HC Deb 26 June 1891 vol 354 cc1595-674

As amended, considered.

(4.5.) MR. MORTON (Peterborough) moved, after Clause 24, to insert the following clause:— It shall not be lawful to occupy any dwelling house erected after the passing of this Act, unless the sanitary authority of the district in which such dwelling house is situate shall have issued a certificate that the said dwelling house is properly drained and fit for human habitation. And person who shall let, or who shall knowingly occupy, any such dwelling house without such certificate having been issued, shall be liable to a penalty of not more than ten pounds, and to a further penalty of one pound for every day during which the said dwelling house is occupied. A certificate under this section shall be issued by the sanitary authority of the district on the application of any person, upon such authority being satisfied that the house in respect of which the certificate is required is properly drained, and fit for human habitation, upon payment of a fee of not exceeding one pound one shilling. The hon. Member said: The object of this clause is to provide that no new house shall be occupied until the Sanitary Authority has given a certificate that it has been treated according to the bye-laws of the Board and is fit for habitation. The question arose in London some seven or eight years ago in consequence of a new house having been occupied without the consent of the Local Authority and a certificate that the works had been properly constructed. The Metropolitan Board of Works were asked to introduce a Bill into Parliament to obtain the powers which I now propose in this clause, and the reply made by the Board was that they would do so when they could find a convenient time. It was generally admitted that such powers ought to be given by Parliament to the Sanitary Authority, and on inquiry it was found that similar powers had been given to the Sanitary Authority in two instances outside London—Croydon and Gloucester. Much difficulty has arisen in London in regard to houses built by speculative builders which are in many cases discovered to be not so good as they ought to be. I do not know whether the Government propose to object to the clause, but I am satisfied that its insertion in the Bill would be of immense benefit to the people of the Metropolis, because a house would not be occupied until it was certified to be in a good condition, and both tenants and purchasers would have a guarantee that they had been properly inspected. I have inserted at the end of the clause a provision imposing a penalty of £10 for any breach of the rule, and directing a certificate to be given as to the sanitary state of a house on payment of a fee of one guinea to the Local Authority. I have no desire, however, to press that provision if the Government object to it. As, the whole matter is a non-political one, I hope the Government will give a favourable consideration to the clause.

New Clause (Certificate as to sanitary condition of dwelling houses,)—(Mr. Horton,)—brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed "That the Clause be now read a second time."

*(4.10.) DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

I take a friendly interest in this clause, because I had the pleasure of moving it in the Committee upstairs, but I confess that the support I received was not very strong. The question is undoubtedly worthy of consideration by the House, if only to pave the way for future legislation. I admit that there may be very great difficulty in a place like London in putting such a clause in operation, owing to the expense that would be entailed and the intricate nature of the machinery that would have to be instituted. I am, therefore, afraid that may hon. Friend is, perhaps, a little in advance of the time. I should, prefer, however, to see in the case of large public buildings, such as schools, theatres, churches, and large hotels, a measure of inspection similar in effect to this. It may be urged that people ought to protect themselves in the question of sanitary inspection of houses. This contention is all very well when considering the case of the rich, who can afford to pay a fee of £10 for a certificate, but poor people are obliged to take what they can get, and are often compelled, from the stress of circumstances, to put up with houses the condition of which may be prejudicial to their health. I hope that in any case the President of the Local Government Board may be able to say a sympathetic word in favour of the principle of the clause.


I can quite understand that the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Morton) has only one motive in proposing this clause, and I am entirely in sympathy with the hon. Member. The main object of the Bill is to secure proper sanitation in all houses, whether new or old. But the clause moved by the hon. Member is of an extremely drastic character, and it would lead, I think, to a very great deal of additional labour being thrown on the Sanitary Authorities and to the employment of a considerably larger number of officers than at present. I question, moreover, whether the clause, after all, would secure the object which the hon. Member seeks to attain. There is great difference among sanitary experts as to the sanitary requirements of houses so that they should be made fit for occupation. Perhaps when the Government come to deal with the building laws of the Metropolis, which I hope will be next year, it may be desirable to consider whether some amendments should not be made in the law in the direction indicated. At present, however, I must deprecate the introduction into this measure of a clause somewhat onerous and complicated in its character. It will be better to defer the matter until the whole question can be taken in hand.

*SIR WALTER POSTER (Derby, Ilkeston)

I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has expressed his sympathy with the object of this proposal; to this extent satisfactory progress in the consideration of the question has been achieved. I look upon the suggested consideration in connection with the building laws as the thin end of the wedge, and I hope that something will be done in this way, at an early day, to improve the sanitary condition of the houses of the Metropolis. I can quite see that the adoption of the clause would throw an enormous amount of additional work upon the authorities; but, at the same time, from a sanitary point of view, I think that something ought to be done.

(4.10.) MR. LAWSON (St. Pancras, W.)

I doubt whether an amendment of the building laws would satisfactorily meet the points which have been raised by my hon. Friend in this clause. Any authority would possibly shrink from undertaking the task of inspecting the new houses in the entire metropolitan area, and, if anything is to be done, the proper persons to undertake the work will be the sanitary officers in the different localities. I desire to see the powers of the Local Bodies extended rather than curtailed, and to see the various laws of this character administered in the localities rather than by a Central Authority.

Question put, and negatived.

*(4.18.) MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

I beg to move, in page 42. after Clause 75, to insert the following clause:— Any expenses incurred by a sanitary authority in maintaining in a hospital (whether or not belonging to that authority) a patient who is not a pauper, shall be a simple contract debt due to the sanitary authority from that patient or from any person liable by law to maintain him, but proceedings for its recovery shall not be commenced after the expiration of six months from the discharge of the patient, or, if he dies in such hospital, from the date of his death.

The clause was in the Bill when it went up to the Committee, but it was there struck out. It is not unreasonable that these persons who can pay for their maintenance in hospitals should be asked to do so. The hospitals are an immense boon to those who are ill. I know that it is not a popular thing in these days to ask for repayment, but I think it is only fair and reasonable that those who can afford to pay should be required to pay some portion of the outlay incurred on them.

New Clause (Maintenance of hospital patient)—(Mr. Bartley,)—brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

(4.22.) MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

As the Committee omitted this clause at my suggestion, I should like to say a few words in reply to the hon. Gentleman opposite. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman has quite fairly represented the case. I should like to point out that hospitals for infectious diseases are not purely for the benefit of the patients admitted to them. They afford a security to the community at large in providing isolation for infectious cases. Dr. Thorne, the medical officer of the Local Government Board, clearly points out that the spread of epidemics has been prevented by isolation in the first stage of the disease, and he adds that the fear of having to contribute to the cost of maintenance would discourage patients from going into hospital. After this emphatic testimony, I do not think it is necessary to elaborate the point. If it is worth while to have these hospitals at all, I think it would be the worst possible economy to discourage people from availing themselves of them by enforcing a charge.

*(4.24.) MR. RITCHIE

The matter, looked at from the point of view of expense, is very small; but, looked at from the point of view of public policy, it is very large. It is in the interests of the public generally that people who cannot obtain isolation in their own homes, when suffering from infectious disease, should go into hospital, and cease to be a danger to their neighbours. There is no compulsion to go into hospital, but it is all a matter of inducement; and looking at the fact that the amount that would be received would be infinitesimal, I really think it ought not to be allowed to weigh against the general good, which is that persons suffering from infectious diseases should go into some place where they can be properly treated and attended to.

MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)

There was a considerable amount of discussion upon this clause in the Committee upstairs, and many instances were given to show the injurious effects it would have. I hope the clause will not be agreed to.

*MR. T. H. BOLTON (St. Pancras, N.)

I know that there are many people who make use of hospitals and institutions who can well afford to pay for their treatment. As the Bill reads at present there is nothing to prevent the establishment of free dispensaries all over London, for there are no words restricting the powers to the case of epidemics or of infectious diseases.


It is only hospitals for infectious disease that are in question. These are the hospitals which it is the duty of the Metropolitan Asylums Board to erect.


In this case the hospital is to be erected by the Local Authority, and I take it that it is to be an institution in addition to the existing hospitals for the treatment of infectious diseases.

MR. KELLY (Camberwell, N.)

I think that the Local Authorities ought not to have to decide who is to be sued for the trumpery expenses involved. I hope that the clause will be rejected.

*(4.30.) MR. DARLING (Deptford)

I do hope that, in addition to the clause which we are now considering, the President of the Local Government Board will insert some words of limitation, in order to meet the case raised by the hon. Members opposite. It appears to me perfectly plain that the hon. Member is right, and that if Clause 75 were passed the Sanitary Authority would have the power to establish at the public expense hospitals, not for infectious diseases specially, but for any kind of complaint, and to admit the inhabitants gratuitously. The words seem to be perfectly plain on that point. There is to be payment of an annual sum, but that is a payment, not by those who are sick, but by those who are well. If there was any doubt that the President of the Local Government Board was wrong on this point, it would be only necessary to read the previous clause, from which it appears that the hospitals of the Metropolitan Asylums Board are to be dealt with in accordance with a very different principle.

*(4.34.) MR. RITCHIE

As a matter of fact, the provisions for the supply of hospitals are not new. They are in the existing law, although they have not been acted upon. The only hospitals actually in question under this Bill are, therefore, the fever and small-pox hospitals of the Metropolitan Asylums Board. I will consider whether any amendment is required in the body of the Bill itself, in order to make it clear that the provision shall apply only to hospitals for infectious diseases.

SIR G. CAMPBELL&c.) (Kirkcaldy,

As to the general principle raised by the hon. Member opposite, I would point out that the Sanitary Board is the representative of the ratepayers of the locality. If he thinks the Local Authorities are extravagant, he, as a taxpayer, can bring them to book.


I hope my hon. Friend will not persist in this Amendment, because I believe it would be seriously injurious to the public health. The great difficulty always is to get the people to go into these hospitals. There is naturally a tendency in the poorest homes for the mother to keep her child in her house, whatever disease it may be suffering from; and if, in addition to that natural desire, we put before her the prospect of having to pay for the maintenance of the child in the hospital, there will be an additional inducement to keep the child at home. I am sure it will be a penny wise and pound foolish policy to pass this Amendment.

Question put, and negatived.

(4.37.) MR. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)

I have not the slightest desire to delay the progress of this very useful measure, which I am grateful to the Government for having introduced. The clause I have now to propose was moved in Committee. The right hon. Gentleman, I believe, considered it wag advisable to have some such clause, and I have been led to understand that he is willing to incorporate it in the Bill. It is exceedingly important, because it strikes at the root of the evil, which begins with the unprincipled builder, and I am sorry to say also with the unprincipled workman in too many instances laying down drains with dry joints and having closets imperfectly trapped. Frequently large holes are left between the joints, so that the sewage gas necessarily escapes into the building. I move the following clause— A water-closet or drain shall not be improperly constructed or repaired so as to be a nuisance or injurious or dangerous to health. If there is any contravention of this section, any person undertaking or executing; such construction or repair shall be liable to a fine not exceeding £20. Provided that where there has been such a contravention, and a person undertaking such construction or repair is charged therewith, he shall be entitled, upon information duly laid by him, to have any other person, being his agent, servant, or workman, whom be charges as the actual offender, brought before the Court at the time appointed for hearing the charge, and if he proves to the satisfaction of the Court that he had used due diligence to prevent the contravention of this section, and that the said other person committed the contravention without his knowledge, consent, or connivance, be shall be exempt from any fine, and the said other person may be summarily convicted of the contravention.

New Clause (Improper construction or repair of water-closet or drain,)—(Mr. Cremer,)—brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be now read a second time."

*(4.40.) MR. RITCHIE

It is quite true that the hon. Member brought this forward in Committee. I suggested, however, that it was rather a matter to be dealt with in the Building Acts, and he withdrew it. He has now, I think, put his clause in a shape which is certainly better than it was when originally proposed. I have received some representations in regard to the clause since it has been on the Paper. It has been represented to me that, although the clause seems to be carefully safeguarded, it may in some cases make persons liable who are not in fault, and I am sure the hon. Member would be disposed to receive with favour any proposal which would make sure that the right man should be hit. My own attitude in regard to the proposal is a benevolent one, and I am disposed to accept the clause. Before the Bill goes to another place I will consider whether words cannot be inserted in order to prevent the wrong person from being charged.

Question put, and agreed to.

Verbal Amendments agreed to.

Clause, as amended, added.

Amendment proposed, in page 5, line 15, to leave out Sub-section (2), of Clause 6.—(Mr. Kelly.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Other Amendments made.

(4.46.) MR. BOULNOIS (Marylebone)

I beg to move my Amendment to Clause 16, providing that "the sanitary authority" and not "the county council," as proposed by the Bill, shall make bye-laws as to the prevention of nuisances. I am not going to draw any distinction between the London County Council and the Sanitary Authorities, who, to a great extent, are the Vestries and District Boards of the Metropolis. As a member of the County Council, I have no desire to limit unduly the functions of that body, but I think that these bye-laws could much better be drawn up by the different Vestries which have local knowledge of their respective districts. I have had the honour of being a member of a Vestry for 28 years, and during that time it has done most excellent work. I should be very sorry indeed to see any powers taken away from the Vestries and Local Boards and handed over to the London County Council. I think it will be admitted that the London County Council already has its hands very full. In view also of the creation of District Councils, I think it would be exceedingly unwise to take away any powers from the existing bodies which would naturally be transferred to the future bodies. We should all desire to see, if not the same class of men, a better class returned to the Vestries; and if you take away responsibilities from those bodies, you will certainly not induce the best men to come forward. The County Council would, of course, have to make bye-laws for the whole Metropolis, and it seems to me it would be exceedingly difficult to make any bye-laws which would be equally applicable and useful to a West End and an East End parish. The social aspects are entirely different in the two cases. I think the Sanitary Authorities in most instances, at all events in the Metropolis, have been freely trusted by the Local Government Board, and I think they may be trusted in the future.

Amendment proposed, in Clause 16, page 8, line 24, to omit "county council," and insert the words "sanitary authority."—(Mr. Boulnois.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

(4.51.) SIR C. RUSSELL (Hackney, S.)

I agree with the Amendment of the hon. Member, although not altogether on the grounds he has stated. I have a feeling that the subject-matter of this Bill might be much more effectively dealt with if we had constituted that system of Local Government which we all look forward to with some expectation, but, while I say that, I recognise that the public are indebted to the right hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill for the most useful provisions it contains. The ground on which I support the Amendment is that, while I in no way reflect upon the County Council, I think we ought to give as much power as can safely be given in regard to the actual administration of local affairs to the representative body in charge of the district. I think it is impossible to expect men of position in the locality to assume the burden of taking part in local government unless you make their position one of responsibility, and unless they are to be freed from hindrance and hampering at every turn by the interference of outside parties. Therefore, I very cordially support this Amendment, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to accept it.

*(4.54.) SIR A. ROLLIT (Islington, S.)

As one who supported heartily the Second Reading of this Bill, I join in the expression of the hope that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board will see his way to accepting this Amendment. I am certainly actuated by no jealousy of the County Council, having had too much municipal experience for any such feeling, but this matter of bye-laws is essentially one for the Local Authority. This provision in the Bill is really apiece of re-centralisation. Those who have to administer the bye-laws ought to have the right to make them. We expect from the right hon. Gentleman a scheme for the detailed government of the Metropolis, in the shape of a Bill for District Councils. I think one of the worst things that could happen would be either to stamp the character of the minor Local Governments in a manner that would be deterrent to the best men entering them, or to so limit their powers as to render these good men comparatively useless in the performance of their duties. In the case of Subsection (c), it may perhaps, and as a matter of compromise, be advisable that the power should be in the London County Council, and I make this suggestion because the subject referred to is marked by continuity and may effect several parishes. In the case of Sub-section E, the power is now in the hands of the Central Authority, and, though I think the local principle would apply, still, again as a matter of compromise, I would suggest that the power might reside where it is. But Sub-section (a), (b), (d) and (f), which deal with local matters, the Local Authority is the proper tribunal.

