different parts of the area he would get compensation perhaps for one part and not for the other, and to some extent by omitting this subsection they would penalise the owner of good houses because they would be compensating the man who owned the bad houses, or those in the least sanitary condition, and who did not comply with the higher standard of by-laws. Their Lordships would see that if there were to be a large number of town-planning schemes it was necessary that no burden of compensation should be put on the various areas. It was thought, and he believed rightly, that this was not a case in which compensation should be paid.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN did not see that it would penalise the owner of good houses at all if the owner of bad houses in another part of the area received compensation, but he did see that it very seriously penalised the owner of less good houses who was now to be judged by the criterion of regulations which prevailed in another area and an area in which he had not lived. That seemed to him to be a hardship.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY did not really think the Government could adhere to this subsection because, as the noble Earl had said, it would give the man who lived under less stringent by-laws an advantage. That was only true up to a certain point, because under the first subsection the Government had taken power to keep compensation down to the potential by-laws as well as the actual ones; therefore, to a large extent, that was covered. But if there were a substantial difference in the by-laws proposed, no doubt for good reasons, then it did not seem to him that it could be ignored when they came to the question of compensation. He thought it would be very hard indeed if this subsection were allowed to stand.324
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said that in the circumstances he would not oppose the Amendment, though it was one more difficulty imposed in the way of town-planning schemes.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN said he was much obliged to the noble Earl, but his noble friend need not have put in this side shot.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 59, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 60:
§ 60.—(1) The responsible authority may for any purpose purchase any land comprised in a town-planning scheme by agreement, or be authorised to purchase any such land compulsorily in the same manner and subject to the same provisions (including any provision authorising the Local Government Board to give directions as to the payment and application of any purchase money or compensation) as a local authority may purchase or be authorised to purchase land for the purposes of Part III of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890, as amended by section two of this Act.
§ (2) Where land included within the area of a local authority is comprised in a town-planning scheme, and the local authority are not the responsible authority, the local authority may purchase or be authorised to purchase that land in the same manner as the responsible authority.
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN moved to amend this clause by inserting words stipulating that the purchase of land under the clause should be "subject to the provisions of Clause 45," which prevented the acquisition of any land which was defined in that clause. Clause 60, he said, related to the compulsory purchase of land with regard to this part of the Act, and he assumed that His Majesty's Government would have no objection to the insertion of provisions restricting the cases in which compulsory purchase might be effected similar to those inserted in the previous part of the Bill.
In page 29, line 13, after the word 'may,' to insert the words 'subject to the provisions of section forty-five of this Act'"—(Viscount St. Aldwyn.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said that in view of what passed in connection with Clause 45 the Government would offer no opposition to this Amendment, but he understood that a drafting Amendment might be 325 necessary, and, if so, he would bring it up on Report.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD SALTOUN moved an Amendment to confine the purpose for which land might be purchased under this clause to that of a town-planning scheme. He said the clause as it stood seemed to be extremely wide. There was no purpose for which they might not purchase land. He thought there ought to be some sort of definition, and that if the authority wished to purchase land it surely must be for a town-planning scheme.
In page 29, line 13, after the word 'purpose,' to insert the words 'essential to a town-planning scheme.'"—(Lord Saltoun.)
§ VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN asked if he might suggest alternative words to those in the Amendment. He did not think the words as they stood were quite satisfactory. Ought not the clause to run, "The responsible authority may, for the purpose of a town-planning scheme, purchase any land comprised in such scheme by agreement," &c. That would show What was meant.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said the words of the noble Viscount were certainly better than those of the noble Lord, and in the circumstances he thought they had better be inserted.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
In page 29, line 13, to leave out the words 'any purpose purchase any land comprised in a town-planning,' and to insert the words 'the purpose of a town-planning scheme purchase any land comprised in such.'"—(Viscount St. Aldwyn.)
§ On Question Amendment agreed to.
§ VISCOUNT HILL moved to leave out subsection (2). His object, he said, was to call attention to the rather ambiguous way in which the subsection seemed to be drawn. Under this subsection it would appear that if the local authority in the area comprised in a town-planning scheme were not the responsible authority, "the local authority may purchase or be authorised to purchase that land in the same 326 manner as the responsible authority." It appeared to him that simultaneous authority was given to two separate authorities to purchase land compulsorily. He did not quite understand how they were going to get over the difficulty where A, who was the responsible authority and had the power to purchase compulsorily, carried a scheme into the area of another local authority, B, who at the same time had the power of compulsory purchase. The subsection seemed to be rather complicated, and, to his mind, would produce a considerable amount of friction between the various local authorities.
In page 29, lines 23 to 27, to leave out subsection (2)."—(Viscount Hill.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said the subsection would meet a case which he thought might really occur. That was the case of a large area covered by a scheme embracing the area of other local authorities. Only one local authority would then be the responsible authority, but within the area of another authority—not the responsible authority—there might be a desire to purchase land for a pleasure ground. It was very desirable, he thought, that the local authority in that area should buy the pleasure ground and maintain it afterwards. The noble Viscount would see, perhaps, that included in this scheme might be a village near a town, and the village should be able, although not the responsible authority, to buy land for a recreation ground; and unless this subsection was left in that local authority would not be able to buy the recreation ground but it would have to be done by the responsible authority.
§ VISCOUNT HILL said he understood the responsible authority was the authority that was to purchase the land for the whole of the scheme, and in the scheme, according to the Bill, they included this-recreation ground. Perhaps the responsible-authority might want to purchase the same piece of land.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP thought the noble Viscount forgot that there was going to be some co-operation between these authorities and in his opinion it might safely be left to them as to what was best to be done.
§ THE LORD BISHOP OF WAKEFIELD said the noble Viscount seemed to be 327 under the impression that where a local authority set on foot a town-planning scheme it involved the purchase of the land. He understood that that was not so at all. It was not the buying of the land but the planning of the land.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 60, as amended, agreed to.
§ VISCOUNT HILL moved to insert a new clause after Clause 60.
§ He said he did not wish to press this new clause very much upon the Government, but there was nothing in the Bill providing any regulations where there was joint cooperation between two local authorities. As would be seen, by his proposed new clause the local authorities within whose area any land included in a scheme was situated would have to be given notice by the authority proposing the scheme, and would have the power of rejecting the scheme.
