§ Mr. GWYNNE
I beg to move,That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty praying that Regulations made by the Minister of Health, with the approval of 1081 the Treasury and presented to this House during the Autumn Adjournment under Sections 7 and 19 of the Housing and Town Planning Act, 1919, be annulled.I am sorry to have to raise the question of housing to-night, because we all know that a day has been given, by the Government to discuss the whole question on Friday next. The reason I have to do so is one of urgency. Under the Housing and Town Planning Act, 1919, provision was made that certain Regulations should be on the Table of the House for twenty-one days, and if no objection was taken that they should become law. Certain Regulations which are of the utmost importance, in fact they are the kernel of the nut of the Housing Act, have been lying on the Table, and on Friday next will have been lying for twenty-one days, and if we leave this question until Friday they will then have become law, and it will be too late to alter them. My information is that those Regulations amongst local authorities, municipal, urban, and rural, are causing great consternation. Many of us have had notices from our constituents saying that they view with alarm the wording of certain of these Regulations and that they are causing great difficulty and delay in getting on with the housing schemes. I do not want for a moment to suggest that the Minister of Health is forcing on these Regulations because he wishes to be unfair, or because he does not wish to see the housing schemes carried out. I realise that he has an extremely difficult task in front, of him. Had he the wisdom and the opportunities of Solomon, I think he would have a difficult job to carry out this scheme. It is true the Minister of Health has, in writing to certain authorities and in answer to a question by myself to-day, given reassurances as regards certain of these Regulations. But whatever he may tell me or whatever he may write to the local authorities may be of no effect in years to come when we come to interpret the Regulations themselves. The local authorities feel that a letter to the effect from the Minister of Health that a certain thing is not his intention will not carry much weight if a case has to be fought out in the Courts on the issue whether the burden is to fall on the local authorities or on the Exchequer.
We, therefore, want him this evening, if we let the Regulations through, to undertake to lay on the Table amending Regulations which will meet certain of the difficulties which I propose 1082 to point out to him. There are a great many objections to the Regulations as they stand, and I will give only two or three illustrations to show what I think is the justifiable fear of the local authorities in letting them go through as they are. The main point is, of course, the question of finance. Under the Housing Act the Government promised a subsidy to local authorities to such an extent that they would not have to pay more than 1d. in the £ on their rateable value for any loss that they might incur in erecting houses for the working classes. If we examine these Regulations—Article 6, Subsection (2)—we find that the Minister of Health bases his subsidy on an estimate from the local authority, but certain reservations are made by which he can reduce that estimate. One of them says that the estimate is to be considered by the Minister of Health, but the local authority is to prove that they have charged an adequate rent for the houses which they have put up. Then if we turn to Schedule B we find that it provides that in 1927 the rents which are obtained by the local authority should be sufficient to cover the interest on the capital cost of the buildings at that date, plus maintenance and management of them. Let me illustrate that further. The Minister now assumes that in 1927 the cost of building will have gone down roughly 30 per cent., therefore, a house now costing £900 is estimated in 1927 to cost £600. The Treasury, they say, will pay the difference, but the local authority must find an economic rent on the £600. What then is the position? Take a case in my own Constituency where a scheme has been approved. Assuming the Minister is correct in assuming the cost will have gone down 30 per cent, under the approved scheme, the rents will work out at from 17s. 6d. to 24s. per week, and the Regulation says that unless the local authority in 1927 can get 17s. 6d. or 24s. per week per house it may be deprived of the subsidy. That is a matter in itself which causes great alarm. Supposing, however, the Ministry of Health are not right, and the cost of building in 1927 does not go down 30 per cent, that means that the economic rent of the houses which we are putting up now will be from 24s. to 36s. a week, and what local authority will be able in 1927 to let working class dwellings at 36s.?
