§ 6.40 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ VISCOUNT SWINTON
My Lords, before the Motion is put, may I ask the Lord Chancellor a question? I understand that he has an Amendment which he is to propose to the House and which I am sure will be accepted. There are a number of Amendments on the Marshalled List and some involve very important points. If these Amendments could be put off until the Report stage, it would give us more time, on all sides of the House, to consider them, and perhaps even the length of argument might be reduced, not only because on the Report stage we are limited to one speech but also because it would give us more time to formulate our views. If that course is a convenient one, then, on behalf of my noble friends I may say that we will not move any of our Amendments in Committee but will put them down on the Report stage.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, that is perfectly convenient to us if it is convenient to other noble Lords. The hour is rather late to start a considerable discussion on this Bill, and we can get out of our difficulty if I move an Amendment which I will indicate to your Lordships presently. In that way we shall have a Report stage and we can then discuss all these matters. I shall have other Amendments to move on the Report stage and although, of course, we are all limited to one speech—not like the free and easy affair of a Committee stage—even that rule, I regret to say, is sometimes "more honour'd in the breach than the observance."
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The EARL OF DROGHEDA in the Chair]
§ Clause 1 [Establishment and jurisdiction of Lands Tribunal]:
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved in subsection (7), to leave out "public or local" and insert "local or public." The noble and learned Viscount said: 1163 Your Lordships will see the words "public or local," and I call attention to the order of those words. I am moving to leave out "public or local," and insert "local or public." I am bound to say that this drafting is not strictly necessary, but I can claim it to be an improvement, because "local or public" is the order used in the Acquisition of Land Act, 1919, and to that Act the present subsection refers. Therefore, if it speaks of "local or public," who am I to say "public or local"? I am sure that the Amendment will commend itself to all your Lordships as being a really useful one. I move this Amendment for this reason.
§ When the Bill was before another place, Mr. Selwyn Lloyd—the Conservative Member for one of the divisions for Cheshire—moved an Amendment to confer upon this Tribunal all the rating powers which have been given to the county court under the Local Government Act, in that in the course of the next year the county court will assume powers with regard to rating. Mr. Lloyd thought that it was probably a good idea that this Tribunal, which will be composed of some lawyers and some surveyors—and we will try to get lawyers rather skilled in that particular type of work—should take over this work from the county courts. I have considered that with my colleagues, and we have come to the conclusion that it is rather a good idea. At the time, the Attorney-General said that he was not prepared to accept it then and there, but he would look into it and see whether he could do it or not. We have looked into it and think it a good idea and, therefore, as at present advised, I shall put down some Amendment on the Report stage to bring that result about. I mention it to your Lordships at this early stage because it is well to know what is in our minds in order that you, too, should consider it and see whether you think the idea is, or is not, a sensible one. This little Amendment is desirable also because it enables us to have a discussion on the important Amendment, and to get the assurances which the noble Lord, Lord Clydesmuir, wants with regard to his two Scottish points. I beg to move.
Page 3, line 9, leave out ("public or local") and insert ("local or public.")—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ VISCOUNT SWINTON
I have not much to say about the admirable Amendment which the Lord Chancellor has moved. I wish that all the Government proposals were equally sound. I am much obliged to him for having indicated to the House the line the Government propose to take. That will give us the opportunity of considering this matter during the Recess and coming fully informed to our discussions.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.
§ Remaining clauses agreed to.
§ Schedules agreed to.
§ House resumed.