After Clause 60, to insert the following new clause:
§ '61. If a town-planning scheme is intended to be carried out on land in the area of a local authority other than the local authority proposing to prepare the scheme the following provisions shall apply;
- (a) The authority proposing to prepare the scheme shall give notice of their proposal to the local authority within whose area any land included in such scheme is situate, and to the county council;
- (b) The authority preparing the scheme shall submit the same for approval to the authority or the authorities in whose area any land included in such scheme is situate, and shall also furnish the county council with a copy of such scheme;
- (c) If any such local authority within whose area the scheme is to be executed shall fail or refuse to approve of the scheme, the authority who have prepared the scheme may appeal to the Local Government Board, who shall thereupon hold a public local inquiry and may make an order sanctioning the scheme, in accordance with the provisions of this part of this Act;
- (d) If it appears to the Local Government Board, or in the case of an Order referred to a Committee of either House of Parliament to that Committee, that any local authority within whose area the scheme is to be carried out will be put to expense in providing sewers, water supply, or others works or things for the purpose of enabling the scheme to be carried out, the Board or the Committee may order that the authority responsible for the execution of the scheme shall contribute to such expenditure.'"—(Viscount Hill.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said the matter had been carefully considered by His 328 Majesty's Government, but the opinion of the Local Government Board was that the matters dealt with in the first three subsections of the noble Viscount's new clause were matters rather for regulations which would secure the object the noble Viscount had in view in a rather simpler and more satisfactory way. With regard to paragraph (d), he would point out that primarily any expenses incurred under the scheme which were not recoverable from the landowners in the manner already agreed to by their Lordships would fall upon the local authority, and the scheme itself might deal with the matters referred to in this paragraph. If the noble Viscount would refer to Schedule 4, items 5 and 7, he would see that the matters in paragraph (d) of his clause were specially provided for.
§ VISCOUNT HILL said he was obliged to the noble Earl for his explanation, which really covered the point as to the difficulties, likely to arise between local authorities.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 61:
§ 61. If the Local Government Board are satisfied on any representation, after holding a local inquiry, that a local authority—
- (a) have failed to take the requisite steps for having a satisfactory town-planning scheme prepared and approved in a case where a town-planning scheme ought to be made; or
- (b) have failed to adopt any scheme proposed by owners of any land in a case where the scheme ought to be adopted; or
- (c) have unreasonably refused to consent to any modifications or conditions imposed by the Board;
§ Provided that where the representation is that a local authority have failed to adopt a scheme, the Local Government Board, in lieu of making such an order as aforesaid, may approve the proposed scheme, subject to such modifications or conditions, if any, as the Board think fit, and thereupon the scheme shall have effect as if it had been adopted by the local authority and approved by the Board.
§ (2) If the Local Government Board are satisfied on any representation, after holding a local inquiry, that a responsible authority have failed to enforce the observance of or to execute the scheme, or any provisions thereof, effectively, the Board may order that authority to do all things necessary for enforcing the observance of or to execute the scheme, or any provisions thereof, effectively.
§ (3) Any order under this section may be enforced by mandamus.329
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN moved to amend this clause by inserting the word "public," with the object of securing that a public local inquiry should be held by the Local Government Board.
In page 29, line 29, after the first 'a' to insert the word 'public.'"—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Drafting Amendments agreed to.
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN asked the noble Earl in charge of the Bill what interpretation he put upon the word "execute" in subsection (2) of this clause. The scheme would, of course, provide for laying out certain areas with roads, for constructing sewers, and for allocating certain portions of the area for houses of a certain kind, and so on; but what did the word "execute" mean? It would naturally fall within the province of the local authority to make the roads and provide the sewers, lighting, and so forth, in the exercise of their ordinary functions, but would the word include the building of houses? If so, it would be a very serious matter indeed, and he really did not understand what expenditure was intended to be imposed n the local authorities with regard to these town-planning schemes. There was nothing in the Bill, so far as he was aware, to limit the expenditure to the duties ordinarily performed by local authorities in the way of providing for roads, sewers, and lighting. Under the provisions of the Bill he thought they might build all the houses and impose a very large burden on the ratepayers. It would be a serious matter if the Local Government Board should be able to order a local authority to do work of that kind. He should not have the least objection, of course, to the Local Government Board having the right to order the local authority to make and publish the scheme to be carried out by the owners of property, as was, he thought, primarily intended in the Bill; but what he wished to ask the Government was what limits there were to the expenditure and for what purposes the expenditure might be made.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP thought their Lordships had somewhat discussed this question on previous Amendments, and he had already stated that the primary idea certainly was that the local authority in 330 these cases should confine themselves to the making of roads and sewers and to the planting of trees. He did not think anybody would object to that and to similar measures, while it should be left to other bodies to build the houses and carry out the somewhat expensive matters to which the noble Viscount had referred. But might he point out that they had come to a date somewhat late, so to speak, in the scheme. The scheme would have to be approved under the elaborate system inaugurated by noble Lords opposite, and only after the very elaborate regulations made by noble Lords had been observed. If after all this carefully-regulated procedure had been gone through the responsible authority failed to do their part, then the Board might order them to do it.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said he should not like to pledge himself as to whether they would be ordered to build houses or not. As he read the clause they would simply be obliged to execute that part of the scheme to which they had pledged themselves in the first place, and he thought noble Lords opposite had already satisfied themselves by the Amendments they had made that the scheme should not be too extravagant or impose a very heavy burden on the rates.
§ VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN said he really did not know, and he did not think the noble Earl's answer made it at all clear, whether it was the intention of the Local Government Board, if a local authority, after a scheme had been promulgated and confirmed, was quite prepared to make the roads, sewers, and so forth, but absolutely declined to build the houses, that the authority should be compelled to build the houses. He hoped some kind of answer would be given to that question.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I should have thought not, unless the scheme itself had contemplated the building of houses by the local authority. I should not have thought there was anything in this clause which would compel them. For instance, suppose some association had said they would build houses on twenty acres of the land and they go bankrupt, what the noble 331 Viscount wants to know is whether in a case of that kind the local authority would be obliged to step in and build the houses. I should certainly say not.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
But surely the Board may order the authority to do all things necessary to carry out the scheme. They can order the local authority just as well as anybody else.
§ VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN
Perhaps the noble Earl will be good enough to communicate with the Local Government Board before Report and, if necessary, insert some Amendment in the Bill to carry out the view he has stated. I should be quite satisfied with that.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON moved an Amendment exempting from the operation of the clause the London County Council and the council of any county borough. He said the Amendment was similar to that which their Lordship adopted with regard to Clause 10. He imagined that in any case no difficulty would have been made about the insertion of the clause as a modification of a town-planning scheme; but since the modification which Lord Cawdor carried earlier in the evening, he thought the position would be almost ridiculous if this Amendment were not made, because they might have Birmingham or Manchester undesirous of preparing a town-planning scheme. What he gathered from the Bill as it stood at present was that the Local Government Board could order them to prepare and adopt a scheme and force them to go to Parliament for a Provisional Order, and then the municipality would appear before Parliament to object to its own Provisional Order and show cause why the Provisional Order which it was compelled to adopt should not be made law. He thought it would be practically impossible. From another point of view, he submitted that where the power of the Local Government Board was required was not in forcing 332 a very big local authority to prepare a scheme which it did not desire to prepare; it was required to come in in the case of rapidly developing localities such as seaside places or where factories had been developing and to prevent the sort of confusion which arose in those places. It was difficult to believe that the Government could have intended to apply the Bill to the larger municipalities. Particularly was that the case with regard to London, where at this moment they were staggering under a loan of nearly five millions, which had to be taken up for the Kingsway and Holborn improvement. Now it appeared that the London County Council might be forced to go in for a large scheme and incur another heavy burden of expense in some other locality. That fact should induce their Lordships to accept the new subsection.
