HC Deb 19 April 1875 vol 223 cc1239-45


Clause 18 (Service of notice on the local authority); and Clause 19 (Authentication of notices served by the local authority), agreed to.


Clause 20 (Penalties for obstructing officers in execution of Act), agreed to.

Saving Clauses.

Clause 21 (Relation of local Acts to general Acts), agreed to.


Clause 22 (Construction of terms of Act.)

On the Motion of Mr. HERSCHELL, Amendment made in page 12, line 4, by inserting after "tenure," the words "and any right over land."

On the Motion of Mr. GIBSON, Amendments made in page 12, by inserting after line 11— 'Medical officer of health' shall, in the case of Ireland, mean 'consulting sanitary officer.' 'Local Government Board' shall, in the case of Ireland, mean 'Local Government Board of Ireland.' 'Clerk of local authority 'shall, in the case of Ireland, mean' executive sanitary officer' and acting clerk. 'Superior Courts' shall mean, in the case of Ireland, 'Her Majesty's Superior Courts in Ireland.'


in accordance with a promise made at a previous stage of the Bill, moved after Clause 8 to insert the following clause— ("Power of confirming authority to modify authorized scheme.") The confirming authority, on its being-proved to their satisfaction, that due provision has been made or secured for the accommodation in suitable dwelling of as many persons of the working class as may be displaced in the area to which any improvement scheme relates, either in manner provided by the scheme or in some other manner, may permit the local authority to modify any part of an improvement scheme authorized by the confirming Act, which it may appear inexpedient to carry into execution in accordance with such Act.


asked, whether it was not unusual to give the Government a power to modify an Act of Parliament?


said, it was necessary to provide accommodation before people were turned out; but a great Company, like that with which the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone (Sir Sydney Waterlow) was connected, might get hold of the land and make ample provision. There would then be no reason why the company should be bound by the clause, and there ought to be some power of relaxation.


suggested that if the power were exercised, it should be under an Order in Council.


said it had been proposed that the Order should be made by the Secretary of State; but it was worthy of consideration whether it should not be exercised under an Order in Council. If so, he would cause a Proviso to this latter effect to be inserted.

Clause agreed to; and ordered to stand part of the Bill.


moved, after Clause 12, to insert a new clause (Inquiry on refusal of local authority to make an improvement scheme).


agreed that the clause would put a little more strength into the Bill, but thought, after all, it was a very weak one.

Clause agreed to; and ordered to stand part of the Bill.

On the Motion of Mr. ASSHETON GROSS, new clauses, before Clause 18, (Provision where local authority has no seal); after Clause 18, (Power of confirming authority as to advertisements and notices); (Power of confirming authority to dispense with notices in certain cases); agreed to; and ordered to stand part of the Bill.

On the Motion of Mr. TORR new clause after Clause 4, (Provision in case of absence of medical officer of health); agreed to; and ordered to stand part of the Bill.


moved after Clause 7, to add the following new clause:— (" Completion of scheme on failure by local authority.") If within five years after the removal of any buildings on the land set aside by any Provisional Order as sites for working men's dwellings the local authority shall have failed to sell or let such land for the purposes prescribed by the scheme, or shall have failed to make arrangements for the erection of the said dwellings, the confirming authority may order the said land to be sold by public auction, subject to the conditions imposed by the scheme, and to a special condition on the part of the purchaser to erect upon the said land dwellings for the working classes, in accordance with plans to be approved by the local authority, and subject to such other reservations and regulations as the confirming authority may deem necessary. He said that the object he had in view was simply to compel the authority, should it be necessary, to do that which they had undertaken to do. It was a power of which the necessity could not be doubted, though many occasions for it would probably not arise; but it was in accordance with the objects of the Bill, and he thought there would be no objection to it.


said, the proposed clause was free from the objections he had stated in the former Amendments which had been brought forward on the same subject, and he was willing to accept it. He must, however, repeat his belief that the scheme would be in full operation before the necessity for resorting to the clause could arise.

