Clause 49. — (Payment of Grants).

Orders of the Day — Local Government (Scotland) Bill. – in the House of Commons at on 22 February 1929.

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Mr. W. ADAMSON:

I beg to move in page 44, line 30, to leave out from the word "thereto" to end of Clause, and to insert instead thereof the words: at equal intervals of two months, dating from the beginning of each financial year of such county and town council. I hope favourable consideration will be given to this Amendment, which I move for the purpose of trying to lift what the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary has described as the rather close hand of the Department. From our previous experience of the Treasury, we are a little suspicious that the close hand of the Department will deal in such a way as will limit the activities of the county and town councils. The insertion of the words proposed would give the county and town councils a freer hand to engage in their activities, with the knowledge that the grants would be available at short intervals.

Photo of Mr William Watson Mr William Watson , Carlisle

The words in the Clause are the usual words always found in connection with such payments, and are the words in the English Bill. In the White Paper it was promised that the grants would be paid in six instalments during the year, and I hope my right. hon. Friend will be content with the assurance that that is the Government's intention. It is equivalent to what is asked for in the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Thomas Johnston Mr Thomas Johnston , Dundee

In the circumstances could not the Lord Advocate meet us, making it statutory by inserting these words in the Bill? He is perfectly well aware of the difficulties with which many local authorities have been faced. On many occasions they have had to borrow and to pay interest on overdrafts while all the time grants were due to them from the central Exchequer. It is quite possible that in the future some Chancellor of the Exchequer may withhold for months from local authorities money which is due to them. He would be saving the central Exchequer's money and compelling the local authorities to borrow. As the Lord Advocate has said that it is the intention of the Government to pay these monies in instalments at intervals of two months, surely there can be no objection to making that a statutory obligation.

Photo of Mr William Watson Mr William Watson , Carlisle

Difficulties might arise if we laid down a hard and fast rule, because later it might suit the convenience of local authorities to have these payments at other times. I cannot accept the Amendment.

Photo of Mr William Watson Mr William Watson , Carlisle

I hope the Lord Advocate will agree with us over this Amendment, because I am certain that the Scottish Office have had repeated complaints from county councils regarding the delay in paying grants, par- titularly those for housing and roads. On occasions there have been serious delays, and local authorities have had to borrow money at a high rate of interest. It is one thing to say that it is the intention of the Government to pay six times a year, but if this were made an obligation by statute local authorities would know where they were; they would know the money would be coming every two months.

Photo of Sir Robert Hamilton Sir Robert Hamilton , Orkney and Shetland

I am quite aware that the words in the Clause are the ordinary words used, but I would like to add my experience to what has been already said. My local authority are constantly complaining of the expense to which they are put in having to go to the bank and pay interest on an overdraft through not being able to get the grants to which they are entitled. I am glad this Amendment has been moved, arid that we have had an opportunity of voicing the experience of local authorities; and even if the Amendment be not pressed to a Division, I hope it will bring the matter to the attention of the Treasury and impress upon them the

difficulties, in particular, of the small local authorities.

Mr. ADAMSON:

I am disappointed with the reply of the Lord Advocate. It seems there is very little between us, because he has pointed out that the White Paper promises that the money will be paid in six instalments, and therefore I do not see why he cannot accept the terms of my Amendment. Delay in the payment of grants has been a great and contiual source of worry to local authorities. In consequence of those delays they have had to pay substantial amounts as interest on overdrafts, charges which have had a certain effect in increasing the burden of rates which have to be paid by the people. My Amendment would make certain of removing that difficulty, and I am disappointed that the Lord Advocate cannot accept it. I feel bound to press it to a Division.

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

The Committee divided: Ayes, 159; Noes, 83.

