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Mining Industry Bill

Volume 41: debated on Monday 16 August 1920

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Returned from the Commons, with certain of the Amendments made by the Lords agreed to, with certain other Amendments made by the Lords agreed to with Amendments, and with consequential Amendments made to the Bill.

Moved, That the Commons Amendments be now considered.— (The Earl of Crawford.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Before moving that your Lordships agree to the Commons Amendments to the Amendments inserted by this House I should like to say in a few words what is the purport of the action of the Commons in relation to your Lordships' Amendments.

The House will remember that on three main points the Bill as introduced by the Government was modified. The Ministry of Mines became a Department of Mines. In the second place the payment of the expenses of the various committees, as proposed by the Government, was materially changed; and, finally, Amendments were made in this House relating to the decentralisation of the betterment fund. On all these three points the House of Commons has accepted your Lordships' views. There are, however, certain Amendments that are purely consequential and are designed in order to make the Act of Parliament more clear. One Amendment reappears six or seven times; it is that the word "mineral" is omitted and the words "mining industry" inserted. It is looked upon as a point of some importance by the expert draftsman.

With regard to the payment of the expenses of the committees your Lordships, at the instance of Lord Selborne, excluded certain words limiting the obligation of the owners to pay towards the cost of these committees. But having done that Lord Selborne did not move to omit the latter part of Clause 15, which provides for the payment of the other sections, by the owners, of these committees and boards. The House of Commons, having accepted your Lordships' view that the pit committees should be paid for their attendance by the owners, have excluded the latter words of the clause which they look upon as tautological. If nothing is said about payment the assumption is that each party will pay its own expenses. It is in the nature of a consequential Amendment. With regard to the last point—the decentralisation of the betterment fund—the Amendments proposed by your Lordships have been accepted.

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

I think your Lordships are under a great debt of obligation to the House of Commons for the courteous way in which they have received the Amendments that we inserted in the Bill. I gather from the statement of the noble Earl that there is no very material difference in the Amendments which the Commons have now introduced.

May I interrupt the noble Marquess? I forgot to say that, as this is to be a Department and not a Ministry, the House of Commons has reduced the salary from £2,000 to £1,500.

On that point your Lordships, remembering their place in the Constitution, did not venture to express an opinion. We simply omitted the figure and left it to the House of Commons to insert whatever amount they thought fit. Broadly speaking, there has been no material change in the Bill since it left your Lordships' House. Certain Amendments to the Lords Amendments have been inserted, but though they are somewhat more than of a drafting nature they are really designed to and do carry out the intentions with which your Lordships inserted the Amendments when the Bill was before you. The two Houses are practically in complete agreement on the Bill, and I think it is a very satisfactory issue.

On Question, Motion agreed to.