Clause agreed to; and ordered to stand part of the Bill.


moved the insertion after Clause 16, of a clause empowering the Court of Chancery to authorize loans of the funds of charitable trusts for the purposes contemplated by the Bill.


said, he must oppose the Motion, for the reason that, under the law as it stood, application might be made to the Court of Chancery with a view to such an application of trust funds as the hon. Member suggested. It was undesirable to legislate in a partial manner with reference to the disposal of trust funds by means of a clause in a Bill like the present.


said, he also doubted whether the clause was sufficiently germane to the purposes of the Bill to enable it to be entertained by the Committee.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.


moved that, after Clause 21, a clause should be inserted authorizing a local authority to give compensation, where it saw fit, to the owners of premises which were demolished as unfit for human habitation under the powers of the Artizans' and Labourers' Dwellings Act of 1868. By the 20th section of that Act it was provided that when a house was unfit for human habitation, and the owner had notice of it and did not take the house down, the authorities had power to take it down, sell the materials, and give back the balance, less expenses to the owner. Now that was a very harsh proceeding, and had been the means of driving very poor persons into the workhouse. He proposed to give power to the local authorities where they thought fit, to pay the maximum value of the property to be pulled down, according to the principle of the present Bill, that was, without further compensation.


intimated to the hon. Member that if the clause was carried, it would be necessary to alter the principles of the Bill.


said, that he also was of opinion that the clause was foreign to the objects of the Bill as described in the Preamble, and he was still of an adverse opinion in reference to it, as he had been before.

Clause negatived.


moved a new clause, to enable the local authorities to recover from the petitioners against a scheme, the costs of promoting the Order, when a Committee of either House of Parliament confirmed such Order without Amendment.


said, he must object to the clause in its then form, considering there should be a discretion.


objected to what he called sentimental legislation, which seemed to be the tendency of some of the Amendments.


said, he was opposed to sentimental legislation as much as any one.


said, he preferred leaving the law of costs as it now stood with reference to Provisional Orders.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.



in moving, as an Amendment, in page 20, line 9, to leave out from "where the party" to "transferred," in page 21 line 26, inclusive, said, he did so with the object of striking out that part of the Schedule which provided that there should be an appeal from the decision of an arbitrator to a jury. If the Bill broke down, it would be on account of the numerous stages through which a claimant for compensation would have to pass, for the previous part of the Schedule provided that the value of the land taken for the purposes of the Bill should be decided by an arbitrator, and then after the arbitrator had given his award, had sat upon that award, and given his final award, there was to be an appeal from that to a jury. It was like having an appeal from the House of Lords to a jury at quarter sessions, or an appeal from a High Court to a police court. At a recent discussion at the Institution of Surveyors, this provision was condemned, and it was pointed out that though a jury might be the proper body to deal with a question of right or wrong, they were not the proper body to deal with a question of value, and amongst those with whom he had conversed on the subject he had heard a unanimous expression of opinion against such an appeal. The Home Secretary proposed that this appeal should be confined to cases where the award did not exceed £500, or, in fact, to cases where a jury was the least capable of deciding. He (Mr. Kay-Shuttleworth), however, trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would see his way to striking out that part of the Schedule.


in opposing the Amendment, said, it seemed exceedingly desirable that the person whose land was to be taken from him should be satisfied as to the persons who were to decide upon the value of such land. If the decision was under the Lands' Clauses Consolidation Act, he would have the option of a jury or an arbitration; but under the Bill an arbitrator was to be appointed, and it might be that the arbitrator would turn out to be one who had a very low estimate of the amount of compensation that ought to be given for the property that was taken, and, if so, it would be extremely hard, if he had no remedy in the shape of an appeal. The hon. Member who had just spoken appeared to have a very mean opinion of the decision of a jury; but from his (the Solicitor General's) own experience, he would much rather have the opinion of a jury than that of an arbitrator. A jury was likely to come to a fairer and more moderate conclusion than an arbitrator was.


said, he was opposed to conferring such powers on an arbitrator. He was generally an individual who had a higher opinion of himself than others entertained for him. They all knew what a barrister of seven years' standing was who accepted such an office. He objected to trust to one man to put everybody to rights.


said, the appeal was given to the local authorities as well as the owners of property. He was opposed to the Amendment, for he did not think it would be safe to leave the decision in such cases absolutely to the mercy of an arbitrator.

Amendment negatived.

On the Motion of Mr. ASSHETON CROSS Amendment made in page 20, line 13, after "payable," by inserting "and such amount exceeds five hundred pounds."

Consequential Amendments made.

Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next, and to be printed. [Bill 126.]