Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.
My Lords, I have been asked at short notice to move the Third Reading of this Bill, and perhaps it would be convenient for your Lordships if I give a very brief account of it. This is one of those extension Bills of which both Houses of Parliament have a good number nowadays, and its purpose is to enable the very large City of Cardiff to add on to its area the neighbouring district of Rumney. Cardiff, as your Lordships are aware, is; in the County of Glamorgan, and Rumney is in the County of Monmouth and is therefore, strictly speaking, in England. This Bill had its origin in the House of Commons, and there it went through the ordinary procedure of Private Bills. It was given a Second Reading and was then remitted to a Select Committee, which sat for four days. It was read a third time and sent to your Lordships' House. In this House also it was remitted to a Select Committee, of which my noble friend Lord Redesdale was Chairman, and it was before that Select Committee for six days. So that the Bill has been for ten days before Select Committees of the two Houses. Those of your Lordships who have sat on Select Committees will be aware that the work done on Private Bills is of such a nature as could not be conveniently done on the floor of the House. The promoters and petitioners are represented by counsel; there are a number of witnesses called, borough surveyors, engineers and chartered accountants; there are expert witnesses; numbers of tables on financial matters and the like are put in; and the walls of the Committee Room are generally hung with maps and plans. That, I think, is sufficient to show your Lordships that this sort of question cannot be conveniently debated on the floor of the House.In this particular instance the real point is that this district of Rumney in the County of Monmouth is largely used by workers in Cardiff for living purposes, and is becoming, in fact, a suburb of Cardiff. It is increasing in population and in built up areas. The City of Cardiff, not unnaturally, wishes to acquire control over it and to be in a position to supply it with the public services which are provided within the City. There is no doubt also that they wish to be able to draw the revenue from it which at present is drawn by the County Council of Monmouth. On the other hand, the Monmouthshire County Council very naturally do not want to lose this area, which is financially promising. Moreover, they think they can provide the necessary services, and at any rate they have provided services which have been good enough in the past. There is another point which one might call sentimental, although I do not use the word in any critical spirit. Monmouthshire is in England and Cardiff is in Wales. It is suggested that by joining this district of Rumney to the City of Cardiff you would take a piece of England and add it on to Wales. Those two principal points, the financial point and what I may call the sentimental point, have both been fully before the Select Committee and the Select Committee have taken special care that financial adjustment should be made which would be equitable as between the county council, the local authority and the City. As regards the other point, the boundary point, they have specially enjoined that, though for administrative purposes the new district shall be joined on to the City, for all other purposes it shall remain, as it has hitherto done, in the County of Monmouth. As I say, this Bill was most carefully considered before a Select Committee of your Lordships' House; and my noble friend Lord Redesdale, if I may say so without impertinence, is properly considered by those who are best able to judge one of the most competent Chairmen of Select Committees in this House. I know that the practice of objecting to a Private Bill on Third Reading is naturally completely within the competence of the House, but in point of fact it is hardly ever done and on the one or two occasions on which it has been proposed to throw out a Bill of this nature on Third Reading, your Lordships have invariably been against it. What, in fact, would result otherwise would be that all the time and money that have been spent in the two Houses on getting this Bill through would be entirely wasted and the same process would have to be begun again next year. That is really all I need say at this stage. My noble friend the Lord Chairman is in his place and will be able to put before your Lordships the practice of the House as regards Bills of this nature, and as regards the details of the Bill my noble friend Lord Redesdale will no doubt say far better than I can what the rights of the case are. I may say that I have no connection with the matter myself, but I not infrequently sit as Chairman of Select Committees and I am conversant with the usual procedure. If it is necessary, after my noble friend has put his side of the case forward, perhaps your Lordships will allow me to reply. I beg to move.
Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a .—( Viscount Mersey.)
who had given Notice that on the Motion for the Third Reading he would move that the Bill be read 3a this day six months, said: My Lords, I should first explain, in taking the rather unusual course of moving the rejection of this Bill on the Third Reading, that the reason why this is done is that it was considered by the County Council of which I am a member that to oppose a Bill of this kind on Second Reading would almost inevitably lead to failure. People would say that neither side had had the opportunity of putting their case, and if the Bill passed a Second Reading, then its principle would have been approved and it would for all practical purposes become law, for we say that no amendment of this Bill is possible; we wish it to be rejected. It therefore becomes my duty as a member of the Monmouthshire County Council to give your Lordships the reasons why you should reject this Bill.
In doing so I shall as far as possible not deal with the points which were raised before my noble friend Lord Redesdale in Committee, but try to stick to more major issues. I am not going into the history of the system of county boroughs, but I would remind your Lordships that as they exist nowadays they are very different from what they were when they were first started. In the old days the forms of administration by county council and county borough were very much simpler. Now things are much more complex. The effect of the county borough system as it now exists is that you have, in most of the large cities and towns, two complete sets of local government officials: two chief constables and their whole staffs, two directors of education, two county librarians, two medical officers of health, and so on. The result is that not merely is most of the local work of the county duplicated, but there are rivalries between these officials, between the councils who appoint them and the people who elect those councils. Therefore in many counties of England, my own among them, you find that instead of the capital of the county being the centre of the county, the people of the capital are regarded by the people of the county almost as enemies. This is one of the absurd results that you get from this county borough system. I am speaking against the county borough system as a whole because I think that, except in the case of very great cities, it should be abolished.
Not only do we have this rivalry between these officials, in which, as I say, you often find two men doing one man's work, but you get these perpetual squabbles over the boundaries. The result of these squabbles is that no county council which has a county borough adjoining it knows from year to year where its boundaries should be. It is therefore unable to do its duty efficiently and to look ahead in the matters which it has to administer, especially that of education. Adjoining nearly every county borough there are urban areas. The county council has to provide for secondary education in these areas, and if it puts a secondary school just outside a borough boundary it knows that at the next grab the county borough will grab the school and the county council will have a set of pupils but no school. If it puts its school away from the borough boundary, it knows that at the next grab, or the next grab but one, it will have a school but no pupils. This happened in this particular case. Three or four years ago the Monmouthshire County Council completed a secondary school to serve the area between Newport and Cardiff. Along comes Newport, the county borough, and grabs one end of the area, and now along comes Cardiff trying to grab the other. I suggest to your Lordships that no proper county administration is possible in these circumstances.
In our county we have had a county review under the Local Government Act. Our areas have all been redistributed. This particular area with which we are now dealing was created a rural district by amalgamation of two rural districts which were too weak to stand by themselves. Now along comes Cardiff and takes a part of that rural district, so that the remainder will not be able to function properly at all. The result of this continual grabbing of bits by the county boroughs is that county councils are being reduced to such impoverished areas or such odd corners as no borough covets. The boroughs nearly always get whatever they want, and if this Bill goes through they will always get what they want. No case could ever be put up for the extension of any borough which would, according to those who know, be weaker than this case. If this Bill goes through, any future objection to the extension of a borough will be a waste of time. What happens is this—it is almost common form. The borough draws up a schedule containing twice as much as it really wants, and then, as the Bill goes through the Committee in Parliament, by what is known as a compromise the borough sheds all it does not really want, and then by the time the Bill goes through, it gets all it wants and the county is graciously permitted to keep what it does not want.
So much for that part of the question. This case is peculiar in that the City in question is part of Wales, whereas the County is part of England. I do not know whether that point needs arguing, but I would remind your Lordships that by the Act of Henry VIII Monmouthshire was put into England. We need not go back into ancient history, however, because by the Local Government Act, 1933, it was recognised that Monmouthshire was a part of England. It is true, of course, that for many Acts Monmouthshire has been included with Wales, but this is merely for administrative convenience. I may say that the people of Monmouthshire have never been consulted in any way as to whether they wish to be part of Wales or not. Your Lordships may, or may not, know that there is in Wales a Home Rule movement, which is growing. Your Lordships may remember that certain leaders of the Home Rule movement were imprisoned last year for setting fire to one of His Majesty's aerodromes. I am not suggesting that all the members of the movement are of this type, but there are quite a number of members, and before many years have passed there may be some form of Home Rule for Wales, in which Monmouthshire will not be included.
