Clause 39. — (First general review by county councils.)

– in the House of Commons on 19th December 1928.

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Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

I beg to move, in page 34, line 23, to leave out the words "council of every county," and to insert instead thereof the word "Minister."

I hope the Minister will concede the object I have in view in moving this Amendment. Anyone with any knowledge of local government must, be compelled to admit that serious and drastic regulations for the alterations of local governing boundaries are long overdue. Some of our local boundaries are not only grotesque but subversive of civic interest and civic pride. It is quite true that a revision has taken place from time to time, but progress in this direction has been very slow. I think the great obstacles to getting a sound and sensible revision of any local boundary are the acute vested interests. When any proposal is put forward to get. a safe and sane local government unit, many of the best schemes are destroyed without receiving an impartial hearing. The object of my proposal it to take the poser from the county councils, and I am asking the Minister to consent to the appointment of a special commission of competent men and women who would bring an unbiased mind to deal with this problem. They would hear evidence, consider all the local, geographical and other factors, and then present their report to the Minister.

I think that, even from the point of view of the Ministry itself, the acceptance of this Amendment would be a good thing. I am convinced that the Minister's hands would be immeasurably strengthened if he received a report from a body of impartial persons, because such a report would be of more value than a, report from a county council which itself is often an interested party. I hope I shall not be accused of exaggerating when I say that I think there will be strained relations between urban councils and county councils in regard to many questions for some time to come.

Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

The hon. Baronet the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir E. Turton) says "No," but you cannot deprive local authorities of vital powers without creating for a time some little feeling, and I am certain that it would be far better for the Minister to have a report from an impartial body of men who would review all the facts and give an impartial report. I ask the Minister to give full consideration to my Amendment. I am not asking him to accept this Amendment in any definite form, and I shall be satisfied if he will concede my point that a report of any readjustment of local boundaries should be prepared, not by the county councils but by a body of impartial persons.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

We have now reached that portion of the Bill which deals with the rearrangement of county districts in Part IV of the Bill. The general proposals contained in this Clause provide, mainly, that there shall be a general review by the county councils of the districts up and down the country. I think there is little or no controversy as regards the necessity for making this general review in the interests of good local government. I gather from the speech just made by the hon. Member who has moved this Amendment that he is not impressed with that argument. I think anyone who surveys the conditions of local government, and the recommendations made by the Onslow Commission, must agree that there are a very large number of small districts quite unable, for financial reasons alone, to undertake many of the very important local govern- ment duties which fall upon them to-day. There is no question of deriding the position of small districts or decrying their work. The fact is that it is impossible for a large number of those districts to carry out their public duties. Under these circumstances, we are proposing that The council of every county shall, as soon as may be after the commencement of this Act, after conferences with representatives of the councils of the several districts wholly or partly within the county, review the circumstances of all such districts. The hon. Member for Consett (Mr. Dunnico) has had a good deal of experience in local government, and he is now making a proposal that this should be the duty of a body of persons, not being members of the county council, who should be appointed by the Minister of Health, Perhaps I may be allowed to say, without any personal allusion to the hon. Member, that I am surprised at that suggestion coming from the Labour benches. In the first place, it is not a practical proposal. I always understood that the last thing hon. Members opposite wanted to do was to appoint any public body, with no responsibility to the electorate, to interfere in the affairs of local government. The hon. Member's proposal is that a body with no connection with the council should be chosen by the Minister of Health. I ant glad to see that the hon. Member has such confidence in the Minister of Health that he should choose him to appoint the body to make this survey. I need not remind the hon. Gentleman that county councils are now the body to deal with alterations of urban, rural district, and parish boundaries, and that duty has been east upon them for a long time.

Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

But they have not done it.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

At any rate, they have had that power for a long time. Our proposal was recommended by the Onslow Commission, upon which sat the representatives of all types of local authorities carrying on the work of local government in this country; and, not only the large counties, but also the small authorities, came to a willing conclusion that it was the county council that should be entrusted with this work. I would remind the hon. Gentleman that in the last resort, under the proposals of the Government, after the council have made their inquiries and carried out their review, the decision does in fact rest with the Minister of Health, subject to review by this House.

The many safeguards of the position of the small authorities, who can make representations to the county council or to the Minister of Health, secure that their views may be heard, and we ensure by this Clause an impartial review by a proper body of what should be done in the very urgent necessities of local government in the various districts up and down the country. I could not for a moment advise the Committee to take this duty out of the hands of the county councils in order to entrust it to a body who have no general responsibility for this kind of business. Having regard to the fact that the position and responsibility of the smaller authorities are amply safeguarded under the provisions of this Clause, I ask the Committee to reject this Amendment.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

I am not surprised at the Parliamentary Secretary trying to pass this subject off as a matter of no importance. The right hon. Gentleman said he was surprised that my hon. Friend the Member for Consett (Mr. Dunnico) had such confidence in the Minister of Health. This Amendment does not mean that they have no confidence in the local authorities or the county council, but it does mean that the county council, in the very nature of things, cannot be an impartial body to negotiate the rearrangement of a boundary, because they would be inclined to look at the subject from the point of view of the county council, and the other local authorities would have their point of view. The Amendment is one of substance, and it means that some body competent to consider the question of the rearrangement of local government areas should be brought in to hear all sides and to obtain the views of the county councils, the rural councils, and the district councils within the county. I would draw the attention of the Committee to the words, in the first paragraph of Clause 39: after conferences with representatives of the councils of the several districts wholly or partly within the county. There are portions of some of these districts which are outside the county, so that at present the scope of the provision is wider than the area of any given county; and it is very important that it should be wider than the area of the county. I want the Committee to be good enough to allow me to deal with this point for a few minutes, because there are several parts of the country where the utmost importance is attached to the making of as full provision as possible in this part of the Bill.

There are several industrial parts in the North of England and in the Midlands where that is so, but I want to use as my illustration a case which I know best, though it is typical of several other parts of the county. I refer to the South Wales coalfield. Almost without exception, for at least 10 years, and in many cases for 20 years, the local authorities, urban and rural, have been urging the appointment of a special Commission for the radical readjustment of local government areas throughout the South Wales coalfield, and that has been done because the ideal unit for local government involves a close community of interest, complete autonomy in local affairs, and an area not so big as to be unwieldy and not too small to be self-contained. This Bill, which has come after generations of effort in pursuit of that object, ought to aim at readjusting our units of local government in such a way as to get as near as possible to that ideal of a self-contained and self-governed local area. The nearest approach to it that we have made in our machinery of local government up to the present time is the county borough. May I draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to this very simple historical fact, that most of our county boundaries, like our parish and district boundaries, have been laid down automatically in accordance with the simplest means of demarcation, and that was done centuries ago. For instance, in South Wales, our counties as we know them—Glamorgan, Monmouth, Carmarthen, and so on—were created by Act of Parliament in the year 1535, and the line then taken as the easiest line for the county boundary was a suitable river bed. That was all right in those days, when population was very sparse, but, as the result of industrial development and increase of population, those boundaries, which were suitable to a sparse population, have become a serious hindrance to efficiency in local government to-day.

The CHAIRMAN:

I think I ought to say that this seems to be rather an argument on the merits of the Clause. The only point that we are discussing here is whether this shall be done by a county council or by a Commission appointed by the Minister.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

With all due respect, that is what I am getting at, but it requires some knowledge of the local areas concerned to realise that this is a point of substance. If I may illustrate it by one example, we have a classic case in South Wales in the Rhymney Valley. This is a valley about 20 miles long, divided by the River Rhymney. One side of it is in the county of Monmouth, and the other is in the county of Glamorgan. Hitherto the whole of that area, with its population of 120,000, has been divided into four areas administered by boards of guardians, two county council areas, seven urban district areas and two rural districts; and the result is that at present there is little civic spirit, there is a great deal of overlapping, and there are a great many separate authorities, with separate clerk-ships and so on. Nevertheless, the whole valley is ideally situated for being under one local authority if the watershed instead of the river bed were made the boundary. The South Wales coalfield is divided from east to west by about 14 main valleys, very steep and narrow, each with a few converging valleys coming into it, so that Nature herself has suggested to us the best boundaries to take, namely, the watersheds instead of the river beds.

The CHAIRMAN:

Would not these considerations be present to the county council?

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

No, Sir, and for this reason: The Rhymney Valley is now in the area of two counties—

The CHAIRMAN:

I must point out that the hon. Member referred to a number of other valleys.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

If you would be good enough to come with me to South Wales during the Recess, I should be able to show you these valleys, and how they extend into more than one county. I am limiting my illustration to this one, because here there are two county councils in the same valley, the population is hopelessly divided by the existing boundary, and there is no provision in this Clause as it stands for putting that matter right. Practically all the local authorities of the valley are agreed upon what we call the unification of the valley, but there is no power in this Clause under which they can become unified. It is restricted, at the most, to unification of one side of the Valley under one county council, and of the other side of the Valley under another county council. That would be a step in the right direction, but it is really absurd that this population in this big valley should still be hopelessly divided—

The CHAIRMAN:

I think that that is a matter which might be more appropriately raised on Clause 42.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

Have I your assurance that I can raise it on Clause 42?

The CHAIRMAN:

If the other allotted business is disposed of before 10.30, I shall be prepared to hear the hon. Member.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

I am very much obliged to you, Mr. Hope, for your assistance. I would say to the Minister that the present provision does not meet the real need in these districts. What we really want is a kind of special Boundary Commission. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that some years ago his own Department appointed a South Wales Regional Committee, mainly to go into the question of the distribution of the area on town planning lines. I agree heartily with Part III of the Bill as regards town planning, and I suggest that, just as the Government are making provision for joint counsel and joint agreement for town planning purposes, so they should provide for municipal purposes, because many of these are quite as important as town planning itself. I suggest that the Amendment we are offering, instead of being a hindrance to the future good of the Bill when it becomes law, is going to be of great assistance, and I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that in South Wales, the West Riding of Yorkshire, many parts of Lancashire and the Midlands—in fact, in every part of Great Britain where there is rapid industrial development, and especially in those districts that are of a hilly nature—the kind of provision contained in this Amendment would be very welcome.

There is not a single authority in South Wales that would not welcome this Amendment and that will not be very disappointed if the Government do not meet us in this direction. I do not suggest that the Amendment is worded in the happiest possible way from the point of view of meeting the needs that exist. We are quite willing that the Minister should take our point seriously on Report, and amend the wording in any way that he likes so long as he accepts the substance, namely, that the possible readjustment of local government areas should not be limited to the county council, and that the county council should not be given the initiative in making the readjustment. That is necessary because, with all due respect to the county councils, they have a vested interest in the matter, and sooner or later the Ministry of Health must come in to settle any differences that may arise, in view of the recommendations of the South Wales Regional Committee on this point. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will take a more serious view of this Amendment.

Photo of Sir Philip Pilditch Sir Philip Pilditch , Spelthorne

The burden of the argument of the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. Dunnico), and also of that of the hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. Mardy Jones) so far as it was relevant, seemed to me to be that the county councils were not likely to he impartial bodies. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Why should they not be impartial bodies? I know what my own County Council of Middlesex does in settling boundaries between urban and other areas, and I have never heard it suggested that they were not an impartial body. The theory that they are one of the parties does not seem to me to hold water. The county councils are made up of representatives from all the different districts, and I cannot conceive why it should be thought that a county council is not likely to be impartial as between one district and another of the different districts which make up its area. The two hon. Members have, I think, forgotten the advantage that comes from this Clause. It does help in regard to one of the points raised by the hon. Member for Consett, namely, that this work has not been done in the past. This Clause makes it mandatory upon the county council to do it.

Photo of Reverend Herbert Dunnico Reverend Herbert Dunnico , Consett

My argument was that this work, which was a very urgent necessity in the past, has been done with appalling slowness, because the county councils have not done their duty.

Photo of Sir Philip Pilditch Sir Philip Pilditch , Spelthorne

Then the hon. Member is in favour of the Clause as it stands, because what the Clause does is to make mandatory that which hitherto has not been mandatory.

