HC Deb 06 June 1932 vol 266 cc1739-41

Amendment made: In page 62, line 28, leave out paragraph 5.—[Sir H. Young.]


I beg to move, in page 63, line 16, to leave out paragraph 17.

The Schedule relates to Clause 11, which says that a scheme shall contain provisions in particular for dealing with any of the matters mentioned in Subsection (2, a). The paragraph I wish to omit reads: Application with the necessary modifications and adaptations of statutory enactments. This gives power to the makers of schemes to modify and adapt any statutory enactments they please. It is an extraordinary power for Parliament to delegate to makers of schemes, and is quite unnecessary. It will be observed that there are two powers to alter the Statute where it is necessary to promote or expedite development. It is an ample power to meet any necessity there might be of making an alteration in the Statute. The paragraph which I wish to omit makes it perfectly general to alter the law. The Minister shakes his head. Let me remind him of what was done under a similar provision in the 1925 Act, which contained rather similar provisions. Under that Act they have so ordered the existing Statutes that they are deliberately making laws under Section 150 of the Public Health Act, 1875, which relates solely to private street works, and the Private Streets Works Act, 1892. The nature of the works which can be acquired by these Acts has actually been altered by adding the words "incidental works." This is a power which ought not to be given to the makers of schemes. There is no reason whatever for it. The Government do not like the report of the Committee which investigated the powers of Ministers and I would refer the Minister to one of the paragraphs on page 59, in which they say: It cannot but be regarded as inconsistent with the principles of Parliamentary Government that the subordinate law-making authority should be given by the superior law-making authority power to amend a statute which has been, passed by superior authority. If the makers of those schemes are to alter the law in the way this power would give them the opportunity of doing what is the good of laws at all? I ask the Minister to agree to this Amendment.


I beg to second the Amendment.


I believe the apprehensions and criticism of my hon. and learned Friend are based upon a misapprehension. This is a power which has been part of town planning legislation ever since the Act of 1909. I am advised that this paragraph does not give the local authority any additional power to alter the existing law beyond those powers which we have discussed so carefully. It allows a town-planning authority to make no statutory alteration outside the scheme of limitation at which we have arrived. All that it does is to give power to the local authority to incorporate the statutory provisions with any verbal alterations which are necessary, in order to make the statutory provisions applicable. If we were to omit paragraph 17, the result would be that we should oblige the local authority, in drawing up a scheme, in every case to do it, not by reference to the provision, but to set it out at great length in a cumbrous way which would mean unnecessary verbiage in the scheme. I can understand the apprehensions of my hon. and learned Friend, and, if his criticisms were just, I should at once meet him on the point, and put matters right. I am prepared to consider the matter and see whether his criticisms have any justification which my advisers have not yet been able to detect, but as at present advised these powers have the very much more limited application to which I have referred. If, however, on scrutiny I find that there is justification for my hon. and learned Friend's apprehension. I will endeavour to meet him.


The right hon. Gentleman has not answered the reference I gave to Section 150, but, as he assures me that he will consult his advisers, I will accept his word and ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, in page 63, line 21, at the end, to insert the words: and making provision for the recovery thereof in a court of summary jurisdiction. This Amendment carries out a pledge given in Committee that the penalties for infringement of the schemes should be recoverable in a court of summary jurisdiction.

Amendment agreed to.