§ 1.38 p.m.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
I beg to move, in page 3, line 3, to leave out from the beginning, to "shall," in line 13, and to insert :Where the charges made by any undertakers for electricity supplied by them for one purpose are less than the charges made by them for electricity supplied for another purpose, electricity supplied by the undertakers for the first mentioned purpose shall not, without the consent in writing of the undertakers, be used (whether after transformation or conversion or not) for the last mentioned purpose, and if any person to whom any electricity is supplied uses it or suffers it to be used in contravention of the provisions of this section, he.I am moving this Amendment and the three following Amendments at the request of my hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Mr. Clarry) who cannot be here to-day. The corporation of Newport have promoted a Bill in another place, and it would have contained a Clause similar in principle to Clause 3 in the present Bill, but Clause 3 contemplates a narrower case than that which prevails in Newport. If a person uses for lighting or other purposes electricity supplied at a rate lower than the lighting rate, such as using the electricity supplied for power, an offence is committed. In Newport, the electricity department charge 1d. per unit for heating, while for domestic power purposes, such as for 666 electric irons they charge 2½d.; for lighting purposes the charge is higher still. It is possible that what is supplied for heating may be used for domestic power, or for lighting. A greater number of permutations and combinations is possible in that case than are contemplated in Clause 3 as it stands. I am given to understand that the same conditions prevail in a number of other municipalities and power companies. In order that all possible cases may be properly covered, I am moving this Amendment, and the other Amendments will be consequential if it is passed.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out, stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ 1.41 p.m.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
We ought to hear something from the promoters of the Bill. We are entirely in the dark as to why these words were not put in originally.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
This was not contemplated originally. A private Bill promoted in another place drew attention to it, and that is why the provision is introduced at this stage.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
It is usual for hon. Members who are in charge of a Bill to say something about it, because other hon. Members must have light.
§ Mr. GROVES
Are we to take it that every time the hon. and learned Member says nothing, he means "Yes"?
§ Further Amendments made :
In page 3, line 18, after "section" insert :
in respect of the use of electricity for any purpose.
In line 20, leave out :
for purposes other than lighting purposes.
In line 22, leave out from "instituted," to the end of the Clause, and insert :
at a rate of charge lower than the rate of charge appropriate for electricity supplied for the said purpose shall be charged for at the last mentioned rate."—[Mr. H. Williams.]
§ 1.43 p.m.
§ Mr. T. SMITH
I beg to move, in page 3, line 24, at the end, to insert:(4) For the purposes of this section electricity shall not be deemed to be used for lighting purposes by reason only that it is used for the purposes of some electrical apparatus which contains a lamp if the purposes of the apparatus as a whole are not lighting purposes.I have, first of all, to thank the promoters of the Bill for carrying out their promise to give this Amendment consideration. When we discussed it in Committee, the hon. and learned Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Thorp) expressed agreement with it but said that it was bady drafted, and that he would undertake to see if he could have it drafted properly in time for the Report stage. Hon. Members may be wondering what it is all about. The intention of the Amendment is to put a safeguard in the Bill to avoid future complications. Clause 3 lays down that those who use electricity contrary to the manner intended commit an offence. Beading the evidence submitted to the Select Committee when this Bill was under consideration, I find that Sir Harry Pritchard, when asked what was the position of those who were using electricity for wireless purposes, frankly said that he did not know. On some wireless sets is a light. The object of the Amendment is to prevent an inspector from walking into a house and saying to someone who has a wireless apparatus run from the power plug, "Because you have a light on this wireless set, the electricity that you use is deemed to be for lighting purposes and not for power." In certain parts of the country l¼d. per unit is the charge for electricity used for power, while for lighting the charge is 668 5½d. or 6d. The House will agree that electricity used for wireless purposes from the power plug, even though there is a light upon the wireless set, ought not to be deemed to be electricity used for lighting. I thing that there is unanimity on that point. The Amendment provides la safeguard in that respect.
§ 1.45 p.m.
§ Mr. THORP
I am much indebted to my hon. Friend the Member for Normanton (Mr. T. Smith) for agreeing to postpone this Amendment until the present stage. It carries out exactly what he describes, and will avoid any discussion in future as to whether a particular supply has been provided for lighting or for power purposes. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for having moved the Amendment, and I hope that the House will accept it.
§ 1.46 p.m.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
This question is not quite such an easy one as my hon. and learned Friend appears to think. For all that I know it may be a case of collusion. The Government is represented here to-day by a very able Minister, and we have an Amendment proposed by a Socialist Member and seconded by an hon. Gentleman who apparently thought that discretion was the better part of valour, and accordingly said nothing about it. I am sure he was very wise. The hon. and learned Gentle man, who is so charmingly courteous—
§ Sir J. LAMB
My wisdom, I think, lay in the fact that I did not consider it necessary to take up the time of the House, and therefore did not do so.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. I am sure that he, like myself, would never take up the time of the House unnecessarily. My hon. and learned Friend now accepts this Amendment. But I am not here as a follower of this hon. Gentleman or that hon. Gentleman; it is the Government that I am prepared to support, and I think that the Government ought to say what the position is. I understand that the Amendment has something to do with wireless, a most important thing, and I am sure that if we can help in such a 669 matter every one of us would wish to do so. I should like to ask the Minister in charge of the Bill if I can vote for this particular Amendment with safety. I understand my hon. and gallant Friend to say that he is not in charge, but some one must be in charge on behalf of the Government—
§ Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM
I am not in charge of the Bill; I am here to give advice to my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
My hon. and gallant Friend is here to give advice to any supporter of the Government who thinks that in the main nothing should be done on a private Member's Bill to interfere with the policy of the Government. That is really what I want to decide, and, if my hon. and gallant Friend will assure me either that the Amendment is all right or that he wishes it put aside, I will willingly follow him into the lobby.
§ Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM
I would advise my hon. Friend, if I may, to switch off. I can assure him that from the point of view of all users of this apparatus there is a great deal to be said for the Amendment, and I am not surprised that it is accepted by all parties in the House.
§ Amendment agreed to.