Photo of Sir Philip Pilditch Sir Philip Pilditch , Spelthorne

If the hon. Member reads the Clause, he will see that it says that the county council "shall" perform these duties, and I think it may be taken that they will not only carry them out, but will carry them out with celerity.

Photo of Mr John Palin Mr John Palin , Newcastle upon Tyne West

This is an attempt to disestablish the parish pump. It seems to have a good many supporters in the Committee, and I had hoped that the Minister himself would have risen beyond the parish pump point of view in regard to the readjustment of boundaries. It is not the case that, as the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Sir P. Pilditch) has said, the county councils go into these matters with an absolutely impartial point of view. The county council has a, very definite point of view in connection with the readjustment of boundaries, and while it may be perfectly true, as the Parliamentary Secretary has said, that these matters will eventually come to the Ministry, a decision will have been arrived at. What we are wanting is to get a scientific adjustment of boundaries both of local authorities and of counties, so that we may get the most efficient local government. Although the Minister seems to object to bouquets when we throw them at him, we are quite satisfied, from previous experience of these local inquiries, that they take a lot of time, that they are very expensive, and that in the past they have been very unsatisfactory. I am quite satisfied that, by the appointment of, say, two or three people by the Minister of Health, we should get the same principles brought to bear in adjustments throughout the country. Each county council will take its own point. of view, and the Minister has been quite mistaken in suspecting our motives in moving this Amendment. If this adjustment of boundaries could be removed from the realm of the parish pump politician, it would be a very decided step in the direction of more efficient local government.

8.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Thomas Fenby Mr Thomas Fenby , Bradford East

This is a Clause that I very heartily welcome, and I cannot imagine any section of the community interested in local government objecting to it, though I can quite realise that one section of the community will not like it, and that is the members of the Parliamentary Bar. I spent the Recess as a member of a county council dealing with the extension of a county borough. My whole object was that, instead of having a fight in a Parliamentary Committee room, we had better have a contest between the county borough and the county council. We obviated a fight, and we saved £40,000 or £50,000. We have wanted for a long time in local government some principle whereby these things would be settled, not in a Parliamentary Committee room, but in a more amicable and homely way, the local people having a greater say than they would have in a Parliamentary Committee room. The last thing I want to see is a travelling commission, or circus, going up and down the country districts examining whether an alteration should be made or not. I can quite understand people who have never been members of a county council having a good deal of aversion to those bodies, but I have yet to find a county council which is in any way vindictive or narrow-minded. How can there be any prejudice on the part of a county council as to what should be the exact boundary of an urban or rural district? They will judge the case on its merits. If you are going to have a commission, you are going to have considerable expense, and I am certain it will not be efficient.

I am convinced that the Amendment, though it may have very good intentions, would be evil in its effects so far as these boundaries are concerned. I welcome the Clause, first of all, because county authorities are going to be compelled by a certain date to consider the question of boundaries. That has been an urgent question for a long time. I welcome it, in the second place, because it provides a cheaper and a quicker method of decision of the question of borough and urban and rural district boundaries. I cannot for the life of me understand why the Amendment should be brought forward, because, in my opinion, the more home rule you have on these boundary questions, and the less interference you have from outside authorities, the better it is for the areas concerned. You always have this safeguard, that, if the borough or urban district is not satisfied, there is the 'appeal to the Minister, and that is as far in bureaucracy as I am prepared to go in my support of the Clause.

Photo of Mr John Wardlaw-Milne Mr John Wardlaw-Milne , Kidderminster

I should like to ask you, Sir, whether it is clear that at this moment we are only discussing the question whether a proposal should be considered, in the first place, by a county council or by a body of persons other than a county council, or whether we are permitted to discuss what will happen after those proposals are put forward. I do not refer to the speech of the hon. Member for East Bradford (Mr. Fenby) particularly, but generally, as I have listened to the Debate, it appears that we have gone further.

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

I was not in the House when the discussion commenced, but I understand from previous consultation with the Chairman of Ways and Means that we are limited to these two Amendments that we are taking concurrently.

Photo of Mr David Grenfell Mr David Grenfell , Gower

I support the Amendment because it gives an opportunity for impartial examination of the question of boundaries, and the re-adjustment of areas. I differ very strongly from the hon. Member for East Bradford (Mr. Fenby) who suggested that this would be an expensive way of arriving at a better distribution. I can imagine no more complicated and no more troublesome way of readjusting boundaries than is provided in the Bill. The responsibility is placed upon the county council. Even if there is a desire for a change, there is no obligation to call together these bodies and consult with them to suggest that certain changes shall be made. I know of a town in my own division which has been claiming the right to extend its areas. It is opposed by the county council and by neighbouring towns. A great deal of litigation has already been engaged in, and they are no nearer a settlement to-day than they were some years ago when it was first mooted. If the county council is called into this again, it will bring in another factor of disagreement, and there will be interminable quarrelling. The Amendment removes that possibility of disagreement and expense, because it will at once remove the points to be considered from the control of partisanship. It puts it in the hands of a small compact body of impartial persons. To call it a travelling circus is a very improper description of the body we suggest.

In the Clause, the council is expected to inquire whether it is desirable to effect any alteration or definition of the boundaries of a district or parish, the union of any district with another, the transfer of any part of a district to another district, or the conversion of any rural district into an urban district. With that power vested in the county council, I can see every rural area in my county seeking for some change, for some greater authority, or some extension of its areas. I can see a demand being made for urban powers, I can see demands being made for the union of small urban areas, and I can see everyone going into the conference jealous of its authority, and jealous of any advantage that may be gained by others. If it is not an impartial body, I can see the possibility of infinite complications and disagreements and endless controversy, and, finally, a reference to arbitration at great expense, the whole of which can be avoided if this impartial body, which has nothing to gain and which only has regard to the efficiency of local administration, is set up. The Minister need have no fear that this is designed to take away any authority from him. If the Amendment is passed, some future Minister of Health will be entrusted with setting up an impartial body. People who make so much wealth out of the disagreements of local authorities at such heavy expense will not care for the Amendment, but anyone who wants to get reasonable differences settled in an amicable way will stand for it.

Photo of Mr Edmund Turton Mr Edmund Turton , Thirsk and Malton

I am sorry that such a highly-respected member of the Essex County Council as the hon. Member opposite should be the author of this Amendment. Surely, he has frequently had to conduct these inquiries. Surely it will not be suggested for a moment by those sitting on one side or another of him that he is not perfectly impartial. It is only suggested that we should carry on this practice which has been carried on for 40 years to the satisfaction of all the parties concerned. I have held a great number of these inquiries, sometimes alone and sometimes with other colleagues on the county council. It is suggested that it entails waste of time and money. Where does the expense come in? We get nothing for it. If you have a commission sent round, it will involve a great deal of expense and time, and in all probability it will be necessary to call in the one thing we want to avoid, and that is learned counsel on both sides. Then you will have one side getting up its evidence, and rebutting evidence on the other side. We were absolutely unanimous on this point in the Royal Commission. The evidence before us conclusively proved that the proper body to conduct this inquiry was the county council.

I may be considered an interested party, but I have a very high opinion of the impartiality and fairness with which county councils conduct their business. They have local knowledge, and that is an enormous factor in coming to a proper conclusion. It is laid down quite clearly and explicitly in the Royal Commission's Report that the districts concerned are to be consulted. That is only fair and right, and what the county councils themselves would wish to be done. They are not interested parties. They only have regard to the interests of the districts. The Amendment is really quite unnecessary. We are asked to cast a slur on county councils. I ask the Committee to follow the unanimous recommendation of the Royal Commission. There was no objection raised by any single representative of the urban district councils, county boroughs, non-county boroughs and the rural councils. No one will raise the slightest objection, and everyone agrees that this is the proper method of carrying out this inquiry. Under these circumstances, I suggest that it will be quite unnecessary to put away the county councils and to substitute for them a commission which would cost a great deal of money and be far less satisfactory than the proposal in the Bill.

Photo of Mr Richard Wallhead Mr Richard Wallhead , Merthyr Tydfil Merthyr

Looking at the Clause and at the Amendment as dispassionately as one can, it appears to me that, after all, this is a question that really should not be regarded on party lines. It is, surely, a matter that ought to commend itself to the general commonsense in which men form opinions. I agree with the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Bradford (Mr. Fenby) in not desiring to see more bureaucratic government set up than is essential. I am a Socialist, and I believe that the best form of communal ownership and control is going to come from round the parish pump. The nearer you can get to control the better it will be. I do not believe in the big unit but in having the unit as small as possible. Although one has to realise that there are certain functions which have to be carried out on a large scale, there are many [more which ought to be carried out on as small a scale as possible. I want interests to be centred as near the homes of the people as possible. I want to see that kind of authority established that will create the greatest amount of civic pride and communal responsibility.

It seems to me that one could easily run into dangers over matters of this description. For instance, I do not know what the Minister would say would be the position of an urban district council desirous of enlarging its boundaries and of seeking municipal powers. Who would be likely to oppose a demand of that description I should say, on the face of it, that the power that would oppose a proposition of that description would be the county council. There would be the removal of Members of the county council. There would be the taking away of districts. There would be the interefence with rateable values. There would be inconvenience in connection with the supervision of roads. There would be a narrowing down of powers and of areas of control.

It is not always public interests which are paramount when these matters come to be discussed. We have had in this House some rather curious illustrations of that point of view. Some time ago the Manchester Corporation acquired a very large property outside its boundaries for the purpose of housing its people. It sought to get that area incorporated within its own boundaries. It was opposed by outside authorities. I believe that the Cheshire County Council entered a caveat against the proposal. The Manchester Corporation was attacked by the rural authorities of this area. Obviously, it seemed to be the common sense point of view that Manchester ought to be allowed the freedom which it sought, but Manchester was put to tremendous expense because it had to fight the authorities.

That seems to be an illustration in favour of this Amendment that these questions of discussion and likely antagonisms should be removed as far as possible from the control of the particularly interested parties and should be merged under the control of a body that could act the part of umpire or referee. That is how it, commends itself to me.

I cannot conceive that the question of party should enter into this question at all. Will the Government give a free vote of the Committee on this question, which does not seem to be paramount or vital to the Bill? Will the Government agree to take off the Whips and give a free hand on a matter which is of vital importance, not to this Committee as a Committee, but to the areas of the authorities we are discussing, and which to a large extent we are creating by this Bill? That seems to me to be a sensible proposal, but, failing that, I think I shall support the Amendment, because it would mean fewer antagonisms in the future. On a previous Amendment, I gave the illustration of the county of Glamorgan. Glamorgan is under a cloud at the present time. The coal trade is suffering and district councils are suffering, but there is a fair assumption that the county of Glamorgan will not remain permanently under this cloud. The cloud may be lifted. Prosperity may come to the coal trade; science may be able to do that for us in the near future. Where there is distress at the present time there may be prosperity in the future, and then we may see the expansion of the smaller areas into larger areas. Take for instance the case of Pontypridd. Pontypridd is a growing area and it ought to obtain municipal powers before very long. It is an urban district at the present moment. The Rhondda Valley ought to have municipal powers. It is big enough and important enough. When prosperity returns to these areas and the time comes for this development, I hope that the question as to whether they ought to have municipal powers or not will not be placed under the control of a body like the Glamorgan County Council which may be expected to have objections to such a demand. It is for reasons of that description and not because I have any feeling of party in this matter, that I shall support the Amendment, believing that it is in the best interests that it should be carried.

Photo of Sir Herbert Nield Sir Herbert Nield , Ealing

I wish to say only one or two short sentences in regard to the Amendment. First of all, I believe that, as far as the legal profession is concerned, they would welcome the passing of it because, no doubt, the bodies concerned would brief counsel.

Photo of Mr Morgan Jones Mr Morgan Jones , Caerphilly

Does it necessarily follow that you must brief counsel in an inquiry of this sort? Cannot the Minister decide whether his own officials are competent enough without counsel being called in?

