§ Considered in Cimmittee—
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [MR. JEFFREYS (Hampshire, N.) in the Chair.]
§ Clasue 1:—
§ (9.0.) MR. H. J. WILSON (Yorkshire, W. R., Holmfirth)called attention to the act that there were not forty Members present.
*THE DEPUTY-CHAIRMANThere can be no count at the opening of the Evening Sitting before ten o'clock.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid.)The new Rule is that there can be a count, but that the House cannot be counted out. What happens is, that if there are not forty Members present the House passes to the next business. [MINISTERIAL cries of "No."]
*THE DEPUTY-CHAIRMANAccording to the new Rule the House cannot be counted at the Evening Sitting before 10 o'clock; but if a division takes place before that hour and forty Members are not present the House passes to sthe next business.
§ MR. CALDWELLsaid he thought the Rule meant that the House could not be counted out, and unless there were forty Members present they must pass on to the next business.
§ CAPTAIN NORTONsaid that in moving the Amendment standing in his name he wished to say that he had no animosity whatever towards the City Council. It might be thought that he was a champion of the London County Council, but he wished to point out that he had no connection with that body in any way, and he was not addressing the Committee as their champion. When it was the fashion of those with whom he usually acted to make little of the great past of the City of London he had always readily acknowledged what they had done, not only for that one square mile in the City but for greater London and for the Empire. He did not wish to urge that the City of London should not have the fullest amount of consideration and representation on anything with which it was connected in regard to matters of this kind. The question of representation was based mainly upon the ground of ratable value and population. He wished to consider whether the City had a claim on these grounds to the representation which was now proposed to be given to it upon the Water Board. It might appear that the City, having a very great ratable value, ought to have considerable representation, but, as a matter of fact, did this question of the water supply rest in the case of the City of London upon the rateable value?
The bulk of the water which was supplied to the City of London was supplied by the New River Company. What had been the action of that company? Over and over again it had been represented in the past that the amount of water supplied to the City was not in keeping with the ratable value, and that the charges made for water were out of all proportion to the water supply. The New River Company accepted that as a fair argument upon the part of the City authorities, and they had reduced those charges 1393 because it appeared to the water company that the City should not pay for large warehouses and large buildings containing innumerable sets of offices as if they were habitations peopled like the thickly inhabited parts of London. The Water Company was aware that the water was used largely for cleansing the asphalte in the street at night, but the amount of water used in the daytime was very small, simply because those who lunched in the City did not consume a very large quanity of water. If, therefore. it was unfair to base the representation of the City on the Water Board upon ratable value, the only other basis to go upon was that of population. It would be grossly unjust to give to the City of London two members on the basis of ratable value when the water in the City was not supplied upon that basis. It would be admitted that this was not a case of giving to each individual in the City a certain proportion of water, but it was a case of providing that the service on the whole should be sufficient that a certain standard of purity should be maintained, and that the supply should be sufficient for the purposes of public health. Otherwise the supply might be taken on the basis laid down by a certain Irish waiter who supplied a customer with oysters, the customer complaining that they were bad. The waiter replied, "You have nothing to complain about; you called for a dozen oysters and I have given you two extra."
Therefore the test in the City should be population and not ratable value. He would therefore examine the clams of the City from the standpoint of population. The night population of the City of London was 26,923. That was the population upon which to base the water supply, because the bulk of those who inhabited the City by day left in the evening and generally had only one meal in the City. Therefore the bulk of the necessity so far as water was concerned did not fall upon the area of the City, but upon the localities where those, persons who were employed in the City compare with some of the districts which had two members of the Water Board under this proposal? Take for example the 1394 Borough of Islington, Which had a night population of 334,991. That was tweleve times as great as the night population of the City of London. Take the borough of Camberwell. The City of London had not one-tenth of the night population of the great borough of Camberwell, which contained 259,359. The City of London, therefore, with onetenth of the population of of Camberwell, and one-twelfth of that of Islington, was to have two representaives; in other words, six times the representation of Isligton and ten times that of Camberwell, Even on the day population of 301,384 in 1891, the City had fewer inhabitabts by 31,000 than Islington. Or, to put the case in another way, the City had 43 per cent of the population of the entire water area, and 9.7 per cent. of the ratable value, the mean of those two ratios being 5.09. The London County Council area , with ten representatives, had 72.44 per cent. of the entire population, and 80.18 per cent of. the rateable value, or a mean of 76.31. Therefore, each representative of the County Council represented a mean of 7.63 per cent., so that the City, with a mean of 5.09 per cent. had a greater representation to the extent of 2.63. He asked hon. Members to show on what basis the City, if entiled to only one representative according to ratable value and population, was given two members, and why the County Council was not given a proportionate representation. He begged to move.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amedment—
In line 3, to leave out 'two' and insert 'one."—(Captain Norton.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'two' stand part of proposed Amedment."
