Orders of the Day — Surrey County Council Bill.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 17th February 1931.

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

One or two of the objections which have been made to this Bill are, obviously, points for Committee consideration. The rejection has been moved on the ground that the powers asked for are powers that can or might be used by all local authorities, and that, therefore, they should form part of a general Bill. I want to protest against that new and dangerous view of the powers of local authorities. It relegates local authorities altogether to too helpless a position. Many of the powers that are now generally exercised by local authorities were in the first place granted by Parliament to a particular locality on the demand of the locality; they were copied by others, and finally, in many instances, they became general powers made obli- gatory on all authorities. There are Committee points which affect the Ministry of Health, and on those the Ministry of Health will give a report; there are other Committee points which affect my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, and on those his Department will give a report; but I can see nothing whatever to make the House hesitate about giving the Bill a Second Reading. It ought to be a matter of congratulation to anyone interested in local government to see a great and important local authority breaking fresh ground, and in the words of the hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. Meller), inspired with the purest spirit of local patriotism, "making his own local authority an example which others will copy." I think the House ought to give the Measure a Second Reading, and that points of difficulty in connection with it should be reserved for the Committee stage.

Question, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.

Bill read a Second time, and committed.