§ 2.40 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, in moving that this Bill be now read a third time, I should like, very 443 briefly, to answer a point made yesterday by the noble Lord, Lord Champion; and although he is not in his place this afternoon I hope he will read in the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow what I say, and perhaps be satisfied with the position.
The noble Lord asked whether a man who earned his money by piecework rates would be covered by the provision to allow loss of earnings to be taken into account and repaid to members of a local authority as expenses in attending a conference. There is no definition, either in this Bill or in any of the other relevant Acts of Parliament, of what is meant by "loss of earnings" in this context. But of course there have been many occasions under the existing law where this problem has arisen, and a member who does earn his wage in this way has always been able to present the loss of earnings he has suffered to his local authority treasurer and, subject to that treasurer being satisfied that this is a proper claim in respect of loss of earnings, and also subject to the audit provisions, which always apply, there has never proved to be any difficulty about it at all. Consequently, I think it would be unnecessary and perhaps would be a pity, to put in this Bill a definition which does not exist in other Acts of Parliament of a similar character. And since there has never been any difficulty about this, I hope your Lordships will feel it is all right to leave this Bill without definition. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, my noble friend Lord Champion asked me to say that he regretted he had to leave the House to catch his train, and on his behalf I thank the noble Viscount for his explanation.
§ On Question, Bill read 3a, with the Amendments.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
My Lords, in moving that this Bill do now pass there is one other thing that I might perhaps usefully say on it, and it arises out of a conversation that I had with the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, outside the Chamber. He asked whether it was a good thing to encourage the members and officers of local authorities to go to these conferences; that is to say, to encourage them by having their expenses and, in the case of numbers, 444 loss of earnings, paid for. He thought perhaps this was becoming too prevalent in local government in this country, and suggested that he would like to say something on it—though he is not, I see, in his place.
I have thought about this point in the intervening period, and it seems to me there are now so many technical matters with which local authorities deal, and which are of great importance to the citizens they govern, that it is entirely suitable that members and officers should go to technical conferences, and to all conferences which provide agendas to help them, in order that they can be proficient in their work, up to date in current ideas, and also to exchange views with officers and members of other local authorities so that there is some sort of uniformity throughout the whole Kingdom. Consequently, I think that your Lordships will perhaps agree that this is not an unfortunate extension in this Bill, and will not object to it. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)
§ On Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.