HC Deb 26 March 1863 vol 169 cc1981-2

Order for Second Reading read.


said, that although the Local Government Act was originally intended only for populous towns, a great many very small places had availed themselves of it. It had been adopted, for instance, in twenty-two districts which had less than 100 inhabitants, and in 130 with between 100 and 500. Indeed, places with only seventeen, eighteen, twenty-three, twenty-five, and thirty-seven inhabitants respectively had passed resolutions for adopting it. The reason of that excessive fondness for the Act was, that those places where it was in force were exempted from the operation of the Highway Act. It was therefore adopted in many cases simply to evade the latter statute, and without any intention of carrying out the provisions of the Local Government Act. The object of the present Bill was to put a check on such proceedings. It provided that no places with less than 3,000 inhabitants should have absolute power to adopt the Act without control. Such places were required to make application to the Home Office for permission to avail themselves of the Act, stating the special grounds upon which they required it. The Secretary of State would be at liberty either to accede to the application, or, after an inquiry, on the spot to refuse it. The period of appeal was also extended from twenty-one days to six weeks. Places which had accepted the Act were empowered to abandon it voluntarily if they desired to do so. Another important clause provided, that if after adopting the Act any place of a population under 3,000 did not take steps within two months to appoint a local board, or, after that had been done, to elect the officers mentioned in the Act, then the adoption of the measure in that place should be void. The Bill had been framed in accordance with suggestions and requests from all parts of the country, and he hoped the House would agree to it. He moved that it be read a a second time.

Bill read 2°, and committed for Monday, 13th April.