§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Ritchie.)1858
§ (10.7.) MR. CHANNING
I cannot agree with some of the remarks that fell from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Halifax (Mr. Stansfeld) as to the way in which the principle of consolidation is carried out in this Bill. I think it would have been far better if we had had a great many of the old Acts put into the waste-paper basket, and have had them replaced by a much simpler measure. The first part of this Bill deals with unhealthy areas, and the second part with unhealthy dwellings. These two parts contain a great deal of useful machinery, which would enable much good to be done in rural as well as in Urban Sanitary districts, and I must protest against the exclusion of the rural districts from participation in the benefits of many of these provisions. I allude especially to the provisions in regard to the question of compensation where land is taken compulsorily. In Urban Districts land can be bought without any extra value being added in respect of compulsory purchase, and that should be extended to-Rural Districts also. I think the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ritchie) is losing a great opportunity in not extending those provisions to the Rural Sanitary districts. Part of the Act of 1885 is very rightly introduced into the third part of the Bill; and in the 56th section we find that the expression "cottage" may include a garden of not more than half an acre, providing that the estimated annual value does not exceed £3. It really is monstrous to say that we have not unhealthy homes and areas in the villages of England. Anyone acquainted with the condition of many villages in the Midlands must know that in that part of England—and I believe the same may be said of Dorset and Wiltshire—there are some very unhealthy areas to which the first and second parts of this Bill might very well be applied. The question is, why Rural Sanitary Authorities should not have the same advantages as Urban Sanitary Authorities in regard to the compulsory purchase of land for clearing away unhealthy buildings. I really think this is a blot in the Bill, and that the right hon. Gentleman has lost a valuable opportunity of providing facilities for the removal of the rookeries which are to be found in a great many of our villages.
§ (10.14.) MR. RITCHIE
The hon. Gentleman will observe that the Bill is purely a Consolidation Bill, and not an Amendment Bill at all. It merely puts intoone Bill the variousenactments which now deal with the subject. The matters to which he has referred may be very fairly considered in connection with the Amendment Bill, but are hardly relevant to the present measure.
§ (10.15.) MR. JAMES ELLIS (Leicestershire, Bosworth)
I should like to emphasise what my hon. Friend has said. It is undoubtedly the case that in many places in the provinces there are blocks of houses which ought to be swept away. They are chiefly the productions of speculative builders.
§ (10.16.) SIR WALTER FOSTER
There is no power vested in Rural Sanitary Authorities to obtain land compulsorily for the purposes referred to, and I would put it to the right hon. Gentleman whether it would not be possible to consider the matter, with a view of removing this grievance in the other Bill? It is equally important in rural as in urban districts that we should obtain the best sanitary areas for the people; and I trust that the flaw having been pointed out, the Government will give us a promise to deal with the matter at some future stage of the Bill.
§ (10.17.) MR. RITCHIE
If the hon. Member will read Clause 13 of the Amendment Bill he will find that the proposals in the Bill are, to some extent, applied to rural districts. There is no reason why the provisions applying to Urban Sanitary districts should not be applied to rural districts, and the matter will, no doubt, be considered by the Select Committee.
§ (10.18.) MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)
Might I ask whether the Standing Committee on Law, to which this Bill is to be referred, will undergo some alteration with a view to the consideration of this Bill? There will, probably, be upon that Committee an excess of Members who were principally concerned in the Light Railways Bill of last Session. On this occasion I trust there will be upon it a considerable number of Irish Members representing Irish urban districts, seeing that this Bill will affect the cities and large towns of Ireland—where it is to be hoped it will have considerable effect. I hope that in con- 1860 sidering the question of the constitution of the Committee the claims of the Irish Members to adequate representation will be considered.
§ (10.20.) MR. RITCHIE
This is a matter for the Committee of Selection and not for me; but, no doubt, due consideration will be given to all the interests concerned.
§ (10.20.) MR. M. J. KENNY
I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that the claims of Scotland will also have to be considered, as the Bill will affect many districts in Scotland, rural as well as urban.
§ Ordered, That it be an Instruction to the Committee, that they have power to consolidate the two Bills into one Bill.