HC Deb 12 April 1904 vol 133 c24
MR. J.H. LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in view of the fact that Private Bill legislation costs the promoters of Private Bills and Provisional Orders in fees paid to the Houses of Parliament about £45,000 a year more than the cost to the country of private bill legislation, and having regard to the burden on small urban districts caused by the necessity of obtaining Parliamentary powers for the supply of gas, water, electricity, and other public services, the Government will propose a revision of the Standing Order regulating the scale of House fees charged to public authorities in respect of Bills and Provisional Orders introduced by them.


The hon. Gentleman asks if it is proposed to revise the scale of House fees charged on private bill legislation. I by no means look at one side of this matter, but I hope we may carry further the reforms already initiated. I may remind the hon. Gentleman that, as was found by the Committee on Private Bill Procedure, the fees actually charged form a very small fraction of the total cost of those Bills.


Is it not a fact that these fees come to something like £45,000 a year.


That may be so, but whether any material relief could be given in the matter of fees to local authorities which insist on coming to this House for legislation when their object could be obtained at less cost by Provisional Order procedure is another matter. After all, fees are a small fraction of the cost, as I have said.