In page 30, line 20, after the word 'mandamus,' to insert the following new subsection:
'(4) For the purposes of this section the expression "local authority" shall not include the London County Council, or the council of any county borough,'"—(Viscount Midleton.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said that under the circumstances he did not resist the Amendment, but the responsibility for the alteration must remain with noble Lords opposite, who had done so much to change the scheme of town-planning as introduced by His Majesty's Government.
§ On, Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 61, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 62 to 66 agreed to.
§ Clause 67:
§ LORD PENTLAND moved the addition of a new subsection to this clause, which dealt with the application of Part II to Scotland. He said the Amendment was necessary as Section 1 of the Rules Publication Act, 1893, was declared not to, apply. Without the Amendment Clause 64 of the Bill would probably be held to be inapplicable.
In page 32, line 31, after the word 'Burghs,' to insert the following new subsection:
'(8) The provision respecting the Rules Publication Act, 1893, shall have effect as if section one of that Act applied to Scotland.'"—(Lord Pentland.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 67, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 68:
§ (2) The Local Government Board may by older prescribe the duties of medical officers of health appointed by a county council under section seventeen of the Local Government Act, 1888, whether before or after the passing of this Act.
§ (3) The power of county councils and district councils under the said section to make arrangements with respect to medical officers of health shall cease, without prejudice to any arrangement made previously to the date of the passing of this Act.
§ (4) The medical officer of health of a county shall, for the purposes of his duties, have the same powers of entry on premises as are conferred on a medical officer of health of a district by or under any enactment.
§ (5) A medical officer of health of a county shall be removable by the county council with the consent of the Local Government Board and not otherwise.
§ (6) A medical officer of health of a county shall not be appointed for a limited period only.
§ Provided that the county council may, with the sanction of the Local Government Board, make any temporary arrangement for the performance of all or any of the duties of the medical officer of health of the county, and any person appointed by virtue of any such arrangement to perform those duties or any of them shall, subject to the terms of his appointment, have all the powers, duties and liabilities of the medical officer of health of the county.
§ (7) A medical officer of health appointed under the said section as amended by this section shall not engage in private practice, and shall not hold any other public appointment without the express written consent of the Local Government Board."
§ LORD BELPER moved to leave out subsection (2). He was quite aware, he said, that this Amendment was not anything like so important as a great many of the Amendments which had occupied the time of their Lordships during a great part of the evening, but at the same time it was of considerable interest to those who had to perform the duty of administering local government. He hoped to be able to show conclusively that the proposal in the Bill was without precedent, that it was contrary to the whole principles of local government, that it was wholly unnecessary as far as the provisions of the Bill were concerned, and that if it were enforced it might interfere very largely with the county councils carrying out their duty in an efficient manner.334
§ With regard to the question of precedent he did not think there was any case of direct interference of this sort on the part of a Government Department. The only cases where there was interference at all related to matters in respect of which the Government contributed a very considerable part of the expense of local government. Let them take the case of education. The Board of Education insisted that the education in a district, being part of a national system, should be carried out on certain lines which were laid down in their Code, but, of course, there were contributions from the State to the cost which local authorities were under. Then there was the case of the police. The police were under a joint committee, but no doubt the Government had control, and to ensure efficiency they contributed half the expense. Therefore they had a perfect right to step in and say that the police should be managed in the way they thought best. But in regard to matters equally as important as that they were discussing in connection with medical officers of health, such, for instance, as the appointment of the clerk of a county council, or a county surveyor, or a director of education, not the slightest attempt was made to interfere with the prerogative of the local authority to manage their affairs in their own way. The local authority in such cases were free to give what ever directions they chose to their officers who were paid entirely by the authority.
§ It was proposed in the Bill, however, that the medical officer of health should be under the supervision of the Local Government Board to the extent that his duties were to be prescribed by that Department. That, he contended, was entirely contrary to the whole system of local government. If there were duties to be performed by a local authority under the Bill they should be laid down in the Bill, and then the local authority or the county council should be responsible for seeing that their officer carried out those duties in a proper manner. He knew of no case where the duties of an officer appointed by the county council were prescribed by any Department of the Government, and the proposal that the Local Government Board should have this power was, therefore, entirely new. As far as the objects of the Bill were concerned it appeared to be wholly unnecessary that the Local Government Board should have 335 that power. As a matter of fact the county council was not an initiative authority under the Bill. The council only stepped in for the purpose of supervising: to act as a sort of go-between in various matters between the Local Government Board and the minor authorities who were to carry out these schemes. As a matter of fact the work of the county council was to do their best to enforce the provisions of the Bill and to see that the minor authorities carried out their duties. The county councils were in that way in a position somewhat independent of the Local Government Board, and it was extremely undesirable that the officer whom they might have to consult with regard to the way they should use their discretion in enforcing some order on a defaulting authority should have his duties prescribed by a central authority in London who were unfamiliar with local conditions and circumstances. It was possible that in addition to having his duties prescribed for him, the officer might be subject to having suggestions made to him behind the back of the authority who had to pay him and ought to have control.
§ Serious inconvenience might be caused to a county council if there was any interference with their medical officer and their work might be greatly hampered. While he believed that the medical officer of health of a county was in a sufficiently independent position to be able to withstand any improper pressure, if his duties were to be prescribed by an order of the Local Government Board he might feel that he was more under the authority of that Department than of the county council who employed him. He had never wished to diminish in any way the proper control of the Local Government Board, but he submitted that when they saw a deliberate attempt on the part of that Department to go beyond their own sphere of duties and try to interfere with a county council carrying out their work in the most efficient way it was timely to protest. This attempt to exercise control over matters which a county council should themselves direct was no new matter. He did not wish to speak in any spirit of criticism, or to have any quarrel with the Local Government Board, but in regard to sanitary matters the scope of the county council's powers as the supervising authority of the county was constantly being disputed or inter- 336 fered with by the Local Government Board.
§ He thought the county councils were sufficiently responsible public bodies to be trusted to carry out their work in an efficient manner without constantly being interfered with. If every Government Department had treated county councils with the suspicion and the want of confidence which had been displayed during the last few years by the Local Government Board the results would have been very serious as regarded the efficiency of local government. He ventured to say that if the Board of Agriculture, the Board of Education, and the Board of Trade, with whom they had many dealings, had treated them in the same way as the Local Government Board it would have been almost impossible for the county councils to carry out their duties in as satisfactory a manner as they would wish to do. As this proposal was a distinct interference with the prerogative of the major local authority, as it was, in his belief, without precedent, and as it would do nothing but cause friction and unpleasantness between the county councils and the Local Government Board, he hoped the Government would agree to his proposal that the subsection should be omitted.
In page 32, lines 38 to 41, to leave out subsection (2)."—(Lord Belper.)
