Clause 53. — (Power to make regulations.)

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

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Photo of Mr Thomas Johnston Mr Thomas Johnston , Dundee

I beg to move, in page 47, line 3, at the end, to insert the words: Provided that the payment of recurring capital expenditure out of revenue shall not be deemed abnormal. Perhaps the Lord Advocate may be able to meet us in this matter. Many local authorities do their utmost to avoid borrowing. One of the methods which they adopt is to undertake as much work as they can out of recurring capital expenditure. If the Lord Advocate can assure us that there will be no intention whatever on the part of the central executive of having it declared that such capital expenditure would be deemed to be abnormal, thereby militating against the local authorities discharging their duties, I shall ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Photo of Mr William Watson Mr William Watson , Carlisle

My difficulty about the actual Amendment is that it would lay down too hard and fast a rule and do a great deal more than might, be intended. I have no difficulty in assuring the hon. Member that we regard the practice of meeting recurring capital expenditure out of income where it is the established practice and regularly done as reasonable, and there is no intention whatever of interfering with that. On the other hand, there might be borderline cases where it might be difficult to decide what is recurring capital expenditure. We are afraid that the acceptance of the Amendment might hamper us with regard to the regulations. As I say, we have no difficulty in assuring the hon. Member and those who support his case that the principle of the Amendment will be observed, and that it is intended to continue to observe the principle of it in cases where the practice is very properly carried on at the present moment.

Amendment negatived.

Photo of Mr William Watson Mr William Watson , Carlisle

I beg to move, in page 47, line 4, to leave out Sub-section (2) and to insert instead thereof the words: (2) Where in the standard year a rate is leviable in the landward area of a county or in a large burgh by an authority other than the council of the county or burgh regulations under this section may provide for the ascertainment of the loss on account of the rate so leviable in accordance with the rules set out in Part I of the Fifth Schedule to this Act, and for the payment to the authority by the council—

  1. (a) in each year during the first four fixed grant periods of a sum equal to the appropriate percentage of such loss; and
  2. (b) in each year in the first and second fixed grant periods of a sum equal to twenty-five per cent. of such loss, and thereafter of such sum as the council may determine;
and any sum so paid by a council to an authority shall be applied to such purposes, and in such manner, as may be prescribed by the regulations. This Amendment deals with the case where a rate is levied on a landward area or in a large burgh by an authority other than the council of the county or burgh. For instance, where you have a Water Board under a Local Act it is necessary to have a, special case when the rate will he taken into account in fixing loss on rates under the Bill and be included in the Exchequer payment to the council of the county or larger burgh. It seems not unreasonable that a payment should be made by the council to this separate authority in respect of their loss of rates. In the case of a large burgh, the ratepayers are the same where the water rate is concerned. Without such payment, the Water Board might be in difficulties because they have statutory limits, a sort of graduated scale for the proportion of public water rate and domestic water rate. If they did not get this compensation for loss of rates, they would be put in a difficulty with regard to maintaining the standard which they otherwise ought to be entitled to maintain. Therefore, we thought that it was right to make this Amendment. This is rather an exceptional case.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mr William Watson Mr William Watson , Carlisle

I beg to move, in page 47, line 12, at the end, to insert the words: (3) Regulations made under paragraph (c) of Sub-section (1) of this Section shall make provision for securing that where proposals for the development of institutional treatment in their area were submitted to the Scottish Board of Health by the council of any county or large burgh at such a date that grants in aid of capital expenditure on institutions to be provided thereunder are payable in accordance with the directions of the Treasury, then, if the execution of the proposals was delayed by the directions of the said Board and liabilities in connection with the proposals were incurred by the council with the approval of the said Board before the twelfth day of November, nineteen hundred and twenty-eight, and in consequence of the delay the amount of any grants paid or payable to the council for the standard year is less than the amount thereof which would otherwise have been so payable, the amount of the grants paid or payable to the council in respect of that year shall be estimated and certified as if they had been increased by such amount as may be prescribed. This Amendment is intended to meet a case where a county council and council of a large burgh have submitted proposals for development of institutional treatment in their area, but, owing to the execution of these proposals having been delayed by the central department, the scheme is not sufficiently far advanced to be entitled to be taken into the standard year for such a large amount as it would have been but for such delay. This Amendment is necessary in order that they shall not suffer in that respect because of delay which cannot be avoided in many cases.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mr William Watson Mr William Watson , Carlisle

I beg to move, in page 47, line 13, to leave out the word "Section," and to insert instead thereof the words "Part of this Act."

This Amendment secures that all Regulations—not only those under Clause 53—shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mr William Watson Mr William Watson , Carlisle

I beg to move, in page 47, line 15, at the end, to add the words: and if an Address is presented to His Majesty by either House of Parliament within the next subsequent twenty-eight days on which that House has sat after any such regulations are laid before it praying that the regulations may be annulled they shall henceforth be void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder or the making of new regulations.

This Amendment is for the same purpose.

Amendment agreed to.