Clause 3. — (Termination of Certain Long-Term Contracts Transferred to the Board.)

Orders of the Day — Coal Industry Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th July 1949.

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Lords Amendment: In page 2, line 24, leave out "This section applies to provisions of any," and insert "Where a."

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Birkenhead East

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is one of a series of Amendments which are of a drafting character. The other Amendments which go with it are those at page 2, line 27; page 2, line 28; page 3, line 11, and page 3, line 14. They are designed to remove any doubt there may otherwise have been that all the provisions of the contract which vests in the Board under Section 7 of the Coal Industry (Nationalisation) Act, 1946, are to be repudiated if any of them are—in other words, that the Coal Board cannot pick and choose.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

These are little more than drafting Amendments. They meet a point made from this side of the House during the earlier stages about certain desirable alterations and clarifications. We are very grateful to the Government for accepting our views, even so tardily.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendment: In page 3, line 13, after "contract" insert: whereto the parties were, immediately before the primary vesting date, not connected (whether directly or indirectly) with each other to any material extent apart from the contract; and in the case of a contract.

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Birkenhead East

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This, again, is one of a series of three Amendments, the other two being in page 3, lines 13 and 14. What these Amendments do is to provide that Clause 3 of the Bill is not to apply to a contract unless it can be shown that the parties to the contract before the National Coal Board came on the scene had some connection, one with the other, independently of the fact that they were con- tractually bound together. There has to be some independent connection. This change is made in the provisions of the Bill in order to meet certain doubts which were felt by certain noble Lords with regard to the Clause. We agree that this Amendment improves the Clause.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendment: In page 3, line 45, at end, insert: Provided that the Board shall not determine the operation of provisions of a contract on the ground only that the financial terms thereof, or any of them, are, or may become disadvantageous to them.

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Birkenhead East

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This, again, introduces a change which is somewhat analogous to the change made by the previous Amendment. It provides that Clause 3 shall not operate if the only thing which the Board complain of is that the Clause in question is financially disadvantageous to them. This change is made in the wording of the Bill to meet a point of view put by noble Lords.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendment: In page 4, line 21, after "question" insert: whether provisions of a contract with respect to which the Board have served a notice under subsection (2) of this section are provisions to which this section applies or.

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Birkenhead East

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This Amendment goes closely with the Amendment in page 4, line 33, and perhaps I might explain the purpose of both at the same time. This Amendment is really designed to provide that the question whether the contract is one to which the Clause relates shall also be determined by the arbitrators in addition to the other matters which, as the Clause reads at the moment, are entrusted to them for determination. They will deal not only with the amount of compensation, but also with the question whether the contract is one within the purview of the Clause. The second Amendment is really consequential on that. It provides that, in the event of the matter not having been determined by the arbitrators by the time the notice expires, the period for cancellation of the contract shall be proportionately put back.

Question put, and agreed to.