*(4.58.) EARL COMPTON (York, W.R., Barnsley)

I am one of those who disagree with the arguments that have been brought forward in favour of this clause, and I am afraid I shall find myself in a minority. The point was thoroughly well threshed out in the Grand Committee. The last speaker brought forward there the same arguments, and made the same speech that we have just heard, only he made it several times instead of once. We fought against the opponents of the clause with the aid of the President of the Local Government Board, who was in favour of the clause as it stands, and who pointed out to the Committee the absolute necessity of uniformity in the bye-laws in London. He told us time after time that it was absurd to think that all the Vestries of London were against the clause as it stands. In every Division we won by very preponderant numbers, because the Government were on our side. I am afraid, from what I have heard, there has been a change of front on the part of those who are in charge of this Bill. We have heard of compromise. The compromise, I imagine, came originally from the right hon. Gentleman himself. It appears to me to be a compromise the effect of which will be to take away certain powers now possessed by the Central Authority, which represents the whole of London, and hand them over to District Councils or other Local Authorities. I do not think the hon. Member was present in the Grand Committee when we discussed Clause 16. If I remember rightly, he was suffering from influenza at the time, and I was unable to attend a later Sitting for the same unfortunate reason. We have not, so far as I am aware, yet had a hint of the intentions of the Government relative to this most important Amendment. Seeing that such enormous interests are involved, surely the Government ought to have put down some Amendments instead of leaving us in the dark as to what course they intend to take. Is it their intention in all clauses when the "county council" is named to substitute the words "sanitary authority"? I think we have good reason to complain of being left in the dark until the eleventh hour. We know, of course, that if the Government decide to accept any Amendment, they can command a majority. We shall be in a minority unless the Government stick to their guns. Having watched with the greatest interest the career of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, having looked upon him as one of the strongest men in the present Government, having had to thank him for the remedial measures he has already passed, and having done my best in the Grand Committee to help him forward with his Bill, I am sorry now to see him showing signs of weakness and of giving way on this most important point at the bidding of certain Members who represent the Vestries of London. Has he looked into the matter thoroughly? Can he tell us how the existing bye-laws will be affected? How will the bye-laws dealing with slaughterhouses be affected? In that case you will have a conflict of jurisdiction. In passing this Amendment we shall be going backward instead of forward. What we want to secure is uniformity from one end of London to the other; but by having a variety of bye-laws made by different authorities, we shall get nothing but confusion. I am not merely pleading as a member of the London County Council, to which body I may not soon belong, as I do not think it possible for a man to do his duty properly as a member of the London County Council and of this House also, but I do put this plea forward as an individual who lives in this City. Having made inquiry into the matter, and having seen how badly the Sanitary Laws have worked, I have come to the conclusion that nothing but uniformity of bye-laws will have any effect in remedying the evils under which we have for so long laboured. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to give us some indication as to how far he intends to give way to the outcries which certain Vestries have made since this Bill passed through the Standing Committee. I hope that I may have taken too despondent a view of the position of affairs.

*(5.9.) MR. WHITMORE (Chelsea)

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will agree with the view taken by the hon. Member for Islington. I have an Amendment on the Paper which, if passed, would transfer to the Sanitary Authority the power of making all bye-laws; but perhaps the best way of dealing with the question is to give the County Council the power of making bye-laws for such matters as are really Metropolitan responsible. I agree with the hon. Member for Islington, that the matters dealt with in Sub-sections C and E are Metropolitan, and can best be dealt with by the London County Council; but as to matters arising under other sub-sections, they are of a local nature, they vary in different districts, they require local knowledge in dealing with them, and consequently the framing of bye-laws respecting them should be left to the Local Authorities. Under these circumstances I shall not press the Amendment which stands in my name. I should like to say, in the way of friendly criticism of what has fallen from the noble Lord, that those who take the view of the matter embodied in this Amendment object to being described as representatives of the Vestries. We simply desire that the affairs of London shall be administered in the best possible way. For my part, I am convinced it is in the interest of the London County Council itself that we should not unnecessarily and gratuitously add to its many important functions duties which are not Metropolitan, and which could be far better dealt with by Local Sanitary Authorities. There are powers which we all earnestly desire to see conferred upon the London County Council, but is it wise to impose these sanitary duties upon that body, which the noble Lord admits finds great difficulty in discharging its present duties——


I did not say that. I said it was difficult for a member of the London County Council to do duty also as a Member of Parliament.


I should like to see more men like the noble Lord sitting on the London County Council, and I would urge that we should not unnecessarily add to the duties of that body.

*(5.13.) MR. T. H. BOLTON

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not be deterred by the lecture of the noble Lord from giving way to the evident wish on all sides of the House. This Bill came before the Local Authorities of London somewhat suddenly, and has been pressed forward rather expeditiously, and I think the Sanitary Authorities have only just realised the propositions which are embodied in it. I do not accuse the right hon. Gentleman of desiring to rush the Bill through, but I say that it was not until very recently the Sanitary Authorities of London had an opportunity of fully considering it. A good deal has been said or implied by the noble Lord, and it is also said by certain classes of people in the community as to the Sanitary Authorities having grossly neglected their duties.


NO, no.


The noble Lord is well aware that appeals are made to the Government to wipe some of the present Sanitary Authorities out of existence and to give the London County Council increased powers. Now, I venture to say that a large number of the Sanitary Authorities in London have done their duty, and the condition of the health of London is the strongest testimony of the way in which they have done their work, without any pressure from either the London County Council or its predecessor. I cannot admit to be reactionary any proposal to give the Sanitary Authorities of London reasonable control over sanitary matters in their own districts. Does the noble Lord mean to say that the Sanitary Authorities have exercised their powers unjustly.


I said there was something retrogade in this Amendment.


The noble Lord admits that he does not attend the meetings of the County Council so often as he wishes because of the pressure of his Parliamentary duties, and I can therefore well understand that be has somewhat misunderstood the powers which the London County Council possesses. I am not aware that it has at the present time any of the powers proposed to be given to it in this Bill. The proposal which the noble Lord advocates is to take away power from the Sanitary Authorities and to confer upon the County Council powers of sanitary control involved in the making of bye-laws which the County Council do not at present possess. The Bill as a whole, as a measure in the interest of the public health, is no doubt an excellent one, but there is one vice which runs through it and which I hope to see removed, and that is a desire to transfer from the Sanitary Authorities real control, and to enable the County Council to sit in judgment upon their actions, to minimise their efforts, and to destroy their usefulness. I have marked 56 places in the Bill in which the County Council is interpolated as exercising interference or control of various kinds over the Sanitary Authorities. I say that that interference is unnecessary. I understand that at an early period the right hon. Gentleman is to bring in his Bill creating District Councils who will have all the duties of the present Sanitary Authorities. I cannot see what object there can be in degrading the Sanitary Authorities, and the right hon. Gentleman, if he is reported correctly, said himself that anything calculated to take away from the responsibilities and independence of the Vestries would have an injurious effect. He also said he hoped that when they came to deal with the question of District Councils it would be his duty to add to rather than diminish the duties of existing authorities. Surely, if that is the intention of the right hon. Gentleman, it is unreasonable by this Bill to deprive the Sanitary Authorities of powers they at present possess, and which they will only temporarily exercise until the new District Councils are brought into operation. I desire to see the London County Council discharging the larger duties which belong to it, and leaving to the local Authorities an independent control of their local affairs. I have in my hand communications from the Vestries of Paddington, Islington, and St. Pancras, protesting against the tendency of this Bill to lessen the status of the existing Local Authorities, and there is an equally strong feeling on this matter in other districts. In one of these documents it is pointed out that in the case of the particular parish with a population of 320,000, the Vestry has proved itself for years past capable of administering local affairs economically as well as efficiently, and to the satisfaction of the inhabitants, and yet this Bill would subject it to a control which the smallest municipal borough in the Kingdom would not submit to. The right hon. Gentleman will find that the Vestries and District Boards strongly resent this interference. I hope this Bill will meet with favourable consideration, but I warn him that unless it is altered in some of its administrative details, and unless the Vestries retain full control over purely local matters, profound dissatisfaction will be created throughout London, and the work of parsing a District Councils Bill next Session will be made more difficult. I have never in this House made any attack on the London County Council. I have, on more than one occasion defended it, but I cannot help thinking that it already has more than enough purely local work to do, and that it is desirable to relieve it, as far as possible, of work which can be better done by Local Authorities.

*(5.26.) MR. RITCHIE

I think I shall best consult the convenience of the Committee by confining my remarks to the particular question before it, and I earnestly hope, when questions come up in connection with this Bill, that it will not be necessary to have a general dissertation on the merits and demerits of the County Council. No matter how well the Local Authorities perform their duty, there ought to be some means of insuring uniformity of administration, but it is not intended to interfere with their independence. It is perfectly true that in the Standing Committee I resisted an Amendment similar to the one now proposed. I think, however, that there is some misapprehension with regard to giving and taking away powers. In the Bill, as it stands now, there will be no taking away of powers either from one body or the other. There is only one body which has power to make bye-laws. No power exists in any Local Body—either the County Council or the Local Authority—to make bye-laws on the majority of the matters now proposed to be made the subject of bye-laws. Those matters are regulated by Statute, but the provisions are not in a convenient form, and it is quite evident that they have to do with matters which ought to be dealt with in a more elastic way. That being so, the Government naturally desired that the authority which had the supervision of the whole of London should make the bye-laws applicable to the whole of London. I acknowledge that these provisions have been resented by Local Authorities throughout London. This Bill is a very important one, and I think that few persons have quite realized the effect it will have on the public health of London. I feel sure that no one more than the noble Lord would have regretted the wrecking of the Bill because of a position taken up by the Government with reference to matters which are not absolutely essential. Such a result would have been looked upon as an unmitigated misfortune after the labour and trouble which have been gone through. I am sure, also, that the noble Lord will agree that, if by making certain concessions, not of an essential character, the Government are able to enlist the vestries on their side, instead of making them antagonists, with the object of securing the carrying out of the provisions of the Bill, they will be doing a good work. I do not recede from the position taken up in the Grand Committee—namely, that it would be better to have absolute uniformity with regard to the whole of this matter throughout London, and that the central body is the authority to make the bye-laws. I do not think, however, that the point is so essential as to cause me to adhere at all hazards to the position I took up in the Grand Committee, though it may be said I am turning my back upon myself. I understand that my hon. Friend and those who agree with him in this Amendment recognise that there are two sets of those bye-laws which can properly be made by the Central Authority, and no one can doubt the capacity of the Local Authorities to make bye-laws with regard to the other matters. I shall endeavour to secure uniformity in some other way. The noble Lord knows that the bye-laws made by the Sanitary Authority have to receive the consent of the Local Government Board; and I shall consider it my duty to draw up model bye-laws for the guidance and assistance of the various Local Authorities throughout London. We may hope, therefore, that if the Local Authorities desire to co-operate with the Local Government Board practical uniformity will be secured in that way. I acknowledge that I am departing from the position I took up in the Grand Committee on this point; but I believe we shall thereby be enabled to smooth away a vast number of difficulties; to conciliate instead of to offend the Local Authorities, while inflicting no practical damage on the Bill.

*(5.35.) MR. J. STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

It is obvious that the right hon. Gentleman is in a difficulty; at the same time, I deprecate such Second Heading speeches as we have heard upon this clause from hon. Friends on this side of the House. We are met here to complete, if we can, a measure which, taken as a whole, will be of great advantage to London. I have supported the position taken up by the Government in the Grand Committee with reference to this clause, and I cannot admit what the right hon. Gentleman has said, that there are no powers at present with which this clause might interfere. Under the Act of 1888 the County Council of London is authorised to make bye-laws for the good health and government of the county, and for the prevention and suppression of any nuisances. But what it lacks is power to enforce those bye-laws. A good deal of the discussion which has arisen has shown the force of the contention that difficulties will arise in connection with the progress through Parliament of this Bill, because it precedes the formation of District Councils. It is obvious also that there has been in the minds of some hon. Members an anticipation of the date when District Councils will be established, and that we are not looking clearly at the situation as it exists at present. I believe that some of the right hon. Gentleman's difficulties have in fact been created by himself, and I am astonished at the continuous and determined opposition waged against the Bill by some hon. Members on the Government side of the House—an opposition which endangers the passing of the Bill. If the right hon. Gentleman had maintained his position the Bill might have been got through the House with little difficulty. I recognise the force of the reasons which have led to the right hon. Gentleman's yielding on this point, and that there is great doubt among vestry representatives and others as to whether all the subjects specified are fit for general and universal regulation; and I believe that those objections might be met by a much less drastic change than is at present suggested. I cannot admit that this is a centralising measure, nor that the municipalities in the country are in a position similar to Local Bodies in London. Municipalities represent units, and we maintain that London is a unit as a whole, and that the County Council is the representative of London in this matter. The right hon. Gentleman has shown that there may be some doubt as to the efficiency of the bye-laws made by Local Authorities. The proposal to issue model bye-laws is a good stop to take, but the right hon. Gentleman should remember that there is another difficulty beyond that. There is the point whether or not bye-laws will be made at all, and there ought to be inserted in the Bill some provision which will bring the Local Authorities to book and oblige them to make those bye-laws. The right hon. Gentleman should embody in the Bill a provision to this effect—that if any Sanitary Authority shall fail to make bye-laws which shall have received the approval of the Local Government Board before some fixed date, then the County Council shall have power to make such bye-laws. Unless there be some kind of regulation like this there will be districts of London in which the operation of the Act will be absolutely non-existent.


The point raised by the hon. Member is already provided for in Clause 99 of the Bill.

(5.45.) MR. WEBSTER (St. Pancras, E.)

I had intended to move an Amendment similar to that of my hon. Friend the Member for Marylebone. The representatives of the London constituencies on this side of the House have taken up this question in the interest of local self-government and of the people of London at large, believing that the public interest will be best served by the Local Authorities having ample powers to discharge those functions which properly come within their scope. It has been pointed out that the London County Council already has more work than it can do, and that being so, it would, as has already been said, be most unwise to needlessly thrust upon them additional duties which belong to and can be efficiently discharged by other Local Bodies. I myself saw the Agenda Paper of the County Council—28 closely printed pages—and after sitting five hours they had only got through four or five of those pages. For the reasons I have stated I strongly support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Marylebone.


I cannot assume the militant spirit of my hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras, or with the noble Lord the Member for Barnsley. I think the matter is purely a practical one affecting the future sanitary administration of London, and therefore bound up with the whole work of self-government. It is not a question concerning the self-esteem of the County Council or of the Local Bodies, but one which closely affects the social welfare of the people. It is from that point of view we should regard the matter, and I feel bound to say that I think the compromise suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board is an improvement on the Bill. Though it should be borne in mind that it is a fault on the part of the Local Authorities that they have not carried out the existing law, yet I decline to discuss the point, because I do not believe those authorities will exist much longer. Still, I do not think that to decentralise the work of the vestries and to throw it now on the County Council would make the delegation of work to these future bodies—the District Councils—easier, and that is a point which should not be lost sight of. I repeat that the compromise of the right hon. Gentleman will meet the object in view in regard to bye-laws better than the Bill as it stands, and if the right hon. Gentleman avails himself of the powers which Clause 110 gives him he will be able to secure the uniformity which we all desire. I shall, therefore, in this matter support the action taken by the right hon. Gentleman. The County Council will be able to settle broad questions for the whole of the Metropolis, but they should not be troubled by details which could properly be left to the various localities. Too much of the time of the London County Council meetings is taken up by such matters. I am quite sure, too, that there would be jealousy on the part of the different localities if they were interfered with by the officialism of the Central Body. We want to secure the goodwill, not the hostility, of every Local Authority towards the Sanitary Law. I support the right hon. Gentleman, because I think the object we all have in view will be better carried out by the compromise he has suggested.


