HC Deb 10 August 1894 vol 28 cc570-636

Bill, as amended, further considered.

CAPTAIN HOPE (Linlithgow)

moved an Amendment with the object of depriving the Parish Council of the right to exercise the powers conferred on a County Council by Sub-section (2) of Section 53 of the Act of 1889. He pointed out that the Parish Council did not administer the Public Health Acts, and said that the district committee was the body to which the administration of the Public Health Acts was intrusted. By the provisions of the Bill the Parish Council would have the right, which surely was properly inherent in the superior and not in the inferior body, of of criticising and calling up the body next above it in the county hierarchy— namely, the district committee. He submitted that that was a violation of the principle which was introduced with very good results by the Local Government Act, which placed the administration of public health matters on the district committee. He did not think the Parish Council had the means of judging whether the Public Health Acts were put in force properly or not. They might hold an opinion upon the subject, but he did not think it was right to put them in the position of being able to force on superior bodies their opinions on such matters. He hoped the Government would see the impropriety of giving this additional power to the Parish Council and would assent to the Amendment.

Amendment proposed, in page 15, line 29, to leave out from the word "Act," to the end of Sub-section (3), of Clause 24.—(Captain Hope.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'and upon a County Council 'stand part of the Bill."

THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (Sir G. TREVELYAN,) Glasgow, Bridgeton

said, the Bill proposed that if it should appear to the Parish Council that the Public Health Act had not been properly put in force in every district, they might cause a representation to be made to the Local Government Board. The hon. and gallant Member talked about the superior and inferior bodies. It was not a question of superior or inferior bodies at all. It was a question of the body which knows the wants" of the district, and which, in the case of a remedy being refused, could go to the quarter where a remedy could be obtained. It was true that the Parish Council had no administrative functions; but they knew where the shoe pinched, and, therefore, the Bill gave them the right of representation to the Local Government Board. If the Parish Council was not fit to go to the Local Government Board and say that they had been neglected by the other bodies, they were fit for no functions whatsoever. He knew from the relations in which he stood to the Board of Supervision that instead of being applied to by private individuals or by a voluntary committee, he should be very glad indeed if he had an authori- tative representation coming to him from such a body as the Parish Council.

MR.RENSHAW (Renfrew, W.)

said, there was already an authoritative body —the County Council, to which body the district committee had recourse. He believed most distinctly that it was a retrograde step to place back on the shoulders of the Parish Authority the responsibility which Parliament deliberately took away from them under the Act of 1889. They would scarcely find anyone who was acquainted with the working of the Public Health Act who did not fully recognise the fact that great progress had been made by the transference of the charge of public health from the Parochial to the County Authority.

Question put, and agreed to.

On Motion of Sir G. TEEVELYAN, the following Amendments were agreed to:—

Page 15, line 29, after "County Council," insert "by."

Line 36, after "shall," insert "in relation to allotments provided for the parish."

Line 36, after "Council," leave out to end of sub-section, and insert "without any appointment."

Line 38, at end, insert— A Parish Council shall have the same power of presenting a Petition with regard to a demand for small holdings in a county as is conferred on any one or more county electors by The Small Holdings Act, 1892, and in lieu of the triennial election by the county electors provided by Section 24 of the said Act, the Parish Council of the parish in which the holdings are situated shall appoint two representatives from their own number to serve as members of the Committee of the County Council.

Page 16, line 14, leave out "the."

MR. GRAHAM MURRAY (Buteshire)

said, he wished to move an Amendment to the sub-section of Clause 25 which dealt with the procedure for the compulsory acquisition of land. In this matter the County Council was set in motion by the Parish Council. Upon a representation by the Parish Council the County Council would have to hold an inquiry, after which the County Council might make an order for putting in force the Lands Clauses Acts. Such an order was to be deposited with the Local Government Board, and upon confirmation by the Board it was to become final. The part of the section he objected to was as follows:— And the confirmation by the Board shall be conclusive evidence that the order has been duly made, and is within the powers conferred by this Act, and that the requirements of this Act have been complied with. Those words he moved to omit. He contended that if by chance the Local Government Board should go entirely outside the scope of the Bill there should be an appeal to the Law Courts. Mistakes were sometimes made. Whenever a new Act of Parliament was passed questions as to construction were certain to crop up. In the next sub-section it was provided that where the Board was authorised or required to make any inquiries, they might cause such inquiries to be made by any inspector or officer of the Board or by any other person specially nominated by them, and that these persons should be entitled to summon witnesses and examine them on oath. That clearly showed that inquiries would, in many instances, be carried out by persons who had had no special legal training, who could not, therefore, conduct the inquiries with the same acumen as those who had made the study of law their profession, and the result might be some fantastic interpretations of the Act of Parliament. He hoped that the Government would be willing to leave out from the clause the drastic words of the sub-section, so that in the case of the Board acting ultra vires there should be a right of appeal to the ordinary Courts of Law. Difficulties would be sure to arise, and he urged on the Government the distinct advisability of having such cases submitted to the Courts of Law as being the only fitting tribunal to adjudicate on them. He entirely deprecated the ousting of the jurisdiction of the ordinary Courts in case of ultra vires, for surely the Judges of the Supreme Court were much better able to interpret an Act of Parliament than the tribunal set up by this Act. The persons who were to form that tribunal would receive the magnificent remuneration of three guineas a day; and he did not think they could get very good interpretations of an Act of Parliament from unpracticed persons at three guineas a day.

Amendment proposed, in page 17, line 21, to leave out from the word "Parlia- ment" to the end of paragraph (c), of Sub-section (7), of Clause 25.—{Mr. Graham Murray.)

Question proposed, "That the words down to 'and,' in line 22, stand part of the Bill."

* THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. B BALFOUR,&c), Clackmannan,

in opposing the Amendment, said, the fact that the words objected to were taken from the English Act was a matter that ought not to be left out of view, for they were the last words of both Houses of Parliament on the subject. He was not surprised that they had been adopted in this Bill, because under the Provisional Order system such Acts as the Allotments and Small Holdings Acts had been absolutely fruitless. To tell the Parish Councils that they were to go through the old expensive formalities would be a mockery, a delusion, and a snare. These formalities having been got rid of, Parliament had to consider how far they would carry protection. Would they leave the new authorities the run of the Courts of Law up to the House of Lords? Parliament considered that, and said "No." He pointed out that before the provision dealt with by the Amendment came in, the matter must have been three times considered, first by the County Council, then by an appeal to the Board, and the third time by the Board on a memorial being presented to them. Every reasonable precaution had therefore been taken to see that everything had been rightly done. His hon. and learned Friend said that he was not giving an appeal. It was quite true he was not technically proposing to give an appeal, because an appeal meant something in the nature of a review. What his hon. and learned Friend proposed was to allow questions of ultra vires to be carried to and litigated in the Law Courts instead of being finally decided by the Board. He submitted it was wise and proper that the confirmation by the Board should be conclusive evidence that the Order had been duly made, because a great many of the evils which existed under the old Provisional Order system would be brought back in another form if they gave any recalcitrant person whose land was proposed to be taken the run of the Law Courts, and one could easily imagine how the mere threat of having to go to the House of Lords would deter a Local Authority such as a Parish Council from entering on any enterprise. There were two highly-skilled lawyers on the Board—the Solicitor General for Scotland and the permanent legal officer— and any questions of excess of power under this section would be of the simplest description. They had got a plain Bill which he who ran might read, and he believed the Board, through its legal members, would be perfectly competent to determine finally any question of ultra vires that could possibly be suggested by anyone.

MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanarkshire, Partick)

said, that the hon. and learned Gentleman in opposing the Amendment seemed to have forgotten the axiom that "hard cases made bad law." It seemed to him the Lord Advocate had been resting his opposition to this Amendment entirely on the hard case of some litigious person who had the power of the purse, and because he was frightened by the hard case he laid down exceedingly bad law, and went in the face of a deep-lying principle in our Constitution. The whole theory of the British Constitution was that the Courts of Law in the case of every subordinate authority in the Kingdom had a right to inquire into the action of that authority to see whether it had gone beyond the sphere of the powers which Parliament had delegated to it. In this sub-section he believed Parliament had for the first time gone in the face of that principle. It was said that the sub-section was taken from the English Act; but he believed there had been no discussion on the point.

MR. H. H. FOWLER

Yes, the whole question was discussed.

MR. PARKER SMITH

said, the right hon. Gentleman ought to know, as he was in charge of the English Bill, but he had looked up the Parliamentary Debates and could not find any discussion of the point in the clause from which the sub-section was taken. The one point to which he took exception was that the sub-section abolished the doctrine of ultra vires. It was an absolute innovation to give the Local Government Board such a power. In this subsection he believed Parliament had for the first time gone in the face of that principle.

MR. H. H. FOWLER

said, he could assure the hon. Gentleman that the subject was discussed when the Bill was before the House. Indeed, it was the subject of discussion between the two Houses. The principle was to get rid of Parliament and of Courts of Law, and to substitute for what would be a Provisional Order, confirmed by Parliament, a Provisional Order of the Local Government Board. Lord Morley's scheme was submitted to that House, but there were points to which the House would not consent. The intention of Parliament would be frustrated if the action of the Local Government Board were subject to revision by any body or Court. On both sides of the House the object was to make the procedure as simple and inexpensive as possible.

SIR C. PEARSON

said, the whole question of procedure was discussed when the English Bill was before the House. The right hon. Gentleman could not point out anything to show that the specific point now raised was then the subject of discussion. He himself did not think it was. The question, though comparatively narrow, was a very important constitutional point, and depended entirely on the word "conclusive." So far as he was aware, in the English Parish Councils Act for the first time Parliament—as he believed by inadvertence — withdrew from the Supreme Courts of the country, and gave over to an executive department the final construction of its own acts of legislation.

MR. H. H. FOWLER

I quite admit that it was for the first time, but that is what we intended to do.

SIR C. PEARSON

said, he thought Parliament intended to get rid of appeals to Parliament in the form of Provisional Orders, but what about the appeal to Courts of Law? He had always understood that one of the great safeguards against the action of the Executive Government was that Acts of Parliament were only to be construed by the Supreme Judges.

MR. H. H. FOWLER

I now remember that an Amendment was proposed on this point, and it was suggested by it that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council should be the tribunal to settle these questions.

SIR C. PEARSON

said, he could not help thinking that that was to be a tribunal of appeal on the merits of the question. As an instance of the necessity for an appeal on the construction of Acts of Parliament, he recalled the fact that only a year or two ago the Supreme Court in Scotland decided that certain rules prepared by the Scottish Education Department for cases where a full board was not elected were ultra vires, as being inconsistent with one of the clauses of the Education Act. Was the House prepared to withdraw from the Supreme Courts of Law the power of saying whether or not the Executive had gone beyond the intentions of Parliament? He thought it would be most unwise to do so, and urged the Government to reconsider their decision.

MR. CRAWFORD

said, the proposal, which was of great theoretical importance, was undoubtedly a very great innovation, and the precedent of the English Act would not have been sufficient to reconcile him to it; but the considerations mentioned by the Lord Advocate ought to convince the House. On the whole, he thought it would be better not to leave the door open to litigation, as the costs which might be incurred would paralyse the provisions of the clause.

Question put.

The House divided: —Ayes 118: Noes 51.—(Division List, No. 223.)

MR. PARKER SMITH

moved to omit the words "and is within the powers conferred by this Act." He said that this again raised in a simple manner the question the House had just been considering.

Amendment proposed, in page 17, lines 22 and 23, to leave out the words "and is within the powers conferred by this Act."—(Mr. Parker Smith.)

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

MR. GRAHAM MURRAY

said, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India had tried to make out that this question had been discussed in the English Bill, and, as he (Mr. Graham Murray) considered, had conspicuously failed. He could not substantiate his statement by any reference to Hansard. As a fact, he denied that the question of ultra vires was discussed at all when the English Act was under consideration Then, it was a perfectly absurd assumption that because an injustice was perpetrated by a popularly-elected body it ceased to be an injustice.

* MR. SPEAKER

The arguments of the hon. and learned Member seem to be directed to the last Amendment. If they are directed to this, it only shows that it is a superfluous Amendment.

MR GRAHAM MURRAY

replied that the present Amendment raised in a restricted form what was undoubtedly raised by the preceding Amendment.

Question put, and agreed to.

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendment was agreed to:—Page 17, line 31, after "in," insert "relation to."

SIR C. PEARSON moved, in page 17, line 42, after "sections," to insert "sixty to sixty-five, both inclusive, and." He said he desired to incorporate in the Bill the portion of the Railway Clauses Act relating to accommodation works on land adjoining a railway when the Railway Company took land compulsorily. He might give an indication of the kind of accommodation works contained in the first of the clauses. They wore gates, and bridges, fences, drains, and watering places, whilst the other clauses he proposed to adopt, were those fixing the accommodation works which the promoters or undertakers had to carry out when they took land. When he made this proposal in Committee the main reply made to him was that he was extracting from the Railway Clauses Act provisions which related only to something in connection with railways. He admitted that in some cases the accommodation works were less likely to be needed than in others, and that some of them were more appropriate to the case of a railway than to any other case. But what was to be said as to the others? Take the case of fences. Let it be supposed that a Parish Council took land in the corner of a field for the purpose of a recreation ground. The field, say, was part of a farm and was perfectly well and sufficiently fenced before at the cost of the owner. What was to be said as to the fairness and expediency of calling upon the owner, part of whose land had been taken by the Parish Council, to put up a new fence? According to the law of Scotland it did not rest upon either party, as a matter of obligation, to fence at all, but if the occupier of the remainder of the field had stock upon it he would be bound to prevent it straying on to the recreation ground. There was an old Scottish Statute with reference to common fences between two properties, and either party could under that Statute go to the Court and say this was a case for a boundary fence, and if the Court made an order each party would have to pay half the cost of erecting and maintaining the fence. Such an order would be unjust to the farmer. A Public Body which took land compulsorily ought to be bound to fence it off at its own cost. The questions of drainage and watering places were obviously most important ones in the case of land being taken from a field or farm devoted to the grazing of stock. Justice demanded that the cost of these and all other accommodation works necessary for the maintenance of the remainder of the land in its original state should be laid entirely upon the takers of the land.

Amendment proposed, in page 17, line 42, after the last Amendment, to insert the words "sixty to sixty-five, both inclusive, and."—(Sir C. Pearson.)

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

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, he must congratulate his right hon. and learned Friend on the ingenuity he had displayed in raising a point which the ingenuity of all the landowners and all the lawyers of England had not suggested, or which, at all events, had not had the boldness to put forward. There was in the English Act no analogue at all to this proposal; and he was not surprised at it. The proposal was to import into this Act en bloc a series of provisions of the Railway Clauses Act which were applicable to the construction of railways. It was quite intelligible and appropriate that where a work of the peculiar and dangerous kind dealt with in the Act was carried through a man's land, such provisions as the right hon. and learned Member had referred to should be made. This Bill, however, did not give power to make a railway or even to build a house; it merely empowered the transference of land from A to B and, as far as he could see, the land when it was in the hands of B would be very much what it was while in the hands of A. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had taken fences as his leading case. If he only wanted to provide for fencing, why did he not move an Amendment respecting fencing and let it be argued out? The clause would do no injustice at all, because very full compensation would be given for everything that the person who had lost a piece of his land would lose. One of the things for which compensation was given was severance, and, that being so, the landowner would very likely be paid 30 or 40 per cent, more than he would otherwise receive. In one shape or another every penny of damage, as well as every penny of value, would be paid for under the provisions of the Bill.

MR. GRAHAM MURRAY

said, he was perfectly astonished at the speech just made by the hon. and learned Gentleman, knowing as he did what experience the right hon. and learned Gentleman had had. The case was really a very simple one. Supposing that under the provisions of the Bill half a field were taken for the purposes of a Parish Council, it was quite obvious that there must be a fence between the half that was taken and the half that was left. Who, injustice, ought to pay for that fence? Not the landowner certainly, because he wanted to keep the property that was taken from him. Nobody knew better than the Lord Advocate that a man could not claim under the name of severance for fencing. The machinery adopted by the Government in their Bill was the machinery of the Land Clauses Act, and the machinery of that Act assumed that accommodation was dealt with; yet the Government excluded an inquiry into that question. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that every damage done would be paid for. He (Mr. Murray) challenged him to say whether, in the whole of his experience, he had had to deal with a claim for fencing. If a field were divided, undoubtedly some consideration ought to be given for the necessary fencing between the two parts.

Question put, and negatived.

MR. GRAHAM MURRAY moved to omit "or expert witnesses," in page 18, line 23, because he said he thought the provision would be unworkable in practice. He could understand the value of making these inquiries as cheap as possible, and that was why he had not chosen to try and interfere with the provision which excluded the employment of counsel. He had two objections to the prohibition of the examination of expert witnesses. In the first place, he thought that, if properly understood, it would exclude practically the only evidence that would be of any assistance to the tribunal. A still more cogent objection to the exclusion of expert witnesses was the difficulty of carrying it out. Who was to judge whether a man was an expert witness or not? He did not wear a ticket on his back or have an address in the directory as an expert witness. The right hon. Gentleman said the arbitrator could judge. Was the expert witness to be habited in a special dress, and was that dress to be green or blue? His right hon. and learned Friend who had been cross-examining expert witnesses for the last half-century might know an expert witness, but the people who were to make the inquiries— these three-guinea-a-day men—did not know them. The right hon. Gentleman must be aware that there was a border line in this matter, and that in some cases even the right hon. Gentleman himself would not be able to say whether a witness was an expert witness or not. There were people who wore expert one day and not another. The clause would be unworkable. It would be worked in a different manner by every successive arbitrator. One arbitrator would take the view that a certain witness was an expert witness and another would hold that he was not. Was a man to go from tribunal to tribunal in order to get a certificate to show that he was an expert? He thought his right hon. and learned Friend would do well to re-consider this matter. There was no provision equivalent to a certification provision allowing a higher scale for witnesses of a certain class. Those witnesses would be simply charged as ordinary witnesses, and nothing else; therefore the cost of the inquiry would not be effected by whether or not certain witnesses were called who knew more than others.

Amendment proposed, in page 18, line 23, to leave out the words "or expert witnesses."—{Mr. Graham Murray.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'or expert witnesses' stand part of the Bill."

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, the Government must adhere to the view they had hitherto taken, and which again he begged the House to remember was the view to which Parliament gave effect in the English Bill, which was its last word on the subject. The words objected to were identical with those in the English Bill. Their object was to keep the proceedings simple and inexpensive. He did not say that hon. Gentlemen opposite desired to make them expensive, but the Amendment would tend in that direction. The inquiries contemplated under the section wore of a very simple character. A Parish Council, for instance, took a bit of land for a building or a recreation ground, and surely it would be no difficult matter to ascertain what was the market value of the neighbouring land and the value of the piece of ground taken. That was the normal kind of local inquiry, and they did not want an expert witness for an inquiry of that kind. Of course, where there were cases in which it might be desirable in the general interest to have the assistance of expert witnesses, the Local Government Board would have power to allow them. The words of the clause were "shall not except with the consent of the Board." In a complicated or difficult case the Board would consent. As to recognising an expert witness he should have thought the hon. and learned Gentleman would have had no difficulty in the matter. But, however that might be, the hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to assume that no common sense would be brought to bear upon the matter. He should have thought that a very small grain of good sense would enable the arbitrator to say whether or not a person presented to him as a witness was a gentleman of skill, speaking not merely with knowledge of a certain half acre of land and the current prices of a certain neighbourhood, but with a knowledge of land and prices all over the country, and with extensive experience of railways and other great undertakings.

SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N. E.)

said that, judging from his own experience, it might very well happen that land taken near a village, say for recreation purposes, might be the most valuable part of a farm. To take away that piece of laud might interfere with the course of agriculture, disturbing the shifts on which the farm was necessarily worked. What could be more desirable in a case of that kind than the advice of a skilled person? They did not require gentlemen who had spent their lives and acquired fortunes in giving evidence before Parliamentary Committees, but he desired that competent men of well-known local experience should be able to advise the Arbitrator in cases like these. The Lord Advocate often had before him men like Mr. Drennan, who unfortunately was no longer with them. He was thoroughly conversant with agricultural questions, and he (Sir J. Fergusson) could name half-a-dozen such men who were skilled witnesses, though not professional, who could be called on with confidence to give evidence in such matters. If, in fact, the expert witness was excluded except in special cases there would rise up another professional person—namely, the skilled Arbitrator, who would have to possess a thorough knowledge of agricultural matters himself, because he would not be able to have agricultural experts called before him. These men would require good salaries, and their work would be important. If he had his time to come over again he should be inclined to become an arbitrator, and should certainly bring up one of his sons to the work.

MR. PARKER SMITH

said, the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not seem to admit that there was much difficulty in defining "expert witness." The difficulty was one that would be met with at every point. The Lord Advocate's argument was mainly one of expense. They were all agreed as to the desirability of keeping the expenses to be incurred under the Bill as low as possible, but surely that should be done directly and not indirectly. He suggested that a solution of the question might be found in providing that the Arbitrator should not, except with the consent of the Board, allow the expenses of any witness beyond the expenses specified in the rules to be drawn up by the Board. That would limit the expenses allowed to witnesses, but not the class of witness who could be called. They would be sure, under the circumstances, that people would not be able to charge special expenses, and that Councils would not go in universally for expensive witnesses. That met the point of the Lord Advocate's argument as to the danger for making the thing expensive, and at the same time it avoided the difficulty of defining what was or was not an expert witness.

Question put, and agreed to.

* MR. HOZIER

moved, in page 18, line 30, after the second "any," insert "market garden, fruit garden, or." He did so, he said, in the interests of the Clydesdale part of his constituency. The fruit-growing industry was a very important one, and was a real blessing to many families of the poorer classes, in his own constituency as well as in Perth-shire, and other parts of the country.

Amendment proposed, in page 18, line 30, after the second word "any," to insert the words "market gardens, fruit gardens, or."—(Mr. Hozier.)

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

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, the Government could not accept the suggestion. This clause did not deal with taking land for allotments, but only empowered the Parish Council to take land for a very limited class of purposes, and that would result in very limited areas being taken. He did not know why ground which was growing corn should be taken and ground growing strawberries or fruit trees protected, arid in some parts of the country, such as the Carse of Gowrie, only such land might be available.

MR. GRAHAM MURRAY

said, the right hon. Gentleman had forgotten his own Bill, and was wrong in saying that it did not have to do with allotments. This clause had nothing to do with allotments, but the next clause had, and the only restrictions in Clause 26 were those which were incorporated by reference to this Clause 25. Therefore, they were entitled to argue that Clause 25 applied to allotments. On the merits of the Amendment, he had in Committee instanced a very crying case for this Amendment—the case of Blairgowrie, where it would be disastrous that land should be taken for allotments from fruit gardens. On that occasion the Member for East Perthshire (Sir J. Kinloch) said unless fruit gardens could be taken, they would not be able to get land at all. But he had since made inquiry, and he had a letter which showed that for 1,000 acres in Blairgowrie not 100 were fruit gardens.

Question put, and negatived.

MR. RENSHAW moved to include laud required for the amenity or convenience of a "church or school" among the exceptions under the sub-section. They might have a playfield immediately adjacent to a school and close to the end of a village. It might be very convenient for allotments, and it might be taken.

Amendment proposed, in page 18, line 32, after the words "dwelling house," to insert the words "church or school." —(Mr. Renshaw.)

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

SIR G. TREVELYAN

said, he could not imagine any body more safe to trust to in the contingency suggested than the Parish Council. They were not likely to take a playground frequented by the children of their own constituents.

Question put, and negatived.

MR. RENSHAW moved to exempt land around "factories." He pointed out that the section protected land required for the purposes of a railway or canal undertaking. Owners of factories, foreseeing the necessity for extension, might acquire five or ten acres in the immediate vicinity for the extension of their works, and it would be an injury if it were possible for the Parish Council to take away that laud from them.

Amendment proposed, in page 18, line 32, after the words "dwelling house," to insert the words "factory, or workshop."—(Mr. Renshaw.)

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

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, he would undertake that the case of land for the amenity or convenience of a factory would be met in another place.

MR. RENSHAW

asked leave to withdraw the Amendment on that understanding.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendments were agreed to:—

Page 19, line 6, leave out "for common pasture."

Line 7, after "extent," insert "for common pasture."

MR. GRAHAM MURRAY moved to delete from Section (c) the words "upon the determination of his tenancy," in order to insert "in respect of the land taken forming part of an existing tenancy." He said he thought the words of the clause were very unfortunate words, because the determination of a tenancy in ordinary legal language meant the end of the lease. That would be unintelligible in the particular collocation here in view: and therefore he put down this Amendment, which made no difference to what he conceived to be the true meaning of the section, but made it more plain to the arbiter who had to deal with it.

Amendment proposed, in page 19, line 27, to leave out from the word "tenant," to cud of line 28, and insert the words "in respect of the land taken forming part of an existing tenancy, and."—(Mr. Graham Murray.)

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

MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, the Government were quite willing that the words should be left out.

Question put, and negatived.

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

Question put, and agreed to.

MR. GRAHAM MURRAY moved, in page 20, line 2, at end, insert— Provided always, that in no case shall the sum in cumulo of the apportioned portions of rent be less than the rent formerly paid by the tenant. He said that this was the sub-section which had given him most mental trouble. To explain the Amendment, he would take the case of a farm let at £100 a year. A portion was taken on lease by the Parish Council representing £10 a year. It might, nevertheless, be that the land left to the farmer after the severance was not worth £90 a year, but only £80, and the landlord would be left to get only £90 instead of £100 for the holding.

