§ *THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. RITCHIE, Tower Hamlets, St. George's) moved the following new Standing Orders:—
§ "194. All Bills promoted by the London County Council, containing power to raise money, shall be introduced as Public Bills; but after being read a second time by the House shall be referred to a Select Committee to be nominated by the Committee of Selection in like manner as Private Bills;
§ But this Order shall not apply to a Bill promoted by the London County Council for the borrowing of money, which complies with the following conditions:
§ (1) If it authorises the borrowing and expenditure for the purposes mentioned in the Bill of the sum shown by the estimates recited in the preamble to be required for each such purpose, that purpose being the execution of a power conferred or extended either by the 772 Bill, or by some public, local, or personal Act.
§ Provided that the Bill may authorise the borrowing and expenditure for any purpose for which estimates are not recited in the preamble, if it fixes a maximum aggregate sum to be so borrowed, and requires every such borrowing to be sanctioned by the Local Government Board.
§ (2) If it is so framed as not to authorise the borrowing and expenditure of any money after the financial period, that is to say, the period ending on the 30th day of September next after the expiration of the then current financial year of the Council;
§ (3) If it is so framed as to provide for the money borrowed being repaid, whether by the creation of a sinking fund, or the redemption of Stock, or otherwise, within the period fixed by the Bill, or if the borrowing is sanctioned by the Local Government Board fixed by that Board, and the Committee or Board in fixing the period for the repayment of money borrowed for any work shall not fix any period which is in their opinion disproportionate to the duration of such work, and shall in no case fix a period exceeding that prescribed by any public Act relating thereto, or if no period is so prescribed exceeding sixty years;
§ (4) If in the case of any Bill conferring or extending any power involving the expenditure of money after the financial period, the recited estimates show the total amount of money required for the execution of the power as well as the particular amount to be borrowed and expended during the financial period.
§ 194A. Where any Act has conferred upon the London County Council any power involving the expenditure of money for any purpose after the then current financial period, or has extended any such power, it shall not be competent for the Committee on any Bill authorising the borrowing and expenditure of money for the same purpose during a subsequent financial period, except in pursuance of an express instruction from the House, to reduce the total amount of money shown by the estimates recited in such Act to be required for the execution of the power.
§ 194B. A Bill complying with the conditions specified in Standing Order 194, if it contains no powers or provisions except in relation to and consequential on the borrowing and expenditure of money, or in relation to the Consolidated Loans Fund or to borrowing by the council, shall be subject to the following requirements, that is to say:—
- (1) The petition for the Bill, with the declaration and printed copy of the Bill annexed, shall be deposited in the Private Bill Office on or before the 14th day of April, or the first day on which the House shall re-assemble after the Easter Recess, whichever shall be the
773 later, instead of the 21st day of December in the previous year;
- (2) Notice of such Bill shall be published in the months of February and March, or either of them, instead of in the months of October and November in the previous year;
- (3) Copies of the Bill shall be deposited with the Treasury and the Local Government Board on or before the (lay on which the petition for the Bill is deposited in the Private Bill Office;
- (4) The petition for the Bill may be presented forthwith, and the Bill shall be presented for first reading not later than the second sitting day after the presentation of the petition, and shall, after the first reading, be referred to the examiner, who shall give two clear days' notice at the Private Bill Office of the day appointed for the examination thereof, and the Bill shall not be read a second time until the examiner has reported whether the preceding requirements of this order have been complied with;
- (5) Whenever the Bill is amended at any stage, a copy of the Bill as so amended shall be forthwith deposited with the Treasury and the Local Government Board;
- (6) The tables accompanying the Bill, as required by section 12 of 'The Metropolitan Board of Works Loans Act, 1875,' shall be made up to the 31st day of March preceding the last day allowed for the deposit of the Bill, and if printed copies of those tables have been deposited in the Private Bill Office, and at the Vote Office, and with the Treasury and Local Government Board, at least one clear day before the second reading of the Bill, it shall be sufficient if those tables are prefixed to the Bill as brought up for second reading in this House.
