§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ (10.45.) MR. PICTON (Leicester)
I am sorry that this Bill has escaped notice hitherto; but now that attention has been drawn to it, I think it is ft more important measure than the Government seem to believe. In the 3rd section of the Bill it is directed that—The market authority of every market and fair held in any of the places mentioned in the Schedule to this Act shall send to the Board of Agriculture Returns, at such intervals, and in such form and with such particulars as the Board of Agriculture by order prescribe, with respect to the number of cattle entering and the number and weight of cattle weighed at the market or fair, and the price of the cattle gold thereat.In the 3rd sub-section of the same clause are these words—Default by a market authority in complying with the requirements of this section shall be deemed default in complying with the requirements of section four of the principal Act.Under Section 4 of the principal Act no fine or anything of that kind is prescribed, but it says that if the market authorities fail to comply with the requirements of the Act it shall not be lawful to demand tolls. That applies only to certain markets mentioned in the Schedule, and it happens that I happen to represent a place in which one of these markets is situated, namely, Leicester. Of course, the provisions of Acts of Parliament must be enforced, and there would be no objection whatever to an adequate penalty, but to stop the whole business of a considerable cattle market because there may have been some accidental omission to send in a Return to the Board of Agriculture 647 does seem to me rather disproportionate. It is conceivable that very grave inconvenience might be caused to the public thereby, and I am sure that is not the wish of the Government. I am sorry that the matter has escaped notice until the present stage of the Bill, but it was only this week that it attracted the attention of the Association of Corporations—an Association which holds meetings to consider the various interests of Corporations. A resolution was passed asking that attention should be given to the matter, which was considered a defect in the Bill. I do not wish to delay the Bill, but I think that if the Government would consider the matter they would easily find means to rectify this flaw in the measure. If the Bill passed in its present shape, serious inconvenience might be occasioned by an ordinary accident in the discharge of business. A letter might get lost, or a Return which had been prepared might not be delivered, and the result might be that the whole business of the market might be stopped. I trust that this matter may be considered, and that some other and more reasonable penalty may be put in the Bill than that contained in Section 4 of the principal Act.
§ *THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (MR. CHAPLIN,) Lincolnshire, Sleaford
I am glad the hon. Member has called my attention to this matter. Undoubtedly I shall be glad to re-consider the provision to which he calls attention. I confess I had not viewed the section in the same light as the hon. Member, but it may be the case that if this penalty were inflicted in consequence of omission to send in a Report it would be greater than the circumstances of the case require. I will consider the matter, and, if necessary, have the measure amended in another place.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read the third time, and passed.