HC Deb 08 December 1902 vol 116 cc245-95

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

[Mr. JEFFREYS (Hampshire, N.) in the Chair.]

Clause 5:—

Order Sittings of the House").—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)

(3.15.) MR. LOUGH () Islington, W.

moved to leave out "compensation and insert "money or stock" in page 3, line 19. He thought the grammar of the Clause almost required this change. This Clause was devoted to the distribution of the money or stock to be handed over to the Company, and it was in this form that the Bill went up to the Committee upstairs. It must have been by mistake that the word "compensation" was put in here. The Clause, as it stood, had no definite meaning. How could "compensation" he "paid or satisfied? "It was money that was paid for a certain consideration. He hoped the President of the Local Government Board would accept the Amendment.

Amendment proposed— In page 3, line 13, to leave out 'compensation' and insert 'money or stock.'"—(Mr. Lough.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'compensation' stand part of the Clause."


said the word "compensation" ran through the whole Bill. In many different Clauses it was used to describe the same thing, and he was advised that if another word were used here it might lead to misapprehension afterwards. He adhered to the word "compensation"


said the right hon. Gentleman's argument was not a good one. In the other parts of the Bill the word had not the meaning which it had in the Clause under discussion. In this particular Clause it was absolutely restricted to money or stock.


said he would accept the Amendment.


said if the Amendment was accepted there must be a consequential Amendment in line 21, for the word "satisfied" there would not apply. He suggested that the word "issued" should be substituted.

The Amendment was agreed to. It was also agreed to substitute, in line 21, "issued" for "satisfied," and in line 25 to leave out "compensation" and insert "money or stock."

Amendment proposed— In page 3, line 27, to leave out 'fifth ' and insert 'fourth.'"—(Mr. Walter Long); agreed to.

Amendment proposed— In page 3, line 27, after ' Act' to add,' This sub-Section shall not apply to the New River Company.'"—(Colonel Bowles); agreed to.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 6 agreed to.

Clause 1:—

Mr. FLETCHER MOULTON () Cornwall, Launceston

moved to leave out from "as" in line 10, to "debenture" in line 11, and insert "in the opinion of the arbitrators will be equivalent in value to an equally good security producing the same income as the," He said although this was the form in which the Amendment was moved, it was really to secure for this new Water Trust, and for the public, in some form or other, a right which, according, he thought he might say, to the universal precedent of Parliament, had always been accorded to a public authority purchasing any private property. The principle upon which the compulsory purchase of private property had always been carried out was a very clear and definite one. They could not respect the actual private rights. One could easily understand that, but for the power of compulsory purchase, there might be in the possession of a single person a field that might render it practically impossible for a railway to join two towns. On countless occasions the Legislature had made provisions whereby private property could be taken, but it made such provisions equitable by providing in all cases that the owner of the private property should have the full value in money of his property, and that, in the case of there being a dispute, it should be settled by an impartial tribunal—an arbitration or a jury. One thing was always characteristic of those provisions. They gave to the purchasing authority the right to extinguish all interests in the property taken. The owner received the equivalent in money for everything the purchasing authority acquired, but that authority was always permitted to acquire every interest. It was the ordinary experience for those who had to deal with compensation cases to find that a property that had been taken over was in the hands of an occupier, who probably paid the rent to a person who was in the position of an intermediate landlord; up to them there were one, two, or three intermediate landlords: and after them came the ground landlord, to whom the ground rent was paid. As soon as Parliament had permitted a public body to take that property, the public body had the right to—and did—take over every one of those interests. It purchased the occupier's interest, very often including trade rights; it purchased the intermediate landlord's interests; it purchased the ground landlord's interest; and it became the soleand absolute owner of the property. But what it had to do was to pay the full money value of all it had taken. That having been the consistent practice of Parliament, he claimed, on behalf of the public, that it should not be departed from on this occasion. What were the rights and interests which they claimed that the new trust should be allowed to purchase? There were the undertakings of the companies, and the stock. It was to be allowed to purchase the undertakings with their burdens, just in the same way as a railway company purchased a house with its mortgages upon it, but with the right to pay those mortgages off. With regard to the question of debentures, some of them were redeemable, and about those no great difficulty arose. Some of them were irredeemable: there was some such provision as a Scotch feu-rent or an English perpetual ground rent. According to the universal practice of Parliament the purchasing authority would have the power of purchasing that feu, turning it into money, and becoming the absolute possessor of the property. He claimed for this Water Trust that it should be able to pay its irredeemable debentures at their market value, whatever that might be. The Committee must not for one moment imagine that lie was advocating that [they should take these irredeemable debentures as though they were redeemable, and that the trust ought to be allowed to pay the capital value in satisfaction of the debentures themselves. He was standing upon this—that they ought to allow the purchasing authority to buy up these de bentures at a price which the arbitrators said was fair. He was going to show to the House that the present provisions of the Bill were an inequitable departure from the equitable practice of Parliament. What did the Bill propose? The Bill proposed that those who held irredeemable debentures should receive of Metropolitan water stock an amount which would produce an income equal to that which they would get from those debentures. Now, no man of business could possibly defend that as fair. [Cries of "Oh," from the Ministerial Benches.] He was going to prove it. He did not attach weight to mere assertion. Just let him give a parallel instance. Suppose there was a man with a grouud rent of some property which was required by a railway company for a station. Could it be said that that man would be receiving a fair value for what he was giving up if it were said to the Railway Company that that man must have an equal revenue charge on the station. The probability was that the rent which was worth twenty or twenty-two years' purchase would instantly spring up to a rent equal to thirty or thirty-three years' purchase, and he would be receiving what was a capital value, 50 per cent, more than he was giving up. Everybody knew that certain property would be valued to return 5 per cent., but freeholds were valued at a much smaller rate. Consols yielding 2½ per cent, were worth £100. "[An Hon. Member on the Ministerial Benches: 92½.] He was not taking the particular value of Consols at this moment. A safe investment of a different type could be found which returned a higher interest and he said, without the slightest fear of contradiction, that no business man would say that the capital value of an investment could be measured by the return which it gave. If that were true, there could be no question that his method was equally fair. What he said was that a fair capital value ought to be obtained for what was given up, and no more. If it was said on the other side that the capital value and the income value would lead to the same result, then why depart from the universal practice of Parliament and take the value from income and not from capital'? That he was light was evident, for looking at the stocks of the water companies themselves, they found that the irredeemable debentures of some of the water companies stood at a higher figure than those which had the same amount of income. Could it be fair that the owners of these two stocks should receive the same sum of money? it was not fair, even between the owners of the stocks belonging to the different companies; still less was it fair between the owners of the stocks and the metropolitan consumers. What was the case in regard to them? There was no question that metropolitan water stock, secured on the rating value over the whole of its enormous area, would stand exceedingly high in the market. That was to say, the capital value as compared with the income value would stand very high —far higher than these water stocks. If it was said that it would not, then surely this Amendment would be accepted. But it was nonsense to say that the credit of the area from which the rates were derived to pay the income on the water stock would not be such as not to give them a very high capital value in the market. If a person who held the present irredeemable debentures was to get an equal income, ho would be given a considerably higher value than that at which the stock was bought and sold in the market at the time this Bill was brought in. and it would be departing from Parliamentary practice for eighty years. And in whose interest would they be departing thus from Parliamentary practice? The interest of the body of people holding these particular stocks. And what would be the interpretation put on it? Only one. Nobody could say that it was not fair to give them the capita] value which their holders had in the market; but if a special mode of compensating them were adopted, which gave them in this case, he believed, half-a-million more than they would get by the ordinary Parliamentary practice, the only interpretation that would be put on it would be that the Government had not held even the scales of justice between the buyer and the seller: that it had been influenced by some power; that it had been affected by the financial interests of the owners of this stock: and that it had allowed itself—because these persons were very powerful—to leave that position which had always been considered to be the equitable position of allowing purchase at a fair va'ue to be determined by the arbitrators —making only such allowance as was necessary to prevent loss on re-investment. Now, what he proposed was that the arbitrators should fix the value of that interest. In other words the Water Trust should be treated like every other purchaser of property for public purposes up till now had been treated. He was curious to know what answer would be given to his argument. In the first place, it could not be said that what he proposed was unfair. It could not be said that if the holders of the water companies, stock got a fair capital value for what they held, they were being treated inequitably. It could not be said that it was a matter of indifference as to the form the Clause should take in going through the Committee. There was no question that these water stocks—certainly in the case of many of the companies—did not stand at such a high capital value per cent, as the Metropolitan Consolidated Stock, for instance. It could not be said that his proposal was a violation of any compact between the companies and the holders of these debentures. It was simply compulsory purchase; it was a violation of no arrangement; it did not pretend to redeem the irredeemable, but simply insisted on the power of purchase at a fair market value. He suggested that the Committee would be showing that it was not influenced by the pressure of a wealthy body of people to depart from the well-known equitable lines which had guided its conduct for the last cighty years by adopting his Amendment.

Amendment proposed— In page 4, line 10, to leave out- from the word ' as,' to the word 'debenture,' in line 11, and insert the words ' in the opinion of the arbitrators will be equivalent in value to an equally good security producing the same income as the.' "—(Mr. Fletcher Movlton.)

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

(3.40.) SIR FREDERICK BANBURY () Camberwell, Peckham

said he gathered from the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument that he maintained the debenture holders of the Water Companies were under the present Clause of the Bill to receive more than they were entitled to, and he proposed by his Amendment that they should be paid in something which would be of equivalent value to an equally good security producing the same income. Now, lie thought that if the honi and learned Gentleman's Amendment were carried, it would give to the debenture holders a larger capital value for their stock than they would receive under the Bill as it stood. He would endeavour to show to the Committee why that should be. The debenture stocks of the London Water Companies were trustee securities—the only trustee securities which were not Corporation or Government stock, or the debentures of English railways. Now, 3 per cent, debenture stock of English railways stood at the present moment at 101. They varied from 100 to 101½, at which latter figure the London and North Western debentures now stood. If the Amendment were carried they would have to give more than the par value to the owners of the present water stock, because they would have to give something which would produce the same income. The circular which had been issued by the London County Council assumed that the water stock would be at par. What was the basis for such an assumption? The only stock to which the new water stock could be compared was the 3 per cent, stock of the London County Council. It would not be contended that that stock, which was secured on the rates, would be worth less than the 3 per cent, stock of the Water Board, which was also secured on the rates. Yet the County Council stock stood at from 98 ½ to 98 ½; and, therefore, it could not be assumed that the new stock would be at par.


said that the debentures could be purchased at their value.


said it was curious that the hon. and learned Gentleman should have said that, because only the other day he wished to buy £1,500 worth of water debenture stock and could not get it. Then the circular stated that the stocks should be exchanged on the basis of the Stock Exchange prices for December last. In that month the war was still dragging on, and the stocks were lower than they had been for the preceding ten years. Was it right, therefore, to pick out that particular month? In December he himself gave evidence before the Joint Committee on that very point. Moreover, they did not even take the average prices for the month, but the lowest prices recorded. The hon. and learned Gentleman asked how it was that one debenture stock stood higher than another. The explanation was simple. There might be stock of one company on the market and no stock of another; and the stock which happened to be on the market stood at a lower price than stock which was not on the market. The water debenture stock stood at from 96 ½ to 97 ½, and the County Council stock s'tood at from 981/4 to 98½. That was the difference: and it seemed to him that the County Council was endeavouring to make a mountain out of a molehill. The Amendment would give the debenture holders more than they would get under the Bill as it stood, and would add extremely to the cost, trouble, and time that would be involved. Therefore, he trusted that the Government would adhere to their proposal, and give the debenture holders their present incomes. The hon. and learned Member appeared to be under the impression that the capital value had a good deal to do with the matter; but the people who held the debenture stock were trustees, and it was a matter of perfect indifference to the majority of them whether the stock would be worth 97 ½ or 98 ½, as they would only look to the income. For all these reasons he hoped the Government would adhere to their proposal.

MR. SYDXEY BUXTON () Tower Hamlets, Poplar

said he did not know why the hon. Baronet was opposing the Amendment, because he seemed to think that the debenture holders would not be any worse off, and might be better off under the Amendment.


asked why the public should have to pay more than was required.


said he would be prepared to take the risk of that. The hon. Baronet was a great authority on prices and credit, but he confessed he did not think that the figures the hon. Baronet quoted were really germane. In dealing with such large sums they ought to pay to the holders something equivalent to that which they now had: and that was what was proposed by the Amendment of his hon. and learned friend. At present the various debenture stocks were speculative; they differed in price; and he did not think that the hon. Baronet would contend that they were all of the same value.


said that they varied from 97 to 99 at the present moment.


said that that might be the case at the present moment, but if they looked back a year or two they would find the variation had been a great deal more. At all events, the holders were going to get a better security than the}' had at present, as the new stock would have behind it the rates of London, and would be better as regarded security, stability, and marketability. Then, again, it should be remembered that the debenture stocks varied very much in regard to the amount of debentures issued. Some of the companies had been very provident, and had issued a comparatively small amount of debenture stock, whereas other companies had issued a very considerable portion of their capital in the form of debentures. He did not see why the Government should deal differently with the debentures from the way in which debentures were treated in Clause 2 Under that Clause the Water Board was not to take into account any question of debentures, redeemable or irredeemable, but was to pay over a certain sum to the companies concerned, leaving them to deal with their own debenture stock. That was practically the alternative that was now suggested to the Government. Either they should be given the same value, or a lump sum to deal with their debenture stocks in their own way. He confessed he did not see why the debentures, whether they were of a speculative value or not, should be entitled to a larger sum than they would at present fetch. Their contention was that the proposal of the Government would involve an increased capital charge of between £200,000 and £;300,000 on the ratepayers, and he would, therefore, support the Amendment.

*SIR E. DURNING - LAWRENCE () Cornwall, Truro

said he did not hold any shares in the Water Companies, but he happened to know that there was great difficulty experienced by trustees in purchasing high class debenture stocks. The Committee could not imagine the enormous trouble that would be caused to the market by the repayment of £10,000,000, 3 per cent, debenture stock of the Water Companies, which would necessitate the purchase of £10,000,000 of the class of stock that was capable of being held by trustees. Even at present an investor had to wait for two or three months before he could invest a comparatively small sum of £100,000 or £200,000; and if £10,000,000 of trustee stock was demanded from the market it could not be supplied for two, three, or five months, and every kind of debenture stock would rise, while the throwing of an extra £10,000,000 of the new Water Stock upon the market would for a time seriously depress that particular stock,


said it was quite true that they could not get £10,000,000 of debentures at present; but, immediately the Bill was passed, every one of the debentures would have to be exchanged, and the whole of the £10,000,000 would be forthcoming. The argument of the hon. Baronet the Member for Peckham wras a little closer, because he quoted from the circular of the London County Council, which was a very good authority. The hon. Baronet gave very useful evidence before preceding Committees, and especially helped Lord Llandaff's Committee to the conclusion at which it arrived. The hon. Baronet now contended that the debentures of the companies were equally as good a security as the new water stock. If they were, the acceptance of the Amendment would not do any harm to the vendors. But some of the debentures were not as good as others; the interest was not the same in all cases; and he was quite sure that hon. Gentlemen opposite would agree that the more debentures that were issued the less valuable they were. What he submitted was, that as the stock to be bought varied, whereas the stock to be issued would not vary, it was necessary to accept a provision such as that proposed in the Amendment. Their whole argument turned on the question as to whether the new stock would be, on the whole, better than the present stock. The Water Board would have all the stock that the companies possessed and a great deal more, for they would hare the rates of the area behind them. This would put the security in a different class altogether from that in which the Water Company debentures stood. The hon. Baronet had tried to impugn the authority of the Council's statement by saying that in December the war had not been finished, and the ' stocks and shares were higher now than j then. As a matter of fact, Consols were lower now than they had been at any time during the war. and it was hardly fair to suggest that the Council took an unfavourable date. The reason the water debenture stock was higher now was because of this Bill. This Amendment, would in no way restrict the arbitrators.

*MR. COHEN () Islington, E.

said that in his opinion the new stock would be lower in market value, and not higher, than the Water Companies' debenture stock. He had been much impressed by what had fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, and he personally would be glad if they could, in the arrangement of this Bill, uphold the ordinary procedure of the House in these matters, and if he objected to this Amendment it was solely in the interest of the ratepayers. This was new stock, for which a price had to be created, and it would suffer an; unavoidable amount of depreciation on the market, whereas the stock proposed to be substituted would be appreciated. Let them by all means depreciate as much as possible what they wished to buy, but do not let them rig the market against themselves by appreciating what they wished to purchase


The point which they were anxious to raise was the substitution of such an amount of stock as should be equivalent in value. The question, therefore, was as to how much new water stock should be issued, and there was no need to complicate matters by introducing the consideration of income. The reasons which decided him to vote in favour of the Amendment were two. One was that the capital value of the new water stock would, cent. for cent., £100 for £100, be greater than the value of the old Water Companies' debenture stock. The hon. Baronet, who spoke with such authority on Stock Exchange matters, would not deny that.


I think the difference would be very small—1 per cent, or 1 ½ per cent.


said it was stated on behalf of the County Council that it would be 10 per cent. If the hon. Baronet were right it would not much matter, but if the County, Council were right the question would be a most important one. The importance or otherwise of the question, however, did not affect the merits of the proposed arrangement. One hon. Member had said the water stock would be more valuable than the old Water Companies' stock; then was it fair that the House should give to the debenture holders that which, in the judgment of the arbitrators, would be an absolute equivalent in value in new water stock 1 Was it a fair way of measuring the price that there should be in the new water stock no more than that which the arbitrator thought to be a fair equivalent in capital value? He should have liked to have heard from the hon. Baronet, or some other Stock Exchange authority, something upon this point. It was alleged that by the action of the Government they were equalising securities which were at the moment not equal in value. It was suggested that if there was such a difference it was because one stock was scarcer than the other, and therefore, regarded as a Stock Exchange commodity, fetched a higher price. Whether it was so or not, it was not the allegation of those who opposed the Government plan. Their allegation I was that this difference existed between [the stock of one company and that of another; that the larger the amount of stock in proportion to the security the smaller was the margin of security, and the less valuable would the debenture stock be. That had nothing to do with the comparative scarcity of the stock, regarded as Stock Exchange goods, and he would be glad to know from somebody who could speak with authority whether or not there was a different margin of security for the various debenture stocks.


thought the hon. Member was in error in supposing the difference in price to be due to there being a larger or smaller amount of debenture stock. The difference depended on whether or not there had been an issue, so that there was more of one stock about than of another. There might possibly be a slight difference in the direction suggested by the hon. Gentleman in the case of the New River Company, in consequence of certain associations which made its stock a little more valuable than its intrinsic worth.


took refuge in the undeniable fact that, if there was a better security for one stock than for another, the stock with the better security must have the larger market value. If the Water Company differed in this respect, there was a difference in the present value of the stock, and under the Government proposal that difference would be extinguished. That was certainly not fair if true, and it constituted a strong objection to the plan of the Government. As the suggestion of his hon. friend avoided the difficulty, in the absence of any further explanation he should support it.


said the debate had confirmed him in the view that the course adopted by the Government was the wisest and best. Whatever might be the truth as between the opinions held by experts as to the different ways of valuing these securities, one fact had come out clearly, viz., that, if the condition of these stocks was so various and was governed by circumstances so completely outside the control of the ordinary investor, the hon. and learned Member's proposal, if inserted in the Bill in the first instance, would have resulted in operations having for their object the forcing up of the price of securities in order that the arbitrator should fix a higher value. What was the present situation? The Government believed they were doing even-handed justice between the holders of these securities and the ratepayers. Everybody knew that, under the Bill as it stood, persons holding this class of investment were entitled to its equivalent in income. One did not require to be a financial expert to understand that. If, however, the Amendment were adopted, it would immediately become the object and business of those interested to see that such a market value was created as would secure for them a high price. It had been said that it was not right that the holders of such stock should get special consideration. He was not afraid to defend the holders of valuable property in the House of Commons, if it was right that they should be defended. There was no crime in defending the rights of property simply because the owner of the property happened to be a rich man. But that question did not enter into this matter at all. What had caused the Government to have special care in dealing with these debentures was the knowledge, conveyed to them by experts, that the stocks were held to a large extent, not by wealthy people to whom a reduction of income would be a matter of small consequence, but by trustees on behalf of poor people to whom even a small percentage of reduction of income would mean, not only the loss of luxuries, but in many cases the difference between comfort and discomfort. Then it had been urged that no precedent existed for such a transaction. If it was a question of precedent, he might point out that there was no precedent for the compulsory redemption of this class of irredeemable stock. It was a very strong step the Government were taking. Lord Llandaff's Commission reported against it, and Lord Llandaff maintained his opposition in the Joint Committee, but the Government, when they had to consider the steps they would take, decided that in the best interests of municipal finance a permanent debt ought not to be hung around the neck of any local authority. This was the first of those permanent debts, and consequently the Government decided that these irredeemable debentures should be redeemable. Parliament was asked to enact that between the passing of the Bill and the redemption of the stock a sufficient interval should elapse to prevent any possibility of injustice to existing holders, and terms were provided which the Government believed to be clear and equitable. By taking this middle course the Government thought they would be doing justice all round, and the debate had confirmed them in that opinion. Both sides had the same object in view, viz., that justice should be done, and that the ratepayers should not suffer loss. Curiously enough, the hon. and learned Gentleman on the other side thought his plan would save the ratepayers' pockets, while equally eminent experts on the Government side thought that result

would be secured by the plan of the Bill. He was not so foolish as to step in between experts, but he thought that when such eminent experts differed, the Government had acted wisely in taking their present course, and he hoped the Committee would support them.

(4.23) Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 119; Noes, 45. (Division List No. 613.)

Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Galloway, William Johnson Murray, Charles J.(Coventry)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Garfit, William Nicol, Donald Ninian
Allhusen, Augustus H'nry Eden Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans) Percy. Earl
Anson, Sir William Reynell Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'r Haml'ts Plummer, Walter R.
Arkwright, John Stanhope Goulding, Edward Alfred Pretyman, Ernest George
Arrol, Sir William Greville, Hon. Ronald Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Purvis, Robert
Bailey, James (Walworth) Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G(Midd'x Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Balcarres, Lord Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. Rattigan, Sir William Henry
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J.(Manch'r Harris, Frederick Leverton Remnant, James Farquharson
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Hay. Hon. Claude George Richards, Henry Charles
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W.(Leeds Heaton, John Henniker Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Howard. J.(Midd., Tottenham) Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Bignold, Arthur Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Bigwood, James Hudson, George Bickersteth Royds, Clement Molyneux
Blundell, Colonel Henry Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Samuel, Harry S. (Lime house)
Bowles, Capt. H. F.(Middlesex) Kemp, George Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Brassey, Albert Kimber, Henry Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Law. Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Bull, William James Lawrence, Sir Joseph(Monm'th Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Lawson, John Grant Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East
Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire Lecky. Rt. Hn. William Edw. H. Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Chapman, Edward Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Spear. John Ward
Charrington, Spencer Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Clive, Captain Percy A. Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Thornton, Percy M.
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham Tritton, Charles Ernest
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Bristol, S. Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Lonsdale, John Brownlee Valentia, Viscount
Cripps, Charles Alfred Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Crossley, Sir Savile Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth) Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.
Dewar, Sir T. R.(Tower Hamlets Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E(Tauut'n
Dickson, Charles Scott Macdona, John Cumming Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Maconochie, A. W. Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Durning-Lawrence. Sir Edwin Malcolm. Ian Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Maple, Sir John Blundell Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J(Manc'r) Mildmay, Francis Bingham Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Fisher, William Hayes More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)
Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Mount, William Arthur TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Flower, Ernest Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Forster, Henry William Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute
Asher, Alexander Cremer, William Randal Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.
Atherley-Jones, L. Crombie, John William Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington
Burns, John Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Levy, Maurice
Burt, Thomas Emmott, Alfred Lough, Thomas
Buxton, Sydney Charles Evans, Sir Francis H(Maidstone Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Caldwell, James Fenwick, Charles M' Arthur, William (Cornwall)
Cameron, Robert Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John M' Kenna, Reginald
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir E.(Berwick) Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Causton, Richard Knight Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)
Craig, Robert Hunter Hayne. Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Philipps, John Wynford
Pirie, Duncan V. Spencer, Rt Hn C. R.(Northants Whiteley, George(York, W. R.)
Rea, Russell Strachey, Sir Edward
Rugg, Richard Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings
Robertson, Edmund (Dundee) Tomkinson, James TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Samuel, Harbert L.(Cleveland) Wallace, Robert Mr. Fletcher Moulton and
Sinclair, John (Forfarshire Wason, Engene (Clackmannan) Mr. Corrie Grant.
Soames, Arthur Wellesley Wason, John Cathe art(Orkney)
(4.35.) Mr. GEORGE WHITELEY () Yorkshire, W. R., Pudsey

moved to omit sub-Section 6 from Clause 7. He desired to ask—Why should there be such a long period as sixty years 1 They were taking in this Bill a minimum period of sixty years, thus preventing the public generally from deriving any advantage from the cheapening of omney during that period. If this Amendment were carried it would assist the public, who were being deprived of the advantages which they would have received under the Bill originally introduced by the Government. The new Water Board ought to have an opportunity of paying of their loans after thirty years, and reborrowing with advantage to the public.

Amendment proposed— In page 4, line 32, to leave out sub-Section (6)."—(Mr. George, Whitdey.)

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


hoped the, Member for Pudsey would not think it necessary to press this Amendment, because, as he was advised, the effect of the Amendment, if carried, would really not be precisely what was anticipated. If they left out the sub-Section which prescribed that the stock should not be redeemable until after sixty years, the effect would be to leave it with the Local Government Board, under Clause 18, sub-Section 2a, to make their own regulations as to any period of redemption. The object of the hon. Member was apparently to leave out this period of sixty years in order that a shorter period should be inserted. He had already told the Committee what were the reasons which led the Government to think there ought to be a period of not less than sixty years. He did not think it was necessary for him to repeat those reasons, and he hoped the hon. Member would not press the Amendment.


asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


moved to leave out the word "not" in line 33. He moved this Amendment because it was a recommendation which was strongly insisted upon by the Llandaff Commission. If they took away from these persons their irredeemable stock, they ought to let them have new stock of equal value. Irredeemable stock was worth more than redeemable, but they were taking away by compulsion irredeemable stock and giving no compensation for it. It might lie urged that they were giving a slightly better security, but the difference was very small. He trusted that his right hon. friend would, at any rate, see his way, if he could not give irredeemable stock, to extend the period for longer than sixty years.

Amendment proposed— In page 4, line 33, to leave out the word 'not.'"—(Sir Frederick Banbury.)

Question proposed, "That the word ' not' stand part of the Clause."


said he regarded this Amendment as a reactionary step. It had been the in variable practice for many years to instil into municipalities the desirability of freeing themselves from perpetual debt, and to follow up that practice by another which had for its object the making perpetual of these securities would be very undesirable. He had already pointed out the reason why the Government thought it was desirable to ask Parliament to make a redemption of irredeemable stock possible, and there was not a very great difference between sixty and eighty years. He asked the hon. Baronet the Member for Peckham, who spoke with great authority on these questions, not to invite the Committee to take a step which might form a very bad precedent, and which might be quoted in a great number of cases in the future.

MR. HALDANE () Haddingtonshire

said he should have, liked a little more definiteness from the right hon. Gentleman about the period of redemption. It appeared to him that sixty years was not too long a period, and it was desirable to keep the Clause as it stood in the Bill. He thought that to extend the period further would be tying the hands of the municipality unnecessarily. He should deprecate the extension of the period in any way.


thought the Hon. and learned Gentleman would agree with him that if in the interest of the State property was to be taken away, compensation should be given. He under stood his right hon. friend would make no objection to that if he withdrew his Amendment and substituted the word eighty."


No, no.


said he understood, if the word "sixty were left in, the option would remain at the end of sixty years.


said he understood that the President of the Local Government Board was opposing the Amendment.


What I said was that while I deprecated the adoption of the Amendment, if there was a general desire expressed that there should be an extension, I should be willing to give it consideration.


asked leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


moved to leave out "sixty" and insert "thirty" in Clause 7, line 33. It seemed to him that in regard to this matter the President of the Local Government Board required a little stiffening of the back from the Opposition side of the House. The hon. Baronet had said that the debenture holder got better security, and therefore ought to accept that stock on slightly less advantageous terms than he would otherwise be expected to take. They would have one minimum term of redemption of sixty years, and another minimum term of redemption of thirty years. It was very disadvantageous at the beginning to create two different classes of stock. The Water Board should be put in the position of the London County Council of being able to redeem stock after thirty years. He did not think any injury was sustained through that arrangement by the people who took the stock. The right hon. Gentleman knew very well, from his experience in local government matters, that in no case were long sinking funds and long terms of redemption given. He suggested that the right hon. Gentleman should, in regard to the Water Board, adopt the same period for the redemption of stock as in the case of other bodies.

Amendment proposed — In page 4, line 33, to leave out the word 'sixty' and insert the word 'thirty.'"—(Mr. George Whidey.)

Question proposed, "That the word ' sixty ' stand part of the Clause."


said that what happened in this matter was this. Before the Joint Committee of Lords and Commons both the Water Companies and the London County Council were represented by eloquent and able counsel. One party claimed that eighty years should be the period, and the other party contended that thirty years should be fixed. The Joint Committee, in order to arrive at a compromise, agreed to put in "sixty,'' believing that would be a nice medium. The Government considered that sixty years ought to be accepted as a compromise between the two contending parties.


said it had been stated that these debenture holders were entitled to a longer term because they had an irredeemable security now, and because they were asked to give up something they had come to like. The hon. Baronet thought, therefore, they ought to be compensated for giving it up. He wished to point out that, owing to their having had this irredeemable security, it had advanced greatly in value. What were the circumstances under which they were asked to give up the security? The circumstances were the same with regard to the debenture holders as the other stockholders. This House said that it was for the public benefit that they should give up their securities. They had been very well compensated in the high price to which the securities had gone, and it was on a liberal scale that they would be bought out. The Committee should look at this from the municipal point of view. The municipalities had not got long periods for the redemption of stock, and, therefore, he thought thirty years would answer for all practical purposes.

SIR J. BLUNDELL MAPLE () Camberwell, Dulwich

said that the Committee would do well to take into consideration the provisions of Clause 8 when dealing with this matter. That Clause provided that the Water Board should within eighty years purchase or redeem all redeemable debenture stock and all mortgage debts. Tie thought, therefore, if the date were extended, it should be to eighty instead of sixty years. He hoped the lion. Baronet would take a division if the Government did not alter "sixty" to "eighty."

(4.58.) Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 119: Noes 48. (Division List No. 614.)

Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Calloway, William Johnson Nieol, Donald Ninian
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Garfit, William Percy, Earl
Allhusen. Augustus H'nry Eden Gibbs, Hon. Vieaiy (St. Albans) Plummer, Walter R.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'r H'mlets Pretyman, Ernest George
Arkwright, John Stanhope Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Arrol, Sir William Goulding, Edward Alfred Purvis, Robert
Atkinson, Kt. Hon. John Grenfell, William Henry Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Bailey, James (Walworth) Greville, Hon. Ronald Rattigan, Sir William Henry
Balcarres, Lord Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Remnant, James Farquharson
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G(Midd'x Richards, Henry Charles
Balfour, Capt. C. 15. (Hornsey) Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W.(Leeds Heaton, John Henniker Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Bignold, Arthur Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Blundell, Colonel Henry Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham Round, Kt. Hon. James
Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Royds, Clement Molyneux
Brassey, Albert Hudson. George Bickersteth Samuel, Harry S. (Lime house)
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Saunderson. Rt. Hn Col. Edw. J.
Bull, William James Kimber, Henry Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Burdett-Coutts, W. Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Carson, lit. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Lawrence. Sir Joseph (Monm'th Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire Lawson, John Grant Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Lecky, Rt Hon. William Ed w. H. Spear, John Ward
Chapman, Edward Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)
Charrington, Spencer Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Clive, Captain Percy M. Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Thornton, Percy M.
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S Tritton, Charles Ernest
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Lonsdale, John Brownlee Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Compton, Lord Alwyne Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Valentia, Viscount
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Crossley, Sir Savile Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Walrond. Rt Hn. Sir William H,
Dickson, Charles Scott Macdona, John Cumming Welby, Lt-Col. A. C. E(Taunton
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Maconochie, A. W. Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Malcolm, Ian Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Mildmay, Francis Bingham Wilson-Todd, Win. H. (Yorks.)
Fergusson, Rt. Hn Sir J.(Manc'r Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Fisher, William Hayes Morgan, David J(Walth'mstow Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Mount. William Arthur
Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Austruther.
Flower, Ernest Murray, Rt Hn. A. Graham (Bute
Forster, Henry William Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Asher, Alexander Burns, John Caldwell, James
Atherley-Jones, L. Burt, Thomas Cameron, Robert
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Buxton, Sydney Charles Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.
Carew, James Laurence Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Causton, Richard Knight Levy, Maurice Spencer. Rt. Hn. C. R (Northants
Cremer, William Randal Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Strachey. Sir Edward
Crombie. John William M' Arthur, William (Cornwall) Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings
Davies. M. Vaughan-(Cardigan M'Kenna, Reginald Tomkinson, James
Dunn, Sir William Maple, Sir John Blundell Wallace, Robert
Evans, Sir Francis H (Maidstone Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wason, Eugene(Clackmannan)
Fenwick, Charles Pease, J. A. (Saffron. Walden Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney
Gladstone, Rt Hn. Herbert John Philipps, John Wynford Yoxall, James Henry
Grant, Corrie Pirie, Duncan V.
Grey. Rt. Hon. Sir E.(Berwick) Rea, Russell
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard Rigg, Richard TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. George Whiteley and Mr. Lough.
Hay. Hon. Claude George Robertson. Edmund (Dundee)
Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Hayter. Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8:—


said he wished to move an Amendment to extend the period in which the water authority was compelled to redeem its securities from eighty to 100 years. No doubt eighty years was a very considerable period, but, having regard to the fact that the amount to be redeemed would amount to forty millions at least. the result would be rather a heavy charge it the Sinking Fund. He thought lie was right in saying that the Llandaff Commission contemplated 100 years as the possible period, and lie suggested to the Government that it would be well worth their consideration to adopt 100 instead of eighty years.

Amendment proposed—

" In page 4. line 36, to leave out ' eighty,' and insert ' one hundred.'''

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 8, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 9:—

Amendment proposed—

" In page 5, line 17, leave out 'also.'" (Mr. lough.)

Question proposed, "That the word also ' stand part of the Clause."


said that this Amendment was moved in order to alter the Clause a little further down by inserting the words "for the most part." The phrase proposed to be inserted was extremely vague. This proposal had been very carefully considered by the Joint Select Committee. The object was that the best information in regard to the New River Company's undertaking should be at the disposal of the new Board, but he preferred the words in the Bill to those of the Amendment.


asked leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by lease, withdrawn.

MR. ATHEKLEY- JONES () Durham, N. W.

said he understood that the present debenture stock of the New River Company extended to all their property, including property other than that which would he acquired for the purposes of the Water Trust, and the extent to which that property would be relieved from the burden of these debentures would be the measure of the increased value of these debentures. He wished to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether it would be within the power of the arbitrators to apportion the debenture stock between the land which remained to the New River Company and the land which was required to be taken by the Water 'Trust, or whether the arbitrators would deduct such amount of the value of the residue land as was created by the debentures being freed.

Amendment proposed— In page 5, line 28, after the word ' secured,' to insert ' and the court of arbitration shall estimate the amount by which the capital value of such estate, houses, and property will be enhanced in consequence of such freedom and discharge, and shall deduct the same from the value of the undertaking of the New River Company as determined under Section 23 (a) of this Act. '"—(Mr. Atherley-Jones.) Question proposed, "That those words lie there inserted.'


said that it was a fair assumption of the hon. and learned Gentleman that the landed property of the New River Company which remained after the new hoard took over that part of their undertaking which was required would lie increased in value, but whether it would he right that there should be any deduction for the value of that estate was another matter. There could he no doubt whatever that this question, in whole or in part, would come before the arbitrators, and they had full powers to decide whether any allowance should be given or not.


said that under these circumstances he begged leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


on behalf of the hon.

Member for Lichfield, moved— In page 5, line28, after the word 'secured,' to insert, 'provided that the Water Board shall have reasonable access to all such books, accounts, or documents as relate to the undertaking of the New River Company purchased by the Water Board.'


said that that was secured by Clause 42.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

*MR. CORRIE GRANT () Warwickshire, Rugby

said that the shares of the New River Company carried with them the peculiar capacity of carrying a vote, and he wished to raise that question at this point.

Amendment proposed— In page 7, line S, after the word 'passed.' to insert 'provided always that, such shares shall not be deemed to be freehold property for the purposes of the Parliamentary or any other franchise.'"—(Mr. Corric Grant.)

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


said that this was not a Bill dealing with the Parliamentary franchise, hut dealing with the transfer of an undertaking from one public body to another. He submitted, as a point of order, that the Amendment was inadmissible.


said it was not in order on this Bill to alter the Parliamentary franchise.


said, on the point of order, that it was well known that shares in the New River Company were an exception to the ordinary rule that shares were personal estate; they were real estate. Therefore he submitted that it was open to the Committee to deal with these shares under this Bill as an anomaly in the law, and that it was right to make this change.


said that it was not competent within the scope of the Bill to deal with the franchise.


said that they should not be dealing with any question of the franchise, but with the nature of hereditaments which, by virtue of the peculiar character attached to them, had carried the franchise against the general rule. If it were necessary to put it in any clear form, that could be done by altering the Amendment, and by saying, after line 33, "shall continue to be of the nature of land to the like extent, and in like manner, as hereinbefore, except so far as to carry any privileges with regard to voting which would not attach to personal estate."


said that the shares of the New River Company at present carried a vote because they were real property. That was to say, any share or portion of a share, in the New River Company gave a person who held it an interest in the land covered by water. That interest was to be transferred to the Water Board. This Clause merely dealt with what was substituted for that interest in the land. The words of the Amendment were altogether alien to the matter with which the Committee were dealing.


said that the Attorney General's argument was the strongest which could be used in favour of his Amendment. The shareholders of the Now River Company owned land covered by water, and because of that they had a vote. But now it was proposed to transfer that land to the Water Board, and yet they were to keep the vote.


said the Amendment was in order.


said he had, on the point of order, stated his argument. He contended that the shareholders, having parted with the land to the Water Board, ought not to continue to have the vote.


said he could not see how the franchise would remain after the transfer of the undertaking of the New River Company to the Water Board, as the shares would become Water Stock, and he deeply regretted because the shareholders were mostly electors of his own Division.


said that nobody suggested for an instant that the right to vote as now enjoyed by the shareholders the New River Company would be transferred to the members of the new Water Board. But when they dealt, in the way suggested by the Amendment, with the franchise in a Bill for a totally different purpose, it was, as the Attorney General had pointed out, very dangerous. He believed that the words of the Amendment were unnecessary, and he doubted whether they ought to be inserted; but if the hon. and learned Member would allow the matter to remain over till the Report stage, he would consult with the Attorney General and see what could be done.

MR. RICHARDS () Finsbury, E.

said that the Amendment was an attack on the ownership vote. When the water undertaking of the New River Company was conveyed to the Water Board, there would be still qualifying property left to the shareholders of the Company which ought to be entitled to the franchise. The Amendment was an underhand way of shutting out the 40s. freeholder.


said he would be very glad to leave the question in the hands of the President of the Local Government Board, and he asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


said he begged to move, on behalf of the hon. Member for Torquay: "In page 7, line 9, after the word 'shall,' to insert' at their own cost.' "He thought this was a particularly reasonable proposal.


said that this question had been very carefully considered by the Joint Select Committee. The New River Company had asked to insert words in the Bill which would compel the Water Board to pay their costs, but this had been keenly opposed; and the decision of the Joint Select Committee was that this was a question which ought to be left to the arbitrators.


said, upon that understanding, he would withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 9 agreed to.

Clause 10:—

(5.35.) Dr. MACNAMARA () Camberwell, N.

said the right hon. Gentleman would see, from the general scope of this Clause, that the words he proposed by his Amendment to leave out of this Clause relating to the Staines Reservoirs were mere surplusage, because the claim for any expenditure the companies made would be left in.

Amendment proposed— In page 8, line 8 to leave out from 'for, 'to ' any,' in line 10."—(Dr. Macnamara.)

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


said this was one of those cases for which a Bill of this kind was invariably sent to a Committee upstairs. This case had been very carefully considered before that Committee. Although it was very difficult to imagine what claims would be made with regard to the Staines reservoirs, all this Clause did was to say that any rights the Company had at the present time they should be able to claim before the arbitrators. Under all the circumstances he should be very sorry to take these words out.


said he was very glad to hear the words of the right hon. Gentleman, because there were no rights under the Staines Reservoirs Act. Under the circumstances it seemed to him that these words were unnecessary, and in fact it would be dangerous to put them in the Clause.


I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn

Clause 10 was agreed to.

Clause 11:—

Amendment proposed— In page 8, line 39, after the word 'accordingly,' to add ' and not only to the parts so supplied, hut also to the remainder of that district, except the portion supplied by the East London Waterworks Company.' "—(Mr. Joseph Howard.)

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


said all this Amendment did was to make it perfectly clear that when the Water Board supplied the area in the urban district of Tottenham, at present supplied by the New River Company and the Urban District Council, it should also supply all the remainder except the part supplied by the East London Water Company. He hoped the Committee would accept it.


did not think the Committee ought to consent to this proposal. The Tottenham district was at present supplied by three Water Companies. Tottenham's object in coming in under this Bill was obvious; it would secure a very great reduction in the price of its own water supply, because the Tottenham Company charged a far higher price for its water than the East London Water Company or the New River Company. But this new Water Board was going to buy up the Tottenham district supply on the basis of its present price, and in return for that it should be secured in all the privileges which the Tottenham district enjoyed. This Amendment was brought forward to prevent them succeeding to these rights of the East London Water Company. Why should the new Water Board be bound to reduce their charges to the limit of the New River Company rates? The new Water Board was compelled by this Bill to treat the Tottenham district not as the Tottenham Company or the East London Water Company would have treated it. They were compelled to take the lowest scale of charges, which was that of the New River Company. The Water Board should not be treated in this way. It ought to be allowed to succeed to the rights of the Company. This Amendment was unfair to the Water Board, because it would compel them to pay the higher price and charge on the lower scale. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider this matter and allow the Clause to remain as it was.

MR. JOSEPH HOWARD () Middlesex, Tottenham

This Amendment has been on the Paper ever since early in the summer.


It is a very wrong thing indeed.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 11, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 12:—

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Clause 12 stand part of the Bill."— (Mr. Walter Long.)


expressed the opinion that this Clause ought not to be rushed through like this. It illustrated exactly the principle upon which the right hon. Gentleman treated all the outer areas. So far as he could see, the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to do nothing that London wanted, but everything for the urban and rural districts. Clause 12 dealt with Richmond and Croydon, and the proposal was that water should he supplied to those places in bulk. Why should not this provision with regard to these places be made general to all the urban districts?


said the proposal in the Clause, by which the new Water Board were relieved of the obligation of supplying Richmond, Croydon, Cheshunt, and Ware, was in conformity with the recommendation of Lord Llandaffs Commission, and had been approved by the Joint Committee He had only heard one opinion as to the justice of the proposal.

MR. JOHN BURNS () Battersea

pointed out that under Clause 13 it would be possible for outside areas to abandon their present systems of supply and compel the Board to supply water in bulk. That was obviously unjust. If these bodies cut themselves adrift they ought to be compelled to stand by their decision, or, if they wanted relief, to apply to Parliament for it. It seemed to him, therefore, that if Clause 12, as defined by the right hon. Gentleman, were passed, the conditions under which these bodies could obtain water in bulk would have to be modified

MR. HUDSON () Hertfordshire, Hitchin

was understood to point out that when these authorities to which reference had been made originally applied to the New River Company for a supply of water it was absolutely refused. They therefore set up at great expense waterworks of their own. All they now asked was that in the event of the new water authority draining their wells dry they should have a right to be supplied with water in bulk at a reasonable price. That was simply common fairness.


said that if these outside boroughs had supported the County Council six years ago in its desire to secure the water supply and to obtain a new source of supply in Wales, there would have been a sufficient supply to enable the Council now to be generous. He was inclined to think that those authorities had been pursued by a nemesis, and that they would not now get the water they wanted.

MR. HALSEY () Hertfordshire, Watford

reminded the hon. Gentleman that tin Members for Hertfordshire had unanimously supported the County Council in regard to its Welsh scheme.

Clause 13:—


said the object of the Amendment he desired to move was to place the supply of water in bulk on some intelligible and consistent basis. In July last the President of the Local Government Board said, in effect, that he would not compel the Hoard to supply water in bulk anywhere. This Clause, however, compelled the Board to supply water in bulk to Croydon, Richmond, Cheshunt and Ware, and certain rural districts. The Government ought to pursue some definite plan in the matter, and if they did a thing in one place they should be prepared to do it in another. His Amendment would enable other urban districts to make the same arrangements with the Board as were made by the particular districts named. No explanation had been given of why this severance was permitted, especially in the rural districts, where it would be extremely expensive and not very useful. He, therefore, begged to move.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 10, line 9, to leave out the second word 'the.' and insert the wool 'any.' ''— (Mr. Lough.)

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


said the effect of the Amendment would be to extend the provisions of the Clause to all the urban districts outside London. That was the policy of severance—a policy which had been discussed before Loyal Commissions and both inside and outside the House, and which for reasons he need not again go into had long ago been abandoned as a practical method of dealing with the London water question. The cases of Croydon, Richmond, Cheshunt and Ware stood by themselves; they desired to be taken out, and no objection was urged against it. The case with regard to the rural districts was quite different. It was felt there that while it might be necessary to give a supply in bulk it was undesirable to bring them in, because in the majority of the rural districts within the water area there were only a small number of consumers supplied by the existing Water Companies. To have given them representation on the new Board because of those few consumers would have made that body even bigger than was now proposed, and unnecessarily add to the difficulties of its work. He hoped the Committee would adhere to the plan of the Clause.


said that, while it was true the Loyal Commission did not see its way to recommend severance, it should be remembered that certain outside areas, through their counsel, represented a desire to have power under the Bill to sever themselves at their discretion. The Joint Committee declined to insert such a Clause, hut the bodies had carefully reserved their right to introduce Bills for that object. That showed that the County Councils of some of the outside areas were in favour of severance, and he could not understand the

illogical position of allowing this severance to some who had not applied for it, while refusing it to others who were anxious to have it. The Bill would set up great anomalies in regard to the question of supplying in bulk, and he should vote for the Amendment.

(5.58.) Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 139: Noes, 47. (Division List No. 615.)

Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Galloway, William Johnson Mount, William Arthur
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Garfit, William Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Allhusen, Augustus H'nry Eden Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H.(City of Lond. Muntz, Sir Philip A.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Gibbs, Hon. Vicary(St. Albans) Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute
Arkwright, John Stanhope Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'mi'ts Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Arrol, Sir William Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Nicol, Donald Ninian
Atkinson. Kt. Hon. John Goulding, Edward Alfred O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Bailey, James (Walworth) Greene, W Raymond-(Cambs.) Percy. Earl
Balcarres. Lord Grenfell, William Henry Plummer, Walter R.
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J.(Manch'r Greville, Hon. Ronald Pretyman, Ernest George
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Guthrie, Walter Murray Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Balfour, Bt. Hn Gerald W (Leeds Hall, Edward Marshall Purvis, Robert
Banbury. Sir Frederick George Halsey, Lit. Hon. Thomas F. Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Bignold, Arthur Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G(Midd'x Rattigan, Sir William Henry
Bigwood, James Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. Remnant, James Farquharson.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Hay, Hon. Claude George Richards, Henry Charles
Bousfield, William Robert Heaton, John Henniker Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex Houldsworth, Sir Win. Henry Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Brassey, Albert Howard, John(Kent, Faversh'm Round, Rt. Hon. James
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Howard, J.(Midd., Tottenham Royds, Clement Molyneux
Bull, William James Hozier, Hon James Henry Cecil Samuel, Harry S. (Lime house)
Burdett-Coutts, W. Hudson, George Bickersteth Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Carson, lit. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Jesse, Captain Herbert Merton Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J.
Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire Keswick, William Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Kimber, Henry Seton-Karr, Sir Henry
Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A (Wore. King. Sir Henry Seymour Sharpe, William Edward T.
Chapman, Edward Lambton, Hn. Frederick W m. Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Charrington. Spencer Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Clive, Captain Percy A. Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th Smith, James Parker(Lanarks.
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Lawson. John Grant Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Cohen. Benjamin Louis Lecky. Rt. Hn. William Ed w. H. Spear, John Ward
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Cranborne, Viscount Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Thornton, Percy M.
Cripps, Charles Alfred Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Bristol, S. Tritton, Charles Ernest
Crossley, Sir Savile Lonsdale, John Brownlee Tufnell, Lieut.-Cot. Edward
Dickson, Charles Scott Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Valentia, Viscount
Dimsdale Sir Joseph Cockfield Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E(Taunton
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Macdona, John Cumming Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Elliot. Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Maconochie, A. W. Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r Malcolm, Ian Wilson-Todd, Win h(Yorks.)
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Maple, Sir John Blundell Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Fisher, William Hayes Mildmay, Francis Bingham Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)
Fletcher. Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Moon, Edward Robert Pacy TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Flower, Ernest More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire
Foster, Henry William Morgan, David J (Walth' mstow
Asher. Alexander Caldwell, James Crombie, John William
Atherley-Jones L. Cameron, Robert Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan
Burns, John Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Dunn, Sir William
Burt, Thomas Causton, Richard Knight Dunn, Sir Francis H (Maidstone
Buxton, Sydney Charles Cremer, William Randal Fenwick, Charles
Gladstone, Rt Hn. Herbert John Pease, J. A. (Saffron, Warden) Tomkinson, James
Grant, Currie Pirie, Duncan V. Wallace, Robert
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir E.(Berwick) Rea, Russell Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan
Griffith, Ellis J. Reid. Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney
Haldane. Rt. Hon. Richard B. Rigg, Richard Weir, James Galloway
Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Robertson, Edmund (Dundee) Whiteley, George (York, W. R.
Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Levy, Maurice Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford) Yoxall. James Henry
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
M' Arthur, William (Cornwall) Soames, Arthur Wellesley TELLERS FOR THE NOES— Mr. Lough and Captain Norton.
M'Kenna, Reginald Spencer, Rt Hn. C. R (Northants
Nolan. Col. John P. Galway. N.) Strachey, Sir Edward

Amendment proposed—

"In page 10, line 10, to leave out or,' and insert and may if required.'"—(Mr. Bousfield.)

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

(6.10.) Mr. WALTER LONG

said he thought the proposal of the Government was the only practical one to meet the difficulty, and he could not accept the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


in moving to omit the words, "only the council of any rural district, situate wholly or partly within the limits of supply," said that surely representation through the County Council of a rural area was as effective as these eight urban areas which were to be represented by one special representative on the Water Board.

Amendment proposed— In page 10, line 10, to leave out from the word - Ware,' to the second word 'supply' in line 11."—(Dr. Macnamara.)

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


said he was afraid that he had nothing to add to what he had said, because the Amendment raised practically the same point. This question had not been discussed to the same extent as many other questions before the Loyal Commission, but it was considered before a Committee upstairs, and a proposal like this Amendment was rejected.


asked if the right hon. Gentleman wished to suggest that any of the rural areas asked for this power before the Joint Committee.


said he did not wish to convey that impression; but the question was raised and discussed by the Joint Committee.


said he was afraid that if this Clause stood in its present form it would lead to great complications, difficulty, and expense. The right hon. Gentleman had said that these rural districts were not represented, but he held they were as much represented as some of the urban districts. They were represented, practically directly, through their County Councils. To that extent they would be represented quite as well as the urban districts in eases where eight or nine had to combine together to elect one man. He could only come to the conclusion that the Joint Committees were particularly adverse to this, because they saw the difficulties and complications that would arise from it. Under these circumstances he would support his hon. friend.


thought that hon. Members opposite ought to see the extraordinary position this Clause was putting the Water Board in. The Board was not only compelled to supply those people, but if they had any complaint against the Board they were not to come to the Board direct. They were to go straight to the Local Government Board, which was to decide without, so far as he could see giving the Water Board the chance of saying what it would do for them. The only argument given in support of that was that they had not got separate representation, but they had representation through the County Council. These rural districts would be able to put the Water Board to any expense they pleased, and the Board would have scarcely any right to expostulate. He asked the right hon. Gentleman to say whether, with the view of expediting matters, he would give the question further consideration. Perhaps if it were left over to lie dealt with on the Report stage there might be a satisfactory compromise arrived at.


supported the proposal of his hon. friend. Why should these rural districts have more representation than they were entitled to through the representation they would now have by the County Councils? It seemed to him that if they granted this representation, many districts now governed by Rural Councils would press the Water Board to extend the area of supply on purpose to put members on the Board. They should have no such encouragement held out to them. They should be told that if they had any complaint to make, the proper channel of communication was through their member. If the Clause as worded was carried, it was possible that the Board would have to be enlarged to a hundred members by the addition of representatives of all the rural districts round London.

Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Dickson, Charles Scott Lawson, John Grant
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C. Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Ed w. H.
Allhusen, Augustus H'nry Eden Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Anson, Sir William Reynell Duke, Henry Edward Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine
Arkwright, John Stanhope Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham
Arrol, Sir William Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Bristol, S.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Bailey, James (Walworth) Fisher, William Hayes Lucas, Col. Francis(Lowestoft)
Balcarres, Lord Flannery, Sir Fortescue Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Fletcher) Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Flower, Ernest Macdona, John Cumming
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W.(Leeds Forster, Henry William Maconochie, A. W.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Galloway, William Johnson Maple, Sir John Blundell
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Garfit, William Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Bignold, Arthur Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H(City of Lond. Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)
Bigwood, James Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans) Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Blundell, Colonel Henry Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick More, Robt. Jasper (Shrsopshire)
Bousfield, William Robert Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'mlets Morgan, David J(Walthamst'w
Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Mount, William Arthur
Bowles, T. Gibson(King's Lynn) Goulding, Edward Alfred Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Brassey, Albert Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs. Muntz, Sir Philip A.
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Grenfell, William Henry Murray, Rt Hn A Graham(Bute)
Bull, William James Greville, Hon. Ronald Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Burcher-Coutts, W. Guthrie, Walter Murray Nicol, Donald Ninian
Butcher, John George Hall, Edward Marshall O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Percy, Earl
Cavendish, V. C. W.(Derbyshire Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G(Midd'x Plummer, Walter R.
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. Pretyman, Ernest George
Chamberlain, Rt Hon JA(Wore. Hay, Hon. Claude George Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Chapman, Edward Heaton, John Henniker Purvis, Robert
Charrington, Spencer Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Clive, Captain Percy A. Howard, John(Kent, F'versh'm Rattigan, Sir William Henry
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham) Remnant, James Farquharson
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Richards, Henry Charles
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Hudson, George Bickersteth Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Keswick, William Round, Rt. Hon. James
Cranborne, Viscount King, Sir Henry Seymour Royds, Clement Molyneax
Cripps, Charles Alfred Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Samuel, Harry S. (Lime house)
Crossley, Sir Savile Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
MR. BOUSFIELD () Hackney, N.

said this was a much more important question than appeared at first sight. It was part of a very large subject. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider the proposal. He thought it would be preferable to make the inclusion of the Rural Councils' representative optional, so that each case could be considered on its merits.

MR. ABEL SMITH () Hertfordshire, Hertford

said that this was a matter of extreme importance to some of the districts in Hertfordshire which he had the honour to represent. He did not wish to go into details at present, but he hoped the Government would adhere to the Clause as it stood.

(6.28.) Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes. 140;

Noes, 43. (Division List No. 616.)

Saunderson, Rt Hn. Col. Edw. J. Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich) Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) Taylor, Austin (East Toxeth) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln) Thornton, Percy M. Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Sharpe, William Edward T. Tritton, Charles Ernest Wyndham. Rt. Hon. George
Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East) Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Smith, James Parker (Lauarks. Valentia, Viscount TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.
Spear, John Ward Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Asher. Alexander Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Atherley-Jones, L. Hayter, Kt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Burt, Thomas Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Speneer, Rt Hn C. R.(Northants
Buxton, Sydney Charles Levy, Maurice Strachey, Sir Edward
Caldwell, James Lough, Thomas Tomkinson, James
Cameron, Robert M' Arthur, William (Cornwall) Wallace, Robert
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. M' Kenna, Reginald Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Causton, Richard Knight Nolan, Col. John P.(Galway, N. Wason, John Catheart (Orkney)
Cremer, William Randal Norton, Capt. Cecil William Weir, James Galloway
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Whiteley, George(York, W. R.)
Dunn. Sir William Pirie, Duncan V. Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Fenwick, Charles Rea. Russell
Gladstone, Rt Hn. Herbert John Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Berwick) Rigg, Richard TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. John Burns and Mr. Corrie Grant.
Griffith, Ellis J. Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)

Question proposed, "That Clause 13 stand part of the Bill."—(Mr. Walter Long.)


thought the right hon. Gentleman would admit that very little had been said upon this Clause; in fact less could hardly have been said. Only two points had been dealt with, upon one of which the Committee had just divided. The principle which appeared to operate in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman was that the rural districts were not represented, many of them were very inadequately represented, and with regard to those such representation as they had was made the pretext for not giving severance in this matter. It seemed to him to be the most extraordinary series of anomalies to give severance to Croydon with a population of 153,000, and to deny it to West Ham with a population of 267,000, and to Willesden with a population of 217,000. He did not know whether hon. Gentlemen thought it worth while to divide against the Clause, but in his opinion it was a very bad one.

Clause 14:—

MR. CREMER () Shoreditch, Haggerston

said he had read this Clause over and over again, and had failed to understand why it was proposed to give to the county of Hertford privileges which Kent, Surrey and Essex did not possess under this Bill. He thought some explanation should be given with regard to this before the Clause was passed, and therefore he begged to move to leave out Clause 14.

Amendment proposed, "In page 11; to leave out Clause 14."—(Mr. Cremer.)

Question proposed, "That Clause 14 stand part of the Bill."


said the Clause was undoubtedly an exceptional one, but the case of Hertfordshire was exceptional. The case for that county had been put before the Joint Committee and carefully considered, and this Clause was the result. This was one of the precise cases for which the Private Bill Procedure was intended, to give to people whose property was attacked, or whose rights were assailed, power to put their case before the tribunal and have justice done them. Practically all the water of Hertfordshire was taken for the supply of London, and there were many districts where the people literally did not know where to turn for water. It was owing to the particularly heavy demand made upon Hertfordshire for water by London that these privileges were granted to them.


said he should like to confirm what the right lion. Gentleman had said. The way in which Hertfordshire had been depleted by the Water Companies was scandalous, from fishing as well as from the other points of view. He thought far too much water had been taken from the county.


said the Clause was an illustration of how advisable it would have been to have adopted the suggestion of the London County Council and brought water for London from Wales or elsewhere—when they would have had plenty of water to return to those counties which had been depleted. Never, in his opinion, was such an extraordinary provision made in an Act of Parliament. They were to give the Hertford Council all the water they required, and there was to be no check of any kind. His hon. friend, no doubt, wanted all these streams filled up, because he went to Hertfordshire to fish, and had, perhaps, got that interesting experience of fishing there which he had lately given to the world. But these special provisions might be carried too far, and hon. Gentlemen ought to think of this again, and think a little about London. If it went to a division he should vote against it.


I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 14 agreed to.

Clause 15:—


said this Clause contemplated that any deficiency of the water fund should be made good by a grant in aid, but it made it good in a most fantastic and extraordinary fashion. It excluded certain parts of the water area from all liability for the deficiency; it applied only to those hereditaments supplied with water, and it was levied on the whole of the parish, although only a part of the parish was supplied. He ventured to say such a proceeding would produce the greatest inequality. The extremes of inequality of rating would range from .06 to .84 of a penny in the £, Another singular result of this Clause was the way in which they were to deal with the hereditaments to be supplied with water. The rating value was not considered to be the real criterion of what the property ought to pay as a water rate, to arrive at the sum total of the various hereditaments in the various localities, according to which the calculation was to be made. All these places supplied by the Water Board were lumped together and included in a general levy, which would lead to very grave inequalities indeed. The collection was to be made as if it were a general district rate, but a large number of properties paid only a quarter of the general district rate. He thought the deficiency ought to be made good by an increase in the water rate, and that being so, he begged to move the Amendment standing in his name.

Amendment proposed— In page 12, line 3, to leave out all the words after 'be,' to end of sub-Section, and insert 'met by a uniform increase in the water rates charged for domestic supply.'"—(Mr. George Whiteley.)

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


said the hon. Member was wrong in supposing that the incidence of this rate would be, entirely, the general rate. That would be so, no doubt, so far as outside London was concerned, but inside London the incidence would be the poor-law valuation. A different incidence would apply to outside London. When the Bill was first introduced, the Government suggested that in both inner and outer London the incidence should be on the general poor rate, but that was changed by the Joint Committee to the general district rate. The hon. Gentleman's suggestion to give the Water Board a power to increase the water charges would be. to effect such a change as to completely alter the whole scheme of the Bill. Supposing it was found necessary for the Water Board at a later period to go to Wales for water for the supply of London, it would be most unfair that such a charge should not fall upon London as a whole.


begged leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed— In Clause 15, page 12, line 4, to leave out 'parishes,' and insert 'metropolitan boroughs.'"—(Mr. Walter Long.)

Amendment agreed to.

CAPTAIN NORTON () Newington, W.

said the object of the Amendment he now proposed to move was to provide that all the areas supplied should be liable to the deficiency rate. That was only natural and right. It included in all thirteen districts, of which four were urban and five were rural. Among those urban districts they had such important growing districts as Hendon and Ilford, with an assessable value of £123,000 and £117,000 respectively. Of the rural districts the three most important were Bromley, Croydon and Dartford. Objection was taken that these outside districts had no representation, but they had sufficient representation through their County Councils to justify the contingency of taxation. If these districts were placed on the same basis as that on which inner London was placed, they would still enjoy important advantages, He also wished to know whether these districts, which did not run any risk of purchase, were to share in the equalisation. He begged to move—

Amendment proposed— In page 12, line 5, after the word 'urban,' ro insert the words 'and rural.'"—(Captain Norton.)

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


said he had already made a full statement on this subject at an earlier period. It was true that the rural districts would get the benefit of whatever work was done by the Water Board, and that they would not be liable for the rates. The reason was, there was a very small proportion in the area who were supplied, the water being, in fact, often found in those areas.


said the right hon. Gentleman's reply did not cover the position. The majority of the rural districts would be excluded from this Clause because they had no representation. The right hon. Gentleman had given severance in every case where he considered there were special circumstances, and he (Mr. Lough) thought that that concession should be given to all the rural districts. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Amendment.

(7.3) Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ares, 37; Noes, 136. (Division List No. 617.)

Clive, Captain Percy A. Harris, Frederick Leverton Plummer, Walter R.
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Pretyman, Ernest George
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hay, Hon. Claude George Pryce-Jones, Lt. Col. Edward
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Howard, John Kent(Faversham Purvis, Robert
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Howard, J.(Midd., Tottenham) Pym, C. Guy
Cox. Irwin Edward Bainbridge Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Cranborne, Viscount Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Rattigan, Sir William Henry
Cripps, Charles Alfred Keswick, William Remnant, James Farquharson
Crossley, Sir Savile Kimber, Henry Richards, Henry Charles
Dickson, Charles Scott King, Sir Henry Seymour Ritchie, Rt Hon. Chas. Thomson
Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C. Lambton, Hon. Frederick W m. Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Disraeli, Conings by Ralph Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Round, Rt. Hon. James
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Lawson, John Grant Royds, Clement Molyneux
Duke, Henry Edward Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H. Samuel, Harry S. (Lime house)
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Legge, Col, Hon. Heneage Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham Sharpe, William Edward T.
Fisher, William Hayes Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S. Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East)
Flannery, Sir Forteseue Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Smith, James Parker(Lanarks.)
Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Lucas. Reginald J.(Portsmouth) Smith, Hon W. F. D. (Strand)
Flower, Ernest Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Spear, John Ward
Forster, Henry William Maconochie, A. W. Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)
Galloway, William Johnson Maple, Sir John Blundell Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)
Garfit, William Mildmay, Francis Bingham Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Gibbs, Hn. AGH(City of Lond. Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Thorton, Percy M.
Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans) Montagu Hon. J. Scott (Hants.) Valentia, Viscount
Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.
Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'mlets More, Robt. Jasper(Shropshire) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Morgan, David J(Walthamst'w Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Goulding, Edward Alfred Mount, William Arthur Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Greene. W. Raymond-(Cambs.) Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Greville, Hon. Ronald Muntz, Sir Philip A. Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Guthrie, Walter Murray Murray, Rt. Hn A. Graham(Bute
Hall, Edward Marshall Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Nicol, Donald Ninian TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Hamiiton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x O' Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W m. Percy, Earl

Amendments made— In page 12, line 11, to leave out parish'; in page 12, line 14, to leave out 'parishes municipal'; in page 12, line 17, to leave out 'a parish in'; in page 12, lines 23 and 24, to leave out '(if necessary) be raised out of, and as part of the local rate; that is to say,' and insert 'be paid'; in page 12, line 25, after 'city,' to insert 'out of'; in page 12, line 26, to leave out 'a parish in'; in page 12, lines 26 and 27, to leave out 'the general rate,' and insert ' as part of the expenses incurred by the council thereof'; in page 12, line 28, after 'district' to insert 'out of.' "—(Mr. Walter Long.)


said that both sides were agreed that, at the earliest opportunity, the water rate over the area of supply should be equalised. In order to give the President of the Local Government Board an opportunity to make a statement on the point, he begged to move the Amendment, a copy of which he had handed in.

Amendment proposed— In page 12, line 35, after the word 'Board,' to insert the words, ' The Water Board shall exercise their power of charging water rates in such manner as to produce within three year from the appointed day throughout the limits of supply an equalisation of such rates as between all parts of the area, both in respect of charges on rateable value of the premises supplied and special services rendered.' "—(Mr. Herbert Robertson.)

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


said that sub - Section 6 was inserted before the Joint Committee at the instance of the City of Westminster, whose action had been most adversely commented upon. He was bound to say, however, that he thought those adverse comments were hardly justified, seeing that the city of Westminster had to bear a very large portion of the cost, whether they were dealing with the water charges or the general rates of the Metropolis. All parties agreed that as speedily as it could be brought about, there must be a readjustment of the water charges in London having for its main object their equalisation. One of the most unfortunate difficulties in connection with the existing condition of the water supply was that for the same quantity and quality of water you might have to pay one price on one side of a street and a totally different price on the other. That was an unsatisfactory feature which it was hoped the new authority would be able to alter. But while everybody was agreed that an equalisation of the water charges was desirable it ought also to be agreed that that equalisation should not be made at the expense of the general ratepayer of the Metropolis. Nobody would suggest that, unless unavoidable, the general rates of the Metropolis should be brought to the aid of the water supply. It might be necessary to deal with the matter at a later period by some equalisation of rates system, but all that was required at present was to make it clear in the Bill that there should not be an equalisation scheme at the cost of the general rates. Sub-Section (6) as it stood would be capable of a much wider interpretation, and he would suggest its amendment in two or three points, so that it should read— The Water Board shall not, until Parliament otherwise determine, reduce the rates charged for the supply of water below those in force during the quarter ending the twenty-fourth day of June, 1902, unless the Board are satisfied that such a reduction would not cause a deficiency in the Water Fund. As the Committee would see, that was a material alteration of the wording, and he proposed further to add— But the Water Board shall, within three years after the appointed day, introduce into Parliament a Bill providing for uniform scales and charges applicable throughout the limits of supply. He thought that, on the whole, would fairly meet the difficulties of the case. The Board would have a reasonable time in which to ascertain what it would be possible for them to do, and the case of Westminster and other heavily rated parts of the Metropolis would be amply protected, inasmuch as the obligation to bring in a Bill would secure to them the opportunity of presenting their case before any arrangement was made. He hoped these alterations would meet the views of Members on both sides of the House.


thought that, so far as he could follow it, the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman would meet with general acceptance. As he understood it, the Board within three years would have to introduce a Bill opposing a uniform scale of charges. One of the great evils of the present system—indeed, one of the main reasons for this Bill—was the inequality of the charges. That London should be treated as a unit was the basis of the Bill, and on the ground that uniformity of charge would be secured he welcomed the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman.

MR. BIGWOOD () Middlesex, Brentford

said the people of Middlesex would be very grateful for the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman, as one of the things they suffered from was this inequality of charges.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman had also had before him the question of the inequality of assessments? At present much doubt existed amongst rating authorities as to who had the right of raising the question. Some years ago the London County Council attacked the question of the inequality of assessments, but after taking a great deal of evidence and going before the Court of Appeal, it was decided that the County Council had no locus standi in the matter. It might be reasonable to give the Water Board the right to interfere in the question.


was afraid that the Amendment dealing with the point suggested by the hon. Member would involve an alteration of the law of valuation, and, as such, be ruled out of order. He was advised, however, that the Water Board, being ratepayers in the area concerned, would have the ordinary ratepayers' right to appear before the assessment authority and to appeal to Quarter Sessions.


thanked his right hon. friend for the concession he had promised to make, and asked leave to withdraw the Amendment.


said the question was not so simple as it looked. A revolutionary change was proposed to be made in the Clause. He desired to know whether, under the equalisation, the high rate charged in some places would be reduced to the low rate charged in others, or vice versa. On a £20 house in Islington the water rate was 24s., whereas in Camberwell on a similar house it was £3 7s. If Camberwell were lowered to the level of Islington, Camberwell would be very grateful, but if Islington were raised to the level of Camberwell, there would be great complaints from Islington.

It being half-past Seven of the Clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report Progress; to sit again this evening.