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First Schedule—(Minor Amendments)

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 9 May 1961

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I beg to move, in page 28, line 35, to leave out "estimated product" and to insert:

"product, estimated in such manner as the Minister may direct".
This may seem a very fine point, but this calculation of a penny rate will be made not on the outturn but on the estimate. It has been represented to us by river boards that, in order to ensure uniformity, some such provision as this would be an improvement, and the simplest way would seem to be to give the Minister power to direct how the estimate should be arrived at. In so doing, the Minister will consult the associations. Exactly the same Amendment occurs four times in these Schedules.

I should like to thank the Minister. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) would have liked himself to have expressed thanks to the right hon. Gentleman for this. This is a point which has been raised by the Association of Municipal Corporations. The Minister has met it. We certainly thank him.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In line 43, leave out "estimated product" and insert:

"product, estimated in such manner as the Minister may direct".—[Mr. Vane.]

I beg to move, in page 28, line 50, at the end to insert:

6. After subsection (4) of section twenty-six there shall be inserted the following subsection:—
"(4A) A drainage board may require the owner of any hereditament in the district in respect of which a drainage rate is levied to state in writing the name and address of any person known to him as being an occupier of that hereditament; and if the owner fails to comply with the requirement or knowingly makes a false statement in respect of the information required, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five pounds".
In Committee my hon. Friend the Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bullard) moved an Amendment to this effect, but in a rather more elaborate form, and I said at that time that although we could not accept his Amendment we would be prepared to accept the simple principle, which is that the owner of a hereditament shall be required to provide the name and address of the occupier to a drainage board, if so required. A river board will have this power, and it has been represented to us that drainage boards, which do not have very large staffs, would find it a good deal easier, on some rare occasions, to collect their drainage rates if this power could be given to them.

I want to thank my hon. Friend for having met a point which I raised in Committee and which the Association of Drainage Authorities wished to see embodied in the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move, in page 30, line 1, to leave out paragraph 14 and to insert:

14. In subsection (1) of section forty-three (which confers on persons authorised by drainage boards power to enter and survey land and to inspect documents) the words "within the drainage district" in paragraph (a) and the words "in the drainage district" in paragraph (b) shall be omitted.
The powers in the Bill as they stand allow a drainage board to enter and survey land only within its own district, and since the boards are now being given power to carry out work outside their own districts, it would seem logical to extend the power to survey outside their districts, otherwise they could not efficiently carry out such work.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move, in page 32, line 3, at the end to insert:

21. In section sixty-two (which safeguards fishery interests) the references to the fishery interests shall be construed as including references to the interests of sea fisheries and the references to the Act of 1930 as including references to this Act.
This Amendment also follows a point raised in Committee, when certain hon. Members, particularly the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) and my hon. Friend the Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Scott-Hopkins), pressed that there should be a reference to sea fishery interests, so that, for example, if a river board were to build a groyne extending some way into an estuary or tidal waters and if, as could easily happen, there were valuable fishery interests, it should be an explicit obligation on the river board to have regard to those interests. We thought that something should be embodied in the Bill to cover the point, and this is the right place to do it.

I thank the Parliamentary Secretary for the action which has been taken. It is in accord with the accord which spread throughout both sides of the Committee on this point.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 33, line 9, leave out "estimated product" and insert:

"product, estimated in such manner as the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food may direct."

In line 17, leave out "estimated product" and insert:

"product, estimated in such manner as the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food may direct."—[Mr. Soames.]

Bill to be read the Third time this day.