§ *SIR JOSEPH DIMSDALE (London)said the satatments that the London County Council had always been recongnised as the water authority for the Metropolis, were both inaccurate. The sanitary authorities were the Borough Councils, and if anybody could clam, and he believed nobody could to be th ewater authority for London, it certainly 1395 was the Corporation. The hon. Member opposite was obviously not aware that this water question had been a vital one with the Corporation for the last twenty-five years. Up to 1892, the Corporation was the only authority in London that could promote Bills in Parliament for gas or water undertakings, and they had been entirely in unison with the London County Council during the last few years on the subject and had received much generous and sympathetic help from that body. He believed, however, that the water question would never have been brought to its present stage but for the Corporation. Within the last twenty years the Corporation had spent, not out of rates but out of their own cash, £20,000 in endeavouring to bring this water question to a focus, with the one aim of doing what they could for the benefit, not of their own square mile only, but of the whole Metropolis. The most extraordinary thing about the hon. Member's Motion was that while he desired to eliminate a good many of the seventy-three Members of the Board, he yet was willing to hand the water supply over to the 126 members of the County Councils. Then the hon. Gentleman opposite was quite wrong in his statistics. The night population of the City, according to the statistics of the London County Council, was 36,002. Then the hon. Gentleman quoted the day population at something like 300,000. It was more than double that. Then hon. Gentleman would give the City representation on the night population, but would he assess the City on that basis? No, he would assess them on their £3,872,679 of rateable value. Not only was it right that the City should have the representation the Government had proposed, but it was surprising that someone had not asked that its representation should be doubled. By securing what was known as the Auction Clause and the Chamberlain of London Sinking Fund Clause, the City had done good service to Londoners generally. The City had not acted on any niggardly onesquare-mile idea in its discharge of its trusts, and he was surprised that the hon. and gallant Member had made this proposal.
§ MR. JOHN BURNSsaid that in these days when there was a diminution of 1396 interest in local affairs, a dying out of public spirit, and not that attention paid to the traditions of local government that could be desired, he was prepared to forgive the right hon. Baronet for using the debates of the House of Commons to speak of the greatness and history of the City of London. The ex-Lord Mayor defended the City in and out of season, but at present it was desirable to get back to the object of the Amendment before the Committee. His hon. friend did not object to the City having two members; he would not mind it having three or four, or whatever its ratable value and population entitled it to, provided there was an equalised water rate over the whole area of supply, and the representation was on a common basis. With its high ratable value, small population, and paying on the amount of water consumed, the City, if it availed itself of Clause 15 (6), would have to pay only half the amount per thousand gallons paid by Stepney, Limehouse, Battersea, or Whitechapel. Westminster had secured a Clause enabling the present low water rate to be maintained in districts where it was possible to have a low rate. What guarantee was there that the City would not follow suit? There was no desire to impose a disability on the City by this Amendment, but simply to point out that under the Bill such an arrangement as he had described was possible. As to other remarks of the right hon. Baronet, the County Council was the chief sanitary authority for the Metropolis, the Borough Councils looking after local sanitation only, while the central body was responsible for the public health, main drainage, fire brigade, and other services. It was perfectly true that for two or three centuries the City Corporation was the only authority in London with power to initiate legislation, but they failed to exercise that power, and that was his complaint. If the City had done its duty a hundred or so years ago the House of Commons would not have had to discuss ad nauseum various Water Bills. What they were now contending for was an equalised water rate over the whole area on some intelligible basis; it would then be an easy matter to determine whether the City was entitled to one, two, three or four members on the Water Board.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEYthought the hon. and gallant Member for West 1397 Newington had knocked the bottom out of the contention that the constitution of the Water Board was based on proportionate grounds, whether of ratable value or of population. The right hon. Baronet urged that the day rather than the night population should be considered, but it was not people but property and hereditaments that were assessed. Evidently the ex-Lord Mayor favoured a poll-tax, a view which his constituents might do well to note. But where were the champions of Islington, Lambeth, Stepney, St. Pancras, and Wandsworth, whose interests were jeopardised by this proposal? The population of those districts was overwhelmingly greater than that of the City, and yet the right hon. Baronet stood alone in supporting the cause of his people.
§ CAPTAIN JESSEL (St. Pancras, S.)pointed out that the question of other boroughs would come up on other Amendments.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEYsaid the scheme of the Bill had been shown to be illogical in every sense, and he was surprised that members of the opposite Party did not rise in their places in the interests of their constituents.
§ Mr. SYDNEY BUXTONexpressed his surprise that the right hon. gentleman had vouchsafed no reply on this matter. The Amendment was not directed against the City as such;it was moved with a view to getting information as to the basis on which the City was allowed two members on the Board. There must be some reason, as the right hon. gentleman had declared that the Bill was founded on a logical basis, and the Committee were entitled to know what that reason was. There was great danger in this differentiation between the various parts of the Metropolis. It involved artificial and arbitrary selection. If adhered to, it would enable other parts, as they increased in population or ratable value, to claim a larger share of representation, and then this Board, already too large, would become yet more cumbersome and unwieldy. Westminster had already taken care to guard itself against any equalisation of the water rate, and the Opposition desired to know whether that provision would apply to other parts, especially to the City.