The Minister of Health told me this afternoon, in answer to a question, "I do not want to press that point, and I can 1083 assure my hon. Friend that if that is the case we will meet it even if the Regulations do not provide for it, and it is that that I want to pin him down to. I have drafted an Amendment which I think will meet the case, to alter the Schedule so that it read as follows:The rents to be charged after 31st March, 1927, shall be the best that are reasonably obtainable from the class of tenant for whom the houses are provided and where possible shall be sufficient to cover, in addition to the expense of maintenance and management of the houses and a suitable allowance for depreciation, the interest which will have been payable on the capital cost of the building of the houses if they had been built after that date, provided that so much of the foregoing rules as requires the rents to be sufficient to cover maintenance, management, depreciation and interest shall cease to be applicable in the event of the capital cost of the building of the houses after 31st March, 1927, exceeding the capital cost actually incurred in building such houses.That would cover all cases where the houses were let at the best rent that could be obtained in the district, and it would also cover the point that in the event of the cost of building not going down but keeping up to the present level, the local authorities would not be landed with an expenditure larger than a penny in the £. I quite realise that the Ministry must have some protection against extravagance by local authorities, but I think that is provided for in other sections. However friendly the present Minister or his successor may be he will always be able to say to the House: "I am very sorry for you. I should like to meet you but the Treasury will not let me." Of course the Treasury will hold him to these Rules and Regulations and not to any undertakings which we may give now.
I will give two more instances of these Regulations to show the difficulty of them. Take Article 2, Section (1), Sub-section (1). If local authorities have not made reasonable progress with their schemes within twelve months, it is entirely at the discretion of the Minister of Health as to whether any subsidy is allowed at all. I do not think that is fair. The local authority may have bought land and honestly wish to get on with the building, but for some reason may be held up. Are they to be mulcted in paying for the land and whatever costs they have incurred? That ought to be amended in some way so that they should not, have that burden thrown upon them. Accord- 1084 ing to Section 2, Sub-section (3), schemes must be completed by 1922, otherwise they will not get the subsidy. What about local authorities who have bought land in excess of what they want for their immediate schemes? I happen to be chairman of a local authority, and I know that the Minister of Health has put pressure on local authorities in purchasing sites to get, if possible, some surrounding land. In the case of a municipality which has bought a considerable number of acres more than they want, are they to be asked to pay the whole of that charge if they have not built on the whole of it by 1922? Is it reasonable that local authorities who look ahead and in the best interests of the community buy additional land have to cover it with buildings now if they want to get the Grant; or else have to do without it, and perhaps have to buy it a few years hence at a greatly enhanced price. We want an assurance from the Minister of Health that undeveloped land bought in a reasonable way over the immediate requirements should be included in the scheme and that I the full cost should not fall on the rates. We want a definite assurance to-night, and not wait until Friday, that he will amend these Regulations and go into them very carefully. If he will do that, I will not press the matter further to-night, but if he will not I shall ask the House to divide.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I beg to second the Motion with which my name is associated. I want to make a few observations on the state of mind of the local authorities with respect to the issue of these Orders. The gist of the whole matter is the 1d. rate. The whole anxiety of the local authorities over housing centres round the question of the 1d. rate. We have had a good deal of attention called to what one may call the difficulties of ways and means on the part of the Imperial Government, but sufficient attention has not been called to the tremendously heavy burden of financial anxiety which local authorities have to face at the present time. The difficulties of ways and means of the ordinary local authority are ever present. The instability of the labour market makes them ever present, and any addition to the 1d. rate contemplated in the Act would be a serious burden for many local authorities to meet. It has been suggested in some quarters, without any foundation, that local authorities are reactionary in this matter. The real truth, 1085 is that they are faced by these tremendous financial anxieties. I distinguish between them and the financial burdens. The anxiety is worse than the burden. With all this uncertainty as to the future they are right in acting very cautiously in considering these matters, and they are entitled to ask their representatives in Parliament to ask the Minister to explain these Orders more fully than he has hitherto done. Suppose a local authority has broken the Regulations, they would be faced with a tremendously heavy