Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to make provision with respect to Scotland for compensation and other payments by reference to claims for payments under section fifty-five of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act, 1947, and to amend certain provisions of that Act, and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid (in this resolution referred to as "the Act"), it is expedient to authorise—
Lieut.-Colonel Marcus Upton:
I am sure that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury would not like the Committee to accept this Money Resolution "on the nod." I am sure he will be able to provide the Committee with a little information on the financial implications involved. The Bill itself falls into six parts, and in respect of four of them the Committee is asked to accept various financial commitments. The only information about actual amounts that the Committee is given is that the amount involved in Part I is not likely to exceed £2 million.
We are also informed that no estimate can be made of the financial liability involved in Parts II, IV and V, but we are given slight comfort in the fact that the liability under these headings is not likely to be very heavy. However, I think the Committee would like to know from the Financial Secretary what exactly he is asking it to accept. I am sure he has the information at his disposal to enable the Committee to accept this Motion with an easier conscience than would otherwise be the case.
I should like to support my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) on this point, because I think it is necessary that we should be informed whether the Money Resolution provides compensation for the British Electricity Authority in view of the complications that may arise on Clause 2 in regard to the wholesaling of electricity. I think we are entitled to have some information on that because it would make the passage of this Resolution much easier.
Surely we are to have some sort of statement. I realise that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury may not have come here armed with the information for which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) has asked, but my recollection of a previous and better Government was that there was always somebody on the Treasury Bench to give the information which the Committee required. Surely we are not going to accept this Resolution completely blindfold. The amount involved is considerable and it runs into several millions. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland will agree with me when I say that we are entitled to be told what is involved in this Resolution and to be given some idea of the meaning of the various parts of the Resolution, which are extremely complicated.
Might I make a suggestion? There are three Ministers from the Scottish Office on the Government Front Bench and if they took it in turn they could explain fully what the Financial Resolution involves. What the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State does not know about it can perhaps be supplied by his right hon. and gallant Friend and his hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretaries of State for Scotland.
This request for information has been raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall), and his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) who were not present in this Chamber when the Bill itself was under discussion. The object of this Money Resolution is fully set out in the terms of the Motion on the Order Paper. Obviously we have to operate the Bill which has received its Second Reading, and it is necessary to make financial provision to do so. That is the object of this Money Resolution, with which I hope the Committee will now agree.