Photo of Sir Herbert Nield Sir Herbert Nield , Ealing

It does not necessarily follow that you brief counsel, but almost invariably the parties do, and the result is that expense is incurred which might have been avoided. What I want to point out is that in the county of Middlesex we have had this Act for 40 years. During that time, I have been a member of the Middlesex County Council for 33 years, and these inquiries have been frequent. There has been no difficulty in holding these inquiries when two or three members of the county council have gone down locally, already having a general knowledge of the district with which they had to deal, but, since the attempt was made to incorporate the whole of the county of Middlesex and part of other counties into the Metropolitan Police area as an authority under London, the recommendations of the Commission were in favour of amalgamation of districts. I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk arid Malton (Sir E. Turton) was a member of that Commission too. Since that report was published, there have been a number of amalgamations, preceded by such an inquiry as has been customary, and which would he maintained by the Bill, without any friction or difficulty.

There is only one case which I can call to mind in which unanimity could not be obtained, and that was in a district surrounding Harrow. On that occasion it was necessary to hold an inquiry, at which counsel were present. The inquiry was protracted, and it was protracted because counsel were there. The inquiry involved very considerable expense to all the authorities concerned, whereas if we had been allowed to deal with the matter in the ordinary way of the county management of county boundaries, we should have avoided the trouble and expense. The Government are right in resisting the Amendment, which would mean simply the spending of more money, and I cannot see that it would reduce the amount of quarrelling between the local authorities.

Photo of Mr Richard Wallhead Mr Richard Wallhead , Merthyr Tydfil Merthyr

Does the right hon. and learned Member suggest that under the Government's proposal there would be no legal contention of any kind?

Photo of Sir Herbert Nield Sir Herbert Nield , Ealing

Judging by the experience of the past, there would not be.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

The answer to the question of the hon. Member is that there would be less need for the Parliamentary Bar or for any other legal representation under the scheme as proposed in the Clause than under the Amendment. One point has been overlooked. We are not considering the question of a dispute between one district and another, but we are discussing the question of the general review of the whole county in regard to certain re-arrangements, and I am driven to the conclusion that if we are to have the initiation of a general scheme, it must come from the people who have local knowledge. If the Minister is to be the judge in the end whether or not he will issue an Order confirming any report made for drawing up boundaries, certainly the first initiation should come from the people who have considered all the circumstances in the locality, and if they proceed by way of conference, as suggested, they are much more likely to smooth out difficulties which might cause legal trouble than if they were a commission going down to the district without any local knowledge, and trying to weigh evidence of which they had no practical knowledge. Therefore, the initiation ought to come by way of friendly conference between the county council and the other councils concerned in any such re-arrangement. If there is to be a general review, leading up to 1932, for a scheme throughout the country for the widening of boundaries, the best thing for the country would be a boundary association representative of some of the great national services administered locally for consultation as to how the boundaries might be more fairly adjusted. That matter is covered by another Amendment. Although I agree with the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Wallhead) that there is no question of party feeling, I think the Government are proceeding on the right lines. Since there are 140 powers given to the Minister in the Bill, I object. to being the 141st.

Photo of Mr Frank Lee Mr Frank Lee , Derbyshire North Eastern

Whilst I partly agree with what has been said in regard to giving more power to the Minister, I am rather drawn by the experience in my own town. I live in one of the largest non-county boroughs in the country. For a consider-

able time we have been trying to extend our borough, for more than one purpose —the primary purpose was not that of becoming a county borough—and we have found that our greatest and strongest opponent all the time has been the county council. Inside my own constituency there is a striking anomaly. The largest town in the constituency has not even urban council powers. It is simply a parish council, although it has a population of 17,000. Every time that district has tried to get more powers it has been opposed by the county council and the rural district council. In order to get away from local feeling, which sometimes results in prejudice, I would ask the Minister of Health to reconsider the point as to whether he should not deal with these questions himself. There would be consultation with the Minister before any definite scheme takes place. I shall vote in favour of the Amendment.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 210; Noes, 109.

Division No. 96.]AYES.[8.33 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelColman, N. C. D.Gower, Sir Robert
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Conway. Sir W. MartinGrace. John
Allen, Sir J. SandemanCope, Major sir WilliamGrenfell, Edward C. (City of London)
Amery, Rt. Hon, Leopold C. M. s.Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Griffith, F. Kingsley
Applin, Colonel R. v. K.Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Grotrian, H. Brent
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)Gunston, Captain D. W.
Balfour, George (Hampetead)Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)
Balniel, LordCrawfurd, H. E.Hanbury, C.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M.Crott, Brigadier-General Sir H.Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Barnett, Major Sir RichardCrooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)Harland, A.
Bennett, A. J.Crookshank. Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)Harris, Percy A.
Bethel. A.Cunliffe, Sir HerbertHarrison, G. J. C.
Betterton, Henry B.Curzon, Captain ViscountHarvey, G. (Lambeth. Kennington)
Birchall, Major J. DearmanDavies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)
Brass, Captain W.Davies, Sir Thomas (Clrencester)Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian
Briggs, J. HaroldDavies, Dr. VernonHeneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeDawson, Sir PhilipHennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.
Brittain, Sir HarryDean, Arthur welleslsyHills, Major John Waller
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Dixey, A. C.Hilton. Cecil
Brown. Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)Eden, Captain AnthonyHolbrook, Sir Arthur Richard
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Edmondson, Major A. J.Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)
Brown, Ernest (Leith)Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)
Buchan, JohnElliot, Major Walter E.Hopkins, J. W. W.
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesErskine, Lord (Somerset, Woston-s-M.)Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)
Bullock, Captain M.Evans. Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.
Burman, J. B.Everard, W. LindsayHudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)
Campbell, E. T.Fanshawe, Captain G. D.Home, Sir G. H.
Cassels, J. D.Fenby, T. D.Hurd, Percy A.
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Forestier-Walker, Sir L.Hurst. Gerald B.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester. City)Foster, Sir Harry S.Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montross)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, s.)Foxcroft, Captain C. T.Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Fraser, Captain IanIveagh, Countess of
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)
Chapman, Sir SGadie, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyJones, Henry Haydn (Merloneth)
Charteris, Brigadier-General J.Galbraith, J. F. W.Kennedy, A. R. (Preston).
Christle, J. A.Ganzonl. Sir JohnKindersley, Major G. M.
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeGates, PercyKing, Commodore Henry Douglas
Cobb, Sir CyrilGilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnKnox, Sir Alfred
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.Goff, Sir ParkLamb, J. O.
Litter, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipPerring, Sir William GeorgeStrauss, E. A.
Loder. J. de V.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Streatlelld. Captain S. R.
Looker, Herbert WilliamPilcher, G.Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Lougher, LewisPower, Sir John CecilTasker, R. Inigo.
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh VerePownall, Sir AsshetonTempleton, W. P.
Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard HarmanPrice, Major C. W. M.Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Lumley, L. R.Radford, E. A.Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Lynn, Sir R. J.Raine, Sir WalterTitchfield, Major the Marquess of
Macintyre, IanReid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)Tomlinson, R. P.
Macmillan, Captain H.Remer, J. R.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
MacRobert, Alexander M.Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)Rice, Sir FrederickVaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Manningham-Buller, Sir MervyaRichardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)Waddington, R.
Margesson, Captain D.Ropner, Major L.Wallace. Captain D. E.
Marriott, Sir J. A. R.Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Mason, Colonel Glyn K.Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Merriman, Sir F. BoydSamuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Meyer, Sir FrankSamuel, Samuel (W'dtworth, Putney)Watts, Sir Thomas
Milne, J. S. Wardlsw-Sandeman, N. StewartWayland, Sir William A.
Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)Sanders, Sir Robert A.Wiggins, William Martin
Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.Sandon, LordWilliams. Herbert G. (Reading)
Nail, Colonel Sir JosephShaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mel. (Renfrew, W.)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Neville, Sir Reginald J.Shepperson, E. W.Withers, John James
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield. Hallam)Womersley. W. J.
Nicholson, O. (Westminster)Smith-Carington, Nevilla w.Wood, E. (Cheat'r, Stulyb'ge & Hyde)
Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir HerbertSomerville, A. A. (Windsor)Wood. Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Oman, Sir Charles William C.Southby, Commander A. R. J.Wragg, Herbert
Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. WilliamSpender-Clay, Colonel H.Wright, Brig.-General W. D.
Owen. Major G.Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Pennelather, Sir JohnStorry-Deans, R.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
penny, Frederick GeorgeStott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.Captain Bowyer and Sir Victor
Warrender.
NOES.
Adamson. Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Hirst, W. (Bradford. South)Scurr, John
Adamson, W. M. (Stall., Cannock)Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillabro')Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Ammon, Charles GeorgeJohn, William (Rhondda, West)Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bllston)Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Shinwell, E.
Baker, WalterJones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Sitch, Charles H.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Kennedy, T.Smillie, Robert
Barnes, A.Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.Smith, Ben (Bermondaey, Rotherhitha)
Batey, JosephKirkwood, D.Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Bellamy, A.Lansbury, GeorgeStamford. T. W.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Lawrence, SusanStephen, Campbell
Broad, F. A.Lee, F.Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Bromfield, WilliamLindley, F. W.Sullivan, J.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Longbottom, A. W.Sutton, J. E.
Buchanan, G.Lowth, T.Taylor, R. A.
Cape, ThomaeLunn, WilliamThorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Charleton, H. C.MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)Thurtle, Ernest
Cluse, W. S.Mackinder, W.Tinker, John Joseph
Connolly, M.Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Townend, A. E.
Cove, W. G.March. S.Viant, S. P.
Dennison. R.Maxton, JamesWallhead. Richard C.
Duncan, C.Morris, R. H.Welsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Dunnico, H.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Gardner, J. P.Murnin, H.Wellock, Wilfred
Gibbins. JosephNaylor, T. E.Welsh. J. C.
Gillett, George M.Oliver, George HaroldWhiteley, W.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark. Hamilton)Palin, John HenryWilliams, David (Swansea, E.)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Paling, W.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Greenwood. A. (Nelson and Colne)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Ponsonby. ArthurWilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Grundy, T. W.Potts, John S.Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normairton)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Wright, W.
Hall. G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)Riley, BenYoung, Robert (Lancaster. Newton)
Hardie. George D.Ritson, J.
Hayday, ArthurRoberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Henderson. Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)Robinson, W. C. (Yorka, W. R., Elland)Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.
Henderson, T (Glasgow)Saklatvala, ShapurjiCharles Edwards.
Hirst, G. H.Salter, Dr. Alfred

Photo of Sir Reginald Neville Sir Reginald Neville , Norfolk Eastern

I beg to move, in page 34, to leave out from the word "Act" in line 24, to the word "and" in line 27, and to insert instead thereof the words: review the circumstances of all districts wholly or partly within the county. If the Amendment is accepted, the Clause will read: The council of every county shall as soon as may be after the commencement on this Act, review the circumstances of all districts wholly or partly within the county, and consider whether it is desirable to effect any of the following changes. As a consequential Amendment we also propose in Sub-section (1), after the word "county," to insert the words: and after conferring thereon not later than the first day of January, nineteen hundred and thirty-two, with the councils of the several districts wholly or partly within the county or such of them as are likely to be affected by such review. The object of these two Amendments is to get on with the business. This particular Amendment, out of some 30 or 40 which we have been asked by the Norfolk County Council to put forward, is one which has escaped the procedure on this Bill. The object is to enable a county council to get on with the formation of their scheme, and then, when they have prepared it, they can submit it to a conference of the councils within their area. It means that this work will be taken in hand almost immediately instead of a few months before the 1st of April, 1932. Instead of having three months for discussion, consideration and adjustment, the Norfolk County Council hope to be able to draw up a scheme within the next six months, and they can submit it to the councils concerned and discuss it with them shortly afterwards. In that case there will be a much longer time for the consideration of the scheme. The two Amendments ensure that the scheme will be completed before the 1st of April, 1932, a somewhat unfortunate day. They will be completed by 1st of January preceding that date, and the councils in the area will have three months in which to appeal to the Minister instead of the bulk of the time being taken up by squabbling between the smaller areas and the county council. There is no chance of that in the county Of Norfolk. Conferences will take place after the scheme has been put forward, and district councils will be able to make their suggestions. After these conferences the county council will submit their scheme ripe and ready three months before the appointed day.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

My hon. Friend is, I know, desirous of improving the particular provisions of this Clause with a view to getting full consultation between the county council and the various other local authorities which are affected by the Clause. What we are proposing in the Clause is that before the county council shall definitely present their scheme to the Minister of Health for his approval, they shall consult the various local authorities concerned so that before the proposals are carried out regard shall be paid to the legitimate claims and desires of what, for convenience, I shall call the minor authorities. The rights of the smaller authorities are fully safeguarded in that way. I do not think it would help if the county council formulated its scheme first and after that consulted the smaller authorities. It might very well make for delay. What we are doing is to secure, both before and after the formulation of the scheme, that the local authorities shall have full power to put forward their views. For these reasons I think the proposal of the Bill is the more convenient.

