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Lords Chamber

Volume 41: debated on Wednesday 11 August 1920

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House Of Lords

Wednesday, 11th August, 1920.

The House met at a quarter past three of the clock, The LORD CHANCELLOR on the Woolsack.

Derwent Valley Water Board Bill

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a .— (Lord Hylton.)

On Question, Bill read 3a .

My Lords, I have to, move that Clause 41 of this Bill be omitted. I dare say most of your Lordships have not had time to study the provisions of the Bill, and therefore I will read Clause 41. It is. in the following terms—

"Section 1 of the Trustee Act, 1893 (which specifies the securities in which Trust Funds may be invested) shall have effect as though there were included therein mortgages by the Board of their revenue and of the moneys receivable by them from the four Corporations granted after the passing of this Act."
The four corporations referred to are Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, and Leicester.

The point at issue, I am informed, is a very simple one—namely, should a private Bill be allowed to make an extension in the range of trustee securities which is not given by the general law and to which the Treasury and His Majesty's Government object? As many of your Lordships are probably aware, the stock of local authorities of over 50,000 inhabitants is a trustee security under the general law by the Trustee Act of 1893, and the Dement Valley Water Board's stock was put in a similar position in the year 1899. Morgtages of local authorities in general are not trustee securities, but under the Housing Act which Parliament passed last year mortgages of the local authorities entitled to issue housing bonds are trustee securities. That was a special concession strictly limited to housing authorities, and only made, as I am informed, in view of the vital necessity of encouraging housing authorities to raise money. It was not given by the general law to mortgages of authorities which arc not housing auth- orities, and the value of the concession to housing authorities is taken away if a similar concession is given to the competing mortgages of authorities which are not housing authorities.

Clause 41 of the Bill before your Lordships this afternoon proposes to make the mortgages of the Derwent Valley Water Board a trustee security, as your Lordships will have noticed from the terms of the clause that I read out just now. But this Water Board is not, and cannot be, a housing authority; so that what this clause does is to ask for a privilege for a particular authority which is not given by the general law. Your Lordships will observe that in this respect what the Bill asks is quite a different proposition from the privilege given in 1899 to the Derwent Water Board stock, which was a general privilege given to large authorities.

It may be arguable that all mortgages, not merely housing authority mortgages, ought to be trustee securities; but that is not the point to which I am inviting your Lordships' attention this afternoon. They are not all, in fact, trustee securities, and if a change is to be made the Government hold that it should be by general enactment and not in one particular case only, as is apparently asked for by the Bill before your Lordships. The Treasury claim that an extension of the range of trustee securities should not be made lightly in the interests of particular parties but on a general review in consideration of the national interests as a whole.

The general objections to increasing the range of trustee securities do not rest on the safety or otherwise of a particular issue. In this case I have no doubt that the Derwent Water Board mortgages would be as safe as the mortgages of the four constituent members of the board—namely, Leicester, Derby, Nottingham, and Sheffield. But the objections rest on these general considerations: in the first place, that with the present wide choice of trustee securities extension is not necessary to meet the convenience of investors; in the second place, that in these circumstances any further extension tends to compete with, and thereby depreciate, all existing trustee securities; and to admit mortgages of one water board might make it impossible to refuse a similar extension to other water boards, and, in fact, to the mortgages of all kinds of public boards which are not now admitted.

The case of the Treasury against this clause may be summed up as follows. In the first place, there is a general objection to extending the range of trustee securities; secondly, there is a particular objection to doing it in such a way as to deprive housing authorities of a special privilege which was given them as recently as last year; thirdly, there is great objection to making an exception in the general law by a private Act; and, fourthly, we believe that a concession in this case would lead to a wide crop of similar cases. Your Lordships may ask, in the first place, why did not the Treasury object before; and, in the second place, why have the Private Bill Committees of both the Commons and the Lords let this clause through The answer to these questions is as follows. The Treasury did raise the point with the promoters as soon as this clause, which was not in the original Bill, appeared. They informed the promoters of their objection as far back at April 21, and they repeatedly pressed their objections, culminating in a categorical refusal to modify their opposition which was conveyed in a letter from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mr. Baldwin, addressed to one of the Members for Sheffield, Sir S. Roberts, M.P., on July 12, and later, as I am informed, in a letter to my noble friend the Lord Chairman.

Yes, after I had given my decision.

It is not customary for the Treasury to report formally on such clauses to the Commons Committee, and they were not asked to do so by the Committee when considering this Bill in June. The Treasury were at the time in correspondence with the promoters, which is the usual way, as I am informed, of settling such points, and they had no reason to suppose that the promoters would not, as is almost invariably the case in such circumstances, in due course meet their wishes. Counsel for the promoters did mention to the House of Commons Committee that the Treasury had raised objections, but he did not put to the Commitee the real reasons for the Treasury objection. He argued, first, that mortgages ought to be trustee securities—which I hold is a point for the general law; and secondly, that the constituent authorities' mortgages were trustee secu- rities, which is no doubt a fact. I am referring, of course, to the four corporations. But those authorities are housing authorities, whereas a conglomerate body is not, and counsel did not bring out the housing point or the fact that the general law did not give the privilege for which he asked.

I hope I am not saying anything that the Lord Chairman will not agree to, because, of course, he is better acquainted with the details of this case. I dare say his knowledge of the details may go beyond what I have received from the Treasury, but, as I am informed by the Treasury, they are under the impression that when the case came before the Lords Committee my noble friend may, perhaps, have been influenced by the fact that the Commons Committee had passed. the clause. All this time the Treasury were in constant touch with the promoters, who were fully aware that the Treasury objection was not withdrawn. The Treasury, acting for His Majesty's Government, could not, of course, in any case have forced the Committee to take any particular view. All that they could do was to oppose this clause of the Bill now when it comes before your Lordships' House and can be discussed as a Government matter. Those are the facts as they have been given to me, and I beg to move that Clause 41 be omitted.

Moved, That Clause 41 be omitted.— (Lord Hylton.)

My Lords, in the ordinary way I have great sympathy with Treasury action, and at present, in regard to ordinary expenditure, I look upon the Treasury as a good man struggling with adversity. But in this case I would suggest certain reasons why their advice should not be followed. I need not remind your Lordships, many of whom are well acquainted with Private Bill procedure and have sat upon Private Bill Committees, that all Private Bills are, to a certain extent, extensions of the general law; it depends upon the limit within which those extensions are made whether the proposals of the Private Bills are justified or not.

As to the method of this opposition on the part of the Treasury, there is no complaint of notice not having been given; the promoters have had sufficient notice the whole time that the Treasury objected to this. I do not object to that in any way, but I do think it is a rather arbitrary pro- ceeding to try to upset a decision deliberately come to by a Committee of the House of Commons where the point was specifically raised, where the Chairman expressed the opinion that this power ought to be allowed, and indeed, as far as I can see, said he was quite prepared to fight the Treasury about it. That is as regards the House of Commons.

As regards your Lordships' House, this Bill was, I believe, unopposed, and came before the Lord Chairman. I had the pleasure of acting with the Lord Chairman for a short time while I was Chairman of Ways and Means. I learnt at that time to rely on his impartiality and on his sound judgment in regard to Private Bill matters, and I am sure that your Lordships will agree with me that his advice is well worth following in regard to this question. Finally, the opinion of the Treasury is entirely opposed to the opinion of the Ministry of Health, on whom rests the responsibility for sanctioning loans by corporations and by bodies of this kind.

I think, in the first place, the Ministry of Health. But, at any rate, the Minister of Health have in this matter a very special locus, and they are entirely opposed to the. view of the Treasury. As to merits, the view of the Treasury is that it is desirable to cut down the list of trustee securities, and they therefore oppose this slight extension. With great deference to the Treasury, I do not think that is a well-conceived objection. Had I not learned that this view is held by the heads of the Treasury, I really should have thought that this opposition was due to a red-tape proceeding on the part of some minor official. But if the real objection is that it is desirable to cut down the list of trustee securities, why did not the Treasury object to the Bill of last year, the Housing (Additional Powers) Act, 1919? That Act, as I understand it, is not confined to housing at all. As I understand, the effect of that Act in allowing mortgages to be treated as trustee securities applies to all mortgages granted for any purposes by local authorities authorised by that Act to issue local bonds. If that is the case, that Act does not confine the privileges granted to housing; it extends them to borrowing for all other purposes. That Act having passed, each of these four corporations—Derby, Leicester, Sheffield, and Nottingham—could, if the waterworks were their own undertakings, have borrowed money on mortgage for those purposes, with the leave of the requisite Government authorities, and could have these mortgages treated as trustee securities. This Derwent Valley Board has been set up by past legislation of your Lordships and of the other House, but just because these four corporations are joined together it scents to me that the security is no worse; in fact, I should say the security is rather better, and that it would be making use of a highly technical plea if they were to be refused the same facilities, when they are joined together, as they would enjoy if they were acting separately and each had its waterworks.

What justice is there in the plea that allowing this privilege to the Derwent Valley Board would depreciate the value of Government securities? The total borrowing powers of the Dement Valley Board are somehere in the neighbourhood of £6,000,000, and they are only increased by a little over £200,000 by this Bill. The amount actually issued, is, I think, about £3,500,000 only. Is it seriously contended by the Treasury that allowing the £3,500,000 already issued to be trustee securities is going to depreciate the value of the vast volume of Government securities? But put it all in, imagine the whole of the £6,000,000 borrowed. For every million that can be borrowed by the Derwent Valley Board there is £1,500,000,000 in Government stock and borrowings and in other trustee securities. It is perfectly absurd to say that this small addition to trustee securities would have any effect upon Government borrowing. On the other hand, it would be very unfair to the Derwent Valley Water Board and these four corporations, who are doing a great public service to their own localities by the work they are undertaking in connection with this water scheme. They say they will be prejudiced if they are not allowed to issue the mortgages as trustee securities. I beg your Lordships to hesitate before you accept the advice of the Treasury on this particular matter.

My Lords, I am very sorry that the noble Lord, as representing the Treasury, has taken the step, which, of course, is a perfectly proper one in accordance with Parliamentary procedure, of moving an Amendment on Third Reading to strike out a clause which has passed through two Committees of Parliament, or, perhaps I should say, which has passed all necessary stages of Parliament but the last one.

I noticed particularly what my noble friend Lord Hylton said that the Treasury are opposed to a wide increase of similar cases. I have no doubt that is a sentiment which will be supported in general terms by all your Lordships, but I think it right to mention, for reasons which I shall explain in a few moments, that though I have not been through a careful schedule ticking off case after case, I, with the assistance of my advisers, am not able to think of a parallel case of an undertaking in the exact position of the Derwent Water Board in the British isles. I do not like the argument that "it is only a little one," but as the point has been raised it is fair, I think, that I should mention that fact to your Lordships.

My noble friend touched briefly on the Parliamentary history of this matter, and I think I ought to explain it in rather greater detail to your Lordships. Of course, the view of the Treasury has been quite clearly before the promoters from the beginning, and this position of affairs was explained to a Committee of the House of Commons which is known as the Select Committee on Private Bills, Group D, over which my right hon. friend Sir Harry Samuel presides. I think it is fair to mention that to your Lordships. I should never criticise a Committee of another House, but I would point out that Sir Harry Samuel is a very experienced man in these matters, so I thought I ought actually to mention his name.

The point was brought before the Committee by learned counsel for the promoters. My noble friend seems to think that learned counsel ought to have argued the case from the Treasury point of view, but I do not think it is any part of the duty of counsel for promoters to do that. I have the Minutes of Proceedings here, and they are sufficient to show that the matter was fully before the Chairman of the Committee. He made his point of view quite clear on the matter. There is no question that he did not understand the point, and his view was quite precise. Perhaps I may make two quotations to your Lordships from what was said by Mr. Vesey Knox, counsel for the promoters of the Bill. After explaining how the matter came before the Committee, learned counsel said—
"The short point is this. A municipal corporation with a population of over 50,000 could, before the passing of the Housing Act, 1919, issue either stock or mortgages, but the stock was a trustee investment and the mortgages were not. It was curious it should be so, because the one is just as good a security as the other, and in fact, from the trustee point of view, rather batter, because a mortgage is repayable generally at short date, say five or seven years, and the trustee gets back his money in full, whereas in the ease of stock he may not get it back in full for thirty or forty years.
The CHAIRMAN: That was just what was behind my mind; I would much sooner have the mortgage than the stock."
Then Mr. Vesey Knox develops his argument in the next few lines, and proceeds—
"Now an amending Act has been passed which makes the mortgages of the constituent authority trustee securities, and what we are asking is that a similar amendment should be made in our case, and that our mortgages should also be trustee securities.
The CHADINTAN: So they ought to be.
Mr. VESEY KNOX: That is the whole point. The Treasury have objected to it, and I thought therefore I ought to call attention to it. They objected to it, I think, on the ground that they think nothing should be made a trustee security by a Private Bill—"
Mr. Vesey Knox, therefore, put this important objection of the Treasury quite openly before the Committee—
"but this is a very special ease having regard to the fact that this Board represents four corporations.
The CHAIRMAN: Yours is practically corporation stock.
Mr. VESEY KNOX: It is practically.
The CHAIRMAN: And if an amending Bill is being brought in to give facilities to corporations why should you not take advantage of it?
Mr. VESEV KNOX: The only thing is that ours is not technically that.
The CHAIRMAN: I know, I am quite prepared to fight the Treasury on it."
I make that extract to show that I do not think the promoters can be accused for one moment of not. having put the case as fairly before the Committee as it was their duty to do.

Then the Bill came before me. As my noble friends have said, this was an unopposed Bill, and contrary to the custom of the House of Commons an unopposed Bill, as your Lordships are aware, comes before the Lord Chairman and does not go before a special Committee. I can assure my noble friend that I was not in the least influenced, by the fact that a Committee of the House of Commons had given a decision one way, in coming to it the same way myself. I had not, of course, read these Proceedings at that time; If have only seen them in the last few days. I am sure my noble friend, who has some experience of Committee work, knows perfectly well that a Committee of neither House follows slavishly in the steps of the Committee of the other House, and I hope, my Lords, that I live up to that desirable position.

The parties appeared before me, separately of course; it is not the custom for public Departments to attend and argue with promoters. I do not think I can more shortly put the case before your Lordships than by actually reading the letter that 1 wrote to the Treasury on August 4, after I had decided not to put out the clause. In that, way everything that was in my mind will be before your Lordships, as it is my duty to put it before you. It is a letter signed by my counsel, Sir Albert Grey, though, of course, I had seen it before it was sent. It is in these terms—
"The Lord Chairman regrets to hear from the Agents of this Bill that the objections of the Treasury to Clause 41 (Power of Trustees to invest in mortgages of the Board) have not been removed. He desires me to inform you that for the reasons following he does not feel justified in interfering with the Clause as passed by the House of Commons. By section 111 of the Board's Act of 1899 the stock of the Board was made a trustee security (with the approval of the Lord Chancellor) on the ground that the stocks of the four boroughs constituting the Board were already trustee securities. By Section 9 of the Housing Act, 1919, the mortgages of local authorities who are authorised to issue local bonds under that Act are made trustee securities; and Lord Donoughmore is informed that the four boroughs have in fact been authorised to issue these local bonds. The mortgages of the Board being practically mortgages of the rates of the four boroughs, Lord Donoughmore is of opinion that Clause 41 is justifiable on the same grounds as those which dictated the allowance of Section 111 of the Act of 1899. Long Donoughmore does not propose to question the policy of the provisions in the Housing Act, 1919, relating to the Trustee Act, as the far-reaching effects of that section were no doubt present to the minds of His Majesty's Government. The Bill stands for Third Reading on Monday next."
It is not a good answer, I think, to say, as my noble friend Lord Hylton said, that this body is not a housing authority. It is not; but its component parts are housing authorities who have taken the action required by the law of last year for housing purposes. The Board is not an ordinary water board such as your Lordships are familiar with like the Metropolitan Water Board. As was explained by Lord Emmott, it is practically a body to provide water in bulk to these four authorities, and it would not be unfair to describe it as the four authorities themselves.

A NOBLE LORD: Which four authorities?

Sheffield, Leicester, Nottingham, and Derby. It would not be unfair, I think, to describe it as the four authorities under a joint name, or even as a Standing Committee of the four authorities having Parliamentary powers. I do not think, therefore, it is unreasonable that they should ask for this privilege by this clause. It will make the raising of their capital easier—a very important matter in these days—and it is a little unfair to characterise this as an extension of the general law. It would be fairer to say that it is an explanation of the general law, because it is really only a technicality that deprives these localities of the privileges of the general law as passed by your Lordships last year. It is not unreasonable that this technicality should be abolished.

My noble friend Lord Emmott has referred to the special difficulty in which we find ourselves. It was stated to me, and no doubt correctly, when this Bill was before me in Unopposed Committee, that the Ministry of Health had expressed their approval of this clause. We are in a difficulty if promoters are to be allowed to go through all the stages of their Bills in Parliament, knowing perfectly well that they have the support of a public Department, and questions like this are raised on Third Reading. I find myself in a position which I do not in the least desire, of deciding between the two Government Departments—and that is the position your Lordships are in. I think I am entitled to say that I hope my noble friend will not divide the House, but if he does feel it necessary to do so I hope he will not feel it necessary to put on the Government "Tellers" in the special circumstances of the case.