What then will be the position of this area? Lord Mersey told you that a clause has been put into the Bill providing that this area will remain part of England. I suggest to your Lordships that it will not remain part of England. If you look at the Bill you will see that by Clause 27 the county police are transferred to Cardiff, that by Clause 28 the police stations are transferred to Cardiff, and that by Clause 29 the public elementary schools are transferred to Cardiff. A word on the schools. Once the schools have been transferred they will become part of the Cardiff education system, and if the Cardiff Corporation think fit to make education in Welsh compulsory they will make it compulsory in this area. I do not think that in those circumstances any one could regard this area as part of England. Your Lordships may think that this prospect is remote, but a few days ago I was told of a parish outside Cardiff, of which the inhabitants all speak English, but where some who know Welsh got themselves elected to the council, and they do their work in Welsh. If this goes on we may find, after a time, that all education will be in Welsh, and that the people in this area will be compelled to talk Welsh.
Could they then be said to be a part of England? The only matter for which they are part of England will be the Assizes, but as in the ordinary way justice will be administered by the magistrates at Cardiff in Wales, it will really result, in my view, that for all other purposes this area will be in Wales. If Home Rule for Wales ever comes it is inconceivable that this part should be cut off from the City of which it has become an integral part, and be restored to England, to which it belongs. My objection to this Bill is that it is carrying further than ever this principle by which county boroughs are able to grab at will, or almost at will, territory from the counties, and thereby preventing the counties from functioning properly as administrative bodies. Moreover, this Bill perpetrates an anomaly of an international character. The noble Lord said it was rather late for a Motion to throw out this Bill, but it is better late than never. It is a bad Bill in my judgment and I beg to move the Amendment.
Leave out ("now") and at the end of the Motion insert ("this day six months"). —(Lord Raglan.)
My Lords, as I had the honour to preside over the Committee which your Lordships appointed to sit upstairs to consider this Bill, it falls to my lot to explain to your Lordships what the Committee did, and why they did it. Before I go any further I may perhaps explain very briefly, for the benefit of certain noble Lords who are not usually able to take any part in the work upstairs, the principles which guide the Committee upstairs when they are considering a matter of an extension. In the first place they have to be satisfied that an extension of area of some sort is necessary, or at all events extremely desirable. Secondly, they have to be satisfied that the administration of the county borough which comes to Parliament and asks for an extension, is of such a nature that the area to be taken in might reasonably expect the proper public services to which it would be entitled. Thirdly, they would have to consider the hardship, or otherwise, which might fall upon the area to be taken in. I say "or otherwise" because, of course, in certain cases at all events, the area to be taken in would inevitably derive great benefit. Fourthly, they would have to consider the hardship that may fall on other parties than the actual areas concerned.Taking the first point, that is the point of necessity, while it is perfectly true that there is still in the City of Cardiff a considerable area of land which is not yet built upon, the Committee were satisfied that, for a variety of reasons, this land was not suitable for the erection of houses of the character that was required. In the first place open spaces, parks and playing fields are not only desirable, but they are really an absolute necessity. They are essential to a City such as Cardiff. Some of the remaining land is unsuitable for physical reasons. Some is much too valuable to be utilised for the purpose of erecting the sort of houses required, and much needs filling up before it is made suitable for building, on account of its level in relation to the sea and consequent subjection to flooding. When this land is built up, which takes a great deal of time, it still has to be left for a matter of fifteen years or more to settle, before it becomes suitable for the erection of houses. Lastly, there is the geographical position of the available land in Cardiff, much of the land being on the wrong side of the City from the place where the work of the occupiers would lie. For these reasons the Committee considered that the point of necessity for the acquisition of some new area was proved. Then you come to the question of administration. A Committee of your Lordships' House would be very loath to allow extension of any sort where the administration of a county borough was shown to be even of an indifferent character, but the administration of Cardiff can certainly be described as extremely perfect, and this is clear from two facts. The first is that the rates are no more than 12s. 4d. Secondly, where there is the least ground for criticism of the administration of a county borough every conceivable use of such ground would be made by the opponents as arguments against extension, and the fact that no attack of any sort was made upon the administration of Cardiff may be taken as showing quite clearly that there is, in fact, no room for such criticism. Thirdly, you come to the question of hardship or otherwise for the area to be taken in. There is no doubt whatever that Rumney has everything to gain by being taken into Cardiff. Rumney wishes it, and has been asking Cardiff for the last six years to be taken in. A card vote of the electorate was recently taken. Of the electors 78½ per cent. voted, and of the valid votes 84½ per cent. were in favour of inclusion in Cardiff and 15½ per cent. against. This desire on the part of the inhabitants carried great weight with the Committee in arriving at a decision. Perhaps I might read a very short extract from the findings of the Royal Commission on Local Government:
That Commission is quite constantly quoted upstairs and the Committees are very largely guided by its findings. That is the finding to which people attach more importance than any other. The rate required to meet the expenditure in Cardiff is, in round figures, 12s. 3½d., and in Rumney the equivalent rate is 20s. 8d. Now the ratepayer of Rumney could not reasonably expect that the rates would fall at once to the ordinary City rates, but the question of differential rating will be settled by the Minister of Health under Clause 56 of the Bill. But this was by no means the principal factor in the decision of the inhabitants of Rumney to join Cardiff. They expect to derive advantages in many other ways, such for instance, as education, sewerage, scavenging, police, public lighting, public health, in fact, all public services. And Rumney is really, in fact, a dormitory of Cardiff: it is occupied to-day mainly by Cardiff people. According to a census taken quite recently the occupants in Romney of 857 houses out of a total of 1,199 houses are actually employed in Cardiff. Therefore, far from there being any hardship, it would be to the great advantage of Rumney, and it is their own wish, that they should be taken into Cardiff. Then you come to the question of hardship on other parties. Here, of course, there comes the question of the County Council and the Rural District Council. The objections of the County Council and the Rural District Council, as represented to the Committee, were based principally on financial grounds. In fact, these were the only real grounds for objection. Now, it is of course perfectly true that in the loss of Rumney to Cardiff the County of Monmouth and the Rural District Council of Magor and Saint Mellons, who are the people concerned, are being deprived of very considerable rateable value, but it is also perfectly true that that rateable value has been largely created by Cardiff. None the less, the Committee were very greatly impressed by the loss which might be sustained by what is unfortunately a distressed area, and for this reason, following upon assurances given over and over again by the promoters that they wished to deal generously with the County Council and the Rural District Council, the Committee inserted in the Bill provisions designed to ensure that the Councils would not suffer financial loss as a result of the transfer of the area. They are contained in a proviso to Clause 36. These provisions are so very far in excess of the general law for compensation in the Local Government Act, 1933, that the Committee went so far as to consider it advisable to insert in the Preamble of the Bill a recital of the special circumstances, in order that the provisions in question should not be quoted as a precedent in other cases. Thus, the Committee considered that the hardship on the other parties was disposed of. An objection was also raised to which the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, has already referred, to the effect that this Bill would-transfer part of England to Wales: but although the Bill proposes to add the parish of Rumney to the City of Cardiff for certain administrative and local government purposes, there seemed perfectly good ground for thinking that the Bill as it stood would not alter the status of Rumney as a component part of the geographical County of Monmouth, and therefore of England. The Committee, however, did not wish this point to be left in any sort of doubt. They wanted to make it perfectly clear, and they therefore inserted a clause in the Bill, Clause 62, which reads:"When the wishes of the inhabitants have been fairly ascertained we think that, although, as has been stated, they cannot be regarded as conclusive, the weight to be attached to them is so great that they ought not to be overruled unless it is shown that there are considerations of public advantage which, in the opinion of the proper authorities, are more weighty and of greater importance than the objections of the inhabitants."