The right hon. Gentleman has devised an excellent compromise. Too long we have been troubled with the dignity of the Vestries as opposed to the susceptibilities of the County Council. But now both bodies are content. To the vestrymen the right hon. Gentleman attributes the dignified mission of dealing with "carrion" and with "offal," while to the County Councillor he concedes the removal of things "noxious" and "offensive,"—acting apparently in this on the well-known maxim that "Who drives fat oxen should himself be fat." The compromise satisfies, it would seem, the contending parties, so let them lie down together henceforth in peace.

*(5.55.) SIR J. LUBBOCK (London University)

I shall be glad to say a few words, not as Chairman of the London County Council, but as a resident of London, and as a London Member. Although I sympathise with my right hon. Friend, and recognise the importance of avoiding disputes with the different Local Authorities, still I regret that he has found himself obliged to give way to the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Marylebone. My hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras will allow me to observe that I have never said a Single word in depreciation of the vestries of London. I may say for my noble Friend, as well as for myself, and indeed, I believe I may speak for the County Council as a whole, that we gratefully recognise and appreciate the work which has been done for London by the Vestries. I do not think that that work has always been sufficiently appreciated. When we look at the health of London, we must, I think, admit that they have carried out their duties admirably. At the same time, I think it would be better that bye-laws should be made by a Central Authority for the whole of London. It may be urged that although uniformity is desirable, yet different bye-laws may be required for different parts of London. But I may point out that the London County Council need not of necessity make uniform bye-laws for the whole of London; they could vary them to meet the requirements of different localities. The hon. Member for St. Pancras asserted that some of the provisions in this clause were of a purely local character. That may be the case so far as Sub-section F is concerned, but as regards the other sub-sections, they cannot be said to be of a local character, because if the duties embodied in them are neglected in any part of the Metropolis, the city as a whole may suffer. I have in my hand an excellent article from the Lancet of the 18th April, which says:— A little consideration will doubtless show that the course Mr. Ritchie has adopted is inevitable if London is to be properly governed. There is an absolute necessity that a central power should exist for the purposes of the sanitary requirements of London as a whole, and seeing that maladministration in one district in London may prejudicially affect the whole county, the right of intervention must be given to the Central Authority. Not long ago we commented on the activity of the Sanitary Authority of St. Olave's in stamping out an outbreak of typhus fever. If this outbreak had been less energetically dealt with other districts would probably have been affected, and, as a matter of fact, the disease did spread to the neighbouring district. It cannot be held that the administration of one district does not concern others. London, great as it is, is but one town. I cannot help thinking that this portion of the Bill is of a retrograde character. Still it is important we should pass the Bill, and although it may not be all that we desire, it will be for the advantage of the Metropolis. I do not wish, however, to exaggerate the importance of the concessions made by the right hon. Gentleman to hon. Members. There are five provisions in this clause. One is a matter of very small importance, and I agree it had better be left in the hands of the District Board. Of the remaining four, I understand my hon. Friend to admit that two should be under the control of the London County Council. I confess that if subsection C and E are to be left under the control of that body I see no logical reason for omitting A and D. At the same time it must not be supposed that everything is going to be taken away from the London County Council. The provisions which are the most important in the interests of the health of the Metropolis will still be left in their hands. As Chairman of the Council, I will only add that we are most anxious to work cordially and harmoniously with the vestries. The London County Council do not, as alleged by the last speaker—and I think I may say the same for the vestries—wish to claim anything for themselves. They are not looking in any way to their own dignity and power, their one desire is to support the system which will best promote the health of London. One hon. Member has suggested that this is a matter of jealousy between the vestries and the London County Council. That is not the spirit in which we approach this matter. We desire to do that which is best for the Metropolis generally. I may, however, point out to the representatives of the vestries that the real power under the Amendment is after all not given to them, but to the Local Government Board.


I do not agree with this proposed change. I think it is a blow struck at the very heart of the Bill. I hold that the right hon. Gentleman has not successfully defended his change of front. He says he does not wish to run the risk of losing the Bill by insisting on this point. But is that a fair presentment of the case? It has been recognised from the first that Clause 16 was a vital and, perhaps, the most important part of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman cannot say that he has been taken by surprise by the case which the vestries have put before him; for that case was fairly stated in the Committee with characteristic clearness and force by the hon. Member for South Islington and by the Member for Chelsea. How did the right hon. Gentleman then meet them? He said that Clause 16 referred to matters as to which it was essential there should be uniformity. That was of course a strong argument in favour of the clause as it stood. It is from that want of uniformity that London has for many years sadly suffered. I have been somewhat surprised by the tone adopted in this House with regard to the London vestries. There has been an almost unanimous chorus of praise, and I am as ready as anyone to do them full justice, but I am not disposed to be mealy - mouthed with regard to their shortcomings. It is notorious that there are good vestries, indifferent vestries, and a few deplorably bad vestries. The object of this Bill is to secure power to coerce the bad vestries. The right hon. Gentleman said it is to secure uniformity, and in that he is certainly opposed to the mover of this Amendment, who holds it is undesirable.


I said "practical uniformity."


I do not think that the addition of the epithet "practical" alters the case materially. There is still a radical difference between the two. I think we have reason to complain of the attitude now taken up by the right hon. Gentleman. He has shown himself singularly ungrateful. The records of the proceedings of the Grand Committee will show that in that Committee the political supporters of the right hon. Gentleman would, if they had had their will, have turned his Bill inside out. In fact, the right hon. Gentleman was only saved from his friends by the interposition of the Liberal Members of the Committee. Now the right hon. Gentleman has run away from us, and left us in the lurch. No good purpose will be served by dividing the House, and I do not desire to do so: but if any other hon. Member insists upon a division I will support there the opinion I expressed in the Grand Committee.

(6.14.) MR. KELLY

With regard to the position we took up in the Grand Committee, it is true that we never asked for more than the right hon. Gentleman conceded. We did not even ask for this clause to be struck out, although we were very much opposed to it. We said that there were matters as to which bye-laws could only be properly made by the Local Authorities, and that others ought to be made by the London County Council. Some of us have taken up a different position to-day. My hon. and learned friend the Member for Deptford, who was a bitter opponent of the Bill, has modified his views, and I wish to point out that so far from it being a fact that we, who were opposed to the Bill, would have turned it inside out, we were so anxious it should be passed that we allowed the discussion on it to be considerably curtailed, and we avoided moving many Amendments. The hon. Member for Bethnal Green has taken up an attitude different from that adopted by his colleagues in regard to the vestries. He said there were good as well as bad vestries, but some of his friends have used much stronger language in regard to those bodies. One of them said, "vestrydom is doomed," and the sentiment was loudly cheered by hon Members around him. I trust I may be allowed to explain that many of us thought that it would be a fatal mistake when we were about to establish District Councils, to restrict the duties and obligations now resting upon the vestries, because we hold that members of the County Councils would be drawn from the District Councils, and if we took away every vestige of authority from the latter, no one would care to serve upon them.


I am pleased to hear that the hon. Member opposite, and those who are acting with him, are deeply anxious to pass this Bill, but I challenge contradiction when I say that in Committee they placed an enormous number of Amendments on the Paper, and that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board got his main support from Liberal Members of the Committee. Now, I am anxious that when the new District Councils are constituted they shall have stronger powers than the vestries possess at the present moment. The charge is that those of us who support the clause in its original form desire to undermine the powers of the vestries. We deny that. What we say we desire to do is to place in the hands of some authority the power of drawing up a series of bye-laws which have never been in existence. We hold that London in regard to these matters must be dealt with as a whole, and therefore we want the bye-laws drawn up by a Central Authority. One of the chief evils from which London has suffered in the past has been the overlapping of authorities with regard to matters of a character general to the whole of London. I regret that hon. Members should have taken up so much time on a minor point. I do not believe in a centralising system. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board says he is going to take care to have a uniform system; that he is going to draw up model bye-laws for the whole of the vestries of London. That is not what we want; we require that they should be drawn up by a representative authority.


The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. Although at present the Local Government Board has the power of drawing up model bye-laws for the whole of the country, the Sanitary Authorities are not bound slavishly to follow them. As a rule they are, however, only too glad to avail themselves of the suggestions of the Board.


They may not have to adopt the exact words of the bye-laws, but they are bound to keep within the four corners of them, or else they are not likely to get official approval. I do hope that when we come to deal with the question of District Councils the right hon. Gentlemen will adopt broader views on this point.


I am wholly opposed to centralisation on philosophic grounds. It seems to me that in this matter in London we have a terrible example in the position of the School Board, which already imposes a shilling rate, and we do not know how much its expenditure will increase. I am very much in favour of reasonable decentralisation. I think the County Council should deal with general questions and Local Authorities with local questions. The Central Authority should not be overburdened, and in spite of the explanations of the President of the Local Government Board, I think the change he is making is an illusory change. My great objection to this Bill is the excessive power given to the Local Government Board. I have not that extreme jealousy of officialism which many hon. Members have, but I think great danger may arise from the Local Government Board emasculating local government.

(6.26.) MR. CREMER

I should not have intervened in this Debate but for the extraordinary statements of the Member for North St. Pancras. The hon. Member said the Bill has been sprung upon the House and the country by surprise. This Bill has been before us nearly four months.


I did not say it was sprung upon the House by surprise; I said it had been proceeded with very expeditiously, and that the Local Authorities had only recently had an opportunity of considering its effect and expressing an opinion on it.


Seeing that the Bill has been before the House for four months, I think there has been full time for its mature consideration. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board certainly cannot be charged with having attempted to rush the Bill through the House. The Committee upstairs sat for several weeks, and extraordinary tactics were resorted to by hon. Gentlemen opposite for the purpose of wrecking this very useful measure. They crowded the Paper with Amendments; their intense hatred of the Bill was the alpha and omega of their action, and had it not been for the persistent support given to the right hon. Gentleman by hon. Members sitting on this side of the House, the Bill would have been wrecked. And yet after having been honourably and thoroughly beaten upstairs hon. Gentlemen opposite are still dissatisfied. They induced the right hon. Gentleman to delay the final stage so that they might put the vestries in motion against the Bill.


I rise to a point of order. Is the hon. Member speaking to the Amendment before the House?


The point at issue is being lost sight of. The question is, shall the County Council be the authority to make the bye-laws?

(6.30.) MR. CREMER

I was pointing out that we are now considering the very proposal on which hon. Gentlemen opposite were so fairly beaten upstairs. It is true the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board stated just now that within the last two or three weeks he has received communications in which the various Local Authorities in London resent the power which it is proposed by the Bill to confer on the London County Council. Of course we quite understood when the right hon. Gentleman assented to the adjournment of this question that he would receive such communication from the Local Authorities. It is a very dangerous thing to give to the Local Sanitary Authorities the power which it is proposed by hon. Gentlemen opposite to hand over to them. Those hon. Members who have been members of Vestries know that many members of those bodies are owners of small house property, and that these gentlemen manage, by hook or by crook, to get elected by the Vestries to the Sanitary Boards, with the result that the sanitary laws are scarcely ever enforced, or if they are enforced, it is in a very inefficient manner. These persons naturally desire to cling to the authority they have wielded in the past for their own selfish purposes. The right hon. Gentleman proposed very properly to take the power out of their hands, and to place it in the hands of the County Council. At last the right hon. Gentleman has thought it advisable to change his front on the subject. It is now proposed that the Local Government Board shall have the power to see that the sanitary laws and regulations are properly enforced. If hon. Gentlemen opposite prefer the authority of the Local Government Board in preference to that of the County Council of London—the one body of which they stand most in dread—I shall offer no objection. Personally, I shall not think it worth while to offer any further opposition to the proposal of the hon. Member for Marylebone, because I am satisfied that the victory the hon. Gentleman and his friends have gained is of the most shadowy character imaginable.

*(6.34.) MR. RITCHIE

May I be permitted to appeal to the House to come to a decision on this point. We have debated this Amendment for a very considerable time, and I assure hon. Gentlemen who desire this Bill to pass they will seriously endanger the probability of its doing so if they debate Amendments at very great length.

*(6.35.) MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)

Before we come to a decision on this Amendment I think we are entitled to a declaration from the right hon. Gentleman as to whether he means to stand by Clauses 98 and 99, because otherwise it will be absolutely necessary for us to press the point suggested by the hon. Member for Hoxton (Mr. Stuart).


I rise to order. If there is to be any reference to Clauses 98 and 99 some of us will also want to say something about them.

Question put, and negatived.

Question, "That the words 'Sanitary Authority' be there inserted," put and agreed to.

Amendments made—

Clause 16, page 8, line 33, leave out Sub-section (c).—(Mr. Boulnois.)

Clause 16, page 9, line 1, leave out Sub-section (e).—(Mr. Boulnois.)

(6.37.) MR. KELLY

I beg to move the next Amendment which stands in the name of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Gainsford Bruce). It seems to me it is obviously desirable that the Local Authorities should be able, with the concurrence of the Local Government Board, to make bye-laws as to the sufficiency of the space about buildings to be constructed after the passing of this Act so as to secure a free circulation of air and proper ventilation. I am quite aware the President of the Local Government Board will say that this is not the place in which this Amendment should be made. He will say he proposes to bring in a Bill to deal with this matter properly and fully, but I put it to him that no harm can be done by the matter being dealt with now. By this Amendment we shall be able to prevent the erection of buildings which are insanitary in a most important particular.

Amendment proposed, In page 9, line 7, after the word "dwelling-houses," to insert, as a new sub-section, the words "(g.) As to the sufficiency of the space a bout buildings to be constructed after the passing of this Act to secure a free circulation of air, and with respect to the ventilation of such buildings."—(Mr. Kelly.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

*(6.40.) MR. RITCHIE

This provision is the law in London at the present time, and is administered by the London County Council: it is included in the Building Acts. I think it would be manifestly wrong to insert in this Bill a provision which is strictly applicable to the Building Acts.


There is no doubt that the law in regard to the ventilation of buildings is very inefficiently executed. I have noticed great piles of buildings springing up a great deal too near one another, and that in parts of London where there is no excuse for overcrowding.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I think the Amendment I suggested to the right hon. Gentleman would come in here. It is not covered by Clause 99, and contemplates a much more speedy action than that clause does. Under Clause 99, in case of default by a local body, an appeal is to be made to the Local Government Board, and a series of steps have to be taken. No date is fixed. I propose that the date should be fixed by the Local Government Board.

Amendment proposed, after the Amendment last proposed, to insert the words— Provided, that if any Sanitary Authority shall fail to make bye-laws under this clause and to obtain the approval of the Local Government Board for these bye-laws before a date to be fixed by the Local Government Board, the County Council shall have power to make such bye-laws."—(Mr. James Stuart.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


I shall be glad to consider before the Bill reaches another place whether some time should not be fixed, but when we have in another clause provision for neglect by a Local Authority to fulfil its duties and obligations, I strongly deprecate our dealing with those duties here in a piece-meal and separate manner.