My Lords, during the time I have occupied my present office this is the first occasion on which I have been unable to agree with my noble friend the Lord Chairman, with whom on so many points I have been able to co-operate. My excuse for addressing your Lordships is that I rest under a special responsibility to this House in the matter of trustee securities, and I should be wanting in my duty if I did not call attention to one or two important points which, if they had been adequately put before the Lord Chairman, would in my humble opinion, have been likely to have influenced and perhaps have altered his decision. I think Lord Donoughmore has ground for complaint, though not against any special Government Department, that fuller material was not placed before him. I am satisfied that if the whole case had been placed before him he would have thought it a matter which required more consideration than he was able to give on the material supplied to him.

It is not for us to criticise the decisions or the dicta of the Chairman of Committees in another place, but the Lord Chairman read a number of extracts from observations made by the Chairman of the House of Commons Committee to show that he reached a conclusion upon a very important matter somewhat rapidly and without any very considerable argument. I take the responsibility of saying, on a matter on which I am responsible to Parliament, that a very grave issue is raised here. It is a graver issue than the Lord Chairman can possibly have discovered from the proceedings as they were presented to him. In the first place, I believe it to be absolutely without precedent for a Private Bill Committee to alter the general law on the question of trustee securities. I have had great experience at the Bar in these matters, and frequently practised in them, and I should have regarded it as a revolutionary proposal, destructive of the authority and jurisdiction of this House, if I asked any Private Bill Committee to alter the general law on the question of trustee securities.

Parliament has most jealously safeguarded its own rights and distinguished them from the functions and powers of Private Bill Committees. When the advocacy of the Ministry is relied upon by the Lord Chairman, I extend to him my utmost sympathy. I think he was placed in an impossible position, but, frankly, in this House we can decide it with fuller knowledge. The Ministry of Health, in so far as it intervened, had no locus standi whatever in the matter. The position is quite plain. The Ministry of Health has the power of approving of loans. They have neither the statutory authority (nor had the Local Government Board), nor any power at all, to express any view as to trustee securities, and whatever mismanagement there may have been the Ministry was never consulted, the matter was one which did not concern the Minister and he had no right to offer an opinion.

The only public authorities who are entitled under the law of this country to express opinions to a Parliamentary Committee on the question of trustee securities are the Lord Chancellor and the Treasury. It cannot be contended that the Ministry of Health has any locus standi in the matter. The question really is one that cuts very deep, and I think it should be most attentively considered by your Lordships in all its aspects. The Treasury has always taken the view that, if any change in the law is to be made which would admit mortgages as trustee securities the decision should be arrived by Parliament after it had examined the situation as a whole; not merely in relation to one particular body, but in relation to all the manifold considerations which must be measured and appraised.

I have often had to give my mind to the question. I have discussed it with the Treasury and I have been convinced by the view, which is held by every competent financial authority in the Treasury, that to make such a general change in the law would undoubtedly lead to a depreciation in the value of trustee securities. That may be right or wrong—I am not competent to judge as to whether it is right or wrong—but it is the view held by every competent financier at the Treasury, and it has influenced me and my predecessors in assisting the Treasury view that there shall be no such general change in the law.

That being the policy of the Treasury, we are now asked in Private Bill procedure to say that in a particular case mortgages Shall be made trustee securities. When the Lord Chairman says that it refers only to this one corporation he would be the first to assent to this, that there are hundreds and thousands of institutions in this country who could put forward arguments as strong as those put forward by this corporation for making their mortgages trust securities and could contend that it would be equally right to make their mortgages trust securities. It is impossible to treat this as a limited and particular case. The decision would involve first, an inroad on our general law through Private Bill Committee, and, secondly, open the door to appeals which would have the certain result of reducing the value of trustee securities.

That is not all. The next point taken by the Lord Chairman is that the principle of the Treasury was departed from when leave was given to housing corporations to treat their mortgages as trustee securities. Let me take your Lordships into the confidence. of the Government as to the circumstances in which that concession was made. It was made only after the most anxious consideration, and after prolonged opposition on the part of the Treasury. Whether the Treasury was right or wrong in giving way I cannot tell your Lordships, but the position was this: it was vital that more progress should be made with the housing difficulties than, as your Lordships very well know, was being made, and it was most strongly pressed upon the Government and the Treasury that if this concession was made to the housing authorities it would make an enormous difference in the speed with which the deficiency of housing was filled up. After long discussion, the Treasury most reluctantly surrendering, and only in the face of vital public necessity, their point of view, they made this exception in that case, and they hoped and believed in that case only.

It is said that the constituent bodies of this Water Board are housing bodies, and I imagine the argument to be that because the constituent bodies are housing authorities, and their mortages can be treated as trustee securities, therefore the body of which they are part should enjoy the same privileges. If I may respectfully say so, never was a more illogical argument used. The method by which the objections of the Treasury were overcome was by saying "You must make inducements to people who can supply houses." The four constituent bodies can supply houses, and therefore you want to make inducements to them; but you do not make any inducements to the body composed of those four constituent bodies, because it has no power to supply houses. Are we to-day to sanction a course which is entirely without precedent, which is respectfully protested against before your Lordships by the Treasury and by myself, who are the two Departments that by law are alone charged with advising Parliament on the subject of trustee securities, and which is equally protested against by the Housing Department, because they desire most earnestly to press upon your Lordships that the wholly exceptional privilege which Parliament gives will be so whittled down as to remain almost worthless.

I am authorised, speaking on behalf of the Treasury and of course on behalf of my own Department and the Housing Department, most earnestly—without reflecting in the slightest degree upon the Lord Chairman, for the sagacity of whose decisions I have the most profound respect, but before whom I am sure this matter was never properly argued—to express the hope that you will vote for the Amendment of my noble friend. I have one word only to add. It is not convenient or usual for Government Departments to attend before these Private Bill Committees. If the case which I have attempted to present to your Lordships had been argued before either the House of Commons Committee or before the Lord Chairman, I cannot doubt that they would have reached a different conclusion. The method always adopted in these cases is for the Government Department concerned to make its view clearly known to the promoters, and at an early stage the Treasury informed the promoters of the objections which they held; and it is the invariable practice, when a Government Department so influential as the Treasury does this, for the promoters at once to adapt themselves to that view. So it is only at this late stage that the Treasury is able to make a proposal—I can assure the Lord Chairman that it is so—

I can assure the noble and learned Lord that it is not so. The officials of my Department had a long interview with the Treasury on the subject.

When matters are before a Parliamentary Committee the issue is presented and argued at length by counsel. It is a very different thing to acquaint the subordinates of the Chairman of the Committee, either in another place or here. The statement of the Lord Chairman reinforces my main argument, because it shows that from first to last the Treasury, so far as they could, acquainted the promoters with the strong views which they held. What I mean was that they did not enjoy the opportunity of representing those views through the agency of counsel when the matter was debated and discussed. I can only express a strong hope that your Lordships will not lightly set aside the Treasury view.

I think that your Lordships are placed in a very great difficulty in regard to this matter, and I shall express my opinion for what it is worth with the greatest possible diffidence. I do not know where the mistake arose, but I think the attitude of the Government Departments in this matter does leave your Lordships in an extremely difficult position. Not merely have we the very unbecoming fact of two Government Departments being opposed on the floor of the House in this matter, because I presume that if the representative of the Minister of Health were here he would have risen to—

I am able to reassure the noble Marquess in regard to that. He had not heard of it, and if he had he would have taken a different view.

It was done by the Department without the assent of the Minister. That is not very satisfactory either. I should like to call attention to a very striking circumstance which affects in the first degree the Treasury. I do not pretend to be as familiar as the Lord Chairman and the Lord Chancellor, and the noble Lord on the Cross Benches, with Private Hill procedure, but certainly it does seem to me that in some way or other—

It was as far back as April 27 that the Treasury objections were made known to the promoters of the Bill.

To the promoters! But what about Parliament? The Treasury is represented in Parliament by several highly-placed officials in the House of Commons, and that House, if I may use so colloquial a phrase, is the happy hunting-ground of the Treasury. There it lives and moves and has its being. The Treasury, of course, is a direct service of the House of Commons. It represents the finance of the country. I listened to the debate which has taken place, and I was listening to hear what happened when the Report of the Committee came before the House of Commons. There was a Report stage and a Third Reading in the House of Commons, and there was the Financial Secretary sitting on the Treasury Bench, and there was also the Chancellor of the Exchequer, not to speak of the First Lord of the Treasury. Did none of these officials raise the Treasury objection? If not, why not? It is a most incredible thing. Why should the House of Lords, who are most anxious to do their duty, at the very end of the sittings prior to the adjournment be called upon to deal with this matter, which is more emphatically a House of Commons question than anything else? It seems a very astonishing proceeding. I do not know what the answer is.