Photo of Mr John Remer Mr John Remer , Macclesfield

I have an Amendment on the Paper later, and I am sorry that my iron. Friend who moved the present Amendment has dealt with the particular point in the way that he has done. I do not think lie realises that urban districts are sometimes in two different counties. One large urban district in my own constituency is partly in Derbyshire and partly in Cheshire. At a later stage it will be necessary to have agreements between the two counties before difficulties or anomalies can be cleared out of the way. Of course the point put forward by my hon. Friend is of vita! importance to those areas. The areas have to be dealt with by some means in order to settle their grievances. The position has arisen in the past, and is arising now, in the case of two areas where certain roadways are dealt with by one county council and other roadways in another part of the same urban area are dealt with by another county council. We have had the greatest difficulty in getting anything dealt with satisfactorily. There should be some means devised whereby urban areas which exist in two different counties could be divided or the county areas altered.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I suggest that the hon. Member should give me particulars of the case that he has in mind, because it has not hitherto been brought to our attention. Perhaps after this discussion my hon. and learned Friend will with draw the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Frank Lee Mr Frank Lee , Derbyshire North Eastern

I might tell the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) that if he wishes the area he has men- tioned to be added to Cheshire he will meet with great opposition from Derbyshire.

Amendment negatived.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I beg to move, in page 34, line 26, after the word "county," to insert the words and of the Ministry of Health, the Board of Education, the Home Office, and the Ministry of Transport. This Amendment aims at removing one of the defects of this Clause, which is that it has not regard for the wide considerations which ought to be taken into account in any re-arrangement of the county districts. We attach more importance to the Amendment which appears later on the Paper—in page 34, line 40, at the end, to insert: (f) the combination of the area of the council with the area or areas of one or more other county councils for the purpose of town-planning or of highway administration —than we do to this Amendment, but, at the same time, we think it would be a great advantage if, at the conference between the smaller authorities and the county council, representatives attended from the Ministries concerned with the great semi-national services of health, transport, roads, schools and police. In that way the wider implications of the policy, as well as the narrower considerations of the revision of the districts, might be considered when the schemes are being drawn up.

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Bristol Central

County Councils have been dealing with business of an analagous character with this ever since 1888, and it has never been found necessary, as far as I know, that they should consult with each individual Government Department concerned. It must be remembered that even if it were necessary that there should be consultation with a Government Department the proper Government Department to consult is the Ministry of Health. You cannot have consultations with every one of the Government Departments. Each Department cannot have a finger in the pie. The business of the Government is one and indivisible. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Yes, the business of the Ministry of Health is to secure the views and the opinions of the different Govern- ment Departments, and inasmuch as the Minister of Health is the decisive authority ultimately to consider the proposals put forward by the county council, it would appear a little strange if the consultation were to be with the Ministry of Health in advance—the Ministry of Health, as I say, being the ultimate arbiter as to the justice and wisdom of the scheme. I suggest that the Ministry of Health is informed of the wishes and views of all the other Government Departments, and it is better that they should be, as it were, the collecting ground of these opinions rather than that the county council should act in advance in the way suggested.

9.0 p.m.

Mr. GREENWOOD:

I start out with the Attorney-General's assumption that the problem from the Government's point of view is one. I accept that assumption, but, as I understand it, the purpose of this Amendment is to coordinate the work of all the public Departments concerned in this particular respect. Consider what is now before the Committee. It is the question of the rearrangement of the county districts. If there is one thing certain it is that you cannot find a rearrangement of districts which will be suitable for all purposes. It may be that for police purposes, in which the Home Office will be involved, certain considerations will be found important; but if. on the other hand, you are considering an amalgamation of districts for education purposes, the same considerations will not apply. It is increasingly clear, as local government becomes more complicated, that the ideal of the enormously large authority is a dream. What is needed is to build up combinations of authorities for particular purposes, and the combination of authorities required for police purposes may be entirely different from the combination required for education or transport purposes. It is perfectly reasonable to suggest that when there is to be a general review of the situation—a thing which has never happened before, a remarkable step which is now being taken for the first time—that, in those circumstances, consultation ought not to he confined to the Ministry of Health but should include those other Departments which have relations with the local authorities, regarding different functions and duties. The Department mentioned in this Amendment all have their special relations with local authorities. True, these relations are for different purposes, but the grouping and rearrangement of the county districts that may take place ought not to be determined solely by the Ministry of Health. We ought to have regard for the other functions which are outside the scope of that Department. It may he true, as the learned Attorney-General says, that the Ministry of Health is fully informed of the views, the policy and the attitude of the other Departments, but the whole point is that the Minister of Transport, for instance, on this question of county districts, might not see eye to eye with the Minister of Health. I can imagine that the Minister of Health might take an entirely different view from that taken by the Minister of Transport about the possibilities of this rearrangement. Why, therefore, should the Minister of Health deal with this matter without regard to the other Departments? This Amendment deserves more consideration than has been given to it by the Attorney-General. It is not a frivolous Amendment.

Mr. GREENWOOD:

I am not suggesting that the hon. and learned Gentleman actually said so, but in the very few words which he devoted to it he seemed to brush it aside as though it were of little importance. I put it to the Committee that this rearrangement of the county districts is a serious problem and that it is most desirable that the views of the various Departments of State, which in one way or another, are concerned with the local governing bodies, should be brought into the

general pool. This is especially so as regards this first general review of the whole problem. I do not think you can get an ideal arrangement of districts for all purposes but, with a view to getting the maximum amount of agreement among the various Departments and the county authorities I hope the Attorney-General will reconsider his views.

Photo of Mr Frank Griffith Mr Frank Griffith , Middlesbrough West

Although the Attorney-General replied for the Government I think I could see behind him the sinister figure of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, who, evidently, will brook no rival near his throne. The right hon. Gentleman sees in this proposal a plot whereby all these other authorities would come in and take away some measure of his authority. I assure him that nothing of the kind is suggested. Of course the ultimate authority in these matters must remain with the Minister of Health and 'nothing will take away from that authority. The learned Attorney-General was considering individual cases, where it would probably be cumbersome and unnecessary to have an extended consultation with a great many representatives of different departments, but when you are making an altogether new start in this matter, it is going to be done in a measure once for all, and it may as well he done properly. Therefore, we want to get all the information we can, and when it has been gathered and acted on, then the Ministry of Health resumes its sway, without anybody interrupting or interfering with it.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 122; Noes, 191.

Division No. 97.]AYES.[9.7 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Charleton, H. C.Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Cluse, W. S.Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Connolly, M.Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)
Ammon, Charles GeorgeCove, W. G.Griffith, F. Kingsley
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Grundy, T. W.
Baker, WalterCrawfurd, H. E.Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Dalton, HughHall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Barnes, A.Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)Hardle, George D.
Batey, JosephDuncan, C.Harris, Percy A.
Bellamy, A.Dunnico, H.Hayday, Arthur
Bowerman, Bt. Hon. Charles W.Edwards, C. (Monmouth. Bedweilty)Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)
Broad, F. A.Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)Henderson, T. (Glasgow)
Bromfield, WilliamEvans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Hirst, G. H.
Brown, Ernest (Leith)Gardner, J. P.Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Gibbins, JosephHudson, J, H. (Huddersfield)
Buchanan, G.Gillett, George M.Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)
Cape, ThomasGraham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
John, William (Rhondda, West)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Taylor, R. A.
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Ponsonby, ArthurThorne, w. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Potts, John S.Thurtle, Ernest
Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Richardson, R, (Houghton-le-Spring)Tinker. John Joseph
Kennedy, T.Ritson, J.Tomlinson, R. p.
Kirkwood, D.Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)Townend, A. E.
Lansbury, GeorgeRobinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R. Eiland)Viant, S. P.
Lawrence, SusanSaklatvala, ShapurjlWalihead, Richard C.
Lee, F.Salter, Dr. AlfredWalsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Lindley, F. W.Scurr, JohnWatson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Longbottom, A. W.Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)Wellock, Wilfred
Lowth, T.Shepherd, Arthur LewisWelsh, J. C.
Lunn, WilliamShiels, Dr. DrummondWhiteley, W.
Macklnder, W.Shinwell, E.Wiggins, William Martin
Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Sitch, Charles H.Williams, David (Swansea, East)
March, S.Slesser, Sir Henry H.Williams, Dr. j. H. (Lianelly)
Maxton, JamesSmillie, RobertWilliams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Montague, FrederickSmith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhlthe)Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercilffe)
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Smith, Rennie (Penistone)Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Murnin, H.Stamford, T. W.Wright, W.
Naylor, T. E.Stephen, CampbellYoung, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Oliver, George HaroldStewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Palln, John HenryStrauss, E. A.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Paling, W.Sullivan, J.Mr. Fenby and Major Owen.
Parkinson, John Atlen (Wigan)Sutton, J. E.
NOES.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelElliot, Major Walter E.Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Albery, Irving JamesErskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)Lumley, L. R.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Everard. W LindsayLynn, Sir R. J.
Allen, Sir J. SandemanFalie, Sir Bertram G.Macintyre, Ian
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Fanshawe, Captain G. D.Macmillan, Captain H.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Forestier-Walker, Sir L.MacRobert, Alexander M.
Baldwin. Rt. Hon. StanleyFoster, Sir Harry S.Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Foxcroft, Captain C. T.Manningham-Builer, Sir Mervyn
Balniel, LordFraser, Captain IanMarriott, Sir J. A. R.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M.Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Mason, Colonel Glyn K.
Barnett, Major Sir RichardGadle, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyMerriman, Sir F. Boyd
Bennett, A. J.Galbraith, J. F. W.Milne, J. S. Wardlaw.
Bethel, A.Ganzoni, Sir JohnMitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Betterton, Henry B.Gates, PercyMonsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Birchall, Major J. DearmanGilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnNail, Colonel Sir Joseph
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.Goff, Sir ParkNeville. Sir Reginald J.
Braithwaite. Major A. N.Gower, Sir RobertNewton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Brass, Captain W.Grace, JohnNicholson, O. (Westminster)
Briscoe. Richard GeorgeGrenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Oman, sir Charles William C.
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Grotrlan, H. BrentOrmsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)Gunston. Captain D. W.Pennefather, Sir John
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Hall. Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Penny, Frederick George
Buchan, JohnHanbury, C.Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Burman, J. BHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPerring, Sir William George
Campbell, E. T.Harland, A.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Cassels, J. D.Harrison, G. J. C.Pilcher, G.
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kenntngton)Power, sir John Cecil
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Pownall, Sir Assheton
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd. Henley)Price, Major C. W. M.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir VivianRadford, E. A.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Raine. Sir Walter
Chapman, Sir S.Hennessy. Major Sir G. R. J.Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)
Charteris, Brigadier-General J.Hills. Major John WallerRemer, J. R.
Christie, J. A.Hilton. CecilRhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeHolbrook. Sir Arthur RichardRichardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y. Ch'ts'y)
Cobb. Sir CyrilHope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. O.Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Ropner, Major L.
Colman, N. C. D.Hopkins. J. W. W.Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Conway. Sir W. MartinHopkinson. A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cope, Major Sir WilliamHoward-Bury, Colonel C. K.Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Hume, Sir G. H,Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)Hurd, Percy ASandeman, N. Stewart
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Hurst, Gerald B.Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.Inskip. Sir Thomas Walker H.Sandon, Lord
Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)Iveagh, Countess ofSavery, S. S.
Crookshank. Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)Shepperson, E. W.
Cunilffe, Sir HerbertKennedy. A. R. (Preston)Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Curzon, Captain ViscountKindersley, Major G. M.Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Davies, Ma). Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)King, Commodore Henry DougleSomervtlle, A. A. (Windsor)
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)Knox, Sir AlfredSouthby, Commander A. R. J.
Davies, Dr. VernonLamb, J. O.Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Dawson, Sir PhilipLister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipStanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Dean,. Arthur WellesleyLoder, J. de V.Storry-Deans, R.
Dixey, A. C.Looker, Herbert WilliamStott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Eden, Captain AnthonyLoug her, LewisStreatfeild. Captain S. R.
Edmondson, Major A. J.Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh VereSugden, Sir Wilfrid
Tasker, R Inigo.Waterhouse, Captain CharlesWood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Templeton, W. P.Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)Wood, E. (Chost'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)Watts, Sir ThomasWood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Titchfield, Major the Marquess ofWayland, Sir William A.Wragg, Herbert
Turton, Sir Edmund RussboroughWells, S. R.Wright, Brig.-General W. D.
Vauqhan-Morgan, Col. K. P.Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Waddington, R.Winterton, Rt. Hon. EarlTELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Wallace, captain D. E.Withers, John JamesCaptain Margesson and Sir Victor
Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)Womersley, W. J.Warrender.