§ 194C. No Bill promoted by the London County Council shall authorise any alteration of the mode of dealing with the Consolidated Loans Fund, or of borrowing by the council, unless a report of the Treasury on the proposed alteration is presented to the House and referred to the Committee on the Bill. The Committee shall consider the report, and may, if they think fit, hear the officers of the Treasury. If the Committee disagree with the report, they shall report the fact to the House, with the reasons of their disagreement.
§ 194D. In the case of any Bill promoted by the London County Council authorising the borrowing and expenditure of money, if there is presented to the House and referred to the Committee on the Bill a report from the Local Government Board or Treasury with respect to the Bill or to the borrowing by the County Council and the management of the Consolidated Loans Fund during the previous financial year, the Committee shall report specially to the House in what manner the matters contained in such report have been dealt with by the Committee, and any circumstances arising out of such report which, in the opinion of the Committee, it is desirable that the House 774 should be informed of. If no such report is referred to the Committee, the Committee shall report the fact to the House.
§ 194E. The estimates recited in any Bill promoted by the London County Council shall be supported by such plans and specifications as the Committee think proper."
§ *(3.45.) SIR J. LUBBOCK (London University)
The London County Council are still of opinion that, as Parliament has imposed on London and on London alone the obligation of submitting an annual Money Bill to Parliament, that Bill should, as has been admitted by previous Governments, be introduced by the Treasury. However, after the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, it would appear that the Government positively declines to do so after the present year, and the County Councils have no means of compelling them. They have, therefore, no option, and under these circumstances will not further resist these Standing Orders. I should like at the same time to express my thanks to the Government for agreeing to introduce our Bill this year, and for the way they have met the Council with regard to the form of these Standing Orders. The County Council feel it is useless to contest the matter further, and I must therefore leave the responsibility for the Standing Orders with my right hon. Friend. Perhaps I ought to add that the Council are advised that the Orders are not in themselves sufficient, and that further legislation will be necessary. The Council are prepared to place the opinion they have received at the disposal of the President of the Local Government Board.
§ MR. J. STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
I very much regret that the right hon. Gentleman should deem it necessary to go on with these Standing Orders in this matter. It ought to be dealt with by Act of Parliament. The chief object of the President of the Local Government Board is to compel the London County Council to introduce its own Money Bill, but it is very doubtful whether this object can be achieved under these new Standing Orders. The opinion of Sir Horace Davey has been obtained, and according to that opinion the County Council will not have the power to pay the expenses of the promotion of its annual Bill out of the funds at its disposal. If that view is correct, these Standing Orders will leave matters as 775 they stood before, and there will be no solution of existing difficulties. Under the Act of 1869 the County Council, as the successor of the Metropolitan Board of Works, can exercise its discretion as to what should be the period for which a loan is raised, subject to the consent of the Treasury. Now, however, the question of the period for which money is borrowed is to be settled by the Local Government Board, though there is no alteration of circumstances to justify the change. The County Council in this matter only yield to force majeure. The question cannot be settled by Standing Order, and will inevitably be heard of again. We are therefore, I believe, establishing a very bad precedent.
§ *MR. RITCHIE
I should like to explain that, as it is by Standing Order that the London County Council is prevented from bringing in Money Bills, it is fitting that when the power to promote such Bills is conferred, it should be given by Standing Order. The conditions under which the power is to be exercised are the same as apply to every large town in the country. If there is any doubt as to the power of the London County Council to pay the expenses of the promotion of a Finance Bill, a clause will, of course, be inserted in the Bill to provide for such payment.
§ Ordered, That the said Orders be Standing Orders of this House.
§ Standing Order 194 was read, and repealed.
§ Standing Order 21 was read, and amended, in line 2, by inserting after the words "Christmas Day," the words "Good Friday or Easter Monday."
§ Standing Order 23 was read, and amended, in line 2, by inserting after the words "Christmas Day," the words "Good Friday or Easter Monday."—(Mr. Ritchie.)