Then we come reluctantly to the merits of the question, and upon them I want to express a most diffident opinion. Certainly, as I heard the speeches of the Lord Chairman and the noble Lord, Lord Emmott, who was Chairman of Ways and Means in the House of Commons—I call your Lordships' special attention to that, because that is to say that Lord Emmott had greater authority upon this subject than any other person in the House of Commons during his time of office—as I listened to them it struck me—

I do not think Lord Emmott ever had to deal with a case like this.

There never was a case like this. This is the first time it has arisen. I am sure my noble friend does not dispute Lord Emmott's knowledge and authority.

The noble Earl agrees with me. It seemed to me, as I heard them speak, that there was rather a technical distinction—I do not put it higher—between the stock of a particular corporation and the stock of corporations when acting together. I quite agree with the Lord Chancellor's main contention that the country ought to be very careful how it expands the area of trustee securities. It is a formidable thing to have that area too much diluted, as it were, but one ought not to rest upon a very narrow technicality if it can possibly be avoided. Upon the merits as they stand I should be rather inclined to support the Lord Chairman and Lord Emmott. I speak with very great deference, because I do not pretend to be an authority. When you come to think that we have had the strong opinion, first of all, of the House of Commons' Committee, secondly, of the Chairman of the House of Commons' Committee, then of the Lord Chairman of Committees in your Lordships' House, and then of Lord Emmott, who is the late Chairman of Ways and Means in the House of Commons, that seems to me to be a body of authority which is very difficult to overset, and I should be rather afraid t o vote against it on a matter which is directly within their competence, especially when, as I reminded your Lordships, the Treasury, who had abundant opportunity of raising this question before when the Bill was in another place, have delayed until August 11, on the Third Reading in the House of Lords, before they take effective action.

My Lords, I should like to say one word on the question of procedure, to which Lord Salisbury devoted the bulk of his remarks. This is really not the first occasion upon which the Treasury has tried to act in this matter. It is not the eleventh hour of the Third Reading on August 11. It began four months ago. From that date onwards, at every stage, the Treasury has consistently done its utmost to oppose this particular clause. Lord Salisbury really ought to be the last Person in the world to object to your Lordships' House, as a whole, acting in its capacity of a revising Assembly. That is what we are inviting your Lordships to do. The stage may be late and, as Lord Salisbury says, perhaps with justice, it may be unbecoming that there should be conflict between two Government Departments. The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack has, I think, explained one particular aspect of that matter which was probably not known to your Lordships as a whole, but why Government Departments should never be allowed to be in conflict, when all of us in the Government are, we fail to understand.

Of course they are. Noble Lords who act very harmoniously together are constantly in conflict, and the Government is just the same, of course. The Treasury attitude is not a red tape attitude. It is not acting on a mere technicality. This is a question of high finance, and if there were a conflict between these two Departments, I submit to your Lordships that on a matter of high finance, which may affect Leicester, Sheffield, and the two other authorities directly, and which, indirectly and obliquely, may affect the value of scores of millions of trustee securities—on a question like that I submit that the authority of the Treasury should take precedence. The noble and learned Lord has explained with unanswerable cogency that they have no desire to do anything which will permit a new depreciation of other trustee securities, and I ask myself why these four bodies are so anxious for this concession. So far as I remember it was not in the original Bill. It looks as though they felt a certain lack of confidence in their own security without this adventitious aid. And here let me add to Lord Emmott that the Treasury do not desire, using Lord Emmott's words, to cut down the list of trustee securities. They merely wish to prevent the inflation of that list, and when Lord Emmott says it can only add, I think he said, £6,000,000 to the total and that it was too small a figure to count, I dissent. £6,000,000 in itself is by no means a negligible figure, and it would extend. It is not merely this £6,000,000 but the right which would be conferred by analogy on other authorities to enjoy this same privilege. A parallel case would arise next week and it could very easily be contrived by any authority.

Here is a concrete case where, on the strength of being allied to the housing authorities, this privilege is claimed. I think it would be very easy for other public bodies to try to do something of the same kind and I think the freedom of Parliament would be greatly limited in checking that desire if your Lordships passed this clause to-day. Lastly, may I reinforce what the Lord Chancellor said just now. It is impossible for a public Department to impress its view on a Private Bill Committee where it only intervenes as a public Department and without the locus standi of the local interest which may find its concerns injured by the Bill. The Treasury alone can intervene in this matter. Your Lordships heard from the Lord Chairman how the question was raised in the House of Commons. Apparently, it was raised in the most casual conversational manner. Had the interests been represented, through the local authority with its own locus standi, by counsel, the whole case would have been laid before that Committee, but in these matters it is neither the interest nor the duty of local people to take objection to stocks of this kind. It must be done by the Treasury, it must be done by Parliament. The Treasury, as the Lord Chancellor told us, attaches the very greatest importance to this question. It is a matter which must be dealt with by Parliament. I regret that it should be on the Third Reading as Lord Salisbury indicated, but the fact that it is deferred to the Third Reading does not impair the responsibility, and still less the duty, of your Lordships to put right what seems to me to be a dangerous and grave precedent.

Would the noble Earl explain why the opposition of the Treasury was not taken in the House of Commons?

I do not think I will. It was not made in the House of Commons, but the Treasury is anxious that it should be made here.

My Lords, may I offer an observation on this question? I cannot see what it matters now whether the Treasury has been late in taking objection or not. I do not see what it matters whether two Departments have been at loggerheads or not. I should imagine they often were. The real question is, Ought the privilege of becoming a trustee stock, which is a high privilege and of very considerable importance to trustees and beneficiaries, to be granted ad hoc in particular cases by the insertion of clauses on the application of promoters, or only subject to a regulation laid down in a public general Act?

The Trustee Act of 1893 lays down in a long schedule what are the conditions under which certain stocks shall be trustee securities unless the terms of the trust deed forbid it—that is to say, it lays down a general regulation with which all stocks created under private Acts are to conform. It is a very simple and a very wholesome thing to know that the law has been laid down by both Houses of Parliament in a public general Act that such and such stocks only shall be trustee stocks. If you adopt the other plan and let promoters come with a private Bill and say, "Ours is a most excellent security; ours is, in fact, a combination of four very excellent securities; ours is a security emanating from four boroughs all of the greatest importance," and put it before the Private Bill Committee that they really ought to be permitted to have their stock made a trustee security, you are every time advancing particular instances. The proper procedure, I submit, is that you should ask, "Does the particular security come within the general rule that has been laid down by Parliament, or does it not?" It appears to be quite clear that this does not.

I do not for a moment doubt that if I had any money to invest—which I never expect in my life to have again—I should be proud to invest it in this particular security, but that is not the point. The point is that trustees are dealing with somebody else's money, and if the security were to go wrong the trustee is safe and the


Denbigh, E.Ebury, L.Roe, L. [Teller.]
Lanesborough, E.Emmott, L. [Teller.]Rotherham, L.
Hutchinson, V.Farrer, L.Southwark, L.

(E. Donoughmore.)


Birkenhead, L. (L. Chancellor.)Hood, V.Gainford, L.
Bedford, D.Knutsford, V.Hindlip, L.
Bath, M.Peel, V.Hylton, L.
Bradford, E.Islington, L.
Doncaster, E.Ampthill, L.Killanin, L.

(D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)

Annesley, L. (V. Valentia.)Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)
Grey, E.Armaghdale, L.Lambourne, L.
Lytton, E.Askwith, L.Ranksborough, L.
Midleton, E.Auckland, L.Shandon, L.
Onslow, E.Chaworth, L. (E. Meath.)Sinha, L.
Selborne, E.Clwyd, L.Somerleyton, L. [Teller.]
Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)Colebrooke, L.Stanmore, L. [Teller.]
Cozens-Hardy, L.Sumner, L.
Bertie of Thame, V.Crawshaw, L.Wavertree, L.
Chaplin, V.Elgin, L.Wester Wemyss, L.
Hardinge, V.

(E. Elgin and Kincardine.)

Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.)
Erskine, L.Wittenham, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amend-

beneficiary loses. The beneficiary has to look to the general law laid down by Parliament for his protection. I submit, therefore, that the principle is a serious one, and that the rule should be followed that only those securities which are made trustee securities under some general terms laid down in a public general Act ought to be trustee securities, and that the practice of inserting clauses of this kind, and trusting that the Treasury may find some opportunity of speaking to someone at the right time and in the right tone to prevent it, should not be followed. I suggest that, late as it may be, and subject to every possible condemnation that can be showered on public Departments (who very likely deserve it) the right thing will be to support the Government on this occasion.