Mr. WALTER LONDsaid the hon. Members for Battersea and North Camberwell and himself were never likely to agree as to the precise result of the Bill or as to the present incidence of rates in London. They held exactly opposite views. The hon. Member for Battersea held that the London County Council would find all the money;he, on the other hand, held that the money would be found exactly as the greater proportion of the expenditure of the London County council was now found, viz., by precepts issued to the Metropolitan Borough Councils. Each of those districts would pay their share according to the ratable value of their own area. In making this proposal the Government had had regard to the mean of population and the ratable value. Upon this basis they had given to certain Metropolitan Boroughs two members each and they had found that the City of London judged in this way was second only to the City of Westminster in the amount of ratable value. They had also based the representation in the case of the City of London upon historical precedents and the fact that the ratable value came second as compared with all the ratable areas in London. Therefore on those grounds the Government thought the City of London was entitled to have two representatives on the Water Board.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ *(10.0.) MR. LOUGHsaid he did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was disposed to make any concession upon the Amendment which he was about to move. This provision seemed to be an attempt to give proportionate representation to the metropolitan boroughs, but he thought he would be able to show to the Committee that there was no success in this attempt. There were other boroughs quite as large which had only one representative, and he wished to know why two members had been given to certain boroughs and only one to others Stepney got two representatives while Camberwell, Wandsworth, and Hackney, which had a much larger area than Stepney, and each of which contained a vast population, were only to be allowed one member each. Kensington got two representatives whilst Southwark only had one. This showed that there was considerable inequality, and that the Government could not 1399 Possibly have followed any just principle in making this division of representation. Altogether there were some 3,000 representatives on the metropolitan boroughs, each of them representing a ward. The largest wards contained about 4,000 electors and the smallest between 800 and 1,000. Under this proposal they gave thirty-six representatives to the Borough Councils. Supposing they were taken from the most populous wards, the whole of these thirty-six members would only represent a population of about 144,000. If they were taken from the smallest wards they would represent between 29,000 and 36,000 electors. If the right hon. Gentleman felt himself pledged to give these Borough Councils representation, surely one would be quite enough, and by adopting this Amendment he would be doing something at the same time to reduce the size of this unwieldy Board. The President of the Local Government Board said that he had considered not only population but also rateable value. If that were so, why sould Lambeth have two members and Paddington only one? There were 300,000 people in Paddington, or almost the same number as in Lambeth, and Wandsworth also had a very large ratable value. He was bound to say that he thought the right hon. Gentleman by this proposal had failed to establish any intelligible system of proportionate representation. If they now established a precedent for giving these bodies two members, in two or three years time the right hon. Gentleman would have to double the representation of other districts, and they would probably get eventually some ninety or one hundred members on the Water Board. The great objection to this proposal was that the Board would be too large and unwieldy.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment—
In line 4, to leaveout'two,'and insert one.'
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'two' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ *MR. WHITMORE (Chelsea)said he proposed to support this Amend- 1400 ment for reasons which the hon. Member who moved it had not given. Some of the reasons which actuated him in taking this course might have been advanced in regard to the last Amendment upon the representation of the City. When the new Act constituting the metropolitan boroughs was passed the principle was laid down that all these metropolitan boroughs should be treated with absolute equality. Their existence was not based on any rig figures of population or ratable value —some boroughs were created which were small both in ratable value and in population, but nevertheless they were supposed to be worthy of a new municipal life because of their history and present local life. In his opinion the introduction into this Bill of a differentiation between these boroughs was a distinct departure from the real spirit of the Act which created them. Therefore he felt bound to support this Amendment, and he asked hon. Members to support him in resisting this attempt to make an artificial distinction in regard to the metropolitan boroughs. The hon. Member opposite had pointed out that the reasons given by the right hon. Gentleman for this difference of treatment in respect of the six selected boroughs were very small reasons. In all these boroughs the conditions were constantly changing, and from time to time, if they paid this regard to small differences of population, it would be necessary to re-adjust their representation on the Water Board. Surely this would be undersirable. He thought all those twentyeight boroughs ought to have one equal representation on the new Water Board. He wished to remind the President of the Local Government Board that although they were quite prepared to accept the scheme of the Government he thought that if without affecting the essential character of the scheme they could reduce the number of representatives it would be a good thing for the future working of this Board, and in the Amendment before the Committee they had an opportunity of doing this. At the same time he must admit that Westminster was in a different position to the other boroughs, and it was so treated under the London Government Bill. The City of Westminster partook 1401 more of the ancient character which characterised the City of London, and therefore they would not be doing anything contrary to the spirit of the London Government Act by placing Westminster and the City in an exceptional position, and in allotting to them both two representatives on the Water Board.
§ DR. MACNAMARAsaid he had listened with much pleasure to the speech of the hon. Member for Chelsea. He appealed to the Government not to differentiate on artificial grounds between the different metropolitan boroughs because this would cause irritation in a number of ways. Camberwell seemed to him to be the most hardly treated of any Borough in London, and he did not know what Camberwell had done to be treated in this way. Camberwell was the birth-place of the Colonial Secretary, and he thought that fact ought to commend itself to the Government. Camberwell had a population of 258,538, and that population was growing. It also had a ratable value of £971,305. Nevertheless under this scheme Camberwell would only have on representative. Stepney, which was to have two representatives, had a population of 294,466, or 35,000 more than Camberwell, but it ratable value was £200,000. less than Camberwell. How did they square that argument? He thought that the basis of representation which was good enough for the House of Commons ought to be good enough for a Water Bill. After what had been said he was compelled to take rateable value and population into consideration, and considering these two questions, what fair basis had the Government adopted in giving Stepney two members? He had examined this thing with the utmost impartiality. Take the case of Kensington, which was to have two members. Kensington had a population of 86,052, while Camberwell had a population of 258,538.Therefore, on the basis of population, one Kensington man according to the proposal of the Government was equal to three Camberwell men. That was not true;at any rate it was not true in the Old Kent Road. The hon. Baronet the Member of Dulwich brought in a Bill last year, in which he proposed a Water Board much smaller 1402 than was now proposed. He stated not long ago that the hon. Baronet left out of his Bill the representation of the Borough Councils, but he had since discovered that he was wrong in that statement, and he desired to withdraw it. The hon. Baronet's scheme gave sixteen members to the London County Council, one to the City of London, and one to each of the Metropolitan Boroughs. Therefore he thought the hon. Baronet the Member for Dulwich ought now to support this Amendment, which would operate in such a way as not to create this unjust differentiation. It would be fair and reasonable to give one representative to each of these boroughs, thereby standing by the principle of 1899.