§ LORD CLIFFORD OF CHUDLEIGH wished to support the Amendment, if only on the broad ground that the proposal in the Bill was contrary to every principle of good government that he had ever heard of. Whatever advantage might lie in empowering the Local Government Board to compel the county councils to perform certain acts and duties, surely it was in the interests of good government that pressure and compulsion should be brought to bear by the Local Government Board upon the county councils direct and not, as was suggested in the Bill, upon one of the servants of those bodies. He could imagine no system of government which was likely to create more friction and to defeat its own object than one of that kind. He and other noble Lords on that side of the House thought the proposal in the Bill was to a certain extent an insult to the county councils, and they held that it was bad in itself. 337 Surely a body like a county council could be trusted. to carry out the behests of the Local Government Board without the Department taking power to give orders direct to the servants of the council.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP confessed at once that His Majesty's Government attached very real importance to this subsection. He could, however, assure noble Lords opposite that in putting down that proposal as part of the measure there was no intention by the Local Government Board to do anything which would interfere in any way with the dignity of the county councils. After all, the county boroughs throughout the country had their medical officers under the Local Government Board in the sense in which it was suggested that the medical officers of health of the counties should be under that Department. The duties of the medical officers of the biggest towns in the provinces, like Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester, were prescribed by the Local Government Board. Yet he did not think anybody would say that the dignity of the corporations of these cities was in any way hurt, or that the duties of their medical officers were any less efficiently performed because of that circumstance. The fact was that in this matter the noble Lords who had opposed the proposal in the Bill were inclined to consider only their own experience. There was no doubt, he was sure, about the efficiency of the medical officers of the counties to which the two noble Lords belonged, or of the efficiency with which they discharged their duties. But might he ask those noble Lords to consider the case of a county council which was not so advanced or so progressive, and whose medical officer of health did not have his duties so carefully prescribed for him as was the case in connection with the county councils with which they were especially acquainted.
§ There were up and down the country county councils which were not so good as others. All were not up to one standard, and those which lagged behind were probably the council which did not send representatives to the Association of County Councils of which Lord Belper was president. He could quite understand, therefore, that the noble Lord should not realise that there was a case which needed to be met. The Local Government Board prescribed the duties of medical officers of health of urban and rural district councils and also of metro- 338 politan borough councils, and it did not seem unreasonable that the duties of county medical officers of health should be similarly defined. He thought noble Lords would see that by the adoption of the provision in the Bill uniformity would be furthered and additional assistance would be afforded to the county councils in the way of getting information. The order of the Local Government Board would not only prescribe the duties of the medical officer of health, but would also instruct him to observe and to execute such directions of the county council as were applicable to his office. That order and those regulations would in no way prevent a county council making such further rules as they might think necessary.
§ From a Parliamentary Return issued some five years ago it appeared that there was a great diversity in the duties assigned to county medical officers of health. In some cases the officers were paid only low salaries and very little work was required to be performed by them. In other counties larger salaries and more extensive duties were the rule. The clause now under discussion would enable the Local Government Board to prescribe the same duties for all county medical officers of health and thus secure a uniformity which hitherto had been conspicuous by its absence. The clause did not apply to London, where the circumstances were exceptional. He ventured to submit to noble Lords opposite that there really was a case for giving the Local Government Board the authority provided for in the clause, and His Majesty's Government attached a very real importance to the retention of the particular subsection which noble Lords now sought to strike out.
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN desired to reinforce, as far as he could, the contention of his noble friends Lord Belper and Lord Clifford. There was a very strong feeling on the part of county councils in regard to the matter under discussion. They did not in the first place, like the idea of the Local Government Board interfering between themselves and their officers by directing the latter to perform certain duties. They disliked perhaps more than anything the wording of the clause which appeared to impose on the Local Government Board the duty of prescribing the duties of the medical officers of health to be appointed, let their Lordships observe, by the county councils. He wished to make a suggestion to the noble Earl opposite which might perhaps to some 339 extent serve to get rid of the difficulty. He could quite understand that the Local Government Board should desire to prescribe some kind of uniform action on the part of the medical officers of health in regard to matters contained in the Bill, but he did not see why they should go further than that.
§ His suggestion was that the clause might be altered to read, "The Local Government Board may by order prescribe the duties to be performed in matters affected by this Bill by medical officers of health appointed by the county councils." Of course he did not press for exactly that form of words, but something of the kind might be inserted, so that any order made by the Local Government Board should go to the county council rather than to the medical officer of health, and it would be perfectly clear that the county council would be absolutely free, as the noble Earl has admitted they must be, to impose any other duties which were right and proper on their medical officers. He hoped His Majesty's Government would endeavour to meet the very strong feeling on the county councils on this question.
§ VISCOUNT GALWAY pointed out that the Local Government Board might even go to the length of ordering a medical officer of health to report direct to them on a scheme. County councils felt very strongly that noble Lords on the Government side perhaps did not trust them as the local authorities did, and that returns might be made to the Local Government Board behind the backs of the county councils. The county councils, he felt sure, would not tolerate that, especially seeing that the returns would be made by officers whom they themselves employed. The fact that it was proposed that the county councils should not have power to discharge medical officers of health showed that the Local Government Board were making a direct attempt to usurp the authority of the councils over their own servants.
§ LORD BELPER said his excuse for again intervening in the discussion was that this was a point of some importance, and he had a complete answer to the argument of the noble Earl opposite that even the medical officers of health of large boroughs had their duties prescribed for them by the Local Government Board. A county council was the only authority in this country 340 which was not an initiative authority in regard to carrying out sanitary works or any matters provided for under this Bill. On the contrary, the county council was merely a supervising authority, and helped the Local Government Board to see that the minor authorities in the county performed their duty. Every large Corporation was the sanitary authority for its own district, whereas the county council was not the sanitary authority for its own county. Therefore the duties which were prescribed by the Local Government Board with the object of ensuring that sanitary matters were properly considered and the work was efficiently carried out by the officers of the different authorities did not apply to the county councils, whose powers, as he had said, were only those of supervision. That was a very important difference, and though it might be the case that the medical officers of health of other local authorities had their duties prescribed by the central authority it did not follow that the Local Government Board should necessarily interfere with the way in which a county council exercised their somewhat limited duties with regard to sanitary matters in the county.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I am very sorry that the county councils have regarded these proposals in the way that they have done. There could be no intention whatever of slighting them, but the object, as my noble friend has said, was to secure a minimum standard of efficiency among medical officers of health. Even the most devoted admirer of county councils would admit that the councils themselves are not all equally efficient and intelligent, and those whom they appoint also possess naturally varying degrees of efficiency. But I am conscious that noble Lords opposite, taking the view they do, and possessing the somewhat unreasonable jealousy of the Local Government Board which they have exhibited all through the discussions on this Bill, are not likely to be convinced by anything I can say on this subject. The noble Lord who has just sat down did not, I think, allude to the somewhat modified proposal made by the noble Viscount, Lord St. Aldwyn. I am afraid that it would narrow the operation of the clause to an undue extent if the prescription of the duties of the medical officers of health by the Local Government Board were only to operate in connection with this particular measure which we are engaged in passing in a some- 341 what altered form. I am afraid, therefore, that we are not able to give way on this point, and I do not know that it is any use to discuss the matter further.
§ THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES asked if the noble Viscount, Lord St. Aldwyn, wished to bring forward any further Amendment.
