§ Dr. ADDISON
I beg to move, in page 86, line 16, column 1, to leave out the words "Kingston-upon-Thames."
This Amendment is in confirmation of an undertaking I gave in Committee whereby a change is made in this group represented by four conservators. It was arranged in order to secure as far as possible an equal distribution of representation, that they should be grouped in two sections with two members each. I have grouped them, as far as I can, fairly geographically, and two members are allotted to each group in accordance with the undertaking I gave about these Thames Valley representatives. This and the following Amendments all hang together.
§ Sir GEORGE PENNY
I am very glad to see that Kingston-upon-Thames is getting a little larger representation, but I would like to know how they have been grouped. The right hon. Gentleman tells us that Kingston-upon-Thames has been regrouped. Will he kindly tell me where it appears?
§ Dr. ADDISON
Kingston-upon-Thames goes out of line 16 and the first group finishes with Walton and Sunbury. The second group then begins with "the council of the borough of Kingston-upon-Thames and the councils of the urban districts of East and West Molesey." The Amendment means bringing Kingston-upon-Thames in as head of the second Thames Valley section.
§ Mr. A. SOMERVILLE
There is a point here very important, to the 86 miles of river mentioned. To the Minister, this part of the river owes gratitude for having increased this representation to four, and will appreciate the concession. I do not, however, think that grouping will be so much appreciated. Abingdon to Sunbury is 78 miles, and these 78 miles include five boroughs and eight urban district councils. They are to have two representatives, as against from Sunbury downwards—eight miles with one borough and six urban district councils. I would suggest that a much fairer representation might be made as the counties of Surrey and Middlesex are getting three representatives as against two representatives each for the counties of Berks and Bucks which contain the 78 miles. The natural geographical division between the two stretches of the river comes first near Runnymede where Middlesex meets Berkshire. If it is impossible to make the change now, the right hon. Gentleman should, in another place, make the change of representation on a more equitable footing. He should take the stretch from Abingdon for 61 miles. That would be still leaving five boroughs in that, stretch, and then 18 miles below that, which world have only one borough and two representatives.
I would reinforce the arguments of my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. A. Somerville) from another angle—the rateable value of those municipal authorities who will have to pay a large proportion of 213 the rates. They will have a minority representation. I also thank the right hon. Gentleman for the way in which he has met my colleagues in the Committee. I think he could see a way to give fairer representation on the lower stretches of the Thames.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I think that, as a matter of fact, we have met the point. The hon. Member will be interested to know the rateable value of the two sections. For one section, beginning at Abingdon and including Walton, it is £1,138,041. For the other section, Kingston and East and West Molesey, it is £1,128,745. They are so equally divided that the difference in the rateable value is only about £10,000.
§ Mr. EDE
The right hon. Gentleman has inserted this at the request of the Surrey County Council made by me during the Committee stage. I wish to express our appreciation. The right hon. Gentleman has managed fairly to divide the representation so that there shall be up-river and down-river representation and representation of those interests which are mainly commercial, like Kingston, and those up-river regions which are associated with pleasure seeking. He has done so without either being swamped.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Amendments made:
§ In page 86, line 20, column 1, after the word "Walton," insert the word "and."
§ In line 20, column 1, leave out the words "East and West."
§ In line 20, column 2, insert the word "Two."
§ In line 21, column 1, at the beginning, insert the words:
§ "By the council of the borough of Kingston-upon-Thames and the councils the urban districts of East and West."
§ In line 22, column 2, leave out the word "Four," and insert instead thereof the word "Two."
§ In line 23, leave out the word "three."
§ In line 23, leave out the second word "the," and insert instead thereof the word "several."214
§ In line 24, leave out from the word "councils," to the word "shall," in line 25.—[Dr. Addison.]
Motion made, and Question proposed:
That the Bill be re-committed to a Committee of the Whole House in respect of the Amendments to Clause 24 and Clause 29, standing in the name of Dr. Addison as Amendments to be moved on re-committal."—[Dr. Addison.]
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, in line 2, after the word "Amendments," to insert the words:standing on the Order Paper in the name of Colonel Wedgwood, to Clause 23, page 21, line 37, and Clause 23, page 22, line 6, and the Amendments.The object of the two Amendments is to give to county councils and county boroughs the same powers of differential rating, or making special rates on property which is specially benefited, as is already enjoyed by the drainage boards.
§ Sir J. LAMB
This Amendment is not printed. We do not know what it is, and we ought to have an explanation of what it means.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I understand that it is quite a separate matter that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman wants to discuss.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
Surely the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is entitled to the chance to argue his case?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I submit that if this Motion is carried without my Amendment I shall not be able to argue my case on the Committee stage.
§ Bill accordingly considered in Committee.
§ [Mr. ROBERT YOUNG in the Chair.]