§ MR. W. F. D. SMITH (Strand, Westminster)stated that Westminster had a population eight times larger than that of the City of London and an assessable value nearly one and a half millions greater;therefore, if the City was to have a representation of two on the Water Board, it was only fair that Westminster should have a representation at least equal to it.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTONsaid that if the Government saw their way to accept the Amendment of his hon. friend, the Opposition would be willing that Westminster should have two Members. If this course was adopted it would leave all these different Borough Councils on a footing of equality in regard to representation on this new Water Board.
§ SIR ROBERT MOWBRAY (Lambeth, Brixton)hoped that the Government, before assenting to the Amendment, would carefully consider what they were doing. The Boroughs had been put into the Bill and he hoped they would remain there with the right to elect two members of the Board. His constituency in Lambeth were exceedingly anxious that this double representation in their case should remain. If they were to go into the ancient history of these constituencies he thought a claim on historic gronuds might be made on behalf of Lambeth, in the same manner as had been with regard to the City of London and the City of Westminster. He would put this consideration before the Committe. Of 1403 all the Metropolitan Boroughs, Lambeth was second in point of population and fifth as regards ratable value. By reducing the number of the Board to 33 they might get a more workable Board, but it would have lost its representative character. A mere reduction of numbers from 73 to 68 or 69 would be of no practical value in making the Board more workable, but it would reduce the interest taken in it by the Metropolitan Boroughs. He hoped the President of the Local Government Board would not accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. BOUSFIELD (Hackney, N.)said he could not support any proposal which would make any inroad on the scheme produced by the Government, but this Amendment would not make an inroad upon it. He thought it would improve the scheme to slightly reduce the number of members of the Board. After all it should be remembered that the object ought to be to get the best men on the water Board. Each of the boroughs might be able to get one good man, but if they had to select two good men he thought there would be a practical difficulty in getting a second as good as the first. He thought the City of Westminster should have two memebrs on account of its special position.
§ *MAJOR EVANS GORDON (Tower Hamlets)said he did not agree with all the figures which had been given by the hon. Member for North Camberwell. Speaking for the Borough Council of Stepney, he could not believe that they would be so unreasonable as to wish, for the sake of a difference represented by a few hundred pounds, that they should have two members while Camberwell had only one. He did not agree with the proposal in regard to Westminster, and he hoped the Government would not except that city.
§ SIR J. BLUNDELL MAPLEsaid he was decidedly of opinion that it was a bad thing to make a difference in the representation of these boroughs. Except with regard to Westminster, he thought it as a pity to differentiate the representation. He trusted the Government would accept the proposal.
§ MR. COHENStated that he objected to the proposal to reduce the re- 1404 presentation of Islington. On the ground of population and ratable value, that district was entitled to the representation proposed by the Government, and he hoped they would adhere to their original plan in regard to Islington. If the London County Council was equitable represented by ten members and Islington by two, how was that equity preserved if they took away one member from Islington and allowed the County Council ten to remain? Equity and justice required that Islington should have two representatives.
§ MR. WALTER LONGstated that the Government had selected these particular boroughs in consideration of their population and ratable value. The Government felt that there was so much difference in regard to the population and rateable value in the case of some of the metropolitan boroughs that they ought to be given a larger share of representation. Of course he fully admitted that there were some boroughs which came very near the line, and he was glad that the representatives of boroughs to which additional representation had been given had given way. He could not help thinking it would be fairer all round that the boroughs should have equal representation, and would avoid a difficulty which he confessed had not occurred to him—namely, that, however accurate the calculations of the Government might be now, the time must come before very long when they might be entirely upset. In these circumstances he hoped the larger boroughs would feel that it was to the advantage of the whole that they should conced this.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
In line 4, by leaving out the words, 'two by the council of each of the metropolitan boroughs of Islington, Kensington, Lambeth, St. Pancras, Stepney, and Westminster,' and inserting the words, 'one by the council of each of the metropolitan boroughs.'"— (Mr. Walter Long.)
(10.45) MR. SYDNEYBUXTONmoved an Amendment with the object of grouping the metropolitan boroughs for the purposes of representation, and so reducing their total number on the Board. The object of the President of the Local 1405 Government Board in having the metropolitan boroughs represented would still be gained, although, by the system of grouping which he suggested, the number of representatives would be reduced from thirty-four to twelve. By his Amendment a considerable number of the boroughs would be grouped, but there was nothing in it which would affect the principle of the proposal of the Government. He did not desire to discuss further the question of the excessive size of the board. He thought it was generally admitted that it would be an advantage to reduce the size of the body. It was on these grounds that he desired to press his Amendment on the right hon. Gentleman. He did not cling to the exact number he had proposed, but threw it out more as a suggestion. If the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to accept the principle of his Amendment, he would not press as to details. If the right hon. Gentleman showed a conciliatory spirit in this matter he would do much to make the passage of the Bill easy.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment—
In line 6, to leave out the words 'council of each of the other metropolitan boroughs, and insert the words 'councils of the metropolitan boroughs of Poplar and Stepney;one by the councils of the metropolitan boroughs of Bethnal Green, Hackney, and Stoke Newington.'"—(Mr. Sydney Buxton.)
