HC Deb 20 April 1934 vol 288 cc1299-302

I beg to move, in page 4, line 8, at the end, to insert: 'navigation authority' means any person or body of persons having powers under any Act of Parliament to work or maintain a canal or other inland navigation. This is to provide a definition of a navigating authority.


I congratulate my hon. Friend on having come to a successful compromise. I think the protest I raised in Committee stage has been fully justified, as it has enabled the House to make this Amendment in its proper form and in its proper place. It shows how necessary it is that some of us should occasionally watch these things; in the best regulated families accidents happen at times.

Amendment agreed to.

12.40 p.m.


I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

I only desire to say one or two words, and I must thank the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) for having enabled me to put it in a correct shape. It is a simple Bill, but at the same time somewhat important, because it provides possibilities for carrying out a pooling of the water supplies in the country without treading on anybody's toes. It is a Bill for the general good, and non-contentious to a degree. Care has been taken to see that nobody shall suffer in carrying it out. It takes no arbitrary powers. It enables an undertaking to sell water in bulk to another authority which desires to take it. In that sense it is a beginning of a pooling of supplies, upon which I lay great stress. Water supply undertakings have grown up in this country in the very individualistic way in which most things grew up in the time of industrial expansion, and we are having to take many corrective measures in order to bring them up to the state of efficiency which is now expected. This is one of them. Owing to the separatist way, the economic nationalism so to speak, in which water undertakings in the past have grown up we have over 1,100 undertakings in the country, and it is clear that such a vast number cannot operate in the most efficient form if they are short of some means of connecting up their undertakings and pooling the supplies of water which nature provides. The Public Health Act of 1875 provides for this in certain cases, and in many of the local Acts which have been promoted by municipalities it is also possible. But in many of the company's Acts it is not possible and, therefore, the Bill has been introduced to remedy that omission. I hope good use will be made of it in every posible way. I am much obliged to the House for having passed the Bill so far.

12.43 p.m.


I think it only right that the hon. Member who has introduced the Bill and brought it so far through the House of Commons should have the congratulations of at least one Member of Parliament for providing a serviceable Bill dealing with the pooling of water supplies, and thus doing a real service to the community at the present time. It would be a little hard if an hon. Member who has worked so industriously and brought forward such a serviceable Bill should have no one to thank him for the service he has done for the community. With all respect, the Ministry of Health are in some difficulties at the moment in regard to water shortage and I think it would be only courteous if the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health could see his way to say a few words of appreciation of an hon. Member who has done something to relieve them of some anxiety in regard to that problem. In addition, it would also be an encouragement to private Members to bring in Bills of such a sound character as the present, and in that way add to the general usefulness of the House of Commons. I am glad to be able to support this particular Bill.

12.45 p.m.


I am always ready to respond to an appeal of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams). In fact, I tried to anticipate him, but as usual he got in first. I would like to congratulate the hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Chorlton) on having his name associated with a very useful and practical Bill. This is an appropriate time for such a Bill, because it is Budget week, when we are all distributing surpluses. My hon. Friend is giving powers to companies to distribute their surpluses in the most equitable manner, useful to themselves, and very beneficial to the community. I congratulate him on the way he has brought forward the Measure and the good temper he has always preserved in piloting it to the Statute Book.

12.46 p.m.


I also would like to congratulate my hon. Friend. The Bill, I am sure, will be a very useful Bill. I am particularly glad that the Parliamentary Secretary has risen to congratulate my hon. Friend, because his speech does away with a little rhyme I heard the other day about the Ministry of Health: Out of its own unfathomable store, Cold water on our every scheme will pour; Even when the country's dry and there's no more. The Parliamentary Secretary's speech will free the Ministry from the indictment passed upon it by the author of those lines.

12.47 p.m.


I, too, would congratulate the hon. Member in charge of the Bill. He is connected with the pooling of water supplies in Lancashire. This Measure, in conjunction with the emergency Measure which is to be passed, will form some safeguard against the danger with which the country is faced.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed, with Amendments.