§ *VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN said that if the noble Earl had stated that His Majesty's Government were prepared to consider his suggestion he would have moved an Amendment; but it would be no use doing so now.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
LORD BELPER moved to omit subsection (5)—
(5) A medical officer of health of a county shall be removable by the county council with the consent of the Local Government Board and not otherwise.
He did not say that this subsection was as objectionable to the county councils as the one they had just been discussing, but he was surprised to hear the argument used by the noble Earl in charge of the Bill with regard to it, because so far as he knew that argument was wholly applicable to the medical officers of the authorities in the county who were themselves the sanitary authorities of their districts. He did not believe for a moment that it could be alleged either by the noble Earl or by the most rev. Primate, who, he thought, had also supported the proposal, that there had been any case, or suggestion of a case, in which improper pressure had been brought to bear by a county council on the medical officer of health for a county for the purpose of preventing him doing his duty.
§ While there had been officers of health, in a great many counties they had not up to this time been medical officers of health, and in those counties where they had been medical they were men of such high position, and integrity that it would be almost an insult to suppose that they would be influenced by any pressure that could be brought to bear by a member who had got on the council in order to protect the property of himself or his friends from interference. As far as he knew the work of county councils it was 342 quite out of the question that any proposal should be made to prevent the medical officer of health of a county doing his duty in the way he thought most efficient. He was cordially in favour of the proposal that there should be a medical officer of health of every county, because he knew from experience what a great advantage it was to have an efficient officer of that kind. Believing as he did that it would be impossible to bring improper pressure to bear on a county medical officer the provision rendering the consent of the Local Government Board necessary before he could be removed from his post appeared to him unnecessary, and as it was disliked by the county councils he hoped His Majesty's Government would be prepared to assent to its omission.
In page 33, lines 9 to 11, to leave out subsection (5)."—(Lord Belper.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said it was with a somewhat acute sense of the hopelessness of the position that he informed noble Lords opposite that His Majesty's Government attached great importance to this subsection also. However, he hoped that even now their Lordships would be inclined to allow this very modest measure of reform to pass. One of the main objects of the Government in this connection was to do their utmost to raise the status of medical officers of health throughout the country. Noble Lords would have seen an Amendment in the name of Lord Harrowby which would come on for discussion later in the evening, and which provided that a medical officer of health of a district who was not in private practice should not be appointed for a limited period only, and should not be removable except with the consent of the Local Government Board. That showed there was a very real desire on the part of people who were interested in this question on both sides, people who were genuine reformers and who were really anxious to proceed on the best lines, to put medical officers of health under the Local Government Board.
§ Let them consider the position of the medical officer of health of a minor authority who applied for and obtained a similar post under a county council. If their Lordships did not agree to the clause as it stood the officer would pass from the position 343 of security of tenure which he had enjoyed under the minor authority to the position of being dismissible at the pleasure of the county council. Yet he was sure that everybody was anxious that the county medical officer of health should be the best man who could be obtained to occupy the position. Was a medical officer, however, likely to be attracted by an offer to exchange one position for another under the conditions which would obtain if the subsection were struck out and he was dependent entirely on the will of the county council in the matter of dismissal? This and similar proposals brought forward with the view of raising the position of medical officers of health had been desired by social reformers for many years. Over twenty-five years ago a special point was made of this by more than one member of the Royal Commission on the Housing of the Working Classes. From that time until on the Second Reading of the present Bill the most rev. Primate referred to the question of the status of medical officers of health, this improvement had been asked for by almost everybody who had any knowledge of local government and was at the same time sincerely anxious for social reform.
§ He was sure that noble Lords opposite would heartily subscribe to that statement, and perhaps their opposition to the proposal might be qualified if he said that the reform had been asked for by members on both sides of both Houses during all the time he had mentioned. In this matter the Government were asked to have an almost super-sensitive regard for the dignity of the county councils, and in view of the fact that, as he stated in the discussion on the last Amendment, medical officers of health were subject to the Local Government Board everywhere except in the counties he did not think they could be said to be going very far. In any case he would venture to make an appeal to their Lordships to allow the subsection to remain.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND asked if they were to understand the noble Earl to say that the demand came from both parties in Parliament that medical officers of health of county councils should be under the Local Government Board. If so the noble Earl all the time was confusing district councils with county councils. The noble Earl had quoted the Royal Commission of 1884. Was he not aware 344 that there were no county councils in 1884, and therefore no county medical officers of health?
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP observed that he was referring, when he quoted the Royal Commission, to the general status of medical officers, and his remarks in that respect had not special reference to the county councils.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND, continuing, said that was where the noble Earl showed that he did not understand the question. The status of a medical officer in an urban or a rural district was very different from his status in a county. Everybody knew that. He could not understand how anybody who had served on a county council could imagine for one moment that a medical officer of health was likely to be brow-beaten by any member, and he differed entirely from the noble Earl in his suggestion that a medical officer would prefer to be under the Local Government Board rather than the county council. He thought that very likely the medical officer of a district council might prefer to be, but he doubted such a proposition exceedingly in the case of a county medical officer, who occupied a position very different from that of the officers of minor authorities. The particular proposal in the Bill which they were now discussing was an example of what they saw all through the Bill of the overweening self-confidence and self-approval of the Local Government Board, which thought it could do no wrong. Everybody, it appeared, was to be so thankful for the existence of that Department and was to welcome the chance of being under its authority. He doubted whether it would be such a blessing as noble Lords opposite supposed, and with all due respect to the Local Government Board he thought if that was the opinion held by the Department its officials were living, in a fool's paradise. Nobody was much enamoured of any Government Office and least of all of the Local Government Board. It was quite a mistake to believe that all these county officers were burning to be under the Local Government Board rather than under the county council. He regarded the Amendment as extremely important, and he felt for his part that it would deteriorate the character of the medical officers of health if they were compelled to serve under two masters while performing their 345 duties in respect of the matters for which provision was made in the Bill. He thought this matter of far more importance than the other question they had discussed as to whether the Local Government Board should send down orders or not, because that was merely the desire of a Government Office to have a lot of red-tape rules, whereas the proposal now under consideration would be fatal to the sanitary work of the county council.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
It seems to me our great object should be to do nothing which might belittle the authority and position of these great municipal authorities. Until lately it has always been our object to strengthen the position of the county councils, and I confess I regret to see a tendency in the opposite direction now. Surely it is important that the relations of the medical officer of health with his county council should be of the most cordial and intimate character. Is not this proposal, on the contrary, likely to lead to strained relations between the medical officer and his council if the council are aware that he owes allegiance not to them but to a public Department in London? Take a case, for example, where a county council and a medical officer of health have had a difference of opinion. The county council might desire to get rid of the officer and the Local Government Board might thereupon intervene and require the council to retain his services. Would the position of the medical officer of health and the county council after an episode of that kind be a very pleasant one or one very advantageous to the public service? I doubt it extremely. I must vote for my noble friend's Amendment on the ground that I desire to do nothing which might impair the authority of the county council in a matter of this sort.
§ THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY was not afraid of the Local Government Board creating friction between a county council and its medical officer of health. He thought that by the first subsection they were going to impose extra duties on the medical officer of health. His experience was that the duties of a medical officer of a county council were very limited, if he carried out exactly the letter of the law. He had practically nothing but a supervisory power, and the amount of supervision he could exercise was very slight. 346 Under the Bill he would have very little independence and, would never be in a position to defy the wishes of his county council as some noble Lords appeared to think. He would like to see larger duties given to the medical officer of health of a county, and he would be glad to have them defined in the present Bill, if it could be done. As regarded the health of the community a great deal depended on water supply, the prevention of overcrowding, and other sanitary matters, in respect of which, especially when dealing with town-planning schemes, they could not look too far ahead. Bearing that in mind he could not help feeling that the medical officer of health should be regarded as one of the most important of the officers whose advisory services were possessed by a county council. The water supply in the county from which he came was a very serious and difficult question requiring very careful consideration. He wanted to see some of the powers of the county medical officer of health defined. He was not sure that it Was a good thing to make the medical officer of health of a county undertake inspection of school children under the Education Act. He might supervise it, but he should not be called upon to devote part of his time to the actual performance of a duty of that kind. The county medical officer should be given a great deal of power, and in order that local government might be rendered truly efficient he should have the rural district council officers working under him. Those being his views he thought it was ridiculous to keep the clause in the Bill at all since, by the action of noble Lords opposite, the opportunity of giving extra powers and duties to medical officers of health had been taken away. He could not help regretting the step which had been taken, and he thought it was one that was not in the interests of efficiency in the administration of county affairs.
§ VISCOUNT GALWAY thought that if increased powers were to be given they should be entrusted to the county councils themselves, and the councils would instruct their medical officers of health accordingly. The medical officers should be the servants of the county councils and not of the Local Government Board, who could not possibly be expected to know all the details of the administration of local government in a particular county.347
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
It is with a conviction of the futility and uselessness of doing it that I rise to say one word on this point. In the first place, I may point out that so far as I know county councils in Scotland have as good a conceit of themselves, and with as good reason, as those in England and Wales. I say that because in the Scottish Act there has been for a long time the provision we are introducing for the first time here—that every county council should have to appoint a medical officer of health. Then the Act says—Every medical officer and every sanitary inspector appointed under this Act or under the Public Health Act shall removable from office only with the sanction of the Board of Supervision.Therefore it is, I think, reasonable to point out that county councils here need not regard this as at all an insult. They may say it is unnecessary, but when their companions over the Border have been subject to it for many years I think they need not complain so loudly. My noble friend the Secretary for Scotland tells me that at no time since the provision has existed in Scotland has it given rise to the slightest friction.
There is only one other point I should like to refer to. The noble Duke spoke of divided authority. I confess I cannot see that to give a man an appeal to a Public Department against dismissal, as this clause does, has anything to do with setting up a separate authority. When the noble Duke says that a man would rather be without this appeal I must say I beg leave to doubt whether that can possibly be so. Take the case, for instance, of a teacher liable to summary dismissal. If I were to be told that he would be openly grieved if given the right of appeal to the Board of Education against casual dismissal, again I should beg leave to doubt that it would be so. I do not think this matter has been considered on its merits; it has been a question of amour propre, and although I am all for home rule I must say that it can be carried in some circumstances too far. The doctrine held by noble Lords opposite, that under all circumstances home government is better than good government, I can conceive may be open under some conditions to slight criticism.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
LORD MONK BRETTON moved to leave out "private" and to insert "general medical." He said the Amendment, which was the first of a series standing on the Paper in his name, would alter subsection (7) so that it would run thus—
A medical officer of health appointed under the said section as amended by this section shall not engage in general practice.
The noble Earl opposite had said that he wanted to raise the status of medical officers of health in the case of certain counties. That being the case, he hoped the Government would be prepared to give way on this point. He was not asking that medical officers of health should be allowed to engage in the work of a medical practitioner and carry out all the duties of a private practice. What he did ask was that they should not be excluded from holding lectureships in hospitals, or be prevented from examining in Universities. The Local Government Board themselves allowed their own officers to undertake work of that kind, and he saw no reason why medical officers of health should be debarred from doing so. The noble Earl would appreciate the point when he said that in a county of average size the salary of the medical officer of health was about £500 a year, whereas if he were allowed to engage in this research work he might perform all the duties required by his county council, perhaps having a permanent man under him to do the hack work, and have an income of £1,500. It was obvious that the work of the county would be better done by a man who had a salary of £1,500 a year and possessed a higher status than it would be by an ordinary local practitioner who would otherwise take his place.
§ The noble Earl would tell him it was a matter for the Local Government Board to decide, and that the Department would give leave in cases where they thought it desirable to do so. But in this matter the officials of the Local Government Board would be interested parties. The "plums" in connection with hospitals, to which he had referred, were very much coveted, and were desired as much by the doctors of the Local Government Board as by the doctors in the service of local authorities. He did not wish to cast any aspersion on 349 the fairness of the doctors of the Local Government Board, but "Cæsar's wife should be above suspicion," and it was best not to put temptation in the way of people. His chief point was that the county medical officers would be drawn from a better class and would be men more capable of discharging their duties if they were able to command the higher rate of salary of which he had spoken.
In page 33, line 23, to leave out the word 'private,' and to insert the words 'general medical.'"—(Lord Monk Bretton.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said His Majesty's Government were not in a position to accept the Amendment, but as it made no difference what was said from that side he would not detain their Lordships by giving any reasons for that decision.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY regretted that the noble Earl should have made that observation, because it would look as if noble Lords on the Opposition side had been wanting in courtesy to him, which was the very last thing they desired. They were very grateful for what the noble Earl had done all through their discussions on the Bill, and this was an Amendment in regard to which they could by no means dispense with the advice and guidance of His Majesty's Government.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said their Lordships had not acceded to the wishes of His Majesty's Government when reasons had been given for not accepting other Amendments dealing with medical officers of health, and therefore it did not seem to him to be very much use to waste their Lordships' time at that late hour of the night. He was quite willing, however, if their Lordships wished it, to deal further with the Amendment. The proposal of the noble Lord was to allow a medical officer of health to engage in a consulting practice. The objection to that was that it might be an exclusive practice and occupy a good deal of his time, thus taking him away from the general work of the county. The noble Lord had a second Amendment on the Paper to the effect that the medical officer of health should not hold any other public appointment. With regard to that he might point out that the object of the provision in the Bill was to make it a rule that the medical officer of health for the 350 county who should be appointed in the future should devote the whole of his time to the duties, but the Local Government Board were given power to allow him to hold other public appointments in special cases. The effect of giving those special powers would be to allow the medical officer of health, with the consent of the Local Government Board, to be appointed for more than one county where a county was small in area and the work was insufficient to occupy the whole of his time.
§ LORD MONK BRETTON asked whether appointments to lectureships in hospitals and as examiners in Universities would be included in the permission.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP thought it would be. The Local Government Board would also allow a medical officer of health to undertake bacteriological work for public purposes.