rate and they would never get a loan. I remember eighteen or nineteen years ago reading a series of articles on the subject of municipal trading. Municipal trading was flourishing at that time, and one of the reasons given was the ease with which local authorities throughout the country could obtain loans. Those days have long ago gone by never to return, and that is one of the reasons why the position is really very anxious. My hon. Friend has gone into the Rules and has shown that they are not clear. Take one Rule, Section 2, Sub-section (c), which he referred to. This reads:In determining the amount of the Exchequer subsidy based upon the estimate submitted by the local authority, the Minister may make such deductions as will represent—(c) any deficiency of estimated income which he considers to be due to the inadequacy of the arrangements for supervision, management or administration.Those who, like my Noble Friend (Lord R. Cecil), are experienced and learned in the law will agree with me that those are extraordinarily vague words—"arrangements for supervision, management, or administration." The right hon. Gentleman certainly would not do so, but some subsequent Minister of Health might make use of them—to impose most onerous conditions. They are words of the most vague meaning. I want to point out one thing which is too little realised by those who represent only urban constituencies. The average local rural district council haw no trained staff such as a municipality has to carry out these sort of Regulations. At the invitation of my right hon. Friend, the other day I met a local rural district council in my Constituency, and that point was especially brought up, as it happened, in relation to this very matter, by the clerk. He said, "It is too often thought by you gentlemen who belong to the Ministry in London that we have an enormous trained staff like you have. We have 1086 not, and we are not allowed to have as the law stands. The amount of money that may be spent in that way is very limited." As I understand it, the proposal in the Act was one to save the local authorities from the risk of being torpedoed by a mass of financial burden. My right hon. Friend would agree with that, and all that my hon. Friend and I want is that the net shall be sufficiently small to protect the local authorities from the risk that we think exists. I do not believe it is due to any lukewarm attitude on their part. My opinion, based not merely upon what I have seen in my own Constituency, is that the local authorities are genuinely anxious—this applies as much to the rural district councils as to the urban district councils—to carry out the provisions of the Act, but they are alarmed about this question of the 1d. rate, and that alarm has been intensified by the Rules which the right hon. Gentleman has laid upon the Table of the House.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
These Regulations were originally drafted last April, and I understand that the right hon. Gentleman thinks that he brought them to the attention of the local authorities. The local authorities in my division assure me that they were not brought to their attention at all. They have received, as they put it, a flood of communications from the Ministry of Health, but that flood of communications does not contain a copy of these Regulations. Therefore, it was only when they were actually on the point of becoming law that it was realised what they were. Thereupon public-spirited local authorities circularised all the thousands of local authorities. They received only one reply hostile, and 150 replies definitely approving of the view which they had expressed. I understand that the urban authorities are entirely with the rural authorities in this matter. Thai is the position. The case put by my hon. Friend is a perfectly clear one. The proposition is that under these Regulations there is no doubt that the contention of the local authorities is that they are bound up to 1927 to charge an economic rent for the cottages they put up, under penalty of forfeiting the subsidy. That is the way they put it, and it appears to be a natural way of reading it. They say, "Assume that the value of the house put up now will be only two-thirds in 1927 of what it is now. We cannot build a house now for less than £900. It will, therefore, be 1087 worth £600 then. An economic rent would certainly not be less than about 25s. a week. It may be more. To ask any workman in a rural district to pay that rent is fantastic and absurd." Then they say further that they will not carry out the Housing Act; they will not build a single house as long as they have that fear. Local authorities are saying, "We cannot go on until this matter is cleared up; we cannot possibly build a single house." As long as the housing scheme depends on the co-operation of the local authorities it is quite foolish to say in the Act that they shall have only a 1d. rate, whatever happens, and in the Regulations to say, "You will be charged a great deal move than that unless you are charging an economic rent for the cottages."
My right hon. Friend will do well to give us an immediate undertaking that these Regulations will be amended. There are other points I could raise in reference to the drafting of the Regulations. If the right hon. Gentleman is good enough to say that he will issue amending Regulations, I am sure that with his usual courtesy he will consult those interested in the matter before the Regulations become law. I am sure that the matter can be settled in this way and in this way only.
