HC Deb 11 April 1933 vol 276 cc2515-6

The council of a county borough or county district in England shall have power to institute proceedings for any offence under the principal Acts or this Act.—[Sir H. Jackson.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

11.41 p.m.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The provision to which this Clause refers is a penal provision. While it is open to anyone to take proceedings in regard to this matter, I think it will be generally agreed that if it is left to the tenant, there is very little likelihood, for obvious reasons, that proceedings will be taken. The difficulty has been that local authorities have been unable to spend money except on the authority of Parliament, and the object of this Clause is to make it clear that a local authority may institute proceedings and pay the expenses thereby incurred. I will not weary the Committee by citing the offences that might be dealt with, but some of them are of very great importance, and others are of a minor character. They are all very well known to the Committee and to the Minister.

11.43 p.m.


I propose to accept the Clause.


I should like to know if this Clause, before the Report stage, will be made applicable to Scotland as well.


I will certainly consider the hon. Member's point, in conjunction with the Scottish Law Officers.

Clause added to the Bill.


Lieut.-Colonel Gault.


On a point of Order. My hon. Friends and I have a new Clause on the Paper providing for the repeal of the permitted increase of rent provision, and we thought we might have had on it the opportunity at least of taking a vote, without necessarily discussing the question.


That Clause has not been selected. I think I could give the hon. Member a good reason for that, but I would rather not do so.

11.44 p.m.


On the point of Order. There is a very big principle involved. As you know, Sir Dennis, it is the Clause which would restore rents to the pre-War level. We do not want to take up the time of the Committee in discussing it, but we think it is a big enough principle for the Committee to have an opportunity of recording its vote on the matter. My hon. Friends and myself recorded our votes against the Second Reading of the Bill because this principle was not included, but hon. and right hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway here did not vote on that occasion because they regarded it as a thing that might quite well be dealt with in Committee, yet now we are told, on the Committee stage, that it is not to be selected. The power of selection lies with you, Sir Dennis, but having regard to the fact that this was the issue that brought a vote on Second Reading, I ask you if you cannot see your way to consider it of sufficient importance to give us a vote now.


May I point out that the Committee has already decided this question to-night in that we have decided not to agree to a diminution of the 40 per cent. to 20 per cent.


I was going to tell the hon. Member that among the reasons why the Amendment was not selected was that the greater includes the less and that the greater question has already been decided.