HC Deb 17 August 1909 vol 9 cc1139-41

(1) For the purposes of this Part of this Act, the total value of minerals means the amount which the fee simple of the minerals, if sold in the open market by a willing seller in their then condition, might be expected to realise, and the capital value of minerals means the total value, after allowing such deduction (if any) as the Commissioners may allow for any sums which are proved to the satisfaction of the Commissioners to have been spent on boring or other operations carried out by the owner or his predecessor in title for the purpose of bringing the minerals into working, or where the minerals have been partly worked, such part of those sums as is, in the opinion of the Commissioners, proportionate to the amount of minerals ungotten.

(2) Except where the context otherwise requires, any references in this Part of this Act to the site value of land shall, in cases where the land consists solely of minerals, or comprises minerals, include a reference to the capital value of the minerals.

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd-George)

I think it will be very desirable that all the mineral clauses should be taken together, and therefore I move to postpone Clause 15. There are many questions to be raised on that clause which, if taken now, might have to be discussed two or three times over. I beg to move to postpone Clause 15.


I support the right hon. Gentleman in this Motion. He did me the honour late last night, at the end of business, to consult me as to the course which in my judgment would be most convenient in view of the fact that the mineral clauses are, for the most part, at the end of the Bill. If we were to take Clause 15 now we should be discussing the question under extraordinary conditions. I think everybody will agree with me that the most desirable course is to postpone this clause, and I hope the Motion will, therefore, be supported.


Until when is it proposed to postpone the clause, and when will it be taken? Will it be before the new clauses?


I think where a clause is postponed it must be taken at the end of the Bill, and the new clauses are taken at the end of the Bill. They will, therefore, be taken close together.


May I just make the order of proceeding quite clear. Am I right in understanding that both these clauses and the new clauses will come after the Schedules? Perhaps I may ask the Chairman to state, as a point of order, whether the new clauses or this clause, if postponed, will come after or before the Schedules, and whether this clause, if postponed, comes alter the new clauses or before?


All the new clauses come before the Schedules. With regard to this particular clause, it would in the ordinary course of things be taken before the new clauses, but it can again be postponed at that point, and taken after them.


The Committee has been in great difficulty about these mineral clauses, which time after time have been postponed. Clause 12 was postponed without any discussion. Again, on this occasion, private Members came down to this House without any knowledge that this clause was going to be postponed. The Leader of the Opposition was perfectly within his right, and is justified, no doubt, in agreeing to the course which the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed; but I think that hon. Members should have a little earlier information of these arrangements. It appears that my right hon. Friend was not, however, consulted till 11 o'clock last night, and I do not mean to cast any reflection upon him, but only upon right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer must admit that throughout this Bill the mineral clauses have been placed in a most unhappy position. Time after time we have endeavoured to raise this question and get a little information as to what the Government mean. As time went on, however, I suppose they have found that their clauses were absolutely unworkable and foolish, and they are, therefore, postponed. Then, we are told, that this clause, when it is postponed, may come after a new clause or before a new clause, and perhaps on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day, when this matter conies before us, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will propose to postpone it till 1st April or to some other day. I must protest against the way in which the Committee is being treated.