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Business Of The House

Volume 414: debated on Thursday 11 October 1945

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May I ask the Leader of the House whether he can make a statement on the Business for next week and, in particular, whether he can give us any information as to the date of the Budget?

Yes, Sir. The Business for next week will be as follows:

Monday—Committee stage of the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill and Committee and remaining stages of the Coat bridge and Spring burn Elections (Validation) Bill, the Second Reading of which we hope to obtain on Friday.

Tuesday—Committee stage of the Supplementary Vote of Credit for War Expenditure, and Committee stage of the Civil Supplementary Estimates contained in House of Commons Paper No. 6.

Wednesday—Report stage of the Supplementary Vote of Credit, which I hope the House will agree to formally. I understand that the Opposition desire to debate Housing, which would not be in Order on the Vote of Credit, but if it is agreed that the Report stage be passed formally, the Government will allocate the rest of the day for the consideration of the Motion standing in the name of the Leader of the Opposition and other hon. Members, relating to Housing.

Thursday—Second Readings of the following Bills: Statutory Orders (Special Procedure); Inshore Fishing Industry; and Agriculture (Artificial Insemination), and the Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolutions.

Friday—Report stage of the Supplementary Estimates; Report and Third Reading of the Supplies and Services. (Transitional Powers) Bill.

During the week we hope to make further progress with the Indian Franchise Bill [ Lords], the Indian Divorce Bill and the British Settlements Bill, and to take the Additional Import Duties (No. 4) Order. It may be convenient for me to inform the House that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will open his Budget on Tuesday, 23rd October.

I should like to ask two questions. The first is in respect to Tuesday's Business. Could the right hon. Gentleman give the House any information as to the amount of the Supplementary Vote of Credit for which the House will be asked? Secondly, on Wednesday's Business, the right hon. Gentleman referred to the desire of the Opposition to debate Housing. I am sure it is clear to the House that the object we have in mind, my right hon. Friends and myself, in putting down this Motion is to allow a wider discussion than would be possible otherwise. We could not have one at all on the Vote of Credit and it would be limited on the Adjournment. We think it would be of advantage to all concerned to have the widest possible discussion, so that all relevant considerations can be raised by Members in all parts of the House.

With regard to the Vote of Credit it is for £2,000,000,000, a larger sum than any previous Vote of Credit, but this is intended to provide for expenditure for the remainder of the present financial year in order to avoid any further Vote before that date. With regard to the second point which the right hon. Gentleman has raised as to the Debate on Housing, we interpreted the Motion in that way, and as a matter for the convenience of the House. I am not, of course, committing the Government as to their attitude to the Motion itself, but that was the interpretation we put upon the Motion which has been put down by the Opposition.

Can the Government afford the House any time to discuss the policy announced by the Minister of National Insurance in answer to Questions on the Order Paper to-day, an answer which will be read with dismay in the country, and caused considerable dismay among hon. Members of this House, sitting behind him?

I am afraid we could not promise special facilities for that matter. There may be opportunities arising in the ordinary course of Business, and no doubt the matter will arise in some concrete way.

This matter is urgent, because many people will die this winter for want of the extra allowances. Would the right hon. Gentleman not regard it as an urgent matter?

I should have thought the comment of my hon. Friend, a very great exaggeration. The other point is that if we are to give special days too easily, we shall not get our legislative programme through. It is vital that we should.

On a point of Order. I desire to give notice that at the earliest possible opportunity I will call attention to this matter on the Adjournment.

When the programme is being prepared for the week after next, can the Minister consider the many problems that affect Scotland and allow us a day to discuss Scottish questions? Or must we just wait until we get to the Estimates? Can we get an agreement that something will be allowed in the programme for the week after next, if we cannot get anything next week?

I think the provision on the Estimates an adequate occasion for discussing Scottish matters, which of course arise also on Scottish legislation. The Scottish aspect on Housing, for example, can be debated on Wednesday next. I must impress upon the House the point that, if we are not careful about special days, we shall be in difficulties with the legislative programme.

When are we likely to have a day to discuss the Government's proposals on civil aviation? The House should have an opportunity of discussing any announcement as to policy.

It depends what the announcement is. It would be wise first of all to see what the announcement is before we go further.

Will the Minister consider legislation to allow us to meet in Scotland and discuss our own affairs?