HC Deb 01 March 1853 vol 124 cc798-800

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."


said, he should move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. Parliament had imposed duties on the existing companies which they ought, to be allowed time to fulfil; and no new water company ought to be sanctioned until the House had seen the effect of the present arrangement.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."


said, that he hoped this Bill would be allowed to go before a Committee.


said, that there was this objection to the Bill going before a Committee, that the whole subject of the supply of water for the metropolis had been already examined by a Committee. If the present water companies could not properly supply the metropolis with water, Parliament ought to abolish them and entrust the duty of providing an efficient supply to some municipal body. He hoped that no other company would be allowed to be established, as its existence would only add to the difficulty of the ulterior measures which might be necessary in the event of the private companies being hereafter found incompetent to meet the requirements of the public.


said, the great opponent of this measure was the Grand Junction Canal Company; and why? Because a new company would destroy the monopoly which the Grand Junction Company at present enjoyed. The noble Lord (Lord Seymour) had spoken of sweeping away the present companies. Why, they ought to have been swept away long since. They had long enjoyed a most unjust monopoly.


said, that last Session it was attempted to put the existing water companies under regulations for the benefit of the public. The House was now asked to break faith with those companies before there was any opportunity afforded to the companies to show what the result of that attempt would be. He should vote against the second reading.


thought it would be unwise for the House to sanction the introduction of another competing water company into the metropolis. A Committee of that House took the whole question of the metropolitan water supply into the fullest consideration last year; and an engagement having been entered into with the existing companies, who had agreed to expend a large amount of capital, nearly 1,000,000l. sterling upon improvements, and were to be allowed three years to carry their arrangements into effect, it would be a moral injustice for the House now to depart from that engagement.


said, he must protest against the doctrine laid down, that because Parliament had placed the old companies under new obligations, it had no right to sanction any fresh scheme.


wished to state that the supply of water under this Bill was to come from an entirely now source, in fact, from an artificial well; and it was the opinion of competent authorities, that the water would be of a very superior kind. He had heard no reason urged against referring the Bill to a Committee, except that the scheme would interfere with the monopoly of the existing companies.


said, the opposition got up against this Bill was on behalf of a monopoly by the metropolitan water companies. Having got their own Bills passed last Session on the most advantageous terms—terms which were very injurious to the ratepayers and inhabitants of the metropolis—they did their utmost to prevent any other company coming into the field.


said, that in some instances competition was beneficial, but in others it was injurious. He thought that in the present case competition would be injurious.


said, he wished to state to the House, for their guidance, this fact—that the water companies in Marylebone were originally independent of each other, and it was understood that they were not to combine. But no sooner did those companies get their Bills than they did combine, and divided the metropolis into divisions, to which they afforded a limited supply of water. He originally paid 3l. a year for his water supply, but it had been since raised to 11l.


thought that as there were other water companies besides this, the Government ought to inform them whether or not they had any locus standi, or if they were precluded from bringing their Bills before the House.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 99; Noes 93: Majority 6.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read 2°, and committed, and referred to the Committee of Selection.

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