§ LORD MONK BRETTON said he had a third Amendment to ensure that the provisions of the subsection should operate without prejudice to any arrangement made previously to the date of the passing of the present measure in the case of a medical officer already appointed under Section 17 of the Local Government Act, 1888.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I can assure the noble Lord that the Bill only applies to medical officers of health appointed after these provisions come into operation. It does not apply to those appointed under earlier Acts.
§ VISCOUNT ST. ALDWYN said he was vary glad the noble Earl, Lord Beauchamp, made the statement he had done, because it had quite convinced him that the Amendment was wrong.
§ LORD MONK BRETTON did not quite understand the point the noble Earl, Lord Crewe, had made with reference to future appointments.
§ The EARL OF CREWE
The subsection in question only applies to appointments made after this Bill has passed. It does not apply for this purpose to appointments made before.
LORD MONK BRETTON observed that the appointments of medical officers of health were all to be made under Section 17
of the Local Government Act, 1888. Apart from whole-time medical officers appointed under that section, a medical officer might be appointed for a county and a district combined. Was that case met under subsection (3) of Clause 68 in the present Bill, which provided that—
The power of county councils and district councils under the said section to make arrangements with respect to medical officers of health shall cease, without prejudice to any arrangement made previously to the date of the passing of this Act.
Another case he wished to mention was that of a medical officer of health who might engage in private practice with the written consent of the county council. It was the case of that gentleman he wished to meet and which he respectfully submitted had not been met in the drafting of the clause. Would the noble Earl give him an assurance that the case of that man would be met when they reached the Report stage.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said it certainly was the understanding both of the noble Earl the Leader of the House and himself that that case would be met. Subsection (7) only applied to appointments made under Section 17 of the Local Government Act as amended by this section, and could only relate to appointments made after the present Bill was passed.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 68, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 69 to 74 agreed to.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP moved to insert a new clause after Clause 74, and said he thought their Lordships would see on the face of it the object of the clause.
After Clause 74, to insert the following new clause:
'Nothing in this Act shall affect prejudicially any estate, right, power, privilege, or exemption of the Crown except to such extent as His Majesty, or the Department of His Majesty's Government concerned, may voluntarily agree.'"—(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ The MARQUESS OF SALISBURY considered that it was a very astonishing clause. At that time of the night they could not delay very long over it, but he did not see why if there was to be a town-planning 352 scheme the Crown estates should be exempted from the provisions imposed on every other landowner in the country. It would be only graceful in a Government which proposed very drastic legislation of this character not to come forward and try to exempt Crown lands. He should have thought the clause was unnecessary, because it was a very well known rule of common land that no legislation was effective against the Crown unless the Crown was specially mentioned.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said he would be glad to explain the reasons why it had been thought necessary to move this Amendment. Various Government Departments had felt that the powers given to the Local Government Board and the local authorities under the Bill might be exercised to the detriment of the property of the Crown committed to their charge. The Woods and Works Offices were continually dealing with land all over the country while the Admiralty also held large estates. If the Housing and Town-Planning Bill had applied only to England it might have been possible to rely on the implied exemption of the Crown which generally existed in connection with all Acts of Parliament. But the Bill applied also to Scotland, where the position of the Crown was more doubtful in matters respecting land. That was to say, in Scotland a Government Department might be held to be subject to the provisions of any Act of Parliament exactly as any private owner in Scotland was subject to them. Therefore, it was thought necessary to put in a special clause exempting the Crown.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON asked if it were intended to apply this to the Crown estates in London. They knew it was lawful for the Crown estates to be administered on different principles from the estates of private individuals, but surely it was not intended to exempt all Crown property in London front improvements.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY said that if there were bad cottages in the New Forest there would be no means of remedying them under this Bill, and the labourers would have to go on living in the wretched houses because it was Crown property.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
§ Remaining Clauses agreed to.353
§ First Schedule:
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN moved to leave out paragraph (2)—
(2) An order under this schedule shall be of no force unless and until it is confirmed by the Board, and the Board may confirm the order either without modification or subject to such modifications as they think fit, and an order when so confirmed shall become final and have effect as if enacted in this Act; and the confirmation by the Board shall be conclusive evidence that the requirements of this Act have been complied with, and that the order has been duly made and is within the powers of this Act.
He said the omission of this paragraph was consequential on an Amendment already accepted by the Committee.
In page 37, lines 11 to 18, to leave out paragraph (2)."—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN moved to amend paragraph (4), which ran—
(4) The order shall be in the prescribed form, and shall contain such provisions as the Board may prescribe for the purpose of carrying the order into effect, and of protecting the local authority and the persons interested in the land, and shall incorporate, subject to the necessary adaptations, the Lands Clauses Acts (except section one hundred and twenty-seven of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845) and sections seventy-seven to eighty-five of the Railways Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, but subject to this modification, that any question of disputed compensation shall be determined by a single arbitrator appointed by the Board, who shall be deemed to be an arbitrator within the meaning of the Lands Clauses Acts, and the provisions of those Acts with respect to arbitration shall, subject to the provisions of this schedule, apply accordingly,
so as to give the parties the opportunity of appointing the arbitrator. He said that when an arbitrator could be appointed by agreement it was very much better than by any other way, and it was for that purpose that he made this proposal. If the parties could not agree, then the Local Government would appoint an arbitrator.
In page 37, line 31, after 'appointed,' to insert 'by the parties or in default of agreement.'"—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said he must point out that that would involve some of the delay which was so dear to the heart of the 354 noble Duke, and in which he was supported, he believed, by the noble Viscount on the Front Bench opposite. His Majesty's Government would not accept any responsibility for the Amendment, although they would not divide the Committee.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN moved an addition to the end of paragraph (4), the object being to meet the case in which the Local Government Board was really one of the parties.
In page 37, line 34, after the word 'accordingly' to insert the words 'provided that where the Board has declared a local authority to be in default, and in pursuance thereof an order has been made and confirmed authorising the compulsory acquisition of land, the arbitrator shall be appointed by the Lord Chief Justice of England instead of by the Board.'"—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said there was an essential difference between the two cases. It was quite true that the procedure recommended by the noble Earl in this case was the same as under the Small Holdings Act, but in that case the Small Holdings Committee were a party to the question and in this case the Local Government Board was not.
§ The EARL OF CAMPERDOWN said he did not wish to argue that question over again. He thought they argued it the other night.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN moved to leave out the following paragraphs—
(6) If within the prescribed period no objection to the order has been presented to the Board by a person interested in the land, or if every such objection has been withdrawn, the Board shall, without further inquiry, confirm the order, but if such an objection has been presented and has not been withdrawn the Board shall forthwith cause a public inquiry to be held in the locality in which the land is proposed to be acquired, and the local authority and all persons interested in the land and such other persons as the person holding the inquiry in his discretion thinks fit to allow shall be permitted to appear and be heard at the inquiry.
(7) Before confirming the order the Board shall consider the report of the person who held the inquiry, and all objections made thereat.
He said he had also given notice to move the omission of paragraph (8), but he would postpone that until Report.