My Lords, I am extremely reluctant to go against my noble friend the Chairman of Committees, or Lord Emmott, but on the simple and sole point that this privilege ought not to be given under any circumstances in a private Act—as was so cogently argued by my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack and now by Lord Sumner—I should be compelled, if there is a Division, to vote for the Government.

On Question, whether the clause shall stand part of the Bill?—

Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 9; Not-Contents, 46.

ment agreed to accordingly.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.— (Lord Hylton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to, and Bill returned to the Commons.

Mining Industry Bill


Ministry Of Mines Bill

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a(Viscount Peel.)

On Question, Bill read 3a.

My Lords, I do not know whether I might intervene in order to explain a matter which perhaps may give rise to some little criticism owing to two slight slips that I made in your Lordships' House on the Second Reading. I alluded to the Emergency Act and the possibility of the coal trade getting some proportion of the excess profits over and above their pre-war standard. I alluded to the possibility apparently, as reported, that the trade might secure nine-tenths of their excess profits. I should have said only one-tenth and not nine-tenths.

But there is another matter which is perhaps of still greater moment, because it alluded to the earnings of the workmen employed in the mines. I stated that before the war the miners were earning per shift 6s. 10½d. That figure was correct so far as our figures have been ascertained of the total earnings of the miners before the war. But I went on to say that the most recent figures showed that the miners were earning 25s.d. per shift. That figure is an inaccurate one. The miners are now earning, so far as our latest figures for the month of May show, in a normal week, 17s.d. per shift; but the average wages cost per ton has increased from before the war from exactly the same figure of 6s. 10½d. to 25s.d. I have nothing to add to what I have already said on the Second Reading of the Bill. I do not desire to retract or add anything to what I then said with regard to the general appreciation or depreciation of the proposals.

I think, however, that it is due to your Lordships' House that I should say on behalf of the coal industry that they feel that the Amendments which your Lord- ships have inserted in the Bill will have made the Bill more workable and will have removed some of the injustices which the coal trade thought were in the Bill as it reached your Lordships' House. Before sitting down, I should like, if I might, to pay a tribute to the noble Viscount for the way in which he has conducted the Bill under somewhat difficult circumstances in this House.

Several NOBLE LORDS: Hear, hear.

It is your Lordships' pleasure to look perhaps rather more to the merits of a question than to the necessity for giving general support on every detail to the Government. So far as I can judge the situation, it is a favourable contrast with that which sometimes occurs in another place. But I appreciate the difficulties that the noble Viscount has been under, and I congratulate him on the passage of the Bill through its various stages, and I hope the Bill will now pass.

Clause 1:
1. For the purpose of securing the most effective development and utilisation of the mineral resources of the United Kingdom and the safety and welfare of those engaged in the mining industry, it shall be lawful for His Majesty to appoint an additional Parliamentary secretary of the Board of Trade.

had on the Paper an Amendment to leave out all words after "industry," and to insert the following words: "there shall be established a department of the Board of Trade (to be known as the Mines Department) under a Secretary of the Board (in this Act referred to as the Secretary for Mines), and all powers and duties of the Board of Trade in relation to mines and minerals, whether under this Act or otherwise, shall, subject to the directions of the Board of Trade, be exercised and performed through the Secretary for Mines."

The noble Viscount said: Your Lordships will realise that this Amendment gives effect to the arrangement entered into with the noble Marquess opposite as the result of the discussions we had in your Lordships' House. I desire to move it with only one slight alteration, which I have already mentioned to the noble Marquess—that is, to insert the word " Parliamentary" before "Secretary" where that word first occurs. It is really only a drafting Amendment to make clear what is intended.

Amendment moved—

Clause 1, page 1, line 10, leave out from ("industry") to the end of the clause and insert the said new words with the alteration mentioned.—(Viscount Peel.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2:

General powers and duties.

2.—(1) It shall be the duty of the Board of Trade, in the exercise and performance of the powers and duties transferred to or conferred or imposed on the Board of Trade by or in pursuance of this Act, to take steps to carry out the purposes aforesaid, and there shall, as from such date or dates as His Majesty in Council may determine, be transferred to the Board of Trade all the powers of a Secretary of State under enactments relating to mines and quarries.

moved to omit, in subsection (1), the word "the" ["exercise and performance of the"] and to insert "their." The noble Viscount said: This is a consequential Amendment.

Amendment moved—

Clause 2, page I, line 14, leave out ("the") and insert ("their").—(Viscount Peel.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Amendment moved—

Clause 2, page 1, line 14, leave out from ("duties") to ("to") in line 16, and insert ("in relation to mines and minerals").—(Viscount Peel.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 4:

Amendment moved—

Clause 4, page 4, line 33, after ("duties") insert ("relating to mines and minerals").—(Viscount Peel.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 5:

Staff remuneration and expenses.

5.—(1) There shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament to the Parliamentary Secretary appointed under this Act an annual salary.
(2) There shall be transferred and attached to the Board of Trade such of the persons employed under any other Government department in or about the execution of the powers and duties transferred by or under this Act to the Board of Trade, as the Board of Trade and the other Government department with the sanction of the Treasury, may determine.

Amendment moved—

Clause 5, page 5, line 22, leave out ("Parliamentary Secretary appointed under this Act") and insert ("Secretary for Mines").—(Viscount Peel.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

With regard to my next Amendment in line 23 [after "salary" insert "not" exceeding two thousand pounds"] I do not propose to move that. I prefer that it shall be left to another place to deal with it.

It is their own responsibility if they do not. They will be ready to do it.

I am sure it is much more correct that the Commons should do it rather than we should insert the salary.

Clause 6:
6.—(l) The office of a Parliamentary Secretary appointed under this Act shall not render the holder thereof incapable of being elected to or sitting or voting as a member of the Commons House of Parliament.
(2) The person who is first appointed to be a Parliamentary Secretary under this Act shall not by reason of such appointment, if a member of the Commons House of Parliament, vacate his seat as such member.

moved, in subsection (1), to omit the words "a Parliamentary Secretary appointed under this Act" and to insert "the Secretary for Mines." The noble Viscount said: This is consequential.

Amendment moved—

Clause 6, page 6, lines 1 and 2, leave out ("a Parliamentary Secretary appointed under this Act") and insert ("the Secretary for Mines").—(Viscount Peel.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

moved to leave out subsection (2). The noble Viscount said: This subsection is now unnecessary.

Amendment moved—

Clause 6, page 6, line 5, leave out subsection (2).—(Viscount Peel.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 17:

This Amendment is consequential. The Minister of Mines has now ceased to exist.

Amendment moved—

Clause 17, page 12, lines 16 and 17, leave out ("on the recommendation of the Minister of Mines").—(Viscount Peel.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 20:

Establishment of fund for improvement of social conditions of colliery workers.

20.—(1) There shall be constituted in each of the districts mentioned in Part I of the Second Schedule to this Act a fund to be applied for such purposes connected with the social wellbeing, recreation, and conditions of living of workers in or about coal mines in the district, and with mining education and research as the Board of Trade, after consultation with any Government Department concerned, may approve.

(2) The owners of every coal mine in each district shall before the thirty-first day of March nineteen hundred and twenty-one, and before the same day in each of the subsequent five years, pay into the said fund for the district a sum equal to one penny a ton of the output of the mine during the previous calendar year, and the sums so payable in respect of any mine shall be defrayed as part of the working expenses of the mine and shall be recoverable either as a debt due to the Crown or by the Board of Trade summarily as a civil debt:

Provided that in the case of the first payment the amount shall be calculated with reference to the output during the six calendar months ending the thirty-first day of December nineteen hundred and twenty.

(3) The duty of allocating in each district the money from time to time standing to the credit of the said fund in the district to the several purposes aforesaid shall be vested in a committee consisting of five persons, appointed by the Board of Trade, of whom one shall be appointed by the Board of Trade after consultation with the Mining Association of Great Britain, and another after consultation with the Miners' Federation of Great Britain. The committee shall have the assistance of three assessors appointed by the Minister of Health, the Board of Education and the Secretary for Scotland respectively; the assessors shall have the right of attending meetings of the committee and of taking part in the deliberations thereof, but not of voting; and different persons may be appointed by the abovementioned departments to act as assessors in relation to different matters:

Provided that the Committee shall take into consideration any scheme submitted by a district committee, and that before allocating any money for a local purpose they shall consult with the district committee if any concerned:

Provided further that upon a recommendation in that behalf made from time to time by the National Board the said fund to an amount not exceeding one tenth of the aggregate annual total thereof for all the districts may, if the Committee think fit, be applied in any year to purposes authorised by this section being of benefit to the interests of workers in or about coal mines either generally or in more than one district.

(4) The Committee may invite a local authority to submit a scheme for any of the purposes to which the fund in a district may be applied, and if such scheme be approved by the committee they may make such grants in aid to the said local authority out of the fund in the said district and upon such conditions as may seem to them desirable:

Provided that in no case shall any grant be made out of the fund for building or repairing of dwelling-houses.

(5) Where money is allocated for the purpose of meeting the cost in whole or in part of providing accommodation and facilities at a coal mine for the workmen taking baths and drying clothes, and such accommodation and facilities are so provided, section seventy-seven of the Coal Mines Act, 1911, shall apply as if such accommodation and facilities had been provided under that section, provided that (a) cost of maintenance shall not be deemed to include any interest on capital expenditure so far as that expenditure was met out of money allocated from this fund, and (b) the contribution of the workmen to the cost of maintenance shall be reduced by the proportion which the money so allocated from the fund bears to the total capital expenditure.

(6) Payments out of and into the fund in each district, and all other matters relating to the fund, and moneys standing to the credit of the fund (including temporary investments thereof) shall be made and regulated in such manner as the Board of Trade, subject to the approval of the Treasury, may direct.

(7) The Board of Trade shall in each year cause an account to be prepared and transmitted to the Comptroller and Auditor-General for examination showing the receipts into and issues out of the said fund in the several districts in the financial year ended the thirty-first day of March preceding, and the Comptroller and Auditor-General shall certify and report upon the same, and such account and report shall be laid before Parliament.

We now come to a larger question in Clause 20. It is put in the form of a series of Amendments which carry out the arrangement arrived at with the noble Earl opposite. It differs from it slightly in one way which I will indicate. First of all, it carries out the arrangement that one-fifth of this fund to be raised—the miners' betterment fund, as I may call it—should be spent centrally instead of locally. The question is what "locally " means; whether it should be spent in districts or in areas. I had some discussion with the noble Earl opposite yesterday on the subject, and I think then he desired that the local money should be confined to the districts. As this clause is drawn the local money is to be spent in the different areas, and, if that is objected to, I am prepared to move it with the substitution of "districts" for "areas." But I do not know whether, on consideration, the noble Earl might not be content with the Amendment as it stands.

I am very sensible of the courteous manner in which my noble friend has put this question, and I am really sorry to differ from him and from his Parliamentary chief, for whom, if I may respectfully say so, I have so great a respect. But it does not seem to me that the principle for which we have endeavoured to contend will be carried out if the word " areas" is substituted for "districts." We have gone far to meet the views of the Government in agreeing that one-fifth instead of one-tenth may form a central fund. If we were to fall in with the suggestion of substituting "areas" for "districts," really the whole contention which I endeavoured to set forth when I moved the Amendment will be gone—that is, the value of the local expenditure and of the local connection between the fund and the men on whose behalf it is used.

Let us take the areas. I am sorry to trouble the House, but I want to show the greatest respect to the Government in arguing this matter, so as to show that my position, whether right or wrong, is not wantonly held. In the first place the whole of Scotland is one area. Who am I that I should speak for Scotland in the presence of my noble friend opposite and of the Earl of Kintore, Lord Wester Wemyss, and others. But it does seem to me that there is a considerable geographical interval between Fife and Lanark, and that the position of the Lowlands is not quite the same as the position of other counties—of Galloway, or Ayr, Dumfries, or Argyll. Therefore it seems to me, as an ignorant Englishman, that lumping all Scotland together, though very gratifying to the national sense, is destructive of that local object which we had when we moved the Amendment. When you come to Northumberland, that is all right; Durham—that is all right; it was the county area for which I was contending. And, going to the end, Ireland—I did not know that Ireland had any coal.

South Wales is an area. I quite admit that the spirit of my contention is carried pat if you lump Glamorgan and Monmouth together. Then you come to the Southernarea—the Forest of Dean, Somerset, Bristol, and Kent. When you lump Kent with the Forest of Dean, Somerset, and Bristol then all my county sense is outraged. Passing to the area that is lightly called by the draftsman "the Midlands" I will tell you what the Midlands consist, of. Cumberland, Lancashire, Cheshire, North Wales, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire. That is a pretty description of the Midlands.

It is the Federated Area now.

There is also Derbyshire, Cannock Chase, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, and Shropshire. Those are Midland counties, no doubt. But from our point of view it seems a great pity to lump all this vast number of counties under one head. I would therefore earnestly press my noble friend to allow the word "districts" to stand.

Though the noble Earl treated the subject of the Midlands humorously, that expression is used in a coal mining sense, and not in a hunting sense, in which it was used by the noble Earl. Absurd as it looks, it is no use dividing them, because there is this Federated Area, which is well understood in that particular industry. As regards Kent, of course, if the noble Earl has his way, that is one of the difficulties of the case. The union of Bristol and Kent may seem curious to those who have not studied this coal question closely, but at present there are something like 2,000 miners employed in the Kent coalfields. I believe some day they will be extremely prosperous and will cover the whole of that beautiful country with their pits. But that is not so at present. If the noble Earl has his way and the whole place is divided into these comparatively small districts you will, under this fund, have very small amounts to dispense.

I understand that the reason why the President of the Board of Trade is anxious that the larger area should be used is that the wealthy areas can assist in this way the poorer areas, whereas, it you have them cut up into districts, you will have the poor areas raising their small amounts and the money spent there, and the rich and larger areas with much coal would have plenty of money to spend upon themselves. It is not a mere fad of the Minister; it is really a principle that the miners and the different districts should assist each other.

I am not going to press this matter at this stage, and, if strong objection is raised, I am quite prepared to move the clause in a different form. I have not had the opportunity this morning of consulting the President of the Board of Trade, though I have tried to do so, and I do not know what view he would take in another place, but if it is pressed by the noble Earl I am content to accept the word "district" for "areas," and, instead of Part II, Part I of the Second Schedule.

Amendments moved—

Clause 20, page 13, line 33, leave out ("in each of the districts mentioned in Part I of the Second Schedule to this Act").

Clause 20, page 13, line 37, leave out ("in the district").

Clause 20, page 14, line 1, leave out ("in each district").

Clause 20, page 14, line 4, leave out ("for the district").

Clause 20, page 14, line 14, leave out ("in each district").

Clause 20, page 14, line 15, leave out ("in the district").

Clause 20, page 14, line 32, leave out ("Provided further that upon a recommendation in that behalf made from time to time by the National Board the said fund to an amount not exceeding one-tenth of the aggregate annual total thereof for all the districts may, if the Committee think fit, be applied in any year to purposes authorised by this section being of benefit to the interests of workers in or about coal mines either generally or in more than one district"), and insert ("and that the Committee shall allocate for the benefit of the several districts mentioned in Part I of the Second Schedule to this Act sums equal to four-fifths of the contributions from the owners of coal mines in those districts respectively").

Clause 20, page 14, line 40, leave out ("in a district").

Clause 20, page 15, line 3, leave out ("in the said district").

Clause 20, page 15, line 20, leave out ("in each district").

Clause 20, page 15, line 28, leave out ("in the several districts").— (Viscount Peel.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 23:

Amendment moved—

Clause 23, page 16, line 35, after ("Department") insert ("relating to mines and minerals").—(Viscount Peel.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Bill passed and returned to the Commons.

I should like to express my thanks to the noble Viscount for the great courtesy with which he has conducted the Bill through this House. It is an experience we often have from the noble Viscount, but I should like on this occasion to emphasise it.

Firearms Bill Hl

Order of the Day read for the consideration of the Commons Amendments.

Commons Amendments

[The references are to the Bill as amended in Committee.]

Clause 1, page 1, line 22, leave out ("otherwise") and insert ("for any reason")

Clause 1, page 1, line 26, leave out from ("club") to ("or") in line 1, page 2

Clause 1, page 2, line 9, after ("thereunder") insert ("and the certificate may on the application of the holder thereof be varied from time to time by the chief officer of police of the district in which the holder for the time resides")

Clause 1, page 2, line 11, after ("certificate") insert ("or to vary such a certificate")

Clause 1, page 2, line 14, leave out ("applicant") and insert ("appellant")

Clause 1, page 2, line 39, at end insert ("or to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a term not exceeding three months, or to both such imprisonment or fine").

