HC Deb 22 March 1929 vol 226 cc2021-2

Lords Amendment: In page 57, leave out from the word "operations," in line 26, to the end of paragraph (b), and insert: and whose wages are subject to the provisions of the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Act, 1924.


This Amendment also raises a question of Privilege.


I beg to move, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment. While I move this on the question of Privilege, I may perhaps point out to the House the reasons which, in my opinion, would render this Amendment particularly undesirable on its merits. What we are trying to do in Clause 65 is to carry out what are called consequential provisions, and here we are endeavouring to leave matters, as nearly as it is possible to leave them, in their present position, but if this Amendment which has been inserted in another place were to find a permanent home in the Bill, it would introduce an entirely new principle of rating. Instead of saying that a house shall be rated according to the rent which a hypothetical tenant might reasonably be supposed to be willing to pay for it on certain conditions, it would say that a person engaged in a particular kind of occupation should carry about that occupation to whatever house he occupied.


But not an industrial one.


It is a far-reaching change in our present system, and, indeed, it is very difficult to see why it should be confined to a person following one particular occupation. When this Amendment was proposed in another place, there was a Noble Lord who desired to extend it, not merely to agricultural workers, but to other workers engaged in an industrial occupation. If it could be shown that another person engaged in some other occupation is in the same sort of economic or financial position, it would be difficult to see on what grounds of equity you could justify the distinction between the two classes. I dare say it would be possible to say still more if necessary, and to consider the question of what this might lead to in the long run—whether it would benefit the agricultural labourer himself, or go in some other direction. I think the House will see that there are solid, substantial grounds for insisting on the privilege of this House.

Question, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment," put, and agreed to.