HC Deb 17 June 1901 vol 95 cc530-4

As amended, considered.

MR. JEFFREYS (Hampshire, N.)

said he begged to move the Amendment which stood in his name, the object of which was to entitle the farmer to compensation for any loss he might sustain or suffer by reason of the making of an improper order. He would only ask his hon. friend the representative of the Local Government Board whether it would not be possible to insert the clause in every private Bill of this kind, because he held that there ought to be a uniform system with regard to corporation Bills, and it ought not to be left to private Members or anyone else to get such clauses inserted in a Bill. Let the Local Government Board introduce some comprehensive measure making all the Bills uniform in this respect.

MR. STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)


Motion made, and Question proposed, "In Clause 50, page 33, after paragraph (i) of Sub-section 5, to insert—(j) If an order is made without due cause, or if the Corporation unreasonably refuse to withdraw the order, the dairyman shall, if not himself in default, be entitled to recover from the Corporation full compensation for any damage which he has sustained by reason of the making of the order or of the refusal of the Corporation to withdraw the order. The Court or the Board of Agriculture may determine and state whether an order the subject of appeal has been made without due cause, and whether the Corporation have unreasonably refused to withdraw the order, and whether the dairyman has been in default. Any dispute as to the fact whether the order has been made or maintained without due cause, or as to the fact of default where any such fact has not been determined by the Court or Board of Agriculture, or as to the fact of damage, or as to the amount of compensation, shall be determined in the manner provided by Section 308 of the Public Health Act, 1875, and that section shall accordingly apply and have effect as if the same were herein re-enacted, and in terms made applicable to any such dispute as aforesaid."

*MR. BILL (Staffordshire, Leek)

said that as Chairman of the Committee before which the Brighton Corporation Bill came he would like to say that they were very careful to consider the case for compensation. They realised that there was a good deal to be said for it, but, on the other hand, no case had been brought to their knowledge in which any farmer had suffered by reason of the absence of such a clause, and they therefore decided to leave it out, and adhere to the model clauses as they were passed last session. They had in the course of the inquiry the evidence of Dr. Niven, the Medical Officer of the Manchester Corporation, who certainly appeared to the Committee to have exercised the difficult and delicate powers entrusted to him in that particular with the greatest discretion. The witness told them he was aware of no case in which compensation could justly have been claimed, and it was chiefly owing to that gentleman's evidence that the Committee determined not to insert the compensation clause. At the same time, they recognised there might be a case in the future in which damage might be caused to the farmer, and under the circumstances, therefore, he did not oppose the motion before the House.

MR. LODER (Brighton)

said that in accepting the Amendment on behalf of the promoters of the Bill he wished it to be clearly understood that they in no way desired to prejudice the case of other corporations with whom they had been acting up till this time, and if any modification of the clause were deemed desirable at any future stage they reserved to themselves the right to bring it forward. With regard to the suggestion that a similar clause should be inserted in every Bill, he thought the success of model clauses in the past did not augur well for such clauses in the future, especially when they remembered the departure made two years previously in regard to the question of tuberculosis.

*SIR F. S. POWELL (Wigan)

agreed that the time had come for the Government to deal with this question. To his knowledge, fifteen years ago Committees upstairs were asked to give an opinion on this matter. The controversies on it had been acute, and they had also been continuous. This was a subject of growing importance, and he hoped that they would more and more devote their attention to the value of milk as a food for young children. The Government ought to take care that clauses dealing with this matter were both uniform and effective. Good work had been done by general legislation in regard to the registration of infectious diseases, and he hoped that the House of Commons would in that matter follow the example which they had themselves set in the past.

MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

pointed out that there were two distinct interests involved in this question, and he did hope that the representative of the Local Government Board would save the time of the House by agreeing to have the whole subject submitted to a Select Committee, so that they might put an end to these interminable discussions.


said the dairy owner had, of course, an interest in this question, but the paramount point was the health of the people in our large towns. Before model clauses were adopted they ought, however, to be carefully considered, and it should be clearly understood that the acceptance of the Brighton clause did not bind other corporations without careful inquiry.

MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)

objected to the adoption of this clause without further discussion. The subject was one which required careful consideration.


said the Local Government Board were in favour of the clause, because they thought it highly desirable in the interests of the public health. Under the Public Health Act, 1875, if a corporation made a wrong order it was liable to pay compensation to the person injured thereby, but that provision did not extend to the present case, and he thought it was only fair that it should. He did not think that other corporations were likely to object to the insertion in their Bills of a similar clause, and he could assure the House that though the Local Government Board had no power to veto, they would use their influence to get a like clause adopted in similar cases. But in reply to the hon. Member for Wigan, he was bound to say there was no chance of the Government bringing forward a Bill this session to make the clause obligatory in all such cases. Their hands were already full.

New clause agreed to.

Other Amendments made.

Bill to be read the third time.