*(6.45.) MR. J. STUART

I will accept the right hon. Gentleman's assurance that in another place he will deal with the date in respect to the bye-laws. I withdraw the proposal.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment agreed to, in Clause 16, page 9, after line 7, to insert— The County Council shall make bye-laws—

  1. (a) for prescribing the times for the removal or carriage by road or water of any fœceal or offensive or noxious matter or liquid in or through London, and providing that the carriage or vessel used therefor shall be properly constructed and covered so as to prevent the escape of any such matter or liquid, and as to prevent any nuisance arising therefrom; and
  2. (b) as to the closing and filling up of cesspools and privies, and as to the removing and disposal of refuse, and as to the duties of the occupier of any premises in connection with house refuse, so as to facilitate the removal of it by the scavengers of the sanitary authority."—(Mr. Boulnois.)

Amendment moved, in Clause 19, page 10, line 9, after "cattle," to insert "or horses."—(Mr. James Stuart.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


Surely these words are quite unnecessary.


The matter has been looked into by the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, and the conclusion arrived at is that the words are necessary.


"Knacker" would not apply to the case of horses killed for food.

Question put, and agreed to.

Amendment agreed to, Clause 20, page 11, line 33, after "cattle," insert "or horses."—(Mr. James Stuart.)

(6.48.) MR. KELLY

I bog to move in Clause 20 (prohibition and regulation of offensive trades), page 11, line 7, to insert an Amendment, the object of which is to enable a person who holds a licence for a slaughter house for example, and who may feel aggrieved by any proposed bye-law, to be heard in support of his objection before the Court of Quarter Sessions. I do not for a moment dispute the right of the County Council to refuse to licence a slaughter house. We think they ought to have the power, but what we say is that where there has been a licence granted, and there is a refusal to renew that licence, there ought to be an appeal. We do not ask for an appeal against a refusal to grant a licence, but we do think there ought to be an appeal against a refusal to renew a licence. The matter is a very simple one, therefore, I will do no more than merely propose this Amendment.

Amendment proposed, in page 11, line 7, after the word "who," to insert the words "after hearing him in support of his objection."—(Mr. Kelly.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

(6.50.) SIR C. RUSSELL

I hope the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board will see his way to accept the Amendment. It is a matter of consequence to the person concerned that there should be an appeal. I do not, however, consider the Quarter Sessions the best authority to deal with the matter, and I should prefer to see the appeal given to the County Council.


I propose to insert at the end of the line a sub-section which will carry out the object my hon. Friend has in view. The sub-section is to the effect that where the Committee of the County Council determine to refuse or recommend the County Council to refuse the renewal of a licence under this section, the applicant, who may within seven days apply to the County Council to be heard, shall be heard against such refusal.


I think the right hon. Gentleman's proposal should be accepted, but at the same time I regret that the Amendment was not put clown on the Paper some time ago.

Question put, and negatived.

Another Amendment made.

Amendment proposed, In page 12, after line 26, to insert the words "Any person aggrieved by the refusal of the County Council to renew a licence under this section may appeal in manner provided by the Summary Jurisdiction Acts to a Court of Quarter Sessions."—(Mr. Kelly.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed, In Clause 20, page 12, insert the following sub-section:—"Where a committee of the county council determine to refuse or recommend the county council to refuse a renewal of any licence under this section the county council shall on written application made within seven days after such determination is made known to the applicant hear the applicant against such refusal."—(Mr. Ritchie.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


The words should be "Where a special Committee," &c., for the County Council appoints a Committee to consider these matters.


I will have the matter carefully looked into.

*(6.54) MR. DARLING

I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is not the fact that in the Public Health Amendment Act, 1890, Section 70, there is not power of appeal from the Local Authority in matters of this kind to the Quarter Sessions, which Act does not apply to London? I think the procedure should be the same in London as in the country. As the appeal in the country is from the Local Authority to the Quarter Sessions, why should it not be the same in London?


From a general experience of this kind of appeal outside the Metropolis, I can say that it is not satisfactory, and I most say I should be sorry to see the decisions of the great County Council of London subject to appeal to the Quarter Sessions. It would be unworthy and a retrograde step in the matter of local self-government.

Question put, and agreed to.

*(6.56.) MR. WHITMORE

I now move the Amendment standing next in my name. It is quite true that this question came before the Grand Committee, and that there was some discussion on the matter, but hon. Members will agree with me that the matter on that occasion was allowed to be decided by default. The effect of my Amendment, if carried, would be to restore the Bill to its original shape, and in the matter of the cleansing of the footways re-impose the liability upon the occupier instead of placing the obligation upon the Sanitary Authority. The law as it stands now is not difficult to carry out. My impression is that if we throw the liability on the Local Authority, while the footways in the richer districts and the more prominent thoroughfares will be attended to, those in the poorer districts and the back streets will be neglected. Besides, the change will throw a very large new burden on the rates. The surveyor in the parish of Chelsea tells me that he will have to ask for a further vote of £5,000 in consequence. I do not object to an increase of the rates when it is really required for sanitary purposes, but I think we should not throw a heavy burden on the rates merely for a theoretic and ideal comfort, and that we should be careful not to produce a reaction against this health legislation by combining with it unnecessary additions to the objects of local expenditure.

Amendment proposed, in page 17, at commencement of Clause 28, to insert the words— (1.) The occupier or, where the premises are unoccupied or are a house let in separate apartments, the owner of any premises in any street or public place shall keep the footways and watercourses adjoining the premises sufficiently swept and cleansed and free from snow, ice, dirt, or any other accumulation, and, in doing so, shall conform to the bye-laws under this Act. (2.) If the occupier or owner of any premises, as the case may be, fails at any time to comply with this section, he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding forty shillings for every such failure, and to pay any cests incurred by the Sanitary Authority in doing the work which he has so failed to do."—(Mr. Whitmore.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


Representations which have reached me from the Local Authorities of the district I represent certainly induce me to support the principle of the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend. Within the bounds of the district of the Hackney District Board there are no less than 200 miles of footpaths. The duty of keeping these footpaths clean is not to individual occupiers of individual houses a very serious burden; but, undoubtedly, this duty, if cast upon the Local Authority, would involve a very considerable increase in local expenditure, and a duty which at particular times, as I am informed, they would be unable to perform—I mean upon the occasion of a heavy snowfall. The duty could only be performed on such occasions at an enormous cost, and even then it would occupy a long time. But by the practice hitherto followed, the task of clearing the footways can be carried out with ease. I think the burden may still be left on the occupier, so far as the footways are concerned, and it is undesirable to throw the burden on the rates.


At any rate, the attitude I take up on this point will not lay me open to any reproach of inconsistency from hon. Gentlemen opposite, because in Grand Committee, as hon. Members know, I was strongly opposed to the striking out of the provision which my hon. Friend now proposes to restore. I entirely agree with what has been said by the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken, and it was my argument in Committee that to throw this burden on the authorities would entail an enormous cost upon the Local Authorities. With any amount of additional expense it would hardly be possible in times of pressure for the authorities to fulfil this duty. If this duty is cast on the Vestry the dwellers in the back streets will suffer, because the whole attention of the authorities will be concentrated upon the main thoroughfares, and the unfortunate occupiers in the back streets will be in the position that they are not to clear their footpaths for themselves, nor can they have the work done for them. This was my view in Committee, and is my view still, and so I support the proposal of my hon. Friend to restore the clause to its original form.

(7.5.) MR. WEBSTER

I support the clause as it at present stands, and which represents the conclusion we arrived at after thoroughly discussing the point in Committee. We considered the change desirable because all the work of clearing the footways after a snowfall is now discharged in a perfunctory way by the inhabitants, and we believe it would be well and cheaply done by the Local Authority. My hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea states that it would cost the Chelsea Board another £5,000 a year to clear the footways; and this estimate, I suppose, includes not only the clearing away of snow, but the cleansing of the footways from mud all the year round. It may be perhaps the case that the wide thoroughfares will have the first attention, but if the bye-streets are neglected it will be for the inhabitants to complain to the Local Sanitary Authority and to see that the work of cleansing for which they pay is properly carried out. It will be a great benefit to the poorer class of inhabitants who have to traverse the streets early in the morning on their way to places of business to be able to do this without the mud and wet on boots and dress which now they have to put up with. No difficulty is found in the authorities cleansing the streets of Paris, and in New York the "side walks," as they are called, are cleaned in the same way as the roadways. Equally well can the work be done in London. When it is urged that sufficient men cannot be found for the work, I doubt it, and remember that at the time when there is an exceptionally heavy fall of snow in London, there are usually more than the ordinary number of men out of employment, and these would be only too glad to find temporary employment under the authorities, instead of as now, cadging up and down the streets for such odd jobs as individual occupiers will give them. The occupier who pays one of these men to clear his section of the footway probably pays more for the clearing away of the snow than he will have to pay under a rate for the cleansing all the year round. Under the present state of things some householders clear their house fronts, and others do not, so that you find constant intervals of slush or slippery surfaces. I think the estimate for the cost suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea, 2d. in the £61, is somewhat high, and I believe it could be done in St. George's, Hanover Square, at a much lower rate, but it may be the management is more economical there. The great benefit would be to those of the poorer classes who have to walk the streets, and the work can, I am sure, easily be done by the authorities. It is an old idea that such duties rest with individual inhabitants. At one time, they had the duty of lighting and watching the thoroughfares. The authorities cleanse the roadways, why not the footpaths? The clause in the Bill is a most useful one.

*(7.10.) SIR J. LUBBOCK (London University)

I am somewhat surprised to find the hon. Gentleman speak so lightly of an increase of 2d. in the rates, when we hear from him so much of the extravagance at the London County Council in having raised the rates ½d. But I support the Amendment because I believe that the streets will be better and more quickly cleared if we keep the law as it stands and adopt the Amendment. When we have a sudden and heavy fall of snow the Vestry will require some time for the organisation of a staff to clear it away, and meanwhile there is all the inconvenience until the work can be done, whereas now every man sets to work, or ought to do so, to clear his own frontage at once.


I am disposed to question the consistency of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board even in regard to this point. It is quite true that in Committee the right hon. Gentleman intimated his doubts as to the propriety of the Amendment then proposed, but the record of proceedings shows that he actually allowed the clause to be struck out of the Bill without a division.


It is quite true I did not divide, but I said "No." I took the voices of the Committee.


Well, that strengthens our position; it shows that the voices of the Committee were so overwhelmingly in favour of striking out the provision that the right hon. Gentleman had not courage to challenge a division, but now, emboldened by the assistance of the hon. and learned Member for Hackney, he adopts a much more courageous attitude. Every unbiassed person must admit that something ought to be done to improve the insanitary condition of our London footways. Speaking generally, the condition of our roadways in London is a model for all great cities. ["No, no!"] Such is my impression, speaking generally. But the condition of the footways is disgraceful, and this arises from the duty of cleansing them never having been formally laid upon the Local Authorities. The question now divides itself into two parts—the duty of cleansing from dirt under normal conditions, and the duty of clearing away a heavy fall of snow. Now, as regards the first set of conditions, the ordinary cleansing, I believe the vestries are almost unanimously in favour of undertaking the duty, but a heavy snowfall in London introduces a different set of considerations. I think, upon the whole, the balance of argument is strongly in favour of taking the burden off the shoulders of the individual occupiers and laying it upon the Local Authority. In the first place, I must traverse the statement that there is not now any burden on the occupier; there is such a burden and often it is a serious one. At the time of a great snow fall men go about professing to clear the footway, and if they are given the job to do they do it very badly. The present arrangement is akin to a system of blackmailing the occupier, and if he will not submit to that indignity, the only alternative is for some member of the household to undertake the work, and in middle class families this usually falls to the maid servant, work she should not be called upon to do. [An hon. MEMBER: The master of the house.] I do not find there is usually that chivalrous disposition to relieve the girl from the duty. Now, as to the question of practicability, I think the observations of the hon. Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Webster) who has had experience as a member of a London vestry ought to have weight with the House. I have not experience to enable me to give a similar undertaking; but he pledged himself that it is perfectly practicable for the Local Authorities to undertake the duty, and as the Local Authorities in the Metropolis have now the duty of cleaning the roadways, to include the footways is but a small additional work. I shall, therefore, if a division is insisted upon, vote in favour of keeping the clause as it left the Committee.

*(7.15.) SIR J. COLOMB&c.) (Tower Hamlets, Bow,

My personal experience is against the arguments of the hon. Member for St. Pancras. If you pass along Victoria Street you will find roadway and footways in good order, but turning to the smaller streets to the south of Victoria Street and you will find that while the footways are clean the roadways are littered with rubbish, garbage, and decaying matter. Now, it is the duty of occupiers in the existing state of the law to clean the footways, and they are clean; it is the duty of the vestry or the Local Board to clear the roadways in the poor districts, and they do not do it; so that I venture to think that with an increase of rates under this clause you will only have the footways in poor districts in the condition in which the roadways are now. Therefore, I support the Amendment.

*(7.16.) MR. LAWSON

The arguments on either side are well balanced; the disadvantages of either course are almost equal. I do not agree that the condition of the roads in the Metropolis is a model to other cities. I am quite aware that in regard to paving they are better than the roads in such a city as Now York, but anyone who had experience of London last winter must admit that nothing could be worse than the state of the roads over almost the whole of London. I believe the City was an exception. Through the length and breadth of London practically nothing was done to clear the streets of the snow drifts, and for a long time locomotion was impossible. Under such circumstances, I fancy the clause as it stands will be a counsel of perfection; it will not be acted upon or carried into effect. I very much doubt if, with all the expense involved of setting the unemployed at work, the vestries could do the work. Still, I do not feel inclined to vote against the provision in the Bill. Though I do not think the slate of things will be much better than the present, I do not think it can be worse.

(7.17.) MR. R. CHAMBERLAIN (Islington, W.)

It may not be out of place to give an illustration from what is done in a provincial town. In Birmingham, in order to secure the footways being kept clear from snow, as winter approaches notices are posted and circulated among the inhabitants reminding occupiers of their duty to promptly sweep the footways after a fall of snow. The hon. Member for St. Pancras says this is imperfectly performed, but we find in Birmingham that the pathways are cleared early in the day, if not by 9 o'clock, by which time under the bye-laws the night fall of snow should be cleared. It is admitted that in London the Vestries do not effectually and promptly clear the roadways, and how, then, can it be anticipated they will perform the duty of sweeping the footways better than the duty is done at present? The hon. Member says that the extra work can be supplied by the numbers of men thrown out of their ordinary employment by the severity of the weather, but such labour will have to be organised and superintended. Many of the men will be unfitted for the work required, and an immense number of brooms and shovels will have to be kept in store or suddenly provided; whereas now every occupier is responsible for clearing the space in front of his own house, and the work is done, or the occupier is prosecuted for neglect of the duty. I am sure, from experience in Birmingham, that it will be impossible for the authorities to clear the paths so expeditiously as when the duty is imposed on the occupiers and enforced by the Sanitary Authority.

*SIR GUYER HUNTER (Hackney, Central)

I have not heard a single argument which should induce us to alter the decision arrived at in Committee. It has been stated by several hon. Members that Vestries have been in the habit of neglecting the duty of removing refuse from the roads, and they have argued. How, then, will it be possible for them to discharge this additional duty? But you find the Bill provides that the Sanitary Authority is to be mulcted in fines for neglect of duty. I hope there will be no attempt to relieve the authority from the duty that properly belongs to them, and that the penalty against neglect of duty will be enforced. I shall support the clause as it stands.

