HC Deb 12 August 1896 vol 44 cc672-6

Lords' Amendments considered.

Clause 5 (Special Advances by Treasury). Lord's Amendment, page 4, line 21, to leave out "notified" and to insert "informed," agreed to.

Clause 7 (Consideration of Application by Light Railway Commissioners). Lords' Amendment:— Page 5, line 11; after Sub-section (1) insert the fallowing Sub-section:— (2) The applicants shall satisfy the Commissioners that they have

  1. (a) published once at least, in each of two consecutive weeks, in some newspaper circulating in the area or some part of the area through which the light railway is to pass, an advertisement describing shortly the land proposed to be taken, and the purpose for which it is proposed to be taken, naming a place where a plan of the proposed works and the lands to be taken, and a book of reference to the plan, may be seen at all reasonable hours, and stating the quantity of land required; and
  2. (b) served notice in the prescribed manner on every reputed owner, lessee, and occupier of any land intended to be taken, describing in each case the land intended to be taken, and inquiring whether the person so served assents or dissents to the taking of his land, and requesting him to state any objections he may have to his land being taken.
The plan and book of reference shall be in the prescribed form, and for the purposes of this section the expression "prescribed" shall mean prescribed by rules made under this Act.

Clause 9 (Consideration of Order by Board of Trade). Lords' Amendment, page 7; after "of the" to insert "lands," agreed to.

On the Motion that the House do agree with the Lords' Amendment— Line 9; after "subject" to insert "and that nothing in this section shall authorise any variation of the provisions of the Lands Clauses Acts, 1845, with respect to the purchase and taking of land otherwise than by agreement,

MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)

said he had an Amendment to move to this Amendment of the Lords, and he presumed, as a point of Order, that he should move it before the Question was put from the Chairman, "That the House do agree with the Lords' Amendment."




said the Amendment he wished to move was to insert before the word "section," in line 2, the word "sub," so that the words would read, "nothing in this sub-section shall authorise any variation of the provisions of the Lands Clauses Acts, 1845," &c. He did not think the word "section" would cover sub-section.


said the hon. Gentleman stated correctly that the Amendment could only apply to that portion of the sub-section he named.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question again proposed, "That the House agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."


thought the insertion of the Lords' Amendment would work very prejudically in certain directions. It might happen that one or two landowners would stand out for the best terms they could get, and the Amendment would enable those landlords to obtain a considerably higher price for their land than would otherwise be the case. The Board of Trade's hands would be tied, and it would be absolutely impossible for them to modify the Order in such a way as to get rid of the provisions of the Lands Clauses Act.


hoped the Government would dissent from the Lords' Amendment, which was clearly in violation of what the right hon. Gentleman had said. They had endeavoured by several Acts to cheapen the procedure of the Lands Clauses Act, and if the first section had any meaning at all it meant that the Board of Trade should have power to vary the provision of the Lands Clauses Act if it thought proper.


said he could not assent to the proposition, because this amended clause was inserted in the Lords' expressly on his initiation. Throughout the discussions on this Bill, whether in Committee or on Report, he had always refused to accept any Amendment which he thought would hamper the power of the Light Railways Commission or the Board of Trade to deal in a proper and economical way with the administration of the Act. If he thought the Amendment would have the effect which the right hon. Gentleman suggested, he certainly would not have been responsible for its initiation in the House of Lords. It was pointed ont in the House on both sides that to place in the hands of the Commission or the Board of Trade complete power of dealing with such an important Act as the Lands Clauses Act was not one which was likely to meet with the approval of Parliament. At that time he was under the impression that in order to fully carry out the policy of the Bill it was necessary that this power should be in the hands of the Board of Trade because he understood at that time that portions of the Act of 1845 were constanly being varied in private Bills, and therefore he contended that if the Order of the Board of Trade was to have the force of an Act of Parliament, the Board of Trade ought also to have the same power of variation. But after having heard the objection raised here, he made it his business to inquire as to what portions of the Lands Clauses Act were varied by private Bills, and he found that in every case it was only the procedure clauses that were so varied and not at all the compulsory clauses. That having been made clear, he considered that such a power ought not to be conferred in any public Department, but should be reserved entirely to Parliament itself. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the simplification of procedure in connection with the Compulsory Purchase Clauses, and said this clause ought to be modified and made more economical. The Government had done so, but they had done it in the Bill itself, which was a much more satisfactory way of dealing with it than by order of a public Department.


said very much remained to be desired in the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman, because to the ordinary mind it would appear that this provision in Clause 11 would affect Clause 13. This particular modification referred to Clause 11, which provided for making the Order. [Mr. RITCHIE dissented.] At any rate it was not clear, and he thought the House ought to have the opinion of a Law Officer of the Crown. The particular Amendment was aimed at the increasing of compensation, but it was the object, when the Bill was passing through the House, to abolish this extra compensation to be given under the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act in order to lessen the expense of making light railways.

MR. W. E. M. TOMLINSON (Preston)

said that the Amendment only applied to Clause 11, and pointed out that there was a misprint. Instead of "Lands Clauses Acts, 1845," it should be "Act."


assured the hon. Member that there was no ground whatever for his apprehensions. The Amendment dealt only with Clause 11, and it was not intended to prevent the Board of Trade from making variations in the powers conferred by these clauses. Clause 13 rested on a different basis—on the authority of the Legislature—and it would not be affected by this modification. As to the word "Act," he pointed out in reply that there was a Scotch Act as well as an English Act.

Question put:—

The House divided:—Ayes, 85; Noes, 19.—(Division List, No. 416.)

Subsequent Lords' Amendments as far as the Amendment in page 13, line 36, agreed to.


moved that the House doth agree with the Lords' Amendment in page 13, line 36, to leave out from "aforesaid" to the end of the subsection.

MR. J. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid.)

said the words struck out by the House of Lords were put into the Bill as an Amendment in the House of Commons and assented to by the Government. According to the Local Government (Scotland) Act, any borrowing of money must be with the consent of the Standing Joint Committee, but in this particular case they were dealing with light railways, and an Order under the Bill would authorise a county authority to borrow money and construct a light railway. Now the Order had the effect of an Act of Parliament. It was not only unnecessary but mischievous to allow the Standing Joint Committee to intervene and refuse such consent. The consent of the Standing Joint Committee was all very proper in ordinary Acts of Administration under the Local Government Act, but this was an Act of a special character altogether, and this was not one of the cases in which the consent of the Standing Joint Committee was necessary, and indeed it must entirely stultify the object of the Order.


explained that he had accepted the Amendment under a misapprehension. This Bill dealt with counties where the rate was half on owners and half on occupiers, and the Standing Joint Committee represented the interests of both. The words of the Act were very strong to the effect that no work involving expenditure should be undertaken in any county in pursuance of powers conferred by this Act or any other Act without the consent of the Standing Joint Committee. It was not correct to say that the Standing Committee would be able to stultify the Order altogether, for they would have to come in first.


urged that the Council represented all parties, whether owners or occupiers. He hoped the Government would allow this useful provision to remain in the Bill, and not place another body above the County Council to control them.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided:—Ayes, 84; Noes, 17.—(Division List, No. 417.)

Remaining Lords' Amendments agreed to.

Reasons for disagreeing to one of the Lords' Amendments, reported, and agreed to.

To be communicated to the Lords.—(Mr. Gerald Balfour.)