There is nothing novel or unusual in a county borough including parts of more than one geographical county. One could give any number of instances of this; there is nothing fresh about it at all. I think I was right in understanding that the real objection of the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, seemed to have been directed not so much against the provisions of this particular Bill, but that he is opposed to any extension anywhere on any grounds. I think that is what he was trying to argue. If that is so, I submit that it is a matter for general legislation and could be approached by way of a Motion on the floor of the House at any time. I have endeavoured to give as shortly as possible the reasons that led the Committee to report the Bill to your Lordships with certain Amendments. After sitting upstairs for six days and listening to over 2,500 questions and answers, with tables and figures and addresses by counsel, I could of course have gone into far greater detail, but I imagine your Lordships would not have thanked me for so doing. I trust that in coming to a decision on this Amendment by the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, your Lordships will bear this in mind, that this Bill was deposited in Parliament in November last and prints have been available ever since that date for inspection by members of either House of Parliament. This Bill originated in the House of Commons, and has passed through all its stages in that House. It was brought to your Lordships' House on April 14, and your Lordships are now asked, at the very last moment, to reject the Bill on grounds which might have been raised at any of the various stages in either House of Parliament. It is, of course, always open to any noble Lord, at any stage, to oppose the progress of any Bill, and I make no complaint about that; but putting it off until this stage is, I submit, a little hard on the parties who have spent thousands of pounds on promotion and opposition. In fact, if there is a more inconvenient method of opposing legislation, I personally am not acquainted with it. It is very regrettable that this particular method should be used unless, of course, new facts or arguments have come to light, which is, I submit, not the case here. I would earnestly hope that your Lordships will now give this Bill a Third Reading."Nothing in this Act shall alter the boundary between the County of Glamorgan and the County of Monmouth, and the added area shall continue to form part of the County of Monmouth."
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (THE EARL OF ONSLOW)
My Lords, I very much hope your Lordships will support the Committee over which my noble friend Lord Redesdale presided and accept the Preamble of the Bill. Lord Redesdale has given your Lordships a full account of the strenuous passage which this Bill has had through both Houses of Parliament, and he has also described to you the number of days upon which his Committee sat discussing its provisions. A few days ago a not dissimilar case to this was brought up in your Lordships' House—the London Passenger Transport Board Bill. That was slightly different because in that case an Amendment to the Third Reading was moved while in this case your Lordships are asked to reject the Bill altogether. I venture to think there is not much real difference between the cases, however. I quoted at the time the authority of the noble Earl, the late Lord Wemyss, as to the undesirability of interfering with the decision of a Committee whose members have had every opportunity of considering the provisions of a Bill, who have heard counsel and witnesses and affidavits, and who have very often visited the spot in regard to which the dispute takes place, and so forth. I also quoted the authority of my noble friend Lord Ullswater, who is in his place today and who will be able to give your Lordships, if it is so desired, his view as to the strong undesirability of upsetting the decision of a Committee. At the same time I say quite frankly that it is entirely within your Lordships' province to reject a Bill or do anything your Lordships please at any stage. That is entirely correct and in your Lordships' power, but it is unusual and, I think, undesirable that the findings of a Committee should be upset in the House by a Motion for rejecting a Bill on Third Reading in this manner.Lord Raglan has stated that he did not oppose the Second Reading for the reasons he gave. He preferred to do so on Third Reading. I have been into this question rather carefully. Proposals to reject a Bill of this nature on Second Reading have been before your Lordships on occasions in the past, and on more than one occasion—certainly on one occasion in my recollection—your Lordships have accepted the Motion for the rejection, and the Bill has been thrown out. But I cannot find any case in which a Bill which has been through Committee and has been opposed in Committee has been rejected upon Third Reading by your Lordships' House. It is, as I say, entirely within the province of your Lordships to reject a Bill on Third Reading, but your Lordships have never seen fit to exercise that right, and I very much hope that your Lordships will adhere to the practice which has governed your proceedings in the past. I do not want to touch on the merits of the Bill in any way, but I would like to say one word in regard to the point raised by my noble friend Lord Raglan in respect of the extension of county boroughs. I understood him to feel that the creation of county boroughs of any kind was wholly undesirable.