§ Question Proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ Mr. WALTER LONGsaid he thought he had shown the Committee that the government were desirous of meeting any reasonable proposal which had for its object the more equitable distribution of the representation. But it would be impossible for the Government to accept the hon. Gentleman's suggestion, even in a limited form. In the first place, they thought that each of the metropolitan boroughs was entitled to separate reprsentation on the new Board. Apart from that, if the hon. Gentleman's suggestion were accepted it would seriously disturb the balance of power as between London within and London without.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTONsaid that if his Amendment were carried, it would also carry with it a considerable reduction in the representation of the outer areas.
§ MR. WALTER LONGsaid that if they were practically to reduce at the same time the representation given to the outside areas, the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Poplar would not be open to the criticism he had been makeing upon it. He could assure the Committee that from the first, when it was represented to him that one of the flaws in their proposal was the largeness of the number of the new governing body, he had endeavoured to meet that criticism. He thought the best plan to do that was to maintain a proper balance of representation between London Within and London Without. If they were to strike out a number of representatives from London Within, It would involve the re-casting of the representation of London Without, and thus destroy the whole character of the Bill. While he was most desirous of meeting in a conciliatory and reasonable spirit any suggestion, he felt that the Government had gone as far as they could, and that they could not accept the hon. Gentleman's suggestion, either in whole or in part.
§ *Mr. REA (Gloucester)said he supported the Amendment for the simple reason that it would reduce the number of the Board from seventy-five to forty-seven, a number approaching very nearly to that of the old Metropolitan Board of Works. That body had few friends, and he was not one of them, but he considered it was a more practical and reasonable administrative body than that proposed for the Water Board. The Metropolitan Board of Works had far more duties to perform than the Water Board would have. At the beginning they had only to take care of the main drainage, but shortly afterwards parliament added to their powers the care of the main thoroughfares, the improvement of the new streets, and the charge of commons, open spaces, and the fire brigade. It had never been said that the Metropolitan Board of Works was under-manned. The Board of Works was a superior body to the proposed Water Board in another respect. Although its elections were indirect they were more direct than those of the proposed Water Board. In the case of the latter, the electors elected the local authority, the local authority met together and elected a committee, and the committee elected one member of 1407 the Board. But that was not the end of it. When they were elected they elected members to the Thames Conservancy, and then the Thames Conservancy elected members Back to the Board.
*THE DEPUTY CHAIRMANsaid that the Committee were not now discussing the Board of Works, and the hon Gentleman was not in order.
§ *MR. REAsaid he was only alluding to the Board of Works as an illustration, and he would pass from it at once. He remembered a speech made in Committee before the recess, by the hon. Member for Exeter, in which that Gentleman admitted that if he were to judge from the point of view of efficiency, he would have a small Board, but he justified the Goverment proposal on the ground of representation. Surely it was not beyond the wit of man to frame a Board which would be both efficient and representative. The number of directors of the water companies, excluding those of the New River Company, which was a mediaeval concern, put together amounted to sixty-one. He should like to ask any water Director, if he wished to make a commercial combine of the water companies, would he suggest that all the Boards should be amalgamated too, and that the directors should continue to draw their fees?
*THE DEPUTY CHAIRMANsaid that the hon. Gentleman's remarks were not relevant to the Amendment before the Committee.
*THE DEPUTY CHAIRMANsaid that that was a general question which had been decided on the first Amendment.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTONsaid that the whole reason of his Amendment was that it would reduce the numbers of the Board.
*THE DEPUTY CHAIRMANsaid that the Amendment before the Committee was to leave out the words on the Paper and insert another word.
§ *MR. REAsubmitted that the effect of the Amendment before the Committee 1408 would be to reduce the number of Members of the Water Board by on less than eighteen. In the great provincial towns, although the committees are often large, the real business of the Water Committee was done by two or three members, and what the other members were most interested in were the sources of supply and the fishing. The metropolitan water companies had not the possesion of any effective fishing at the present time. Why bring in the metropolitan boroughs, because after all these were not real boroughs. [Cries of "Oh, oh !"] They were metropolitan boroughs, but they differed from real boroughs in that, although they hada Mayor and Town Council, they had not even the powers of Urban District Councils. The Urban District Councils which would be represented on the Water Board had control of the fire brigade, open spaces, and building regulations, whereas all these duties in the metropolitan area were performed by the London County Council.
§ CAPTAIN JESSELasked if the hon. Gentleman was in order in calling attention to the powers and duties of the metropolitan boroughs.
*THE DEPUTY-CHAIRMANsaid that the hon. Gentleman was not entitled to go into these questions except as an illustration of his argument.
§ *MR. REAsaid that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board declared that everybody approved of the constitution of the new Water Board except the London County Council, and that the London boroughs did approve of it. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to intimate that the London boroughs represented the citizens, while the London County Council only represented the members of the London county Council. Why, the London County Council was elected on this very issue. The metropolitan boroughs were consultled by the Government and were offered this representation, and naturally the members had not declined it. As to the London Members of Parliament they knew that they were not elected on this question but on something very different. It appeared to him that instead of everybody agreeing with this Bill except the London County Council, 1409 all the experts, the Royal Commission, the Committees of this House, and all public opinion condemned the Bill.
§ *MR. LOUGHsaid that whether they accepted the precise Amendment before the committee or not, the Government ought to give this matter more serious consideration before this Clause was passed. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill said that the main principle on which he had proceeded in allotting members to the new Board was ratable value; but when thirty-two members were allotted to the Borough Councils that was far beyond the proportion they were entitled to on ratable value. The right hon. Gentleman had also taken the population into account; but if the Amendment was not accepted there would be many anomalies. Boroughs with a population of 50,000, 60,000, or 70,000 received one member, while other boroughs with a population of from 200,000 to 300,000 received only one member also. Would not the right hon. Gentleman be willing to reduce the number of representatives of the Borough Councils, if not to ten, at least to fifteen or sixteen? His argument was that the right hon. Gentleman could secure the whole principle of the Bill by accepting some reduction.
§ MR. WALTER LONGsaid he had already stated that if the Government were to reduce the number of representatives given to the Metropolitan Boroughs they should have to reduce the proportion of representatives of London Without. He had already grouped as far as possible the outer districts, and had given a minimum representation to the metropolitan boroughs. If they were to take 15 or 20 from the representatives of the metropolitan boroughs, the representation of London would become unfair. Of course, the hon. Gentleman was quite right in saying that there were many anomalies in regard to the representation of the different boroughs. The only way to avoid that would be to carve London into new districts, but everybody would admit that it was best to take the existing areas which had their own local life.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMANsaid that everyone could see the force of what the right hon. Gentleman had said with regard to the necessity of maintaining 1410 a proper proportion between inner London and outer London. But he did not understand that his hon. friend wished to alter materially the proportion fixed in the Bill. They proceeded on the original question as to whether a Board so constituted would not be unwieldy, cumbrous, and ineffective; and in that opinion they were supported by all the authorities who had investigated the question. What was the use of appointing Royal Commission after Royal Commission if no attention was to be paid to what they said. The one thing on which all the Commissions were agreed was that the governing body should be much smaller than that proposed by the right hon. Gentleman. If he might be permitted to say so, the right hon. Gentleman seemed to him to assume rather a helpless attitude, in which he should have thought he would not allow himself to remain. The right hon. Gentleman said, "What am I to do? The body may be cumbrous, and I would be quite content to see the number of the representatives of the metropolitan boroughs reduced, but we cannot do that, because we must have representatives from certain districts outside London, and they are so numberous that we must have a sufficient number of representatives of inner London to maintain the balance." He should have thought that the ingenuity of the right hon. Gentleman would have overcome that difficulty, and certainly he thought the obvious and acknowledged evil of such a huge, cumbrous Board would outweigh any little difficulty of that kind. There might be a county basis, or some other arrangement. His hon. friend was not particularly tied to the grouping he indicated in the Amendment, but what he proposed was that there should be a governing body of thirty-six members, twenty-four from London and twelve from outside. The Committee ought to bear in mind the importance of a effective and business-like body, reather than the desire to please this locality or that locality, and to satisfy its requirements, and, in some respects, its pride. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman could not see his way to accept the Amendment.
§ MR. BOUSFIELDasked if it would be worth while to spoil the symmetry of the scheme in order to save seven representatives. London had been divided up into different units, and they wished to 1411 make them separate and corporate units in reality, and to reat them all on the same basis, with the exception of special areas.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNERsaid that, as a very large ratepayer in one of the outlying districts. The importance of a small and effective body was so great that he was quite sure the outlying districts would be willing to sacrifice some off their representation in order to secure it, with a view to mitigating the enormous rates now paid in the suburbs. The amalgamation of boroughs inside London would be a great help, and it would reduce the representation to a manageable size. He thought the outlying districts, if they had a chance, would say that they desired the Amendment to pass, even with the condition that their representation should be reduced, and he was quite sure it would be a benefit, not only as regarded the reduction of rates, but also as regarded the working of the Bill as a whole. There would be much less friction, as the larger the constituency, the less likely would it be that its representatives would heave special local interests to serve, instead of fighting for a pure and sufficient supply of water and a reduction of rates. He hoped the Government would yet make the concession asked for, and reduce the representation both in inner and outer London.
§ MR. HARRY SAMUEL (Tower Hamlets), Limehouse said he would point out that, even according to hon. Members on the Opposition side, the outside areas were growing areas, and, in these circumstances, he thought the Amendment was unsound.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNERsaid the proportion would remain unaltered as the outer representation would also be reduced.
§ MR. CORRIE GRANTsaid the hon. gentleman opposite, said the Amendment would spoil the symmetry of the scheme; but surely there should be grouping in inside London as well as in outside London. Many of the Urban District Councils mentioned in the Bill were just as important as some of the Borough Councils. Personally, hefeltgreat difficulty in voting, because, which was not a representative system at all. It was popular control three degrees removed; but on the principle that the smaller the body for administrative purposesthe better he would support the Amendment.
§ (11.23.)Question put.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 130; Noes, 37. (Division List No.609)
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte|
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas|
Groves, James Grimble|
Allhusen, AugustusH'nry Eden|
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
Guthrie, Walter Murray|
Anson, Sir William Reynell|
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge|
Hamilton, Rt. HnLordG (Midd'x)|
Arkwright, John Stanhope|
Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.|
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O|
Crossley, Sir Savile|
Hay, Hon. Claude George|
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John|
Cust, Henry John C.|
Henderson, Sir Alexander|
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r)|
Dalkeith, Earl of|
Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.|
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds)|
Davenport. William Bromley|
Higginbottom, S. W|
Banbury, Sir Frederick George|
Dickson, Charles Scott|
Hozier, Hon. JamesHenry Cecil|
Beresford, Lord Chas. William|
Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph C.|
Hudson, George Bickersteth|
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers|
Jessel, Captain Herbert AMerton|
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
Law Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)|
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton|
Lawson, John Grant|
Bousfield, William Robert|
Fardell, sur T. George|
Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu|
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.|
Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
Bull, William James|
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.|
Butcher, John George|
Fisher, William Hayes|
Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
Carson. Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.|
Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)|
Covendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire)|
Forster, Henry William|
Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.)|
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
Galloway, William Johnson|
Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth)|
Chamberlain, Rt Hn J A. (Wore.)|
Gibhs, Hn. A. G. H. (CityofLond.)|
Macdona, John Cumming|
MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E|
Gouldidng, Edward Alfred|
Majendie, James A. H.|
Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
Maple, Sir John Blundell|
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
Grenfell, William Henry|
Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.|
Colston, Chase. Edw. H. Athole|
Greville, Hon. Ronald|
Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
Stanley, Lord (Lance.)|
Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)|
Richards, Henry Charles|
Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge)|
Taylor, Austin (East Taxteth)|
Morgan, David J (Walth'Msto|
Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green)|
Thornton, Percy M.|
Morrell, George Herbert|
Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
Robertson. Herbert (Hackney)|
Murrary, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute|
Lopner, Colonel Sir Robert|
Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. H.|
Myers, William Henry|
Round, Rt. Hon. James|
Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
Nicholson, William Graham|
Royds, Clement Molynenx|
Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
Nicol, Donald Ninian|
Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford.|
Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
Plummer, Walter R.|
Samual, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
Pretyman, Ernest George|
Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (IsleofWight|
Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Sir Alexander Acland Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
Reid, James (Greenock)|
Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
Remnant, James Farquharson|
Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset)|
Allen, Charles P. (Gloue., Stroud|
Helme, Noval Watson|
Asquith, Rt. Hn. HerbertHentry|
Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
Nortnon, Capt. Cecil William|
Wason, JohnCathcart (Orkney)|
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)|
Pirie, Duncan V.|
Weir, James Galloway|
White, George (Norfolk)|
White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
Buxton, Sydney Charles|
Robets, John Bryn (Eifion)|
Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.|
Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
Cremer, William Randal|
Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
Goddard, Daniel Ford|
Shipman, Dr. John G.|
Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Causton and Mr. Spencer.|
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
Harmsworth, R. Leicester|
Thomas, DavidAlfred (Mertthyr)|
§ MR. BOUSFIELDsaid he wished to move in line eight to omit "two" and insert "one." The Principle had been accepted that the metropolitan boroughs should be treated as units withouht regard to size; and therefore it seemed to him that the borough of West Ham should not be given two representatives. He thought it would give rise to great jealousy, especially in the important boroughs which had agreed to their representation being reduced. Why should West Ham have two representatives, when Islington, which was one of the largest boroughs in London, had only one?
Amendment proposed to proposed Amendment—
In line 8, to leave out 'two' and insert 'one.'"—(Mr. Bousfield.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'two' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ *MR. ERNEST GRAY (West Ham, N.)said he ventured to hope that the Goven- 1414 ment would not accede to the Amendment. It was perfectly true that the representation of some of the metropolitan boroughs had been cut down; but there was an immense difference between the metropolitan boroughs and the county borough of West Ham. Not only had the metropolitan boroughs direct representation on the Water Board, but they were also represented through the County Council. West Ham, however, had no hand whatever in the election of the London County Council, and would not be represented by it nor by the Essex County Council on the Water Board. Therefore, it was not on all fours with the metropolitan boroughs. He would further point out that the councils of the various urban districts had agreed to the scheme in the Bill, and now relied on the good faith of the Government. He said with all possible respect that if the Government broke faith and accepted an Amendment such as that before the committee the influence of the action in West Ham would be that they would use their utmost efforts to oppose the Bill at every stage. They 1415 had the greatest difficulty in arriving at a satisfactory scheme, but having obtained one it should not now be heedlessly destroyed. It should further be remembered that the greatest earning power existed in the outside areas.
§ MR. BOUSFIELDsaid he did not understand that there was any question of an arrangement; and as the matter required greater consideration, he would ask leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ *MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR (Essex, Romford)moved to leave out "one" in line nine, and insert "two by the councils or urban districts of East Ham, Barking, and Ilford." The President of the Board of Trade had said that outside areas had the minimum representation, and this especially applied to the districts mentioned in the Amendment. Further, the hon. Member for North-West Ham pointed out that the greatest earning power existed in the outside areas; and inasmuch as the Water Board was going to take a well in Barking for the use of other districts, the least that district might receive was representation on the Board. East Ham had a population of nearly 100,000, and Barking had a population of over 40,000; and it was apparent that a Bill of this kind would operate adversely on such districts unless they had proper and adequate representation on the Board. He would be very grateful to the President of the Local Government Board if the districts mentioned in the Amendment would be given representation on the Board. They would be affected by the Bill, and should not be excluded from representation.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment—
In line 9, to leave out 'one' and insert 'two' by the councils or urban districts of East Ham, Barking and Ilford.'"—(Mr. Louis Sinclair.)
§ MR. WALTER LONGsaid he wished to point out to the hon. Member that only a very small portion of Barking was supplied at present, and that there was supplied at present, and that there was a provision in the Bill, it the circumstances which now existed were altered, 1416 giving the Local Government Board power to alter the conditions of the representation. The other districts were provided for in the Bill; and therefore he hoped the hon. Member would not press his Amendment.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ *Mr. LOUGHmoved to leave out lines 9 to 13, and insert "One by the councils of the urban districts of Buckhurst Hill, Chingford, East Ham, Leyton, Loughton, Waltham Holy Cross, Wanstead, and Woodford." The object of the Amendment was to reduce the representation of the country of Essex. The right hon. Gentleman stated that a balance had been established between inner London and outer London; but he wished to point out that the representation of inner London had been altered, and therefore it would be a great injustice if the representation of outer London was not also altered. In the original scheme inner Londond had forty-six members and outer London twenty-one. That meant that a reduction of five in London within necessitated a reduction of three in London without, and if the right hon. Gentleman would look at the counties. where a reduction was possible he would find that Essex was the county in which it was most desirable to make a change. The representation of the various counties was most unequal. The county of London had one representative for ever 99,000 inhabitants, Middlesex one for every 81,000, and Essex one for every 56,000. Therefore, Essex had a larger representation than it was entitled to. If ratable value were considered, the difference was equally astounding. The five members given to Essex represented a ratable value of £886,000 with a population of 234,000. Islington, with a population of 340,000 and a ratable value of £1,500,000, had only one representative. He thought such inequality ought to be removed. The idea of giving five memebers to such a county, was, if he might be permitted to say so, quite absurd. The Amendment proposed only one representative; but if the right hon. Gentleman would be content with two, he would be prepared to accept it. He would urge the right hon. Gentleman to look at the matter in a liberal spirit. If the right hon. Gentleman did not wish 1417 to agree to the precise words of the Amendment, perhaps he would consider the matter, and bring up a Clause at a later stage.
Amendment propsed to the proposed Amendment—
To leave out lines 9 to 13, and insert—'One by the councils of the urban districts of Buckhurst Hill, Chingford, East Ham, Leyton, Loughton, Waltham Holy Cross, Wanstead and Woodford.'"—(Mr. Lough.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ Mr. WALTER LONGsaid the Amendment would reverse the effect of the Amendments which had been already adopted. It would be juest as inequitable in one direction as the operation of the previous Amendment would be in the opposite direction. The Amendment before the Committee would reduce the representation of the outside areas, and would, therefore, make the predomininance of London greater than it was, or than it ought to be. The hon. Member pointed out that there was no very consistent plan for the distribution of representation in the Bill; but his answer to that was, as he had stated over and over again, that they should take England as they found it and not cut it up into new areas merely to suit new requirements. It was perfectly true that the unit of representation was less in some districts than in others; but so far as they could they had endeavoured to secure an equitable representation for all the parts represented. He did not in any way wish to suggest that the subject was not one of considerable importance, but he would venture respectfully to point out that the Amendment was merely ringing the changes on the original proposal. They had considered almost every possible alteration, and he would only add that he strongly felt that unless they stood by some recognised principle of representation which would maintain the balance of power between London within and London without, they would disturb that balance, and have the various authorities claiming to have the whole question reconsidered.
Mr. SYDNEYBUXTONsaid that inner London only had a representation of 64 ½ 1418 per cent., whereas, on the basis of population and rateable value, it ought to have a representation of 81 per cent. It was therefore clear that inner London was under represented. He did not see why the outer areas should be over represented. especially as under the Bill if the population increased to a certain point in any particular area that area would be entitled to further representation. that would safeguard the interests of the outer districts, and the Board should be put on the proper basis of representation and rateable value. The Amendment would make the proportion as between inner and outer London better; and therefore he would support it.
§ Mr. BOUSFIELDsaid he would ask the President of the Local government Board dto consider before the Report stage whether he could not, by a little different grouping, make a reduction in the representation of the outside areas which would be proportionate to that made in the inside areas.
MR. WALTERLONGsaid the matter had been very seriously considered more than once, but he should be glad to consider what would be the precise effect of the changes which had been made in the representation of inner London, and whether it called for any alteration of the Kind indicated.
§ MR. CORRIE GRANTsaid he would suggest that Progress should now be reported, in order that the Committee might have an opportunity of considering the matter.
§ MR. WALTER LONGsaid if his undertaking to consider the matter was met by a Motion to report Progress, he certainly would withdraw it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ It being midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee reported Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.
1420§ Mr. SPEAKER, in pursuance of the Order of the House of the 16th October last, adjourned the House without Question put.
§ Adjourned at three minutes after Twelve o'clock.