HC Deb 06 August 1894 vol 28 cc119-23

Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed [31st July] on Consideration of the Bill, as amended.

And which Amendment was, in page 22 of the Croydon Extension Order, to leave out paragraph 34a:— The promoters or any company or person working or using the tramways shall not raise their fares on any Sunday or public holiday."—(Mr. S. Herbert.)

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

Debate resumed.

MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)

said, that before the Debate on the Amendment was resumed he wished, in the absence of the hon. Member for Peterborough, to move the following Amendment:— Paragraph 16, page 19, line 31, after "three-pence, "insert" but it shall not be lawful, without consent of the Local Authority, for the promoters or any company or person working or using the tramways to take or demand on Sunday or on any bank or other public holiday any higher rates or charges than those levied by them on ordinary week days.


That Amendment cannot be moved now. It is not in Order.


Will it be possible to move it later on?


No, we have passed that portion of the Bill.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

But if the Debate is postponed can it be done?


No, as we have passed that portion of the Bill; it is too late.


Cannot the error be rectified at all?


The Bill might be re-committed for the purpose of dealing with that part of it.

MR. SNAPE (Lancashire, S. E., Heywood)

said, he understood that the Debate was adjourned on the last occasion in order that the views of the Croydon Corporation might be authoritatively expressed. He believed, however, no message had been received from that body.

MR. BARROW (Southwark, Rotherhithe)

Yes, I have one.


said, he had heard nothing of it. He wished to support the retention of the clause as it stood in the Bill, and he did so all the more strongly because the Amendment of which the hon. Member for Peterborough and himself had given notice had been ruled out of Order. He gathered that the clause was to be opposed, and that the Tramway Company had circulated a paper expressing their objection to it. He waited with some curiosity to hear the grounds upon which this Company objected to a clause which had been accepted by similar companies. The Oxford and Aylesbury Bills both contained a similar provision, and if they did not object to it surely the Croydon Company might be expected to assent to it. He wished to say a few words as to the action of the Croydon Corporation. He thought there might be a too superstitious reverence for the opinions of Corporations, and although he was behind no one in his respect for local authority and local government, he did not from experience think that such authorities, acting under influences honourable enough in themselves, supported measures with which they were not at all in accord. He remembered that last year a Bill came before them strongly supported by the Liverpool Corporation. He took it upon himself to move the rejection of the measure, and telegrams came even from Leaders of the Liberal Party in the Liverpool Corporation urging hon. Members to support the Bill. Fortunately, the House disregarded those telegrams and threw out the Bill, and he was subsequently congratulated on the effect of his action by the very men who had urged Members to oppose him. And why did they take that course? Because they thought they were honourably bound by some old agreement which they condemned, but which they felt they must at least nominally support. In like manner he could not understand why the Croydon Corporation should go against the evident interests of the working classes in their Municipality by endeavouring to uphold the power of the Tramway Company to raise its fares on Sundays and on Bank Holidays. He believed the only objection the Company could raise to the clause was that whilst they were paying dividends of 5 per cent. on debentures and 6 per cent. on preference shareholders, they were paying nothing on their ordinary shares, and they desired the power to charge these increased powers for the benefit of the ordinary shareholders. But the working classes were the chief users of the tram-ears on Bank Holidays and Sundays, and why should they be penalised for the benefit of the ordinary shareholder? There were surely other means of increasing the dividend. Why not raise the fares generally? The Underground Railway which permeated the Metropolis did not raise its fares on these days, and there was no reason why Tramway Companies should be allowed a monopoly in that direction, and should be able to tax the hard-earned wages of the labouring classes.

MR. S. HERBERT (Croydon)

said, he had been informed that the Croydon Corporation, by a large majority, were against the clause being inserted in the Bill. As the Debate was adjourned on the last occasion solely in order to ascertain the views of that body, and as he had no right to again address the House on the subject, he would content himself with expressing the hope that the House would agree to his Motion.


said, that when the question was put to the Croydon Corporation, of which he was a member, 33 voted in favour of the omission of the clause, six were against it, and nine were absent. Surely this was a matter on which the view of the Local Authority ought to be accepted.


What was the point put to the Corporation? Were they asked to approve the clause as it stood in the Bill or their opinion of the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member?


said, the point was whether or not they supported the Motion of the hon. Member for Croydon to omit the clause. He thought that after so emphatic a pronouncement on the part of the Corporation, their views should be allowed to prevail. They ought to have such a thing as Home Rule in the matter, and he could not understand why the hon. Member for Peterborough should interest himself so much in it.


On a point of Order, if this Motion is passed, will it be in Order for me to move to re-commit the Bill?


On the Motion for the Third Reading it will be possible for the hon. Member to move that the Bill be re-committed in order to insert this or any other clause.

Question put, and negatived.


I beg to move that the Bill be now read a third time.


Then I move that it be re-committed.


Order, order! The Third Reading cannot be taken until Tomorrow.


In moving the Amendment which stands in my name, I wish only to say that I have a letter from the promoters accepting it.

Amendment proposed, in Clause 20, page 30, line 42, after "mile," insert— but it shall not be lawful without the consent of the Local Authority for the promoters or any company or person working or using the tramways, to take or demand on Sunday or on any bank or other public holidays any higher rates or charges than those levied by them on ordinary week days."—(Mr. Snape.)

Question put, and agreed to.

Amendment proposed, in page 41, to leave out Clause 25.—(Mr. Snape.)

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill to be read the third time Tomorrow.