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Clause 33—(The Covent Garden Market Management Committee)

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 9 May 1961

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Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

We now come to that part of the Bill which concerns the constitution of a committee with executive and advisory functions for facilitating the work of the Covent Garden Market Authority. Was Clause 33 amended in any way? Could the Minister say something about that, because this is vary important and his words will be carefully read by those who have to operate this provision in the months and years ahead. I should like to know what amendment was made in the Select Committee to the functions of the Management Committee and how that ties up with the present arrangements in the market.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) for raising this question. This was one of the Clauses where substantial amendment was made upstairs and to which I was under obligation to refer in Committee. As the Clause stood when the Bill went upstairs, it was for the Authority to put to the Market Management Committee any subject which the Authority thought was proper to put to it, which was of interest to it and within its powers to discuss. The point was made to the Select Committee on a petition from the Covent Garden tenants that the traffic should also go the other way—that the Management Committee should consult the Authority on matters which the Committee wished to raise and which were within its competence.

The effect of the Amendment which was made empowers the Market Management Committee, which is the advisory committee of producers and traders, to make representations to the Authority on any matter appearing to the Committee to affect the interests of persons represented on it and requiring the Authority to take those representations into consideration. This ties up quite closely with what I gather the hon. Gentleman is seeking in the Amendment which he will be moving to Clause 35.

As to the Management Committee generally, the Authority is required to consult it on all matters affecting its interests, and the Committee is given the right to make representations to the Authority in regard to any regulations or byelaws made by the Authority, and matters of the day-to-day supervision and control of the Market, or of storage facilities, may be delegated by the Authority to the Management Committee. That is the broad outline of its purpose.

Could the right hon. Gentleman say who appoints the Committee and who are the electors? The Clause provides:

"(1) On the day on which the Authority are constituted, there shall be constituted a Committee,"
and so on. Is this some sort of parthenogenesis that occurs on this amazing day?

It is the Authority itself which appoints the Management Committee, and it is in duty bound to consult all the organisations whose interests are served as to the way in which they should be represented on the Committee, but it is for the Authority itself to appoint it.

Is that right? I had the impression, and I must plead some ignorance about this, that the Management Committee had to be constituted by itself, as it were. At the moment, at the Market, we have the employers' establishment, and it seems to be the likeliest thing that they would form themselves into a Management Committee. Do I understand that it is the Authority itself which will say that certain people shall constitute the Management Committee, leaving out certain others? Is that right?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me time to refresh my memory, which I have now done. The chairman is to be the managing director of the Authority, and he will be there ex officio by virtue of the fact that he will be managing director of the Authority. The members other than the chairman are to be appointed by the Authority, and seven are to represent the interests of wholesalers and seven the interests of persons who sell to or buy from the wholesalers. The Authority is required to consult the appropriate representative bodies of these interests before making the appointment.

It means that the wholesalers will nominate a number of nominees up to seven and that they will be accepted by the Authority?

Question put and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.