Except by agreement—I make that qualification.
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES
This is a very old story. Some fourteen years ago I had the honour of being Chairman of the Royal Commission which went into the whole question of county borough creations and extensions, and after some few years we produced a Report which has been quoted by my noble friend Lord Redesdale. I am not going to have the impertinence to quote myself as an authority to your Lordships, but I shall quote one of the witnesses—Mr. Dent, an alderman of the Essex County Council, a very prominent member of the County Councils' Association, and one of the chief witnesses for the county councils. This was the question which was addressed to Mr. Dent:
That was the question which was addressed to Mr. Dent, and in reply Mr. Dent said this:"There is another view which is possible … and I would like to know what you think about it. What would you think upon this; that a borough might be constituted a county borough if, after taking into consideration all the circumstances and weighing the advantages on the one hand and the disadvantages on the other hand, it is shown to be desirable, not necessarily in the interests of both parties, but the advantages of constituting it outweighed the disadvantages on the other side?"
That was stated by the most prominent witness for the County Councils' Association. It is quite clear from that that he did not dissent from the view that these extensions were necessary and in some cases desirable, and that in making them Committees should be guided by the principles he laid down in that answer. That, I may say, was the substance of what the Commission reported upon his evidence. I come to the next point which I went into myself at some considerable length, and that is Clause 62, which my noble friend read to your Lordships. Lord Raglan said that only the question of Assize was involved. There is one other institution which I may add—namely, the Territorial Army with which my noble friend is associated. The present district of Rumney will remain in the County of Monmouth for Territorial Army purposes and will not be merged in Wales. I think, therefore, that the noble Lords of the border who regard their precious heritage of English soil will not have to surrender under this Bill anything to Wales, but they will, as is said in the song of W. S. Gilbert, remain Englishmen. I do not want to add anything to what has been said in the past by noble Lords, but I do hope that your Lordships will bear in mind the debate which took place the other day in regard to the London Passenger Transport Board Bill, and that your Lordships will support my noble friend's Committee and agree to the Third Reading of this Bill."I agree, of course, with the view that there must be a compromise. I think it is obvious that the interests of all parties cannot be the same, therefore there must be a balance, and advantages must be weighed on the one hand against advantages on the other, and the same with disadvantages. It must always be in the long run something in the nature of balancing the harm you do to one person against the good you do to another."
My Lords, now that this Bill has been opposed I would like to take the opportunity of supporting the noble Lord who has moved the rejection on general grounds, and I would like to reinforce some of the ideas he has brought forward. He has explained the local circumstances in great detail. I feel with him that the extension of county boroughs without agreement is contrary to the best interests of local government. One must remember that the local government review of 1930, which was the outcome of the Report of the Royal Commission which has been referred to by the noble Earl, was done by agreement all over the country, and, seeing that a periodical review of all country districts is to take place every ten years, one would have thought a period of ten years to be long enough in which to collect sufficient evidence and reasons for the extension of a county borough. The reason which the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, has given—namely, to allow county administrations to continue in a settled and orderly way for ten years—is, in practice, very powerful. I think all who have had experience of local government will deplore the unsatisfactory condition of rivalry, as it were, between county boroughs and county councils for the more desirable parts of their areas from the rateable point of view. That is a situation which has developed with the recent growth of local government, and it is a situation towards the solution of which we are at present no nearer.I would like to refer your Lordships to the most recent Report of a Royal Commission on Local Government. It is a Report upon local government for Tyneside. I will ask your Lordships' indulgence for introducing a subject that may seem to be irrelevant to this discussion, but in fact I think it has a good deal to do with it, not from the point of view of any argument of similarity between the districts, but because of the conclusions come to by that Royal Commission. The purpose of its inquiry was to find the best form of local government for a large area containing both town and country, part of that area being what is known as a Special Area, as is also the part of the County of Monmouth to which this Bill applies. The conclusion of that Commission was entirely against the county borough system. They stated that in their scheme county boroughs formed no part, and they recommended a regional system—a system of combining the town and country—and incorporating with the regional council the dual system of local government which had been found so very satisfactory in the county areas generally. I do not say that that Report can be applied to the particular case that we are now discussing, but I think that it very greatly strengthens the case for declining to pass any Bill to give advantage to a county borough at the present time. I think that Report calls for a very much more thorough investigation of the tendencies of local government than was included in the much more local investigation
|Hailsham, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Dartmouth, E.||Samuel, V.|
|Halifax, V. (L. President.)||Iddesleigh, E.||Trenchard, V.|
|De La Warr, E. (L. Privy Seal.)||Midleton, E.||Addison, L.|
|Onslow, E.||Ailwyn, L.|
|Plymouth, E.||Arnold, L.|
|Aberdeen and Temair, M.||Ashfield, L.|
|Dufferin and Ava, M.||Bertie of Thame, V.||Bayford, L.|
|Exeter, M.||FitzAlan of Derwent, V.||Clanwilliam, L (E. Clanwilliam.)|
|Salisbury, M.||Horne of Slamannan, V.|
|Zetland, M.||Mersey, V. [Teller.]||Clwyd, L.|
that was conducted by the Royal Commission to which I have referred.
It has been said that a poll was taken of the inhabitants of the parishes it is proposed to transfer to the County Borough of Cardiff. It is, perhaps, not being too cynical to say that any local government elector would always choose to go into the local government area where the rates were lowest. The noble Earl referred to the Report of the Royal Commission. One passage in that Report says:
"… there are considerations of public advantage which, in the opinion of the proper authorities, are more weighty and of greater importance than the objections of the inhabitants."
In my view the good government of the remainder of the County is a consideration of sufficient advantage to overrule the wishes of the local inhabitants themselves. I believe that extensions of county boroughs under the present system are inopportune, and that the system needs revision. For that reason I hope your Lordships will oppose the passage of this Bill. Not that I wish to criticise in any way the administration of the County Borough of Cardiff, but those of us who are interested in county council work feel that it is a continual struggle for a county council to maintain itself as an efficient and economic unit when it is continually being reduced by attacks from neighbouring county boroughs, which, from their point of view I agree, are entirely justified. It is reasonable that as a town grows and its inhabitants spread outside it should wish to extend its boundaries in order to take in those inhabitants, but I submit that the splitting up of county boroughs and county councils into separate areas is far from being a satisfactory system.
On Question, Whether the word "now" shall stand part of the Motion?
Their Lordships divided: Contents, 48; Not-Contents, 3.
|Denham, L.||O'Hagan, L.||Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.|
|Denman, L.||Phillimore, L.|
|Elton, L.||Redesdale, L. [Teller.]||Strickland, L.|
|Holden, L.||Rennell, L.||Templemore, L.|
|Hutchison of Montrose, L.||St. Levan, L.||Teynham, L.|
|Lurgan, L.||Sandhurst, L.||Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.)|
|Mancroft, L.||Stanmore, L.||Wyfold, L.|
|Ridley, V. [Teller.]||Luke, L.||Raglan, L. [Teller.]|
Resolved in the affirmative and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
Bill read 3a , with the Amendments, and passed, and returned to the Commons.