§ Mr. G. THORNE
I support the appeal made by the Noble Lord. I have had representatinos made to me as to the very great anxiety felt by local authorities on the very point he has raised. I urge, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman will be good enough to respond to the appeal.
§ Lieut.-Colonel SPENDER-CLAY
In regard to the economic rent of houses which is about 19s. a week, including rates, it is possible that those houses might be let to a certain class of people at approximately 19s. a week, but they would not be the people for whom the houses have been built. A good many people who like new houses, fitted with the latest improvements, would be quite prepared to pay from 15s. to 19s. a week or even more for them, but when the Act was being discussed as a Bill in Committee those were not the people for whom it was intended that the houses should be built. We talked about building for men discharged from the Army and Navy and so on, and the local authorities feel that if they 1088 refuse the economic rent they may be held by the Ministry of Health as not having performed their duty.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
It seems to me quite certain from those Regulations that the loss that the local authorities are going to suffer is to be stereotyped at a particular figure at the beginning of the transitional period and for so many years afterwards. If my right hon. Friend looks at the Regulations, he will see that the amount of the Exchequer subsidy "shall not be varied by the Minister except as expressly provided for in the Regulations," so that, supposing the loss of a local authority was £15,000, and a penny rate brought in £5,000 at the beginning of this period, the local authority would have a final loss of £10,000, with a subsidy from the Government. That £10,000 would be a fixed, stereotyped loss every year for the whole period, but it is quite possible that during the remainder of those years the loss might be very much bigger than £10,000. Under these Regulations the local authorities are only going to get a subsidy equal to the loss which is sustained for the first year for that long period. Lord Astor, who I am very sorry is no longer a Member of this House, in answer to a question in the Committee upstairs said that this principle of the stereotyped loss had been agreed upon by Parliament, and he went on to say that both the Treasury and the local authorities were satisfied. They had looked into it very carefully, and the financial contribution made by the Government was intended to meet a temporary emergency. It is quite clear from the Regulations that it is going to be stereotyped, and I hope my right hon. Friend will take that into consideration.
Mr. GIDEON MURRAY
I support this appeal, not only from the point of view of the arguments which have been adduced this evening, but also because I hope that any Amendments which may be made to these Regulations may be embodied in the Regulations which will be passed and placed upon the Table with regard to Scottish housing. I am sorry to see there are no representatives of the Scottish Office on the Front Bench, because it would have helped to enlighten them upon these points, which are so important in connection with these Regulations. Exactly the same conditions apply in Scotland, and I hope that when the Regula- 1089 tions for Scotland are laid on the Table they will contain similar Amendments to those which have been proposed to-night.
§ Captain W. BENN
All the remarks that have been made this evening have been from one point of view, namely, that of asking that the ratepayer should be relieved of a certain contingent burden. The question I should like the right hon. Gentleman to answer when be speaks is what this concession is going to cost the taxpayer, because nobody knows what the housing subsidy is going to be in 1927, and we should like to know by what proportion it is to be increased if this concession is given. The money has got to come from somewhere. If it does not come from the rates it must come from the taxes, and the result of transferring it from rates to taxes, especially if you fix a rent which a working man cannot pay, as to take from people paying Tea and Sugar Taxes, and to subsidise a sort of middle-class house. What I ask the right hon. Gentleman is to tell us clearly, if he changes the Regulations in the sense desired, what additional sum will ultimately fall on the taxes of this country?