(7.21.) MR. CREMER

In theory I am in favour of throwing the responsibility upon the occupier, but I find, after 30 years' experience as a London resident, that it does not work out well in practice. For many years in the street in which I live, winter after winter I have turned out and shovelled away the snow from my house front, and a few other residents in the street have done the same thing. But 95 per cent. of the occupiers do nothing of the kind, and the result is, though a few of us try to keep the footways clear, in half-an-hour our efforts are rendered fruitless, and the footway is as bad as before we made the attempt. Not one of the occupiers who did not perform their duty was ever fined for his neglect. Can any Member of the House charge his memory with any instance in which an occupier was summoned and fined for neglecting to keep his house frontage clear of snow? I have read of two or three instances, but they are exceedingly rare. The state of things in the Metropolis is disgraceful and injurious to the health of the people, especially those of the poorer classes, men and women who have to walk through the streets ill-shod, and pass their long hours of employment with feet cold and wet. This Amendment proposes to increase the duty now imposed on the occupiers, and which they do not perform, for it proposes that they shall not only sweep and keep clean the footways, but the "watercourses," so that we shall have to descend not only to the pavement, but to the gutters. As if it has been found impracticable to enforce the lighter duties imposed by the existing law, I respectfully submit to the right hon. Gentleman it will be impossible to insist upon occupiers keeping clear the watercourses and gullies. It is a much easier thing to inflict a fine upon one than upon a hundred, and if we impose this duty on the Local Authority and the duty is neglected we shall know who to hang. It is difficult to enforce the law now, but under the Bill there will be no doubt about the duty and the penalty, and if there is a neglect of duty after one fall of snow it will not be repeated when the next fall comes.

(7.24.) MR. C. W. RADCLIFFE COOKE (Newington, W.)

If the hon. Member reads Sub-section 2 of the clause with the Amendment proposed, moved by my hon. Friend, he will see that the performance of the duty remains with the occupier or owner of cleansing the footways, and there is the additional guarantee that the work shall be done because it will be enacted that the Sanitary Authority shall see that the occupiers do their duty.


That is no new proposal. That is the existing law never enforced.


Yes, but if the occupier does not do the duty the Sanitary Authority will have to do it themselves, in default of which they are subject to fine; therefore, by the sub-section we have the double guarantee that the footways will be kept clear.

(7.27.) COLONEL HUGHES (Woolwich)

A fall of snow is a small matter for the House to trouble itself with, but it is an important matter for London. We know very well that if snow is not removed shortly after its fall it is soon troddendown hard, and the difficulty of removing it is doubled. If he sets to work at once in the morning the occupier can clear away with a broom in a few minutes the snow fallen in the night; the whole thing is soon done by each occupier undertaking his share of the work. But leave the snow for a few hours, and it becomes hard work for all the parish men with shovels and pickaxes to remove the hard surface. I have had experience of Vestry work for 30 years, and I say put the clause in an Act of Parliament and enforce it with fines as you like, the Vestry cannot carry out the work as-effectually as the occupiers can. They will require large gangs of men, and these men will require supervision, because there will among them be a continual disposition to retire for refreshment to the public houses, and there must be an enormous supply of brooms and shovels. The only other way would be to insist upon these people assembling at the sound of the bugle to clear the streets. Even that would be a difficult system to carry out, as many of them would have something else to do, and would be otherwise engaged when the call came. At any rate, the people of London have got used to doing this work. They know they have to do it, and that if they neglect it they will be summoned and will have to pay the parish for doing it. Why should we abolish the present system and attempt to impose the duty of clearing the footways on the Local Authority, who will be engaged in driving the snow plough and getting the main thoroughfares clear of traffic after a fall of snow?

*(7.32.) MR. BARTLEY

It seems to me that there has been a very remarkable change in the opinion of Members since we considered this point in Committee upstairs, and I think a great deal of complication has arisen from mixing up snow with other matters. Whatever we may think of the liability of the Local Authority to clear away snow, it is impossible for them suddenly to sweep away a large fall of snow, such as one of six inches in London, for such a fall would mean 25,000,000 cartloads. It would be impossible for any Local Authority to clear away such a quantity as that in 24 hours, or even two or three days. The object of this clause is to provide that the ratepayers shall keep the pavements clean. Now, one hon. Member has referred to Victoria Street as being kept so well and clean. He does not live there and I do, and I must say that the pavement in that street is practically never cleansed. I see the same pieces of filth on the pavement day after day, and they only disappear because Providence has ordained that occasionally we should have a heavy shower of rain, which does the cleaning. I say that the ordinary cleaning of the pavements ought to be undertaken by the Parish Authorities. I am of opinion that a special provision should be made for snow, and that we ought not to pass a law as regards the immediate removal of snow which no Vestry and no Local Authority can carry into effect.

*(7.35.) MR. CAUSTON

I hope the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board will see his way to carry out the practical suggestion of the hon. Member who last spoke. We shall all like to see snow removed from the pavements as well as dirt, but we know it is impossible to remove large quantities of snow with anything like expedition. Seeing, however, that the clause was passed in Committee without a Division, and that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board assented to it—his silence gave consent——


I was not silent.


Unfortunately, there is no record kept of what goes on in the Grand Committee, and, therefore, no means of knowing what he said. I think, however, that we should not reverse the decision of the Grand Committee. The poor people of London will not be injured by it. The cost to them in rates would not be so great as the cost involved in loss of time, supposing they had to cleanse the pavements themselves. Rich people are able to cleanse the footways, for they can hire servants to do it. Poor people cannot, and I should be sorry for the House to allow this opportunity of effecting a great good in the interests of the poor to pass away. If the Local Authorities find it difficult to remove the snow from the footways in time of snowy weather they can have recourse to the services of the unemployed. The hon. Member for Woolwich, who is a representative—and no doubt a very able representative—of a Vestry, says there would be no difficulty in dealing with a fresh downfall of snow in finding work for the unemployed. I am sure that the best people to deal with the unemployed would be the Local Authorities. They would be better able to concentrate work of this kind, and it would be a boon to the public for the Local Authorities to give work to the unemployed, and so prevent them going round levying blackmail from the householders.

*(7.38.) MR. T. H. BOLTON

There-seems to me to be considerable difficulty in deciding whether to vote for the clause or the Amendment. The Amendment proposes to require the occupiers of houses to cleanse the pavements, or, in cases where houses are let in tenements or unlet, to require the owners to do the work, when, of course, the duty would devolve upon the agents or persons in charge. Well, is it proposed that landlords' agents are to be fined 40s. for neglecting to visit unoccupied houses or houses let out and remove the snow or dirt on the pavements? There would be no difficulty probably in Victoria Street or in Regent Street; but when you come to deal with hundreds of miles of foot pavements and streets only partially finished, in suburban neighbourhoods especially, the matter becomes very serious. I feel a good deal of hesitation in voting for the Amendment. But, on the other hand, the Amendment does fix the liability somewhere, whereas the clause itself is so vague that there is no doubt it never will be enforced. It says the cleansing shall be done "so far as is reasonably practicable," and I would ask any lawyer in the House what chance there would be of getting a conviction against a Local Authority under such a provision unless the very strongest case were made out? I am afraid that the clause would not amount to much more than good advice to the Vestries. At present the Local Authorities do their best to remove snow from the thorough fares, and it seems to me that they generally succeed in removing it in reasonable time.


To my mind it is a great mistake to treat the "question, as though the only difficulty were the removal of snow from the footways. One day in the year we may have snow, but there are hundreds of days in the year when we have only to deal with ordinary wet. [Cries of "Divide!"] I agree with hon. Members who say that practically you cannot expect the Vestries to clear away a great snow fall; but, on the other hand, everyone must see that it would mean an enormous waste of power to require every householder to keep clean the pavement in front of his house, whereas it would be but a small addition to the work of the Vestry to require them to sweep the footways when they are sweeping the roads. [Cries of "Divide!"] I would, therefore, move to amend the Amendment by omitting after "ice" the words "dirt and other accumulation."

Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, in line 4, to leave out the words "dirt or any other accumulation."—(Sir George Campbell.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'dirt, or any other accumulation,' stand part of the proposed Amendment."

(7.45.) MR. KELLY (who was received with cries of "Divide!")

The House should remember that the object of this Amendment is to put us back where we were before the clause was amended in the Select Committee. I would point out, also, that the clause does not require the owner, or agent of the owner, to clear away dirt or accumulations from the front of an unlet house. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London spoke of it being impossible for the Local Authority to clear the pavements after a heavy snowstorm. I could not help asking myself at the time whether London is not the town of all others in Europe where there is the least snow. I have been in Berlin in the winter, and have seen such snowstorms there as we never hear of here. But is the occupier in Berlin bound to clear away the snow? Is the occupier in Vienna bound to do so? I should be surprised to hear that he is. As a matter of fact, in the great cities of the Continent, where they have to cope with snowstorms compared with which the snow which falls in London is insignificant, the duty of clearing the streets and footways is most properly cast on the Local Authority. In London the Vestries clear the roads—why not the footways? I find it impossible to understand the statement that in Chelsea, if the Vestry are compelled to clear the footpaths, it will mean an increase of 2d. in the rates. In any case there can be no more costly system than the present one, and no more inefficient one, because, notwithstanding the regulations, the snow remains on the footways wherever there is a church, a chapel, or an empty house.

(7.51.) MR. J. ROWLANDS

The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board will have had sufficient experience of the results of throwing over decisions arrived at by the Committee upstairs. This matter was well threshed out upstairs; indeed, I do not think a single argument that has been used to-night was not advanced and dealt with before the Grand Committee. It is not difficult to draw the line from their speeches between those hon. Members who have to walk through the streets and those who enjoy the privilege of riding. Those who do not have to trouble the streets much themselves are not aware of the inconvenience suffered by hundreds of thousands of people who have to use the streets. The hon. Member for Chelsea thinks we should go back to the old system of cleaning the footways; but that system has been tried and has failed, not only during snowy weather but at other times. As to fining, I should like to see the authority that would fine people, street after street, for not clearing the footway opposite their houses. The Local Authority sweeps the roads, why should they not finish the work and do the footways also? Some of the Vestries in the course of last winter showed capacity in dealing with the heavy snowstorms. When coming to my office in the mornings at that time I knew directly, by the state of the streets, when I was passing the boundaries of one Vestry and entering those of another. If we want clean streets, we should support the Committee in the decision it arrived at after considerable deliberation.

(7.53.) MR. ISAACS (Newington, Walworth)

It is my intention to support the conclusion arrived at by the Committee upstairs—to support the clause, which throws on the Local Authority the duty of cleansing the streets in all seasons of the year. In Continental cities no difficulty is experienced in cleaning the footways. The footways are first cleansed, and after they are attended to the roadways are taken in hand, and the great lines of communication are made free for traffic. But the reason I support the clause is because in London it does not happen that we have a fall of snow every day or every week. It frequently happens that there is not a fall of snow during an entire year, but nearly every week it happens that the footways are exceedingly dirty and exceedingly uncomfortable to pedestrians, and I hold that it should be the duty of the Local Authority to render the footways as clean as possible. I would suggest to the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy that he withdraw his Amendment until the original Amendment is dealt with in its entirety.


I have no middle course, it would seem, between the two proposals before the House; therefore I would ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

(7.54.) The House divided:—Ayes 41; Noes 56.—(Div. List, No. 305.)

*(8.7.) MR. T. H. BOLTON

I rise to move the omission of Sub-section 2 of Clause 28. I do not like to see an Act of Parliament imposing heavy penalties, which either mean a serious responsibility and a good deal of litigation, or nothing at all. If litigation and serious responsibility are meant, then I ask the right hon. Gentleman to pause before he puts this clause into the Bill. If it means nothing at all, then it is very undesirable that it should appear in an Act of Parliament. Already the Sanitary Authorities of London feel rather sore about many of the provisions, and this one would appear unnecessarily offensive. I do appeal to the right hon. Gentleman either to modify or exclude this clause.

Amendment proposed, in page 17, line 33, to leave out sub-section (2) of Clause 28.—(Mr. Thomas Henry Bolton.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."


I would remind the hon. Member that the House has just decided that the occupier, who is now under a penalty of 40s., shall be relieved of that responsibility. Yet the hon. Gentleman wishes the House to say that the Local Authority, on whom the responsibility is cast, may neglect that responsibility with impunity. I am not concerned to insist on the amount of the penalty as long as the principle is vindicated, and therefore I will meet the hon. Gentleman by substituting £20 for £50.


Though the right hon. Gentleman does not go as far as I could wish, yet I accept the concession he has offered, and beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Another Amendment made.

(8.15.) MR. MORTON

I beg to move, Clause 29, leave out sub-section (1b). In this case, I would point out that the great difficulty is not that the authorities do not send about their carts to get the refuse, but that the householders forget to put up the notices in their windows, and in some cases refuse to have the refuse removed because it is not convenient. It is rather hard on the Local Authorities that they should be fined after having made all arrangements for the removal of the dust, and are prevented by the parties concerned. I do not see why a Local Authority, any more than the Government, should be fined if it fails to do its duty. I do not think the Government ought to insist on this clause.

Amendment proposed, in page 18, line 6, to leave out from the word "where," to the word "holidays," in line 15, both inclusive.—(Mr. Morton.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."


I hope the House will adhere to the Bill as it stands. The hon. Gentleman says the refuse is not cleared away because the people do not put up a notice. I maintain that they ought not to be required to put up a notice at all. Surely it is no hardship upon the Sanitary Authority that they should be called upon to discharge this duty in a proper way. They can surely arrange for the regular clearance of this refuse—I hope as frequently as possible —so as to prevent the accumulation of abominable nuisances.

Question put, and agreed to.


I have an Amendment, to leave out the provision as to liquidated damages. Then I have an Amendment to leave out the whole sub-section. I have taken charge of these Amendments for my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Howard Vincent).

Amendment proposed. In page 18, line 19, to leave out the words "to pay the occupier by way of liquidated damages five shillings a day while the noncompliance continues."—(Mr. Webster.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."


I do not see why it should be considered necessary to impose a fine on these Local Authorities any more than upon the Board of Works or any higher authority for doing what they considered to be their duty. The provision as to the 5s. liquidated damages, is in my opinion equally unnecessary.


I do not think that the Vestries need be at all afraid of carrying on their work under the proposal contained in this clause. It will be only those who fail to do their duty who will be subjected to any penalty for wrong doing. Those who properly discharge their duty have nothing to apprehend, and I hope, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman will adhere to their proposal.


I only wish to say that in my opinion it is not at all unreasonable to impose a penalty on public bodies who fail to do their duty.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I object to the proposal contained in this clause on the ground that not only does it impose a fine upon the Vestry, but it would also lead to the institution of that peculiarly objectionable class of people known as common informers. It should be remembered that at different seasons in the year the duty of removing garbage and so forth necessarily varies, and in the summer, when a great deal of such matter was thrown out, it requires to be removed more speedily than may be necessary at other times, and, of course, it is to the interests of the Vestries to discharge their duty in this respect with due vigilance. Take cases such as the parishes of St. George's, Hanover Square, and similar parts of the Metropolis. It would, of course, be the natural desire of the Local Authority to discharge its duties as efficiently as possible, but there may be persons of the class I have mentioned who would go about endeavouring to find the opportunity for alleging negligence, with a view to securing the payment of the fine to be enacted by this clause. This, undoubtedly, would cause a considerable amount of litigation. [Cries of "Agreed."] I do not think it is agreed, and, in point of fact, agreement on this question is exactly what I wish to arrive at. I would point out that in all the Vestries you would have what are called district surveyors, who, under this clause, would have to spend a large portion of their time in the police courts defending the interests of the ratepayers against common informers. Therefore, I say, the clause as it stands is unworkable, and I move its rejection.

