§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
said, he hoped the House would allow this Annual Bill to be now read. There were various points to be raised in Committee, and that stage would be fixed at a time to allow of discussion.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Lord Frederick Cavendish.)
§ Mr. FIRTH
hoped the Bill would be read a second time now; but he wished to call attention to the fact that it contained the power to raise—4,500,000, and this had never been discussed by the Representatives of the people of London. There were a number of items 1227 contained in it that required the closest criticism, and a number of charges which it was questionable whether the Board of Works should have the power to incur. Among the items were £300,000 for the Artizans' Dwellings Act, the whole effect of which was now being considered by a Committee; an expenditure of £1,500,000 for street improvements, which the Board were not likely to proceed with; an enormous sum for bridges, and a power to lend £50,000 to the Asylums Board, for purposes condemned by all parts of London. But these matters could not be discussed now. He would, therefore, call attention to the necessity of having these matters discussed by some body representing the ratepayers, who had to find the money Half-past 2 was not the hour to discuss a Bill dealing with £4,500,000. He hoped the Bill would be read a second time; but he wished to protest against the system, and to take the opportunity of pointing out the necessity of having these matters discussed by a representative body, without the House being troubled with them.
§ MR. MONK
said, this was not a proper hour to discuss the Bill, and thought the discussion would be more appropriate on the Committee stage than on the second reading. There were matters that might well be considered in a small Select Committee, and he should be glad if the noble Lord (Lord Frederick Cavendish) would agree to send the Bill to a Select Committee before the House was asked to give its assent to so large an expenditure as £4,500,000 by the Metropolitan Board of Works.
§ SIR JAMES M'GAREL-HOGG
said, he was glad that opposition was not offered to the second reading. The matters contained in the Bill had already been submitted to Parliament, and every possible facility given for discussion. He might point out that by means of this Annual Money Bill, which was introduced a few years ago, the House had the means of discussing the matters twice over, and, in fact, a double cheek. As to the one or two matters mentioned by the hon. Member for Chelsea, he would be glad to discuss them in Committee. The two bridges which it was proposed to rebuild, were fast tumbling down, and if not rebuilt must cost a continual expenditure in patching up. The other items were in respect to 1228 schemes that already received the sanction of Parliament, and which the Board was bound to carry out. As to the suggestion for a Select Committee, he hoped that would not be pressed, for, if adopted, the Bill might be prevented from passing this Session.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday.