Orders of the Day — Rural Water Supplies and Sewerage [Money]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th November 1965.

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Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby 12:00 am, 26th November 1965

I am a little suspicious of the wording of the Money Resolution. During the course of the debate on Second Reading of the Bill we have referred to the question of grant for reinforcement schemes or augmentation schemes, schemes which are improving an existing water supply or linking it with some other supplies.

It was said that the Minister construes the 1944 Act as not allowing him to make grants in assistance of schemes of that sort. It seems to me that the Money Resolution makes it very difficult for us to try and amend the law in that respect. As I read the Resolution, it is to provide moneys for the provision of any increase attributable to the provisions of the said Act". which I read as meaning the Act which will result from the Bill before us. But that is limited to any increase in the limit on the contributions out of moneys provided by Parliament which may be made under section 1 of the Rural Water Supplies and Sewereage Act 1944. It seems to me that we are tied by the Money Resolution to the provisions of the 1944 Act, and it is doubtful whether any Amendment to the 1944 Act to permit the Minister to make grants in respect of improvements to existing water supplies would be within the Money Resolution. I rather hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will tell me that it is the intention of his right hon. Friend the Minister to introduce such Amendments in order that during the Committee stage or the Report stage of the Bill we might discuss the question of grants for improvements which, I am sure, are going to be extremely important in future, more important perhaps than grants for new connections.

Although it is not for the Parliamentary Secretary to interpret or construe the wording of the Money Resolution and whether any particular Amendment would be in order, he might perhaps be prepared to give some assurance or undertaking that, if we find that the Money Resolution precludes Amendments of that sort, he will press his right hon. Friend the Minister to introduce a new Money Resolution or present an Amendment to the existing one.

At a time when the new system is being formulated in the Ministry, it is very important that there should be an opportunity to discuss in Committee or in the House the question of bringing well into the scope of grants those schemes which are going to meet the increased demand for water from those who are already receiving a supply but an inadequate supply.