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

The next two Amendments in the name of the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) —in page 34, line 29, at the end, to insert the words: (a) the division of any such district or of any parish into two or more such districts or parishes"; and in line 29, at the end, to insert the words: (a) any alteration of the name of any such district or parish —could be moved as a. new paragraph (1); and the same remark applies to the Amendment in the name of the lion. Member for the Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams)—in page 34, line 31, at the end, to insert the words: (b) any alteration of electoral divisions.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I beg to move, in page 34, line 32, after the word "district," to insert the words" or parish."

Under this Clause the county council has power to review any alteration or definition of the boundaries of a parish, but there is no power to apply to a parish the provisions of the various paragraphs that follow paragraph (a) in this Clause. As the Royal Commission made it clear that they considered that parishes should be included in the review, I have put my name to this and the following Amendments which have been put down by some of my hon. Friends.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made:

In page 34 line 33, at the end, insert the words "or parish."

In page 34 line 34, after the word "district," insert the words "or parish."

In page 34 line 35, at the end, insert the words "or parish."

In page 34 line 40, at the end, insert the words "or parish."—[Mr. Chamberlain.].

Photo of Sir George Newton Sir George Newton , Cambridge

I beg to move, in page 34, line 40, at the end, to insert the words: (f) any alteration of the electoral divisions in the county and of the number of county councillors. I have also on the Paper a cones quential Amendment—in page 36, line 26, at the end, to insert the words: (7) Provided that in the application of the foregoing provisions of this Section to any alteration of the electoral divisions in a county or of the number of county councillors and to any proposals in regard thereto, the Secretary of State shall be substituted for the Minister, and the Secretary of State shall consider not only the proposals of the county council, but also any proposals in regard to any alteration of the electoral divisions in the county and of the number of county councillors that may be made by the council of any district wholly or partly within the county.(8) In determining the constitution of electoral divisions regard shall be had not only to the directions contained in Section fifty-one of the Local Government Act, 1888, but also to the net annual value of the hereditaments comprised in each division. This, I think, may be taken in conjunction with the Amendment which I am now moving. Both Amendments have the same object, namely, to ensure that the areas of electoral divisions and their representation on the county council should be duly considered in the light of the way in which they are affected by the reorganisation of districts and also by the Bill as a whole. The difficulty, which is well known in connection with the representation of certain districts on county councils, is, I believe, fully appreciated by the Minister, and I hope that he will be able to find some way out of it, because unless he does it will impair the promise and potency of the Measure as a whole. The Minister has already received a deputation from the Association of Municipal Corporations, representing the county boroughs and non-county boroughs, upon this subject. They then pressed upon him the point of view embodied in the Amendments. In reply to the deputation, the Minister expressed himself in sympathy with the object of the Amendments, but I understand that he hesitated to incorporate them in the Bill, fearing that they would tend to overload it. I can hardly think that two such modest Amendments as these would overload a Bill consisting of 155 pages.

In the Local Government Act of 1888, provision was made for dealing with the electoral divisions and the alterations which took place in consequence of the passing of that Act, and I would like to read two Clauses which appear to be germane. In Clause 51 it was laid down that The divisions shall be arranged with a view to the population of each division being, so nearly as conveniently may be equal, regard being had to a proper representation both of the rural and of the urban population, and to the distribution and pursuits of such population. The pursuits of the population which I represent are educational, and I feel that they in particular should obtain adequate representation on the county council. Again, in Clause 54, sub-section (1), of the same Bill dealing with the same point, it was provided that Whenever it is represented by the council of any county or borough to the local government board,(a) that the alteration of the boundary of any county or borough is desirable …(f) that the alteration of any area. of local government partly situate in their county or borough is desirable;the local government board shall, unless for special reasons they think that the representation ought not to he entertained, cause to be made a local inquiry, and may make an order. I would add that in the Municipal Corporations Act, 1882, it was also expressly provided that regard must be had to the number of persons rated in the ward, and to the aggregate rating of the ward itself. I therefore suggest that there are several potent precedents for the inclusion in the Bill of the Amendments which I am moving.

I think the case is all the more strong for adequate provision to meet this difficulty now that the old remedy of turning a non-county borough into a county borough has to a great extent been done away with. The limit of population has been increased by recent legislation from 50,000 to 75,000 so that the the previous remedy for dealing with a situation of this kind is no longer available to the same extent. If I may quote a particu- lar case, I would like to refer to my own constituency of Cambridge. In that case 70 per cent. of the rates will in future be found by the borough, but although the county will raise only some 30 per cent. of the rates, 28 members will represent the rural areas, while only 20 will come from urban districts. That is an unsatisfactory state of things. I think that it is perhaps an extreme case, but some provision should be made so as to bring about a state of equity and equality. I hope the Minister of Health will not bang, bolt and bar the door in our faces, for T am anxious that this Bill should be administered by local authorities not only with knowledge but also with enthusiasm, and if anomalies are allowed to creep in, it will very much deter the easy and satisfactory working of the Measure when it reaches the Statute Book.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

The speech which my hon. Friend has just addressed to the Committee, especially when we consider the case of Cambridge which he has so constantly brought to the notice of the Committee, demands some further consideration. As I understand it, his object is to extend the review which is suggested in this Clause to the alteration of electoral divisions as well as of county districts. The Government have given particular consideration to this matter, especially having regard to the strong representations which my hon. Friend has made, and we think, under all the circumstances of the case, that some step must be taken in order to remedy not only the case to which my hon. Friend has referred, but other anomalies that exist. What we propose to do—and I invite my hon. Friend to accede to the suggestion—is to frame a new Clause, because obviously this is a matter which must be dealt with in a different way than by an Amendment to this particular Clause. The Government propose to frame a new Clause providing for a resurvey of the electoral divisions by January, 1933, and to base that survey on the existing criteria contained in Section 51 of the Act. My hon. Friend in his Amendment, suggests that regard ought to be had to the net annual value and so to introduce a new factor. I think it would be very difficult to take in a matter of this kind. In any event, I think he will be willing to wait until the proposals of the Government are known, and which, I hope, will be received with that enthusiasm from the local authorities of which he spoke. In these circumstances, I suggest that he should withdraw his Amendment to-night, to enable the Government to put a new Clause down in good time before we reach the matter.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

I want to ask why the Government should have decided to have, this county council review in 1933, when, in fact, they are having a general review in 1932. Is there any peculiar reason why there should be one year's extension beyond the general review for the county council areas? The Minister of Health and the Parliamentary Secretary have already agreed as to the justice of the case submitted by the hon. Member for Cambridge (Sir D. Newton). In receiving deputations from the urban district council authorities, they have both of them previously admitted the justice of the case, and, in view of the fact that in future urban district councils will, under the terms of this Bill, be called upon to pay such a large proportion of the county rates, unless at the earliest possible moment they are granted revision consistent with the rates they have to pay and with the population, they are not going to enjoy that measure of justice to which they are entitled. One recognises that this is a very serious matter and cannot be done hastily, but the county councils have not been what they might have been in the past, and it is perfectly obvious that unless there is such a review many councils will not hasten to review their electoral areas, and do what we consider to be the right thing, particularly under the terms of the Bill, which, after all, makes drastic changes both in assessments and rates, and so forth. Therefore, I think the right hon. Gentleman has not gone quite far enough. Nothing less than a county review taking place simultaneously with the general review will be satisfactory. It seems to me that the promise to provide a new Clause which will give effect to the idea one year later than the general review is not enough.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

Perhaps I did not sufficiently explain myself. Obviously, you cannot alter your electoral divisions until you have taken your first step of alterations in connection with district areas.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

Surely the Parliamentary Secretary is aware that we are now living in 1928, and to wait until 1933 is five years. It should be perfectly obvious that between now and 1933 the county councils will have ample opportunity to examine their areas, and to review the electoral divisions. I think the Committee ought not to be content with the right hon. Gentleman's reply. The justice of the claim has been accepted by the Minister of Health, and the only plea put forward by the Minister—a perfectly legitimate one—to the Urban District Councils' Association was that the new Clause, desired by representatives of different people, might overload the Bill. I entirely agreed with the Minister when he made that statement, but now that he has decided to accept the principle and to embody it in the Bill, is there any peculiar reason why it should be delayed one year beyond the general review? The first claim, perhaps, is that of the local authorities whose general finance and situation are going to be changed in the urban and rural areas. While the intention and purpose of the review on the lines indicated in the Local Government Report are perfectly correct, the passing of this Bill makes it more and more urgent that perhaps the first thing that should be done is that the county councils should review their own electoral divisions, so as to provide an equitable basis for future elections and a redistribution of representation on those bodies, which will be infinitely more important bodies in the future than they have been up to this moment. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see, at least, that the county councils shall as early as practicable, without dislocating their work, give effect to what he himself 'and others agree is a perfectly justifiable claim.

Photo of Mr John Withers Mr John Withers , Cambridge University

I represent some part of the Borough of Cambridge, and I must thank the Minister very much for the concession which he has made in, at any rate, admitting the principle. Having done that, it seems to me that the right thing is to wait and see the Clause which it is proposed to set down. It is useless to debate in our minds what we think the Minister is going to say. We must wait and see, and in the meantime, urge him to bring it into operation as soon as he possibly can, because five years means a very serious delay, and we think it ought to be accelerated as far as possible.

Photo of Sir George Newton Sir George Newton , Cambridge

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment in view of the assurance which has been given by the Minister, which I greatly appreciate [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I should like to make the same reply as my colleague, and to say that I desire to see the new Clause first, and that I will reserve my comment until I have had an opportunity of seeing it.

Mr. GREENWOOD:

I am sorry the hon. Member has taken this line, because it does not appear to me that the Parliamentary Secretary has dealt with this question quite fairly. It is perfectly true that in point of time the redistribution of seats on local authorities would follow any redistribution that there might he in areas. The county councils must make this survey and complete it by April, 1932, that is in 3½ years' time. It must take into account all the alterations and redistributions, the breaking up of old districts and the formation of new ones. I should have thought it was part and parcel of that to determine the changes in representation that might be necessary. There may he good grounds for saying that this should be a separate Clause, but I think there is everything to be said for dealing with the whole thing together. I should not have thought it was pressing the county authorities too much to say that within 3½ years, when making these changes, they should at the same time take on this somewhat cognate question of considering the representation. I agree with the Parliamentary Secretary in saying that that must follow, but the whole point we had in putting down a somewhat similar Amendment was to link this up with the general survey as an essential part of it. It may be that the Minister's Clause may meet our point, but our reason for refusing leave for the withdrawal of the Amendment is that the Parliamentary Secretary did not make things clear enough. If he can give as a definite assurance that it shall be dealt with as part of the general plan, then we may not feel so much ob- jection to granting a little more time, though I cannot see that there is need for any more time.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

Perhaps the hon. Member has not had in mind the dates of the triennial elections for county councils. The next date is 1931, and it is quite impossible to have the review in time for that. The following elections will be in March, 1934, and if the scheme is prepared by 1933, as my right hon. Friend suggested, it will be in time for the elections in 1934.