§ Dr. ADDISON
My hon. and gallant Friend who spoke last has, if I may say so with great respect, a little missed the point. The only point raised by my hon. Friend opposite, the Noble Lord and others, is whether these Regulations really convey what is the intention of Parliament, and, so far as that goes, the balance will not be altered one way or the other. What we have sought to do is to give a clear expression to what is generally understood to be the intention of Parliament. There is no difference between us. We all want to do that, I am sure, and the House knows perfectly well that the Government have no desire in any way to do anything other than that. Article 6, paragraph 2, says, "Any deficiency in anticipated income which he (the Minister) considers to be due to insufficiency of rent proposed to be charged by a local authority." It is clear that, whatever the form of words, a power of that kind must be in the Regulations, and the intention of these words is, I am quite sure, generally understood. The case may well arise in which an authority would be prepared to let the houses, for various reasons, at less than they could reasonably get for them We must be protected against that. Therefore, there must be something in the Regulations which will protect the Ex- 1090 chequer and the taxpayer from, shall I say, being exploited. The only question is whether the form here is the best form. I think the expression to which the hon, Gentleman called attention as to the cost of construction in paragraph 1. Schedule B, is one which possibly might be put a little more clearly, because what we do not in the least desire to saddle any authority with is this: in the event—I do not say the likely event, but it might happen—of the cost of building going beyond its present appalling level, which I hope it will not, though it is possible, that position ought to be safeguarded.
§ Lord R. CECIL
The point is that the rent to be charged should be sufficient to cover the interest payable on the capital cost of the building.
§ Dr. ADDISON
The hon. Member opposite was referring to the last words of the last paragraph of Schedule B. The assumption he was making for the purpose of illustration was that the cost of building after that date might be actually higher, and think that really ought to be safeguarded.
§ Dr. ADDISON
The Noble Lord used the expression "economic rent." I do not think he will find that expression in the Regulations. I would draw his attention to the very important words in the second paragraph of Schedule B—The local authority in first fixing the rents under an assisted scheme may have, regard to the rents obtaining in the locality for houses of the working class.That is perfectly clear.
§ Dr. ADDISON
The words I have read are the governing words. They are to have regard to the fact that it may be a superior type of house. For example, they are to have regard to the rents prevailing in the locality—that is to say, there is no question of an authority in a rural area charging for working-class accommodation anything other than would be provided by the standard of the rent which is 1091 generally charged in that locality for that type of accommodation. It clearly means that.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I know it is difficult to piece all these together. The words areRegard must be had to any superiority in position or amenity of the houses to be let by them under an assisted scheme or in the accommodation provided therein.Is that not fair? Supposing that the rent in a semi-urban district for houses of that class in the district is 8s. If these houses, providing a similar class of accommodation, are really better houses in various respects, it is fair to have some regard to that consideration.
§ Dr. ADDISON
It is fair to have some regard to that consideration while the guiding principle is the rents prevailing in that locality for that class of accommodation. I would, draw the attention of hon. Members who may not have read these Regulations to a very important qualification. On the top of page 7 will be found these words:Provided that in the event of any difference arising—
§ Dr. ADDISON (continuing)
between the Minister and the local authority as to the sufficiency of the rents proposed to be charged by the local authority——that is the point in question—it shall be referred for decision to a person agreed on by the Minister and the local authority or failing such agreement appointed by the President of the Royal Institution.That is to say, if there is any difference between the Minister and the local authority, the matter is not decided by the Minister, but is referred to someone agreed upon between the authority and the Minister. I think that is a fair statement.
That, I think, answers the first point raised by the hon. Member. The next point is in reference to the progress that is to be made by July, 1920. There again I do not say that those words are the very best words that could have been selected in the English language, but still, we must have some safeguards of that kind. The Housing Act and this subsidy are ex- 1092 plicitly provided in order to facilitate as much as we can the rapid provision of houses. Therefore we must have some limit of time within which the subsidy is to be granted, and there are those two periods—the first to show that they have really made a start and mean business— that is what July, 1920 is put there for— and the second one is to cover the termination of the scheme. The words are elastic words, and the case where it is physically impossible to complete within the two years is covered by the Regulations. One other point was raised in reference to the case of the local authority purchasing more land than was actually required for the actual building of the houses, and my hon. Friend asked whether it would count as part of the housing scheme. I would remind my hon. Friend that schemes are submitted under the Housing Act. Those schemes are agreed, and it is explicitly provided in the Act that the purchase of the land may be included in the approved scheme, because that is the scheme that entitles the authority to claim assistance.
