HC Deb 20 April 1934 vol 288 cc1267-72

11.6 a.m.


I beg to move, in page 2, line 28, after "sixpence," to insert: ("which fee shall be inclusive of any charge for a search). This is a slight Amendment to the new Clause that was agreed upon in Committee. In the 1854 Act there is provision for a fee being paid where a search is required. The object of the new Clause, of course, was to give a cheap certificate of birth as a guarantee of the age of the person, and nothing more, and it states definitely that it is for a fee of sixpence. I do not wish that there should be any misunderstanding as to the price or that any registrar should be able to come along and say, "I want a shilling for the search."

Commander COCHRANE

I beg to second the Amendment.

11.7 a.m.


This Amendment wants looking into from the taxpayers' point of view. I understand that this is a new charge of 6d. for the power to go in and find out what a birth certificate is, and I think we might be told how this charge compares with the charge in England. If the Amendment is accepted, you might be able to get a copy of a birth certificate very much cheaper in Scotland than in England, and that would ultimately fall on the taxpayers' backs. As we are here to look after the the taxpayer, I think we should have some assurance that the position is approximately the same in England as in Scotland. If the charge is very much higher in England than in Scotland, or if in passing this Amendment we are adding to the expense of the Scottish Office, that will finally fall on to the taxpayers in England and Wales and Scotland as well. As one who is naturally very cautious and desirous of preserving the taxpayers' right position in this matter, I think we might have some information on this point.

11.9 a.m.


I would point out to the hon. Member that the registration law is different in the two countries, and there is no attempt in the original law or in the amending Bill to approximate the law in the two countries. I cannot tell my hon. Friend what expenses are involved in a similar search in England, but I can assure him that the fact that no fee will be charged for a search will not in any way increase the expenses of the Registrar's Office or, so far as we can see, involve any fresh liability on the taxpayer in any form.


Thank you very much.

Amendment agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.