To leave out paragraphs (6) and (7)."—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
VISCOUNT MIDLETON moved to delete from paragraph 8, which ran—
(8) The arbitrator shall, so far as practicable, in assessing compensation act on his own knowledge and experience, but, subject as aforesaid, at any inquiry or arbitration held under this schedule the person holding the inquiry or arbitration shall hear by themselves or their agents, any authorities or parties authorised to appear, and shall hear witnesses, but shall not, except in such cases as the Board otherwise direct, hear counsel or expert witnesses,
the words which provided that counsel or expert witnesses should not be heard except in such cases as the Board otherwise directed. He said that the only difficulty about this Amendment was that in cases where large compensation was involved it would be very hard, especially in large towns, not to allow the local authority to call expert witnesses if they desired to do so. In the case of the London County Council the expenditure might run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
In page 38, line 13, to leave out from the word witnesses' to the end of the paragraph."—(Viscount Midleton.)
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN appealed to the noble Viscount to withdraw his Amendment until the paragraph was considered. Lord Alverstone, he knew, held strong views on this question of counsel and expert witnesses, and as the question must be reconsidered on Report perhaps the noble Viscount would kindly postpone his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN moved to leave out paragraph 10—
(10) The remuneration of an arbitrator appointed under this schedule shall be fixed by the Board.
He said that if the arbitrator was appointed by the parties they would settle what was
to be the remuneration, or they ought to do so; otherwise it would be in the power of the Board to give such low remuneration that no one would care to accept it. If the arbitrator was appointed by the Board this paragraph was unnecessary because they naturally would fix his remuneration.
To leave out paragraph (10)."—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP thought that the noble Earl would, see that some reasonable remuneration must be settled, for otherwise the arbitrator must fix his own, and noble Lords would probably admit that that would lead to unnecessary expense.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN said he would withdraw the Amendment at this stage.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
In page 39, after line 8, to insert:
'(b) For the reference to the Lord Chief Justice there shall be substituted a reference to the Lord President of the Court of Session.'"—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ First Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
§ Second and Third Schedules agreed to.
§ Fourth Schedule:
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON moved an Amendment to limit the buildings, structures, and. erections to be dealt with by general provisions prescribed by the Local Government Board to matters affecting their safety and public convenience. This was, he said, a most extraordinary Schedule and he did not quite know how it stood after the changes in the Bill; but a Schedule which enabled a Public Department not merely to settle the buildings, structures, and erections, but all public and private open spaces, certainly seemed very wide indeed. With regard to buildings, structures, and erections, he certainly thought they ought to be limited to the public convenience and safety. He believed the question was raised in another place, and it was asked specifically whether the Local Government Board considered 357 themselves to be the arbitrators of taste as to all the buildings, and the President of the Local Government Board unhesitatingly said that he regarded that as one of the essential features of the scheme. If all buildings were to be put up according to the plans, not of the local authority, but of the Local Government Board, it seemed to be an extreme evasion of local government power. There was a case in which a Public Department had put such an enormous charge upon a private set of owners with regard to property in Piccadilly that he thought it was worth considering whether it was really fair to allow a Public Department such wide powers as were involved in this Schedule. He thought that probably the rest of the Schedule would have to be considered on Report, but he would ask the noble Earl whether he saw any objection to limiting this paragraph to the public safety and convenience in respect to buildings; otherwise the whole of the plans and the architectural features would be placed under the heel of the Local Government Board.
In page 40, line 29, after the word 'erections,' to insert the words 'in regard to their safety and public convenience.'"—(Viscount Midleton.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP thought the noble Viscount would admit on consideration that if the terms of the Schedule were too wide the terms of his Amendment were too limited, because they would prevent the Local Government Board from considering such questions as ventilation, elevation, and air-spaces round buildings and other questions which he thought the noble Viscount would admit should be considered by the Local Government Board. What course the noble Viscount would think best to take he did not know, but it was obvious that something at any rate between the two would be necessary.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON said he thought something would have to be done, and he would bring up the question on Report.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
To leave out paragraph (15)."—(Lord Clifford of Chudleigh.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.358
THE EARL of CAMPERDOWN moved to insert a new paragraph—
20. Power to the responsible authority to recover from owners the whole or some part of the expenditure incurred by such authority in the acquisition of land and the construction of roads, and sewers in the execution of a scheme.
This Amendment, he said, had a certain importance. Their Lordships would remember an instance given that night by the Marquess of Salisbury of a property which was on the coast and to which there was no access. In that case, and in a great many other cases, such things as roads could only be made by the local authority who had compulsory power to take land. Supposing the local authority made through roads then as the Bill stood at present they would have no power to recover any portion of the cost. He had no wish to place any larger powers in their hands, but he did not see how the Act could be carried out unless the local authority were given power to recover the expenditure in some way or other.
In page 41, line 23, after 'land' to insert:
'20. Power to the responsible authority to recover from owners the whole or some part of the expenditure incurred by such authority in the acquisition of land and the construction of roads, and sewers in the execution of a scheme.'"—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said he understood that this was an Amendment which had been urged from Scotland, but for which there had been no demand in any other part of the country. He thought it was unnecessary to specify these matters as they were probably included in some other provision under the schedule, and therefore were not required to be put in here.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN invited the noble Earl to point out the parts of the Schedule in which they were included, for he had not been able to find them.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF WAKEFIELD asked if they were not included in paragraph 13 which ran—
Power of the responsible authority to make agreements with owners, and of owners to make agreements with one another.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
But that is not power to the responsible authority to get money from the owners.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP thought it was clear that the scheme in the ordinary course would provide for the recovery from owners. That, taken together with other matters in the schedule, ought to cover the point.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Fourth Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
§ Fifth Schedule:
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY moved an Amendment to secure, in the procedure for the purpose of an application for authority to prepare or adopt a scheme, provision for the service of notice on persons affected and upon local authorities in whose area the scheme would have effect. The Schedule, he said, provided for advertisement of the application and so on, but it left out of mention all those who were likely to be affected, and this, it seemed to him, was most important to be put in the Schedule.
In page 41, line 28, after 'publication' to insert and service.'"—(The Earl of Malmesbury.)
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
did not think the Amendment could stand in the form in which it was moved by the noble Earl, because it would be apparently necessary to serve a notice on various public bodies, and it was obvious that that would be 360 a difficult step to take. When all was said and done, he did not think there was any doubt that everybody interested would be made acquainted with the fact that there was a scheme, not only because of the advertisement and publication of notice, but also because the co-operation of these individuals was hoped for.
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY asked whether the noble Earl could not come to some compromise whereby owners of property should have more reasonable notice than that which the Schedule provided.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP said that if the noble Earl would consult with him privately they might consider whether something could not be done on Report, if the noble Earl still considered the case was not met.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Verbal Amendments agreed to.
§ Fifth Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
§ Sixth Schedule:
§ Drafting Amendments agreed to.
§ Sixth Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
§ Standing Committee negatived: The Report of Amendments to be received on Monday the 4th of October next, and Bill to be printed as amended. (N° 182.)
§ House adjourned at half-past Twelve o'clock a.m., to Monday next, a quarter past Four o'clock.