There are 1,800 authorities, and I have seen representatives of these authorities of all kinds and conferred with them, and although they have been circularised by those who now criticise the Regulations, only 152 of them have shared the views which have been put forward. So I think I am justified in claiming that if there had been any great volume of opinion against these Regulations you would have had more than 152 local authorities expressing objection to them. Our intention is to say that we do not want, by any special words in any Regulations, to lay down anything that will in any way go against the intentions of Parliament. At the same time, all the safeguards which have been criticised in some form are essential. What I am prepared to suggest is this, that these Regulations shall go through, and I will ask hon. Members who are interested to discuss with me and with my officers any additional words, which we might subsequently issue in an amending Regulation dealing with the points which we are all anxious to meet. I am perfectly prepared, if that meets the views of hon. Members, to have an amending Regulation issued as a result of conferences, if it is agreed that better words can be found than are already in the Regulations. At the same time, I would say this, that the volume of opinion, so far as I have been 1093 able to get in touch with it, has been seriously exaggerated in what a good many hon. Members have stated during the discussion we have had to-night. If it had been so great as has been represented, I am sure I should have heard more of it, and that more than 152 local authorities would have joined in the outcry. It would seriously inconvenience us, and cause much more disquiet to the local authorities not to pass these Regulations now than to pass them, and I am quite sure the House wishes to treat the matter fairly. I am perfectly prepared to give effect to the real intentions of Parliament in the Regulations, and, as I say, I will be ready to issue an amending Regulation after conference with hon. Members interested.
§ Mr. N. CHAMBERLAIN
I was very sorry to hear my right hon. Friend throw any doubt on the volume of feeling among the local, authorities as to the effect of these financial Regulations. It is not a mere matter of wording or a few verbal alterations which is going to put them right and to restore to the local authorities that confidence which is absolutely necessary if they are to go on with their housing schemes. Take the matter of rents. The right hon. Gentleman made an allusion to paragraph 2 of Schedule B, but I think he overlooked the fact that that paragraph refers to the rents which are first fixed, that is, the rents for the houses which are now being built, and those are the rents which are to be increased by periodic figures until they reach the economic rent of a house which could be built at that time. What the local authorities are concerned about is not the period between now and 1927, but what is going to happen after that, and that paragraph 2 does not apply at all there; it is paragraph 1 that applies to that. That paragraph says that the rent to be charged is to be the economic rent. I also have got figures on this subject, and in my own town of Birmingham the houses that are being put up to-day would require an economic rent of 30s. per week. Assuming, as the Government do, that the cost of building is going to fall by a third by 1927, the economic rent then would be 20s.
The Housing Committee of the Birmingham Council have already fixed the rents for these houses at 15s. per week. This 15s. will have to be periodically raised until 1927, when it will be 21s. Similar houses as to accommodation are war 1094 rented at 7s. The Labour members of the council, who have recently been considerably increased in number, are of opinion that it will not be possible to obtain more than 15s. weekly between now and 1927. If that be so there is a difference of 6s., and if the programme of the council, 10,000 houses, is carried out, that 6s. weekly will mean £160,000 a year falling upon the local authority, or a 9d. rate. It is this sort of calculation and consideration which weighs with local authorities to-day, and as has been said, there are local authorities to-day who say they will not go on with their housing schemes until they have absolute security for the future. There is only one thing for my right hon. Friend to do—it is not a question of making verbal alterations in these Regulations, but of withdrawing them and substituting what will restore the confidence of the local authorities.
§ Mr. HOHLER
I hope my hon. Friend (Mr. Gwynne) will insist upon this Motion. I have been written to on the subject by authorities; and unless the right hon. Gentleman gives a most clear undertaking that these Regulations shall be put right in and formally approved by the House of Commons it is impossible to let them go through.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
I am sorry I cannot accept the offer of the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health. I was hoping he would have made a more definite offer. I would suggest to him that the best way to do, if he wants to get a certain number of the Regulations, is to agree to withdraw Article 2, or rather Subsections (2) and (3), and Articles 5 and 6, and Schedule B, and let us redraft the whole of these.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
Perhaps so; these are Regulations which only come into force after 1927. We want to restore the confidence of the public authorities.
§ Mr. E. WOOD
I would be much obliged if the right hon. Gentleman would tell me how an ordinary Member of the House is supposed to obtain these Regulations? They are not at the Vote Office. I understand they have been lying on the Table since 22nd October. The ordinary Member would have been able to follow this Debate with much more intelligence if copies had been available at the Vote 1095 Office. I tried to get a copy of these Rules at the Vote Office, but failed. I am informed that they were printed only two days ago. [Interruptions and conversation.]
§ Dr. ADDISON
These Regulations have been presented to the House according to the Rules of Parliament, and the Minister of Health is not responsible for their printing. So far as these Regulations are concerned, I am not quite sure what it is to which objection is taken, and I find in what hon. Members have said a great absence of any definite suggestions. My hon. Friend the Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gwynne) asks me to withdraw these Regulations. I am willing to meet the hon. Members if I know exactly what it is they want me to do, but I find it difficult to understand what hon. Members want me to alter in the Regulations. I am willing to hold them up, but if I do I am afraid we shall not get the Regulations through before Christmas, as they have to lie on the Table for twenty-one clear Parliamentary days on which the House sits. If the House accepts the suggestion of the hon. Member who moved this Motion, it does not afford me much guidance. The unanimous wish of the local authorities was that whatever you do you should make the arrangement definite in 1927. That was a unanimous request. I will undertake to print these Regulations and circulate them at the Department's expense, and we will see what can be arranged.
§ Lord R. CECIL
I do not know whether my right hon. Friend can withdraw the Regulations once they have been made. Would not the right course be to accept the Motion?
§ Mr. GWYNNE
If the right hon. Gentleman will see that these Regulations do not become law by lying on the Table, I shall be quite satisfied.
§ Lord R. CECIL
Can they not be reproduced in an amended form? Is it not the 1096 regular way that when Regulations are objected to we annul them and then they are laid on the Table again as amended?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I should think if they were annulled there is an end of them. You must not reproduce those Regulations which the House, has already annulled; otherwise the House is being asked the same question twice, and is asked to reverse a decision which it has already given.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
We may be doing more than we want to do by passing this Motion as a whole, and I am prepared to amend certain of these Regulations. If Mr. Speaker will say that will meet the case, and if we allow the Regulations to go through now, we shall not lose our opportunity, I am content. But surely the better plan would be to annul Articles 2, 5, and 6 and Schedule B, and leave it to the right hon. Gentleman to bring them up in an amended form.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I am quite willing to accept that suggestion if it will meet the case in the opinion of Mr. Speaker.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The right hon. Gentleman is, I think, putting upon me something rather difficult. The Act of Parliament simply says that the Regulations may be annulled. Annulling in the ordinary sense means cancelling or turning them down, and then there is an end of them. But if you are going subsequently to ask the House to accept what it has already turned down you are in reality asking it to reverse a decision to which it has already come. I should have thought that the better way was to annul those Regulations to which objection is taken, but not to annul those which are agreed to.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I am quite willing to adopt that course. I was only asking as to the best procedure for bringing up the Regulations in an amended form.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
Then I will amend my Motion to read that Articles 2, 5, and 6 and Schedule B be annulled.
§ Lord R. CECIL
But these are the Regulations as a whole, and I submit that they must be treated as one set of Regulations. If you annul them now it will be perfectly open to bring up an amended set which may repeat the same features and yet materially differ from the Regulations annulled. Otherwise this provision, 1097 which is a very common one in an Act of Parliament, would be very difficult to carry out.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
I beg to move, after the word "Regulation" ["praying that Regulations made"], to insert ''Articles 2, 5, 6, and Schedule B."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Words, as amended, there inserted.
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty praying that Regulations, Articles
2, 3, 6, and Schedule B, made by the Minister of Health, with the approval of the Treasury and presented to this House on 22nd October last under Section 7 of the Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 1919, be annulled.
§ To be presented by Privy Councillors or Members of His Majesty's Household.
§ It being after Half-past Eleven of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at Twenty-two minutes after Twelve o'clock.