Amendment proposed, in page 18, line 16, to leave out Sub-section (2) of Clause; 29.—(Mr. Webster.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'If a Sanitary Authority' stand part of the Bill."


At a recent conference of delegates from the various Boards and Sanitary Authorities of London, held in St. George's, Hanover Square, it was unanimously resolved that the proposal in this sub-section, to subject the Sanitary Authorities to money penalties, and thus to encourage common informers, would serve no good purpose, and would be likely to lead to friction. I think the House should give some attention to the representatives of these authorities. It will be no encouragement to the District Councillors of the future to find that their predecessors have been treated in this cavalier fashion.


There is no question of a common informer at all. Every fine levied under this Bill goes to some public rate. Does the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken understand by common informer a person who, having a grievance, prosecutes, and obtains costs if successful?


I am afraid some of these actions for penalties are really brought for the purpose of re- covering costs. I have an unfortunate client who was sued for penalties of £700 by a common informer, and the real object of that action, I believe, was to recover a heavy bill of costs. I maintain that the question of costs is a material element.


The hon. Gentleman, being a lawyer, probably knows more about actions of that kind than I myself do. But I always understood a common informer to be one who prosecuted for the sake of a share of the fine. That class of informer we have done away with. However, I do not want to make it pecuniarily the interest of any one to worry the Local Authority. I only want the law carried out, and I shall assent, as I have indicated, to the amount of the penalty being reduced from £50 to £20, and to strike out that portion of the sub-section referring to the liquidated damages.


I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that the penalty should be £5.


I think the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board has now met the matter very fairly, and therefore I hope my hon. Friend will withdraw his Amendment.


I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment agreed to leave out the words "Fifty Pounds," and insert the words "Twenty Pounds."—(Mr. Ritchie).

(8.30.) MR. BARTLEY

I beg to move the omission of Sub-section 3. I think the act of demanding a drink or a gratuity should be dealt with in a bye-law rather than by statute law. I think considerable hardship and difficulty might arise from the enforcement of this sub-section.

Amendment proposed, in page 18, line 22, to leave out sub-section (3) of Clause 29.—(Mr. Bartley.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."


This was a question which was dealt with in Committee. It came to our knowledge that it was often impossible to get dust removed unless the men were tipped. This sub-section even now will not prevent a house- holder giving the men 2d. for a pint of beer, which, I think, is often not only acceptable, but even necessary considering the work the men have to do. If I thought it would do that I would not assent to its remaining in the clause. It is aimed, however, against the men demanding a gratuity as a condition for performing their duty.


I believe gratuities will continue to be paid whatever Act of Parliament may be passed, and the only result of the adoption of this sub-section will be that the Vestries will have to pay more for the removal of house refuse, as the contractors, who at present take into consideration in fixing the wages of the men, the probability of tips, will be called upon to pay increased wages. Still I think it very desirable that the men should be prevented demanding gratuities.

(8.34.) MR. LAWSON

My hon. Friend is quite wrong. I think it would be wrong not to insert such a provision in the clause. The contractor would take care to warn the men in his employ what will be the effect of demanding gratuities.


This is the result of a compromise. Some Members of the Committee strove to carry this provision a good deal further, and to impose a penalty on the men for accepting a gratuity. I had the honour of making such a proposal in Committee. I think the gratuity system is exceedingly demoralising. It means that the men are not paid sufficient wages, for the contractor in fixing them takes into consideration the amount of doles received by the men, and these doles are practically levied in the shape of blackmail on every householder. In fact, it is impossible to get rid of the dust unless one complies with the pernicious practice. The householder thus has to pay in two ways. He pays the contractor out of the rates, and he pays the men in the shape of gratuities, for if he does not pay all sorts of obstacles are put in the way, and the men refuse to remove this or that, because they say it does not come within the terms of their contract. Finally, there is a further piece of blackmailing in the demand for Christmas boxes. We desired to put an end to this iniquitous and demoralising system in the Committee, but were outvoted. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not give way to this present proposal.


It is well known that the dustmen are only paid half wages, and the result is that householders who refuse to pay gratuities cannot get their dust removed. It is time the system was altered.


I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. (8.36.)

(9.10.) Amendment proposed, in clause 38, page 21, line 35, to leave out the words "County Council" and insert the words "Sanitary Authority."—(Mr. Boulnois.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'County Council' stand part of the clause."


I hope the Government will assent to this Amendment. It seems to me the height of absurdity that the County Council of London, which is charged with the care of the greater interests of the Metropolis—with the general municipal concerns of the whole City, with the finance, and other important questions—should be asked to make bye-laws respecting water closets, earth closets, privies, and the like. Surely this is a matter which ought to be left to the Local Authorities. Regulations with reference to some of these matters will necessarily vary according to the locality. For instance, a district in which there are large stables will require special regulations that other districts will not. I have in my hand a report of the Conference on the 22nd inst., and I notice it was stated by the Chairman of the Conference that the Government would offer no opposition to the Amendment of this clause in the way now suggested. I hope that statement is correct, and that the Government will consent to the proposed substitution.


There is a little misunderstanding as to the position of the Government. I never dreamed that all the making of all the bye-laws contemplated by this clause should be transferred to the Sanitary Authority. The hon. Gentleman will observe that the bye-laws contemplated in Sub-section (a) relate to buildings. The London County Council is the authority in regard to matters affecting buildings, and what I suggest is that I should move an Amendment which would leave the making of the bye-laws under Subsection (a) to the County Council, and transfer the making of the bye-laws tinder Sub-section (b) to the Sanitary Authority. I think that would be in accord with what has been already assented to by the House.


I accept the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion, but I hope he will omit the words "whether erected before or after the passing of the Act," in Sub-section (a).


My hon. Friend (Mr. T. H. Bolton) has contrasted the small matters dealt with in this clause with what he considers the more important and greater duties already assigned to the London County Council. I do not wish to enter into any question as to which duties may be more important, but however small the duty of making these bye-laws may be at first sight, it is really one which closely and intimately concerns the health of the Metropolis. As I understand it, this clause simply extends to London the provisions of the Public Health Act of 1875 as amended in 1890, which already gives the Building Authorities in districts out of London power to make bye-laws affecting buildings. I think the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman meets the case.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Another Amendment made.

Amendment proposed, in page 21, line 41, before the word "the," to insert the words "the Sanitary Authority shall make bye-laws with respect to."—(Mr. Ritchie.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


I thought we had heard the worst when the right hon. Gentleman made his statement upon Clause 16. Now, it appears that in another most important matter the County Council is to be thrown over in favour of the Sanitary Authority. I object very much to the proposed compromise. Anyone who is acquainted at all with London life knows very well that very many districts of London have suffered very much owing to the laxity of the Vestry in dealing with the subject matter which Sub-section (b) deals with. Of course, we are in the hands of the right hon. Gentleman. In whichever direction he waves his hand his battalions will follow; but I appeal to his sense of fairness. Having regard to the support he received from some of us in the Grand Committee he ought to have some consideration for us on the present occasion.


I am afraid my hand has not quite the power the hon. Gentleman attributes to it if we may judge from the result of the last Division. I hope hon. Gentlemen will not suppose I am in any way deserting any principle which I advocated in the Grand Committee. I am extremely anxious that this Bill should pass into law, and if in that anxiety I have made concessions they are in regard to matters which I do not think will affect the good which this Bill will do. We have divided this matter into two. One set of bye-laws are to be made by the County Council, and the other by the Sanitary Authority. The framing of the building bye-laws is clearly the right and function of the County Council. With regard to Sub-section (b) the hon. Member says the Vestries have conspicuously neglected their duty. They have never had power to make bye-laws in such a matter. We empower any person to prosecute a Sanitary Authority for not doing its duty, and further, we propose to put into the hands of the Local Government Board power to secure the operation of the clause.


I do not think the action of the right hon. Gentleman is either logical or scientific. You may build the most perfect water closet in the world, and it will be a constant source of disease and ill-health, unless you have plenty of water. I therefore think the authority which has the power to make bye-laws as regards construction should also have the power to regulate the amount of water. Moreover, as we look forward to the time when the County Council will have the water supply in their hands, I think it is right they should be the body to make regulations with reference to the water supply in closets.


I think it would be a mistake, and would defeat the purposes of his own long-promised Bill dealing with the Building Acts if the right hon. Gentleman separates Sub-section (a) from Sub-section (b).


I think this would be a favourable opportunity to ask the right hon. Gentleman to stand firmly by the proposal of the Bill. Instead of offering him abuse, I think we ought to offer him sympathy. If he will have a little confidence in those London Liberal Members who supported him in Committee upstairs against the attacks of London Tory Members, I think he will be able to carry the Bill through the House in a form which will do him credit. On the other hand, if he gives way to timid Members who may represent strong Vestries, his Bill will do harm.

(9.25.) The House divided:—Ayes 59; Noes 24.—(Div. List, No. 30G.)

*(9.35.) MR. LAWSON

In the next sub-section some Amendment will be necessary, for it is not clear how the Sanitary Authority is to act.


I shall be glad if the hon. Member will allow this to stand over.

Amendment agreed to:—In page 24, line 18, after "Council" to insert "and Sanitary Authority."—(Mr. Ritchie.)

Amendment agreed to:—In Clause 42, page 25, line 5, after "road" to insert "exclusive of the footway adjoining any building or the curtilage of a building."—(Mr. Ritchie.)


The House will observe that Clause 45 deals with unsound meat, but there is no distinction made between sales where the seller knew the meat was unsound and where the meat was sold by inadvertence under Section 4. It may not be a wilful offence in every case.


My hon. Friend's intention would be carried out by substituting the words "both such offences," for the words "the offence."

Amendment agreed to in Clause 45 page 27, line 7, to leave out the words "the offence," and insert the words "such offences."


I propose to omit the clause altogether.


The hon. Member cannot move to omit the clause now.


I should have said to omit Sub-section 4 of Clause 45.


The sub-section has been amended.


In Clause 59 we have a useful and elaborate clause, and Sub-section (a) relates to certificates in connection with the notification of diseases. I am quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman, who is responsible for so much sanitary legislation during the last few years, and who, on more than one occasion, has told us how anxious he is to carry out the provisions of the Notification of Diseases Act, will have sympathy with my object in the point I wish to raise. At the end of the sub-section I propose to add words to provide that the Medical Officer of Health, on receiving the certificate under this sub-section, shall within 12 hours send a copy of it to the head teacher of the school attended by the patient, if a child, and to the head teacher of the school or schools attended by other children from the infected house. Of course, the object is to prevent the spread of the disease among the children in the schools. Disease is spread by the close contiguity of individuals, and in no place is contiguity so close as in public elementary schools. I am anxious that these great centres of education should not also be made centres for the spread of infectious disease, and I want to secure that when a child is known to be suffering from scarlet fever, or any infectious disease, the schoolmaster shall be warned so that children from the same tenement or family may not be the means of spreading the disease through the school. Such a precaution as I suggest would, I think, prevent thousands of cases of disease every year. On educational grounds, too, it is very desirable, for do we not hear of schools having to be entirely closed owing to an epidemic among teachers and scholars? In the belief that the method of notification I suggest would enable the managers of a school to prevent this occurring, both in the interest of public health and in the interest of education, I move the Amendment.

Amendment proposed In page 33, line 32, after the word "require," to insert the words "the medical officer of health shall also, on receipt of a certificate under this section, within twelve hours after such receipt, send a copy thereof to the head teacher of the school attended by the patient, when a child, and to the head teacher of the school or schools attended by children of the infected house or tenement."—(Sir Walter Fatter.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

*(9.42.) MR. RITCHIE

Of course, I am anxious to give effect to the principle of notifying the existence of infectious diseases, but I would submit to the hon. Member that this is a matter in which we must proceed with caution. Unquestionably the success of the Notification Act has been due to the fact that such notification has to a certain extent been considered—I do not wish to push it too far—of a confidential character. We are constantly receiving evidence of the great value of the Notification of Diseases Act, and I should be sorry to hurriedly accept an Amendment which might prove detrimental to the operation of the Act. This Amendment is not on the Paper, and I should like to consider it carefully. If the hon. Member will consent not to press the matter now, I should be very glad to discuss the matter with him with the view, if possible, of meeting his wish when the Bill gets into another place. I feel I ought not to accept the Amendment at once.


This is a question of the highest importance, and I am glad to find the right hon. Gentleman adopts a sympathetic attitude towards the principle of the Amendment. In truth, this is but the complement of the great Notification of Diseases Act for which the right hon. Gentleman is responsible, which has been generally adopted, and is doing so much good throughout the country. I may toll the right hon. Gentleman the position in which the question stands as regards the medical profession. A meeting of Medical Officers of Health was held within the last few months, presided over by Professor Smith, the medical officer of the London School Board. It was a representative meeting, and this point was raised and discussed, and the principle of the awards was unanimously approved by resolution of the experienced sanitarians present. I think the hon. Baronet will confirm me when I say the London School Board have expressed a strong feeling in favour of this method of checking the spread of contagious diseases, and have agreed, I think, to petition in favour of the Amendment. Very much to their honour the London School Board have appointed to look after the health of the children in their schools a medical officer of the highest scientific standing, and the expression of their opinion, therefore, should have weight. I am convinced that such a provision would be of great advantage in checking the spread of disease.

SIR R. TEMPLE (Worcester, Evesham)

I can corroborate the statement of the hon. Member that the London School Board have agreed to petition in favour of the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

(9.48.) MR. WEBSTER

I desire to move the omission of Sub-section (6) of Clause 60, because it will create a dual control in a very important matter. The Local Sanitary Authorities in London have powers to extend and vary their order within their district under the Bill—powers which it is very desirable they should have. At the time when in London there was apprehension of a visitation of cholera, the Local Sanitary Authorities, aided by the Metropolitan Asylums Board, made every preparation to meet the disease, and many members gave up their holidays and remained in London so that they might be ready at hand in case of any emergency. Now, what does the right hon. Gentleman do by this sub-section? He gives to the London County Council the same power to extend and vary the section, the same power to vary and revoke an order, as a Sanitary Authority have within their district. Now, with all deference to the London County Council, that is putting the Sanitary Authorities into leading strings, although they are quite capable of considering in a time of emergency what is best for their district. I therefore move to omit this dual control. What is required to be done can be very well done by the present Sanitary Authority and the improved Sanitary Authority of the future. It is an altogether unnecessary section, and should be omitted. This also appears to be the view of the Conference of Vestries and Local Authorities held at St. George's, Hanover Square.

Amendment proposed, in page 25, line 21, to leave out Sub-section (6) of Clause 60.—(Mr. Webster.)

*(9.51.) MR. RITCHIE

My hon. Friend, I think, greatly exaggerates the effect of the section, which is, I think, essential. There is no question of overriding the Local Authority. What is intended is to meet such a case as this: Suppose an epidemic suddenly breaks out in one district, the Local Authority of the district, in virtue of the powers given to them, could add that particular disease to the others mentioned in the Act; but without this Amendment the other Local Authorities would have to meet and pass resolutions before the law could be applied over the whole of the London area. It is clear that, in the event of a great emergency, it is essential that some authority should apply the law at once to the whole of London.


But it does not seem to me that this essential is carried out.


As applied to London the Act is compulsory. This power applies to the addition of some new disease breaking out in a particular district, and this is to provide that the addition shall apply to the whole of London.


There is force in what the right hon. Gentleman says, though I may point out that it is an innovation to create the County Council the chief Sanitary Authority.


I do not wish to press the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed, in Clause 63, page 36, line 3, after "attendance for," to insert "the destruction of or for."—(Mr. Stephens.)