Mr. GREENWOOD:

I do not see any real point in prolonging the agony for another year. This is part of the general question of the survey, and I should have thought it would have been possible to make it part and parcel of the general survey.

Amendment negatived.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I beg to move, in page 34, line 40, at the end, to insert. the words: (f) the combination of the area of the council with the area or areas of one or more other county councils for the purpose of town planning or of highway administration. One of the blots on this proposed scheme is that, it overlooks the fact that it is necessary in town planning and road making to take a wider view than that of the county. The county cannot be regarded as the right unit for all purposes. We desire to make quite sure that when the first consultations take place in connection with the drawing up of the scheme a wider view with regard to roads and town planning shall be taken than would lie possible under the Bill as it stands at present. I do not think the case can be better pat than it is put in the White Paper. On page 18, speaking with reference to town planning, the right hon. Gentleman points out: The making of adequate provisions in regard to highways plays an important pert in town planning, and, since the road powers of county councils will be widely extended by the preceding clauses … it becomes essential that the position and powers of these authorities in town planning shall he properly defined. At present county councils have no powers of taking any formal part in the preparation and administration of town planning schemes—a state of affairs which, even apart from the present proposals has been shown by experience to be unsatisfactory. We have not had the advantage of discussing the town planning clauses, but as the Committee are aware there has in recent years been a big move, and a voluntary move, towards the combination of areas for purposes wider than those of the areas. We have no desire to impede that movement by any action from the centre which might cause jealousy and, indeed, hamper the movement; and we do think that now that the various councils in the areas are coming together for the purpose of considering a rearrangement of districts one of the things which ought to be considered is the relation of those districts and the county itself to the other districts outside the county.

May I take an illustration given by Sir Henry Maybury before the Royal Commission in 1925? Sir Henry Maybury was talking about East Sussex. I see that the hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley) is present, and he will remember the case. Outside the county borough of Eastbourne is the Eastbourne Rural District Council. The county rate in East Sussex for roads was 1s. 9½., but the road rate in the Eastbourne Rural District Council was 5s., a total rate for that area. of 6s. 9½d., though it was obvious, said Sir Henry, that the bulk of the traffic over the roads of the Eastbourne Rural District Council originated and terminated in Eastbourne or in the boroughs of Brighton or Hastings. If a case like that arises we desire that when the scheme drawn up by a council is under discussion consideration shall be given to the problem of town planning on the wider scale rather than on a narrow scale limiting it to the confines of the county, because we think a good opportunity arises to bring to the notice of county councils, some of whom have been rather indifferent on the matter, that it is vitally important, if we are to have proper highways, that our traffic problem should be handled with a wider outlook. All kinds of problems are mixed up with that problem—the problems of life and limb, livelihood and leisure— [Interruption]. The hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Broad) refers to my summary way of putting it, and certainly the case might be stated at greater length, but I am trying to compress what I want to say.

We think this is a big matter, and no greater impetus could be given to the movement, happily growing, for combinations of local authorities to work together in these two matters. They should not only be planning ahead, but they should be making their roads not merely in accordance with the needs of their own particular local districts but with regard to the wider interests of public health and traffic conditions and the removal of people from slum areas into areas where there are light and air and space. We have constantly been reminded—at least a hundred times in this Debate—that it is very easy for people with local interests to take merely a local interest in a subject. I was speaking of Sussex a moment ago and Mr. Kipling, in one of his most charming poems, said: God gave all men all earth to love,But since our hearts are small,Ordained for each one spot shall prove Beloved over all. That is true; but, nevertheless, we have often seen the reverse of that. While that is a delightful and desirable spirit, and has had a fine influence upon the national life and character, yet sometimes the love of one spot, one locality, or one county has had its drawbacks. When I speak of a county I would say that I yield to no man in my county spirit, being a Devonian and coming from what I consider to be the best county in England. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] This is not the place to debate that, but it could be debated, and considerable evidence brought to back up my contention. But the point is that the time has now arrived when we have to take the wider view than the county view, at any rate with regard to roads and town planning, having regard to the lives and the health of our men, women and children. If Queen Elizabeth and Cromwell had had their way—

The CHAIRMAN:

I do not think that these references are relevant to the Amendment under discussion.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I hoped the evidence I was going to give would have shown that it. was germane to this discussion, for it may be remembered that both Elizabeth and Cromwell desired to prevent the growth of London—in one case beyond a radius of five miles from Charing Cross and in the other case a radius of eight miles. If something of that kind could have been done we should not have had the slums of Bermondsey and Southwark to-day. Indeed, we have to-day to revise the evil results of the lack of vision and the lack of power of those who have gone before us. There are many other considerations which I could bring before the Committee, but I content myself with having indicated a point of view which, I believe, will command increasing support in the country. I think the Minister of Health will be well advised, in the interests of a wider view of road construction and road development, and the obtaining of better places for the erection of houses outside congested cities, if he places this question amongst the subjects to be discussed with the county districts and county councils, and allows a combination of councils for the purposes of this Amendment.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

The intentions of the hon. Member are entirely laudable, but any suggestion that this proposal was absent from the ideas of the Minister of Health is doing me less than justice. I think the hon. Member said that we had overlooked the great attention which is now being given to the broader issue. Of course, the council to which the hon. Member refers is the county council, but he appears to have overlooked the fact that county councils have no power to undertake town planning independently. If the hon. Member will turn to Clauses 33 and 34 he will find that there is power for county councils to combine with other authorities for town planning, and there is power enabling the Ministry to make combinations. Therefore, as far as town planning is concerned, those powers are already secured under the Bill.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

Not road-making.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I will come to that question. The hon. Member must give me a chance. I cannot deal with more than one thing at a time. Unfortunately I have not the facility of language possessed by the hon. Member which enables him to deal with three or four things at one time. Upon the question of highways the hon. Member appears to have overlooked existing Acts, and I would call his attention to the Highways and Bridges Act, 1891, which gives county councils power to deal with the construction and improvement of highways. There is also the Local Government Act, 1888, which allows county councils to combine for any purposes in which they are jointly interested. The hon. Member will see that the scope of this Amendment is fully covered by the provisions of this Bill.

Photo of Miss Arabella Lawrence Miss Arabella Lawrence , East Ham North

There is no part of the country in which town planning is more needed than in the administrative county of London, and I think it would be exceedingly unfortunate if we did not give to London and the home counties the power, after inquiry, to combine for the purposes of town planning. The same argument is true with regard to highways where improvements and reconstruction can only be carried out under very exceptional circumstances. If we had not been discussing this Measure under the Guillotine, I should have tried to develop the argument about the combination of county councils for highway purposes. What is needed at the present time is some power of combining the major authorities for a particular purpose.

May I give one illustration? There is the case of the Royal Commission on Land Drainage and River Drainage. With regard to that important service, there was an excellent scheme involving the union of five or six counties for a particular service. There are certain areas which are so very large that they are incompatible with any other unit of local government. I have always been against the establishment of larger authorities to deal with these questions, and I have always been of the opinion that a regrouping of counties under the guidance of the central government is all that is necessary. You want another wheel to the coach. You want the fullest power of combination for any service. It is one of my greatest disappointments that this Bill touches major questions in such a very small way. The County of London is excluded. Anyone who goes into the suburbs must be struck with the immense growth of London, and he must see sometimes the amenities of most beautiful counties ruined by the want of a proper scheme of town planning.

Anyone who cares for his country, and the proper housing of the people, must feel the want of a proper central authority to deal with this problem. I I think the Minister of Health might very well make this concession with regard to town planning which covers what I regard as a most regrettable omission in the town planning Clause. It was so regrettable that I could not make up my mind whether I should or should not vote against the whole of the town planning Clauses. Therefore, I do not apologise for speaking at length on this subject, because it is one of great interest to London Members and to those who represent the Home Counties. I ask the Minister of Health to consider whether he cannot allow this permissive power for counties to combine for town planning, and bring in the County of London so that we can regulate the developments of our great City on reasonable and well-thought-out lines.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

I think the Parliamentary Secretary is well acquainted with some of the difficulties of local government in London which we have had to face during the last ten years. In London it has been found necessary to provide housing estates outside the county, and sometimes partly inside and partly outside the county. As the hon. Member for East Ham North (Miss Lawrence) knows from her experience, there have been immense delays in getting these schemes carried through, because of the hesitation of other counties in regard to co-operating with the larger County of London. In the ease of Becontree, development has been very much delayed, and sometimes even spoilt, by the jealousy and suspicion of the various local authorities. This proposal does not, of course, cover drainage schemes, but even now part of the development at Becontree has been held up by the unwillingness of the various local authorities to co-operate in regard to the drainage scheme.

The same thing has happened also between the County of London and the County of Kent. In connection with the Grove Park Estate, which is on the borders of London, being partly in London and partly in Bromley, Bent, there are all sorts of difficulties about passing roads, town planning, and the getting of a scheme that will really make the best use of the land and achieve its speedy development; and anything that is going to secure greater speed and greater co- operation in this development on the outskirts of London will be all to the good. My hon. Friend is trying to help the Minister by a constructive suggestion, such as I should have thought he would welcome in his desire to make the Bill a success. The insertion of some words of this kind in this great Bill would assist local authorities to co-operate more in making housing estates and town planning really effective and satisfactory.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I do not think that the supporters of this Amendment quite appreciate that this Clause only deals with the general review by the counties of the districts within their areas. The proper place at which to consider the question of town planning, especially as between county councils and towns, was on Clause 33, but, unfortunately, the Opposition so frittered away and dissipated their time—[Interruption]—that it was impossible to reach Clause 33, and so they have done day after day. As a matter of fact, there was an Amendment to Clause 33 which dealt with London, and it was the intention of my right hon. Friend to consider the matter in that connection. It will now have to be dealt with on Report, when we shall give it further consideration. So far as this Clause is concerned, this is not a proper occasion on which to do it, nor is it germane to the particular matters with which the Clause is concerned.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I regret that the right hon. Gentleman has not shown his usual courtesy, but at least he appears to realise that he has made a mistake. Clause 33 is one of the Clauses which went down in a bunch at Half-past Seven tonight. Whatever the right hon. Gentleman may care to say about yesterday, when most of the discussion was taken part in by hon. Members above the Gangway, or about the day before, when most of the time was occupied by Members on these benches, to-day the bulk of the discussion has come, not from the Liberal or from the Labour Benches, but from the benches opposite, and the right hon. Gentleman, in saying that time has been frittered away, is, therefore, making the accusation that his own back-bench Members, who were quite entitled to raise valuable points, and all of whom made thoughtful suggestions without repetition, were wasting time.

The right hon. Gentleman has gone too far. The fact is that he realises that this Guillotine is utterly impossible for the full consideration of this Bill. My hon. Friends and I realised yesterday that this question could not be raised under the operation of the Guillotine, and, therefore, we ventured to put down this Amendment now. I still hold, despite the replies of the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary, that, when the re-arrangement of the districts is considered, these subjects ought to come up for consideration, because they have a great deal to do with what is the appropriate unit, which is the real root and heart of the problem in the planning of town growth and road development. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will not charge us any more with wasting time, seeing that his own Members have taken up the great bulk of the time to-day.

Photo of Miss Arabella Lawrence Miss Arabella Lawrence , East Ham North

Arising out of what the Parliamentary Secretary said, I understand that the Minister is going to consider whether something can be done on Report, and I want to ask him whether he cannot consider doing a little more, and making it possible for county councils to combine for any purpose which they think fit and of which he approves. This is a very big question now. Many

Royal Commissions have recommended such a thing for the major services, and if that he done, it will effect a great improvement in the Bill, and will make possible certain services, such as the proper management of rivers, which are now entirely impossible.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

As far as I understand -what the hon. Member asks, it is already covered by Section 81 of the Local Government Act, 1888, which provides that any county council or councils, and any Court or Courts of Quarter Sessions, may join in appointing, out of their respective bodies, a joint committee for any purpose in which they are interested, and the Section then goes on to lay down the manner in which the committee shall be set up.

Photo of Miss Arabella Lawrence Miss Arabella Lawrence , East Ham North

If the Minister will look at the Report of the Royal Commission on Land Drainage, he will see that it states that powers of extension and improvement and so on are needed before the service can become effective. The matter has been very carefully considered with regard to water, which is the biggest service of all.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 127; Noes, 205.

Division No. 98.]AYES.[10.3 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West)Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Longbottom, A. W.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Gardner, J. P.Lowth, T.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Gibbins, JosephLunn, William
Ammon, Charles GeorgeGillett, George M.MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Mackinder, W.
Baker, WalterGrenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Griffith, F. KingsleyMarch, S.
Barnes, A.Grundy, T. W.Montague, Frederick
Batey, JosephHall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)Morris, R. H.
Bellamy, A.Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Mosley, Sir Oswald
Briant, FrankHardle, George D.Murnin, H.
Broad, F. A.Harris, Percy A,Naylor, T. E.
Bromfield, WilliamHayday, ArthurOliver, George Harold
Brown, Ernest (Leith)Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)Palin, John Henry
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Paling, W.
Buchanan, G.Hirst, G. H.Parkinson. John Allen (Wigan)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. NoelHirst, W. (Bradford, South)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Cape, ThomasHudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)Ponsonby, Arthur
Charleton, H. C.Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)Potts, John S.
Cluse, W. S.Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Connolly, M.John, William (Rhondda, West)Ritson, J.
Cove, W. G.Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Robinson, W. C (Yorks, W. R., Elland)
Crawfurd, H. E.Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Dalton, HughKennedy, T.Saklatvala, Shapurji
Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)Kirkwood, D.Salter, Dr. Alfred
Dennison, R.Lansbury, GeorgeSrurr, John
Duncan, CLawrence, SusanShaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Dunnico, H.Lee, F.Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Edwards, C (Monmouth, Bedwailty)Lindley, F. W.Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Shinwell, E.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Pialstow)Wiggins, William Martin
Sitch, Charles, H.T hurtle, ErnestWilliams, C. P. (Denbigh Wrexham)
Slesser, Sir Henry HTinker, John JosephWilliams, David (Swansea, East)
Smillia, RobertTomlinson, R. P.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)Townend, A. E.Williams, T. (York. Don Valley)
Smith, Rennie (Penistone)Viant, S. P.Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Stamford, T. W.Walsh, Rt. Hon. StephenWilson, R. J. (Jarrowl
Stephen, CampbellWatson, W. M. (Duntermllne)Windsor, Walter
Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. JosiahWright, W.
Sullivan, J.Wellock, WilfredYoung, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Sutton, J. E.Welsh, J C.
Taylor, R. A.Whiteley, W.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Mr. T. Kennedy and Major Owen.
NOES.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelForestler-Walker, Sir L.Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Albery, Irving JamesFoster, Sir Harry S.Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Foxcroft, Captain C. T.Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph
Allen, Sir J. SandemanFraser, Captain IanNeville, Sir Reginald J.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Apsley, LordGadie, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyNicholson, O. (Westminster)
Astor, ViscountessGalbraith, J. F. W.Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyGanzonl, Sir JohnPennefather, Sir John
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Gates, PercyPercy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Balniel, LordGilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnPerring, Sir William George
Barclay Harvey, CM.Goff, Sir ParkPeto, Sir Basil E. [Devon, Barnstaple)
Barnett, Major Sir RichardGower, Sir RobertPilcher, G.
Bennett, A. JGrace, JohnPower, Sir John Cecil
Berry, Sir GeorgeGrant, Sir J. A.Pownall, Sir Assheton
Bethel, A.Grenfell, Edward C. (City ot London)Price, Major C. W. M.
Betterton, Henry B.Grotrian, H. BrentRadford, E. A.
Birchall, Major J. DearmanGunston, Captain D. W.Raine, Sir Walter
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.Hanbury, C.Ramsdon, E.
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryReid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveHarland, ARemer, J. R.
Briggs, J. HaroldHarrison, G. J. C.Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeHarvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennlngton)Rice, Sir Frederick
Brittaln, Sir HarryHeadlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Henderson, Capt. R.R. (Oxf'd, Henley)Rodd, Rt. Hon. sir James Rennell
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir VivianRopner, Major L.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Buchan, JohnHenn, Sir Sydney H.Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Bullock, Captain M.Hennessy, Major Sir G. R J.Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Burman, J. B.Hills, Major John WallerSamuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Campbell, E. T.Hilton, CecilSandeman, N. Stewart
Carver, Major w. H.Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardSanders, Sir Robert A.
Cassels, J. D.Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)Sandon, Lord
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Savery, S. S.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Hopkins, J. W. W.Shepperson. E. W
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n,Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Hume, Sir G. H.Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Chapman, Sir S.Hurd, Percy A.Southby, Commander A. R. J,
Charterls, Brigadier-General J.Hurst, Gerald B.Spender-Clay. Colonel H.
Christie, J. A.Inskip, sir Thomas Walker H.Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. Q. P.
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeIveagh, Countess ofStott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Cobb, Sir CyrilJones, Sir G. W. H. (stoke New'gton)Streatfelld, Captain S. R.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Colman, N. C. D.Kindersley, Major G. M.Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Conway, Sir W. MartinKing, Commodore Henry DouglasTasker, R Inigo.
Cope, Major Sir WilliamKinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementThom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Courtauld, Major J. S.Knox, Sir AlfredThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Lamb. J. Q.Tinne. J. A.
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)Lister, Cunliffe., Rt. Hon. sir PhilipTitchfield, Major the Marquess of
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. GodfreyTryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.Loder, J. de V.Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)Looker, Herbert WilliamVaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Llndsey, Gainsbro)Lougher, LewisWaddington, R.
Cunliffe, Sir HerbertLucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh VereWallace, Captain 0. E.
Curzon, Captain ViscountLuce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard HarmanWard, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Huil)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Lumley, L. R.Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)Lynn. Sir R. J.Warrender, Sir Victor
Davies, Dr. VernonMacintyre, IanWaterhouse, Captain Charles
Dawson, Sir PhillipMacmillan, Captain H,Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Dixey, A. C.MacRobert, Alexander M.Watts, Sir Thomas
Eden, Captain AnthonyMaitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)Wayland, Sir William A.
Edmondson. Major A. J.Manningham-Buller, Sir MervynWells. S. R.
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)Marriott. Sir J. A. R.White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple.
Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithMason, Colonel Glyn K.Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Everard, W. LindsayMerriman, Sir F. BoydWilliams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Falle, Sir Bertram G.Milne, J. S. WardlawWinterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Fanshawe, Captain G. D.Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)Womersley, w. J.
Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)Wragg, HerbertTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)Wright, Brig.-General W. D.Captain Margesson and Mr. Penny.
Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley

Photo of Sir Annesley Somerville Sir Annesley Somerville , Windsor

I beg to move, in page 35, line 7, at the end, to insert the words: with particulars of any objections to the proposals that have been received by the county council. This is to provide that, when the county council sends the Minister its proposals, it shall at the same time send him any objections that may be raised to them, so that at the earliest moment he may be in full possession of the case. It is true that by Sub-section (3) publicity is provided for, but the results of that publicity may not reach him for some time.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I hope my hon. Friend will not think it necessary to press the Amendment. It really is undesirable that we should make the proceedings too complicated, and lay down in too great detail all the precautions that might be taken. I do not think any one can say the district councils that are affected will not have the most ample opportunity of making known to the Minister any objections there may be. Later on in the Paper I have an Amendment which directs the county council to send copies of its scheme to the councils of the several districts affected thereby, in addition to publishing the proposals in a newspaper. Then the district council has six weeks in which to make its objection to the Minister. The Minister has to consider the proposals and the representations that may be made to him, and if any objection in respect of any proposal is made by the local authority and not withdrawn, there has to be a local inquiry. With all this procedure, it is quite unnecessary to say that the county council shall send particulars of the objection to the Minister as well.

Photo of Mr John Wardlaw-Milne Mr John Wardlaw-Milne , Kidderminster

Is the Minister quite satisfied that this procedure would not be very much simpler than the one he has just indicated? In the case of the heads of objection being put before him, he would know at once what objections are being raised. The Clause is changing very much the conditions under which non-county boroughs particularly are going to be treated in future. Under these circumstances it is very important indeed that all the objections to any proposal should be before him as soon as possible.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I did not understand that the proposal was put forward as an alternative to the proposal in the Bill. If it is, it is still more objectionable, because I am certain the county districts would much rather put their objections themselves to the Minister than have them put before him by the county council.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Sir Annesley Somerville Sir Annesley Somerville , Windsor

I beg to move, in page 35, line 21, at the end, to insert the words, "or any charter granted to it."

There is nothing a non-county borough prizes so much as a charter, and any interference with it would be most keenly felt. We recognise that we cannot usefully resist the proposals of Sub-section (2). They may interfere with the charters of the boroughs, but we hope the Minister will accept these words, implying that there will be no further interference with charters beyond what is necessary to carry out the proposals of the Subsection. That position, as far as the Bill is concerned, is safeguarded by the words "save as aforesaid" meaning that except in so far as the alteration of boundaries is concerned there will be no further interference with the Charter.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I certainly was under the impression that Sub-section (2) as drafted entirely protected the Charter boroughs from any interference with their Charters, but I understand that there is some uneasiness on this matter. While I do not think that I can accept the Amendment which is in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. Somerville), yet if the Association of Municipal Corporations can put down a declaratory Clause at a later stage which would carry out the purpose they have in mind, I will give very favourable and sympathetic consideration to it.

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

May I ask who are the Association of Muncipal Corporations? Will they be able to put down a Motion?

Mr. SOMERVIILE:

Can such a Clause be added to the present Bill?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

It will be a new Clause.

Amendment negatived.

Amendments made:

In page 35, line 23, after the word "shall," insert the words send copies thereof to the councils of the several districts affected thereby and shall.

In page 35, line 24, leave out the words "the county," and insert instead thereof the words "those districts."—[Mr. Chamberlain.]

Photo of Mr Herbert Looker Mr Herbert Looker , Essex South Eastern

I beg to move, in page 35, line 26, to leave out the letter "a."

Under Sub-section (3) of this Clause a copy of the proposals of the council has to be open to inspection at a specific place. It is quite clear from the area, that these proposals may cover that they must inevitably in some cases refer to more than one district. The object of this Amendment and the next Amendment—in page 35, line 26, to leave out the word "place," and to insert instead thereof the words "places, one of which shall be situate in each of the districts affected by the proposals"—is to ensure that a copy of the proposals shall be deposited in each district affected. I submit to my right hon. Friend that it is hardly reasonable to ask the local authorities in one district to travel into another to inspect a copy of the proposals affecting both in common. In fact, in my Division I had an experience quite recently of that kind which led to some little difficulty as far as I was concerned, and which I was only able to get out of it by the kind assistance of the Department of my right hon. Friend. I venture to submit that it is desirable that copies should be placed in each particular district which is affected by the proposals. It would be much more convenient to have that done, it would entail less trouble and less time, than to have the various authorities travelling into another district to see what were the proposals.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

When the Amendment first appeared on the Paper there was a good deal in what my hon. Friend has said, but inasmuch as every district is to receive a copy of the scheme, he will agree that it is unnecessary now to deposit a copy in each particular district, because under the Amendment which we have just passed, which was proposed by my right hon. Friend, each district will be supplied with a copy. In these circumstances, my hon. Friend will agree that there is no reason actually to deposit the document.

