§ (1) In the application of this Act to Scotland—
- (a) the expression "children under five years of age who are not being educated in public elementary schools" means children under five years of age within the meaning of Section seven of the Education (Scotland) Act, 1908;
- (b) Sub-section (2) of Section one shall not apply: Provided that the Local Government Board for Scotland may, if they think fit, by order, authorise any two or more local authorities to act together for the purposes of the principal Act and this Act, and may prescribe the mode of such joint action and of defraying the costs thereof.
§ (2) In the application of this Act to Ireland—
- (a) the expression "public elementary schools" means national schools;
- (b) Sub-section (2) of Section one shall not apply;
- (c) the provisions for the extension of the principal Act shall not apply as respects any rural district; and
- (d) the expression "medical officer of health" means, for the purposes both of this Act and the principal Act, as respects any district for which there is a medical superintendent officer of health that officer, and elsewhere the medical officer of health of the dispensary district.
§ Mr. DICKINSON
I beg to move, after "(1)," to insert the words "In the application of this Act to London the following Sub-section shall be substituted for Subsection (1) of Section two:—
Any Metropolitan borough council may make such arrangements as they think fit and as may be sanctioned by the Local Government Board for attending to the health of expectant mothers and nursing mothers and of children under five years of age who are not being educated in public elementary schools."
Clause 2, as now drafted, does not affect London at all, because though it gives the right to the county councils to come in and do this work, yet under the Act of 1907 the County Council of London was expressly excluded, and therefore it gets no powers under Section 2 of this Act. I therefore ask that the original words should apply to the borough councils of London, which at the present moment are doing this work, and I think are doing it very well.
§ Mr. LONG
This is merely a question of draftsmanship. I am advised that the provision already inserted in the Bill reserves all the powers of the Metropolitan and borough councils and that the Amendment suggested by my right hon. Friend is unnecessary and even wrong. Under the existing law the borough councils have got certain powers, and these are preserved to them. The Local Government Board administer the Grant in the usual way, having approved of the scheme; all these powers of the borough councils are preserved, and this is altogether inconsistent with the form which, 800 we were advised, is the best form in which to draw the Bill. I hope, therefore, that with this assurance my right hon. Friend will be satisfied.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
I would like the Lord Advocate to explain why these larger powers are introduced for Scotland.
§ Mr. MUNRO
This particular Amendment is being made because it concerns the definition of a phrase which, in consequence of the alteration made in Clause 2 by my right hon. Friend, now disappears from this Bill. I am not sure that I should be in order on this Amendment in dealing with the matter referred to by my hon. Friend.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. MUNRO
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to add at the end,(b) The following Sub-section shall be substituted for Sub-section (1) of Section two:—(1) Any local authority within the meaning of the principal Act may make such arrangements as they think fit, and as may be sanctioned by the Local Government Board for Scotland for attending to the health of expectant mothers and nursing mothers, and of children under five years of age within the meaning of Section seven of the Education (Scotland) Act, 1908."
§ Mr. MUNRO
The position of the matter is simply this: Under the Bill as drafted, Clause 2, as applied to Scotland, enables the public health authorities to make such arrangements as they might think fit, with the consent of the Local Government Board, to carry out the purposes of that Clause—that is to say, make such arrangements as they may think fit for attending to the health of expectant and nursing mothers and children under five years of age. As the Committee is aware, my right hon. Friend has varied the phraseology of Clause 2, and 801 consequently, so far as England is concerned, Clause 2, as now adjusted in Committee, invokes certain powers conferred upon sanitary authorities in regard to public health in England. Those powers are already in existence, so far as the sanitary authorities are concerned, and are now invoked for the purposes of this measure. Those powers under the Public Health Acts of England are considerably wider powers than are enjoyed under the Public Health (Scotland) Act, 1897, and it was thought desirable in these circumstances, rather than legislate by reference to these English Statutes which contain wider powers than we have in Scotland, to retain, so far as Scotland is concerned, the direct grant of powers which was contained in Clause 2 as originally drafted. The Amendment which I am moving now is for the purpose of giving effect to the intention which I have described, and I hope my hon. Friend will in these circumstances think that it is an acceptable proposal.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
As I understand, the matter stands thus: You have not the power in Scotland which you have in England, under the Public Health Act, and you are now going to introduce not only all that you had in the original Clause but a good deal more, although the powers vested in Scotland at the present moment are less than those in England. Under this proposal larger powers will be given to Scotland than are given in England under the Public Health Act, although the powers at present given in Scotland are smaller than those which exist in England.
§ Mr. MUNRO
I think my hon. Friend is mistaken. Scotland would have narrower powers than England possesses under the Bill, and in order to avoid that we propose that the original Clause should be applied to Scotland. Under that Clause our powers will be just as wide, if not wider, than those exercised in England.
§ Mr. WATT
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, after the word "may" ["may make such arrangements"], to insert the words "provide such buildings, and may."
802 The Amendment of the Lord Advocate would then read, "any local authority within the meaning of the principal Act may provide such buildings and may make such arrangements as they think fit," etc. The Committee are aware that this Subsection now proposed for Scotland is the original Clause as introduced into this House. When that Clause was proposed for England and Wales the hon. Gentleman the Member for Paddington put down an Amendment to the same effect as mine, and I hope I will get his support for mine in regard to Scotland. The reason for my Amendment is that the local authorities for Scotland are exercised in their minds as to their powers under this measure, particularly the local authority in the constituency which I have the honour to represent. They are in doubt as to whether, under the Clause we are now dealing with, the local authorities could provide such buildings, or take over existing undertakings and continue the work. If the Lord Advocate can assure me that the Clause as proposed to the Committee would enable the local authorities in Scotland to do these two things, to erect buildings for this purpose, and to take over buildings which are already being utilised, then there would be no necessity for my Amendment.
§ Mr. MUNRO
I have no hesitation in offering to my hon. and learned Friend the assurance for which he asks. The words which are in the Clause have been deliberately and carefully selected because of their width, and I have no hesitation in saying to him that those words which are already in the Clause are sufficient, without the addition of the words which he proposes. The Local Government Board in Scotland understand the words in that sense, and they will be administered by the Department in that sense. I am further fortified in the view I have expressed by finding that the same view of the meaning of these words was taken by my right hon. Friend with regard to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Paddington.
§ Mr. WATT
The local authorities in Scotland had an opportunity of studying this measure for some length of time, and they have been unable to come to the conclusion just communicated to me that those two things could be done. Of course, we all know that lawyers differ, and apparently the legal advisers of the 803 authorities have taken a different view from that of the Lord Advocate. After his assurance, however, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment to proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Proposed words inserted.
§ Further Amendment made: Leave out paragraph (a).—[Mr. Birrell.]
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Birrell)
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), at the end to insert:—(b) The following Sub-section shall be substituted for Sub-section (1) of Section two:—(1) Any local authority within the meaning of the principal Act may make such arrangements as they think fit and as may be sanctioned by the Local Government Board for Ireland for attending to the health of expectant mothers and nursing mothers and of children under five years of age."
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am not going to object to the Amendment, but I observe that there are no Irish Members present. I did not say anything in regard to the application of the Bill to Scotland, because they will not spend very much money there, but in Ireland they are very fond of spending money. I am sorry there is no hon. Member from Ireland present, but under the circumstances I do not offer any opposition.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.