*(9.55.) MR. RITCHIE

My hon. Friend here supplies what is clearly an omission, and I am obliged to him.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment agreed to in Clause 63, line 10, after "to be," to insert "destroyed or to be."—(Mr. Stephens.)

MR. STEPHENS (Middlesex, Hornsey)

My next Amendment, as to the wearing of special clothing by officers engaged in duties in connection with infectious diseases, is important, but I do not feel sure that I should carry it. I shall certainly bring it up at some future time, but I do not move it now. I move the Amendment to Clause 64

Amendment agreed to, in Clause 64, page 36, line 22, after "infection," to insert "or the destruction of such articles."—(Mr. Stephens.)

Amendment agreed to, in Clause 64, page 36, lines 24 and 25, to leave out "owner or master," and insert "master, or where there is no master on the owner."—(Mr Kelly.)

Other Amendments made.

(10.1.) MR. STEPHENS

I beg to propose the next Amendment which stands in my name, providing that all rubbish which has been exposed to the infection of any disease shall be destroyed. The House must bear in mind that infected rubbish in a single court may infect a whole town. The safest course to take with rubbish is to destroy it as soon as possible. You can take a small machine and burn it at the place of infection. This is far better than to take it about the town.

Amendment proposed, In page 38, line 13, at the commencement of Clause 67, to insert the words "All rubbish which has been exposed to the infection of any infectious disease snail be destroyed and."—(Mr. Stephens.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


I think there are some very good reasons why we should not upset and alter an Act passed so recently as last year. My hon. Friend proposes to impose an obligation which many persons will find it impossible to carry out. In some cases the Amendment could not be put into operation without employing machinery which would not be readily available.


Is there in the Bill any definition of "rubbish"?


I think the Amendment is a most important one. This rubbish is very frequently dangerous, and the only way to get rid of the danger is to destroy the rubbish. Not long ago, within 50 miles of London, I saw a whole field covered with the contents of London ashpits, including old collars, neckties, and rags, any piece of which might contain enough infection to infect the whole locality. Every Sanitary Authority should have apparatus for destroying rubbish, and the medical officer should be able to send it to any spot where it might be wanted.


I am very glad, indeed, to support this Amendment. No one but an expert can disinfect properly, and rubbish ought to be destroyed.


Might I, with the leave of the House, add one word? The right hon. Gentleman is, possibly, not aware of the Report of one of the Medical Officers of the Local Government Board——


Order, order!

(10.7.) The House divided:—Ayes 47; Noes 74.—(Div. List, No. 307.)

Other Amendments made.

(10.17.) MR. STEPHENS

I hope the Government will be able to accept the next Amendment that stands in my name. The power conferred by Clause 71 is a very dangerous one to give to a Sanitary Authority. It may deprive a man whose livelihood may depend on it of the right to defend himself in open Court. The Sanitary Authority will have a power which the ordinary Courts do not possess. It seems to me there is no power of appeal against the decision of the Sanitory Authority in these cases.

Amendment proposed, In Clause 71, page 39, line 32, to leave out from "authority," to end of sub-section, and insert "shall cause a complaint relating to such matter to be laid before a justice, and such justice shall thereupon issue a summons requiring the dairyman not to supply any milk therefrom until he has appeared before a court of summary jnrisdiction, to show cause why an order should not be made by such court requiring him not to supply any milk from such dairy until such order has been withdrawn or cancelled."—(Mr. Stephen.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

*(10.22.) MR. RITCHIE

This, again, is part of an Act passed last Session, after full consideration on the part of the House, and I think it is very much better that the power should exist in the hands of the Sanitary Authority than that we should make this alteration.

*MR. F S. POWELL (Wigan)

The provisions included in this clause have been inserted again and again in local Acts, and it would be a most reactionary proceeding for us to omit them from this measure.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

*(10.24.) MR. T. H. BOLTON

I should like to get some distinct assurance from the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill as to Clause 75. Its object is to enable Sanitary Authorities throughout London to establish hospitals.


The clause merely re-enacts the existing law in London.


I think there should be some restriction in it. I have no doubt Sanitary Authorities do, as a rule, confine themselves to the supplementing of infectious hospitals by temporary hospitals to meet cases of epidemic.


There is no Question before the House.


I beg to move, after the word "permanent," to insert "for infectious cases." That will restrict the Sanitary Authority to the establishment of hospitals for infectious cases. This, in fact, would restrict them to what they generally do at present. They do not establish hospitals for ordinary cases, but there may be Sanitary Authorities who may have enlarged views of their authority, and may embark in larger local expenditure and incur larger debts than was ever contemplated. If it is understood that all the Vestries and District Boards, and the District Councils that are soon to follow, are to have power at their pleasure to set up hospitals of any kind fully appointed in any part of London, no doubt it is within the competence of the House to pass the clause, but I venture to suggest that the House is going-very far beyond the necessities of the case. We have great hospitals throughout London that depend upon the generosity of the public. We have the infectious hospitals, provided by the District Asylums Board, for the purpose of dealing with infectious cases, and we have separate institutions connected with the Poor Law system. Now it is proposed to enable the Sanitary Authorities, at the expense of the ratepayers, to establish fresh hospitals in every district throughout London to interfere with and compete with existing institutions. It is important for the House to consider how far, as a matter of public policy, it is desirable to give to the Sanitary Authority this increased power in a general Public Health Bill such as this. For my part, while I am most desirous of seeing the sick poor attended to, I do not wish to see in a general Sanitary Act power given to the Sanitary Authority to interfere with the whole system of hospital relief in London—for that is what this proposal really comes to. Before the clause is passed I think it my duty to call the attention of the House to its wide bearing, to restrict it to what I believe is desirable, and therefore I move that the words "for infectious cases" be inserted.

Amendment proposed, In page 41, line 34, after the word "permanent," to insert the words "for infectious cases."—(Mr. Thomas Henry Bolton.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


The hon. Member speaks of this as some new power conferred by the Bill; but I. would point out to him that it is not a new power at all, but merely a re-enactment of the 29 & 30 Victoria, chap. 90, section 37. He will see, therefore, that this is by no means a new proposal. For my part, I regard with equanimity the action of the Local Authorities in London and elsewhere, with regard to the provision of hospitals for the sick poor, and I think the House would be taking an extremely retrograde step if it adopted such an Amendment as this.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Other Amendments made.

Amendment proposed, in Clause 94, page 49, line 9, to leave out "of a gastight iron pipe."—(Mr. Howell.)

*(10.30.) MR. RITCHIE

If the hon. Member will confine his Amendment to omitting the word "iron," I will accept it; but it is desirable that whatever pipe is put in should be a gas-tight pipe, so that the fumes from the drain should not get into the rooms.

MR. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N.E.)

I would accept the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman, my objection being against the word "iron." I think that whoever assented to that word being inserted must have been either an ironmonger or an idiot. Anyone who has the smallest knowledge of sanitary work knows that glazed pipes are the best.


I divided the Committee unsuccessfully against this, and I am glad to see that the House knows more than the Committee.


On the Grand Committee we did our best to prevent this clause being inserted. I hope we shall now make the matter clear.


I am one of the idiots the hon. Member opposite referred to. It is notorious that cast-iron pipes are much longer than any other class of pipes, and have, consequently, fewer joints, and, therefore, there is less risk of percolation. It was for that reason that it seemed to me that cast-iron pipes should be used rather than glazed pipes. Still, I am not so wedded to my view of the matter as to oppose the view of the right hon. Gentleman. I accept his Amendment.


I supported in Committee the word "iron," and I did so with no special personal knowledge whatever as to the necessities of the case, but because strong reasons were urged in favour of iron by the President of the Local Government Board on the advice of his official experts. I think we ought to have an explanation on the matter, and I should like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman whether or not he agrees with the Amendment.


I do.

Question, "That the word 'iron' stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.


I should like to call the attention of the House to the use of the word "ashpit" in this clause. That word has a special signification, meaning the pit underneath the fire-grate. ["No, no!"] I beg pardon; I know something about this matter. The word as here used has no practical bearing. It should be "ashbin," but certainly not "ashpit."

Amendment proposed, in Clause 94, page 49, line 13, to leave out the words "and a proper and sufficient ashpit."—(Mr. Howell.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."


On page 70 we provide that the word "ashpit" shall include dust-bin, ash-tub, or any other receptacle for ashes and refuse.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

*(10.35.) MR. T. H. BOLTON

It seems to me that the next clause, Clause 98, is destructive of independent action on the part of the Local Sanitary Authorities. The effect of the clause is that whenever the County Council wants to deal with any sanitary matter whatever of its own motion it may, on its own responsibility, without inquiry, without taking evidence to satisfy itself of the fact that the Sanitary Authority is in default, supercede that Authority, do its work and charge it with the cost. If that is to be the power of the County Council in London, it appears to me that the Sanitary Authorities will be reduced to a most absurd position. They will have no separate power whatever to deal with sanitary matters within their district, because if anyone is dissatisfied on the smallest point with their decision the case may be taken to the County Council, who may deal with the matter and charge the cost to the Sanitary Authority. If that is to be the position the Sanitary Authority is to be reduced to, all I can say is that few people of independence and spirit will be inclined to take part in the work. The feeling of the Sanitary Authorities is entirely opposed to the clauses, as destructive of their independence and interfering with the duties they ought to discharge. I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman who represents St. George's, Hanover Square, is not in his place. I had hoped to have his support, for at a conference of many of the most important Sanitary Authorities in London, held in his district, this clause was unanimously condemned. I have here the opinions of a number of the most important Local authorities on the question, all in opposition to the clause. I move that the clause be omitted.

Amendment proposed, in page 52, to leave out Clause 98.—(Mr. Thomas Henry Bolton.)

Question proposed, "That Clause 98 stand part of the Bill."

*(10.39.) MR. RITCHIE

I think the hon. Member is mistaken as to the effect of the clause, and I believe the explanation I gave to the deputation from the Sanitary Authorities that waited on me recently removed all the objections they previously had to the clause. This clause is not to supersede the Sanitary Authority. It simply amounts to this, that if the County Council is convinced that some particular person who is committing a nuisance or offending against the provisions of the Sanitary Acts is doing so with impunity, not being prosecuted by the Sanitary Authority, the County Council may prosecute them. It is in the power of any individual in London to institute a prosecution against a Sanitary Authority for default. If he does not succeed, so much the worse for him, as he has to pay all the costs. But it would be strange if the County Council were to be refused the power.


I am as jealous of interference with the powers of Sanitary Authorities as the hon. Member for St. Pancras, for I wish to see them invested with real responsibility. But the hon. Member will see that the keynote of this clause is that action will only be taken against the Sanitary Authority in case of default of duty, and it is obvious that if the Sanitary Body do neglect their duty there must be some Authority to enforce it.


It must be borne in mind that the County Council can recover penalties from the Sanitary Authority only when they successfully prosecute, and in cases where they prosecute and succeed it must be obvious that the Sanitary Authority has neglected its duty.

(10.44.) MR. LAWSON

I think the County Council already has power under the Local Government Act to take proceedings, and I do not think the clause will enlarge their powers.


The County Council can only take action when it has been proved to their satisfaction that there has been default on the part of the Sanitary Authority. I think it is one of the great merits of this Bill that the Sanitary Authorities in St. George's, Hackney, and in other parishes need have no fear of it when they do their duty.


We are always being told by the Local Government Board that the London County Council represents the ratepayers of London, but I should say that the Sanitary Authorities also represent the ratepayers. In inserting this clause in the Bill the right hon. Gentleman is virtually derogating from the power and position of the future District Councils.

Question put, and agreed to.


I think it is desirable to enlarge the scope of Clause 99 by omitting from the first line the words "by the County Council." The object of the clause as it stands is to enable the Local Government Board to take proceedings upon the representation of the London County Council, if, after inquiry, it is found that there has been default. The Local Government Board is under an obligation to the people to take care that the Sanitary Authorities do their duty; and it matters not whence the complaint, it should, if well founded, be forthwith redressed in the interest of the public health. I cannot conceive anything more disastrous to Local Government in London than that there should be any conflict between the Local Sanitary Authority and the London County Council, and surely nothing could more conduce to such a state of things than that the County Council should be made the medium of representations to the effect that the Local Authorities are neglecting their duty. From whatever quarter complaints proceed the Local Government Board ought to take action, and I protest on behalf of the Local Authorities, and especially that of Islington, which has done its duty, against the London County Council being placed in this invidious position.

Amendment proposed, in page 52, line 13, to leave out the words "by the County Council."—(Sir Albert Rollit.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'by the County Council' stand part of the Bill."

*(10.48.) MR. RITCHIE

This is a clause which brings into operation very-considerable machinery that ought not rightly to be put in motion. If the Vestry were put into the position of having to defend themselves before the Local Government Board at the suit of any individual, I am bound to say I think they would have a just cause of complaint. The Local Government Board may, under the clause, hold an inquiry and call upon the Local Authorities to do certain things within a certain time, and if the Local Authorities do not do those things within the time the Local Government Board may enforce the order by writ of mandamus, or appoint the County Council to perform the duty. It is a protection to the Local Authority to provide that the principal Local Authority of the Metropolis shall be satisfied that there is a case before application is made to the Local Government Board.


As far as the London County Council is concerned, we have no particular desire that these words should be retained. I would, however, submit to my hon. Friend that the Amendment would not effect his object. Even if the words were omitted, the County Council could still intervene, but the result would be that anyone else would also be enabled to do so. I do not think the Vestries would wish this, and I hope, therefore, that my hon. Friend will not press his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I wish to ask the President of the Local Government Board why it is necessary to retain in Clause 104. Sub-section (3), which requires that the Medical Officer of Health of a district shall reside in such district or within one mile of the boundary thereof? Might not this, in some cases, militate against the performance by a medical officer of his official duties?


I say, at once, that if I believed the time had arrived when I should receive such an amount of support as would enable me to carry a provision that Medical Officers of Health should devote the whole of their time to their duties, I should be very much pleased. I consider that the time will arrive shortly when it will be possible to carry out a provision of that kind, in accordance with the strong recommendation of the Royal Commission. Provision is made here for the Local Government Board granting an exemption in cases, for instance, where a good man could not otherwise be obtained. I think that will meet all possible requirements. I believe the House will agree that generally a medical officer ought not to reside out of his district.

(10.55.) MR. MORTON

I beg to propose the omission of Sub-section 3 of Clause 104. It is quite possible that the right hon. Gentleman will not always be at the head of the Local Government Board, and permission to a medical officer to reside out of his district might be given as an act favouritism.

Amendment proposed, In page 55, line 4, to leave out from the word "appointment," to the word "reside," in line 5.—(Mr. Morton.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."


My hon. Friend would, I think, be doing an injury to the cause of public health if he pressed this Amendment. I look forward to the time when many of these districts will amalgamate in order to obtain an excellent man, who will devote his attention solely to the question of public health, and in that case it would be impossible to reside within a mile of each district.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I move the omission of Sub-section (2) of Clause 105. Local Authorities generally appoint the number of Sanitary Inspectors required, and they object to unnecessary interference with the management of their own business.

Amendment proposed, in page 55, line 20, to leave out sub-section (2) of Clause 105,—(Mr. Morton.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'where the Local Government Board' stand part of the Bill."

*(10.58.) MR. RITCHIE

I think the House will generally agree that there ought to be some power of taking action in case an authority does not do its duty. There is nothing more detrimental to the carrying out of the Public Health Acts than neglect to appoint a proper number of officers, and I think it would be most unfortunate if these words were struck out. The Local Government Board has been charged generally with the care of the public health throughout the country, and I think the House may be satisfied that due care will be taken before this provision is put into force.