Photo of Mr Herbert Looker Mr Herbert Looker , Essex South Eastern

Although what the right hon. Gentleman has said may well serve the purpose of the authorities concerned, the public ought to have access to a copy of the document at some place in the district.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

In the case of the public, the matter is met much better by publication in a newspaper which circulates in the district. The public are far more likely to look at it in the newspaper than in some particular place.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Mr John Wardlaw-Milne Mr John Wardlaw-Milne , Kidderminster

I beg to move, in page 35, line 42, at the end, to insert the words: and if within four weeks after the making by the Minister of an order under this section objection is made thereto by the council of a borough to which the order relates and is not withdrawn the order of the Minister shall be provisional only and shall not have effect unless and until confirmed by Parliament. This Amendment is one of very considerable importance, in our view. At the present time, as the law stands, no alteration can be made in the boundaries of a non-county borough without a Provisional Order being made and opportunity being afforded to the borough to appeal to Parliament, but as Clause 39 now stands, a great many rights pass away, and when. an Order has been made and laid on the 'Table of this House for 40 days, it will become law, and there will be no further appeal on the part of the non-county borough, a right which they have had in the past. The non-county boroughs feel very deeply about this matter and are very anxious to preserve their right of appeal to Parliament, if necessary. I would ask the Committee to note that under these proposals there appears to be nothing to prevent a county council and e, county borough dividing up—I am not suggesting that they are going to do it, but there is nothing to prevent them from doing it—a non-county borough area and parcelling it out in some new way, and the non-county borough would then, as far as we can see, have no appeal to Parliament, a right which they have hitherto enjoyed for a very long time, and which is to pass from them altogether.

It appears to us that paragraphs (a) and (b) of Sub-section (1) contradict each other. In one case, apparently, there will be the right to divide the whole of a non-county borough into a new district, while in the other part it would appear that they can only take a portion of the district. That is a matter which will have to he made clear. We are anxious to preserve the right of the non-county boroughs to appeal to Parliament and we therefore suggest that if there are objections to the proposals made, the non-county boroughs should have the right of appealing to Parliament, if it is impossible to get agreement.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

My hon. Friend will no doubt appreciate that in this matter the Bill follows the recommendation of the Onslow Commission. The Onslow Commission recommended that on the first review the alteration of the boundaries of a non-county borough should be made without a Provisional Order, but on the second review, or reviews which may be made from time to time, the existing practice should be maintained. That is carried out in Clause 40 in the case of any subsequent review. What is the object of the Onslow Commission in making that distinction between the first review and the second. In my opinion it was this, that the first review is likely to be of a much more general character than any subsequent review. The first review has to take account of a state of things which may be said to have accumulated and which in all probability will require considerable alteration. It is quite clear that in making any general review the alteration of the boundaries of a non-county borough must necessarily involve the alteration of the boundaries of adjoining areas. Therefore, if this Provisional Order procedure is applied to the alteration of a non-county borough in the first review the result would be to hold up the proceedings and alterations for a considerable time. We want to avoid that hold up; and that I conceive to be the reason why the Onslow Commission made the distinction. My hon. and learned Friend may rest assured that it is not desired to make this procedure permanent; it is merely temporary for the purposes of this Bill.

Photo of Mr John Wardlaw-Milne Mr John Wardlaw-Milne , Kidderminster

I agree with what the right hon. Gentleman says as to the intention of the Onslow Commission, but is it not possible that the danger referred to may actually occur if the Bill remains as it is? Is it not possible for him to devise some words which will prevent the review being held up and also prevent any danger occurring?

Photo of Miss Arabella Lawrence Miss Arabella Lawrence , East Ham North

This is no doubt very interesting, but is not a very important point. Would the hon. and learned Member withdraw this Amendment and give us the three minutes that are left to consider all that the Clause does? So far the Clause has been discussed by hon. Members opposite. Could we not have the remaining few minutes?

Photo of Mr John Wardlaw-Milne Mr John Wardlaw-Milne , Kidderminster

I should be more than delighted to respond to the hon. Member's appeal but this Amendment is put down on behalf of a number of non-county boroughs who consider it of great importance. May I say that the hon. Lady and her party have not allowed hon. Members on this side much chance of discussing anything on this Bill.

Photo of Miss Arabella Lawrence Miss Arabella Lawrence , East Ham North

It is catch-as-catch-can. As a matter of fact, the Clause which is down at 7.30 usually gets a rational discussion, and it is a pure matter of luck—

The CHAIRMAN:

It is an Order of the House.

Photo of Mr John Wardlaw-Milne Mr John Wardlaw-Milne , Kidderminster

In view of what the right hon. Gentleman says, and for the benefit of the hon. Lady opposite, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments made:—

In page 36, line 1, after the word "Minister," insert the words: either on the representation of a district council or otherwise and.

In page 36, line 7, leave out the word "county," and insert instead thereof the words "districts affected.' —[Mr. Chamberlain.]

Photo of Mr Edmund Turton Mr Edmund Turton , Thirsk and Malton

I beg to move, in page 36, line 11, to leave out the words "six weeks," and to insert instead thereof the words "three months."

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

The Government cannot accept this Amendment. It was the subject of careful consideration, and I hope the hon. Member, in those circumstances, will not press it.

Amendment negatived.

Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 251; Noes, 124.

Division No. 99.]AYES.[10.30 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelEdmondson, Major A. J.Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. CharlesEdwards, J. Hugh (Accrlngton)Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey
Albery, Irving JamesElliot, Major Walter E.Loder, J. de V.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)Long, Major Eric
Allen, Sir J. SandemanErskine, James Malcolm MonteithLooker, Herbert William
Aniery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Lougher, Lewis
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Everard, W. LindsayLucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Apsley, LordFalle, Sir Bertram G.Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Astor, ViscountessFanshawe, Captain G. D.Lumley, L. R.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyFenby, T. D.Lynn, Sir R. J.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Fielden, E. B.Maclntyre, Ian
Balniel, LordForestler-Walker, Sir L.MacRobert, Alexander M.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M.Foster, Sir Harry S.Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)
Barnett, Major Sir RichardFoxcroft, Captain C. T.Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Fraser, Captain IanManningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn
Bennett, A. J.Fremantle Lieut. Colonel Franels E.Margesson, Captain D.
Berry, Sir GeorgeGadie, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyMarriott, Sir J. A. R.
Bethel, A.Galbraith, J. F. W.Mason, Colonel Glyn K.
Betterton, Henry B.Ganzonl, Sir JohnMerriman, Sir F. Boyd
Bevan, S. J.Gates, PercyMilne, J. S. Wardlaw.
Birchall, Major J. DearmanGault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew HamiltonMitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMonsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Goff, Sir ParkMoore, Sir Newton J.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveGower, Sir RobertMorrison, H. (Wilts. Salisbury)
Briggs, J. HaroldGrace, JohnMorrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeGrant, Sir J. A.Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph
Brittain. Sir HarryGrattan-Doyle, Sir N.Neville, Sir Reginald J.
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexnam)Griffith, F. KingsleyNicholson, O. (Westminster)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Grotrian, H. BrentOman, Sir Charles William C.
Brown, Ernest (Lelth)Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon William
Buchan, JohnGunston, Captain D. W.Owen, Major G.
Bullock, Captain M.Hacking, Douglas H.Pennefather, Sir John
Burman, J. B.Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Burton, Colonel H. W.Hall, Capt- W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)Perring, Sir William George
Campbell, E. T.Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Carver, Major w. H.Hammersley, S. S.Pilcher, G.
Cassels, J. D.Hanbury, CPower, Sir John Cecil
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPownall, Sir Assheton
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester. City)Harland, A.Price, Major C. W. M.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)Harrison, G. J. C.Radford, E. A.
Cazalet, Captain Victor A.Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Ralne, Sir Walter
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Ramsden, E.
Chadwlck, Sir Robert BurtonHenderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd. Henley)Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir VivlanRemer, J. R.
Chapman, Sir S.Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Rentoul, G. S.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J.Henn, Sir Sydney H.Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Christie, J. A.Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeHills, Major John WallerRodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Cobb, Sir CyrilHilton, CecilRopner, Major L.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardRuggles-Brlse, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir GeorgeHope, Capt. A. O. J (Warw'k, Nun.)Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Colman, N. C. D.Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Conway, Sir W. MartinHopkins, J. W. W.Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Cooper, A. DuffHopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Cope, Major Sir WilliamHudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)Sandeman, N. Stewart
Courtauld, Major J. S.Hume, Sir G. H.Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Hurd, Percy ASanderson, Sir Frank
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Hurst, Gerald B.Sandon, Lord
Cowan, Sir Win. Henry (Islington, N.)Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Savery, S. S.
Crawfurd, H. E.Iveagh, Countess ofShaw, R. G (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)Shepperson, E. W.
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Smith Louis, W (Sheffield, Hallam)
Cunliffe, Sir HerbertKennedy, A. R. (Preston)Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Curzon, Captain ViscountKindersley, Major G. M.Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)King, Commodore Henry DouglasSouthby, Commander A. R. J.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementSpender-Clay, Colonel H.
Davies, Dr. VernonKnox, Sir AlfredStanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Dawson, Sir PhilipLamb, J. O.Storry-Deans, R.
Dixey, A. CLister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipStott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Eden, Captain AnthonyLittle, Dr. E. GrahamStreatfelld, Captain S. R.
Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray FraserWarner, Brigadier-General W. W.Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Sugden, Sir WilfridWarrender, Sir VictorWinterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Tasker, R Inigo.Waterhouse, Captain CharlesWomersley, W. J.
Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)Watts, Sir ThomasWood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Tinne, J. A.Wayland, Sir William A.Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Titchfield, Major the Marquess ofWells, S. R.Wragg, Herbert
Tryon, Rt. Hon. George ClementWiggins, William MartinWright, Brig.-General W. D.
Turton, Sir Edmund RussboroughWilliams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Waddington, R.Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)Mr. Penny and Captain Wallace.
Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kinuston-on-Hull)Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Saklatvala, Shapurji
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hllisbro')Hirst, G. H.Salter, Dr. Alfred
Ammon, Charles GeorgeHirst, W. (Bradford, South)Scurr, John
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Baker, WalterJenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)John, William (Rhondda, West)Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Barnes, A.Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Shinwell, E.
Batey, JosephJones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Sltch, Charles H.
Beckett, John (Gateshead)Kelly, W. T.Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Bellamy, A.Kennedy, T.Smillle, Robert
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhlthe)
Briant, FrankKirkwood, D.Smith, Ronnie (Penlstone)
Broad, F. A.Lansbury, GeorgeStamford, T. W.
Bromfield, WilliamLawrence, SusanStephen, Campbell
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Lawson, John JamesStewart, J (St. Rollox)
Buchanan, G.Lee, F.Sullivan, J.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. NoelLindley, F. W.Sutton, J. E.
Cape, ThomasLongbottom, A. W.Taylor, R. A.
Charleton, H. C.Lowth, T.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Cluse, W. S.Lunn, WilliamThurtle, Ernest
Connolly, M.MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)Tinker, John Joseph
Cove, W. G.Mackinder, W.Tomlinson, R. P.
Dalton, HughMaclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Townend, A. E.
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Viant, S. P.
Day, HarryMarch, S.Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Dennison, R.Maxton, JamesWatson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Duncan, C.Montague, FrederickWedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Dunnico, H.Morris, R. H.Wellock, Wilfred
Edge, Sir WilliamMorrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Welsh, J. C.
Gardner, J P.Mosley, Sir OswaldWilliams, David (Swansea, East)
Gibbins, JosephMurnin, H.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Gillett, George M.Naylor, T. E.Williams, T. (York. Don Valley)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Oliver, George HaroldWilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Palin, John HenryWilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Paling, W.Windsor, Walter
Grentell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Wright, W.
Grundy, T. W.Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Ponsonby, Arthur
Hall. G. H. (Marthyr Tydvll)Potts, John S.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Hardie, George D.Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.
Harris, Percy A.Ritson, J.Whiteley.
Hayday. ArthurRoberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)

It being after half-past Ten, of the Clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 12th December, successively to put forthwith the Questions on any Amendments moved by the Government of which notice had been given and the Questions necessary to dispose of the business to be con-

cluded at half-past Ten of the Clock at this day's Sitting.