Amendment proposed, in page 20, line 2, at end, insert— Provided always, that in no case shall the sum in cumnlo of the apportioned portions of rent be less than the rent formerly paid by the tenant."—(Mr. Graham Murray.)

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

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, it appeared to him that there was a point here which might be met. No doubt it would not be right that the landlord's rent should be made less. The Amendment, however, would require a slight change.

Amendment agreed to as follows:— Provided always, that during the unexpired period of the tenant's lease the sum in cwmulo of the apportioned portions of rent shall not be less than the rent formerly paid by the tenant.

On Motion of Sir G. TEEVELYAN, the following Amendments were agreed to:—

Page 20, line 9, after "eight," insert "inclusive."

Line 9, after "and," insert "section fourteen and the proviso to."

Line 16, after "compulsorily," insert "either."

Line 18, leave out the second "of," and insert "not exceeding."

MR. MAXWELL moved, in page 20, line 29, at end, insert— And such compensation shall be assessed in accordance with the provisions of The Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act, 1883. He said that this was the case in regard to the English Act, and as in this matter the circumstances of the two countries were identical, he submitted that the compensation should be assessed hi Scotland in the same manner as in England. The argument of the greater expense under the Agricultural Holdings Act could not arise, because in this Bill the provision was for only a single arbiter.

Amendment proposed, in page 20, line 29, after the word "depreciation," to insert the words and such compensation shall be assessed in accordance with the provisions of The Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act, 1883."—(Mr. Maxwell.)

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

MR. T. SHAW

said, the Government thought that on the whole there would be no harm done by leaving the clause in the general form in which it passed the Grand Committee.

MR. PARKER SMITH

observed that the Solicitor General for Scotland had not answered the argument as to its being in the English Act. The Government had thought it judicious to put up a fresh advocate, the Lord Advocate having dwelt on the wisdom of Parliament as expressed in that Act. He (Mr. Parker Smith) thought the mischief of the Act as it stood was that no rules were laid down to guide the Arbitrator in awarding compensation as between the landlord and the Parish Council. At the same time, he would like to point out that very strict rules were laid down as to compensation as between the outgoing tenant and the Parish Council. It was provided that certain sections of the Allotments Act (Scotland), 1892, were to apply to this Bill. One of these sections dealt with the question of improvements, and stated that no building, tool-house, &c, should be erected, and if any building was erected, at the end of the tenancy, neither the Local Authority nor the incoming tenant should be bound to take such building or offer any compensation, and the outgoing tenant should be at liberty to remove the building. Therefore, as between the outgoing tenant and the Parish Council strict rules were laid down as to compensation; but as between the Parish Council and the landlord there was no restriction of any kind, and the Parish Council would be free to claim the full value they might put on the land. That appeared to him a rather extraordinary and irrational proceeding. The Amendment, as it stood, appeared to him to follow what, in spite of the Solicitor General, he considered the safe precedent, in many matters, of the English Act, and, at any rate, he considered that the same definite rule should be laid down in the case of the landlord as had been laid down for the Parish Council. It was only right that in some way or other the Arbitrator should be guided as to what principles he should act on in making his award.

Question put, and negatived.

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendment was agreed to:—

Page 21, line 1, leave out "hired," and insert "taken on lease."

*MR. HOZIER moved, in page 21, line 6, after "winning," insert "or for feuing." The object of the Amendment, he explained, was to provide that fening should be a proper reason for resumption by a landlord of land taken on lease by the Parish Council. He did not see that any harm could result from the insertion of these words, especially in view of the fact that the reason has to be shown to the satisfaction of the County Council.

Amendment proposed, in page 21, line 6, after the word "winning," to insert the words "or for foiling."—(Mr. Hozier.)

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

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, the Government could not assent to this Amendment. This clause dealt with a very special matter, and that was the right to resume the surface for the purpose of working the minerals which under the statutory taking wore reserved. Of course, it followed that if the minerals were reserved they must provide for some means of getting at them, and, accordingly, power was introduced here for resuming the surface for the purpose of working the minerals. What his hon. Friend proposed was that land which, after all the safeguards had been observed, had been made over to the Parish Council under the conditions of a lease should be taken back for feuing. But if they were to take it back for feuing, why not for agriculture or anything else? It was simply another surface use, and no doubt that would be considered at the time when the grant was made; therefore the Government could not assent to this Amendment.

SIR C. PEARSON

desired to point out that the Government by refusing to assent to this Amendment were putting a restraint upon a matter which their followers had often expressed themselves most anxious to facilitate. Ground was feued mainly for creating dwellings—it might be workmen's dwellings or villas. A Committee had been sitting upstairs for two years now with reference to an alleged infraction of the law of Scotland in this very matter. Anxious pleadings had been addressed to the Feus and Leases Committee against keeping up the restrictions which imposed a difficulty in obtaining land for building dwellings for the people, and the sole objection of the Government to this most reasonable Amendment was that it related to a clause dealing with another matter. But it happened to fit in perfectly well, and the Lord Advocate had not shown a single word in respect of which this Amendment, if inserted in this clause, would not work out perfectly well in the framework of the clause as it stood. He had considered the clause with great care with reference to this Amendment, and although the primary purpose, no doubt, was the resumption of land for working minerals, he should have thought that in the view of the Government themselves, it was at least as important a consideration for what the Lord Advocate was pleased to call surface use—that was inferior useߞ—

MR. J. B. BALFOUR

No, no.

SIR C. PEARSON

Well, superior use, if he liked; but there could be no more pressing and urgent use of land than its use for the purpose of building houses for the people.

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

desired to point out that this was not a proposal to take land by the community for the purpose of providing dwellings, but simply that the landlord should claim back his land.

Question put, and negatived.

MR. CALDWELL moved, in page 21, line 24, leave out from "rate," to "in," in line 27. He said, that the object of his proposal was to restore the Bill to the position in which it was when it was introduced by the Government. By his Amendment he proposed to strike out the words limiting the special parish rate to 6d. in the £1, and which was a proposal the Government had accepted at the instigation of hon. Gentlemen opposite. He was very sorry to take up the time of the House even for a few minutes, hut this point was of very great importance so far as his side of the House was concerned. This was the only part of the Bill upon which their constituencies were likely to feel much enthusiasm. It made a new departure by making provision for the acquisition of village halls, recreation grounds, and lands for dwelling, and these were purposes which would tend very much to develop village life. As amended, the special rate was not to exceed 6d. in the £1, and he maintained that for the important purposes contemplated by the clause such a limit would entirely destroy the value of the provision, as the 6d. rate was to include the repayment of the principal and interest of all money borrowed. Though the borrowing powers of the Parish Council were safeguarded by the provision that no money should be borrowed without the consent of the Board, yet they limited the rate to 6d. in the £1. In regard to parochial and School Board matters no limit was fixed, and he could not understand why the limit should be made in this particular case. If the clause stood as it was, the result would be that the Government would find the rate to be an utterly unworkable one. He looked upon this part of the Bill as most valuable for the purpose of leading to considerable development, but he thought the Government had spoilt the whole effect of their proposal by making the rate a limited one.

MR. SPEAKER (interrupting)

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but I understand he proposes to raise the limit?

MR. CALDWELL

I propose to leave out the limit.

MR. SPEAKER

Then that would put an additional charge upon the rates, and I am afraid that could not be done with me in the Chair.

MR. BUCHANAN

The limit was put in by the Committee upstairs. As the Bill left this House there was no limit put in. It was on an Amendment upstairs that this limit was put in. We discussed it there, and if we provide a limit there, surely it would be possible to discuss here a proposal to restore the Bill to the position in which it left this House.

* MR. SPEAKER

I was not aware of that. What I said was that it could not be done with me in the Chair. An Amendment must be made in Committee of the House, and not on Report, which raises the charge. If the hon. Gentleman likes he can move to re-commit the Bill, but he cannot do it with me in the Chair.

MR. BUCHANAN

It is your ruling that it is not in Order to make a Motion omitting these words that were inserted in the Committee upstairs, and which, in the view of some of us, seriously modify this Bill?

* MR. SPEAKER

The effect of that would be to raise the limit upon which the rates are charged. It has been expressly stated by the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill that he accepted the limit. Any proposal to raise the limit would be an additional charge upon the rates, and it could not be done with me in the Chair.

DR. MACGREGOR

asked whether the limit could not be entirely abolished?

MR. CALDWELL

We do not raise it; we abolish it.

* MR. SPEAKER

That means it may go higher, and that is clearly out of Order.

MR. BUCHANAN

said, he would like to put this further point. A Committee of the House was set up to authorise expenditure connected with the Billߞ—

* MR. SPEAKER

That was only with regard to salaries. This proposal is an additional charge upon the rates, and cannot be imposed with me in the Chair.

MR. CALDWELL

said, it was not for him to move that the Bill should be recommitted. He did not wish to delay the Bill, and he was satisfied with having made his statement.

MR. SPEAKER

said, the hon. Member could re-commit the Bill on the Third Reading.

MR. CALDWELL

We will consider it, and probably we need not do so.

MR. MAXWELL moved, in page 21, line 36, after the word "or," to insert "is imposed." The Amendment raised the question of a rate upon the gross valuation according to established usage.

Amendment proposed, in page 21, line 36, after the word "or," to insert the words "is imposed."—(Mr. Maxwell.)

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

MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, the Government could not accept the Amendment, but they were willing to consider any information which might be submitted to them relating to the point.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed, in page 23, line 3, at end, add— But such repair or maintenance of such roads or ways shall not involve the Parish Council in any liability for damages to person or property resulting from the condition in which such road or way may be maintained."—(Captain Hope.)

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

SIR G. TREVELYAN

intimated that the Government would accept the Amendment.

MR. CALDWELL

thought that this proposal to relieve Parish Councils from liability was a very serious one. The matter should be explained.

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, the roads here dealt with were footways or bridle-paths or other tracks across the country. It might be desirable to empower, although not to compel, a Public Body to repair such roads; but as the Public Body were not bound to spend money out of the rates on these roads, the public using the roads should, it was proposed, take their chance of using them as they foundthem.

Question put, and agreed to.

MR. RENSHAW moved to omit Clause 30 from the Bill. He explained that his reason for moving the Amendment was that this clause introduced a change into the system of road administration which was destructive of the whole system. He thought that the effect of retaining the clause would be that in future it would be difficult to induce a district committee to agree to the construction or taking over of new roads. Moreover, it was not clear what meaning the clause was intended to convey.

Amendment proposed, to leave out Clause 30.—(Mr, Renshaw.)

Question proposed, "That Clause 30 stand part of the Bill."

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, that the clause, at the time it was inserted in the Bill, was believed by the Government to be for the advantage of parish roads. Since that time, however, representations from a number of parts had reached the Government, pointing out that the practical effect of the clause would probably be adverse to the making of roads for the benefit of a parish by the proper Road Authority. It was feared that when the Road Authority was asked to make a road for a parish on the ordinary terms, that authority would say that if the parish wanted a road, it should get it made and pay for it under this clause. In view of these practically unanimous representations, they were prepared to assent to the Amendment of the hon. Member.

Question put, and negatived.

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendment was agreed to: —

Page 23, line 26, leave out "or any of them."

MR. MAXWELL moved, in page 23, line 37, after "persons," insert "not exceeding the number of the Trustees. He explained that the object of his proposal was to limit the number of Trustees which the Parish Council was empowered to appoint in connection with charities not transferred to the Parish Council, to the number of Trustees of the charity. He thought that the wishes of the testator or donor of the charity ought to be respected.

Amendment proposed, in page 23, line 37, after the word "persons," to insert the words "not exceeding the number of the Trustees."—(Mr. Maxwell.)

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

SIR G. TREVELYAN

said, he did not think it necessary to quote the English Bill with regard to this clause relating to charities, because Scottish Members of the Grand Committee, interpreting the general will of Scotland, had shown a much greater freedom in dealing with these matters than was displayed by the English Representatives, and by a large part of public opinion in England. Those charities were not ecclesiastical. What the Government proposed in reference to these charities was, that where the object was not ecclesiastical, but social and parochial—where the money was given for the benefit of all members of the community without any distinction of religion, the Parish Council, as the body representative of the whole parish, should have the power of putting a number of persons upon the management, who, if the Local Government Board approved, might be a majority, and would be a majority, he supposed, in most cases. The Scotch people, he thought, would have no objec- tion, in the case of such charities, to the Parish Councils having the power, subject to the control of the Local Government Board, to appoint a majority of the Trustees. The principle of the clause had been approved by the Standing Committee, and he believed in that respect the action of the Government represented the feelings of the Scotch people on the matter. The proceedings of the Committee had been watched with much interest by the people of Scotland, as he should imagine, judging from the very full reports given of their deliberations, and he had heard no remonstrance of any kind from them against the action of the Committee upon this question. The Boards would represent the inhabitants of each district, and would be fully competent to deal with the secular interests involved in such trusts, and the Government could not consent to alter the clause in this respect.

SIR C. PEAPSON

desired to enter his protest against the course that was being pursued by the Government in reference to this question. A great deal had been said in a loose manner in reference to the importance of the Bill, and they had been constantly referred to the English Act and its provisions. He would not repeat on this occasion the arguments previously used, which were based upon fairness and public expediency in regard to the transfer of the management of these trusts. They were not ecclesiastical trusts, it was true; but on the grounds urged when the English Bill was under consideration, the House had arrived at a totally opposite conclusion from that which the Secretary for Scotland had come to. The view embodied in this Amendment was the only expedient one in the public interest, and its supporters urged upon the House the propriety of adopting it. He did not suppose they would obtain the concurrence of the Government in their views, but they wished to enter a protest against what the right hon. Gentleman had said with regard to the Charity Commissioners dictating in the matter. They disputed that altogether.

Question put, and negatived.

MR. MAXWELL moved to leave out the words "unless the Board by order so prescribe." He pointed out that in the case of charities managed by the Com- missioners, the Parish Councils would have a right to nominate a certain number of Trustees to act with the Burgh Commissioners; but that where there was already popular management by the ratepayers, the Parish Councils had no right whatever in the matter. Although that had been admitted by the right hon. Gentleman, he had added at the end of the sub-section the words in question, so that the Central Board sitting in Edinburgh would have the right of interference in these matters. Would they have the right of inquiring whether the Burgh Commissioners, or the Town Council were properly discharging their duties in the management of a trust, and would they be entitled to say that the Parish Council' should appoint, under those circumstances, a certain number of Trustees upon the managing body? There was no reason why the Central Board should have any right to interfere in these matters in Scotland, seeing that those bodies were allowed to be trusted in England. By the 14th section of the Parish Councils Act, the rule was absolute with regard to the Governing Bodies of charities other than ecclesiastical—that where the management was in a popularly-elected body, the Parish Council was not to interfere, having already quite sufficient work on its hands.

Amendment proposed, in page 24, line 3, to leave out the words "unless the-Board by order so prescribe."—(Mr. Maxwell.)

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

SIR G. TREVELYAN

said, this clause had been inserted to meet a special class of cases in which a particular scheme of management would have to be-drawn up. He was quite certain that the Board would exercise a discretion in these matters, and would never interfere, except under special circumstances, and in such cases as had already been referred to.

Question put, and agreed to.

MR. MAXWELL moved an Amendment to limit the number of members who might be appointed by the Board. He thought the same principle should apply to Parish as to other Councils, and that the number should be limited to three.

Amendment proposed, in page 24, hue 13, after the word "persons," to insert the words "not exceeding three."—(Mr. Maxwell.)

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

SIR G. TREVELYAN

said, this clause had been very carefully drawn, with the object of securing a limited number in place of a large amorphous body. The number mentioned had been carefully thought out, and the Government could not consent to alter it.

Question put, and negatived.

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendments were agreed to: —

Page 24, line 14, leave out "in the," and insert "as a Committee of."

Line 15, leave out "them as a," and insert "the."

Line 15, leave out "of management."

Line 16, leave out from "accordingly," to end of sub-section.

Amendment proposed, in page 24, line 29, at end, insert— The term of office of a Trustee appointed under this section shall be not longer than three years, but a trustee shall be eligible for reappointment."—(Sir G. Trevelyan.)

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

MR. CALDWELL

said, the point of continuity should be kept in view in these matters.

MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, the persons appointed would not be sole Trustees. That should always be kept in view.

Question put, and agreed to.

SIR C. PEARSON moved, in page 25, line 9, at the end, to insert a proviso— The provisions of this section with respect to the appointment of Trustees shall not apply to any charity until the expiration of 40 years from the date of the foundation thereof, or, in the case of a charity founded before the passing of this Act by a donor or by several donors any one of whom is living at the passing of this Act, until the expiration of 40 years from the passing of this Act, unless with the consent of the surviving donor or donors. This appeared to him to be a matter of principle and expediency as to which no one could say that there was any substantial difference of public opinion. His Amendment was taken word for word, with only one insignificant difference, from the English Bill. Its purpose was to exclude from the charity clause all charities until the expiration of 40 years from their foundation or where the donor or donors were alive at the passing of the Bill, until 40 years after the passing of the Bill, unless the donor consented. He recalled for a moment what had happened in the discussion upon the corresponding section of the English Bill. With regard to the 40 years' limit, various proposals were made. The Vice President of the Council suggested that a 30 years' limit should be imposed. Then certain influential Members on the Opposition side of the House suggested 50 years as the proper limit, and ultimately the Government agreed, he supposed on the principle of "splitting the difference," that a 40 years' limit should be imposed. He pointed out that under his Amendment no charity would ultimately be excluded. There was no permanence about it. The Amendment simply introduced a limit in the two cases he had mentioned in order to run out what he might call existing interests—those interests which to his mind were absolutely predominant, that of the living donor in the charity he had founded, and that of the persons connected with it, both on grounds of public expediency and considerations of equity and the plainest good feeling. Those considerations required that some limitation should be imposed before the clause laid its hands on charities of recent institution. During the last 40 years donors or testators had been in the habit of leaving charities under the management of certain existing bodies—in some cases to Ecclesiastical Bodies, in other cases to Parochial Boards, and in others to individuals. But in all cases they had had these bodies from which to make a selection, and in many they had deliberately passed over the body for which the Parish Council was to be substituted. It was only right, therefore, that their selection should not be disturbed. He thought it was essential that some such limitation as that he proposed should be adopted. It had been said that if donors had known that Parish Councils were going to be established, they would have thought so much of these Councils that they would have done differently. That of course was a purely conjectural statement, and the House must accept the fact that donors had chosen the existing administrators of their gifts. This had been considered just and right in the English Act, and justice and right equally demanded that it should be done here. With that view he proposed this Amendment, which had the merit of being on the lines agreed to in the English Bill by all concerned.

Amendment proposed, in page 25, line 9, at the end, to insert the words— The provisions of this section with respect to the appointment of Trustees shall not apply to any charity until the expiration of 40 years from the date of the foundation thereof, or, in the case of a charity founded before the passing of this Act by a donor or by several donors any one of whom is living at the passing of this Act, until the expiration of 40 years from the passing of this Act, unless with the consent of the surviving donor or donors."—(Sir C. Pearson.)

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

SIR G. TREVELYAN

said, he would certainly be very unwilling to accept any Amendment which was not founded either on public policy or the protection of private rights. This Amendment did not fulfil either of those conditions. The class of charities with which they were dealing were for purely secular objects, and exactly that sort of charity which would be best administered by a secular Representative Body. He would mention two or three specimens of such charities founded during the last 40 years. One in the County of Dumfries, founded in 1882, was a gift of £300 to the poor of a parish who had not been in receipt of parochial relief; another in 1888 was £630, the income to be applied for the benefit of five such poor persons and to purchase books for the children of such poor persons; and another in 1871 was £700 for labouring men's children. In such cases a wise testator would not have appointed a Parochial Body for the purpose of administering charities for working men and their children not in receipt of parochial relief. The Government proposal did not injure the donor, because the purposes of the charity would be better fulfilled if managed by the new body. Neither did they injure the object of the charity, for that re- mained the same. There was a general feeling in the country in favour of so dealing with charities of recent foundation, and it was difficult to suppose that in the progressive and enlightened state of public feeling in Scotland any sentiment to the contrary existed. As a matter of public policy, that being the case, the Government were bound to place secular charities in the hands of secular Representative Bodies. So far for the past. As for the future, whom did they injure? If a donor wished to give money for the proposed education or for the relief in clothes, food, and money to the general poor of the parish, he would do it with his eyes open, and he would give the money to be administered by the body whom Parliament in its wisdom had selected as the best body. If, on the other hand, he wished to leave his money for ecclesiastical purposes, he could leave it, as he could now, to the kirk-session of the Established Church or to any other religious body he liked.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 43; Noes 118.—(Division List, No. 224.)

On Motion of Sir G. TREVBLYAN, the following Amendments were agreed to:—

Page 25, line 11, after "electors," insert "on the application of not fewer than six of their number."

Line 11, after "Council," insert "including a landward committee."

Line 15, leave out "(Scotland)."

Line 15, leave out "1872 to 1883."

Line 20, leave out "parish."

Line 20, leave out "or assessment," and insert "levied by the Parish Council."

MR. COCHRANE

said, the next Amendment was purely a drafting Amendment, the object being to give a means of identifying the parish. There were a good many parishes in Scotland of the same name; therefore, he moved to add the words "and county," making it necessary that every Parish Council elected under the Act should be incorporated not in the name of the parish alone, but in that of the parish and county.

Amendment proposed, in page 25, line 31, after the second word "parish," to insert the words "and county."—(Mr. Cochrane.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'and county' be there inserted."

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

considered that it was not a mere drafting Amendment. It would cause a very considerable amount of expense and trouble and would make it compulsory for nearly 900 parishes to take a second name, which they had done, and could in the future do, very well without. He therefore opposed the Amendment.

Question put, and negatived.

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendment was agreed to:—

Page 25, line 36, after "shall," insert "unless re-appointed."

MR. RENSHAW

said, he desired to move to add— Every committee shall report its proceedings to the Parish Council by whom it was appointed. He hoped that the Government had considered this matter since it was discussed in Committee, and were now able to announce their readiness to accept the Amendment. 'As these words appeared in the Act with regard to County Councils, their omission from this Bill might be taken as an indication that reports need not be made by the committees to the Parish Councils who appointed them. Those who were familiar with the working of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1889, would appreciate the fact that all committees had to report to the County Council. He considered it undesirable that these words should be omitted from the present Bill so as to have it an open question whether committees of Parish Councils needed to report.

Amendment proposed, in page 25, line 39, after the word "loan," to insert the words— Every committee shall report its proceedings to the Parish Council by whom it was appointed."—(Mr. Renshaw.)

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

SIR G. TREVELYAN

said, that by Sub-section 2 of Clause 19 of the Bill Parish Councils could make their own regulations on this and other matters, and it was better to leave the point to the discretion of each Council. If a Council wanted a report from a committee, it would make a regulation to that effect.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 39; Noes 113.—(Division List, No. 225.)

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELTAN, the following Amendments were agreed to:—

Page 26, line 18, after "Council," insert "or landward committee as the case may be."

Line 18, leave out "treasurer or."

Line 26, after "in," insert "sections sixty-eight to seventy inclusive, of."

Line 32, after "Council," insert "including those of a landward committee."

MR. MAXWELL

said, he wished to move an Amendment to the effect that the accounts should be audited by an auditor appointed by the Board instead of by an auditor appointed by the Parish Council, subject to the approval of the Board, as the Bill proposed. As the Bill was originally introduced, it provided that the Parish Council accounts should be audited by the county auditors, but it was pointed out that that would be objectionable. It was said that, however able these professional men were to audit, they were quite incapable of auditing the accounts of the parishes in Scotland. The Government saw the force of that, and adopted the system of the Bill, which was that the auditors were to be appointed by the Parish Councils, and approved of by the Board. The Committee adopted that system not because they thought it good, but because it was better than the system in the Bill originally. He hoped that in this case it would not be said that those who supported an Amendment of this kind were not prepared to trust the Parish Councils. He thought it had been generally recognised in legislation dealing with local government that the auditors who were to audit the accounts of these bodies should not be appointed by the bodies themselves, but should be in a position of entire independence, owing nothing to the bodies who appointed them. The reason for that was self-evident. Even if the audit meant simply a matter of account, and the auditor was bound to see that the receipts and expenditure were properly entered, it was desirable that the auditor should be appointed by some superior authority. The Lord Advocate (Mr. J. B. Balfour) would agree that a great deal of trouble would have been saved to many Parochial Boards if there had been some system of audit enforced as to their accounts, and many Inspectors of (he Poor would have been prevented getting into difficulties and trouble if their accounts had been properly audited. If that were the case where an auditor had merely to see if the accounts were properly kept, much more was it the case where more than an audit was required—where the auditor had to satisfy himself that the payments made by the Parish Council were within the Act establishing the Parish Council, and where he had the power of disallowance and the power of surcharge. He thought that in such a case as that the auditor should be appointed by some superior outside body. It would be a difficult duty for a man who might have been appointed by a bare majority of the Council to sit in judgment upon items of expense incurred by that majority, and to decide whether they were really within their powers. In these cases it was, in his opinion, very desirable that the accounts should be completely overhauled by some central authority. He would further point out that what they desired in the case of this auditor was that their accounts should all be audited on the same system. They had 885 parishes in Scotland, and they would possibly have as many auditors. How would they secure that all the auditors would take exactly the same view of the expenditure of those bodies? Even in the case of the 10 county auditors in Scotland, they did not take exactly the same view of the expenditure by the County Councils. He did not think the Secretary for Scotland or the Board would be able really to satisfy themselves whether the appointment made by the Parochial Council was a satisfactory one or not, owing to certain Amendments having been ruled out of Order. If there was no sufficient efficient central audit they lost one of the things that existed in England in connection with Poor Law Guardians. The Amendment was important, seeing that the Parish Councils had not only to administer the Poor Law, but also in many cases to be the managers of local charities. He thought in these cases it was desirable that the accounts should be completely overlooked by some independent authority to see if the funds had been properly administered. He had understood the Secretary for Scotland to say he could not adopt a system of central audit for two reasons. He referred to the vested interest of the present auditors. He thought the right hon. Gentleman was under some misapprehension, because the present auditors were annually appointed, and he did not think they had a claim as having a vested interest. The right hon. Gentleman's second reason was that the Bill was sufficiently loaded, and that it would increase the "burden if provision were made for a central audit. He thought, then, it would have been well if some part of the Bill had been omitted to make way for the insertion of a clause dealing with the question of audit. Two clauses of considerable length were adopted from the Local Government Act of 1889. The framers of the Act of 1889 founded those clauses on a Bill introduced in 1881 bearing the name of the Lord Advocate, which provided for a central audit in the case of Parochial Boards. That Bill was sent to a Select Committee, and was passed, and the introduction of some of its provisions in this Bill in Committee, with slight alterations, would have made the audit complete. He did not, therefore, think that the adoption of the proposal would have loaded the Bill to any great extent. The right hon Gentleman had objected to the expense of a central audit.

MR. T. SHAW&c.) (Hawick,

rose to a point of Order, and asked if the Amendment was consistent with a previous ruling of the Chair—on Clause 6, Sub-section 3? He submitted that if this Motion were carried the Board could either audit the accounts themselves or that an auditor would be appointed who would receive no remuneration.

MR. CALDWELL

submitted that the Board might appoint an auditor, and yet it might be quite competent for the auditor to receive his fee.

* MR. SPEAKER

said, he supposed there was to be an auditor somewhere; and the Question was, who was to appoint him. He ruled that the Amendment was perfectly in Order.

MR. MAXWELL (continuing)

said, be did not think his proposal would increase the expense of the audit very much. The Secretary for Scotland seemed to be under some fear that the Treasury would in some way be affected. In the case of England a considerable sum was paid towards the remuneration of the district auditor—something like £12,000, lie believed; while in Ireland, unless he was mistaken, the district auditor was paid entirely by the Treasury. He (Mr. Maxwell) did not look forward in his proposal to this charge being borne by the Treasury, though he thought they in Scotland had a right to claim some grant for that purpose. They acknowledged the concession made by the Treasury to the right hon. Gentleman in regard to the salary of one of the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues, and, presumably, that was all they could look for in one year. But this expense was, he took it, to be borne by the parish. Would it be a great burden on the parish? They had at present one central audit in London in connection with the School Boards, which was paid for by the Treasury, and cost something like £700 per annum, or rather under that amount. He was aware that the auditor under the Education Act had not the power of disallowance and surcharge, and had not to visit the parishes, so that they could not take that as an exact test of what would be the cost. But suppose each parish in Scotland cost £3—in many small parishes that would be too much; but, on the other hand, there were other parishes where there would be a great deal more. Take it, however, at £3 each as an average, that would give a total of £2,600. He calculated that the whole of this audit managed from headquarters might be done for a sum not exceeding £3,000, and he believed the work could be done much more efficiently than by the parishes acting for themselves. His proposal, in brief, was that the Board should appoint these auditors and prescribe the scale of remuneration to be paid to them.

Amendment proposed, in page 26, line 35, to leave out from the word "by," to the word "the," in line 36.—(Mr. Maxwell.)

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

SIR G. TREVELYAN

said, he gathered that the proposal of the hon. Gentleman was that, instead of the Parish Council being allowed to recommend an auditor for the approbation of the Board, the Board itself should appoint the auditor and name the amount of his remuneration. Later on the Bill provided that the Board may provide a scale for the remuneration of auditors under this section, and if there was any disposition on the part of parishes to grossly over-pay or scandalously under-pay the auditors in respect of their duties under the section no doubt the Board would take advantage of the power so conferred. The system introduced in the Bill was introduced upon many representations made in Committee, and, as he thought, to the almost universal satisfaction of the Committee. A practical difficulty in the way of the amount was that it would be extremely difficult for the Board to name an auditor for every parish in Scotland. Moreover, when they came to deal with 800 or 900 auditors, it would give them an amount of indirect patronage which he would be sorry to see placed on their shoulders. He thought the proposal in the Bill was a very good one. Furthermore, he had no doubt that the Board would make inquiry when the names of auditors were submitted to them by the Parish Councils. He had hardly any doubt likewise that the Parish Councils, whom they must accredit with common sense, would select a great many of the auditors from men of of well-known probity and ability. It was a system that was simpler, which appeared to have little or no inconvenience in it, and which was well-received by public opinion in Scotland. He would not enter into that which formed a considerable part of the hon. Gentleman's speech—namely, the question of a paid public auditor. Mr. Speaker had ruled that it was in Order for a private Member to move an Amendment dealing with the appointment of a public auditor, but that it was not in Order for a private Member to propose the appointment of an auditor to be paid by the Treasury.

MR. GRAHAM MURRAY

said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate misunderstood the purport of the hon. Member's Amendment. He did not suppose that the hon. Member moved it because he was afraid that the Parish Councils would overpay their auditors, nor because he thought the Central Board would select better men than the Parish Councils. What he had to say was not meant to be in any way derogatory to the local accounting power of the parishes. There were in many parts of Scotland men quite fit to audit accounts; but, if he understood his hon. Friend aright, his suggestion was made with a view to the securing of a central audit, and not necessarily an audit paid for by monies supplied by the Treasury. Unless the auditor was appointed by the Local Government Board, who held in their hands the whole string of the parochial administration of Scotland, they would not have the same government or administration going on in every part of the country. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had seemed to assume that the proposition for a central auditor meant an auditor appointed by the Treasury. It meant nothing of the sort. A contribution for the amount of work done by a man in each particular parish would be paid by each parish. Inspectors of Schools were sent down to the parishes to inspect schools, and a charge was made against the parish or the School Board. It was not provided out of the Treasury money. But the point sought to be raised by the Amendment was whether it would not be a much better system to have a central audit in the hands of the Local Government Board for the whole of Scotland. He was not going to repeat all he had said when the clause was moved by the hon. Gentleman in Committee; but as all the points of that Clause were inadmissible—the clause having been ruled out of Order—it was a pity that in this matter Scotland could not be placed in the same position as England, when, if nothing else, they would at least have brought into public view the different methods in which the Local Bodies were administering the Poor Law. The central audit system was proposed in order that there might be a similarity and likeness between the methods of the Councils in the various parishes, not that, so far as the auditors hemselves were concerned, capable men could not be found in the localities in all parts of Scotland.

MR. RENSHAW

said, the Amendment had been brought forward in a most interesting and convincing speech, and the House ought to be grateful to the hon. Member for having brought within the range of the practical possibilities of the Bill the appointment of central auditors who would be an effective guarantee to the people of Scotland that these parish accounts would be efficiently audited. He was bound to say he thought the scheme of the Bill would fail if they were to have in each parish a separate and independent audit. What they wanted was a strong central audit which would command public confidence. The proposal of the hon. Member would provide for that without putting any charge whatever on the Treasury. The whole charge was to be borne locally, but the appointment of a public auditor was to rest practically with the Board or the Secretary for Scotland. It seemed to him that the Government had hardly considered the wording of Clause 69 of the Local Government Act with respect to this matter. Clauses 69 and 70 his hon. Friend wished to see incorporated in the Bill. Clause 69 provided that the County Council (and for the County Council in the present case Parish Council should be read in each instance) might pay to the auditor such salary and allowances as might from time to time be fixed by the County Council subject to the approval of the Board. That was what his hon. Friend asked for, and it seemed to him that having regard to the difficulties which would be overcome by this simple proceeding, that if they agreed to the proposal of his hon. Friend they would have a thoroughly effective and complete audit. Such a guarantee would be a guarantee to those of them who were a" little anxious as to the operation of this change in Poor Law administration from the existing body to the new Parish Councils. His hon. Friend had placed new clauses on the Paper, and Mr. Speaker had ruled that the House could not deal with them, but they embodied the view which to a large extent they were anxious to provide for in the Bill. Their contention now was that the whole case would to a large extent be met by agreeing to a central audit. It would certainly be on the whole a much better audit than that provided for in the Bill, and having regard to the provision in Sub-section (5) of Section 70 of the Local Government Act of 1889 it would give to the ratepayers throughout Scotland a guarantee that in the event of undue relief being given or even a suggestion being made of expenditure taking place that was not warranted there would be a public control coming down and looking over the accounts once a year, and deciding whether or not these items were within the four corners of the Act. For that reason he thought the Amendment was well deserving of attention.

MR. D. CRAWFORD

said, he felt unable to agree with the Government on this point. His view was that to allow every body to appoint its own auditor was like allowing a prisoner to appoint his own gaoler. It was quite true that the appointment had to be approved by the Local Government Board, but nevertheless the auditor would know that he owed his appointment in reality to the body whose expenditure he had to oversee. He thought the Government should see that the business was accurately and justly done, and the feelings of these Local Bodies must not be too closely or unduly consulted. He greatly preferred a central or official audit of some kind.

MR. CALDWELL

said, he still held the view he had previously expressed in favour of an official audit.

DR. MACGREGOR,

being a moderate man in all things, wished to inquire whether there was any compromise possible in this matter? Why should not, as he had suggested before, the Central Board appoint auditors for each county, who would have the control of the parochial audit?

* MR. HOZIER

thought the Government should deign to give a reply to the observations made by hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House.

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, the matter was very fully considered upstairs. It was to be observed that the audit in a case of this kind would be primarily for the purpose of checking officials. That being so, the Government saw no reason to depart from the accepted method.

SIR C. PEARSON

said, it was impossible to argue that the body interested in the accounts to be audited should themselves appoint the auditor. The country was beginning to see that this system would not do. It was a source of great financial difficulty, and he was surprised to hear any Member of the Government get up to defend it. A most cogent case had been made out against the Government, not only from that side of the House, but by their trusted supporters on the Government Benches, and in favour of the central audit, and when this question was thoroughly understood in Scotland he believed such an audit would be demanded. It was only following the precedent of the Local Government Act of 1889, in which County Council auditors were not appointed by the County Council, hut by the Secretary for Scotland. It was similar in the educational system, and it was impossible to contend that difficulty would arise by requiring that one authority should appoint the auditor, and the body whoso accounts were to be audited should pay the expense. He wished to express his regret and disappointment that the Government had not shown a disposition to yield a single inch on such a matter as this.

MR. BARKER SMITH

said, he might remind the Government that the Division in the Committee on this matter was one of the closest, being 28 to 24.

SIR G. TREVELYAN

said, he might rise for a moment's explanation. The Division was on the sub-section in Clause 6, giving the Board power to appoint such medical officers and Inspectors as the Board might determine. It was then moved to insert "auditors," whose salaries would have had to be paid by moneys provided by Parliament. No Division was taken on the question as to whether they should be appointed by the Parish Council with the consent of the Local Government Board.

MR. PARKER SMITH rose again——

MR. SPEAKER

The hon. Gentleman has already spoken.

MR. PARKER SMITH

No, no; I had not sat down at all. Proceeding, the hon, Gentleman said it was quite true that the Division was not on this particular Amendment, but on one which exactly raised this principle, and a hon. Member tried this evening to move the same Amendment, and was ruled out of Order. Otherwise upon it they would have had this discussion. What they wanted to do was to secure similarity in the administration in the different parts of the country, and, what was still more important, they wanted to have a check on the administration of the Poor Law by an entirely new body in parts of the country where it was thought possible that abuses might arise. That check existed in England in regard to the Poor Law, and it ought to exist in this Bill.

CAPTAIN SINCLAIR

said, he thought that the Parochial Boards appointed their own auditors under the present system. There was, however, the further point as to the advisability of giving the Local Government Board a power of revision or surcharge or disallowing expenditure incurred by Parish Councils. He believed there was some doubt whether the Board of Supervision had power to do that, and he agreed with the Member for North East Lanarkshire (Mr. Crawford) in thinking that such a power would be desirable.

MR. MAXWELL

rose to speak——

* MR. SPEAKER

said, the hon. Gentleman could not speak twice.

Question put.

The House divided: — Ayes 97; Noes 38.—(Division List, No. 226.)

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendments were agreed to:—

Page 27, line 35, leave out "or," and insert "and the chairman."

Line 37, leave out "his office be a Justice," and insert "their office be Justices."

Page 28, line 4, after "or," insert "in a police burgh of."

Line 5, leave out from "Commissioners," to the first "and," in line 6.

Line 10, after "burgh," insert "police burgh."

Line 10, leave out "county or."

Line 10, after "district," insert "or county respectively."

Line 10, after "them," insert "respectively."

MR. COCHRANE (for Mr. PARKER SMITH) moved, in page 28, line 11, after "otherwise," insert and which may appear to them respectively to be beneficial to any inhabitants of their respective districts. The hon. Gentleman said the clause was for the purpose of empowering Town Councils or Borough Councils to keep open any right of way, while the Amendment provided that they should only keep open such rights of way as might be beneficial to the inhabitants of the district. He thought that was an Amendment which the Government might accept, because as the clause stood these authorities were compelled to keep open rights of way which might be of no use or interest to their particular district.

Amendment proposed, in page 28, line 11, after the words "otherwise," to insert the words and which may appear to them respectively to be beneficial to any inhabitants of their respective districts."—(Mr. Cochrane.)

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

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, that if there was a public way through the area of administration, it was strong evidence that it was used more or less by the inhabitants, and, therefore, it appeared to them the proposal might be a very injurious limitation.

Question put, and negatived.

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendments were agreed to:—

Page 28, line 12, after "May," insert "respectively."

Line 23, leave out "its," and insert "the."

Line 23, after "vindication," insert "of the right of way."

Line 27, after "if the," insert "county."

Line38, before "It," insert "(4) Within a county, district, or parish respectively."

Line 39, leave out "within their respective districts, or," and insert "and."

Page 29, line 8, after "age," insert and any persons in right of heritable securities or other charges affecting such land.

Line 8, after "thereto," insert and that failing the persons in right of such heritable securities or other charges consenting, the Sheriff, upon the application of the heir of entail in possession, duly intimated to such persons (who shall be entitled to appear and object), shall have found that the lands comprised in such heritable securities or charges other than the lands proposed to be granted, afford adequate security.

Line 13, leave out "half," and insert "a quarter of."

Line 18, after "lawful," insert "in a county."

Line 29, leave out from "ninety-nine," to the second "one," in line 21, and insert "to."

Line 32, after "five," insert "inclusive."

MR. RENSHAW

said, his Amendment was to omit the words "or any one or more of them." At present there was uniformity in burghs in regard to the option of putting the provisions as to lighting in force, and it seemed to him undesirable there should be a difference between burghs and special districts. There ought to be absolute uniformity, and he therefore begged to move the Amendment.

Amendment proposed, in page 29, line 32, to leave out the words "or any one or more of them."—(Mr. Renshaw.)

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

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, he understood his hon. Friend desired to make it compulsory to adopt the group of clauses that would run from 100 to 105. They thought there should be a certain latitude of selection given, and that it might be dangerous to compel them to adopt the whole group of clauses.

SIR C. PEARSON

did not think the difficulty his hon. Friend desired to point out was quite appreciated. There were eight clauses, all under the head of lighting; of those it might be desirable to adopt seven, and the proposal was to enable them to adopt one or more of them.

MR. J. B. BALFOUR

The Amendment proposes to make it compulsory to adopt all the clauses—from 100 to 105.

SIR C. PEARSON

said, he would like to point out that one of the clauses had reference to the accidental breaking of lamps and the repairing the damage, and there might not be a desire to adopt that clause. They wanted to avoid the absurdity that a body could adopt any one or more of the group of clauses, one of which he had described, and another of which provided a penalty for the wilful breaking of lamps, the adoption of either one or the other of which would not in any way aid the lighting of the district. There was no reason whatever why these clauses should all be made optional.

MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, he could not conceive any body exercising the option of lighting the district and not adopting the whole group.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed, in page 29, line 35, after the word "the," to insert the words "streets, roads, foot-pavements, and footpaths."—(Captain Sinclair.)

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

MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, the words "foot pavements," were covered by the word "footpaths," and therefore, if those words were struck out, the Government would accept the Amendment.

CAPTAIN SINCLAIR

said, he was quite prepared to strike out those words.

Amendment amended, and agreed to.

On Motion of Mr. RENSHAW, the following Amendment was agreed to:—

Page 29, line 39, after "twenty-seven," insert "and two hundred and fifty-three to two hundred and fifty-five."

MR. RENSHAW

moved, in page 29, line 40, at end, insert— The providing and regulation of slaughter houses within the special district and the adoption for such purpose of the provisions contained in sections two hundred and seventy-eight to two hundred and eighty-six of The Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892. He would point out to the House why he considered it desirable these powers should be given to these special districts. As these were formed they would take the place of what otherwise might become burghs, and it was exceedingly undesirable that the powers conferred on these bodies for sanitary purposes should be limited in the only direction in which they were limited. Having regard to the clauses that the Government had either proposed or had agreed to insert, they would be limited in their powers unless something was provided in respect to slaughter houses. The provisions of Sections 278 to 286 dealt with the question of slaughtering. The first one provided that the Commissioners—that was to say, the representatives of the district committee — might licence slaughterhouses and make bye-laws for their regulation. Section 284 provided that if the Commissioners provided slaughter- houses no other places were to be used for the purpose. Although the provisions of the Act applied to the smallest burgh in Scotland, he did not imagine that under the provision of this clause any populous place would be formed in a district that was not larger than some of the existing burghs. He thought it was most desirable that provision should be made for the regulation of public slaughterhouses that otherwise might become a public nuisance. If the Government objected to Section 284 he had no wish to press it, if they would agree to the others.

Amendment proposed, in page 29, line 40, after the word "them," to insert the words— The providing and regulation of slaughter houses within the special district and the adoption for such purpose of the provisions contained in sections two hundred and seventy eight to two hundred and eighty-six of The Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892."—(Mr. Benshaw.)

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

* MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, this was rather a serious proposal, because if a body possessed so much of the urban character as to provide slaughter-houses it would naturally become a police burgh. The object of the clause was to give areas—so far urban in their character, but which might include a considerable rural district—certain facilities in the way of lighting and cleansing, and so forth. It would be a serious matter, according to the provisions of this Bill, to set up slaughterhouses, because the effect of that would be that within a diameter of four miles no one else could set up a slaughterhouse, and no one could kill beasts except for his own consumption. He had heard strong complaints against such a zone being drawn round even police burghs, so that a man could not kill a pig and sell it, though he lived in the country. If there was to be a provision for slaughter-houses there would require to be some greater protection given to individuals in the neighbourhood than there was here.

MR. RENSHAW

said, he had no desire to press the Amendment if the Government would see fit to adopt the other provisions.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. MAXWELL moved, in page 30, line 24, at end, to insert— (3) Within ten days after the date of such resolution, it shall be competent for any person interested to appeal against the resolution to the Sheriff, and the Sheriff, not being a Sheriff Substitute resident within the district, may either approve or disapprove of such resolution, and, if he disapproves thereof, he may either find that no special district shall be formed, or may enlarge or limit the special district as defined by the resolution of the district committee, or may find that a special district shall be formed, and may define the limits thereof, and the decision of the Sheriff shall be binding upon the district committee, and shall be final except where it is pronounced by a Sheriff Substitute, in which case it may be appealed to the Sheriff. He said, that a very important change was made in the Local Government Act. Under the Act an appeal was given to any five ratepayers to any district committee, but in this matter the decision of the district committee was made final, and no appeal was allowed either to the County Council or the Sheriff. He believed it to be most desirable there should be an appeal to some other authority. In the case where there was a division of opinion as to whether a special district should be formed or not, he thought the minority ought to have the right of appeal to some other authority in order to have the matter fairly tested. The Lord Advocate must be aware that in the formation of special drainage districts very important questions came before the Sheriff regarding the limits of the district. For example, a village might have a farm house in the outskirts, and the question might arise whether that house, and if so how much land along with it, was to be included within the district, and a question of that kind should not be left to the decision of the district committee, it being a question that would affect the rate and the extent of area to be rated for a special purpose. In a case of that kind an appeal ought to be allowed to the Sheriff, or, if the Government preferred it, to the County Council.

Amendment proposed, in page 30, line 24, after the word "Council," to insert, as a new sub-section, the words— (3.) Within ten days after the date of such resolution, it shall be competent for any person interested to appeal against the resolution to the Sheriff, and the Sheriff, not being a Sheriff Substitute resident within the district, may either approve or disapprove of such resolution, and, if he disapproves thereof, he may either find that no special district shall be formed, or may enlarge or limit the special district as defined by the resolution of the district committee, or may find that a special district shall be formed, and may define the limits thereof, and the decision of the Sheriff shall be binding upon the district committee, and shall be final except where it is pronounced by a Sheriff Substitute, in which case it may be appealed to the Sheriff."—(Mr. Maxwell.)

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

SIR G. TREVELYAN

thought the proper authority for deciding administrative matters was the administrative authority which had been elected by the community. The Sheriff, it was quite true, in Scotland was not merely a judicial officer, and he (Sir G. Trevelyan) would be the first to admit that the Sheriff, when ordered to inquire into a question which partook of administration, brought to bear upon it something of the qualities of an administrator as well as of a Judge; but the authority which was really competent to decide upon the needs of a district was the authority which was the representative of the district. The district committee under the Bill would be a purely representative body, and would be largo enough to be, free from any mere local feeling; therefore, it would be an admirable court of appeal for all the purposes required under the Act. He could not imagine how there could arise any question of individual injustice in the formation of a special district that would require the interference of a legal officer.

CAPTAIN HOPE

very greatly regretted the attitude the Government had taken up on this question. Speaking with considerable experience of the working of district committees, he could not but feel it would be advantageous to the inhabitants of a locality if they saw grave reason to object to the limit proposed, to have some opportunity of getting those limits revised and looked into by an independent authority. He was quite aware that some hon. Members opposite had great objection to the Sheriff; but he did not believe that was a generally accepted feeling in Scotland, because he found that the Sheriffs' decisions were looked up to as being very satisfactory, as a rule, and founded on a satisfactory basis. It might be that the particular administrative authority was the repre- sentative authority; but a representative authority was not necessarily infallible, and a representative committee or council might fall into error just the same as any other person or body. He thought it was very desirable there should be some check placed upon the representative authority, and he could not see any check that was better than the proposal of his hon. Friend opposite. He had the opinion that if a scheme would not stand the extra examination of a local inquiry and an appeal before a Sheriff, it was not a scheme that ought to be considered satisfactory for the general management of the district, and he could not see that any decision adverse to the opinion of the district committee would be in any way such as would be objectionable from any point of view of administration. He thought it would be a great advantage to a district committee to know there was this right of appeal in these matters as well as there was in regard to other matters in large districts. He did not suppose it was any use expressing the hope that the Government would reconsider their decision; but he wished to impress upon them the proposal was one that was most reasonable, and would be so accepted.

Question put, and negatived.

On Motion of Sir G. TUEVELYAN the following Amendment was agreed to:—

Page 30, line 42, after "enlarged," insert "or altered."

* MR. HOZIER

in page 31, line 10, to leave out "ninepence," and insert "sixpence." He said that, in the interests of the unfortunate ratepayers of Scotland, who would be very heavily taxed when this Bill became law, he wished to make the special district rate 6d. instead of 9d. His hon. Friend the Member for North-East Lanark (Mr. D. Crawford) complained of the Leader of the Opposition having called certain parishes of Scotland twopenny-halfpenny parishes. He would give his hon. Friend this consolation: that there would be no twopenny-halfpenny parishes in future, for under this Act they would become, at the very least, sixpenny parishes—that was to say, the rates would be increased by 6d., the amount of the special rate. He thought that was bad enough, and it was, thanks to their putting a limit on the rating powers of the Parish Council, that the rate was limited to 6d. But lie still more objected to the idea of certain parishes becoming one-and-three-penny parishes—that was to say, having to pay ninepence of a special district rate in addition to the additional sixpence, and he was certain that a good many would rather be twopenny-halfpenny than either sixpenny, or, still worse, one - and - threepenny parishes. What he wanted to know in connection with this Amendment was, What was the view of the Government with regard to rates? It was all very well to bring forward two different arguments on the same subject, as the Government had done on the rate question, but he would remind the Government that Governments, like individuals, if they tried to ride on two horses at once, were rather apt to split up. The original argument of the Government was that it was quite unnecessary to fix any limit to the rating power, because, as the Secretary for Scotland said, the Parochial Boards of Scotland were so extremely economical that they would be horrified if 6d. was dangled before them as the limit to which they might possibly go. But the Government, when they got a little further on in the Bill, developed a new argument, and told them they need not be afraid of any extravagance being put into the Bill because, after all, they must remember the rate was, thanks to the Opposition, limited to 6d.; and that the 6d., though it would very often be reached, could not be exceeded. The argument used at the present moment was—There is a 6d. limit, and they could only cut their coat according to their cloth. He would remind his hon. Friend that that saying certainly implied cutting up the whole of the cloth in order to make the coat, and he was very much afraid that the whole of the 6d. would invariably be used, and in the special districts it would be worked up to as much as 1s. 3d. in the £1, so that, instead of having twopenny-halfpenny parishes, to which the hon. Member for North-East Lanarkshire (Mr. D. Crawford) took exception, they would have sixpenny and one-and-threepenny parishes in consequence of this Bill alone, to say nothing of all the other rates. The Secretary for Scotland constantly referred to the proceedings of the Grand Committee upstairs. He (Mr. Hozier) had no admiration for the Grand Committee, and he must confess the most unpleasant hours he had spent in connection with his Parliamentary duties were spent in that close and stuffy room upstairs, which was really unfit for human habitation. But even supposing that the Scottish Committee was as infallible as the right hon. Gentleman pretended it was—for in his heart the right hon. Gentleman did not think so—this question was not settled at all by the Committee. On the 24th of July there were two Divisions on the subject, the first being on the question whether there should be a limit for the special district rate or not, when 31 voted in favour of and 11 against a limit, and the second on the question whether the limit should be 3d. or 9d. He confessed that he felt very strongly in favour of the limit of 3d., but he now offered 6d. as a compromise in the interests of the very unfortunate ratepayers of Scotland.

Amendment proposed in page 31, line 10, to leave out the word "ninepence," and insert the word "sixpence."—(Mr. Hozier.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'ninepence' stand part of the Bill."

SIR G. TREVELYAN

My hon. Friend has described with great accuracy the proceedings in the Standing Committee upstairs. This clause, which has been added to the Bill with universal consent and satisfaction, I think, is by many persons considered to be so valuable as to compensate for the loss which I think it is pretty generally admitted local administration has sustained by our not having had time to go through all the provisions of the sixth part of the Bill. I do not think there is any objection in any part of Scotland to the provision of these special districts, and I think they will be of benefit wherever they are wanted without being disadvantageous anywhere. They are intended for purposes which are not dealt with by Parish Councils, but which will contribute very largely to the comfort, convenience, and civilisation of the inhabitants. The main subjects covered are lighting, scavenging, and the provision of baths and wash-houses. It is quite evident that it would be mocking the country to permit districts of that kind to be created and at the same time not to give them a reasonable limit of expense within which their operations might be conducted. These are not mere Parish Council districts like those in the English Bill. They are important small centres which are to be equipped with something of an urban equipment, and which must, therefore, expect to provide something solid in the way of payment. Some hon. Friends of mine consider the 9d. limit to be far too narrow. I think it a very important thing to have a limit to begin with. Half-a-crown is the limit for a special district which can undertake drainage and waterworks, and 6d. is, I think, the limit of the public health expenditure outside. Ninepence appears to be a very good working sum within which the comparatively moderate services -contemplated might be carried out. One thing the Government must object to is to pass a clause which would appear to be of very great advantage to the community, and at the same time to unduly limit the expenditure. Less than a 9d. rate the Government could not consent to accept.

MR. COCHRANE

said, he could not understand the right hon. Gentleman's statement, that these districts would not necessarily be Parish Council districts, when the clause provided that it should "be lawful for a Parish Council or for two or more Parish Councils," &c. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that it was very desirable that the clause should be accepted by as many districts as possible, but he thought a 6d. rate "was quite sufficient to cover the duties that would have to be performed. In his speech on the Second Reading the right hon. Gentleman said that even a 4d. or a 3d. rate would be so extreme that it would frighten the people of Scotland if it were suggested. The Tight hon. Gentleman, however, was now, without any explanation, supporting a rate which was more than double that which he formerly regarded as excessive. If a rate of 6d. was enough to provide for recreation grounds and the purchase of land for workmen's dwellings, halls, and meeting places, &c, it was surely enough to provide for sea-venging and removal of dust. In rural parishes many public baths were not needed, as there might be some convenient burn in which a good deal of the washing was done. The rate imposed under the Public Health Act of 1867 was 1s. 3d. in some cases, and in others only 3d. The Act was amended in 1871 so as to enable a 2s. 6d. rate to be imposed, and it was again amended in 1891, when it was provided that the County Council might levy a public water rate which was not to exceed 3d. It really seemed to him that under these circumstances a 6d. rate would be sufficient for the purposes of this clause. He thought it would be very advantageous if the clause were widely adopted, but it might lead to a great deal of opposition, especially if people were informed that they could be rated at 9d. in the £1. It would be wiser to begin with a rate of 6d., and if that did not prove sufficient it would not be difficult to increase it afterwards. He hoped the Government would accept the Amendment.

DR. MACGREGOR

May I remind the hon. Member that cleanliness is next to godliness, and that to object to the washing and cleaning of villagers——

MR. COCHRANE

The hon. Member has entirely mistaken what I said. I submitted that 6d. was sufficient to provide for such purposes, and I said I was very anxious that the various parishes should avail themselves of these powers.

DR. MACGREGOR

Well, if the Parish Council can provide these things with a rate of 6d. in the £1, you may depend upon it that they will not assess themselves any higher.

MR. RENSHAW

said, he thought that the Government, in adhering to the limit of 9d., had taken a wise and prudent course. He admitted that when he submitted to the Committee upstairs that the rate should be fixed at 9d., he did so under somewhat hurried circumstances, the question having come upon the Committee by surprise. He had since, however, taken the opportunity of consulting those who were far better able to form an opinion than he was, and he found that they confirmed the opinion that 9d. was not too high a rate for the purposes and objects proposed in the clause.

Question put.

The House divided: — Ayes 108; Noes 30.—(Division List, No. 237.)

Amendment proposed, in page 31, line 10, after the word "pound," to insert the words on the annual value of the lands and heritages within the special district as ascertained for the purposes of The Poor Law (Scotland) Act, 1845."—(Sir G. Trevelyan.)

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

MR. CALDWELL

said, this Amendment practically made the rate 6d., as it was on the poor rate, which had the deductions of 25 to 30 per cent.

* MR. HOZIER

said, that the hon. Member ought to know that these deductions on classification varied in different parishes.

Question put, and agreed to.

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendments were agreed to:—

Page 31, line 15, after "rate," insert "(including any special district rate)."

Line 22, leave out "in any parish."

Amendment proposed, in page 31, line 43, at end, add— Upon the formation of a special lighting district, under the provisions of this section, it shall be lawful for the district committee to adopt The Burghs Gas Supply (Scotland) Act, 1876, and, in the application of that Act, the expression 'burgh' shall be construed to mean special lighting district, 'Commissioners' Town Council, and 'Commissioners of Police' to mean district committee, and 'elector' and 'ratepayer' to mean a person registered as a county elector, the subject of whose qualification is situated within the special lighting district."—(Captain Sinclair.)

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

*MR. J. B. BALFOUR

said, the Government could not agree to the Amendment as it stood, as there were several provisions in the Gas Act of 1876 as to borrowing, &c, which were not consistent with the Bill. If an Amendment were proposed in a limited form, so that this difficulty was met, the Government would be willing to consider it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Motion of Mr. D. CRAWFORD, the following Amendment was agreed to:—

Page 32, line 3, after "burgh," insert "each police district formed under Section 58 of The Police Act, 1857."

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendment was agreed to:—

Line 5, leave out "sixty-two," and insert "forty-five."

On Motion of Mr. D. CRAWFORD, the following Amendment was agreed to:—

Line 16, after the second "of," insert "police district formed under Section 58 of the Police Act, 1857."

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendment was agreed to:—

Line 18, leave out "sixty-two," and insert "forty-four."

On Motion of Mr. D. CRAWFORD, the following Amendment was agreed to:—

Line 18, leave out "sixty-two," and insert "forty-four."

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendments were agreed to:—

Clause 47, page 32, line 28, leave out from "parish," to "before," in line 33, and insert— shall have effect for all purposes whether County Council, Justice, Sheriff, Militia, Parochial Board, Parish Council, School Board, Local Authority, or other, save as hereinafter provided.

Line 35, after "concerned," insert— "and, upon the application of any one or more of such authorities, shall cause a local inquiry in terms of the principal Act to be held."

Line 39, leave out "thereafter," and insert— after the expiry of not less than forty days from the date of the publication of the proposed order in The Edinburgh Gazette finally."

Amendment proposed, in page 32, line 40, to leave out the words "and provided further that," and insert— "and such order shall thereafter have effect as if enacted by Parliament unless or until revoked or modified by subsequent order in terms of this section."—(Sir G. Trevelyan.)

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

MR. WALLACE

said, he would like to have some explanation of these Amendments. The matter excited some attention in the Committee, and the right hon. Gentleman gave a sort of pledge that he would make some modification upon the part that was connected, at all events, with the subject of finality, so that the order should have the effect of an Act of Parliament. The clause should take, because last Saturday the Amendments they put down were totally different from, indeed the opposite of, the Amendments which the Secretary for Scotland had just moved. Last Saturday the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman was that the order should not be final, but the present Amendments were to the opposite effect. On Monday a change seemed to have come over the spirit of their dream. These two proposals were diametrically opposite to each other. He had great respect for the decisions of the Scottish Grand Committee, but he did not think they could express "Yes" and "No" at the same time. His object in rising was not to taunt the Government with their apparent vacillations and contradictions. Those were accidents that must happen in all well-regulated Governments, but he wished to understand the exact meaning of their last proposal. As he understood it, the Order of the Secretary of State was to have effect as if enacted by Parliament, unless or until revoked or modified by subsequent Order in the terms of the section. He did not quite see how the proposal was to work, reading it grammatically. What he thought the Government meant was this—that if, on reflecting on the first Order they found it would be advisable to have a totally different Order, they were to make a new Order which should have effect, as if enacted by Parliament. If that was the meaning he thought it was a considerable improvement upon the clause originally proposed. In the former proposal there was no provision for the Secretary for Scotland changing his mind, and they were now enacting that capacity for mutability in legislative phraseology. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on a proposal of that description. He thought it would be exceedingly useful in the history of Scotch local affairs. He should be glad to learn from the right hon. Gentleman whether he had correctly defined the meaning which the right hon. Gentleman appeared to adumbrate in the last proposal he had made.

SIR G. TREVELYAN

said, this undoubtedly was a very important clause, and it was easy to amend it without altering the words so much. In the course of the Debates that took place in the Grand Committee he made one very strong statement and two promises. The strong statement was that, in order to enable parishes in Scotland to be grouped cheaply and readily, they should not be obliged to go through the form of carrying a Provisional Order through Parliament. The two promises that he made were, that if a parish objected there should be a public inquiry, and, in the next place, that the words that the Order should be final and have the effect of an Act of Parliament should be modified by some such words as unless or until revoked or modified by subsequent Order in terms of this section. Hon. Members would find that this clause as amended by the Government exactly carried out those promises. It was quite true that some provisions of another sort did appear on the Paper; but those provisions were due to one of those mistakes which in arranging the Amendments to a Bill of this sort must occasionally occur. He gave directions that the clause should be amended in accordance with the promises he made upstairs, but the proceedings not having been studied with sufficient accuracy, the provisions were put down on the Paper to which his hon. Friend had made reference. Directly he saw the words he recognised that they did not quite accurately meet his promises, and accordingly he had them altered to the present shape.

Question put, and agreed to.

On Motion of Sir G. TKEVELYAN, the following Amendment was agreed to:—Page 33, line 1, after "Board," insert— An Order of the Secretary for Scotland under the powers conferred by Section 51 of the principal Act of this section may, without prejudice to the generality of the aforesaid powers, provide for all or any of the matters specified in Sub-section 6 of Section 49 of the principal Act.

MR. RENSHAW moved, in page 33, line 1, after "Board," insert— Provided that if within one month after the publication of the Order in The Edinburgh Gazette any of the authorities affected by the Order Petition the Secretary for Scotland to cause the Order to be laid before Parliament, and such Petition is not withdrawn, or if the Secretary for Scotland recommends that the Order shall be laid before Parliament, the Order shall be deemed to be a Provisional Order, and shall be of no effect unless confirmed by Parliament. He said that the insertion of this provision would be a guarantee to the Public Authorities, who also had set in motion the Secretary for Scotland in respect to any matter raised under Section 51 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1889, that in the event of the decision of the Secretary for Scotland not being in accordance with what they considered it should be, they should have an opportunity of getting it publicly reviewed. It was only on the representation of a County Council or a Town Council that the machinery of Section 51 could be set in motion, and it did seem to him that a County Council or Town Council would hesitate very much before they sought to set in motion such enormous powers as the clause in this Bill proposed to place in the hands of the Secretary for Scotland. He, therefore, proposed the Amendment.

Amendment proposed, in page 33, line 1, after the last Amendment, to insert the words,— Provided that if within one month after the publication of the Order in The Edinburgh Gazette any of the authorities affected by the Order Petition the Secretary for Scotland to Cause the Order to be laid before Parliament, and such Petition is not withdrawn, or if the Secretary for Scotland recommends that the Order shall be laid before Parliament, the Order shall be deemed to be a Provisional Order, and shall be of no effect unless confirmed by Parliament."—(Mr. Renshaw.)

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

MR. R. WALLACE

said, he did not receive from the right hon. Gentleman any indication of whether he had correctly guessed the meaning of the clause, and, therefore, he really was not quite certain whether the new clause the right hon. Gentleman had proposed would have the effect which he hoped it might have, of to a certain extent modifying the extremely great powers he had taken to himself in this Bill in Scotch affairs, and, therefore, as at present advised, he must say he should like to have the security or something like the security that the right hon. Gentleman accidentally and unintentionally put before them in the Saturday's edition of the Amendments to the Bill. What check had they upon the action of the Secretary for Scotland unless the matter was to come before Parliament, and Parliament was to have the power to deal with it? The only check they had at present against any unwise action on the part of the Secretary for Scotland was, he presumed, to move a reduction of his salary in this House. But they knew that the opportunities for making such Motions were exceedingly scarce, and occurred at a season when Parliament was in very small attendance, and everybody was anxious to get away. He had been eight years in that House; he had seen the action of both sides of the House, when in power, in connection with the Estimates, and the conclusion he had formed was that the officialism of the Government, moved by the invisible officialism which was often more powerful than the Treasury Bench, desired to escape the criticism of Parliament on the matters of the Estimates. All the years he had been in Parliament the Estimates had been rapidly scamped. The opportunities for discussing them were exceedingly unfavourable and sufficiently few, and he did not think a sufficient check was provided in the Bill, upon the action of Secretaries for Scotland in these matters. It was all very well to say he was responsible to Parliament, but if Parliament was denied the opportunity of making him responsible— he was practically an autocrat. He should be glad of some such additional check upon the action of the Secretary for Scotland as was provided in the Secretary's unintended clause. In the absence of such security, and as matters stood, he was inclined to support the hon. Gentleman opposite.

SIR G. TREVELYAN

said, they now came to the really critical question in this clause—namely, whether they were to have a Provisional Order or not in order to enable parishes in Scotland to be divided. He asked the House to hesitate before it insisted on the Provisional Order. Since this question of Parish Councils had been before the House there had been no subject upon which such general interest had been shown in every quarter of Scotland as the sort of hope there was in parishes and burghs that the anomalous arrangements of the different parishes one with another might be corrected by some possible process. What was the process at present? The County Council or Burgh Council had to apply to the Secretary for Scotland, and the Secretary for Scotland had to carry through the process under the shadow of a Provisional Order the expense of which could not possibly be faced by a poor parish. His firm impression was that the majority of the Scotch communities and their Representatives were in favour of some cheaper mode of carrying through this object. Could the hon. Member seriously think that he (Sir G. Trevelyan) or any other Secretary for Scotland could have any possible object in putting arbitrary powers into force in order to unite this or that parish or this or that portion of a parish? His hon. Friend himself proposed in this Bill, without any inquiry whatever, with nothing except the arbitrary section of a Parliamentary Act, to unite all the parishes of Edinburgh—that was to say, at the wish of one of six parishes to unite to it five reluctant parishes. These five parishes objected, and yet they were to be united without being heard. He had felt that there were certain objections to the clause as it first appeared, and that there were certain safeguards that ought to be inserted—the safeguard of a public inquiry, and the safeguard of the decision not being irrevocable. These had been inserted, and he thought it would be a great disappointment to the parishes of Scotland if they were thrown back on the difficult and expensive—to most of them, the impossible—method of obtaining Provisional Orders before such change could be made in this matter.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendments were agreed to:—

Page 33, line 2, after "repealed," insert— And the said section shall be read as if for the words 'county burgh or parish,' occurring in proviso (ii) thereof, there were substituted the words 'county or burgh;' and the words 'this Act,' in sub-section (g) of the said section, and in sections ninety-five and ninety-six of the principal Act, shall be construed as meaning 'the Local Government (Scotland) Acts.'

Line 4, leave out "eleventh," and insert "fifteenth."

Line 4, leave out "December," and insert "May."

Line 5, leave out "ninety-four," and insert "ninety."

Line 9, leave out "eleventh," and insert "fifteenth."

Line 9, leave out "December," and insert "May."

Line 10, leave out "ninety-four," and insert "ninety."

DR. MACGREGOR moved, in page 34, line 13, after "passed," to iusert— except in the case of medical officers, who shall not be liable to dismissal without the right of appeal to the Board. He said he moved this Amendment in the Committee upstairs, and though he was defeated there by only a small majority he had no intention of troubling the House on Report with this question again, and should not have done so except for the fact that only this morning he had received a letter from a well-known medical officer in Scotland complaining that he had been dismissed, after 20 years' service, without knowing the reason for his dismissal. He thought they should put the medical officer on a par with the Inspector of Poor and other officials, who were not removable without appeal to the Central Board, which at present was the Board of Supervision. He wished to protect them against capricious or unjustifiable removal. The present Board of Supervision were in favour of this proposal, for in reply to an inquiry they wrote that in the public interest and in the interest of the medical officers they would be glad if these officers were not subject to capricious and unjustifiable dismissal. The proposal was a fair and reasonable one, and he could see no grounds upon which the Government could decline to accede to it. He therefore proposed the Amendment.

Amendment proposed, in page 34, line 13, after the word "passed," to insert the words except in the case of medical officers, who shall not be liable to dismissal without the right of appeal to the Board."—(Dr. MacGregory.)

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

SIR G. TREYELYAN,

whilst recognising that the opinion of the Board of Supervision should receive its due weight, said that they must consider this question on its merits, and likewise in connection with the time at which it was brought forward. He must own that he was rather prepossessed against this proposal to limit the powers of the new Parish Councils as compared with the powers possessed by the present Parochial Boards. This power was possessed by the Parochial Boards, and he must say he thought the Parish Councils would equally judiciously exercise the power. The proposal of his hon. Friend, he had no doubt, would meet with great acceptance in his own profession, and likewise among all who were friends of that profession. But there was something to be said on the other side. With regard to the Inspector of the Poor and the Medical Health Officer of a great district, he had administrative work to perform, and it was comparatively easy to see whether that administrative work was done properly or not. If he failed in doing it it was comparatively easy for the County Council, which employed the one, or the Parochial Board, which employed the other, to bring a specific complaint to the Board of Supervision and ask them to remove the officer. But it was not quite the same thing with regard to the Medical Officer who attended the poor of the district. It might very well be that the Board were acquainted with certain things about these officials which might not be the subject of a definite charge that they were careless, lazy, difficult to get on with, or with something against their characters. It would be a very serious burden to lay upon the Parish Council to say that they should not be able to transfer the care of the poor of their district from one medical man to another without formulating a specific complaint against him to the Department. Take the case of a schoolmaster. It would be very hard if they were unable in the last resort to get rid of a man whom they found it utterly impossible to get on with, or who had something against him detrimental to his character. If a specfic complaint had to be formulated to a tribunal sitting in Edinburgh, there might be an appeal to London. He sympathised to some extent with the object of his hon. Friend, but he was not prepared, at this time, to make so great a change in the Poor Law of Scotland, and least of all was he prepared to make it at a time when they were transferring the duty of supervising the care of the poor to a new body.

MR. GRAHAM MURRAY

said, that if the Amendment was agreed to it would not take away the power of dismissal from the Parish Council, but only the power of dismissing an official capriciously. The effect would be to get a better class of medical men by giving them some security of tenure. The right hon. Gentleman said reasons sometimes existed which could not be expressed, but that was simply alleging the old objection— I do not like thee, Doctor Fell, The reason why I cannot tell, —always a very bad reason indeed.

MR. COCHRANE

said, the medical officer was to a large extent the servant, and under the direction, of the Local Government Board, and it was only fair, therefore, that he should have the right of appeal to the Board. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland said the School Boards had such a power of dismissal; but that was a mistake, for there was an appeal—at any rate, provision was made preventing frivolous dismissals. He submitted that it would be most improper for medical officers to be dismissed on hearsay complaints, and he felt sure the Local Government Board would not permit it, though no doubt if a medical man were careless they would dismiss him. A Sanitary Inspector could not be so dismissed. Under the Public Health Act the Board had power to make regulations, and medical officers were obliged to send in Reports from time to time. The medical officer of a parish might incur a certain amount of odium in carrying out the Regulations, and there were many reasons why medical officers should be placed in at least the same position as Poor and Sanitary Inspectors in this respect. No structural alteration would be made in the Bill by this Amendment, and, on the other hand, the same class of men would not be obtained if they were liable to dismissal at a moment's notice.

MR. W. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)

supported the Amendment as a valuable provision in favour of medical officers, an important class of the community, who would be dealt with probably in a Local Government measure for Ireland next Session. Medical officers under this kind of supervision might sometimes meet with very bad treatment, and it was quite necessary, therefore, that a right of appeal should be given.

Question put.

The House divided:—Aves 36; Noes 97.—(Division List, No. 228.)

MR. GRAHAM MURRAY moved an Amendment providing that in matters relative to Poor Law administration the Poor Inspector should act as Clerk of the Council. It had been considered that Parish Clerks should be enabled to appoint clerks other than the Poor Inspector, because many new duties were imposed under this Act, but it would certainly be very unfortunate if the work of the Department for the administration of the Poor Law were changed from what it had been hitherto. So far the Poor Inspectors had acted as clerks, had kept the books and had been in touch with the Board of Supervision, as they would now be with the Local Government Board. That arrangement had worked well, and it would be a pity if it should be dislocated. Inspectors of the Poor in Scotland should have the same rights as officials in that position in England and Ireland. It seemed very hard that their future should not be assured to them as in the Sister Countries when they had done their duty, and should not be turned off in a round-about way. At present they could not be dismissed without the consent of the Board of Supervision, but under this clause they might be put to other duties and their position made unbearable. He, there- fore, put the Amendment on two grounds: first, the necessity of keeping these officials to the work of the Poor Law Department; and, secondly, that it was the only way of protecting them against dismissal in a way not contemplated by the Act.

Amendment proposed, in page 34, line 21, after the word "Council," to insert the words— Provided always, that in relation to all matters relating to the Poor Law administration the Inspector of Poor shall act as Clerk to the Council."—(Mr. Graham Murray.)

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

* "MR. J. B. BALFOUR

suggested that perhaps the same object might be attained by varying the phraseology without making an affirmative declaration that the Inspectors should do a particular class of work. He quite agreed that safeguards should be provided that these officials should not be put to an inferior class of work, so as by a sort of sidewind to procure their dismissal or anything of that kind. He hoped to propose a better form of phraseology to carry out that object, but that would be a matter for arrangement.

MR. GRAHAM MURRAY

said, that if consideration were given to the point he was willing to withdraw his Amendment.

* MR. HOZIER

said, he was much disappointed that no provision would be made for the superannuation and compensation of officials, but he was glad to note this slight concession.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed, in page 34, line 21, after the word "Council," to insert the words— Provided that, if the services of any officer are dispensed with under the provisions of this sub-section, the Parish Council, with the consent of the Board, may grant compensation to such officer."—(Mr. Hozier.)

Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

On Motion of Sir G. TREVELYAN, the following Amendments were agreed to:—

Page 35, line 16, after "that," insert "if not inconsistent with the context."

Line 17, leave out "this Act the principal Act," and insert "the Local Government (Scotland) Acts."

Line 20, leave out from "1892" to end of sub-section, and insert "has the meaning assigned to it in The Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892."

Line 24, after "local Act," insert— The expression 'municipal register' includes the register of voters for the election in a police burgh of Burgh Commissioners. The expressions 'municipal election,' 'municipal electors,' and 'municipal wards' include the election of Burgh Commissioners in a police burgh, the voters at, and the wards constituted for, such election respectively.

Line 26, after "parish," insert— means a parish quoad civilia which is at the passing of this Act or may hereafter be constituted a separate parish for the purposes of settlement and relief of the poor, and.

Line 30, after "burgh," insert— and the expression 'landward parish' means a parish no part of which is comprised within the boundaries of a burgh.

Page 36, line 3, after the second "burgh," insert "and shall include the burgh of Coatbridge."

Page 36, leave out lines 4 and 5.

Clause 57, page 38, line 34, after "ninety-five," insert— and shall be summoned by the Inspector of Poor in the manner provided by Sub-section 2 of Section 17 of this Act.

SIR G. TREVELYAN

appealed to the House to allow the Third Reading to be taken.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—(Sir G. Trevelyan.)

SIR G. TREVELYAN

said, he was very glad to take that opportunity of thanking most sincerely and from his heart, first the Scottish Members for having given such very great and continuous pains to make the Bill a measure worthy of Scotland, and next the House generally, for having during the two days the Bill had been under consideration on Report discussed the measure in a friendly and, considering the time expended upon it, a most efficient manner. He believed there seldom had been a measure discussed in a fairer spirit from first to last, and he was quite certain that the result would show itself in every clause of the Bill. It was a Bill which represented the real opinion of Scottish Members upon Scottish interests; it established local centres of self-government all over Scotland, which would be able to carry out those objects which by common consent were agreed upon as proper subjects, and as time went on these powers of self-government would, no doubt, be extended to other matters, which, in their turn, might come forward.

MR. RENSHAW

hoped that the Government would, between the present time and the time the Bill would be considered in the House of Lords, reconsider their decision as to audit, so as to devise a plan of central audit which would be generally acceptable. He looked upon the proposed system of audit as one of the blots of the Bill. There was another matter on which he hoped the Government would give them some assurance. He urged the Secretary for Scotland to give them an assurance that some of the important clauses in Part VI., which were dropped for want of time, would be introduced in another Bill next Session.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed.