HC Deb 04 August 1903 vol 126 cc1517-23

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

[Mr. GRANT LAWSON (Yorkshire, N.R., Thirsk) in the chair.]

Clause 3.

MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

asked for an explanation of the Bill, and said it was usual for somebody to be present to answer Questions when a Bill of this kind went into Committee.


said the Member in charge would be there directly.

MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)

asked what was the amount involved in the proposals and how much had been expended.

MR. LLOYD GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)

said the Bill proposed to spend £110,000 on stuctural alterations and extensions, and he asked whether that involved any addition to the number of clerks, and whether it was intended to re-cast the whole office.

Mr. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

asked why this matter had been dealt with in a separate Bill, instead of the required amount being included in the other Bill with which the House had had to deal.


pointed out that the Bill involved considerable expenditure, and he presumed it was intended to provide for a prospective increase in the staff of the Patent Office, rendered necessary by the Act of last year. The Committee, however, had had no statement from the President of the Board of Trade as to the necessities of that increase or as to the progress under last year's Act. It was a curious thing for the House of Commons to be asked to vote money for an extension of accommodation before the head of the Department concerned had stated that an increase in the staff was required, and it certainly was not a procedure conducive to economy. He asked for what increase of staff the building was designed, and whether the Board of Trade had decided that an increase was urgently needed.


said it was impossible to give the particulars asked for off-hand. There was not the slightest doubt that the Patent Office staff would require to be enormously increased as a consequence of the Act of last year. The provision of the Act mainly responsible was that which provided for an examination into whether or not patents had been anticipated. For that duty a large staff of specially trained men was necessary. He could not say how long it would be before the contemplated additions were completed, but they would probably take three years.

SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston,)

said that for years they had been complaining of the rapid increase of public expenditure for the ordinary administrative work of the nation, and this Bill was a typical example of how that increase was brought about. Here was a proposal to spend £110,000 on the building of offices, but when information was asked as to why the offices were required and the number of clerks to be put into them, no figures were forthcoming.


said he could not give the figures as he did know the question would arise.


That is an example of the slovenliness with which public business is conducted. It was the duty of the Minister in charge of the Bill to be prepared with all the details by which that Bill could be defended or advocated. Apparently this large expenditure was to be rendered necessary by duties which would gradually develop. In that case why could not the money be asked for and expended gradually as the need arose.

SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)

said the strictures on the Government were entirely out of place on the present occasion. This Bill did not ask for £110,000 at all; it simply enabled the commissioners to erect the buildings. The money would be provided by Parliament on the ordinary Votes, and the time to ask Questions, to criticise the number of clerks, and so forth, would be when those Votes were brought forward.

MR. CAWLEY (Lancashire, Prestwich)

said that if the Board of Trade did its duty under the new Act a large number of clerks would have to be employed, and this £110,000 would not be wasted. Very large buildings would be necessary if the Act were to be properly carried out for the benefit of the trade of the country, and he should therefore support the Bill.


said the Bill was simply a measure for compulsorily acquiring land and the money power was provided in the Public Buildings Expenses, Bill which was discussed the other day. With regard to the objection that had been raised he would give a fuller explanation as to the number of clerks required in the Patent Office when the Bill came before the House. The Prime Minister had promised that at any rate one stage of the Bill should be taken before midnight in order that there might be an opportuunity of discussing it.


Will that be this session?


We hope so, certainly. It would then be possible to give a fuller explanation than he was able to give at present.


asked whether the land could not be acquired by purchase under voluntary sale.


adverting to the provision that the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act should apply, contended that a limit ought to be

placed on the amount paid for compulsory purchase. When the public was acquiring land of this character for public works, which would be for the benefit of the neighbourhood as a whole, it was unfair that they should have to pay frequently twice the real value of the land. That was practically what this clause meant. In Scotland the price paid was twice, if not three times, the real value. That has been admitted. What was the answer of the Lord Advocate? He said that if they proceeded under the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act they might have had to pay more. Consequently the Government are proceeding under an Act, which, according to a member of the Ministry, involves them paying more than in the case of an ordinary bargain. This clause started by saying they must fix the price according to the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act. There were no end of exceptions and special reservations, but not one of them really affected the merits of the Act itself, and the time had come when there should be special provision to protect the public against paying twice or three times the value for land. He supposed the Government knew what particular site they wanted for this purpose. No doubt they would have an arbitration, and having ascertained, not the real profits, but some conjecture as to the profits, then 10, 20 or 30 per cent. was added in respect of the mere fact that the land was being acquired compulsorily. Why not say that the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act should apply, and that nothing should be given for the mere fact of compulsorily acquiring the land. As a protest he proposed to divide the House against this clause.

Motion made and Question put, "That the clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 187; Noes, 73. (Division List No. 210.)

Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds) Burdett-Coutts, W.
Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Butcher, John George
Arkwright, John Stanhope Bigwood, James Campbell, J.H.M. (Dublin Univ.
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Bond, Edward Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.
Atkinson, Right Hon. John Boscawen, Arthur Griffith Cautley, Henry Strother
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Bousfield, William Robert Cavendish, R. F.(N. Lancs.)
Bailey, James (Walworth) Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.
Balcarres, Lord Brotherton, Edward Allen Cawley, Frederick
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(Manch'r Bull, William James Cayzer, Sir Charles William
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Harris, Frederick Leverton Purvis, Robert
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Haslett, Sir James Horner Randles, John S.
Chamberlain. Rt Hon J (Birm Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Rattigan, Sir William Henry
Chamberlain, RtHn. J A (Worc Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley) Reid, James (Greenock)
Chapman, Edward Heath, James (Staffs., N. W.) Remnant, James Farquharson
Charrington, Spencer Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.) Renwick, George
Churchil, Winston Spencer Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Houston, Robert Paterson Robinson, Brooke
Coghill, Douglas Harry Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Johnstone, Heywood Round, Rt. Hon. James
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Kemp, Lieut. -Colonel George Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbrgh Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford
Compton, Lord Alwyne Keswick, William Seely, Maj. J.E.B, (Isle of Wight
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow Sharpe, William Edward
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg.) Lawrence, Sir. Jos. (Monm'th) Shaw-Stewart, M.H. (Renfrew)
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Lawson, John Grant (Yorks, N R Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S. Lee, A. H. (Hants, Fareham) Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Cranborne, Viscont Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East
Cripps, Charles Alfred Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S. Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)
Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R. Spear, John Ward
Davenport, William Bromley Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)
Dickson. Charles Scott Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S. Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Dimsdale. Rt. Han. Sir Jos. C. Lonsdale, John Brownlee Stanley, Lord (Lancashire)
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Lowe, Francis William Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E. Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale) Stone, Sir Benjamin
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Lowther, Rt. Hon. Jas. (Kent) Stroyan, John
Duke, Henry Edward Loyd, Archie Kirkman Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Sturt, Hn. Humphry Napier
Dyke. Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart Macdona, John Cumming Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Elliot. Hon. A. Ralph Douglas M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Fellowes. Hn. Ailwyn Edward M`Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire) Thornton, Percy M.
Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Man'r Majendie, James A. H. Tollemache, Henry James
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Maxwell, W.J.H. (Dumfriessh. Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Fisher. William Hayes Melville, Beresford Valentine Tritton, Charles Ernest
Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon Milvain, Thomas Valentia, Viscount
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Montagu, Hon J. Scott (Hants. Walker, Col. William Hall
Flower, Ernest Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.
Forster. Henry William Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow) Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.
Foster, Philip S.(Warwick, S. W Morrell, George Herbert Warde, Colonel C. E.
Fyler, John Arthur Morrison, James Archibald Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)
Galloway, William Johnson Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Willox, Sir John Archibald
Gardner, Ernest Mount, William Arthur Wills, Sir Frederick
Gibbs, Hn A.G.H (City of Lond Muntz, Sir Philip A. Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. Murray, Rt. Hn A. Graham (Bute Wilson-Todd, Sir W.H (Yorks.)
Gordon. J. (Londonderry, S.) Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Wodehouse. Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath
Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Myers, William Henry Worsley-Taylor, Hry. Wilson
Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Goulding, Edward Alfred O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Wylie, Alexander
Greville, Hon. Ronald Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Percy, Earl
Hain. Edward Pierpoint, Robert TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Hall, Edward Marshall Platt-Higgins, Frederick Sir Alexander Acland-
Halsey. Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Plummer, Walter R. Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Hambro, Charles Eric Pretyman, Ernest George
Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Ld. G (Mid'x Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edw.
Asher, Alexander Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Jacoby, James Alfred
Barran, Rowland Hirst Dunn, Sir William Jones, Wm. (Carrnarvonshire)
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Elibank, Master of Kearley, Hudson E.
Bell, Richard Emmett, Alfred Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone) Levy, Maurice
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co. Lewis, John Herbert
Burt, Thomas Grant, Corrie Lough, Thomas
Buxton, Sydney Charles Griffith, Ellis J. Lundon, W.
Caldwell, James Harwood, George M'Arthur, William (Cornwall
Causton, Richard Knight Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- M'Laren, Sir Charles Benj.
Channing, Francis Allston Helme, Norval Watson Mansfield, Horace Rendall
Cremer, William Randal Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Moss, Samuel
Crooks, William Holland, Sir William Henry Murphy, John
Dalziel, James Henry Horniman, Frederick John Norman, Henry
Delany, William Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Nussey, Thomas Willans
Dewar, John A.(Inverness-sh.) Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk. O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
O'Mara, James Shackleton, David James Whiteley, G. (York, W. R.)
Partington, Oswald Shipman, Dr. John G. Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Paulton, James Mellor Soares, Ernest J. Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Perks, Robert William Spencer, Rt Hn. C.R (Northants Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)
Rea, Russell Taylor, Theodore C. (Randcliffe Yoxall, James Henry
Rickett, J. Compton Toulmin, George
Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Ure, Alexander TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Robson, William Snowdon Wallace, Robert Mr. Lloyd-George and
Runciman, Walter Weir, James Galloway Mr. Warner.
Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) White, Luke (York, E. R.)

Question put, and agreed to.

MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)

I beg to move that we now report Progress.

Committee report Progress: to sit again this evening.