HC Deb 02 February 1932 vol 261 cc122-4

Considered in Committee, under Standing Order No. 71A.

[Sir DENNIS HERBERT in the Chair.]

Motion made, and Question proposed: That, for the purpose of any Act of the present Session providing, among other matters, for the making of schemes with respect to the development and planning of land, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of—

  1. (a) any sums payable by a public department under an agreement entered into by them, with the approval of the Treasury, for securing that. land under the control of the department, or in their occupation, or vested in them shall be laid out and used in conformity with the general objects of a scheme under the said Act; and
  2. (b) any expenses incurred by the Minister of Health or the Department of Health for Scotland under the said Act in exercising, on default being made by a local authority or a responsible authority, any powers vested by the said Act in that authority.—(King's Recommendation signified.)—[Sir II. Young].


I think I must give the Committee one word of explanation on the powers sought in this Money Resolution. Hon. Members can really best understand them by glancing at the financial memorandum of the scheme, and they will then see that this is an extremely unimportant Resolution, in this way; that there is a very little possibility of a very small expenditure being involved and the probability of no expenditure at all. In introducing the Bill I said that it would place no charge on the Exchequer. That is substantially the case. There are two possibilities under the Bill, in either of which a small charge might conceivably fall on the Exchequer, and it is because of these possibilities that we have to take this Money Resolution. The first is the case of lands held under the Crown Lands Act by public departments. In carrying out the scheme some change may possibly be made in respect of the application of the scheme to lands held by a Department. Very likely there will be none at all, but if there are any they will be very small. The second possibility is that if the Ministry of Health is—we hone it will not be—called upon to intervene and carry out a scheme itself, there might be some small expediturc involved. It is to cover those two trifling possibilities that we have to take this Money Resolution.


I certainly do not intend to detain the Committee with many observations on the matter, and still less, after the Debate that we have had, do I propose to offer any opposition. I rise merely to issue a warning to the Minister once more with regard to this expenditure question. The right hon. Gentleman started off by saying that he believed this Measure would inflict no extra expenditure on the Treasury, but then he safeguarded himself in case the Ministry of Health should have to intervene. That is the way expenditure in this country piles up almost imperceptibly. I want my right hon. Friend to note very carefully the reply which was given by the Parliamentary Secretary when I intervened in his speech just now regarding the increased staff that might be needed by local authorities if the Bill passes. I want my right hon. Friend to see, before we go further, how many of the authorities which should prepare these schemes have an adequate staff to do so, how many they will have to employ, and how much that will cost, and then to ask himself whether the money could not be better spent in pursuing some of the educational or other development schemes which, owing to the financial crisis, we have had to drop.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolution to be reported To-morrow.