Clause 1, page 3, lines 11 and 12, leave out ("at a registered testing ground")

Clause 1, page 3, line 12, after ("by") insert ("purchasing or")

Clause 1, page 3, line 15, leave out from ("aforesaid") to ("or") in line 17

Clause 1, page 3, line 26, after ("kingdom") insert ("or by bringing a firearm ashore for repair provided that he has obtained from an officer of police a permit in the prescribed form for that purpose")

Clause 1, page 3, line 29, after ("by") insert ("having in his possession")

Clause 1, page 3, line 30, after ("in") insert ("or in connection with")

Clause 1, page 3, line 31, at end insert ("or

"(f) in the case of an officer of the Post Office by having in his possession, using, or carrying a firearm or ammunition when acting in the course of his duties or
"(g) in the ease of a person carrying a firearm or ammunition belonging to a person holding a certificate under this Act, by having in his possession such firearm or ammunition under instructions from and for the use of such certificated person only for sporting purposes, or
"(h) in the case of any person carrying on the business of butcher, slaughter-man, knacker, or other person engaged in the business of the humane slaughter of animals for food or other purposes, by purchasing or having in his possession or using any humane killer for the purpose of such business, or
"(i) in the case of any person conducting or carrying on a miniature rifle range (whether for a rifle club or otherwise) or shooting gallery at which no firearms are used other than miniature rifles not exceeding 23 calibre, by purchasing, having in his possession, using, or carrying such miniature rifles or ammunition suitable therefor; or, in the case of any person, by using at such miniature rifle range or shooting gallery any such rifle or ammunition, or
"(j) in the case of a person who has been refused the grant of a firearms certificate by a chief officer of police or whose firearm certificate has been revoked by having in his possession a firearm or ammunition pending disposal thereof by him, provided that he has obtained from the chief officer of police a permit in the prescribed form for that purpose.")

Clause 2, page 3, line 35, leave out ("or sell, or expose") and insert ("sell, repair, test or prove, or expose for sale")

Clause 2, page 3, line 36, leave out the second ("or")

Clause 2, page 3, line 36, after ("repair") insert ("test or proof")

Clause 2, page 3, line 40, leave out from ("person") to the end of line 2, page 4.

Clause 2, page 4, line 5, leave out from ("prohibit") to ("may") in line 6, and insert ("the redemption thereof by a person entitled to redeem the same if he holds a firearm certificate, or is a registered dealer in firearms, and a sale of any such firearm or ammunition to a person holding such a certificate or to such a dealer")

Clause 2, page 4, lines 9 to 12, leave out subsection (3)

Clause 2, page 4, line 16, at end insert ("or proves that he is by virtue of this Act entitled to purchase the firearm or ammunition without having such a certificate:

("Provided that this subsection shall not apply to the sale of firearms and ammunition to purchasers abroad")

Clause 2, page 4, line 17, after ("repair") insert ("test or proof")

Clause 2, page 4, line 18, leave out ("for any other person") and insert ("or ammunition for any person in the United Kingdom other than a registered firearms dealer as such")

Clause 2, page 4, line 18, leave out ("other")

Clause 2, page 4, line 18, after ("producers") insert ("or causes to be produced")

Clause 2, page 4, line 20, after ("firearm") insert ("or ammunition or a permit to bring the firearm ashore for repair")

Clause 2, page 4, line 21, after ("ammunition") insert ("to a person in the United Kingdom other than person in the United a registered firearms dealer")

Clause 2, page 4, line 23, leave out ("by the purchaser")

Clause 2, page 4, line 23, after ("and") insert ("in the case of the sale of a firearm")

Clause 2, page 4, line 31, after ("Act") insert ("and every such entry shall be made within twenty-four hours after the transaction to which it relates took place")

Clause 2, page 4, line 31, after ("sale") insert ("every such person as aforesaid")

Clause 2, page 4, line 31, after ("shall") insert ("at the time of the transaction")

Clause 2, page 4, line 32, leave out from ("identification") to the end of line 35, and insert ("and shall immediately enter the said particulars in the register")

Clause 2, page 4, line 39, after ("request") insert (" (a)")

Clause 2, page 4, line 39, after ("authorised") insert ("in writing")

Clause 2, page 4, line 40, after ("or") insert (" (b)")

Clause 2, page 4, line 41, after ("or") insert (" (c)").

Clause 2, page 5, line 1, after ("authorise") insert ("in writing")

Clause 2, page 5, line 2, after ("aforesaid") insert:

("Provided that in each case where a written authority is required by this subsection such authority shall be produced on demand")

Clause 2, page 5, line 4, leave out from ("section) to ("makes") in line 6, and insert ("or knowingly").

Clause 3, page 5, line 25, after ("pounds") insert ("or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding three months, or to both such imprisonment and fine").

Clause 4, page 5, line 32, after ("to") insert ("or repair, prove, or test a firearm or ammunition for").

Clause 5, page 5, line 41, leave out ("a crime of violence, or for burglary or house breaking") and insert ("any crime")

Clause 5, page 6, line 3, after ("1891") insert ("or the Prevention of Crime Act, 1908")

Clause 5, page 6, line 9, after ("to") insert ("or repair, test, or prove a firearm or ammunition for").

Clause 6, page 6, line 19, after ("purchase") insert ("carry")

Clause 6, page 6, line 21, after ("thing") insert ("or any ammunition containing or designed or adapted to contain any such noxious thing").

After clause 6, insert the following new clause:

A. Any person who has in his possession or under his control any firearm or ammunition with intent by means thereof to endanger life or cause serious injury to property, or to enable any other person by means thereof to endanger life or cause serious injury to property, shall whether any injury to person or property has been paused or not, be deemed to have been guilty of an offence under section three of the Explosive Substances Act, 1883, and the provisions of that Act shall apply accordingly.

Clause 7, page 6, line 33, leave out ("or selling or repairing") and insert ("selling, repairing, testing or proving")

Clause 7, page 7, line 12, after ("safety") insert ("or the peace")

Clause 7, page 7, line 28, leave out from ("nor") to ("any") in line 29

Clause 7, page 7, line 31, leave out from ("offence") to ("shall") in line 33

Clause 7, page 7, line 33, at end insert:

(" (c) that any person who, after the date of the order, knowingly employs in the management of his business the dealer convicted of the offence, or any person who was knowingly a party to the offence, shall not be registered as a firearms dealer or, if so registered, shall be liable to be removed from the register; and

" (d) that any stock in hand of the business shall be disposed of by sale or otherwise in accordance with such directions as may be contained in the order;

"Provided that where an order has been made under this section any person aggrieved by the order may appeal against the order in manner provided the Summary Jurisdiction Acts to a Court of Quarter Sessions.")

Clause 8, page 8, line 26, after ("committed") insert ("or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding three months or to both such imprisonment and fine").

Clause 9, page 8, line 31, leave out ("has reason to believe") and insert ("believes")

Clause 9, page 8, line 33, leave out ("the possession") and insert ("possessing").

Clause 10, page 9, line 9, leave out from the first ("of") to ("for") in line 10 and insert ("any crime").

Clause 11, page 10, line 9, after ("missiles") insert ("whether such missiles are capable of use with a firearm or not")

Clause 11, page 10, line 11, at end insert ("or air-rifle (other than air-guns and air-rifles of a type declared by rules made by a Secretary of State under this Act to be specially dangerous)").

After clause 12, insert the following new clause:

"14. Nothing in this Act contained shall apply to the proof houses of the Master, Wardens, and Society of the Mystery of Gunmakers of the City of London (in this Act called "the Gunmakers Company") and the guardians of the Birmingham proof house or the rifle range at Small Heath, near Birmingham, where firearms are sighted and tested, so as to interfere in any way with the operations of those two companies in proving firearms under the provisions of the Gun Barrel Proof Act, 1868, or any other Acts for the time being in force, or to any person carrying firearms to or from any such proof house when being taken to such proof house for the purposes of proof or being removed therefrom after proof.

Clause 13, page 11, line 18, after ("firearms") insert ("or ammunition").

Clause 15, page 12, line 3, leave out ("(5)") and insert ("(4)")

Clause 15, page 12, line 7, leave out from ("references") to the end of line 8 and insert ("to an appeal to Quarter Sessions will not apply").

Clause 16, page 12, line 34, at end insert ("and the decision of a court of summary jurisdiction on a prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be final")

Clause 16, page 12, line 38, at end insert:

("(5) In the provisions as to penalties 'two years' shall be substituted for 'three months' as the maximum time of imprisonment:")

Clause 16, page 12, page 13, line 3, at end insert:

("(8) Section eighteen of the Criminal Justice Administration Act, 1914, so far as it limits the aggregate term of imprisonment where two or more sentences of imprisonment passed by a court of summary jurisdiction are ordered to run consecutively, shall not apply in any case where any of the sentences is passed for an offence under this Act")

Clause 16, page 13, line 4, at end insert:

("(10) The exemption in favour of any person conducting or carrying on a miniature rifle range or shooting gallery or using a miniature rifle or ammunition at any such range or gallery shall not apply")

Clause 16, page 13, after line 8 insert the following new subsection:

("(11) In addition to any other powers conferred on him under this Act, or otherwise, any constable may arrest without warrant any person whom he believes to be in possession of, or to be using or carrying, a firearm or ammunition in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act, and may search any such person, and whether arresting him or not may seize and detain any firearm or ammunition in his possession or used or carried by him:

(12) For the purposes of the Explosives Substances Act, 1883, any firearm within the meaning of this Act shall be deemed to be an explosive substance").

Clause 17, page 13, after line 12 insert:

("Provided that a Secretary of State may as respects any of the provisions of this Act, by order, substitute some subsequent date or dates, not being later than the first day of December, nineteen hundred and twenty, as the date or dates on which those provisions are to come into operation").

In the Second Schedule, page 14, line 26, at end insert ("at the date of the last stocktaking or such other date in each year as may be specified in the book")

The Amendments made by the House of Commons do not make any serious alterations in the Bill as it left your Lordships' House. Many of them are merely drafting Amendments or Amendments on points of detail, and most of them have been proposed by the Government at the instance of the Gunmakers' Association in order to ensure the smooth working of the Act and to avoid as much as possible interference with legitimate trade in firearms.

The only Amendment to which I think I need call your Lordships' special attention is the new Clause 7, which applies a heavy penalty in respect to the possesion of firearms with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property. It is obvious, of course, that there is a very grave difference between offences which endanger life or injure properly and the mere possession of firearms without a firearms certificate. In Clause 16, at the instance of the Irish Government, several Amendments have been made in applying the Act to that country. Thus, a penalty of two years has been substituted for that of three months which obtains in the rest of the United Kingdom as the maximum term of imprisonment for offences under this Act. Then the provisions in the Act as to appeals do not apply to Ireland, and additional powers of arrest and search are conferred upon police constables in dealing with persons suspected of being in possession of firearms. If your Lordships agree, I would venture to move the Amendment en bloc. But, of course, if noble Lords prefer that they should be taken seriatim, I will endeavour to the best of my ability to explain each one by itself.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendments.

Unless any noble Lord desires to raise a specific Amendment, I will put the Question in the form in which it has been moved by the noble Earl.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Census (Ireland) Bill Hl

Order of the Day read for the consideration of the Commons Amendment.

Commons Amendment

[The Reference is to the Bill as amended in Committee.]

Clause 5, page 2, line 36, at end insert:
("(2) The expenses incurred with the approval of the Treasury tor the purposes of the census shall be paid out of moneys provided. by Parliament").

I beg to move that the sad Amendment be now considered. It is of a quite formal character, and I think there is no doubt that your Lordships will agree to it.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.— (The Earl of Crawford.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Ready Money Football Betting Bill

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

My Lords, this Bill has been carefully considered in another place. It is supported by the Football Association, which represents 15,000 amateur amid 500 professional clubs, a quarter of a million amateur players and 6,000 professional players. When a body of that kind is united in the view that an evil exists in connection with coupon betting and that it is detrimental to the great game of football being played in a proper and pure manner, then in the interests of sport and honesty in connection with one of our great field recreations I think your Lordships need not hesitate to pass the Second Reading of this Bill. Further, as the football season is approaching I ask that it may be permitted to pass through all its stages, so that as soon as the football season commences it will be actually the law of the land.

It has been found in a great number of factories, mills, workshops, and shipyards that a system has been growing up which enables a certain number of firms and bookmakers to reap a great harvest out of the young men by this coupon system. The men of most influence in these works are often induced to become agents, with the result that something like 40 per cent. of the money taken goes in profits to the firms, and those who speculate receive very inadequate terms in connection with this system. Perhaps the worst part of it is that those who play football are tempted to act in a way which may prevent the game being played in the true British and sporting spirit which we all desire. It is because of these evils, and on account of this Bill, together with the penalties, having been very carefully considered in another place, that I beg to move the Second Reading.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.(Lord Gainford.)

I hope that your Lordships will give a Second Reading to this Bill. I support it from the point of view of sport. In my younger days I was a most enthusiastic football player, and I am sure that all football players must feel that this ready money football betting is detrimental to one of our principal manly field games. The noble Lord, Lord Gain-ford, has given you some very good reasons why the Bill should he passed, but I am going to ask you to think of it from the national point of view. Our urban population is increasing at an enormous rate, and if we want to have a generation of really strong and healthy men we must do all we can to encourage these manly virile sports. This system of ready money football betting does more to destroy real football than almost anything. The men who put their money into it do not care twopence about football. My hope, therefore, is that after this Bill is passed football will become a really pure national game, which will immensely increase the physique of our race.

My Lords, I do not think it is necessary for me to detain your Lordships by adding anything to the two interesting speeches delivered by the noble Lord who moved the Second Reading of the Bill and the noble Earl who followed him. I would only say that the Government view this Bill with sympathy and are prepared to support its passage into law.

On Question, Bill read 2a.

I hope that your Lordships will agree to take all the stages of the Bill to-day. I move that the House resolve itself into Committee.

Moved (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended) that the House do now resolve itself into Committee,— (Lord Gainford.)

I venture to think this is really a rather strong request. Although I am entirely in favour of the Bill, look at the benches of the House, and you will agree that it is not quite fair to ask us to take all the stages of a Bill of this kind, on which there may be something to be said on the other side. This method of suspending the Standing Orders so as to pass necessary legislation is very proper in matters of urgency, but this Bill cannot surely be considered urgent. No doubt there is a certain advantage in passing it into law before the football season commences, but if it is passed into law a few weeks after it has commenced it will stop the evil. I think your Lordships would be very unwise to depart from your privilege of discussing this Bill in its various stages.

I recognise that the noble Marquess is a great authority on procedure, and it is only because the Bill has been unanimously accepted in another place, accepted also by the Government, and is really required in the interests of pure football so that this system should not commence at the beginning of the football season, that I hope your Lordships will consider this a rather special matter, an urgent matter, and pass the Bill through all its stages. If I thought any one had anything to say against the Bill I should take a different view.

I have no right to say anything because I am the greatest offender, but I would remind Lord Gainford that this Bill was brought from the House of Commons on June 15, and he now asks your Lordships to take it through all its stages.

May I also make an observation? Clause 1 of the Bill contains a number of technical expressions which I should not be prepared to sanction passing into law until I have considered them.

That being the view of the noble and learned Lord, I will not press the point, but will put down the Committee stage for to-morrow.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Fertilisers (Temporary Control Of Export) Bill Hl

Returned from the Commons, agreed to.

Duchy Of Lancaster Bill Hl

Returned from the Commons, agreed to.

Public Libraries (Scotland) Bill

Returned from the Commons, with the Amendment agreed to.

Dangerous Drugs Bill

Returned front the Commons, with the Amendments agreed to.

Mayor's And City Of London Court Bill Hl

Returned from the Commons agreed to, with an Amendment: The said Amendment considered and agreed to.

Business Of The House

My Lords, the Mining Industry Bill has now left for the House of Commons, but it cannot possibly be considered by them in time for a to be sent back to your Lordships at our present hour of meeting—3.15— to-morrow afternoon. I suggest, therefore, that your Lordships should meet at 4.15 to-morrow. If any statement has to be made on foreign affairs an opportunity will be taken then by the noble Earl the Leader of the House to make it, and Lord Gainford will, I fancy, be able to take the Committee stage of his Bill as one of the first Orders of the Day until the Mining Industry Bill comes back to us.

Can the noble Earl tell us when it is hoped that the Motion for the adjournment for the recess will be actually moved?

I see no-reason why it should not be moved tomorrow. It depends, however, on the attitude taken by another place to your Lordships' Amendments to the Mining Industry Bill. It the Amendments prove acceptable and there is no difference of opinion between the two Houses, the adjournment will be moved to-morrow, and the Royal Commission taken at five o'clock probably.

House adjourned at five minutes past five o'clock, till to-morrow, a quarter past four o'clock.

From Minutes Of August 11

Salford Corporation Bill (Hl

Commons Amendments considered, and agreed to.

Alloa Water Order Confirmation Bill

Brought from the Commons; read la; to be printed; and (pursuant to the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act, 1899, section 7), deemed to have been read 2a (Lord Stanmore), and reported from the Committee.

Ministry Of Health Provisional Order (Widnes Extension) Bill Hl

Returned from the Commons, agreed to.

London Electric Railway Companies (Fares, Etc) Bill





Returned from the Commons, with the Amendments, agreed to.

Manchester Ship Canal Bill Hl


Returned from the Commons, agreed to, with Amendments: The said Amendments considered, and agreed to.