HC Deb 26 July 1935 vol 304 cc2182-5

Lords Amendment: In page 7, line 1, after "and" insert: The regulations may provide for the exclusion from computation, or for the bringing into computation at a reduced figure, of floor space in any part of a room which is of less than a specified height. (5)

11.10 a.m.


I propose to ask the House to agree with the Lords in this Amendment.

The House will remember that this Clause gave power to the Minister to deal with the special case of a room with a sloping ceiling. It was intended that the Minister could, by regulation, deal with such rooms in such a way as not to count in the floor space below a ceiling of less than a certain height. We were not sure that the drafting of the Clause made the intention plain, and this Amendment will give power to make regulations, excluding from the calculation, the floor space below a ceiling which is of less than a specified height.

11.12 a.m.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, after "height," to insert "not exceeding eight feet."

I think the reason for this Lords Amendment is obvious. It is desirable that where there is a roof which slopes down practically to nothing at all, or at any rate to something not very high, the full area of the room should not be taken into account. On the other hand, to put it that the ceiling must be of "a specified height" might lead to a complete change in the whole meaning of the Measure. Somebody might,, for example, prescribe a minimum height of 12 feet which would knock out of account a vast number of rooms. In order that this power should be limited I think we ought to include the words "not exceeding eight feet," which, I think, is a satisfactory figure.


I beg to second the Amendment to the Lords Amendment.


This is an entirely reasonable Amendment. It was never our intention to make regulations as regards rooms with ceilings of more than eight feet in height. The Amendment does not change our purpose at all and we accept it.

11.14 a.m.


I feel very sorry that any limitation is going to be imposed by Statute in connection with this matter. I suggested during the Committee stage and also on the Report stage of the Bill, that there should be some provision to take into account the height as well as the floor area of rooms. I was assured on those occasions that the Minister would do so in the regulations and that there was no need to put anything into the Bill concerning that point. I was doubtful whether the Minister had the necessary power. Since the Report stage, apparently the Ministry of Health have seen the light and they are accepting the Amendment which was made in another place and I am very glad they have done so. I think the Ministry will be making a very considerable mistake if they limit themselves by inserting "not exceeding eight feet." In the Bill there has been very much too much limitation by way of the insertion

of figures which would be much better settled by the Ministry in the course of administration. We have objected throughout to putting definite standards in the Bill, and I see no reason why the Minister should accept this Amendment when it is possible in the course of a year or two that new matters may come to light and new considerations arise which may make him of the opinion that the eight feet limitation is unreasonable. I think it is a very great pity that the Minister should now agree to limit himself in this way, and I hope he will change his mind.


Do I take it that the ordinary height of a roof is 10 feet, and that when it slopes and its slope gets beyond eight feet, that could be excluded?

11.17 a.m.


That is the meaning of the Amendment. We shall have power, with this Amendment in, to deal with rooms which are less than eight feet high and have sloping roofs. With regard to the point made by the hon. Member for North Lambeth (Mr. G. R. Strauss), the Government have always felt that it is better not to bring in the complication of cubic capacity, but that if it did happen that a room was unfit for habitation by virtue of a low ceiling, the best plan would be to deal with it under Clause 80 and perhaps close it altogether.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Lords Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 60; Noes, 31.

Division No. 299.] AYES. [11.17 a.m.
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh) Fuller, Captain A. G. Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)
Apsley, Lord Ganzoni, Sir John Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.
Aske, Sir Robert William Gluckstein, Louis Halle Rickards, George William
Barclay-Harvey. C. M. Hartland, George A. Rosbotham, Sir Thomas
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univ.) Somervell, Sir Donald
Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly) Levy, Thomas Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Clayton, Sir Christopher McLean, Major Sir Alan Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.
Cook, Thomas A. Macquisten, Frederick Alexander Tate, Mavis Constance
Cooke, Douglas Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Cooper, T. M. (Edinburgh, W.) Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Copeland, Ida Mellor, Sir J. S. P. Watt, Major George Steven H.
Crooke, J. Smedley Munro, Patrick Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon. S.)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter Orr Ewing, I. L.
Elliston, Captain George Sampson Percy, Lord Eustace TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Fremantle, Sir Francis Petherick, M. Sir Walter Womersley and Lieut.-
Colonel Llewellin.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. Clement R. Gardner, Benjamin Walter Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Banfield, John William Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Maxton, James
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, George Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding) Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Cripps, Sir Stafford Grundy, Thomas W. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)
Daggar, George Harris, Sir Percy Thorne, William James
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Jenkins, Sir William Tinker, John Joseph
Dobbie, William Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Edwards, Sir Charles Lawson, John James Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Evans, H. T. (Carmarthen) Lunn, William
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. John and Mr. Paling.

Lords Amendment agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendment to page 7, line 11, agreed to.