§ LORD OLIVIER
My Lords, may I ask the noble Marquess the Leader of the House if he is able to give us any information as to the probable or possible course of public business?
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
My Lords, I will fulfil the promise that I made to the noble Lord's colleague (Lord Parmoor) yesterday. To-morrow, as your Lordships are aware, there is a Motion of my noble friend Lord Templetown and there is a debate raised by the Front Opposition Bench upon the safeguarding of industries. I hope that the Rating 1107 and Valuation (Apportionment) Bill will be in your Lordships' House to-night, and will be read a first time to-morrow. Then we come to Thursday. On Thursday there is the Shops (Hours of Closing) Bill in Committee and the Commons Amendments to the Administration of Justice Bill. I am afraid there will have to be a formal sitting on Friday in order to read a first time the Racecourse Betting Bill.
Coming to next week, on Monday the Education (Scotland) Bill, which is not a Government Bill but is non-controversial, stands for Second Reading. There are also the Easter Bill in Committee, the Reorganisation of Offices (Scotland) Bill in Committee and a Bill, in charge I believe of my noble friend Lord Wraxall, the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Bill, for Second Reading. On Tuesday I propose, with your Lordships' consent, to take the Second Reading of the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Bill, and after that the Committee stage of the Agricultural Credits Bill, to which we have just given a Second Reading. As a matter of form I may put it down for Monday provisionally, because we cannot put it down in its proper place on Tuesday until the Rating Bill has been received in this House. Your Lordships are aware of the difficulty and some device of that kind will have to be adopted, but in point of fact we do not propose to take the Committee stage of the Agricultural Credits Bill till after the Second Reading of the Rating Bill on Tuesday. On Wednesday there will be the Second Reading of the Racecourse Detting Bill and on Thursday there is a Motion in the name of Lord Arnold relative to the Report of the Savidge Tribunal. I am not quite certain, from something which has reached me since I came down to the House, whether that debate will be effectively taken that day, but it is on the Paper for that day. I also hope to take the First Reading of the Companies Bill, which will have reached us by then from the House of Commons.
I do not know whether the noble Lord opposite wishes me to carry the forecast any further, but I may just mention that I believe the House will probably be willing to take the Second Reading 1108 of the Companies Bill on the following Monday. That is rather a short interval between its First and Second Reading, but I am informed by my colleagues in another place that, although there are certain Amendments to time Companies Bill as it passed your Lordships' House last year, yet they are very trivial changes. There may be a good many of them but they do not amount to much. Practically the Bill is the same Bill as has already passed through your Lordships' House more than once. I think it has been passed through the House in every case and I think we may be forgiven if we do not allow a longer interval between First Reading on Thursday, July 26, and Second Reading on the following Monday. If objection were taken to that arrangement I would try to make some other arrangement to suit your Lordships' convenience. I think I have carried the matter as far as I can.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Marquess for his statement. I see no objection to taking the Companies Bill as he suggests. It has been before your Lordships' House certainly on one occasion and passed through every stage, and I do not think there would be any desire on the part of any member of your Lordships' House to postpone the Second Reading. May I ask the noble Marquess whether he can give us any idea what day the Finance Bill is likely to come here. Your Lordships' House naturally passes that within a day or two, but it is not unusual to have speeches on the general financial position of this country when the Finance Bill comes to us.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I am informed that the House of Commons may possibly finish the Finance Bill at the end of next week, in which case it will not be till the week following that we could have a debate on the Second Reading to which the noble Earl refers. If he will be good enough to let me have a little more time I will try to find out definitely when the Bill will reach your Lordships' House.
§ House adjourned at five minutes before seven o'clock.