Division No. 224.]AYES.[1.15 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelCrookshank, Cpt.H.(Lindsay,Gainsbro)Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)
Albery, Irving JamesDalkeith, Earl ofJames, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M.S.Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Dawson, Sir PhilipKnox, Sir Alfred
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Eden, Captain AnthonyLister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Atholl, Duchess ofEdmondson, Major A. J.Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyEdwards, J, Hugh (Accrington)Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handaw'th)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M.Elliot, Major Walter E.Looker, Herbert William
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Falle, Sir Bertram G.Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonFanshawe, Captain G. D.Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Fermoy, LordMacAndrew, Major Charles Glen
Berry, Sir GeorgeFord, Sir P. J.Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Catacart)
Betterton, Henry B.Forestler-Walker, Sir L.Macintyre, Ian
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)Fraser, Captain IanMcLean, Major A.
Brass, Captain W.Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Macquisten, F. A.
Brassey, Sir LeonardGlyn, Major R. G, C.MacRobert, Alexander M.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveGreaves-Lord, Sir WalterMargesson, Captain D.
Briggs, J. HaroldGrotrlan, H. BrentMeller, R. J.
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeHamilton, Sir GeorgeMerriman, Sir F. Boyd
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Hammersley, S. S.Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. H.Hanbury, C.Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H.Harland, A.Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)Harrison, G. J. C.Moore, Sir Newton J.
Buckingham, Sir H.Hartington, Marquess, ofMurchison, Sir Kenneth
Bullock, Captain M.Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Nelson, Sir Frank
Burton, Colonel H. W.Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D, L. (Exeter)
Campbell, E. T.Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxt'd, Henley)Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir VivianNuttall, Ellis
Cecil. Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J.Herbert, S. (York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerHills, Major John WallerPeto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Peto, G. (Somerset. Frome)
Clayton, G. C.Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Pownall, Sir Assheton
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.Hopkins, J. W. W.Preston, Sir Walter (Cheltenham)
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir GeorgeHopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)Ramsden, E.
Cope, Major Sir WilliamHoward-Bury, Colonel C. K.Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Couper, J. B.Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Hume, Sir G. H.Ropner, Major L.
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)Hunter-Weston. Lt.-Gen. sir AylmerRoss, R. D.
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)Iveagh, Countess ofRussell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Rye, P. G.Spender-Clay, Colonel H.Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Sandeman, N. StewartStreatfeild, Captain S. R.Watts, Sir Thomas
Sanders, Sir Robert A.Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)Wayland, Sir William A.
Sandon, LordSueter, Rear-Admiral Murray FraserWells, S. R.
Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.Templeton, W. P.White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple
Savery, S. S.Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. MitchellWindsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)Tinne, J. A.Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ.,Belf'st.)Titchfield, Major the Marquess ofWomersley, W. J.
Smith. R. w. (Aberd'n — Kinc'dine, C.)Tryon, Rt. Hon. George ClementWorthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Smith-Carington, Neville W.Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Smithers, WaldronWallace, Captain D. E.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Southby, Commander A. R. J.Ward, Lt.-Col.A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)Captain Bowyer and Sir Victor Warrender.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Ammon, Charles GeorgeHudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Barnes, A.Jenkins. W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Barr, J.John, William (Rhondda, West)Sitch, Charles H.
Batey, JosephJohnston, Thomas (Dundee)Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Beckett, John (Gateshead)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Snell, Harry
Bellamy, A.Kennedy, T.Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Bondfield, MargaretKenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.Sutton, J. E.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Lawrence, SusanThomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Broad, P. A.Lawson, John JamesThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Bromley, J.Lee, F.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Lowth, T.Thurtle, Ernest
Buchanan, G.Lunn, WilliamTinker, John Joseph
Buxton. Rt. Hon. NoelMackinder, W.Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Charieton, H. C.MacLaren, AndrewWebb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Cluse, W. S.Malone, C- L'Estrange (N'thampton)Wellock, Wilfred
Cove, w. G.Maxton, JamesWestwood, J.
Dalton, HushMitchell, B. Rosslyn (Paisley)Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Dunnico, H.Murnin, H.Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Naylor, T. E.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.Oliver, George HaroldWilliams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Palin, John HenryWindsor, Walter
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Paling, W.Wright, W.
Hall, P. (York, W.R., Normanton)Pethick- Lawrence, F. W.Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Potts, John S
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Hardle, George D.Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W.Bromwich)Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Whiteley.
Hayes, John HenryScrymaeour, E.

Question put, and agreed to.