I think this pro vision meets a grave defect in the sanitary laws applying to London. Great laxity in enforcing their sanitary powers has been the fault of the existing Local Authorities in London in the past, and it may be the same in the future. I think it will be agreed that the power given to the London County Council to make representations is not a dangerous power.

(11.0.) SIR C. RUSSELL

I would point out there are already checks or safeguards against undue interference with the independence of the Sanitary Authority. These must be a state of things in which the County Council feel it is incumbent on them to make representation, and then no effect is given to this unless the Local Government Board is satisfied that the representation is well-founded.


Speaking from some experience of these matters, having been for many years a member of a London Vestry, I thank the right hon. Gentleman for introducing this provision, which hits a serious blot in our London administration. There is among some Vestries an indisposition to appoint a sufficient number of Inspectors.


My hon. Colleague, speaking in support of the clause, has put just the objection which the Sanitary Authorities have to the clause. It is, he says, only a power of supervision, and it is exactly that to which the Sanitary Authorities object. They do not want a supervision, which they consider an altogether unnecessary interference with the details of their administration, and which will be destructive of their independence in the efficient discharge of their duty. They, as the authority in their district, protest against this supervision and interference.


Within the last few months there has been, as hon. Members will remember, an important inquiry with respect to the administration of a certain Metropolitan Vestry and the appointment of Sanitary Inspectors, and, having that in mind, I think the clause is an admirable one.

Question put, and agreed to.

Another Amendment made.

(11.4.) MR. KELLY

There is, no doubt, a very strong feeling on the part of Local Authorities that they ought not to be interfered with in the manner the clause proposes in the appointment of the Medical Officer of Health and of Sanitary Inspectors. I say now, as I said in Committee, that the clause is right, so far as it affects the Medical Officer of Health, but the Sanitary Inspector stands in a different position. The duties of the Medical Officer of Health may bring him into conflict with an influential class in the district which is represented on the Vestry. As the House is aware, the Chancellor of the Exchequer when granting certain exemptions from Inhabited House Duty, made it contingent on obtaining a certificate from the medical officer that such houses are suitable for occupation. In the district I represent the medical officer has incurred a great deal of dislike and odium by refusing absolutely to certify houses in street after street, houses said to be excellently built, and on the best sanitary principles. That, however, is not my point. When a medical officer does refuse to certify he must necessarily come into conflict with influential members of the Vestry. There is, however, a very great difference between this officer, a man of high scientific attainments, and other officers of the Sanitary Authority. A clause like this will enable us to retain, as we do in the best districts, the services of men of the highest professional knowledge and skill; but there is not the same argument as regards the Sanitary Inspectors. The Sanitary Inspector is a man who ought to be under the immediate and absolute control of the local representatives of the ratepayers, our Vestries. I propose that the clause should remain as it is, so far as the Medical Officers of Health are concerned; but I see no reason for it in respect to Sanitary Inspectors. Indeed, I think nothing would serve more to impair the efficiency of the discharge of the duties of the Vestry than to take from the Vestry the authority over these officers, whom they have to guide and direct.

Amendment proposed, in Clause 10G, page 56, line 26, to leave out "or sanitary inspector."—(Mr. Kelly.)

*(11.8.) MR. RITCHIE

My hon. Friend has pretty fairly and accurately stated the arguments for the clause generally, though he does not apply them to Sanitary Inspectors, but to Medical Officers of Health. As the House will remember a Bill passed through this House in 1889 dealing with Local Government in Scotland, and the House unanimously agreed to the insertion of a clause similar to this, so that any Medical Officer of Health and Sanitary Inspector appointed under that Act is subject to dismissal only with the consent of the Board of Supervision in Scotland. A large number, I may say the majority, of the Medical Officers of Health and Sanitary Inspectors in this country have been appointed under the regulations of the Local Government Board, and these regulations specify that such officers are not removable except with the consent of the Local Government Board, and in consideration of this power given to the central administration, half the salaries are paid by the Board. In London some of the Vestry officers are now appointed under these conditions, and it has been thought right to make the application of the principle general. I admit, however, there is a distinction between Medical Officers of Health and Sanitary Inspectors. The Local Sanitary Authority with a fully qualified Medical Officer of Health appointed under those conditions is fairly well equipped for the work they have to do, and there is in London no strong objection to this clause with regard to Medical Officers of Health, at least, so I understood from the deputation which waited upon me yesterday. They recognised the reasons for making Medical Officers of Health irremovable except with the consent of the Central Authority. Sanitary Inspectors are not men of the same position as Medical Officers of Health, and there is something to be said on the ground that the authority of the Vestry is weakened by their being unable to deal with such officers. I am not not unwilling to accept the proposal, and, provided that we secure that Medical Officers of Health shall not be removable except with the consent of the Local Government Board, I shall be prepared to assent to the omission of the words as suggested.

(11.13.) SIR C. RUSSELL

I should have preferred to discuss the omission of the power as applied to both classes of officers. I am not impressed by the argument as to the difference in the position of the Medical Officers of Health. The Local Authority will have the power of appointment but not of dismissal, and having appointed the officer they will not have proper control over him. To be consistent the Bill should withhold power of appointment as well as of dismissal if the Local Authority is not to be trusted. As the matter stands, the Sanitary Authority has the right of ap-appointment; but it is argued that if the authority has the power to supersede the officer, unless he is independent, he may be biased by considerations of how his position may be affected.


I would say hampered in his duties.


Well, I hardly think an argument of that kind goes a very great way. Public opinion is strong in these days, and I cannot imagine that any particular member of a Vestry or any particular class of representatives would be able to prevent a medical officer from the proper discharge of his public duty, or that his action would be regulated by considerations of how it would be regarded by such members of the Board. I think it would be better to leave with the Sanitary Authority the right of dismissal as well as of appointment, but as the clause stands the Sanitary Authority has no right of dismissal at all except with the consent of the Local Government Board, and the Local Government Board may absolutely dismiss a servant whom the Sanitary Authority has appointed.


Not in all cases.


In some cases entirely. I understand there are some cases in which the provision of half the payment of salaries is not optional.


It will be if the clause passes.


I imagine it will not be pressed upon an authority refusing to take it. As the matter stands now, the Local Board of Hackney pays the entire sum, and they prefer to continue to do so, that the medical officer may be subject to their authority. The fear is that a medical officer holding his appointment independent of the Local Authority may become the master and not remain the servant of that authority.

*(11.17.) MR. T. H. BOLTON

That is the point of view I would strongly support. It is inconsistent with the position of a Public Authority that their officers should be independent as regards tenure of office. Surely to enable them to discharge the duties imposed upon them they should have ful control over their officers. The independence of these officers is inconsistent with the position of the Authority as representing the ratepayers. Naturally, if an officer is independent, he is inclined to treat with less respect the instructions given him, and we know very well that such a system as this proposed does not work well in connection with the work of Boards of Guardians and the conditions upon which their officials hold office. The true principle is that the authority which is responsible for the work to be done, should have full control over the instruments by which that work is carried out, full power to appoint and remove the officers employed. I do not know what pursuasive influence the right hon. Gentleman may have used towards the deputation who waited upon him, but certainly the members must have greatly changed their view if what the right hon. Gentleman has said represents their matured opinion. I hold in my hand a report of the resolution arrived at by the Conference of Sanitary Authorities, and it is to the effect that the Conference viewed with considerable disfavour the proposal contained in this subsection as to Medical Officers of Health and Sanitary Inspectors. Upon this there has been no difference of opinion among Sanitary Authorities, and the right hon. Gentleman will probably find, before the Bill gets through another place, that this view will be very strongly represented. There has been no necessity shown for depriving the Sanitary Authority of this control over their officers; there is no case in which medical officers or Sanitary Inspectors have been unjustly or unfairly treated by the Sanitary Authorities. I know there is one case in which a Medical Officer of Health is said to have been forced to resign because the Vestry made his position uncomfortable, but the fact of the matter is that officer took umbrage where no offence was intended, and hastily and foolishly resigned his office, not even consulting the members of the Committee he was serving, and he then posed as an injured man. Well, he has had very substantial consolation in the shape of an important and lucrative appointment, which he received mainly because of the sympathy evoked by the injury supposed to have been inflicted upon him. Of course, I do not wish to say that this gentleman was actuated by other than sensitive feelings; but I do think he was mistaken, and that there was no necessity for his adopting the course he took. My experience of local work in the North of London leads me to the conclusion that Sanitary Authorities are inclined to repose the utmost confidence in their Medical Officers of Health, to follow the advice they tender, and to support them; but they do not like their officials to have a position of independence inconsistent altogether with the position which ought to exist between those officials and the authority employing them. There is too much officialism already in connection with Public Boards, and this frequently leads to the servants becoming the masters. I I am sorry that the Amendment has been divided, and docs not cover the whole ground—Medical Officers of Health as well as Sanitary Inspectors—but I am thankful that the right hon. Gentleman has carried concession so far as to leave Sanitary Inspectors under the full control of the Sanitary Authority, although he desires to reserve certain powers to the Local Government Board in relation to Medical Officers of Health. I do not propose, so far as I am individually concerned, to press the view I hold to a Division, and probably my hon. and learned Friend will be content with his protest, and will accept the concession offered.

(11.22.) MR. MORTON

I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has given way so far as to allow a Sanitary Authority to get rid of their Sanitary Inspectors. It would be a ridiculous position if the Vestry had not such power. I am sorry, however, that the Government will not consent to remove the clause altogether. The hon. and learned Member for Hackney spoke of the Hackney Board preferring to pay the whole of the salaries and keep control, and I may mention that the Wandsworth Board does the same thing, preferring independence and full control over their officers. I am satisfied, from experience of Vestry Boards and in the City, that the clause will have a bad effect both on Boards and officers. The Wandsworth District Board covers a large district, within which they have carried out, during many years, important public works without any complaint, and with the result that they have the lowest death rate of any district in England and Wales. Having so successfully carried out their work, they claim to continue to do so without interference. Hitherto the Board have had entire control over their officers; but such a provision as this is likely to introduce friction, and to prejudice the work of the Board. If officers are in the position that they cannot be dismissed by the Board there is reason to apprehend they will be loss ready to carry out instructions. Speaking from 20 years' experience, I say that Local Boards are usually in advance of their medical officers and have to urge them forward rather than hold them back.


If the hon. Member has had 20 years' ex- perience of one Local Board, I have had an equal length of experience, during which, I have had relations with many Boards, and I have heard constant complaints every year since the passing of the Public Health Act, and many examples are in my recollection of medical officers being unable to perform their duty satisfactorily in consequence of the actions of the Boards they have served. More than once in my experience some of the best medical officers, men of the highest scientific attainments in the profession, have been obliged to give up appointments and seek positions under more advanced Boards. If yon do not leave medical officers in the position contemplated by the clause you will cause a great detriment to the service for the public health of the country. It has been said, that Local Boards prefer the independence which the payment of the whole of the salary gives, and I can well imagine that in some cases it maybe cheaper and more for their interest to do this, but there is not then that guarantee against bad housing of the people, and jobbery which the independent position of a medical officer provides.

Amendment agreed to.

An Amendment made.


I desire to move the omission of the words "with the sanction of the Local Government Board," in line 30, Clause 107. I do not see why there should be any need to get the sanction of the Local Government Board to a temporary appointment of this sort.

Amendment proposed, in page 56, line 30, to leave out the words "with the sanction of the Local Government Board."—(Mr. Morton.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

*(11.33.) MR. RITCHIE

It is perfectly obvious that if the Local Authorities make temporary appointments at their own will, they will defeat the object of the clause. They would have nothing to do but to make temporary appointments, and so render it impossible for the Local Government Board to exercise that supervision which the House has already assented to.


I accept the explanation.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Other Amendments made.


Clause 130 exempts the City of London from the coercive powers of the Bill. I do not know whether the President of the Local Government Board's attention has been drawn to the fact that the Sanitary Authority in the City is not the Corporation. The Commissioners of Sewers are not the Corporation of the City of London. They are a distinct body, and subject to distinct Statutes. I therefore cannot see why the Commissioners of Sewers should be exempt from the provisions to which the important Vestries of Kensington and Islington are to be subjected. In order to elicit the right hon. Gentleman's view, I move the omission of the clause.

Amendment proposed, in page 64, to leave out Clause 130.—(Mr. Pickersgill.)

Question proposed, "That Clause 130 stand part of the Bill."


I think that when the Local Government Bill was passed there was a pretty general agreement in the House that certain Corporations should not be put in the same position as Local Authorities in the country were, and some old Corporations, such as Canterbury, were even omitted from the provisions of the Act, and made separate counties in themselves. I think the House will acknowledge that if any exemption of that kind is made the City of London, one of the most ancient of all the Corporations, ought to have that exemption. The House may do that with a very clear conscience, because it is well known that there is no better governed city in the world than the City of London.


We are not dealing with the Corporation, but with the Commissioners of Sewers.


That is almost a play on words. The Commissioners of Sewers are practically a Statutory Committee of the Corporation, and in speaking of the Commissioners of Sewers we are really speaking of the Sanitary Committee of the Corporation of London.


As a Member of the Commission of Sewers, I should like to know if that Commission will have the benefit of this Act?




I may be permitted to say that the Commission of Sewers is not exactly a Statutory Committee of the Corporation, and that there is a strong feeling in the City that it would be much better if the Commissioners of Sewers were elected directly by the ratepayers or citizens than appointed by the Common Council. At present, however, I want to take care that the Commissioners of Sewers will receive all the good that can possibly be got out of this Act.


The City will have all the powers and duties and privileges conferred by this Act.

*(11.40.) MR. T. H. BOLTON

Hon. Members will remember that when it was proposed to put the smaller Corporations in the country under the County Councils with reference to the Allotment Acts, a Whip went round, and hon. Members for districts in which there are corporate boroughs came forward and denounced the attempt to crush out local rights and local independence by putting Local Authorities under the control of the County Councils, and probably the right hon. Gentleman anticipated similar opposition if he had attempted to put the City under the County Council. I only rise for the purpose of pointing out the inconsistency of the right hon. Gentleman in giving all these powers to the County Council with reference to the Sanitary Authorities throughout London, and excluding the City from the full operation of the Bill.


It is delightful that we have now arrived at an Amendment on which the hon. Member for St. Pancras (Mr. T. H. Bolton) is able to return to the fold he has left so long.


The right hon. Gentleman went into the question of the reason why the City was made a separate county, but the real question on this occasion is the application of this particular Act to the City of London. We must bear in mind that in this matter the City stands in just the same relation to the rest of London as any other authority. Power to make certain bye-laws has been given to the County Councils. The City is over-represented on the Council. It has four Members, while other districts have only two. Having a stronger voice on the County Council than any other part of the Metropolis, it certainly ought to come under the power of the County Council in all matters affecting the public health. I think we ought to have something like a reasonable explanation from the President of the Local Government Board as to why the City is to be treated in this exceptional way. In the case of the School Board, on which the City is directly represented, it is dealt with in just the same way as any other part of London, and I do hope the time is coming when the City will have to recognise that it must stand on the same footing as other parts of London.

(11.48.) The House divided:—Ayes 98; Noes 45.—(Div. List, No. 308.)

(11.57.) MR. LAWSON

I have to draw the attention of the President of the Local Government Board to what I am sure is an unintentional omission from Clause 132. I suppose he must insert, "Where a complaint is made by the County Council."


I think the Corporation are treated with some injustice, but I think they are content to remain under that injustice.

Several Verbal Amendments agreed to.

*(11.59.) MR. RITCHIE

I hope the House will permit me to take the Third Reading now.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Bill be now read the third time,"—(Mr. Ritchie,)—put, and agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed.