HC Deb 30 April 1897 vol 48 cc1402-4

*MR. LEES KNOWLES (Salford, W.) moved the Second Reading of this Bill.

MR. T. P. WHITTAKER (York, W.R., Spen Valley)

objected to the Bill as creating something approaching a monopoly, and as calculated to mislead the public. To impose fees upon persons before they were allowed to enter a trade, was to form an organisation similar to that which ruled in the profession of the lawyers, and was particularly objectionable in the case of trades. There was nothing in the Bill to prevent employers employing unfit workmen, and it was there the danger came in. Apart from these considerations, he submitted that the health of the public was better looked after by surveyors and sanitary inspectors; the creation of registered plumbers was to arouse a false sense of security.


stated that the Bill had been before Parliament for many years. It was introduced in 1891, and was read a Second time in two Parliaments. A Select Committee had reported unanimously in favour of the principle of the Bill. The Bill had been referred to the Grand Committee on Trade, and certain parts of the Bill had been adopted in consequence of recommendations of the Grand Committee. It had been supported by upwards of 50 public bodies in the country, and it was only by bad luck that it had not been passed through the House long ago. The object of the Bill was explained in a memorandum attached to it. The chief aim was to afford additional safeguards to public health, by enabling persons to select workmen who had given evidence of their qualification for plumber work. The Bill did not in any way contemplate a monopoly, and it did not interfere with the rights of non-registered plumbers; it only prevented them from representing themselves to be registered. The attempt was being made to divide competent from incompetent workmen, and the Bill simply gave a guarantee of efficiency. It was supported in all quarters of the House as well as in the country.


said it was not fair to say this was an antiquated class of legislation. All they wished to secure was that plumbers should pass through a course of study and examination, so as to place a cachet of superiority on their craft and give the public the general power of escaping from bad plumbing work. He supported the Bill in the interest of public health.

Bill Read a Second time.

On the Question, "That the Bill be referred to the Standing Committee on Trade, Etc."

MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorgan, Mid)

asked whether the Motion had the assent of the Government. One year this Bill was sent to the Standing Committee on Trade, and after considering it for some time, the Committee said it was so wretchedly bad that they sent it back to the House.


said the Bill involved no Party consideration. It was just that class of Bill which ought to be referred to the Standing Committee on Trade. The Bill had been remodelled since 1894; it was not the same Bill which had been sent back, and he thought the House would do well to accept it.

Bill committed to the Standing Committee on Trade, Etc.